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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Test Of Faith - A WSJ Article

I am curious what you all think about this article which was recently published in the Wall Street Journal.

I was first made aware of the article from the Sacra Doctrina blogspot. It is very interesting. Should Christian/religious schools stick to their "Statements of Faith" even if perhaps the teacher is willing to agree to it, but the teacher's allegiance is to a different denomination or crosses Protestant/Catholic bounderies? What say you to this?


Anonymous Puritan Belief said...

After skimming over the story I must say that I am impressed that in America they were able to fire this Catholic convert.

You should be very thankful that this can still happen. In Australia because we are far more Godless then America I am prety sure (not 100% because a lot of Christians are still fighting this legeslation) if a Christian school hires a teacher and asks them if they are a christian they can be taken to court and have the pants sued off them. So in effect if you send your kids to a "Christian school" it is highly probably that a stern athiest will be teaching your kids.

If the do-gooders (really do-baders) have their way you will soon be where we are over here.

11:59 PM, January 11, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...


I can see that if the individual was not Christian and the school clearly states that all faculty mus adhere to the "Statement of Faith" and it spells out certain Christian tenets, and then they find out the faculty member is an atheist.

However, this teacher was Catholic.

I think I agree with Sacra Doctrina,

"Wheaton is certainly free to exclude on theological grounds whoever they would like, but it seems to me that either they need to make the exclusion of non-Protestants explicit or they should tighten up their faith statement."

Go to their blog and click on the "Statement of Faith" for Wheaton. It pretty general and most if not all Catholics could agree with it.

8:29 AM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger nelmezzo said...

I agree with TB that Wheaton ought to clarify their statement or their policy. Then there can be no legitimate complaints when such a situation arises.

I certainly believe Wheaton has the authority to set its own theological standard. So I don't think this action was wrong per se.

However, I also don't think it was wise or beneficial. Some theological diversity within the framework of an orthodox statement of faith could only benefit the educational mission of a school like Wheaton.

General principles aside, in this situation, they also should have shown some specific regard for the prof's area of expertise, medieval philosophy. It would be unsurprising that a professor in this area should be Catholic (or poised to become Catholic). And beneficial, even.

As a Wheaton grad, I can say that the place is administered with a tight, sometimes fearful grip. The fundamentalist aspects of Wheaton's heritage are still very much alive. We have yet to see the emergence of a class of Evangelical schools that know how to be both Evangelical and unafraid. Catholic institutions have their own set of problems, but a faith patterned in fear is not one of them.

5:38 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Jeremiah Kier Cowart said...

An interesting article, thanks for bringing it to our attention. After reading the excellent book How the News Makes Us Dumb I can only take some of what is said in the article as being likely correct. But, if it is in the main correct, then there are a few issues that arise.

First, it was a conversion after having been given the assistant professorship. This must be taken into account. Many Protestant institutions have Statements of Faith that would exclude Catholics either in their statements on the Scriptures or on justification. If this fellow simply found himself in a tradition wherein he could in good conscience no longer say he believed Wheaton's, then I would almost think he should have initiated dialogue on this (with a pre-written letter of resignation to boot, just in case it went badly). It's his responsibility too, it seems to me.

And if he really is as talented as they let on, though he might have downgraded to a smaller Catholic college for now, there's no reason to think that he might not upgrade in a few years to one of the biggies-a jesuit biggie or a non-Jesuit one--like Steubenville. He'll be fine, I would tend to think. If he was victimized a little bit in the process, this is the natural consequence of conversion. I find it hard to think that he should have expected much different from what occured.

Now, the virtues of opening up the faculty to not necessarily those who agree with the school's statement of faith or religious tradition is another issue altogether. But, I agree with Nelmezzo. It is certainly the case that if it is better to have some diversity of faith-traditions on the religious school's campus, Catholics have led the way on this.

7:56 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Thanks T.B this is true they should tighten up that statement of faith.

8:56 PM, January 12, 2006  

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