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The dotage of Wheaton College…

The dotage of Wheaton College…

The past few years haven’t been good for Wheaton College, the Vatican of mainstream Evangelicalism.

There was the scandal of one of their profs publicly stating her agreement with Pope Francis’s declaration that Muslims worship the same God as Christians. Said Professor Larycia Hawkins on FB:

I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.

There were some at Wheaton who didn’t agree, but Wheaton’s longtime New Testament prof, Gary Burge, commended Prof. Hawkins:

I have seen no theological argument from the college that would deem her commitments unacceptable. [Hers] is a clear, compelling affirmation of what we believe in Wheaton’s Statement of Faith.

There was the scandal of their hiring a lesbian to work as a chaplain’s assistant with the lesbians and gays on campus. She said she thought lesbians and gays shouldn’t have sex with each other, but a year later she said she hadn’t really been against lesbian sex. She was no longer opposed to lesbianism, but was committed to living out as a full supporter of all LGBTQ “sexual minorities.”

There was the very public protest against a former lesbian invited to speak in chapel. Students were offended that someone who believed in repenting of lesbian practice had been invited to preach to them in their chapel service so they made an angry scene outside Edman Chapel.

Then, a year and a half ago, a freshman transfer football player was hazed by five older players who took him from his dorm, stripped him, bound him with duct tape, humiliated him sexually, and left him partly naked on a baseball field. The young man was able to get himself to the hospital. Seeing his injuries, the hospital called the police.

Wheaton’s administration hired their own investigation. On its conclusion they sent the victim a letter saying they didn’t trust his testimony. (He’d left the school the day after the assault and has since been attending a college in Indiana.)

Then, this past month, the Chicago Tribune reported that prosecutors had filed felony charges against the five players who abused this student.

There are, of course, other failures the school and its new president are responsible for, but let’s just stick with these which have made national news. What is there to learn?

Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 7:4)

My Dad used to say Christian institutions are like people: they have their infancy, their childhood, their young adulthood, their middle age, and their dotage. He went on to lament that no institution ever admitted it was in its dotage and closed its doors.

I believe higher education can be a great gift to young men and women and couldn’t be more thankful to University of Wisconsin, Madison, for the education I got there.

But Christian higher education of the Evangelical (even Reformed) sort?

Not so much. After a quarter-century in campus ministry at secular colleges and universities, my father (a Wheaton alum along with my mother, father-in-law, and mother-in-law) had this sage advice to parents considering college for their sons and daughters: “The problem with Christian colleges is you don’t know who the enemy is, but at secular schools, it’s clear.”

If you want a small Christian college for your children, send them to Hillsdale College (and tell them not to convert to Roman Catholicism), to The Kings College (and have fun finding a good church for them), to Grove City College (where they may find a good church), or New Saint Andrews College (where there are several good churches and the best national park in the country a few hours north).

No one should send their children to Wheaton. If you really must have a mainstream Evangelical school, choose Taylor University (and good luck finding a church). Taylor has a leg up on everyone else because it’s in Upland and Upland, Indiana, is a suburb of Gas City, Indiana.

Or better yet, send them to Indiana University here in Bloomington. There are several good churches and the country’s best soccer program. Your sons and daughters will know who God’s enemies are and they’ll learn how to fight them and love them—both at the same time.

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About The Author

Tim Bayly

Tim Bayly has been senior pastor of Clearnote Church, Bloomington since 1996. Married to Mary Lee, the Baylys have five children and twenty-something grandchildren. Tim's book on fatherhood is titled "Daddy Tried" and he is co-author of a book on homosexuality titled "The Grace of Shame.’

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