NY Times: Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy

Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy by Michael Paulson (NY Times, 6/10/2014). Note: Article screen shot. In the print copy, the article began in text in the middle of the front page.

Yesterday, Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy ran on the front page of the NY Times.

For 40 years, evangelicals at Bowdoin College have gathered periodically to study the Bible together, to pray and to worship. They are a tiny minority on the liberal arts college campus, but they have been a part of the school’s community, gathering in the chapel, the dining center, the dorms.

After this summer, the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship will no longer be recognized by the college. Already, the college has disabled the electronic key cards of the group’s longtime volunteer advisers. . . .

Michael Paulson’s insightful piece gives attention to significant Campus Access Concerns faced by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and other campus ministries across the United States.

. . . At Cal State, the nation’s largest university system with nearly 450,000 students on 23 campuses, the chancellor is preparing this summer to withdraw official recognition from evangelical groups that are refusing to pledge not to discriminate on the basis of religion in the selection of their leaders. And at Vanderbilt, more than a dozen groups, most of them evangelical but one of them Catholic, have already lost their official standing over the same issue; one Christian group balked after a university official asked the students to cut the words “personal commitment to Jesus Christ” from their list of qualifications for leadership. . . .

“It’s absurd,” said Alec Hill, the president of InterVarsity, a national association of evangelical student groups, including the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship. “The genius of American culture is that we allow voluntary, self-identified organizations to form, and that’s what our student groups are. . . .

If you have not already done such, I encourage you to take the time to prayerfully consider and discuss Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias PolicyThe below material is a distillation of what I have posted on Facebook (InterVarsity Faculty Ministry and InterVarsity Emerging Scholars Network) and received through InterVarsity’s ministry as a whole. Pray for God’s continued granting of discernment. As you have particular prayer concerns, please share below and/or drop me a line. May this article signal “a changing tide in matters of public policy and faith, principled pluralism and freedom of association”. To God be the glory!

Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World (Revised and Expanded) by Richard J. Mouw (InterVarsity Press, 2010).

Resources as you pray for, partner with, and participate in InterVarsity’s labors on campus:

What a joy and humbling privilege to come alongside, encourage and equip the next generation of Christian scholars as they seek to be a redeeming influence in the academy, church, and the world during such a time as this. To God be the glory!

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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  • june.armstrong@gmail.com'
    June Armstrong commented on June 12, 2014 Reply

    Perhaps it’s better to be opposed than ignored. Think what came out of the opposition to Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. And Daniel! Who knows what God may be up to?

  • AmericanWhiteDude@gmail.com'
    The Dude commented on June 26, 2014 Reply

    No problem. Non-Christians leading Bible study? Fine. The college should hire professors with no experience or degrees to teach their subject.

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