For some time now, Cedarville University has been involved in a controversy over truth and certainty: the belief that we can know that the Bible, the truth, is 100% certain versus the belief of the emergent church that the truth is unknowable, i.e., we can be relatively certain, but ultimately, no one can know the truth for sure.
Initially, I wondered at the relevance of this information to Case4theRight, but came to the conclusion that many of us may be looking for Christian colleges to which to send our children in light of the severe leftist leanings of many, if not most, of the secular colleges and universities in our nation today.
The controversy seemingly came to light after the university fired two conservative professors in the summer of 2007, only a few months after they had a signed contract. One had even achieved tenure at the university. My initial exposure to this affair was in the form of an email communication from the alumni office with a statement from the president of the university announcing the university’s unwavering stance toward the truth of the scripture and a warning of unfounded accusations made by several media outlets. I did some internet research on the situation at that time because I was saddened to hear of these developments and I wanted to be as informed as possible about this emergent church movement and about what was going on at Cedarville. There are always two sides to every story and I was concerned that I was only hearing the situation from a public relations standpoint. I was able to find quite a bit of information detailing the situation from the viewpoint of the fired professors.
I was seriously concerned about these accusations because my daughter, who is a relatively new Christian, is a student at Cedarville. I was concerned about what she was being taught in the classroom regarding the certainty of scripture. She did not seem to be familiar with too many of the facts surrounding the situation, however, I did get an opportunity to explain why we can be certain regarding the truth of the scripture and admonished her to keep an ear out in her classes for any teaching that might undermine the truth of the Bible. As that is all I could do at that point, I left it at that, and kept Cedarville in my prayers that they would not succumb to the lies of false teaching.
Earlier this week I received another communication from Cedarville citing a report that was about to be released by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), detailing an investigation performed by the AAUP into the firings of the two university professors. Cedarville stated that the report is “misleading and inaccurate”. Several other conservative faculty and staff (those identifying with the certainty of scripture) have either left or been asked to leave. I began to believe that where there is smoke, there is fire, and again I looked at all the sources of information I was able to find. A couple of points raised serious doubts in my mind as to the sincerity of the school’s position:
1) Why have no emergent professors left the institution or been asked to leave? Why is it that only those with conservative viewpoints are no longer affiliated with the university? And I suppose, first and foremost, why are there even professors with emergent leanings even employed by the university? If their position is the complete inerrancy and certainty of scripture, why are they employing individuals who do not share these views?
2) Why does Dr. Brown, the university president, include known emergent books on his reading list for the students to see without any type of disclaimer?
3) Why does the university invite known emergents to speak in chapel under the guise of exposing the students to other viewpoints? Chapel is for spiritual growth and teaching, not a learning experience for apostasy. I understand the need to teach these things, but these teachings should be done in the classroom, not in the chapel forum.
I am still at a loss of who or what to believe. I would like to believe that Cedarville is firm in their unwavering stand for the truth, especially since I am an alumnus of the university, not to mention that I am sending tens of thousands of dollars a year to the school for my daughter’s education. The only thing I am sure of at this point is that I will be watching this situation very closely from all angles and that I will be praying for them that they truly do stand for what is right and will continue to do so. There is a spiritual warfare going on in Christian circles and we need to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (NKJV, 1 Peter 5:8).
Some interesting links:
A Book Recommendation:
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception by John MacArthur