Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cedarville cancels Claiborne

Just when I write that I haven't blogged too much about my alma mater, I see another reason to do. Katelyn Beaty, posting to the website for Christianity Today magazine, writes that Cedarville University had invited Shane Claiborne to speak on campus but then cancelled. This cancellation happened after "a small but vocal number of bloggers" complained about Claiborne's appearance because they "saw the lecture as a step toward liberal theology." Although the article indicates that several bloggers were complaining, only one - Ingrid Schlueter - is specifically named. Schlueter was unhappy with the article's focus on bloggers instead of Cedarville's perceived "step toward liberal theology," so she wrote a response.

Naturally, I have a few thoughts....

(1) Despite writing that several bloggers complained of Claiborne's scheduled appearance, Beaty names only Schlueter. Why is that? Was Beaty operating on hearsay, or could she simply not be bothered with informing her readers of the identities of the other bloggers?

(2) Think about what a church is, and what it isn't. Next, think about what a university is, and what it isn't. Should a university act as a church, even it has been "approved" by a specific denomination of churches? What is a university's obligation to its students?

(3) How many non-Reformed speakers must be invited before we can definitively say that Cedarville is on the path to "liberal theology?" How many Reformed speakers must be invited to counter that claim?

(4) Is this just a bunch of hoo-haw?

(5) Peruse Schlueter's blog for yourself. You'll be seeing a lot of this, and consider how many times those kinds of posts appear. Ask yourself, how are these posts any different than gossip?

(6) Which would you prefer: a blog that causes you to think, and or a blog that tells you what to think?


  1. Matt, I'm with you as far as Christianity Today's failure to even name any blog but Slice--there was SO much more to the story, but as for the question about how the site is any different than gossip, how is your blog talking about Slice any different than gossip? Blogs address the ideas and events going on around us. That's the whole point. Slice is an adjunct to the radio show I have hosted for 20 years, Crosstalk. The show deals with issues in the church which affect all of us who are part of the body of Christ. When a man like Rick Warren, or Joel Osteen, or Shane Claiborne or anyone else gets up and says, "I represent Christ", we are obligated to be Bereans and take a second look. That's the purpose of Slice. I have spoken with countless believers over the years who are deeply troubled and discouraged about the emerging teachings, the Purpose Driven madness, and the redefining of Christianity in their churches. If I can be a voice encouraging them to go back to the Scriptures which are wholly reliable, than I've done something worthwhile. That is what my radio show and the blog are all about.

  2. Ingrid: First, I want to thank you for taking the time to leave a comment for me. I realize that you are a busy person, and frankly, my little blog is small potatoes and doesn't have much of an audience (right now I'm averaging 50-60 viewers daily). Since Slice doesn't allow comments, I'm glad you have stopped by here so that we can interact. I don't know if you'll stop by again to see if I've followed up your statements, but we shall see.

    Second, I didn't say that the posts on Slice are merely examples of gossip. I wanted to encourage my readers to think about whether they are or not. I'm not so sure I would go down the road and proclaim them as gossip (although I will say they are PASWO), but they disturb me more than a little. The reason they disturb is the way that you treat them. Honestly, I think it is beneath you to mention something that you think is wrong in the church and then to give flippant, sophomoric comments like "This school just can’t seem to stay away from the emerging Kool-Aid, and this time, it’s a big gulp." That line is a bit sensationalistic, don't you think? I realize that there are plenty of blogs out there, and one of the biggest sins in blogdom is to be perceived as boring, but come on. You no doubt consider yourself a professional person - act like one.

    Third, how many Reformed preachers and teachers would have to speak at Cedarville before you decide than it isn't going down the road of the emerging church? Do you carefully investigate every single chapel speaker? I rather doubt it because it would be too time consuming, but I could be wrong.

    Lastly, you wrote on Slice, "I report and commentate on the news. I don’t make it." When a blogger is able to sway the decisions of a university, that indeed is news. It's a little like a professional athlete saying, "I'm no role model." It's completely disingenuous.

  3. If she is unwilling to have comments on her blog...then I say don't give her the time of day.

  4. Adam: I actually for sorry for Ingrid. She breezily dismisses people with whom she disagrees, even though they may be writing about things that are well worth considering. I'm wondering how many people will she go up to in Heaven and say, "What are you doing here? I thought I consigned you to hell."

  5. Cedarville is getting very liberal. When I attended, a Cedarville College student stood out in a crowd... you knew who they were. When I moved out of Cedarville a few years ago, I couldn't tell a Cedarville student from an Antioch students. The outward signs appear to be forebearing omens of the coming liberal changes in doctrine. What a shame.

  6. Anon: when did you go? And why didn't you identify yourself by name? I graduated in 1993 - were you there around that time?

    How do you define "very liberal?" In what ways are Cedarville students like Antioch students? I think that Cedarville and Antioch are similar but not in the ways you might think.

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