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“Interesting Background on Religious Universities” (by John Waddey)

April 14 2007 at 5:27 PM
Donnie Cruz  (Login Donnie.Cruz)
from IP address

Source: “Christianity: Then & Now” (John Waddey, editor)


Interesting Background on Religious Universities

In the fifth chapter of his excellent book, The New Paganism, Harold Lindsell devotes several pages to the role of religious schools in the decline of faith in Protestant churches. Methinks there are some valuable lessons in his words for us of the churches of Christ.

  • First he notes that “A vast host of American colleges and universities were started as Christian institutions. They, like the European schools, were infiltrated by aberrant theological viewpoints and capitulated to secularism or paganism. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, Smith, and other institutions have now departed from their original moorings and make no profession whatever of being genuinely Christian” (p. 101). Not only have they ceased to be religious in any sense of the word, these schools are all now decidedly anti-Christian in every way. Lindell goes on to say, “What is said about the colleges and universities can also be said about the theological seminaries. Except for a few … most of them were infiltrated by German anti supernatural rationalism … most of the theological seminaries capitulated to modernism” (p. 101). Note that religious schools tend to drift to the left of the theological spectrum!

  • “Liberalism’s strength was of such a nature that few of the institutions had or wanted to have conservative or evangelical representatives on their faculties.” “… scholars with orthodox-evangelical beliefs have been largely frozen out of the teaching posts of our seminaries” (p. 102). Conservative scholars tend to be weeded out and excluded.

  • The kind of preachers they produce. J.I. Packer describes the kind of graduates liberal schools send forth. Their “preaching is hazy; heads are muddled; hearts fret, doubts drain our strength…” (p. 102).

  • They reject the wisdom of past leaders. “Liberal theology, in its pride, has long insisted that we are wiser than our fathers about the Bible, and must not read it as they did…” (p. 102).

  • When liberalism gains control in a school, the effects are threefold: “1. It produces a new papalism—the infallibility of the scholars, from whom we learn what the ‘assured results’ are. 2. It raises a doubt about every single Bible passage, as to whether it truly embodies revelation or not. 3. And it destroys the reverent, receptive, self-distrusting attitude of approach to the bible without which it cannot be known to be God’s Word written…. The result? The spiritual famine of which Amos spoke” (p. 102-103). (As they bring about the above things, liberals strongly deny they are altering or leaving the old biblical fiath) JHW.

  • Misuse of hermeneutics. “Another area where the Bible is being severely damaged is in the field of hermeneutics … but hermeneutics can be used constructively or destructively. And it is the latter use of this methodology that bears evil fruit” (p. 105). Remember that our change agents seek to justify their changes by appealing to their “New Hermeneutics!”

  • “The secular institutions (schools) are pagan and therefore constitute a challenge to historic orthodoxy. And the theological seminaries that function within the orbit of the churches have generally accepted the views of the pagan institutions outside of the churches. Thus the churches face challenges from within their own spheres of influence as well from those forces outside their boundaries. The seminaries are heavily tilted away from orthodoxy and the churches themselves reflect his condition, … for the churches of today are the result of what the seminaries were yesterday and what the churches of the future will be like can be seen from what the seminaries are today. The picture is therefore dismal” (p. 107). This lesson we must learn!

  • “Two things happened to the church. The first is that they lost their commitment to the world and life view they had enjoyed from the time of their beginnings. They moved to the left theologically and took over the modern views of their institutions. The second change marked their departure from their traditional lifestyle and the adoption of one quite similar to that of the paganism around them” (p. 107). This is the destiny of any church that accepts the teaching of a liberal preacher. Among our brethren, the layman in the pew rarely arrives at a liberal conclusion on his own. Almost without fail, it is the preacher who introduces the deadly liberal virus that destroys one’s respect for the authority of the Bible and for the church which Christ built! Leaders of our congregations would do well to pay attention to Mr. Lindell’s observations, lest their congregations suffer harm because of their ignorance.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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