Monday, April 07, 2008

Trouble at Cedarville University

Source Websites
Statements from the Coalition of the Concerned, papers by David Mills, articles at as well as the now removed content from Hoffeditz's website (of which copies still circle the internet) paint an ugly picture of events at Cedarville whether taken as separate incidents or as a unified whole.

Word has been received that Cedarville University President Brown has seized documents pertaining to the firings in direct violation of rules created to maintain order and belay the fear of reprisal. Brown's seizure of the grievance committee's notes and testimonies breaks trust.

An administrator by the name of Milliman was secretly recorded by a student and has admitted that the firings were done to minimize their impact on the accreditation process. Milliman's direct comments show that there was a political bent to retaining Hoffeditz and Mappes until the accreditation process was complete. If they were worthy of termination, then it makes me even more embarrassed that the Cedarville administration did not take timely action.

Even more troubling is an extract from a letter from Charles Dolph asserting "This message is to notify all parties that the GIP (Grievance Investigation Panel) is no longer able to enforce its own rules or control the record of the hearing." Is this a doctored e-mail? By the way, despite Hoffeditz's apparent good will by removing the content per the university's instruction, portions of that content have been spread far and wide over the internet.

A Coalition of the Concerned has been formed from the ranks of Cedarville's past and present faculty. For faculty members like James Bjornstad, Richard Blumenstock or Jack Riggs to sign their names to a document (The Coalition of the Concerned) that states "There is fear that other theologically conservative faculty members within the Department and the general faculty may be terminated" demonstrates that matters are grave.

The issue of certainty and assurance does appear to be a problem at Cedarville. It does not seem far fetched to imagine (as has been supported by the claims of the faculty) that it is a true bone of contention within the Bible department.

The center of the controversy is David Mills who has embraced at least a portion of the ideas espoused by the notorious Emergent Brian McLaren. Mills' public document pertaining to Staley lectures given by D.A. Carson seems to largely ignore that Brian McLaren's starting point in uncertainty has led to his renunciation of a literal hell, a proposed moratorium on speaking on the homosexuality issue (to see if the culture will change its mind) and an assertion that one may be a good Buddhist Christian. Since McLaren believes that his spiritual dialogue is still unfolding, where do we imagine he will end up? Once one begins to unravel the string of infallibility, it is impossible to stop the ball of yarn from unrolling. David Mills is playing with that string.

How are we supposed to interpret the words of Amy Hope Guisleman?
I was teaching on this issue (certainty) this morning in class when one of my students expressed the fact that he was blown away by a course he took here at Cedarville in which students were asked if they knew that the Bible is true. Most responded 'yes' and the professor proceeded to demonstrate to them that they did not in fact know it. They were left with the instruction that though we cannot know that the Bible is true, we must accept its truth on faith.
One may glibly say that everyone agrees with the doctrinal statement at Cedarville, but what if there is a hole in the doctrinal statement that is being exploited? Do we merely call that exploitation "academic freedom"? As I was taught by my Cedarville instructors, a doctrinal statement should not be assessed by what it says as much as what it does not say.

This whole mess is either one of the worst bunglings to ever be perpetrated by a university administration or it is as it appears to be...

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