Friday, June 22, 2007

Jewell's Perfidy Is Complete

Exactly when William Jewell College began to distance itself from Biblical faithfulness would be impossible to pinpoint. But as a graduate of this former Missouri Baptist institution, I experienced her embrace of neo-orthodoxy in countless ways.

Let me give, out of the starting gate, the obligatory nod to my alma mater. Jewell is an incredible institution and I am mostly grateful for my experiences there, both through formal education and informal relationships and interactions. I won’t tick down the good things I could say about William Jewell college, not because they aren’t in my soul, but because I don’t have much time for this post.

William Jewell gave me more than a very excellent liberal-liberal arts education. Chief and foremost, at Jewell I met my incredible friend Scott Weldon, who remains a consistent and encouraging colleague. He and his wife Cheryl (also a Jewell alum) minister faithful and selflessly in Missouri for our Lord’s glory.

There is no doubt the school abounds with brilliance, excellence and so many other characteristics that make for a great institution. But at the most recent board meeting, trustees completed their perfidious path from Biblical truth with the adoption of a new mission statement:

“William Jewell College promises students an outstanding liberal arts education that cultivates leadership, service, and spiritual growth within a community inspired by Christian ideals and committed to open, rigorous intellectual pursuits.”
Evidently, the new mission statement had the unanimous support of both the faculty and the Student Senate, both giving their endorsements through resolutions passed during the spring semester. WJC’s mission statement was last reworked in 1997. The former statement read:

“The mission of William Jewell College is to provide students a liberal arts education of superior quality; to serve communities beyond the campus educationally, culturally, and socially; and to be an institution loyal to the ideals of Christ, demonstrating a Christian philosophy for the whole of life, and expressing the Missouri Baptist Heritage which is the foundation of the college.”
Most Missouri Baptists know the story behind the rift between William Jewell College and the Missouri Baptist Convention. Jewell was the state convention’s first educational institution. But conservatives have long been uncomfortable with the college’s progressively liberal and unbiblical viewpoints and teachings.

Jewell exasperated the tensions in February, 2003, when Administration officials allowed the vile play “The Vagina Monologues” to be performed on campus (by the way, the VMs made their way back to Jewell this past March, according to this press release). After this fiasco, Jewell was riddled with a series of issues uncovering a pro-homosexual agenda on the Liberty campus which culminated in an attempt to add “sexual orientation” to the Student Bill of Rights. Tim Perkins, a former teenage church member of mine, was Student Senate President at the time. Tim is a remarkable and doctrinally sound Christian who vetoed the attempt to enshrine immorality in Jewell’s Student Bill of Rights.

In a December 13, 2002 letter to WJC President David Salle regarding the Student Senate amendment, I wrote:

“This amendment is also a disingenuous and misdirected attempt to relate properly to homosexuals. While in a politically correct cultural climate, adding “sexual orientation” to an anti-discrimination paragraph may seem proper, but the true Christian ethic would be to lovingly relate the truth to homosexual persons. The average heterosexual male in America dies at 75. The average homosexual male in America dies at 41. Something about their behavior is terribly wrong. It is wrong Scripturally, morally and scientifically. Rather than accommodating their wrong choices of sexual expression, William Jewell would serve homosexuals better by setting a standard of appropriate and Biblical sexuality.”
Well, by the end of the October 2003 annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention, William Jewell College had been defunded. It took them just shy of 4 years to erase “the Missouri Baptist Heritage” pulling themselves further from “the foundation of the college.”

But the real sadness, and the point of this post is not to decry Jewell’s distance from the Missouri Baptist Convention, though it is somewhat related. The real sadness is that William Jewell College now openly acknowledges what Biblically astute graduates have known for several decades. Jewell is no longer “an institution loyal to the ideals of Christ.” Rather, Jewell is now simply “inspired by Christian ideals.” That is a huge shift, evidenced further by their change from “demonstrating a Christian philosophy for the whole of life” to being “committed to open, rigorous intellectual pursuits.”

I guess without $1 million a year from Missouri Baptists, WJC trustees have decided they no longer needed a smoke screen in their mission statement. Jewell’s perfidy is complete.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Ok, Rod, just what is it that you want from me? I've never been mentioned by name in a blog before. How does one react to this? Is there a proper etiquette involved? Help me out here.

As for our Alma Mater, I share your deep disappointment. A couple years ago, when the whole thing was exploding on the state level, I sent some letters to professors, the president, etc. The response that hurt the most was from a prof I really did like who told me "I think the college is closer to the spirit of Christ now than it has ever been." How crushing to hear a former mentor-type be so deceived.

Let's keep the WJC folks in our prayers. I know it's probably too far gone, but God is mighty. I pray regularly that He will intervene and reclaim what was once a proud institution. Then we can truly sing: "We we love thee serve thee forever, William Jewell."