(Fifteenth in a series; 9,900 views as of 4/14/24)

Our Savior’s rule in judging a man is, “By their fruit ye shall know them.”

Wheaton’s Historical Review Task Force took no interest in fruit, but stayed with assembling “gotchas” such as:

Camp skits… [of Wheaton’s] HoneyRock Camp featured staff members in native headdresses, made deprecating references to “witch doctors,” and depicted children dressed as “Apache Indian maidens” [which] reveal …a level of ignorance at best and downright cultural insensitivity at worst. (p. 59)

Imagine having a beer with one of these guys. They remind one of Chesterton’s description of the Prussian as the man who introduces himself, “Excuse me, I am a faultless being.”1 Scholars of the past did history. Scholars today do moral superiority; or worse, moral indignation augmented with fainting spells.

Honestly, shouldn’t fruit get a little of our attention? If Wheaton’s best and brightest are damning President Buswell as a racist, don’t we owe it to the man to look past the Task Force’s gotchas and examine his fruit?

Fired in January 1940, during the following decades Buswell’s leadership produced much fruit on the Wheaton campus as well as in the lives of Wheaton alumni. Since Ryken and Wheaton’s trustees and faculty are denouncing Buswell as racist, let’s give careful attention to this aspect of his fruit.

In the decades following President Buswell’s presidency, what was his legacy concerning racism?

Buswell’s sons cite Anthropology

We’ve already seen that a good way to test a man’s fruit is to study his sons—tree and acorn. Among the acorns that fell from Buswell was a spiritual son, Joe Bayly. Another was his biological son, James Oliver Buswell III.

Joe Bayly

Reading the attack upon racism authored by Joe Bayly (my father), I was struck by the prominence Dad gave the discipline of Anthropology. It seemed out of character for Dad to cite social science as proof of the equality of the races when this equality is so plainly declared by Scripture:

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3;27-28)

Growing up in the second half of the twentieth century, it was always obvious Scripture taught every man2 of every race equally bore the image and likeness of God, and therefore every man was equal to every other man of every other race. Thus, when I first read Dad’s 1956 article, “A Northern Christian Looks at the Race Question: A penetrating evaluation of our imperfect witness,” knowing Dad’s submission to the authority of God’s Word, I found this part of his article somewhat disconcerting:

In the first place, the Bible indicates that in this age of grace, all human beings are on an equal basis in God’s sight, and are equally in need of the message of redemption. The Negro is no less a human being than the white, nor do I find any ground in Scripture for considering the Negro lower down on the human scale than the white. Anthropologists tell us that if we take off the outside layer of skin, it is impossible to differentiate between a Negro and white person from the skeleton. …Negroes have the same mental capacity and potential as white people, according to scientific studies.

Gunnar Myrdal (An American Dilemma) has summed up the scientific position in these words: “When we approach [race] problems on the hypothesis that differences in behavior are to be explained largely in terms of social and cultural factors, we are on scientifically safe ground. If we should, however, approach them on the hypothesis that they are to be explained primarily in terms of heredity, we do not have any scientific basis for our assumption.”

I feel that we should be quite definite on this point since some white people, including Christians, tend almost unconsciously to consider the Negro as a lower order of human being than the white.

What struck me was Dad starting with the authority of Scripture, but concluding with a “scientific basis” and then declaring “we should be definite on this point.”

Good writing reserves the strongest argument for the end: the last paragraph in a chapter and the last chapter in a book. Yet here Dad moves from the greater to the lesser; from the authority of Scripture to the authority of social scientists.

Anthropology and racism

Professor James O. Buswell III

Similarly with President Buswell’s biological son, Professor James Oliver Buswell III; I was surprised by how heavily he relied on Anthropology in his article condemning racism:

…the force of science and Christian principles are gradually accomplishing the deathblow …the common ground held by science and Christianity is the field where racial segregation will finally fall….

…it is found by the social sciences …that “separate but equal” public educational facilities are inherently unequal.

The social teachings of the Gospel as they relate to the status and treatment of minority groups need not be held aloof from the social sciences in the same field. …The message of the Gospel in collaboration instead of conflict with social science over its common ground, will carry a much greater impact upon the social thinking of our times and the times that lie ahead.

Buswell the Son then declares:

Anthropology [is the] principal science concerned with race [and] one of the fastest growing subjects on the undergraduate level.

What is the import of Bayly and Buswell’s appeals to Anthropology for this present controversy over President Phil Ryken and Wheaton’s Trustees denunciation of President Buswell?

If Anthropology was then known to be “the principal science concerned with race;” and if this fledgling academic discipline consistently opposed racism; how did Anthropology come to find a home at Wheaton? Whom do we have to thank for Anthropology being welcomed and permanently established as one of Wheaton’s academic departments?

Readers of this series have already guessed the answer. This magnificent structural coup against Wheaton’s racism was the genius of the very man Wheaton’s Board of Trustees now, today, are denouncing: President J. Oliver Buswell Jr.

Buswell hires anthropologist Alexander Grigolia

Note Wheaton’s pride in early adoption of Dept. of Anthropology.

Fall semester of 1936, President J. Oliver Buswell Jr. hired anthropologist Alexander Grigolia as a part-time professor. In 1937, President Buswell got his trustees’ approval to promote Grigolia to full-time faculty status, and the following year President Buswell gave Grigolia the mandate to create a Wheaton Department of Anthropology.3

Russian-born, Alexander Grigolia began his graduate work at the University of Berlin, then moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne.4 In time he emigrated to America and earned his second doctorate in cultural Anthropology at University of Pennsylvania (where he also confessed Christian faith).

It should be pointed out the narrative Evangelical pseudo-intellectuals have spawned concerning Buswell has long been that he was an ignorant “fundamentalist.” They savage the man. Truth is, Buswell was a true intellectual whose choice of a faculty member to lead his Anthropology initiative had  studied and earned degrees from Berlin, the Sorbonne, and University of Pennsylvania; and during his first year lecturing at Wheaton, was invited to give a guest lecture at University of Chicago.

Sorbonne in early 20th century.

This new discipline of Anthropology was inimical to racism. President Buswell was no bumpkin. He understood the significance of hiring a well-credentialed anthropologist and mandating his creation of this new department at Wheaton. When President Buswell recruited Grigolia and gave him this mandate, he intended the fruit this would bear. He was implementing a strategic coup within Wheaton that, for years to come, exposed and opposed racism.

So it was that, three years before his 1939 directive to Wheaton’s registrar that henceforth Blacks be admitted, Grigolia began professing Anthropology to Wheaton students.

As we’ve shown, President Buswell’s son was an intense enemy of racism. It should be no surprise, then, that he majored in Anthropology and studied under Professor Grigolia. Also that he went on to get his PhD in Anthropology, then later serving Wheaton as a professor of Anthropology.

Billy Graham majors in Anthropology

Nevertheless, Wheaton’s best-known student who majored in Anthropology under Grigolia was Billy Graham. Arriving on campus in 1940, only months after the Trustees fired President Buswell, Graham tells his reasoning in deciding to major in Anthropology. His explanation and its significance for his lifelong opposition to racism are recounted in a March 2015 article published in the American Anthropologist titled, “Anthropology and the Making of Billy Graham: Evangelicalism and Anthropology in the 20th-Century United States.”5

The article begins:

In a 1986 interview with Parade magazine, well-known evangelist Billy Graham was asked if, when looking back over his life at age 68, there was anything he would have done differently. He answered, “I wish I had gotten more education. If I could have, I would have gotten a PhD in Anthropology, to understand the race situation in this country better.”

Having majored in Anthropology at Wheaton College… Graham and his chroniclers have pointed to his anthropological training as influencing his views of race, leading first to his vocal (if initially inconsistent) opposition to legal segregation, followed by his decision in 1953 to defy the pressure from southerners to practice racial segregation in his famous crusades. Eventually he would declare racism to be one of the greatest social problems of the 20th century.

Note the American Anthropologist declares Billy Graham’s “anthropological training” at Wheaton as the source of his prophetic Christian opposition to racism and segregation. As a reminder, Graham’s anthropological training at Wheaton began in 1940, three years after President Buswell gave Alexander Grigolia the mandate to found Wheaton’s department of Anthropology. Also the very year Wheaton’s trustees fired President Buswell.

Billy Graham (l) with Prof. Alexander Grigolia (r).

As Wheaton’s trustees expelled President Buswell from their campus, Billy Graham arrived and became the most prominent example of the fruit President Buswell produced from his hire of Alexander Grigolia of the University of Berlin, the Sorbonne, and University of Pennsylvania.

Graham explains his decision to major in Anthropology after matriculating at Wheaton in 1940:

A focus on Anthropology would give me a liberal arts education in the best sense, obliterating any condescending notions I might have toward people from backgrounds other than my own. Alexander Grigolia [was] the head of the college’s new Anthropology department [and] popular among the students . . .

The article is compelling reading for anyone interested in the true history of Evangelicalism’s early and insistent opposition to racism and educational segregation typified by the primary sources we have published authored by Buswell’s spiritual son, Joe Bayly, and his biological son, James O. Buswell III. (Both pieces were published by Tenth Presbyterian Church pastor, Donald Grey Barnhouse.)

But here we add this testimony of the most famous Evangelical of them all, Billy Graham. He majored in Anthropology at Wheaton, and why was there a major in Anthropology at Wheaton way back in 1940, when very few other colleges had an Anthropology department?

Remember the simple observation of Buswell the Son while a professor of Anthropology at Wheaton, that Anthropology is the “principal science concerned with race.” We also just read Graham’s statement he majored in Anthropology there at Wheaton because Anthropology would “obliterat(e) any condescending notions I might have toward people from backgrounds other than my own.”

What “condescending notions” was Graham referring to?

Here’s a description of the influences Prof. Grigolia had been under during his graduate studies, and how he placed those commitments at the heart of the Anthropology curriculum he instituted at Wheaton:

Professor Franz Boaz

The curriculum Grigolia developed reflected the views of Franz Boas, often considered the founder of U.S. Anthropology, who was an ardent opponent of the scientific racism (the belief that scientific evidence proved the existence of different racial groups and their inferiority or superiority) prevalent in the early 20th century.6

What record do we have of Graham inculcating these views while under Grigolia?

Grigolia’s curriculum seems to have had an impact. Several chapters in an introductory text contain [Graham’s] prolific underlining… [T]he following sentence was underlined: “Absolutely pure races no longer exist; and this by itself makes it extremely hard to distinguish existing groups on a racial basis.”7

Wheaton prof Mark Noll writes:

Billy Graham had …shown how attractive a nonracist form of affective southern evangelicalism could be.8

Steven P. Miller provides more documentation of the development and wide influence of Billy Graham’s opposition to racism:

National politicians, such as Dwight Eisenhower, and national publications, such as the liberal Protestant Christian Century, looked to Graham to exert regional leadership concerning integration and civil rights. That he would assume a public role in the area of race relations was far from inevitable. Graham wrote that growing up as a white Southerner, he “had adopted the attitudes of that region without much reflection.” His education at Wheaton College, where he majored in Anthropology and gained awareness of the cultural relativity of race, led him to question his racial assumptions.9

Graham’s 1953 Chattanooga crusade

[In 1953 in] Chattanooga …before the start of the crusade [Graham] personally removed the rope separating the black and white sections of the audience. The incident went unreported in Chattanooga’s major dailies (which gave more attention to Graham’s proficiency as a golfer), although Graham later claimed that his action “caused the head usher to resign in anger right on the spot (and raised some other hackles).” A photograph of the Chattanooga crusade, later used in a Graham promotional booklet, showed white and black audience members sitting together.10

One swallow doth not a summer make, so what fruit of Buswell’s promotion of Anthropology at Wheaton was there beyond Billy Graham? Did Grigolia and the Anthropology Department he founded have any growing influence against racism on Wheaton’s campus the decades following the late thirties?

Yes, and that influence was profound.

To draw this article to a close, let us document this influence through the work of a previous race task force. This one did it’s work back in 1960 and was made up of Wheaton anthropology and sociology professors.

The president at the time was J. Oliver Buswell’s successor, President V. Raymond Edman. Edman had made a formal request of Wheaton’s Division of Social Sciences to produce a “Wheaton College Statement on Race Relations,” and the Division delegated the task to its Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

The work was led by Professor Gordon S. Jaeck, Chairman of Wheaton’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the work was concluded and submitted to President Edman on July 11, 1960, under the following letter from its chairman:

July 11, 1960

Dr. V. Raymond Edman
Wheaton College
Wheaton, Illinois

Dear Dr. Edman:

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is pleased to present herewith a proposed Wheaton College Statement on Race Relations. This statement has been prepared in response to your request to the Division of Social Sciences. In a Divisional meeting, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology was directed to undertake the preparation of the statement.

This statement has gone through numerous revisions and drafts. Actually this constitutes the eighth and final revision. It has been presented to and discussed by the entire Division of Social Sciences. While there was general agreement with the statement and while many of the suggestions for change coming from the Division were included in later drafts of the statement, we would need to make it clear that this statement is from the Department and not from the Division. Within our Department it has unanimous approval. Departmental faculty who have contributed to this statement and who in effect are equal parties to it include the following:

Professor Lamberta Voget
Assistant Professor James O. Buswell, III
Instructors Alvin Moser, David Winter
Special Instructor James Murk
The undersigned, Chairman of the Department

It should be further pointed out that in constructing this statement over the past several months, we have consulted freely with non-white students on our own campus and with Negro leaders in the Chicago community as well as such leaders from other parts of the country. Available literature in the field presenting the Christian viewpoint has also been reviewed.

On behalf of the forwarding Department and the Division, we would appreciate being informed as to the progress of this statement as it is considered by the Administration of the College.


Gordon S. Jaeck, Chairman
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

GSJ: jdl
c.c. Dr. S. R. Kamm, Chairman, Division of Social Sciences

What we learn from the above text is that the production of the requested and attached Wheaton College Statement on Race Relations was plagued by controversy, and thus the warning by Chairman Jaeck of President Edman that, despite the careful process, the broad consultations with Black students and national and local Chicago leaders, and then a total of eight revisions, there remained faculty members in the Division of Social Sciences who refused to sign the document.

What was the document itself?

Here is the text which only found agreement within the Department of Sociology and Anthropology:



This statement is prepared for the Wheaton family. It assumes that the first step in a consideration of a Wheaton College view of race relations is to examine ourselves and gain an overall perspective.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The position of the Negro in American life was a flaming issue a century ago when Wheaton College was founded. The era was one of dynamic enthusiasm for Christian Utopianism, and the College had a founder whose confidence in the potentialities of a liberal arts education reflected strong social convictions. President Jonathan Blanchard was active in the anti-slavery agitation of a century ago, and when establishing the College he had in mind an institution which would be open to all races alike, that young people might be trained for intelligent leadership with Christian and social orientation. His fearlessness experienced rough opposition, but his actions continued true to these convictions. His friendship was extended to Negro students who lived in his home as well as to those in southern colleges.

In the course of time the College moved more clearly to a premillenial (sic) position, with a growing interest in evangelism and in theological issues. Essential as this was to a more Biblical orientation, it was accompanied by a declining preoccupation with social problems. Attitudes toward various issues tended to reflect the prevailing evangelical and/or general American climate rather than to maintain the leadership principle. [emphases in the original]

In reacting against the “social gospel” which had engulfed so much of organized Christian life, the College settled into a defensive position with strong emphasis on the maintaining of orthodox beliefs and a “separated from the world” standard of living. Although the College never formally adopted a policy of discrimination as relates to race, in practice members of minority groups, particularly Negroes, were for a time excluded from admission to the College; and then, after admission was reopened to them, they were restricted in regard to housing and certain social activities.

Scholars who are students of American society find that there tends to be considerable discrepancy between scientific knowledge and social behavior. At Wheaton we are subject to a similar pitfall. Scientific evidence indicates that all men belong to the same human family with equal personal and social potentials (positive and negative). As a body of Christian scholars Wheaton College accepts the valid findings of the physical and social sciences; but in addition we believe we have a higher responsibility, namely, that of a Christ-centered academic and social life. Our conduct with respect to minority groups may not always reflect these beliefs.

In God’s sight, according to His Word, the meaningful differentiations between people are based on how they are related to His Son, whether they are of the world or have been born from above, whether they are His sheep or not, whether they abide in the Vine or not, whether they walk in the Spirit or after the flesh, whether they are obedient or disobedient. Distinctions based on social categories are of this world’s system. In Christ Jesus there is no segregation. “There cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Col. 3:11.) As concerns the presence and functioning of each member of the Body of Christ, we read, “But now hath God set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased Him.” (I Cor. 12:16.) What glory of unity was presented at Pentecost when all barriers disappeared as the outpoured Spirit witnessed to the completed work of the Savior, and the Risen Lord began to indwell His people in a living, vital relationship that bound them to Himself and to one another! Here was a divine pattern and the beginning of an ongoing process that transcends social distinctions. As long as the Holy Spirit is permitted to impart the divine nature, to make real the indwelling Savior, this unity continues. Said Peter as he faced his congregation in the home of Cornelius, “Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to Him.” (Acts 10:34-35.) On the one hand, “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23.) On the other hand, all who have been called of God are made partakers of the same divine nature (II Peter 1:3-4) and are members one of another. (Rom. 12:5; see also I Cor. 12:12-27.)

American practices of discrimination have prevented the personal, economic, social, intellectual, and spiritual growth of a large segment of our population; this segment has been isolated from the main stream of American development even though it has no other native land or cultural identification. The Christian Church has been as guilty as the secular community, a fact which has not been concealed from either Christians or non-Christians abroad. Whether missionaries or in other callings, whether on the home front or in other lands, evangelical white people have tended to regard colored peoples as inferior and have so treated them. The consequences have multiplied beyond measure, certainly beyond our control. We must depend upon and work with our colored brethren, assisting them into and in places of leadership, and look to them, both at home and abroad, for the constructive action which we are not qualified to take. The extent to which we see ourselves in proper perspective will be the measure of our future strength.

If we are to judge from our own national history and from the many cross-currents of international life today, the rising new nations of the earth will face grave problems quite apart from the race factor. Followers of Jesus Christ the world around have a double responsibility, as national citizens and as members of His Body, to join together, whatever their localities, in sharing the responsibilities of national and world-wide ministries in the gospel.

College years are of deep social and spiritual significance to growing Christian young people. They provide the opportunity for students and faculty to become acquainted with persons of diverse backgrounds, to understand each other in Christ, and to assume the responsibilities of true friendship as the end of College years distribute us the world over in keeping with divine guidance. We, therefore, at Wheaton College have a heavy responsibility toward the Christian community, toward our nation, and particularly to our College family of various races and nationalities to face the issues of race relations on our campus and in the world-wide Body of Christ.

In order to implement our convictions and express our Christian compassion we present the following propositions:

  1. That the College foster a series of programs and discussions designed to acquaint the College family of racial problems and issues.
  2. That steps be taken to find a colored person qualified for appointment to the faculty.
  3. That the College acquaint itself with practices of discrimination which prevail in the city of Wheaton.
  4. That the College continue the strengthening of its whole educational and extra-curricular program so as to provide as fine training as possible for its foreign students.
  5. That admission requirements be re-studied with a view to correcting any possible distortion of the campus social structure growing out of an unrepresentative kind of life which does not offer interaction with some of the important segments of our society.
  6. That rules governing dating and permissions for marriage be uniform for the whole student body. Counseling should be available to all persons on a voluntary basis; earnest consideration should be given to assist all our young people in finding the will of God. Interracial couples should be given understanding and wise counsel, the same as other couples, without pre-judgment concerning the will of God.

Prepared by the
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Wheaton College
June, 1 960

What was the response?

Eleven days later, on July 22nd, President Edman sent the proposed statement out to his Executive Council members:

July 22, 1960

My dear Brethren:

The enclosed progress report from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology is to be read, to be kept in the utmost confidence, and passed on from one member to another and thus returned to me. At some future meeting of the Council, we can discuss this report.

I shall appreciate that no word whatever be said about it, even to members of our families. We may want to have extensive changes in it before it is issued. Like the statement on inspiration made by the Bible Department several years ago, this statement will need the approval of the Trustees before there is any word about it.

Thank you very much. Cordially,


V. R. Edman President


Memorandum to be circulated to the following members:

Dr. Enock C. Dyrness (check mark indicating his receipt)
Mr. Harold G. Faulkner (check mark)
Dr. Arthur H. Volle (check mark)
Dr. Merrill C. Tenney (check mark and dated “7/29/60”)
Mr. Charles W. Schoenherr (check mark)
Mr. David L. Roberts (check mark and dated “7/27/60”)
Dr. John H. Fadenrecht (check mark)
Dr. V. Raymond Edman (check mark)

If one who has finished reading it will kindly make sure that it gets to the hand of the next one, please. If that one happens to be away from campus, it can be passed on to another who is here. I want this to be read as soon as possible and returned to the office. Thank you.

Wheaton’s archives then reveal this response in the form of a memo written by Executive Council Member Dr. Merrill C. Tenney:

July 29, 1960

Dear Dr. Edman:

I have just received your letter with a tentative Wheaton College statement on race relations. I have read the statement rather carefully, and have noted several points which I would like to raise for discussion.

I would like a further clarification of the third paragraph beginning on page 1, which implies that Wheaton College at some time practiced the exclusion of minority groups, particularly Negroes. To the best of my knowledge this has not happened since 1925, and I had never heard that such was the case. If this was true, what was the reason for the exclusion of the minority group? And was that exclusion connected in any way with the College’s position on orthodoxy?

I will agree that the basic division of mankind is not by race but by regeneration. On the other hand, would we exclude those whom we regard to be unregenerate? Of course, spiritual distinction is much less obvious than the distinction of race, since there is no external color which marks one’s spiritual state.

Point six on the last page should be discussed thoroughly within the administrative group before any formal presentation is made to the faculty or to the public. I am in agreement that there is no sin in interracial marriage, and that the principals, if they are willing to take the risk, have liberty to do it . On the other hand, the union of two persons from widely differing cultures and habits, even within the same race, necessitates adjustments that are extremely difficult; when the adjustments come between members of different races, with the consequent social pressures, the adjustments are sometimes impossible.

When young people unthinkingly involve themselves in such a situation, should counseling be only on a “voluntary” basis?

A further consideration enters into this problem. Will some of the parents of our students regard a tacit approval of interracial marriage as a danger to their children? Can we meet this situation without becoming discriminatory in our treatment of the minority groups, particularly of those of non-Caucasian blood?

I have no objection whatsoever to having a person of Negro or Oriental blood on the faculty and would welcome such a person if he met all the prevailing Wheaton standards. My experience this summer in Hawaii convinced me that Caucasians and others could work together harmoniously in the same churches and on the same faculties.

In short, I agree that this important social question should be studied carefully and sympathetically by the faculty, administration and trustees. I think, however, that we should not rush into print until we know precisely what we are going to do and whether we can pay the cost of our resolutions.

Cordially yours,


Merrill C. Tenney


Much could be said about the documents above, starting with the fact that the Wheaton College Statement on Race Relations here solicited and proposed never saw the light of day. Dead on arrival it was.

Clearly interracial marriage was still a third rail issue on Wheaton’s campus. Was the concern sincerely pastoral, or was it simply racism peeking out from its hiding place?

But let us keep in mind the point of this article. President J. Oliver Buswell Jr. had founded the Department of Anthropology at Wheaton way back in 1937 when Anthropology was the “principal science concerned with race,” and this Wheaton College Statement on Race Relations produced by Wheaton’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology was the fruit of President Buswell’s opposition to racism.

Who has the temerity to deny this?

President Buswell was no fundamentalist, hick, or country bumpkin. He knew precisely what he was doing when he hired Alexander Grigolia, the Sorbonist, to profess Anthropology part time. He knew precisely what he was doing when he brought Grigolia on full time. He knew precisely what he was doing when he tasked Grigolia with founding Wheaton’s Department of Anthropology way back in 1937 when, as Wheaton College today brags, “Wheaton’s Anthropology program was one of the first of its kind among national liberal arts colleges.”

So let us ask whether this information was unknown to Phil Ryken, his Trustees, and their faculty employees who produced the denunciation of President Buswell as racist in their execrable Historical Review Task Force Report?

Watch this carefully.

The author of the article quoted above detailing how Professor Alexander Grigolia and Wheaton’s Department of Anthropology led Billy Graham to oppose racism and segregation was none other than present Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Wheaton College, Professor Brian M. Howell.

Which is to say, President Phil Ryken, the Trustees of Wheaton College, and Wheaton’s best and brightest employees knew the same President Buswell it denounced as a racist was the man who brought Alexander Grigolia on board to teach at Wheaton and founded Wheaton’s Department of Anthropology where students learned why and how to oppose racism on the basis of both Biblical and scientific principles.

President J. Oliver Buswell, Jr.’s promotion of Anthropology was the seed which bore the fruit of Wheaton’s New Evangelical alumni attacking racism; and specifically, their voluble condemnation of educational segregation we have documented here.

Where does this leave Wheaton’s Historical Review Task Force, their Report, and the denunciation of President Buswell as racist?

It obliterates the whole moral charade.

A man who is a racist doesn’t hire a Sorbonist and Ivy League anthropologist who is adamantly opposed to racism, nor does he give that man orders to create a new department of Anthropology which discipline at its core strips racism of its scholarly legitimacy.

Some presidents are good fundraisers, but not good scholars. Some presidents are good at flattering rich men, but bad at knowing their professors’ character and the import of their research and teaching.

President Buswell was neither of those men.

Rather, he was a superb scholar who knew how popular Professor Grigolia was among Wheaton’s students as well as the inevitable fruit Grigolia would produce destroying racism within the Church of Jesus Christ.

Anthropology was the cornerstone of scholarly opposition to racism in the world of that time, yet today’s faculty members under President Phil Ryken make not a single mention of President Buswell’s leadership founding Wheaton’s Department of Anthropology.

Of course, there will be some readers who, despite reading this and the previous fourteen articles in this series, will claim this exclusion of the coming of Anthropology to Wheaton was an accidental omission from the Task Force’s Report.

The French say there’s no one so blind as the man who doesn’t want to see.

(Fifteenth in a series; 9,900 views as of 4/14/24)

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1G. K. Chesterton, Letters to a Garibaldian (third letter).
2God named our race “adam,” and therefore “man” here follows this Divine naming of male and female together under the male of the species.
3Initially, the department was called the Department of Anthropology and Archeology.
4Phil Saint, Fossils that Speak Out: Creation vs. Evolution (Bladensburg: Dove Christian Books, 1989), p. 2. (Saint provides an inspiring account of Grigolia’s conversion during his pursuit of the doctorate at UPenn.)
5American Anthropologist, Vol.117, No.1, pp.59–70. Copyright 2015 by the American Anthropological Association.
6Brian Howell, “How Billy Graham Married Evangelism and Anthropology,” https://www.sapiens.org/culture/billy-graham-anthropology/ Homo Sapiens (accessed March 26, 2024.)
8Mark Noll, God and Race in American Politics: A Short History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 157.
9Steven P. Miller, “Billy Graham, Civil Rights, and the Changing Postwar South” in Politics and Religion in the White South,  ed. Glenn Feldman; 2005;  p. 160.
10Ibid, 161.

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