"The real underlying issue is that fundamentalism in the Southern Baptist form is incompatible with higher education. In fundamentalism, you have all the truths. In education, you're searching for truths."So says David W. Key, director of Baptist Studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, in an article in the NY Times National edition on Saturday, July 22.
The article begins by talking about Georgetown College, a small, liberal arts college affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. They recently severed ties with the KBC over the issue of whether or not they should hire a religion professor "who would teach a literal intepretation of the Bible."
They resisted in the name of academic freedom.
Consider the irony. An institution professing to be a place of academic freedom refuses to hire someone who espouses a particular view. Is not that the opposite of academic freedom? Apparently academic freedom means freedom to believe whatever someone says is okay to believe.
The KBC voted to phase out their $1.4 million dollar annual support over a period of four years. They should have cut it immediately without apology, in hopes of shutting the school down. But alas, they did not. The KBC missed a great chance to make a statement about the price of academic freedom.
William Crouch, the president of Georgetown calls themselves "a Christian college grounded in historic Baptist principle." Apparently, this man's education has let him down. Historically in Baptist life, there has always been room for a "literal intepretation of the Bible." How can a "Christian college grounded in historic Baptist principles" not allow such to be taught? And how is that Crouch maintains any academic credibility with such statements? Is Crouch really that under-educated, not to understand this very simple point?
A major component of this situation is Georgetown's "serious academic ambitions, like pursuing a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the college honor society." To acquire a chapter, they must have "freedom of inquiry and expression on campus." Presumably that does not include the freedom to inquire concerning the literal interpretation of the Bible, or the freedom to express such a view while holding a faculty position.
This is what happens when people become enamored with the darkened and hardened minds of the world instead of the wisdom of God in his revelation.
This is not about the search for truth as opposed to having all the truths. This is about trying to achieve academic respectability in the eyes of people who have no knowledge of God and his revelation.
I would imagine that Georgetown thinks that they "have all the truth" in their basic freshman level math courses. I would imagine that Georgetown expects certain English truths to be used in the writing of academic papers. Apparently the only place it is bad to have truth is when it involves a literal interpretation of the Bible. Why? Because Phi Beta Kappa said so.
Let's not bother to consult God when a chapter of an academic honor society is at stake. After all, we will stand before one in judgment and not the other.