Removing Ruby On the forced resignation of Dr. Ruby as VP of Student Life • Zach Schneider and Josh Steele Dr. Carl Ruby did not resign of his own accord. at Cedarville University and why I sent my son There is not a shadow of doubt in the mind of anyone Christopher Dante Williamson to school there. I will close to the situation. The circumstantial evidence is make my voice heard at the board meeting [on damning in itself: Dr. Ruby allegedly resigned after January 24-25]." While many sources are unwilling twenty-five years of service, a few weeks into a to go on the record, for fear of losing their jobs, this semester, and left campus a week later. Sources journalist encourages readers to inquire with any closest to Ruby will all confirm that he has two member of SGA or Student Life, from resident children receiving tuition remission from his job at directors to the Deans. Among those in the know, the Cedarville and a daughter’s wedding this summer. He fact that Dr. Ruby was removed against his will is not has no job lined up and is just now beginning his even remotely in dispute. search for a new one. To suggest that Dr. Ruby would Perhaps the most damning evidence that Dr. Ruby intentionally put himself in such a dire financial was forced out is his own silence. The man has situation is ludicrous. The university’s public served this university for twenty-five years, and he relations piece even fails to do a particularly good job resigns suddenly without a word as to why? Why at spinning the situation. Note, for example, the tense does a man with such an impeccable reputation as Dr. of the sentence: “He will be pursuing new career Ruby need a communication plan, or to be held to a opportunities outside the University.” In other words, nondisclosure agreement? Dr. Ruby was and is well he has not yet begun to pursue such opportunities. aware of the allegations that he was forced to leave. Dr. Ruby mentions in the piece that “this” has been If the information floating around campus about Dr. “difficult,” with no explanation of what “this” is. The Ruby is false, he would have been more than happy to statement doesn’t even attempt to explain why Dr. correct such a view of the university he so dearly Ruby “resigned,” nor does it touch the dubious loves. The university’s explanation seems completely circumstances surrounding the move. unsatisfactory. Additionally, why the lack of fanfare Figures high in the administration also recognize when Dr. Ruby left? The university did not even the truth - the injustice of the university’s treatment of deign to make a chapel announcement until hundreds Dr. Ruby. In a recent public Facebook post, Dean of of students forced the matter by beginning a Student Life Programs Jon Purple stated that he is still movement to wear red on Dr. Ruby’s last day in order “reeling at the news of Carl Ruby being removed as to express their love and support. Even then, the the VP of Student Life at CU [emphasis added].” chapel announcement made clear the university’s Additionally, The Ventriloquist has confirmed through position that “negative expressions” (protests or anonymous sources that the majority of the trustees questioning) would “dishonor Dr. Ruby.” In what were not made aware of Dr. Ruby’s “resignation” world does the critical thought and honest questioning until it was announced to the campus. In fact, many of of concerned students dishonor a man so instrumental them seem quite angry about the decision. Chris in the promotion of honesty and justice on campus? Williamson, CU trustee and senior pastor of Strong The question to ask, then, is not “what” but Tower Bible Church, said in a recent Facebook post that "He [Dr. Ruby] is one of the main reasons I serve Continued on Page 3 >
An Open Letter To Cedarville administration and trustees • Josh Steele To my sisters and brothers in Christ, entrusted with the arduous task of leading and directing Cedarville University: greetings, grace, and peace. Allow me to thank you all for your countless hours of service to this institution. I do not want to underestimate your care and concern for this place. In fact, I want to reassure you that I share your passion. Here at Cedarville I have been blessed with the opportunity of meeting, falling in love with, and marrying my wife. Even more importantly, at Cedarville I have fallen in love with the Gospel. Thanks to godly men and women here – whose vision of God, his Word, and his world I’ve been privileged to catch – my eyes have been opened to the richness, complexity, and scope of God’s redemptive mission. I therefore raise the following concerns not as one who wants to malign Cedarville, disregard your wisdom, or perpetrate verbal violence. I raise them because I want Cedarville to contribute to God’s Kingdom to the fullest extent possible. I have invested four years of my life here as a CU Scholar, Getting Started Leader, Discipleship Leader, Student Grader, and Resident Assistant. I want future students,
Is Philosophy Expendable? Why Cedarville needs a philosophy major Tommy Graves On January 24-25, the board of trustees here at Cedarville will vote on a proposal to discontinue the philosophy major. How can a self-proclaimed liberal arts institution not offer a philosophy program? According to the school, the philosophy major is no longer financially viable. The number of students in the major has fallen from 19 in 2008 to 9 during the review. Since the program “is struggling to maintain a sufficient number of students,” the academic council believes the major should no longer be offered. The announcement was met by great skepticism among current and former philosophy students at Cedarville. Many students find the financial argument for cutting the major hard to accept. Although the financial numbers are not published, the philosophy program has no apparent costs outside of faculty they require no lab equipment, there’s no special fund for the program, etc. Furthermore, of the two faculty members, only one is solely a philosophy professor. The other faculty member teaches the general education class Introduction to Humanities and holds the position of Director of the Honors Program. Given these facts, it
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perhaps my own children someday, to be able to do the same. I want this University to thrive, inspiring true greatness for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. That is why certain events within the Cedarville community this past year have caused me such great concern. I say this as respectfully as possible: some of your decisions and actions seem to contradict the most precious lessons that I have learned at your institution about the Gospel. Among other troubling things, including the harassment of those “godly men and women here – whose vision of God, his Word, and his world I’ve been privileged to catch,” I have observed the following: your approval of the White Papers on omniscience, justification, and ■ creation, your rejection of the proposed Theology Major, ■ your dismissal of Dr. Michael Pahl, ■ the untimely resignation of Dr. William Brown, ■ the extremely untimely resignation of Dr. Carl Ruby, ■ your imminent cancellation of the Philosophy Major, ■ and subsequent imminent release of either Dr. Shawn Graves or Dr. David ■ Mills. As your younger brother in Christ, I am obligated to approach you peacefully.
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When Ideologies Collide On adopting a cruciform response to ideological conflict, as displayed by the early Church. • Rev. Adam Wirrig, CU Alumnus I can’t imagine it’s an easy job to run an institution the size and scope of Cedarville University. I would imagine that to be a vice-president or a trustee, one has to rather constantly make difficult and often unpopular decisions. I also imagine that, due to human resource issues, one can’t always be entirely be forthcoming with the reasons and rationals behind such decisions. Bearing these thoughts in mind, I, nonetheless, have to say that there are a number of recent decisions from Cedarville leadership which, as an alumnus, I find concerning. The resignations of Dr. Ruby and Dr. Brown, the dismissal of Dr. Pahl, the potential dissolution of the philosophy major, and the rise of the white papers are all causes for concern. However, I also harbor concern for older, yet, I believe, similar issues. The dismissals of Dr. Hoffeditz, Dr. Blumenstock, and Dr. Cragoe and the accompanying “truth and certainty” debate are still concerning, even a number of years after their inception. Again, I’m aware that not everything which is decided behind closed doors is available, or even good, for public consumption. Still, as an outsider looking in, I have to wonder if a sort of culture war has not enveloped the higher management at Cedarville. Taking all of the previously mentioned events in sum, it would seem that the last few years at the university could be characterized as a tug of war between the traditional and progressive elements of evangelical Christianity in the university’s leadership. To be honest, this makes me more than a bit nervous. One of the things I look back and appreciate most from my time at Cedarville was the ability to question, think, examine, and ask opinions on a range of faith issues. I would hate to think that such freedom, in either a traditional or progressive manner, was leaving Cedarville. In response to a behind-the-scenes ideological battle, what do we- as members of the Cedarville community- then do? In a way, this potential battle, calls us to a larger conversation. Any time a battle of ideology occurs, we are drawn into conversations about purpose, mission, and people. These questions and conversations almost always lead to a search for authority, example, and answers. We, in the Cedarville community, are folk who generally hold the Bible, being God’s word, as being sufficient to help us find these things. I’m acutely aware that when we begin to discuss issues of Biblical interpretation and meaning, we are opening ourselves up for a breadth of interpretations. Nonetheless, whether we see the Bible as the literal inerrant word of God, or as a divine metaphor meant to lead us to holiness, I think there are some Biblical passages we might agree to be relevant to any current ideological struggle, both at Cedarville and in the wider church. For the sake of brevity, I think one particular passage might best speak to our potential situation. In the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 15, we find the story which has become known as “The First Council of Jerusalem.” To make a long background story rather short, we should begin by saying that the early church was wracked by missiological discord. Though we like to envision the early church as a sort of halcyon amongst believers, the truth of the matter is that it was anything but. There were numerous questions over: what to believe, who to believe, how to believe, and everything else one might expect of a fledgling institution. A number of these conflicts over mission and understanding which wracked the early Christian church came to a head in a council between the followers of the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul. Though the concerns of the early church might seem trivial by today’s perspective, we should not lose sight of the context of these missiological arguments. On the one hand, the followers of Peter advocated a traditional perspective which placed a Jewish-oriented outlook as central to the church’s mission. On the other hand, Paul and his followers advocated a more progressive perspective for the church’s mission, one which was inclusive of the Gentiles. Realizing, perhaps, that the mission of the church spanned different and differing missiologies, the leaders of the Council of Jerusalem, along with Paul and Barnabas, came to a compromise of sorts. Instead of insisting upon one single missiology predicating the actions of the church, the ancient church fathers enacted a missiological compromise which reflected the importance of multiple missions, ideas, and understandings and the need to live in harmonious interaction as a wider church. Though contexts and situations have changed greatly, it should not stretch us too much to see the parallels between the ancient church and our modern situation at Cedarville. We alumni, current students, faculty, staff, and trustees of Cedarville University are faced with a situation much like that of our ancient fathers and mothers. At the root of the issues I set out earlier lie questions which our current realities, like the ancients’, call us to answer: “What is the purpose of Cedarville? What is its mission? Whom is it for?” I won’t begin to attempt to answer these questions. I could try, I think, to provide some
Continued on Page 4 > Faces of The Ventriloquist Zach Schneider, editor/webmaster ♦ Jordan Ryner, asst. editor Tommy Graves, staff writer ♦ Josiah Sleppy, staff writer
Philosophy (con’t) would seem that for the philosophy program to be financially viable, it needs to only support one and a half faculty members. Claiming there are only 9 students is misleading. There are no senior philosophy students, which means that come next year the number of majors will almost certainly increase. Many students switch into philosophy after their freshman year, increasing the program size further. In fact, since the academic review, four more students have become philosophy majors; there are now 13 majors, yet still none in the senior class. The major looks on target to have at least 16 students next year.. There are also a handful of philosophy minors. Since the student-to-faculty ratio at Cedarville is 13:1, philosophy appears to be on target for at least meeting the standard at Cedarville. But suppose that it’s true that the program is not financially viable. After all, we don’t have direct access to the numbers. Is there still a good reason to object to the philosophy program’s cancellation? Philosophy holds a unique position within academia; in many ways, philosophy is at the core of the concept of a university. Philosophy teaches the critical thinking skills that are necessary to succeed in and engage with the world. Ultimately, universities are not businesses; they have goals that go beyond making money. By looking at Cedarville’s mission statement, it becomes hard to imagine how cutting philosophy could contribute to Cedarville achieving its mission. According to Cedarville, they achieve their mission when their graduates are able to glorify God, think broadly and deeply, communicate effectively, develop academically and professionally, and engage for Christ. Philosophy helps Cedarville graduates to meet each of the listed goals: 1. Glorify God - In the Scriptures we are taught to love wisdom, and practicing philosophy is doing just that. Philosophy - especially at Cedarville - teaches students to critically engage with the triune God and the doctrines of the historical faith of Christianity. Faith and reason go hand in hand, and the philosophy education offered at Cedarville contributes to the faith of students and the glorification of God. Cedarville’s philosophy program also teaches students to search the Scriptures and approach them respectfully. I am confident that I am not the only philosophy student who learned through the philosophy program how to appreciate the Bible. 2. Think Broadly and Deeply - Philosophy is incredibly interdisciplinary, touching on psychology, sociology, physics, biology, mathematics, literature, law, economics, and more. Whereas many academic programs prepare students for a specific profession, philosophy students are exposed to a variety of topics, since philosophy pours into all areas of study. Philosophy students are not asked to regurgitate memorized information on tests, but they are required to evaluate, connect, and create ideas in dialogue with other academic disciplines and in response to the culture(s) in which we live today. As previously mentioned, critical thinking is essential for successful philosophizing. 3. Communicate Effectively - Writing is thinking, and an excellent communicator is an excellent thinker. The philosophy classes at Cedarville require students to write clearly, compellingly, accurately, and truthfully. Ask any of the many students who have done poorly on philosophy papers; the philosophy program demands the sort of effective communication required by the mission statement. Furthermore, students often encounter seemingly absurd ideas in philosophy classes. Philosophy teaches students to listen carefully to these ideas, to find the merits of them, and to evaluate them critically. 4. Develop Academically and Professionally - Philosophy is the quintessential academic discipline, so I doubt there's any question that is contributes to the academic development of a student. As far as developing students with regards to professional endeavors, one might think that philosophy is useless. But in fact, philosophy students (both at Cedarville and elsewhere) continually succeed in the "real world." Philosophy students not only have the highest acceptance rate into medical schools1 out of any major, but they also are wanted by many executives in the business world2. A degree in philosophy does, indeed, prepare one to demonstrate competence and integrity in academic and professional endeavors. 5. Engage for Christ - Philosophers throughout history have informed and influenced the way we think today. In our fast paced and connected world, ideas are exchanged and embedded in our social consciousness quicker than ever - our ways of approaching issues are radically different now than they were just thirty years ago. Becoming familiar with current philosophical conversations allows the philosophy major to better influence the various spheres of life. The great historic philosophers of Christianity – Augustine, Athanasius, Anselm, Aquinas, etc. – masterfully used philosophy to engage the world for Christ. Their influence is still felt today. Philosophy is in no way expendable. We cannot allow the universities in America to dismiss it as irrelevant, impractical, or unviable. The existence of a philosophy program at Cedarville is absolutely critical to the university’s mission and to the well-being of the academics at the institution. ♦ 1: http://www.amsa.org/AMSA/Homepage/Publications/TheNewPhysician/2000/tnp275.aspx 2: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/nov/20/choosingadegree.highereducation
“why?” Why was Dr. Ruby, a man with impeccable character and consistent self-effacing love for his students, forced out of his position? What kind of university is Cedarville becoming if men like Dr. Ruby no longer fit the bill for employment? For starters, the university’s blatant lack of transparency surrounding the circumstances of Dr. Ruby’s departure is deplorable. Dr. John Gredy, provost and acting president, wrote a blog post on Cedarville’s website in which he answered the question “Why is it important to speak and lead with truth and integrity?” by stating that people deserve to know the truth; truth telling clarifies and defines actions and information; and truth telling creates real authenticity and provides consistency between past actions and current and future actions. Why has Dr. Gredy’s behavior towards one of the university’s most Christlike servants so sharply differed from the principles that Dr. Gredy promotes in his post? Why the incongruence between words and actions in these matters? If Cedarville’s faith is truly “not a label or a surface treatment,” but its “lifeblood” that “permeates all aspects of the university, its programs and its people,” (as Cedarville claims on its website), then why do key figures in the administration find it acceptable to deceive the student body while treating figures such as Dr. Ruby in a manner impossible to accurately describe in terms of Christian love? Cedarville as we know it has become a dark place in these matters. It seems that certain individuals within the administration have grown to love either their own power or adherence to legalism more than they love their students and subordinates. Such a shift has undoubtedly caused great pain, to Dr. Ruby and his family, and to future Cedarville students who will never experience the love of Dr. Ruby’s ministry. Stories abound from current and former students who would either have walked away for the faith or literally committed suicide if not for the loving influence and incredible patience of Dr. Carl Ruby. It is appalling that the administration would force such a man to leave. I invite you to join me and all other concerned students, alumni, faculty, and staff in crying out for transparency and honest answers from our acting president, Dr. John Gredy, and anyone else involved in this decision. Dr. Carl Ruby declined comment for this article. ♦
Students who, like The Ventriloquist, are concerned about recent developments at Cedarville (including Dr. Ruby and the philosophy major) are encouraged to join Let There Be Light, a group requesting transparency and honesty from the administration. Online on Facebook, Twitter, and fiatlux125.wordpress.com.
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However, given the circumstances, it seems I am also obligated to approach you prophetically. Because of the biblical concept of shalom as true peace, I believe I can do both at the same time. For true peace is not the absence of conflict or strong words, but the longing of the prophets for the time and place where the image-bearers of Yahweh will be reconciled to one another, to all of creation, and to God himself. It is the relational fullness and completeness of God’s justice-based, truth-filled, and transparent Kingdom. In the interests of shalom, then, I cry out for justice. In the interests of shalom, I cry out for truth. In the interests of shalom, I cry out for transparency. For brevity’s sake, I’d like to distill my myriad concerns and frustrations into just two questions. After all, I’m just an undergraduate, and you do not owe me a thorough explanation of all the managerial minutiae behind your every move. However, you do owe me – along with current/future faculty, staff, students, and constituency – a thorough and impeccably honest explanation of Cedarville University’s Identity and Vision. In the interests of shalom, justice, truth, and transparency, I cry out for answer to the following two questions: 1. What is Cedarville University? 2. What does Cedarville University hope to become? All of your actions and decisions mentioned above, from the harassment of my mentors and friends to the proposed cancellation of the Philosophy Major, point towards Cedarville University being and becoming a fundamentalist (euphemistically, a “conservative evangelical”) institution – silencing honest dialogue, erecting thick walls between “us” and “them,” and carving out our own niche instead of engaging the unified diversity of God’s kingdom. After all, Dr. Ruby and Dr. Brown were two of Cedarville’s most prominent voices calling for a robust evangelicalism, for this selfproclaimed liberal arts university to embrace and embody both cultural and ideological diversity – in the hopes of becoming one of the most influential Christ-centered learning communities in the twenty-first century. I and many others came to Cedarville University to study, work, and teach because we find this vision extremely compelling. We find things like poorly-written White Papers, inadequately explained rejections/cancellations of valuable majors, and questionable, sudden changes in beloved personnel much less compelling. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and not discuss at-length the many rumors and reports of shameful things like ad hoc and biased “review” panels, bullying, power plays, and gag orders. If the rumors be true, then perhaps someone much higher than I should call for your repentance, if not your resignations. Such is the high responsibility of having “For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ” as your institutional motto. However, I will ask you for one important thing: your honesty about where you want to take Cedarville University. Here’s why: as the Administration and Board of Trustees, you have a certain right to decide whether or not Cedarville will be robustly evangelical or fundamentalist. We might strongly disagree about which of those two options is preferable, but at the end of the day you make that decision, not I. However, you have no right to obfuscate or vacillate on these important matters of identity and vision. While I can’t tell you what direction to take this University, I can boldly ask that you decide and then very clearly and publicly announce your decision. Even if I and many others disagree with your decision, we will respect you much more for your clarity. Trying to accomplish your goals behind the scenes has only resulted in confusion, damage, and pain to several individuals and families within the Cedarville community. In the wake of Dr. Pahl’s dismissal and the questionable resignations of Dr. Brown and Dr. Ruby, we need a clear statement, not a polished and vague press release. If you don’t plainly declare your position and objectives, then we will be forced to assume the worst regarding your motives. After all, if achieving your goals involves getting rid of: Michael Pahl, an outstanding biblical theologian of whom you were ■ willing to say: “[his] orthodoxy and commitment to the gospel are not in question, nor is his commitment to Scripture’s inspiration, authority and infallibility. He is a promising scholar and a dedicated teacher, and he will be missed by his colleagues and students.” William Brown, the president and beloved face of Cedarville ■ University for thousands of students. and Carl Ruby, a man whose respect and admiration from students, ■ faculty, and staff transcend cultural, theological, and political dispositions…a preeminent model of Christ-like service, love, patience, respect, grace, and wisdom…and a pioneer for open and honest dialogue for the sake of God’s Kingdom. …then your goals are probably in need of revision, but they are most
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Faith and Reason
How recent actions by Christian universities damage the best part of the faith • Sarah Jones, CU Alumna First, a caveat: I am not a Christian. Specifically, I am an agnostic who used to be a Christian. And I start with this personal revelation because I want you to understand why an agnostic, especially one who left the church after years of religious abuse, is writing here about the compatibility of faith and reason. Second: I recently finished a graduate degree in postcolonial theory and global policy. This piece is not about either postcolonial theory or global policy so I will explain, briefly, that in my studies I applied philosophical theories on power, culture and identity to political, economic and security issues in the formerly colonized world. It’s an extensive topic made navigable through the rigorous study of philosophy, a discipline entirely focused on the development of ideas and the advancement of intellectual enquiry. I begin with these points because I want to make it clear that no one reading this should underestimate my willingness to criticize the Christian church, or my appreciation for critical thought. Yet neither trait makes me an answer for them, but they aren’t questions which should be answered by one enemy of Christianity itself. Rather the opposite. It is precisely because of committee, let alone one man. They are questions which we, as alumni, these traits that I recognize and respect Christianity’s tradition of students, faculty, staff, and trustees must come together and ask of ourselves interrogating faith with reason, and vice versa. My respect for this tradition and of each other. They are questions which we should ponder significantly. leads me to be deeply concerned by the resurgence of a distinctly antiQuestions which we, ultimately, should devote to much prayer. What I can intellectual approach to the development and practice of Christian belief in tell you, however, is that I think the followers of Peter and Paul set a lasting the American church. I say ‘resurgence’ quite deliberately. The relationship example by allowing for a broad swath of opinion to be considered as valid between reason and Christian orthodoxy has often been uneasy; church in the family of faith which would become Christianity. If there was, is, or history is pockmarked with conflicts between intellectual pluralism and the were to be an ideological conflict between leadership elements at Cedarville need for doctrinal unity. These conflicts will be familiar to most: they span University, it is my hope they remember Acts 15 and the Council of the entire existence of the organized church and range from scientific Jerusalem; the ancient church well knew that Christ’s call was broad and to disputes to the theological divisions that eventually spawned Cedarville multiple peoples and ideals, not just one in particular. University’s own affiliated denomination. Speaking personally, I can say that, if there is, in fact, an ideological But for as long as pluralism has always existed within the church, so battle at Cedarville University, I am most worried. I worry not just for have institutionalized attempts to suppress it. I do not believe that these Cedarville, but for the place of evangelical Christianity in the wider world of attempts represent any quality intrinsic to either the Christian faith or academia. Cedarville, in my experience, was a place which radiated grace. It religious belief itself. They reflect a universal problem: the corruption of an wasn’t perfect, but it was a place in which faith could be explored by institutional hierarchy. Faith did not put Galileo under house arrest or student, staff, or faculty. Sometimes, that exploration led to progressive persecute the early Protestants; those were the decisions of an established ideas and sometimes it led to traditional ideas. On the whole, however, institution determined to retain its grip on cultural power. Cedarville was a place where faith and reason worked together. Where idea In the United States, the Christian church does not, in any of its and ideal could be compatible. To me, it evidenced that faith and academia denominational incarnations, currently have the power to order arrests or could work together in harmony in the life of a student. That one side of this instigate bloody counter-revolutions. Those of us who grew up in American equation might become subservient to the other would be of the utmost Christianity are probably familiar with problems common to a more travesty. localized church politics. We’ve encountered persistent gossip, vicious In sum, can I tell you that the university has been engaged in a “tit for debates over doctrinal statements, and struggles for leadership. Perhaps tat” ideological battle for the last few years? No, certainly I can’t, with we’ve participated in broader and often more vitriolic discussions regarding marked assuredness, tell you that. What I can say is that it seems as though gender roles or gay marriage. We can likely all agree that these there have been waves of ideological heave which have gone either for conversations demonstrate the on-going need to apply the pursuit of reason progressive or traditional elements of the university. That gives me pause. to the practice of faith. When Christian colleges and universities are also Hopefully, it gives you pause as well. Certainly, any institution which considered, that need is even more evident. Unfortunately, so is a return to involves ideology will always, to some extent, have these battles. the institutionalized repression of the past. Nonetheless, when these battles stop being simply ideological and begin to Please understand this: I don’t intend to target Cedarville alone. This is a have both harsh and considerable effects upon the lives of others, we need to systemic problem. In 2006, 5 out of a total of 16 professors at Patrick Henry pause and ask: “Is this the way it needs to be?” Moreover, we should ask College resigned in protest over President Michael Harris’ intervention in ourselves: “Is this even Biblical?” The simple answer to both questions is: their academic freedom1. Professors were especially critical of Harris’ no. ♦ refusal to allow them to rebut accusations that they threatened the college’s adherence to orthodoxy. Two years later, Westminster Theological Seminary terminated Peter Enns, a tenured professor, over differences in the interpretation of the Westminster confession of faith2. The vote to suspend Enns came directly from the Board of Trustees and directly violated faculty opinion on the issue. And 2011 proved a particularly chaotic year for Christian higher education: Dr. John Schneider found himself jobless after his employer, Calvin College, objected to his interpretation of the creation account3 and at Baylor University, Dr. Mark Ellis became the subject of a formal academic investigation after expression public opposition to US and Israeli policies on Palestinian statehood . Dr. Ellis is a leading scholar in Holocaust studies and liberation theology, and is a tenured professor at Baylor. There is strong evidence that a persistent movement exists to exclusively establish a theologically and politically conservative identity at America’s Christian colleges and universities, and there is further evidence that this movement is willing to violate professional ethics in order to repress intellectual pluralism in the name of fidelity to the Christian faith. But at these universities, and at Cedarville, too, it ought to be understood that this movement is not spiritual in any meaningful sense. It is political. It has confused faith with a voluntary surrender of the desire to reason and criticize. And in so doing it has betrayed the best and most compelling aspect of the Christian faith: its relentless pursuit of truth. Let us be clear about what a politicized Christianity is capable of doing. It can enforce silence and stifle innovation; disguise abuse and erase dissent. It creates its own vocabulary; one specifically intended to transform a line of reasoned questioning into a series of unfounded accusations. It delegitimizes criticism, and it is intrinsically incompatible with the search for truth. That search is dangerous. It is driven by questions and directed by doubts. And it is disingenuous to suggest that the pursuit of reason ought to be separate from it. To punish individuals for undertaking that search is to restrict the development of Christian belief. That is an intellectual process that even those of us outside the church still acknowledge and respect. For some of us, it is often Christianity’s only redeeming feature. As a former Christian and a student of philosophy, I encourage Cedarville students to ask questions. Follow your professors on this dangerous search for the truth. You owe that to yourselves, to your mentors, and to the world that watches you. ♦
certainly in need of immediate clarification. For the sake of our Messiah, Savior, Lord, and King whose crown our University bears on its seal, I appeal to you as your younger brother in the faith: publicly declare your vision for the future of Cedarville University. In the face of the growing angst, confusion, and frustration among students, alumni, faculty, staff, and constituency, explicitly state who you do and do not want working, teaching, and therefore studying at the University. It is my prayer that, as a result of your honesty and transparency, Cedarville University might become a more peaceful and just community in the midst of God’s shalom-filled Kingdom. For King and Kingdom, Joshua Steele Cedarville University Class of 2013 ♦
1: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/mayweb-only/120-12.0.html 2: http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/a-black-mark-for-calvin-college/27197, http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/the-shame-of-calvin-college/37484 3: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/aprilweb-only/114-24.0.html
TOWN HALL! The Ventriloquist
January 22 7:30 PM DMC Recital Hall
Tonight, SGA will be hosting a public Town Hall meeting with acting president Dr. John Gredy to address recent Cedarville events. Join us in pressing for transparency.