Interview:
Ben Merkle on the Author Bank

Dr. Benjamin Merkle is the President of New Saint Andrew’s College in Moscow, Idaho. He is a member of the CLT Board of Academic Advisors and most recently served as a panelist to create the new and revised Author Bank.

CLT: You are the President at New Saint Andrews College; how would you describe your work? 

BM: I coordinate and lead the administration of the College, and I represent the College’s mission to our various constituencies.

CLT: Is there any one aspect of your career that you find particularly rewarding?

BM: I believe very strongly in the mission that I have been called to. This is a field that the Christian church has not taken nearly seriously enough. But the classical Christian education movement has opened up the possibility for us to make significant headway in rebuilding our culture.

CLT: Is it this that initially attracted you to CLT?

BM: Yes, I think classical education is the single biggest win for the Christian church over the past century. Anything that helps that movement distinguish itself and objectively demonstrate the power of this education is worth getting behind. 

CLT: You have definitely done your part to support our work! As you know, CLT seeks to reintroduce truth, beauty, and goodness to modern education. Why do you find these three values so important?

BM: The loss of a belief in the triune God has led to the slow decay of all three of these values. By denying our Maker, mankind has made all three of these into subjective values, with truth being the last to go. Contrary to what is commonly assumed, it is not the case that beauty and goodness are subjective, while truth is the only objective value. It is just that objective truth is usually the last to go, after objective beauty and objective goodness are lost. And when you see it that way, you see that understanding beauty and goodness is critical for understanding truth. Or, put another way, it is essential to defend beauty and goodness if you want to defend truth. 

CLT: Thank you for your help compiling our new Author Bank. What were your top considerations when deciding which authors should be included?

BM: The first priority would be an author whose work leads the reader into deep and rewarding reflection, not because of the difficulty of the prose, but because of the quality of the intellect directing the conversation. The second consideration, in my estimation, would be the word-smithing of the author. Are they enjoyable to read? 

CLT: Good rules to have. Lastly, do you have a favorite writer from our Author Bank? 

BM: That is a cruel assignment. It would be very difficult to pick an all out favorite. I would say that I find myself returning to C. S. Lewis the most out of that list, possibly Calvin after that, with Augustine and Beowulf trailing not far behind.

CLT: All sound choices! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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Published on 7th June, 2022.

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