Ministering in a university community, the culture of the academy permeates life. Before moving to Bloomington, Indiana (where Indiana University's 35,000 students comprise half the population of 70,000), we lived in a rural Wisconsin dairy farming community.
By way of contrast with rural Wisconsin, Bloomington's most noticeable trait is pride. Thinking about this, many explanations come to mind but one of my favorites is the imperviousness of the academic world to the weather.
I was preparing to preach on Luke's account of Martha entertaining Christ (Luke 10:38-42) last week, and, as usual, I read Calvin on the passage first.
I'm fascinated when reading Calvin's commentaries by the incredible variety of passages which stirred up controversy in his day. You wouldn't think the story of Jesus commending Mary and chastising Martha would have any relevance to the debates of the Reformation, but it did.
Why? Because, as Calvin explains, the Roman church had distorted Jesus' commendation of Mary sitting at His feet into a wholesale commendation of the "contemplative life."
Usually we regard practitioners of the contemplative life as the monks and nuns, hermits and cloistered religious of Roman Catholicism. And Calvin does condemn monks in his exposition of this passage, but he adds another, rather unexpected, profession to his list of those who have perverted this passage...
by David and Tim Bayly on April 30, 2004 - 10:35am
Commenting on my entry, "JPUSA: She's the boss...," a reader wrote, "(I) would be interested to hear your comments on the TNIV and this disturbing gender-neutral trend." To which I respond:
The TNIV is an emendation of the actual Hebrew and Greek text of God's Word, and therefore rebellion against the Holy Spirit Who is the author of that Word. (Similarly, the NRSV, the NIVI, the NLT, etc.) The men marketing these versions have changed thousands of Scripture's words to the end that the patriarchal nature of the Greek and Hebrew text the Holy Spirit inspired will be obscured or removed.
For instance, the Hebrew word 'adam' is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the whole human race, and by this usage we are reminded ...that Eve's husband, Adam, was our federal head, and that through him all who have ever lived are "conceived in sin," as David put it, and subject to death and hell. As the New England Primer reads, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all."
Changed to reflect the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the Primer's statement would read, "In Adam's fall, adam sinned all." Changed to fit the mold of these gender-neutered Bible products, it would read, "In Adam's and Eve's fall, people sinned all."
Multiply such changes thousands of times across the Old and New Testaments and the radical agenda becomes clear: 'man' becomes 'person,' 'men' becomes 'people,' 'brothers' becomes 'siblings,' and so on.
Those who make these changes deny the changes are ideologically motivated, claiming that they're simply implementing the latest linguistic scholarship used by translators across the world, and that those who oppose these changes are ignorant...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 28, 2004 - 8:21pm
Several years ago David and I took part in a battle opposing a number of members of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in their efforts to remove the sex-markings of thousands of texts of Scripture in the New International Version. At the time, the NIV was the Bible translation standard of the Bible-believing, English-speaking world, so it was the efforts to modernize this particular translation that were our focus.
Our opponents' plan was to put out an updated NIV called the NIVI in which Hebrew and Greek words such as adam, adelphoi, and aner would be denuded of their male grammatical component and thereby rendered innocuous to Westerners raised in a feminized society in which it had become gauche to make references to mixed-sex groups using any word with a male marking. 'Man' became 'humankind', 'brothers' became 'Christian friends' (NLT) or 'siblings' (NIVI), 'man' became 'person', and so on--thousands of times across the pages of Scripture.
As you'll see from the above reference to the NLT, the NIV was not the only Bible in wide use across the evangelical world being similarly updated. In an effort to update the Living Bible which was growing long-in-the-teeth, Tyndale House Publishers had hired a long list of ETS academics to produce the New Living Translation which, benefiting from millions of dollars in advertising and purchased product placement in national bookstore chains, was steadily gaining market share.
Partly because of the naturally lower expectations of accuracy the NLT inherited from its predecessor, the Living Bible; partly because the academics who had done the NLT's translation work likely expected it to be more a devotional than a study Bible; and partly because the NLT's publisher responded to expressions of concern over some of the more egregious mistranslations evident in the NLT's text with thoughtful consideration and, eventually, a number of changes to the text of the NLT's subsequent printings; the public battle was focused almost exclusively on the updated NIVI, its publisher Zondervan, and Zondervan's subsidiary (in a manner of speaking), the International Bible Society and her subordinate Bible Translation Committee.
The battle was joined with the publication March 29, 1997 of Susan Olasky's cover article, "The Stealth Bible: the Feminist Seduction of the Evangelical Church," in World magazine. For almost everyone this was the first hint of Zondervan's plans and the response was a good measure of the profound theological divisions present within the vast entrepreneurial business park named "evangelicalism."
Predictably, one side decried Olasky's divisive spirit and focused their attack on World magazine...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2004 - 4:35pm
(Charles Seife holds an MS in mathematics from Yale and has written for New Scientist, Scientific American, The Economist, Science, Wired UK, The Sciences, etc. In his book, Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Seife summarizes all scientific knowledge on the origin of the universe.)
All that scientists know is the cosmos was spawned from nothing, and will return to the nothing from whence it came. The universe begins and ends with zero.
(Seife in Zero, as quoted by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in "Nothing Is Something To Get Exercised About," New York Times, February 10, 2000.)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 12, 2004 - 6:19pm
So what ought we to expect from the new president of Princeton Theological Seminary? Check out this excerpt from The Presbyterian Outlook, a newsweekly focused on the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA):
On the Sunday evening in his closing address to the Assembly, the retiring Moderator Professor Iain Torrance, who has recently been appointed President of Princeton Theological Seminary, chose to reflect on the need for a new approach to Christian ethics.
Just about all of us were brought up to believe that Christian ethics is a matter of drawing boundaries, of shoulds and shouldn'ts. I simply no longer believe that. Christian ethics is about transformation first and last. We persist in imprisoning ourselves within the frame of reference of 16th century issues. The disputes between Luther and Zwingli on whether the body of Christ is present or absent at communion ...is all very interesting, but it is not today's issue. What matters today is not whether we can define the mechanism of the real presence, but whether our worship encourages a mind-set of expectation and gratefulness to God, and loving openness to others...
There was plenty of food for thought in his words, not least in his quotation from Seneca about gladiators.
When the gladiator enters the arena, he has no fixed strategies. He improvises on the basis of long ingrained skills. The task of the church is to foster those skills, not to offer preset solutions in a Windows world with drop down menus for each situation.
-Simpson, Dr. James A. "Letter from Scotland: First woman Moderator Chosen" The Presbyterian Outlook (September 27, 2004):11.
To postmodern ears it sounds good. Who in his right mind would oppose exchanging the "drawing of boundaries" for "transformation"?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 16, 2004 - 11:08am
Back in the mid-90s, I subscribed to the broadside Heterodoxy, edited by David Horowitz and his longtime associate, Peter Collier. Horowitz and Collier are both lefties from the sixties caught up in a second act of repentance, and their skewering of the Academy's hypocrisies was a breath of fresh air to me as I preached to a congregation with not a few employees of Indiana University who thought it possible to split the difference between academic respectability and the fear of God.
About the time I resigned that call (1996), I let my subscription to Heterodoxy lapse and have not kept up with Horowitz since. Then about two years ago I read a fascinating book, The Language Instinct, by MIT cognitive scientist, Steven Pinker. Through Pinker's work I began to take notice of Noam Chomsky, another MIT prof (and fellow linguist) whose disciple Pinker is. Once Chomsky came on my conscious horizon, he was everywhere.
About a year after finishing Pinker's book, I read a The New Yorker profile of Chomsky and I'm pleased to say it was not entirely complimentary ("The Devil's Accountant", March 31, 2003). In that profile, though, I learned how ignorant I had been for the first forty-five years of my life. After all, Chomsky is the living author most frequently cited and the eighth most cited intellectual in history--just behind Freud.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 21, 2004 - 8:43pm
This contributed by a member of our congregation, my friend, Scott Tibbs.
Article forgets lesbian women
I was very interested in reading Maggie Bozich's front-page story ("Greeks prepare to crown new Big Man on Campus," Oct. 15, Indiana Daily Student) on Zeta Tau Alpha's research benefit event, Big Man on Campus, but she lost me with her first sentence: "Every male on campus wants to be him, and every female on campus wishes she could date him." Although I have enjoyed reading some of Ms. Bozich's other work, she let me down this time. With one innocent slogan, she silenced every lesbian woman on campus by implicitly denying her existence. Too often we remain complacent with narrow-minded interpretations of love, and by denying the existence of perspectives or orientations different from our own we unconsciously make others feel invisible, which denies them the right to express their love.
I believe Ms. Bozich meant no harm, but let this serve as a reminder of why it is so important that we are inclusive in our language. Silence can be deadly.
Evan Rosenberg, Sophomore
Surely Evan, with all his multi-cultural feminine sensitivities, will make someone a good wife husband.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 21, 2004 - 8:47pm
In response to my post a few days ago, Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore..., a comment was posted that serves as the perfect lab specimen of what poses for "deep thought" among Chomsky's fans. Here's the comment, followed by my response:
by David and Tim Bayly on November 15, 2004 - 3:50pm
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1Corinthians 1:20,21)
Last week, some within our congregation, Church of the Good Shepherd, took steps to start a new faculty/grad fellowship at Indiana University. Part of the planning process was putting together an E-mail list of the faculty members and grad students within our own church fellowship. When the list was tallied, I was sobered.
This group, along with their families, makes up well over a quarter of our congregation--almost a third. Add to it our undergraduate students and we're close to half the congregation. Add to those two groups the members and their families who have graduate degrees (their masters or doctorate), and we're over three quarters of our congregation.
I'm grateful, then, for the other elders and pastors of our congregation who pushed us to sell our property on the side of town where most faculty members live, and to build our new church home on the side of town where the people who work with their hands live. In fact, after looking at our congregation's educational demographics last week, I went on the US census web site and found that...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 15, 2004 - 4:47pm
Since Kerry's defeat, we've all heard intellectuals say (or imply) that midwesterners are too stupid to understand Kerry's sophisticated arguments--that nuance is lost on farm girls and boys and that Bush's evangelical chest-thumping triumphalism is the opiate of the masses.
My friend, Nathan Carter, wrote to direct my attention to a piece titled, "Liberal Groupthink Is Anti-Intellectual" by Mark Bauerlein. Published in the academy's house organ, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the article does a good job debunking this post-election conceit.
Which in turn reminds me of Chesterton's observation:
The truth is that the modern world has had a mental breakdown; much more than a moral breakdown. Things are being settled by mere associations because there is a reluctance to settle them by arguments. Nearly all the talk about what is advanced and what is antiquated has become a sort of giggling excitement about fashions.
(From his essay, "Obstinate Orthodoxy," in The Thing.)
by David and Tim Bayly on November 18, 2004 - 3:05pm
The late Allan Bloom was a native of Indianapolis who knew the academic world from the inside, serving for many years as professor in University of Chicago's renowned Committee on Social Thought. In The Closing of the American Mind, his jeremiad against the anti-intellectual groupthink so pervasive within the world of higher education, Bloom lamented the havoc wreaked within the hearts of his students by their parents' divorces.
Observing a decline in his students' ability to be hopeful and creative, and a dullness in their eyes demonstrating the mortal wound they had suffered when their baby-boomer parents "split," Bloom barely contained his disgust at the parents' efforts to heal their children's wounds superficially. Recounting how parents paid for counselling sessions in which their child was expected to process his pain in a productive manner, he summed up the whole dirty mess with the statement, "Psychologists are the sworn enemies of guilt."
If therapists are the sworn enemies of guilt, sex researchers are the sworn enemies of shame. And Indiana University's much-ballyhooed Alfred C. Kinsey leads the pack.
Feted at IU's Memorial Union and Auditorium Theater last Saturday night in connection with the Bloomington premier of Kinsey, a biographical film of the Indiana University professor's life and work, the stars were shining for those able to pay. For a simple donation of $1,000, party-goers were granted the privilege of a private reception with actress Laura Linney (who plays Kinsey's wife, Clara ), producer Gail Mutrux, and director Bill Condon. (Liam Neeson, the actor who portrayed Kinsey, was a no-show.) All of this was in celebration of...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 3, 2004 - 10:56am
(This piece is a revision of another piece below titled The Shame of Alfred Kinsey. This revision ran today, December 3, as a guest editorial in Bloomington's Herald Times. -Tim Bayly)
The late Allan Bloom was an Indianapolis native who served as professor at University of Chicago. In The Closing of the American Mind, Bloom lamented the destruction divorce caused his students. Noting that parents often used therapists to help their children cope, Bloom wrote, "Psychologists are the sworn enemies of guilt."
If therapists are the sworn enemies of guilt, sex researchers are the sworn enemies of shame-with IU's Alfred C. Kinsey leading the pack.
Although hired by IU as a zoologist, in 1938 Kinsey contrived to land a job lecturing engaged and married seniors on "biology." He ended the course by taking his students' sexual histories.
Kinsey spent the rest of his academic career conducting these interviews and disseminating the data. He was convinced that publicizing peoples' private sexual lives would usher in a more peaceful age devoid of shame and inhibition.
But his efforts did not bring the dawn of Aquarian freedom...
In our local paper, The Herald-Times, a young woman named Arlyn Keith is a Community Columnist. From her picture Ms. Keith seems to be in her mid-twenties and her piece appearing on yesterday's op-ed page is titled, "Rock'n'roll rejects the Bible."
Keith is responding to what she considers the non-news that Jan Wenner's Rolling Stone magazine has refused to run an ad for Today's New International Version, the new Bible put together under the patronage of Rupert Murdoch's News Corps' subsidiary, Zondervan Publishing Company.
Keith yawns as she wonders why Zondervan ever thought readers of Rolling Stone would be their market segment? Acknowledging that this chic Bible has compromised the original text, the better to reach her generation, Keith writes:
I knew that Christian leaders were concerned about the disinterest my generation and those younger than us seem to have with religion, but I just did not ever expect the mountain to come to Mohammed and plead for attention. This latest edition of the Bible aptly named Today's New International Version even features, according to USA Today, a method of translation which is meant to appeal to the 18-34 age group wherein gender terminology in reference to humans is neutral. The "truth" has been made user-friendly and packaged in a politically-correct manner. I am not an avid church-goer myself and am still struggling with my views, but it does seem that some values have been compromised in the process.
Out of the mouths of babes...
After years of hard work trying to convince my family members (owners of Tyndale House Publishers and its own gender-neutered Bible, The New Living Translation), Zondervan's executives (who are presently issuing this latest gender-neutered version called Today's New International Version), and the corporate leaders of the International Bible Society (holder of the copyright on all versions of The New International Version including Today's New International Version) of the false doctrine that is the heart of this work, I despair over their intransigence. And yes, one does begin to wonder what the application of "the love of money (being) the root of all evil" is to this Bible-selling business; or, for that matter, to Wycliffe Bible Translators, mega-churches, missions agencies, seminaries, and my own church's building program?
How lightly we consider our own motives in the light of Scripture's warning, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives" (Proverbs 16:2 NASB95).
No matter how often we explain to them that the secular feminists are correct in their judgment that the Bible is "hopelessly patriarchal," hope springs eternal and these false prophets try once again to clean up God's Word so a modicum of its offense is removed and evangelism moves apace into the twenty-first century.
Over the past couple of years, Christ the Word's Rev. Dr. Andrew Dionne has created a web site called KepttheFaith exposing the assault upon God and His Word these men are carrying out. Church of the Good Shepherd has funded the site and my brother, David, and I have fought this battle arm-in-arm. Go to the site and read and pray. Secularists and seekers such as Keith can treat this matter lightly, easily seeing the charade. But Tyndale House, Zondervan, the International Bible Society, and all the reverend doctors paid to do the bowdlerizing take this matter very seriously seeing their reputations are on the line.
They're right. Were one of them a member of Church of the Good Shepherd, the elders would declare him to be in violation of his membership vow to honor and obey the inerrant Word of God, and call him to repent.
Chesterton nailed it almost a century ago:
It is remarked, "We need a restatement of religion"; and though it has been said thirty-thousand times, it is quite true.
It is also true that those who say it often mean the very opposite of what they say. As I have remarked elsewhere, they very often intend not to restate anything, but to state something else, introducing as many of the old words as possible.
(G. K. Chesterton, The Thing, p. 190, "Some of Our Errors".)
by David and Tim Bayly on February 9, 2005 - 8:41am
When I first saw the galleys of the New Living Translation at my in-laws home in Weaton, back in the mid 90s, I was sickened to see that adelphoi (which over the centuries has always been translated "brothers") was changed to "Christian friends" throughout the New Testament Epistles. This was my introduction to Evangelicals neutering the text of Scripture and it came long before I had any association with "World," Focus on the Family, or CBMW in opposing the NIVI--the TNIV's predecessor.
This false translation of 'adelphoi' in the NLT caused serious exchanges with my father-in-law, Ken Taylor, and my brother-in-law, Mark Taylor---respectively Chairman of the Board and CEO of the NLT's copyright holder and publishing company, Tyndale House Publshers. In our discussions, I explained that my opposition to their action went beyond the matter of the loss of the sex marking of adelphoi. Of even greater concern to me was the loss of the family context and identity at the heart of the Church...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 17, 2005 - 4:41pm
My friend, Dave Curell, called my attention to a Reuters article listing the criteria being applied by the prosecution and the defense in the jury selection process for Michael Jackson's trial.
The prosecution is seeking jurors "who are older, more conservative, less enamoured with celebrity, willing to accept authority and appalled by child molestation. Jurors with their own children would be a natural choice."
Defense attorneys, on the other hand, are seeking jurors "who have advanced degrees, critical thinkers who question authority.... (those with) "a lot of education."
It ought to surprise no one that men who have spent large amounts of time within the academic world would be less likely to convict a man of pedophilia.
This coming October 13-15, the first annual Christian blogging conference, GodBlogCon 2005, will be held at University. 's Torrey Honors Program, one of the more hopeful ventures of the past few decades within the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, will sponsor the conference. (Had we lived closer to California, this would have been the only Christian college program I would have encouraged our children to consider.)
Like St. Johns, the Torrey Honors Program is a great books curriculum and its students are sharp. I found this out firsthand when I was invited by the program's founder, Dr. John Mark Reynolds, to spend an evening speaking to his students on the meaning and purpose of sexuality. It was a great evening and I found both the students and their good professor kindred spirits.
So I'm guessing this conference will be good. Are any readers planning to attend?
Back Row: Matthew Miklovic, Benjamin James III, Lawrence Howell, David Canfield, Timothy Bayly, Wayne Huck, Stephen Baker, David Bayly, Robert Forney
Kneeling: Timothy Wegener, Andrew Folley, Michael Vrlenich, Michael Ahrendt, Jamie Thornton, David Curell, Andrew Dionne
The churches Tim and I serve, Christ the Word (CTW) in Toledo, Ohio and Church of the Good Shepherd (CGS) in Bloomington, Indiana, are joining forces to sponsor the Reformed Evangelical Pastors College. We'll share more about our goals for this work in days to come, but last weekend was the first formal meeting of the college board. Board members of the college are Rev. David Curell (CGS), Andrew Folley, M.D. (CTW), Ben James (CTW), Matt Miklovic (CTW) and Tim Wegener (CGS). Rev. Stephen Baker is the college's principal.
Shown are members of the CTW and CGS elder boards at a joint meeting held at the conclusion of a joint men's retreat last weekend in Fort Wayne, IN.
Pray with us that this endeavor is blessed by God with godly students, accomplished and spiritual faculty, and logistical success.
Deficient pastoral training is the primary reason the Evangelical Church has lost her way over the last century: as the training the Evangelical church has given her pastors has grown more academic and less pastoral, her pastors have become more pragmatic and less principled. Ironically, the academic trend in pastoral training and the professionalization of the ministerial office has led to men (and, tragically, women) vested with pastoral titles and roles who are neither committed theologically nor principled practically.
Iain Murray's Evangelicalism Divided describes this trend in greater detail for those who'd like to read more.
I hesitate to view Doug Wilson as marching in theological lockstep with some of his Auburn Avenue partners and many Reformed admirers of N. T. Wright for three reasons.
The first is his past writing. Mr. Wilson has been so right so long on so much, I trust and hope he will remain so over the long haul.
The second is his series of recent explanations and definitions which seem--at least to me--to stay within the bounds of Reformed theology. See here for an example of such in Mr. Wilson's written answers to a series of presbytery questions (see link on left of page).
But most of all, I trust Wilson because he never fails to approach theology from a pastoral perspective. He understands, as many Reformed thinkers and even, unfortunately, many Reformed pastors do not, that theological speculation absent the discipline of shepherding a flock is a dangerous realm.
Ideas have consequences. Many who are writing and thinking in the Reformed world today regard their thoughts as more precious than human souls. It is scandalous that many who are pressing the envelope of Reformed understanding in crucial areas such as justification have not deigned to take up the pastoral calling at all. They are philosophers rather than theologians, men who think theology can be done in a void. Others are pastors, but, one suspects, of malnourished flocks. They pastor, but their hearts and heads are dedicated to the academy.
Not so Doug Wilson. And, not so a precious few professors in seminaries across our country.
One of the few to have spent a lifetime teaching theology in an academic setting without capitulating to the academy's tendency to intellectualize and rationalize is Vern Poythress of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.
If you want to be challenged and encouraged in your ministry of preaching God's Word, read this account of Dr. Poythress's final lecture at the end of this spring's class on Biblical Hermeneutics at Westminster Seminary.
This is faithful teaching, teaching that begins with faith and the heart and moves outward from there. Many Reformed pastors would do well to take to heart this non-pastor's reminder that interpretation of Scripture requires both faith and sanctification. And for those labouring in obscurity, not pressing the envelope with new thoughts on justification, not being quoted in theological blogs across the country, take courage: your work is the most important work of all and in your love for God, your faith, your pursuit of holiness, you have all you need to interpret God's Word faithfully and to His glory.
Thanks for this entry in your blog Mark Traphagen, and thank you for your encouragement Dr. Poythress.
A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God. -Deuteronomy 22:5
The craziness started when sex morphed into gender and the distinctions between men and women went from the hard reality of body parts to the soft fiction of social constructs. Back in the old days, a baby was born and the doctor or nurse took a quick look and said either "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!"
Now fathers and mothers wait with hearts a-thumping for their child to report back from college. Dutifully submitting him to the twistings and moldings of the academy (and paying twenty-five to forty thousand dollars a year for the privilege), Dad and Mom can never be quite certain where their child will end up. Things aren't clarified until he has had a a few years of polymorphous perversity, has heard all his options, has been hit on by every segment of the gender continuum, and one day shows up back home with his partner of choice.
Sex has been abandoned, and gender is a social construct that maximizes that idol of Western culture--choice. So now we've traded in man and woman for man-loving woman, woman-loving man, man-loving woman locked up in man's body, woman-loving man locked up in woman's body, man-loving man locked up in woman's body, woman-loving woman locked up in man's body; and so on. Far from the simple on-off of the sex switch, the gender switch is never simply on or off; it's bright or dim or somewhere--anywhere--in between.
And so absurdities multiply.
Connnecticut's Wesleyan College is trying out a "gender-blind" dorm policy.
University of California:
The Financial Times reports that the University of California is considering covering drugs and surgery for her students to change their sex...
While pursuing the M.Div. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, I took four courses from Roger Nicole, including his seminar on the Atonement. Dr. Nicole was a feminist even then (1980-1983), and we had our arguments over his dismissal of Scripture's commands. Yet at that point his feminist commitments extended only to the Church, the advocacy of women pastors and elders, and many of us felt this advocacy was more a function of his baptistic polity and almost-denial of ordination than some deep ideological commitment to feminism. At the time he still did not equivocate on the command of God's Word that the husband is to be the head of the wife. But this inconsistency never led us to feel that Dr. Nicole was essentially stable on this doctrine. Which is greater, the Church or the home?
Skip forward seventeen years or so, to the 1998 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. There I was privileged to renew my relationship with Dr. Nicole. Imagine my lack of surprise upon finding out that Dr. Nicole had moved in his commitments--and not towards honoring God and His Word, but rather toward Eleanor Smeal, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, "The New York Times," Gilbert Bilezikian, Simone de Beauvoir, Wheaton College, Hillary Clinton, and "Christianity Today."
Dr. Nicole now denied the authority in marriage of the husband...
Not long after the "Stealth Bible" issue of World went into print, as the conflict over neutered Bible versions grew in intensity across the evangelical world, Don Carson contacted the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and asked that his name be removed from the list of those who endorsed the organization. Having neither met nor corresponded with Dr. Carson, I was uncomfortable hearing of his resignation secondhand and not having a chance to discuss his concerns with him directly. (A couple months earlier in addition to my pastorate here in Bloomington I had agreed to serve as CBMW's first Executive Director.)
I called Dr. Carson, introduced myself, and said I'd heard he wanted to remove his endorsement of CBMW. Would he please reconsider his decision?
There has been a variety of responses to my short post and long quotation from Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the dangers of philosophy. If I may be so bold as to characterize my opponents, I view them as falling into three camps.
First, there is the view well expressed by John who asks whether I'm opposing all intellectual discourse and arguing for a dichotomized view of religious versus secular truth. John suggests that the works of Jonathan Edwards or Augustine might not have been written if Martyn Lloyd-Jones' (and my own) views of the danger of scholarship held sway in their days. John also suggests that several of the philosophers mentioned in my original post have been champions of orthodoxy.
I disagree little with John's overall thrust. However, at several points I would diverge from him. To begin with, Edwards and Augustine may be viewed as philosophers by some but their approach was fundamentally theological. They began with Scripture and argued from there. They did not start with philosophical theory. They did not try to force Scripture through constructs of the human mind.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 19, 2005 - 12:19pm
After twenty some years of IVCF work on college campuses from the forties through the early sixties, my father used to say, "The problem with Christian colleges is that you don't know who the enemy is. At secular schools it's clear."
The history of colleges and seminaries such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oberlin, and Wheaton bears out the principle that institutions become the very thing they were founded to oppose.
A book filled with the goods on today's Christian consortium colleges is University of Virginia sociologist James Davison Hunter's Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation." Originally published by University of Chicago Press, it's now done by Baker, I believe. It has some priceless stats on the liberal convictions of faculty at evangelical colleges and seminaries, and the inevitable decline of students' piety with each year of schooling under these profs.
Interesting fact: Marvin and Susan Olasky, Vern and Diane Poythress, and my wife and I all sent (or are sending) sons to Vanderbilt.
Were I to send a child to a Christian college, I can think of only a very few I'd consider: Doug Wilson's New St. Andrews, the great books Torrey Honors Program at (led by our own John Mark Reynolds), Hillsdale College, Grove City College, and (maybe) Covenant College. Finally, despite the pronounced feminist drift of recent years under the current and immediate past administration at Columbia International University, I might still consider sending a child there, but only in certain very specific circumstances.
No, I didn't overlook such schools as Gordon (I went to Gordon-Conwell), Westmont (my wife's alma mater), Taylor (my eldest child and her husband's alma mater), or Wheaton (the Christian college I know best, alma mater of both mine and my wife's parents, as well as my eldest son's wife). I believe covenant children would get a better education and would be better off spiritually somewhere else.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 20, 2005 - 8:10am
[Note from Tim: On another forum two people responded to me earlier post concering Christian colleges. One, John Mark Reynolds who runs the Torrey Honors Program at , suggested that walking the aisles of colleges bookstores is a good way to check out the ideological climate of that college. The other person, Anne Hendershott, suggested that the problem with Christian colleges is "a misguided attempt to be 'inclusive' or a desire to be 'nice' and avoid offending those who don't share a common commitment to Scripture and Church teachings."]
John Mark is exactly right; walking bookstore aisles (particularly the textbook section) is a perfect way to check out seminaries and colleges. While on Wheaton's campus a couple months ago, I walked through the bookstore and, among other things, noted the preponderance of feminist tracts. This confirmed (were I to need the slightest confirmation) my daughter-in-law's calm comment after graduating from Wheaton, that Wheaton is a union shop of feminist ideology.
And after similar walks through other bookstores I ask myself why Christian fathers and mothers pay good money--lots of it--to men who turn around and rob their precious children of Biblical Faith? Certainly there are good profs at Wheaton and Taylor, but the academic culture is poison and even the good profs rarely have the heart to seek the expulsion of their evil colleagues--it's a collegial atmosphere, don't you know?
Ironically or tragically, for the past couple of decades the Bible department has been the center of Wheaton's problems, and recent changes there do not bode well for her future. Thankfully, at my own denomination's Covenant Covenant it's (only) the English department that holds that position.
It would be nice, Anne, if niceness were the problem but it's far beyond that. Read Davison Hunter and ask what kind of niceness causes profs to subvert the personal piety of their students? What niceness causes Wheaton professors to stay at College Church in Wheaton for decades providing the disloyal opposition to a godly pastor whose crime is that he submits to, and teaches, the commands of Scripture concerning the meaning and purpose of sex?
About this point niceness morphs into idolatry. We're not much different from the Corinthians. Intellectual pride has seduced our souls from God and His Word. And with their emphasis on earned doctorates, colleges, seminaries, and Bible colleges (are there any of them left?) have gotten what they deserved.
Over the thirteen years I've been serving in Bloomington, I've had many souls in my congregation who were pursuing the terminal degree, and it's my conviction that this process itself is one of the most dangerous periods for the future of Christian colleges as their future profs go through the hectoring, browbeating acculturation process at the center of the pursuit of a Ph.D. And typically, during those years of their greatest testing these souls are members of congregations that have long since learned how to package the Christian faith in such a way as not to offend the sensibilities of the tenured profs and administrators who are the power behind the power of that fellowship.
There's a reason Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind was so hated by academics, unbelievers and believers together. And sadly, when I read it back in 1993 I described it to others as a perfect description of my experience both at UW Madison and Gordon-Conwell. The pressures to conformity brought to bear by academics are relentless and students quickly learn to toe the line.
Sexuality has been the center of this conflict for decades now.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 22, 2005 - 12:28pm
Speaking of the Christian vs. secular college debate, a valid alternative to choosing a Christian college is choosing a secular school based on the churches/campus ministries resident on or around that secular campus. For instance, my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, has a campus ministry called Reformed University Ministries. RUM's work is called Reformed University Fellowship on each campus. Of course, this work is better on some campuses than others. It's excellent at Vanderbilt.
This was a prominent factor in our encouraging our second child, Joseph, to consider Vanderbilt.
RUF is self-consciously church-based and biblical exposition forms the centerpiece of their on-campus weekly meetings. Much different than every other evangelical parachurch campus ministry (trust me), RUF doesn't just pay lip-service to the local church but it pushes its students to be committed to a church--and not as secondary priority after their involvement in the RUF campus ministry, but as foundational to Christian discipleship.
On to a story. Joseph narrowed his choice down to Covenant College or Vanderbilt. He and I visited both of them and Joseph still couldn't choose. When we visited Vanderbilt, Marvin and Susan Olasky's son (Joseph, I think) hosted Joseph overnight and gave high marks to his experience there. Eventually, Joseph chose Vanderbilt.
So with some fear (but always faith), in the Fall of 2000 our family piled in the car and took Joseph to Nashville. We stayed at our son-in-law and daughter, Doug and Heather's, on Friday night and Saturday morning got in the minivan to move Joseph into his dorm room about half an hour away.
The building had only singles and was a pit. It's never easy to let a child go so I was feeling some gloom as we finished carrying boxes and clothes up to the room. The time came to leave and, after praying and giving him a kiss and a hug, we walked out of the room and headed to the staircase. Turning left out of his room and starting down the hall (with tears in my eyes, I admit), I was startled to look in the next door and see, exactly at the same place in the bookshelf over the desk, the same two-volume set we had just placed in the same position in Joseph's room: the Banner of Truth two-volume set of the Works of Jonathan Edwards.
I did a doubletake and looked again, thinking I'd likely been doing the moonwalk and not actually moving down the hall at all as I walked. I must still be looking through Joseph's doorway. So I looked more closely and saw through the door a stranger and his mother. I walked straight into the room and asked the young man, "What in the WORLD are you doing with a two-volume set of Jonathan Edwards on our bookshelf!? Come here, I've got to show you something."
We walked out the door and, turning right, I had him look in Joseph's room and see what he had on his shelf. Then it was time for our new-found friend to do a doubletake. Joseph's next door neighbor then told me how he had an older brother who had gone off to college--a non-Christian school by the way--and been led to faith in Jesus, there. His brother came home and told him about Jesus, at which point he too placed his faith in Jesus Christ.
His brother also turned him on to John Piper, so this younger brother began reading Piper. And he noticed in the footnotes that Piper drank waters from Edwards' well, so he went out and bought this set of Edwards and brought it to school so he could read it. Cinching the matter, he told me his name was Joseph--my son's name, also.
Praise God for His loving provision for His children, even down to determining among thousands of students that two students matriculating at Vandy who love Him would have adjoining rooms and doctrine.
Both Josephs attended RUF which was absolutely critical in their spiritual lives while at Vandy; both grew stronger in their friendship and faith while at Vandy; and our family's faith was strengthened as we saw how much God protects those who belong to Him, including their children.
Incidentally, it turned out that their dorm was sort of a self-selective group of sold-out Christians because all the men living there had asked not to be placed in a co-ed dorm.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 25, 2005 - 7:37am
The other night, I was up in the bedroom writing while my wife, Mary Lee, was down in the living room reading Huck Finn to our twelve year old son, Taylor. It was kind of a drone until, several seconds after the sound waves had left the air, my mind clicked onto what had just been read. It's one of my favorite quotes: "Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?"
That pretty well sums up the defense of Shakespearean authorship within the modern academy. Those who remain skeptical are labelled as "nuts," "conspiracy theorists," or "elitists." Next subject.
Richmond Crinkley who was, at the time, the Director of Educational Programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library, was reviewing a book on the authorship question in the Shakespeare Quarterly and, summing up the debate, he acknowledged that arguments questioning whether 'Shakespeare' was really the author of the works "came early and grew rapidly. They have a simple and direct plausibility."
Summing up the defense of Stratfordian authorship within the academy, Crinkley also wrote:
The plausibility (of such arguments) has been reinforced by the tone and methods by which traditional scholarship has responded to the doubts.
For centuries this issue has been debated, with the best minds coming to opposite conclusions. A long list of those defending the man from Stratford would, it appears, include my good friend Ed Veith. Who would relish disagreeing with this faithful brother? Certainly not I.
Yet Ed's edict ought not to be allowed to intimidate inquisitive, but uninitiated minds. Skepticism concerning the authorship of these plays places one in (at least) illustrious company, including Walt Whitman, Sigmund Freud, Lord Palmerston, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Greenlief Whittier, Tom Bethell, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Joe Sobran, Charles Dickens, Henry James, Orson Welles, Benjamin Disraeli, Daphne DuMaurier, James Joyce, Clifton Fadiman, Louis J. Halle, Lewis Lapham , Abel LeFranc, Maxwell Perkins, William Lyons Phelps, Lincoln Schuster, Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain, Sir John Gielgud...
In fact, one of Ed's Lutheran colleagues who serves as Chairman of the Department of English and Director of the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon is a skeptic: Professor Daniel Lee Christopher Andrew Rupert Wright. Among thousands of web pages devoted to this debate, one might begin the journey with these pages maintained by Professor Wright's Institute.
The last word goes to historian David McCullough:
The strange, difficult, contradictory man who emerges as the real Shakespeare, Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, is not just plausible but fascinating and wholly believable. It is hard to imagine anyone who reads the book with an open mind ever seeing Shakespeare or his works in the same way again." (From the Foreword to the second edition of The Mysterious William Shakespeare by Charlton Ogburn.)
by David and Tim Bayly on September 2, 2005 - 9:30am
The big news is that the ruling has come down declaring the faculty of Caroll College free to unionize...
As if professors needed more power and authority in our time. The only hurdle they hadn't cleared was their subordination to the hacks in the administration and on the board of trustees. It was so infuriating when you stop to consider that some dude who had nothing to commend his leadership beyond being newly rich was able to exercise authority over someone regularly consulted by All Things Considered--someone with the Ph.D., for Pete's sake!
by David and Tim Bayly on October 4, 2005 - 12:44pm
My dear friend, Kevin Offner, turned me on to this gem and I pass it along to our good readers for the strengthening of our faith. I've taken the liberty of putting the text here on our blog because I'm confident Mr. Riner would want his speech to have the broadest circulation possible. And I don't trust Dartmouth to keep it available for too long.
The Apostle Paul was in the habit of asking his fellow believers to pray that he would be given the gift of boldness as he preached. Well, dear brother Riner received a double portion when he gave this sermon. Praise God for a man who, within the stultifying world of the Academy, is not afraid to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Here's the context: Noah Riner is the student body president at Dartmouth and he was asked to speak to the incoming freshman at a convocation at the beginning of the school year. This, then, is the speech he gave September 20, 2005. Since giving the speech, there has been a great hue and cry at Darmouth, including the resignation in protest of the student body vice president and raging debates across campus. Here though is one essay defending Mr. Riner that appeared in The Dartmouth, "the nation's oldest campus newspaper."
by David and Tim Bayly on November 29, 2005 - 7:40am
It can't be posted here because it's premium content on the Chronicle of Higher Education site, but if you're able to get your hands on the December 2, 2005 issue, read "For the Love of Narnia" by Michael Nelson. It's an excellent defense of C. S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia against the rabid smears of another children's book author, Philip Pullman, who is using the occasion of the release of the movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, to vent his spleen against Lewis, Lewis's books, and Lewis's God.
Typical of the fungus growing through Pullman's toes is this charge:
The Chronicles of Narnia are "propaganda in the cause of the religion [Lewis] believed in," and they teach that, "Death is better than life; boys are better than girls; light-colored people are better than dark-colored people; and so on." Pullman calls the Chronicles of Narnia "one of the most ugly and poisonous things I've ever read," "propaganda in the service of a life-hating ideology," "blatantly racist," "monumentally disparaging of girls and women," with a "sadomasochistic relish for violence."
It may give our good readers a better idea of where Pullman is coming from to inform them that Pullman himself is a noted author of a series of children's books called His Dark Materials. Pullman says he wrote His Dark Materials because he "really wanted to do ... Paradise Lost in 1,200 pages. ... It's the story of the Fall which is the story of how what some would call sin, but I would call consciousness, comes to us."
Some would call the Fall sin but Pullman calls it consciousness--that about says it all, doesn't it?
Sadly, in 2001 His Dark Materials won two of the prestigious Whitbread Awards, for best book published in England and best children's book.
I'll leave you with this final charge levelled by the self-avowed atheist, Pullman, against Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia: "The highest virtue, we have on the authority of the New Testament itself is love, and yet you find not a trace of that in the books."
Maybe one of our good readers can find a legit copy of Nelson's article? It's in the Chronicle of Higher Education and it's... wonderful!
by David and Tim Bayly on January 28, 2006 - 4:24am
Yesterday, Lucas Weeks told me this story about life at Indiana University, so I asked him to write it up.
I have a professor from Egypt who teaches my second semester Arabic class. He is a breath of fresh air for two reasons: first, feminism doesn't show up anywhere on his radar. He is a very intelligent man who studies culture, so there is no question he understands feminism intellectually. But he continues to speak and act as if it has absolutely no power over him. Second, he makes generalizations like it's his job. Yesterday, he combined both of these attributes in one fell swoop. As he handed out a quiz, he explained his expectations. He told us each of us must take the quiz "like a man." We should not look to the right or to the left, but instead, with a one-track mind, stay focused on our paper alone and take it "like a man."
Later I was walking to the library with my friend, Abram, telling him about my professor. He chimed in with a story about his Swahili class, taught by a man from Zanzibar. Abram explained to me that there are a set of words in Swahili that one uses when speaking about people. As the professor explained this concept, he had students in the class use the idea in a sentence. One student chimed in and said, "Americans like to drive large cars." After a number of examples, the professor naively asked, "... and what about women? Can someone give a sentence about women?" Abram told me the class immediately went silent.
As if our teeth weren't sufficiently on edge, it happened on the same Commonwealth Day (referred to below) that another prominent Anglican was in Sydney and, following excerpts from the Jensens' Commonwealth Day services, The Religion Report interviewed the Bishop of Durham, N. T. Wright. For a fine illustration of letting your yea be nay and your nay yea, here's a transcript of the interview.
If one were impressed with credentials of the academic and religious variety, I can see why one might find Wright fascinating, but I find him on a variety of issues carefully wrong, and therefore decadent. As just one example, imagine the Apostle Paul summarizing a battle over the morality of sodomy this way:
Because there are many churches and (Episcopal Church USA) has been one of them, which have embraced a particular type of theology, which leads it further and further away from where most of the rest of the Anglican communion are. Of course they will tell it the other way, they would say that the Africans and others have embraced a kind of fundamentalism which leads them away from academic purity and respectability. As an academic myself I would be bound to disagree with that.
For me, that about says it all: speaking of whether the legitimation of sodomy will be accepted by the worldwide Anglican communion, Bishop Wright identifies himself not as a servant of the Word or shepherd of souls, but as "an academic." And his critique of those who are seeking to see sodomy legitimated in Christ's Name is that they are trying to lead Anglican communion "further and further away from where most of the rest of the Anglican communion are."
Imagine the Apostle Paul being interviewed on a Roman radio station concerning the Judaizing schism, and his pointing out that the Judaizers were trying to lead the Church away from where most Christians were on the issue. It boggles the mind, although it's an argument perfectly tuned to Western political culture.
Wright goes on to give a statement that is a picture-perfect synthesis of all that is wrong with the world of Christian intellectuals:
Jesus believed I think, that he was offering a critique from within (Judaism).
Wright "thinks" that Jesus "believed"?
Jesus "was offering a critique"?
Later, Wright thinks again--this time about the Apostle Paul:
by David and Tim Bayly on March 22, 2006 - 11:20am
1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); 2 and they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?" And the Lord heard it. 3 Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.
One of the things that has always struck me in the writing and public speech of Bishop N. T. Wright is his consistent self-deprecation. He constantly qualifies his statements by saying things like, "I think," or "it seems to me," or "it feels to me," or "I guess."
(Note from Tim Bayly: Here are excerpts from one of the final comments under my post, "Bishop N. T. Wright as it were." The comments are indented and my responses are not.)
* * *
This post of yours is incredibly misguided.
Since it's rhetoric that's the subject of my original post, let me point out that this criticism is almost always made by members of the academy. This particular occasion, it's worth noting that Mr. Owen has an E-mail address at montreat.edu. And note that the opening statement does not accuse me of misguiding my readers, but of being misguided myself--incredibly so. So who's the villain, I wonder--who's the man who misguided me?
Well, at least I can blame my stupidity on someone else.
1. You apparently are not even capable of looking at ethical questions from Wright's Anglican frame of reference.
Most people wouldn't balk at the use of the word 'ethics' here, but we ought to. There's a world of difference between sodomy being a matter of "ethics" and it being in direct opposition to the order of Creation and an abomination to God. The minute Christians allow the discussion of sodomy to be labelled a matter of "ethics," the battle's largely lost since today speaking of "ethics" carries a relativistic connotation. We debate "ethics" but obey commandments...
Indeed it is appropriate to repeat here once again what I mentioned before, that fault must not always be found with the servants of Christ, if they are driven with violent force against professed enemies of sound doctrine, unless one is perhaps disposed to accuse the Holy Spirit of lack of moderation. ...the vehemence of holy zeal and of the Holy Spirit in the prophets was like that, and if soft, effeminate men think it stormy, they do not consider how dear and precious God's truth is to Him. (Calvin on Acts 13:10)
Defending Wright's rhetoric as an anglicanism is incredibly misguided. Wright's method of communication--what I've referred to in my two earlier posts as his rhetoric--has absolutely nothing to do with the culture of anglicanism as opposed to the culture of presbyterianism, congregationalism, or radical reformationalism. Rather, it's simply the feminized discourse of the western world, particularly notable among the chattering classes.
Note carefully: Wright's method of speaking is precisely the same method of speaking that Solzhenitsyn (in the quote I posted earlier) attributed to "the West"--not to Anglicans or Episcopalians--or even gentlemen and ladies, but to "the West:"
In the West, one must have a balanced, calm, soft voice; one ought to make sure to doubt oneself, to suggest that one may, of course, be completely wrong.
I grew up on this sort of language within the world of sophisticated evangelicalism where fundamentalists were despised and one's academic reputation was everything. The men of IVCF, Wheaton, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and the Evangelical Theological Society all spoke like this regardless of their country of origin or denominational affiliation. The most important thing was that one not make an ass of oneself in front of scholars. They got chills up and down their backs at the thought of being accepted into the academic fraternity.
As one wag put it, evangelicals say to liberals, "If you'll call me an intellectual, I'll call you a Christian."
But beyond the rather small world of elite evangelicals...
In a comment appearing on Pyromaniacs, Steve Wood records the following E-mail exchange he had with Bishop N. T. Wright.
Wood queried Wright:
Do you believe that a significant percentage of mankind will be permanently in hell, as a result of their sin? Do you believe that hell is an objective place, characterized by permanent suffering of an individual? Do you believe that the only way that an individual can avoid hell is to personally repent of his sins, relying on Christ's actions on earth, during that person's mortal life? Do you believe that Christ will preside at a final judgment, dividing mankind into two groups, one to eternal heaven and one to eternal hell?"
I think the best thing is to wait for my next relevant book. Your questions are so thoroughly conditioned by one particular (and to my mind unbiblical) way of speaking about God's eventual purpose (which, I repeat, is stated in the New Testament not in terms of 'heaven and hell' as in mediaeval and subsequent western thought, but in terms of the new heavens and new earth) that it is impossible to answer them as they stand without colluding with misunderstanding. And I repeat, whatever your powers of recall in other instances, I simply cannot have said anything like what you seem to think I must have done. I strongly suspect it was the result of my trying to turn questions with whose presuppositions I was in disagreement into questions with a biblical base which I could answer, and I can well see that this might have resulted in you or someone else imagining I was giving a particular answer to the question you thought I was answering while my intention was very different. Anyway, let's wait for the book.
Leaving Scripture aside for the moment, what about the good Bishop's Thirty-nine Articles--specifically numbers 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 17, and 18?
Comments from readers of this blog are often better than the posts which prompt them. This morning I call our good readers' attention to two such comments from the past week, one placed just this morning by Jacob Mentzel on the Bishop N. T. Wright Again, As It Were post. Jacob hits the nail on the head in suggesting that any witness to academics must begin with the heart....
I just posted a slightly different version of this comment on the Pyromaniacs blog a few minutes ago, but I think it's relevant to this discussion too. I doubt many people who comment on here will ever understand the significance of these issues unless they set foot in the real war zones themselves.
I've been a religious studies student at Indiana University for 4 years now (I graduate in May.) I came here, a believer of only a year, from a rather weak church and jumped right into this academic rigamorole. The academy has so thoroughly burnt me out that I have neither time nor the desire to pander about in the world of higher criticism or anything associated with it.
With my two brothers, David and Nathan, I took my Masters of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an institution bound historically with its sister institution about four miles away, Gordon College. Both schools are on Boston's North Shore. And although no formal ties remain, the two schools have always had plenty of Gospel ties coming out of their mutual Protestant and evangelical commitments, and their common heritage and close proximity.
In 1985, two years after I graduated from Gordon-Conwell, one of the more visible members of Gordon College's academic community, Tom Howard, converted to Roman Catholicism and resigned as a faculty member.
Howard is the younger brother of two prominent evangelicals, Dave Howard and Elisabeth Elliot Gren, but he also was an author with broad name recognition himself. Years earlier, he'd written his angry-young-man book, Christ the Tiger, which was widely read. He'd also done a number of other books, one an extended meditation on the Christian home called Splendor in the Ordinary which I commend to our readers. (Howard continues to write and publishes with the orthodox Roman Catholic publisher, Ignatius Press, one of the most noteworthy Christian publishers today.)
When Howard converted, it hit the evangelical world like a sledgehammer and his departure from Gordon College was not to be taken for granted. A rather typical evangelical institution--big-hearted, broad-minded, but atheological--many of us would not have been surprised for Gordon College to keep Howard on despite his conversion. But they didn't.
Shortly afterward, a document authored by Gordon College's Faculty Senate was released as a partial explanation of the college's decision. The document titled, Explanatory Statement to the Senate's Motions To Affirm the Existing Policy with Respect to the Hiring of Non-Protestants as Faculty Members at Gordon College, circulated broadly. As I've read the discussion surrounding Joshua Hochschild's departure from the faculty of Wheaton College because of his own conversion to Roman Catholicism, I've thought it would be good for those involved in the discussion to have access to this document from Gordon College's past history...
Recently, we've discussed the method of speaking employed by men called to be God's witnesses, whether in the academic world or as pastors. We've noted their tendency to say "no" when they mean "yes," "maybe" when God has said "never," and so on.
Some of our readers have been displeased with our criticisms, pointing out that men such as Bishop N. T. Wright and Tony Campolo are only doing their best to communicate in the language of our culture, winning a hearing for the Gospel that other blunter men would (or could) never win.
Years back, there was a competitor to Christianity Today called Eternity. David's and my father, Joe Bayly, had a monthly column in Eternity for exactly twenty-five years, his final one appearing the year he died. The column titled "Out of My Mind" is the inspiration for this blog, including its name. Back in the sixties, this short parable appeared in Eternity, and I thought now would be a good time to put it back in circulation.
The Last Word: A Modern Fairy Tale
by Charles Anderson
Good evening, boys and girls.
Tonight I want to tell you the story about the Bishop of Woolwich and the title of our adventure is: "Honestly Now." Some people think that there actually was a real Bishop of Woolwich who really lived one day long ago. Other people aren't really sure he lived. But we don't care at all if he lived - do we, boys and girls?
You see, boys and girls, we don't need to know what the Bishop said and did, all we need to know is what people who saw people who saw him said he said and did. So whether or not he really lived doesn't really make any difference because we're not sure that the people who saw the people who saw him really saw anything.
What we really want to say is this: we know that the people who saw the people who may or may not have seen him didn't know how to say anything very clearly without making everything so complicated that we today have to laugh at what they said about what they said he said. But we shouldn't laugh, because it's not easy to say something about something else so that what we are saying is just a symbol of what we mean when we say something about something else that couldn't be true anyhow because nothing like that could ever really happen.
The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. This is a basic principle of spiritual leadership and it applies to those God has called as fathers, pastors, elders, or professors who, by virtue of their calling, are required to watch over and guard immortal souls.
If you were a professor at a state university and Alfred Kinsey was a fellow faculty member, would you speak out, warning student's against him? Or would you protect your tenure by sitting silently as Kinsey did his private and public work of normalizing sexual perversion?
Let's make the question harder. Say you were a professor, not at a secular university but a Christian college--say Westmont, Gordon, Wheaton, Taylor, or Covenant. And the colleague in question was not a zoology professor who was publishing studies that purported to show that sexual perversion was much more common than previously thought. Rather, it was a Bible professor who lectured and wrote books opposing the Scriptural doctrine of father-rule. Would you publicly warn students against him and seek to have him removed from his tenured position? Would you work to inform your students' parents that this man was undermining their son's and daughter's Biblical faith?
Let's turn up the heat even more. Say this same Bible professor not only attacked the Biblical doctrine of father-rule publicly, but was widely known on campus to have been involved in sexual immorality with one of his female students who had had an abortion but, from shame, was unwilling to testify against the professor. If you knew the story was true, would you take it to the administration for their action?
Reform is hard work and reformers frequently die bloody deaths, so if you answered "no" to any of the previous questions I commend your honesty and fully understand how the self-preservation instinct has led to your silence.
Occasionally, though, God blesses a home, church, or college with a faithful shepherd who, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is willing to die for his sheep. Such a man is my friend Professory Gerald (Jerry) Eichhoefer who, until recently, was a member of the faculty of Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois. Jerry gave up his life for his sheep when, in December of 2004, Greenville College's administration fired him as punishment for his work protecting Greenville's students.
Note: A few weeks back, we introduced our readers to Professor Gerald Eichhoefer who, until December of 2004, was a faculty member at Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois. Then, the administration of this small evangelical college fired him as punishment for seeking to protect Greenville's students from spiritual destruction.
For two years prior to December of 2004, in addition to his duties as a professor of computer science, Jerry had been working to expose wolves who, under cover of faculty status in Greenville's Department of Philosophy and Religion, had been undermining the faith of their students. Jerry's work publicly opposing the department and its supporters infuriated the powers that be. Here, then, is the paper Jerry wrote that led to his termination.
David and I both think it's outstanding and hope you'll take the time to read it.
Loss of Faith at Greenville College Response to Dr. Rick McPeak
by Gerald Eichhoefer, Ph.D.
Mary Chism, a senior at Greenville College and daughter of Professor Jack Chism, publicly announced that she is no longer a Christian in her February 20th editorial in the student newspaper, the Papyrus. Before attending Greenville Mary was an active member of the Greenville College Free Methodist Church, a Bible Quizzer and a pillar in her youth group. Her father Jack, who was my undergraduate roommate at Greenville, is a strong evangelical Christian who recently survived a nearly fatal bout with acute leukemia. Jack led one of his hospital nurses to Christ as he was receiving chemotherapy.
In her editorial Mary summarizes the collapse of her faith:
Note: In the continuing saga of Professor Gerald Eichhoefer's termination at Greenville College, here is another document recording other aspects of the story not previously told. It's particularly interesting to me to see the intense hostility those seeking to undermine the faith of their students at Greenville College had to reformed doctrine.
Men with responsibilities related to educational institutions, whether as a board member of a Christian college, department head, administrator, pastor recommending colleges to members of his church, or parents directing their children to consider this or that school, need to read this and the other Eighhoefer documents. They are an excellent introduction to the state of Christian education today, although I'll grant that the Greenville case demonstrates tactics more obvious than most. Wheaton, Gordon, Westmont, Taylor, etc. would be ever so much more sophisticated in how they did it, but the trends are the same regardless of the average SAT scores of the school's students. (For example, how many years did the faculty and administration of Wheaton College tolerate Professor Gilbert Bilezikian's soul-destroying work within Wheaton's Bible department, and exactly why was Bilezikian granted Professor Emeritus status?)
A short time ago, I sat at a dinner table with a board member of one of the top few evangelical colleges and a student who had just graduated from that school, and I listened as this recent graduate described how the school's Bible department was filled with what she called "egalitarians," and how as a result of their influence she had been leaning in that direction, but was now swinging back to what she called the "complementarianism" her parents had raised her to believe.
She said it matter-of-factly, not realizing my history of work in this issue, and then she concluded, "When I left (the school), I'd lost a lot of my theological foundations, but now that I'm (away from the school), I'm getting them back."
The board member demonstrated no alarm or inquisitiveness at all. It seemed entirely ho-hum to him. Why?
I'm not sure, but my guess is that he sees such placing of stumbling blocks in the pathways of his institution's students as the raison d'etre of higher education--including (and maybe especially) evangelical higher education.
Read on and weep, dear brothers and sisters, for the children who have been lost to our Precious Faith and Lord because of false shepherds with Ph.D.s and our own cowardice in allowing them to carry out their work unopposed. But praise God for men such as Jerry Eichhoeffer.
And remember my Dad's dictum after graduating from Wheaton College, then working on secular campuses for sixteen years with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship: "You never know who the enemy is at a Christian college, but on a secular campus it's always clear."
Some of my Experiences at Greenville College
by Dr. Gerald W. Eichhoefer
In 1998, thirty years after I graduated from Greenville College, I returned with my wife and daughters to teach Computer Science. I was warmly received and supported by my Science Division colleagues as I began work on a new Computer Science curriculum and my family began to adjust to our new home. In my previous job I had a joint appointment in Computer Science and Philosophy and I looked forward to a congenial relationship with the Greenville philosophy professors even though my main focus at Greenville was Computer Science. I have a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Rice University and a bit of graduate work in Theology.
The Templeton Seminar - Fall 1998/Spring 1999
I approached a Greenville Philosophy professor and asked him to introduce me to the St. Louis philosophical community and was surprised and puzzled when he refused...
Years ago, there was a young man in my congregation taking his degree in secondary education at Indiana University's School of Education. The son of an ex-hippie Lutheran pastor in Iowa, my friend himself had long hair and nothing seemed to faze him. He was a free spirit who went through life with equanimity. So I was surprised one day to hear him refer to the School of Education as the "School of Propaganda." Since then, I've kept my ears to the ground and heard much to corroborate his judgment.
Another bit of evidence is this latest bit of intrusive officious browbeating sent out from--where else?
This is a superb piece on the difference between the warrior theologians of Scripture and academic theologians of our day. I'm increasingly inclined to think that the bloodiness of OT history must be felt and understood in the bones if we are to honor God as He demands.
It's the work of a man I really disagree with most of the time, but then sometimes he's spot on as here.
In its pages, I've learned much about the interface of the Academy, the civil authority, historians, the law, demographers, sociologists, etc. and the family order God ordained in the Garden of Eden as recorded by the Word of God. But don't misunderstand me: Scripture is very rarely mentioned in TFIA. The monographs are not biblical scholarship...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 21, 2007 - 12:30pm
(by Tim) Sadly, reformed pastors identify less with those who live in rural communities and make their living as sheep farmers (what used to be called "shepherds") than with those who live in books and make their living as academics. So this story from today's New York Times is particularly instructive.
There's a big stink over a psychology prof at Northwestern University named J. Michael Bailey who's gored the ox of transexuals around the country. But before we get to Prof. Bailey and the transexuals, a few comments about the lesson Christians should learn from this battle.
For decades, freedom of religion and freedom of speech have been under a sustained attack and the content of the books we read, the sermons we listen to, and the Bibles we carry to church Sunday morning all bear witness to the attrition of these freedoms.
Speaking only of our Bibles, did you know that millions of Bibles used by evangelicals have had words deleted in order to avoid expressing incorrect opinions deemed to have the potential of being hurtful to women and Jews? Evangelical Bible scholars, linguists, translators, graphic designers, publishers, bookstore owners, and pastors all joined together to produce and sell Bibles that would not be vulnerable to charges of sexism or antisemitism. Many hundreds of times, the original Hebrew and Greek words were changed or deleted so the Bible would be less offensive to moderns...
Over and besides those qualifications that should be in all Christians--they that rule the church of God, should be men of counsel and understanding. ...Remember what was said of old, (Malachi 2:7) "the priest's lips should preserve knowledge: and the people should seek the law at his mouth." But when this is wanting, the people will be stumbling and departing from God and one another. Therefore God complains, (Hosea 4:6) that his people were destroyed for want of knowledge; that is, for want of knowing guides. For if the light that is in them that teach be darkness, how great is that darkness! and if the blind lead the blind, no marvel both fall into the ditch. (John Bunyan, Exhortation to Unity and Peace, pp. 29,30.)
In a screed for peace posted by Prof. Reggie Kidd of Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando) a week ago today, Dr. Kidd proved himself an able controversialist, but of the modern sort. A jab, a parry, and a thrust; he lopped off the heads of his opponents sending them rolling into the ditches at the side of the road, but all was well—Dr. Kidd never posed the slightest threat to the feminized discourse characteristic of our modern defenders of the faith who claim for themselves Calvin’s, Luther’s, or Machen’s mantle. Said the good Dr. Kidd while sheathing his bloody blade, “It should be obvious to all that I am a man of peace.” And so he titled his post, “Mutual defenestration means self annihilation.” Not surprisingly, the one-hundred plus comments his post garnered are permeated with admirers congratulating him on his irenic spirit.
Apparently it takes a pastor with many session meetings under his belt to see who’s kidding whom. One could go on at length demonstrating the exact perimeter of the swaths cut by Dr. Kidd’s sword, but there’s one stellar example. Keeping in mind that Dr. Kidd possesses the terminal degree and his life’s work is within the Academy, could there be a more fatal thrust to the bodies of his intended victims than to call the Report of Ad Interim Study Committee on Federal Vision, New Perspective, and Auburn Avenue Theologies adopted by the PCA General Assembly this summer “a tendentiously and carelessly written paper?”
No, this short piece by Dr. Kidd is no blow for peace. It’s too bad the guys commending him can’t see it, but the rest of us shouldn’t allow ourselves to be bamboozled. To focus our thoughts, let’s line up Dr. Kidd’s good guys and bad guys. In fact, to purge the pomo spirit from among us this Monday morning, all at once let’s do every one of those hateful things that go directly against the spirit of our age: let’s delineate, distinguish, and divide.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 20, 2007 - 7:07am
(Note from Tim: On another thread, someone asked about Alister McGrath. I asked my dear brother, Rev. David Wegener, to provide the answer. David serves on the faculty of the Theological College of Central Africa and is a missionary of Mission to the World, the PCA's sending agency. David, his wife Terrianne, and their four children are supported by both Christ the Word and Church of the Good Shepherd. For her senior year of high school, Mary Lee and I have the privilege of having David and Terrianne's eldest child, Elizabeth, living with us and keeping our daughter, Hannah, company in the basement.)
I was asked to write a bit on Alister McGrath since he is a prolific author and is publicly identified with the evangelical movement. For a while, at least one of his publishers was puffing him as the next C.S. Lewis, working the Oxford angle. Mercifully, that kind of nonsense has stopped. While there is some value in McGrath’s works, let me make a few comments and give several caveats.
1. An Irishman by birth McGrath took an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Oxford University and later received a Ph.D. from the same institution in molecular biophysics. He was converted from atheism while at university and did an undergraduate degree in theology while getting his doctorate in science. Most folks would have trouble doing one of those, so, clearly, McGrath is very bright.
After graduation, he studied theology at Cambridge for two years, served two years as an assistant pastor (during which time he was ordained to the Anglican priesthood) and then embarked on a teaching and writing career. He began teaching at Oxford in 1983 (when he was 28) and has been there ever since, in various professorships, holding different administrative posts and interrupted by visiting lectureships in the U.S. and Canada.
2. McGrath is indeed a very prolific author and most of his writing is on historical theology (much of it Reformation history), the whole range of systematic theology, and the relationship of science and Christianity. But, don’t be intimidated by the sheer volume of his books. There is a fair bit of cutting and pasting going on...
Rather than bury Pastor Wegener's response in the comments under his post, it seemed good to put it here on the main page with the hope that many more will read it than otherwise might.
Dear Bill R.: Sorry for the delay in responding to your question about McGrath’s book on justification. I have a copy of Iustitia Dei and have studied parts of it. It is one of the few treatments of the history of the doctrine of justification, so maybe that is why people regard it as seminal.
It is a pretty accurate truism of historical theology that justification by faith alone was one doctrine the Reformers recovered from the Scriptures. Yes, you can find comments in a number of earlier authors that would line up with Protestant doctrine, but by and large, it was a key truth that the patristic (including Augustine) and medieval theologians got wrong.
However, I’m not convinced that McGrath is correct on the Reformed teaching on this topic. He tries to pry apart the unity of the Reformers on justification (p. 188). It is easy to do that with Zwingli and Bucer. Neither were so reliable as theologians. But it is more difficult to do that with Calvin and Luther and the evidence McGrath presents can be used against his attempts to pry them apart.
McGrath’s conclusion to the book is much more troubling...