I just finished John A. D’Elia, A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America (Oxford, 2008; ISBN 0195341678, hardcover, 271 pages).
I was a student of Dr. Ladd’s from 1973-1976, during his final three years of active teaching at Fuller Theological Seminary before retirement. He profoundly influenced my understanding of the New Testament and challenged me to grow both in faith and in a critical examination of the text. He even paid me the compliment of suggesting that I pursue graduate studies at the University of Heidelberg — a direction I did not pursue.
I found A Place at the Table at once fascinating, insightful, and sad. Ladd’s brilliant mind and quest for Christ-honoring scholarship was crippled by his emotional weaknesses and personal demons.
I came away from the book with a renewed awareness that we ourselves are often not capable of assessing our impact. We’re often discouraged, sometimes in despair. Ladd saw himself as a failure, but God used him and still uses his influence to bring evangelical scholarship to a new level — and touch many lives through the preaching and teaching of those he trained. God’s plans for our lives are often not our own — and God is quite able to use us in spite of ourselves.