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Herbert Steinschneider


Phil Steinschneider


Nebel."  They were sent to the most notorious camps in Germany.  Girard-Clot was the first to perish.  Two of the students died of starvation and maltreatment only months before the liberation.  Only one of them, Siguier, was found alive, in Mauthausen, by the advancing American troops in 1945.  From the day of their capture, all of us kept these friends in our prayers, remembering them during the chapel service every morning.


All these extracurricular activities did not keep us from studying our appointed courses and to write the required term papers.  Greek and Hebrew had to be mastered, and Latin had to be polished.  Most of the teachers were of the older generation, which had witnessed the separation of the church and state in 1905 and who remembered only too well the anti-religious campaigns prior to World War I.  They were wonderful, serious, and dedicated men, but without the slightest understanding of our generation.  Under Pétain, in fact, religion was flourishing; the youth movement received subsidies and even special food rations for camping.  The answers to the rationalist attacks upon Christianity, which they wanted to drill into our minds, had not the slightest meaning for us.  We had never met any of these anti-religious doctrinaires, and did not see the necessity to put up a defense.  Bruston (Hebrew), Perrier (Apologetics), and Barnaud (Church History), were the three professors in whose classes we most often wrote letters to friends and family, reviewing their subject matter in our rooms later.

Of the new generation was Pastor Jean Cadier, who taught us practical theology.  He had been a revival preacher in the Drôme region before the war, and was now the pastor of the main church of Montpellier, to which all the local intelligentsia, including the professors of the seminary, belonged.

One of his favorite stories came from his own experience as a revival preacher.  Counting heavily on Divine inspiration, he told us, he never prepared his sermons.  Upon arriving in the church barely five minutes before the beginning of the service, he usually donned his robes, opened the Bible, put his finger on a verse, mounted into the pulpit, and preached a magnificent and moving sermon on that text.  One day, however, he proceeded as usual and opened his Bible.  But the first text he found was not at all what he could preach on, and so he turned to a second one, which was just as bad as the first.  Yet time was running out and he had to begin the service.  He had to get into the pulpit.  Hemming and hawing, he improvised without fervor, not knowing where he was or where he was going.  The sermon was definitely the worst ever of his career.  Descending from the pulpit, however, he heard a tiny little voice, which he recognized as the voice of the Holy Spirit, saying to him, "Jean, you should have prepared your sermon!" - which advice he had followed, he told us, ever since.

Jean Cadier did not always heed the rules of diplomacy.  He was inclined to overstate his position.  He angered his congregation in September 1944 when he