At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. (Matthew 11:25, 26).
(Tim, w/thanks to The Story Behind the Story) Several have pointed me to news items about Wheaton College, recently. The school's about to get a new president. And when a college changes presidents, it's big news. The occasion provides wonderful opportunities for journalists to sell words and profs needing to get it off their chests to pontificate on how indispensable they are and how stupid the trustees are for not consulting them and doing what they want. So with a bunch of Wheaton profs huffing and puffing, it's clear the future of everything most precious is at stake.
During the lead-up to the trustees' announcement of the next Wheaton president, a recent grad wrote a piece that was purchased by Christianity Today's Books and Culture. The piece whined about the previous president's "magisterial" leadership (not a compliment) and ran comments by dyspeptic faculty members licking their wounds over the long years of horrible authoritarianism they've suffered under the current president, Duane Litfin, and his storm-trooper henchman, Stan Jones.
Trace it all back to seventeen years ago when Wheaton's trustees broke the heart of evangelicalism's uber-intellectual, Mark Noll, by choosing a Memphis pastor as their president when Noll had been lobbying for his dear friend and fellow historian, Nathan Hatch. This dust-up had the not-altogether negative result of Noll issuing his very personal payback, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind; which in turn had the not-altogether negative result of making Noll rich off royalties and helping him with the price of a ticket out of Wheaton to that distinctly non-magisterial Roman Catholic school in northern Indiana called Notre Dame. Some may remember that in The Scandal..., Noll complained evangelical schools work their profs so hard, teaching, they don't have time to do research. Now though, on his profile page at Notre Dame, Noll is happy to inform us he "looks forward to concentrating on fewer subjects." So all's well that ends well.
Back then to the present where, almost two decades after their last hire, Wheaton's trustees were poised to celebrate 150 years with their announcment.
But what about this article about to appear in Books and Culture? Could they allow CTi to run it? Was it really helpful?
Actually not. It was hurtful. It would rein in their parade.