I have a list of 10 evangelical Christian colleges that have closed in the past two years.

Many have gotten in trouble because they thought their success was measured in academic accreditation, better scholarships, faculty with recognized doctorates, adding business and educational programs, and a number of other improvements.

While these things may have their place, they don't insure the success of a Christian college.

The secret to a Christian college is mission, passion, and dedication to Christ. Thoughts from the faculty of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota

Over the past year or so at least five conservative evangelical educational institutions have been facing a tremendous amount of institutional turmoil, three of these are from the fundamentalist orbit.

Upheaval at educational institutions should not be surprising to us when we consider the sinfulness of man and the efforts of the devil and his cohorts to disrupt the training of individuals for Christian ministry.

When thinking about the reasons for institutional dysfunction, it is helpful to consider that there are three main categories of people who must work together:

> > the faculty,

> > the president (and his administration), and

> > the governing board.

If any one of these three gets off track or if a dispute arises between any of them, there are certainly going to be problems. And this is what we can see in the five institutions currently dealing with turmoil.

I could add a fourth category: the student body. But typically, the fault for failure in an institution lies at the feet of the three mentioned above. Students certainly play a part in how the board views the work of the faculty and administration, and they have played an interesting role in both the Northwestern and Piedmont situations (more on these below).

But in the end institutional turmoil goes back to the interplay between the board, faculty, and administration.

Piedmont Baptist College & Graduate School of Winston-Salem, NC,

A classic demonstration of conflict between faculty and administration (and the board since the board appears to be supporting the president) is presently occurring at Piedmont Baptist College and Graduate School of Winston-Salem, NC, where a number of faculty (several of whom have been serving for many years) are choosing to leave the school after the current school year is over. It will be interesting to see how this situation is resolved.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Now that most of the 19faculty who have resigned have been instructed to vacate the campus, one can only wonder what is next. More than likely it will be the resignation of several board members.

Vice President of Academics Resigns

The resignation of Dr. Jeff McCann, Vice President of Academics, brings the growing number of resignations to 18.

Now that all the Deans and the Academic administration have resigned perhaps the college trustees will take their responsibility to protect the institution seriously rather than protect a handful of administrators.

This resignation is most likely due to the recent attempted demotion of Dr. McCann to Director of Institutional Effectiveness.

Ironically, the institution's effectiveness is exactly what he was attempting to maintain when he put his name on the original letter sent to the administration on the 6th of February.

If this were anything other than a "Christian" institution, Dr. McCann would have a very valid lawsuit for punitive actions taken because he filed a grievance. Is there no end to the violation of Biblical and legal precepts that this school will not violate to protect a failing administration?

It has been laid to the charge of the 26 involved that their attitude is wrong in this matter, I would offer to that criticism, "Attitude reflects Leadership."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Ever Changing Story

After months of denial and accusations of rumors, Dr. Ashburn verbally confirmed to at least one departing member, that there had been discussions of firing key "instigators" associated with the original letter sent to Dr. Petitt and her on the 6th of February. So were there talks or not? The political-type spin being used by the board and administration continues to this very hour while they talk about reconciliation and restoration. If this is their idea of either, I can fully understand how we got to this point. This recent disclosure flys in the face of the administration's public stance of "working toward reconciliation and restoration."

The "26" have been maligned and castigated for spreading rumors while in fact the information they presented was in fact truthful. At this point a formal, public apology to all 26 is in order to set the record straight, however I do not hold out any hope of one forthcoming.

So the question arises, why is there now an admission of retribution when it has been the policy to deny and accuse others of spreading false information? What could be the motive?

This is only one example of the lack of integrity sighted by those who are leaving PBC that has fueled this controversy to this point. No matter which side you fall on, these questions deserve honest answers, if they can be attained.

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College

The ultimate upheaval has been experienced at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College (my alma mater) in that it had to close its doors in December of 2008 after 51 years of ministry.

The reasons for this closure are related to financial concerns, but there is certainly more to it. I’m currently writing a series of articles on this very subject for our church newsletter (Vox Ecclesia) with the third and final article to be published on June 7.

You can access the newsletter and articles at our church’s website (

Northwestern College of Roseville, MN

In a very similar situation several faculty at Northwestern College of Roseville, MN, have voiced concerns with the educational philosophy and direction of that school’s president and administration. Many are anxiously awaiting the results of an investigation by a “Special Master” appointed by the board.

Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH,

At Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH, a terminated faculty member has created a great degree of turmoil by filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the administration and the board. His grievances not only include concerns about the manner of his removal but also about the theological direction of the school.

In this particular case the vast majority of the faculty are in agreement with the president/administration and the board, and they disagree with the assignment of theological drift by the school. The university is still awaiting the resolution of this court case.

Maranatha Baptist Bible College of Watertown, WI,

Most recently Maranatha Baptist Bible College of Watertown, WI, has seen a conflict between the president and the board resulting in the resignation/termination of the president over the Memorial Day weekend. I’m sure more information will be forthcoming about the particularities of the upheaval at Maranatha.

I hope that a president can be appointed who will be able to enhance the relationships between the three categories of people there (faculty, president, and board) so that the work can continue unhindered.

My hope for all five of these institutions is that the conflicts will be resolved biblically and that the primary task of training young people for Christian ministry will go forward without sullying the name of our great Savior for whose cause these institutions exist.

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