God only knows
God makes his plan
The informations unavailable
To the mortal man
We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway
When in fact we're slip slidin away
- Paul Simon
(Tim) Yesterday, one of our congregation's Wheaton alumni was talking about other Wheaton alumni she keeps in touch with. She described her friends' typical post-graduate spiritual condition as consisting of a crisis experience a few years after graduation in which a decision is made between throwing it all away or turning and facing the fact that they're a sinner and coming to true Christian faith. Her grief was obvious as she described the spiritual bankruptcy so often characterizing her friends' post-Wheaton lives...
Maybe her friends are an aberration--maybe they're atypical Wheaton grads. Then again, maybe not.
James Davison Hunter predicted this spiritual decline years ago in his spellbinding book, Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation, chronicling a study he did of Wheaton and a number of other evangelical colleges. Looking at the study's results which demonstrated how much more liberal the faculty members were than the student body, it would be hard not to wonder whether the problem is partly connected to professors who don't profess; or worse, who profess doctrine contrary to orthodox Christian faith.
In that connection, here are two articles (one from the Chicago Tribune and the other from the New York Times) about one of Wheaton's profs who decided to resign from Wheaton's faculty rather than answer questions concerning his pending divorce.
Check out these statements by a man who's been professing something at Wheaton for twenty years now, and is acknowledged to be a student favorite. To set the context, the prof was asked by the administration to answer a few questions aimed at establishing whether his divorce had a biblical basis or not, and he chose to resign rather than answer the questions. So here in his own words are Professor Kent Gramm's justifications for his divorce and his rejection of Wheaton's effort to establish whether the divorce is permitted by Scripture:
I think it's wrong to have to discuss your personal life with your employer. ...Why are college administrators better able to judge my divorce than I am? If I had thought this was the wrong thing to do, I wouldn’t have done it....
I want them to know that God does not desert you when life suddenly gets real on you. And I want them to know that you can be a responsible, reasonable and decent person and not be able to work out a marriage with another responsible, reasonable and decent person....
Prof. Gramm said Wheaton students are facing the same marital statistics as everyone else, and that many of them will one day get a divorce themselves:
And I feel that it's important for them to know that they're not somehow rejected by God for having more or less normal lives and for having lives that didn't work out the way they intended them to turn out....
God won’t fire anyone because of their marital status, politics, theology or sexual preference. I’m accepting the policy as it applies to me because I knew it was in place and I don’t expect anyone to make any exceptions. But in the long run I think the policy is not a good one, because in a sense it’s saying that Wheaton’s standards are higher than God’s. That’s an upside-down world....
Let me get this straight: Prof. Gramm believes God will not judge adulterers, legislative defenders of the murder of unborn children, heretics, or sodomites? Try as I might, I can find no other way to read this last statement.
Let me also get this straight: Prof. Gramm has been teaching at Wheaton for over twenty years? And he's taught in the same department as Prof. Leland Ryken?
How is it possible that a man so bold in his impiety and rebellion against Scripture has been in good standing until now? Were Prof. Ryken and President Duane Litfin shocked by these statements made by one of their tenured faculty with whom they've served side by side for twenty years? Or are converting to Roman Catholicism and refusing to answer questions concerning your divorce the only things that rise to the level of an impeachable offense at Wheaton, now?
On the one hand, we could be relieved Wheaton is sticking to its commitments in this matter.
On the other hand, we could be scandalized wondering how long Wheaton's administration and Prof. Gramm's colleagues knew of his denial of Scripture's doctrine of sexuality (just for starters)?
Yesterday, a doctoral student in our congregation sent an E-mail with a link to the Chicago Tribune article, followed by this comment: "And people wonder why their children become agnostics or Catholics at Wheaton...."