Our Christian schools are under attack from within and without:
There are at least two major ways in which Christianity as a whole – and Christian education in particular – can become fully radicalised and secularised: one is by external assault, and the other is by internal capitulation. Here I want to look at both pressure points, specifically in relation to the war on Christian colleges.
Let me begin with the first means by which they are under attack. The militants have long declared their intentions about targeting churches and Christian education. They are fully aware that Christianity is really the last stronghold remaining that is opposing the activist agendas.
Get the churches to capitulate – by force or by fear – and you pretty much have a complete free run in implementing your radical agendas. The homosexual activists have long known this, so they are working overtime to undermine things like Christian education.
Consider just one of the latest attempts of this. As one article states, legal action is being used against Christian colleges. The piece, which makes for scary reading, opens as follows:
When five unelected super-legislators on the Supreme Court unilaterally amended the Constitution to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015, Chief Justice John Roberts warned that the ruling would pose “hard questions” about the freedom of religious colleges to operate according to their convictions. Former Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said, “It will be an issue.” This week, Roberts’ warning has come to pass, and the time in which Verrilli’s “issue” comes to the fore is now.
On Monday, 33 current and former students at federally-funded Christian colleges and universities launched a historic attack on religious freedom by filing a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Education (DoE). The lawsuit, Hunter et al. v. Department of Education, claims that the DoE violated the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution by granting religious exemptions to Christian institutions that allegedly “discriminate” against “sexual and gender minorities.”
The article continues:
While the lawsuit takes aim at federal funding for colleges and universities like Azusa Pacific University, Baylor University, Bob Jones University, Brigham-Young University, Liberty University, and Fuller Theological Seminary, a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would likely ultimately impact the conservative Christian colleges and universities that do not receive federal funding, such as Hillsdale College, Grove City College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), Boyce College, and others.
Taxpayer funding makes some institutions more vulnerable, but if the Senate passes the Equality Act and if President Joe Biden enforces his view of LGBT “rights,” then even refusal to take federal funding will not protect biblical Christian institutions from penalties for “discrimination.”
Of course, the issue also extends beyond colleges and universities. As SBTS President Al Mohler explained on Wednesday, the lawsuit targets “not just Christian institutions, organizations, and ministries, but the churches and denominations behind them.”
“If your church or your denomination cannot establish an institution serving your purpose on your own convictional basis, then you are being denied the right to operate as a church,” he argued. The lawsuit notes that “most of the institutions seeking exemptions are Evangelical Christian institutions,” even though a few of the colleges and universities are Mormon or Seventh-Day Adventist.
Make no mistake — this lawsuit is a direct assault on the religious freedom of conservative Christians who dare to dissent from LGBT orthodoxy and attempt to live out their convictions. https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/tyler-o-neil/2021/03/31/new-lawsuit-seeks-to-criminalize-universities-christian-conviction-on-lgbt-issues-n1436592
That is just one of countless attempts to destroy Christianity from without. But sadly all too often Christians are doing a pretty good job of allowing it to be destroyed from within. The truth is, the more woke the culture gets, the more woke the church gets.
And that includes things like Christian colleges. I have often written about this happening, as formerly sound Christian institutions of higher education increasingly succumb to the world around them, and start caving in on so many issues. Thus we have had plenty of Christian colleges happily pushing the homosexual agenda. See here for example: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2018/09/27/christian-colleges-another-one-bites-the-dust/
And it is not just capitulation to radical sexual agendas. Many of these schools are fully jumping on board the various woke agendas and readily going along with cancel culture. Consider Wheaton College in Chicago, the premier evangelical Christian liberal arts college in America.
I actually was a student there in the mid-80s, and there were worrying signs even back then of it succumbing to the surrounding culture and its secular left agenda items. Sadly it seems to keep getting worse. Consider this recent news item:
Wheaton College will be removing and replacing a plaque honoring a group of alumni who were murdered by an indigenous tribe during a missionary trip to Ecuador. Why? Because it uses the word ‘savage’, the school’s president announced in an email Wednesday.
‘Recently, students, faculty, and staff have expressed concern about language on the plaque that is now recognized as offensive,’ president Philip Ryken said in the email. ‘Specifically, the word “savage” is regarded as pejorative and has been used historically to dehumanize and mistreat indigenous peoples around the world.’
The plaque, which had a home in Edman Chapel, honors Jim Elliot and Ed McCully, two members of the missionary group that sought to spread Christianity to indigenous peoples in Ecuador through Operation Auca. The missionaries spent months exchanging gifts with the Waodani (then known as the Auca) tribe before finally having a face-to-face meeting, which the missionaries considered a success. However, not long after the first meeting, five of the missionaries were speared to death, their bodies thrown into a river by tribesmen.
‘For generations all strangers were killed by these savage Indians,’ the plaque says. ‘After many days of patient preparation and devout prayer, the missionaries made the first friendly contact known to history with the Aucas.’
Although the missionaries were killed, their trip is largely considered a success because it led to a long-term decline in violence among the Waodani people. The plaque was gifted to the Illinois-based liberal arts college 64 years ago by Elliot and McCully’s classmates. It had already been removed by the college as of Wednesday afternoon, according to a photo obtained by The Spectator. https://spectator.us/topic/wheaton-college-plaque-operation-auca-missionaries-savage/
Wow. All evangelical Christians know about – or should know about – the incredible story of Jim Elliot and the other four missionaries, and this moving case of martyrdom. I have often written about it, eg: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/06/16/notable-christians-elisabeth-elliot/
And yeah, I would call those spearing to death peaceful missionaries “savages” as well. But Wheaton is going woke, and so it cannot allow this to remain. Many concerned folks have already commented on this sad episode. Jon Brown said this: “Woke cancel culture is profoundly anti-Christian. That it finds itself slithering into even the most historically stalwart evangelical institutions ought to concern everyone who cares about freedom.” https://www.dailywire.com/news/not-even-billy-grahams-alma-mater-is-safe-from-pearl-clutching-cancel-culture
And my social media friend Laurie Higgins said this about it:
Wheaton College is really woking up. The administration has removed a plaque honoring missionary Jim Elliot because it described the savage tribe that killed him and four others as “savage.” The word “savage” means “not civilized” or “ferocious, violent, or brutal.” The uncivilized tribe called the Waodani or “Auca” (which means “savage” in Quichua) that brutally killed Jim Elliot, Ed McMully, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming was savage. That’s a fact. So too were the Aztecs, Mongols, and Comanches. And so the “woke” erasure of history continues. Got my kids in and out of Wheaton in the nick of time.
She went on to pen an entire article on this, which ends as follows:
As reported by the Associated Press, “Current student Caitlyn Kasper praised the decision to remove the plaque. ‘Plaques like that have caused pain to people and are almost a symbol of white superiority in their very presences and in how they make people of color feel unwelcome at Wheaton’.”
Does such a plaque cause pain to people? Do people untutored in the doctrine of wokeness espoused in public schools via Critical Race Theory feel pain when seeing this historically accurate plaque? Or is it just the indoctrinated who claim to feel faux-pain?
Is there something intrinsically wrong about feeling pain when confronted by one’s own sin or encountering testimonies of past sinful acts committed by humans? Was the plaque really “almost” a symbol of white superiority? And if this plaque was “almost” a symbol of white superiority, was it such a symbol or not?
Those who have connections to Wheaton College know that this is merely another step in its ongoing Great Awokening. Wheaton has been churning out social justice warriors since at least Obama’s presidential tenure. As the mother of two Wheaton graduates and mother-in-law of two, I say that with no pleasure.
I first wrote about Wheaton’s cultural capitulation in 2010 when the social justice manifesto of the Department of Education was discovered, a “conceptual framework” rife with the woke rhetoric polluting government schools everywhere today.
The comments from these two current Wheaton students point to the larger problems at Wheaton and raise important questions. How is it that Wheaton students are so biblically ignorant and so woke? Is Wheaton continuing in its abolitionist history of boldly confronting and opposing sin at any cost—especially those serious sins that currently find favor among the well-heeled and powerful? If so, why do we hear so little coming out of Wheaton College from either the administration, faculty, or students about the grievous harm and injustice being done to children by the homosexuality community and “trans” cult? Could it be that Wheaton is tutoring students in the ways of soft-peddling biblical views of sin while scratching itching ears? https://illinoisfamily.org/education/wokeness-at-wheaton/
‘Go woke, go broke’ is how this is often described. We expect secular corporations to bow down to leftist agendas and the cancel culture. We don’t expect Christian institutions that had folks like Billy Graham and Jim Elliot as students to head down this same deplorable path as well.