Time was when Oxford University self-identified as deriving all its knowledge from God Himself.
Today the attitude seems so different, it is a wonder that the motto survives.
I write from Oxford where just over a week ago I watched and listened in the Union – stunned – as dozens of students nodded along unquestioningly to Ann Furedi (CEO of BPAS) as she led the charge for abortion on demand right up till birth. She used a story of a 36-week termination as her example. No-one batted an eyelid.
Just now I have come away from speaking with someone on Broad Street who was unable to explain scientifically why at birth – she also was in favour of full-term abortion – the foetus suddenly goes from being just a bunch of cells to a human being with rights.
“It’s just a woman’s right,” she slogan-ed, again and again.
“But scientifically, what difference does the moment of birth make to the species, aliveness, or individuality of the baby?” I asked.
“I can’t explain it to you,” she said. “It’s just a gut feeling.”
“We need more than a gut feeling and slogans when we’re dealing with human life,” was my reply.
It turns out she is a practising medical doctor – and an Oxford graduate.
Since unpopular ideas, the very notion of free speech, and God Himself are increasingly rejected in this university culture, can it be surprising that it’s as though someone has turned out the lights?
And yet, by the grace of God and the work of His Spirit, the Lord is our light, and our salvation. He mercifully opened our eyes to see – nothing to do with our merits – and He can open the eyes of the blind here in Oxford too. Would you join me in praying that He would, graciously? For surely the people are walking around in darkness, and the unborn suffer for it.
I love the hopefulness with which Psalm 27 concludes.
"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Dominus Illuminatio Mea – may it be true of us, and may it yet be true of Oxford. Amen.