First Wheaton was in the news when its students sought to counter Liberty University’s stance on guns and attitudes toward Muslims. Now it’s in the news because of a faculty member who allegedly is not adhering to mandatory articles of faith. This is the Christian life; when you seek to guide your life, whether individual or collective, according to the Gospel, you are not going to please the crowds.
As we might expect in a postmodern society which cares little for unified thinking, the few lines I’ve read in popular media regarding the controversy with the professor do not explore the fact that Wheaton College not only has a theology, but actually expects its faculty to adhere to the theology – and as with all sound theologies, it begins with God and Jesus Christ. The nature of God is the cornerstone of all belief; the revelation of God, God’s self-disclosure, is the foundation of all belief.
Alas, when we make God in our image the image constantly changes and we have no cornerstone and no foundation; no North Star. When an institution like Wheaton actually seeks to maintain consistency and accountability many are aghast – such a position is now so countercultural.
Most colleges and universities with Christian roots no longer make any fuss over their family tree – whether originally Catholic or Protestant. These institutions are often more friendly to those who oppose Biblical Christianity than those who call Jesus Lord. The same can be said for many seminaries. This is also sadly true of not a few denominations and local churches – one wonders why they keep it up; a case-study on institutions preserving themselves.
I hope that Wheaton College will maintain courage in the face of the media storm, I hope its responses will be calm and thoughtful, and most of all I hope that the administration, faculty, and students will remember their roots in the Gospel – that their love will “abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that [they] may approve the things that are excellent” (Philippians 1:9 – 10).