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Wow: Look What's Happening at This Christian University

Hats off to these reformers. May their vision spread to a Christian campus culture in America that desperately needs it.

The depressing slide of far too many “Christian” universities into the morass of progressivism is well known and well documented. Anyone who thought that the bold theological foundations of such schools would immunize them against the temptation to compromise and capitulate to the spirit of the age paid no attention to the fact that Harvard University was founded to train ministers of the Gospel of Jesus.

Whether it’s a lack of prudence in faculty hires, an unwillingness to chasten and confront an attitude of spiritual rebellion that rises up on campus, the exchange of a transformative eternal focus for a worldly social justice politics, the need or perceived need of increased finances, or usually some combination of them all, sadly it’s only a matter of time before even the noblest of these institutions becomes Christian in name only.

Simply survey the landscape of America’s “Christian” colleges today and note how many refuse to affirm the Biblical view of human origin, Biblical sexual ethics, the Biblical principle of one race, the Biblical doctrine of Imago Dei in articulating the sanctity of human life. It would be comical if it weren’t so devastatingly sad. Because remember, these are not secular campuses preaching secular values. These are supposed Christian institutions wrapping new age humanism in Christian language, misleading countless young minds. If you wonder why Jesus takes such a harsh stance between those who are “lukewarm,” look no further than what these campuses are doing.

And that’s why I was so excited to see what an underground group of Biblical minds are doing on the campus of Taylor University. Taylor is a small liberal arts Christian college in tiny Upland, Indiana, best known for either its bizarre “Silent Night” basketball tradition and the legendary Ivanhoe’s ice cream wonderland that exists right across the street from campus. But if a group of Biblical minds at Taylor have their way, the school will be known for something else – a resurgent Christianity on a drifting campus.

The first edition of “Excalibur” has been distributed around campus courtesy of a group calling themselves the Taylor University conservative underground. But this isn’t just political conservatism. This is Biblical Christianity they are talking about reviving. They defined their purpose this way:

“We are Taylor University faculty, staff, and students who heartily affirm the historic orthodox theological doctrines, as expressed in the Apostles creed and other classic ecumenical Christian creeds. We also believe, among other things, (1) that the traditional view of marriage as a monogamous covenant between one man and one woman is the only reasonable Christian position, (2) that a creationist view of human origins deserves better representation at a Christian college such as ours, (3) that the sanctity of human life…[is] essential.”

And if you don’t take my word for what has happened and is happening at our Christian schools, leaving you curious why these Excalibur organizers would feel the need to affirm what should be an obvious common sense expectation at a Christian school, they explain:

“While the values expressed here warrant consistent and explicit expression in the Taylor community, in recent times this has been done inadequately across campus, whether in classrooms, the chapel program, faculty publications, or by invited speakers on campus. Moreover, we perceive a growing trend on campus of opinions opposing and undermining the above commitments, including permissivist views of human sexuality, hostility toward creationist perspectives, rejection of the rule of law, and uncritical endorsement of liberal-progressive ideals (e.g., in the form of Marxist-inspired critical race theory).”

The first publication of Excalibur included an incredibly well-written exposé on the Marxist foundations of “social justice” movements like the one currently attempting to hijack Christianity in America (particularly on college campuses), as well as a profound explanation of the true nature of Imago Dei and how it sets the Christian worldview apart.

In other words, Excalibur seems dedicated to voicing precisely what Taylor University and every other university bearing the name of Christ should be teaching, affirming, and reinforcing in every classroom, every discussion, every chapel, and through every speaker.

Hats off to these reformers, and may their vision spread to a Christian campus culture in America that desperately needs it.

I have 2 sons at Cedarville as well and have been very impressed with Dr. White, the school president, as well as the other students. They seem to have a strong vision for the future as well as understanding the hurdles they face as a Christian institution.
BTW, how bout them Eagles?!

Dr White is awesome, is messages at chapel are spot on and topical, love that he is going through Proverbs this year. FLY EAGLES FLY!

A number of Catholic universities are falling into the same abyss.

I go to Taylor, and I'm afraid to say that this article could not be farther from the truth. Taylor University has been and continues to be committed to biblical principles- just take a look at the Life Together Covenant, Taylor's statement on biblical sexuality, and the beliefs of the university. The vast majority of the school's students and professors adhere to orthodox evangelical traditions of Christianity, and it is more common to see students with politically conservative views than those with politically liberal views. What your article neglects to mention is that people of color were specifically targeted with this article, with articles scattered throughout their living spaces and on their doors. Learn all the facts of a situation before praising it, please.

I wouldn't consider someone who uses Rawls as their supporting evidence to have a very valid opinion.

I’m sorry, but I actually attend Taylor University. The Maven is ran out of Seattle, WA— how do you know what is going on in small town Upland, IN?
I don’t feel that you can accurately judge our school based off of one source- which in my opinion, I feel is not completely and fully truthful. Taylor is a phenomenal school that has a strong foundation of faith. Some people yes, do have differentiating opinions and beliefs. Is that okay? YES. What is not okay is thinking your opinion is the right one thus degrading anyone that doesn’t fit your ideas or agree with your ideas.
I realize they did nothing wrong (nor did you with your article) as we do have freedom of speech. But I do think both you and the Excalibur went about it in the wrong way.

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I graduated in May from Taylor and while a good amount of the students are conservative, the people who post echo articles and others who are loud and public about their beliefs are generally liberals so I don't believe that the article is that far from the truth.

I want to offer my kudos to the students who took effort to write and decorate this publication. It clearly raises positions about which they feel strongly, and their willingness to take action to start dialogue is commendable.

However, I suggest that beyond that, their inaugural edition is shallow and hollow of any new thinking. Their ideas are lifted straight from consrvative evangelical manifestos including and especially that of the Heritage Foundation.

No attempt is made to meaninfully engage in contemporary fault lines. It simply presents positions that are already overt in thousands of other places.

Some of those positions are contested, and some are simply toxic. One example of the latter is in the 3rd bullet of “The Importance of Imagio Dei”.
It states:

“The duty to help the poor and disabled— the impoverished and physically and mentally handicapped bear the Imagio Dei no less than anyone else and thus deserve our assistance and protection.”

On the surface, this may look good and has some truths, but it mixes with truly toxic ideology.

As a disabled person, I neither want nor need nor benefit from the ableist notion that I need able bodied people’s protection. I don’t even see why it needs to be pointed out that I am also created in the image of god. Saying so implies the potential of the opposite. (And, of less importance at the moment but for the record, “handicapped” is grossly outmoded and inappropriate.)

In fact, the ablist tone that this paragraph strikes is reflective of the paper as a whole: it comes across in form and content as the voice of sword-bearing champions who are coming to rescue their colleagues from the throes of false teachers. But who are these champions? What right do they have to claim this position? Why aren’t we given opportunity to interface with them in mutual dialogue? To the original authors: what gives you the hubris to assume such a position?

No, I don’t hope this spreads. I hope conversation, real discussion, real exploration of the fault lines in the church and on campus, real attempt to think and grapple with issues spreads.

Until then, this has little value beyond the fact that it has us talking. Now let’s start talking genuinely, not just repackaged ideas.

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Frank Smith responded "I graduated in May from Taylor and while a good amount of the students are conservative, the people who post echo articles and others who are loud and public about their beliefs are generally liberals so I don't believe that the article is that far from the truth."

In this response, Frank implicitly equates "biblical principles" with "conservative" and opposed to "liberals." I would like for him to explain that further, as it is currently a leap.

The bible should not be (and too often is) used as a cudgel for political arguments for which it was not intended. There are bible-believing Christian who are "conservative," "liberal," and nearly every other political viewpoint.

Innospire - yes I agree with you on the Bible-believing Christians of all political views. I wasn’t trying to equate conservatism with Christianity. We have a large amount of what I would call progressive Christians at Taylor. These are the people that are public and vocal about their beliefs. While I treat all people with love and respect, I personally recognize that for example, homosexuality is wrong as stated in the Bible. I view it as a genetic tendency similar to alcoholism where there is not an actual gene that causes it to present but in fact a tendency that while it can be strong, should not be acted on. A large amount of people at Taylor think homosexuality is fine. I respect their beliefs but as I stated above, I disagree. It’s instances like this where I think some people at Taylor are being too influenced by the world. This is just one example of my opinion of the worlds influence on the Taylor community. Therefore I think that while we should be respectful of people of all backgrounds, we must test everything against the Bible. Some things promoted by certain groups at Taylor do not pass the test when put up against the Bible.

I respect that you feel that way, Frank. And I don't presume to be the authority on this issue any more than I presume you to be. No more than I assume any human or human group to be the be-all-end-all on such topics.

Indeed, I think it may be somewhat egotistical if we were to assume that the way we personally read and apply the Bible is the only way. Many born-again Christ followers do - in fact - support homosexual marriage and do so from a Biblical basis. My point is not to enter that debate in this space (which is off topic), but to point out that the authors of the original paper were susceptible to the same assumptions:

1) There are absolute right and wrong ways to read and apply the Bible across settings, situations, time.

2) My way of reading and applying is the right way, even if other believers disagree.

I think that such assumptions (particularly #2) are potentially very dangerous and hurt the community of Christ. Far better is to openly engage in our continued quest to better represent Christ as the church... an effort that is nothing if not unified (see also: 1 Cor 12, if I am not misusing this).

(edited)

Hmmmm ... as a Taylor Dad of 2 TU grads I as keenly interested in this dialogue. An avid supporter of the leadership, faculty, staff and Ministry of Taylor University, we havew always known that imperfections reside on our beloved rural Upland campus. After all, humans reside there. Still, with that knowledge, we also knew that God led us to Taylor and that He was alive and well, right there, in the midst of said imperfections. Do, we do agree that there is room for improvement, but we strongly disagree with any notion that the Godly influence of this fine and.storied institution has been hijacked ! God IS still alive, well and working at Taylor. Our son & daughter emerged from an exhilarating, challenging and highly rewarding Undergrad experience, Faith fully intact and inspired to move forward in Faith, trusting God and believing that His word is true. We stand behind this fine ministry and the school's leadership, prayerfully anticipating God's power & influence to continue.

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As an Alumni of Taylor University, I COMPLETELY support this. Conservative beliefs are marginalized on campus and many of the students are not open to the discussion and instead try to shut it down.

I mean, look at the response to “Excalibur”. Someone wrote an article saying, “Put the Sword Back in the Stone.” That is equivalent to saying “shut up”. The author attacks Excalibur as “poorly written”. If this were a liberal publication, I bet it would have been praised.

These voices need to be heard. If TU continues to marginalize conservative and traditional biblical views, I will pull all financial support.

Other students have labeled this publication as a “veiled threat”.

I’m not alone when I say I completely support the message in Excalibur, and I will do what I can as an alumni to support them and make sure their voices are heard.

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I visited Taylor University with my daughter in the fall of 2012, who was about to graduate high school and was deciding where to go to college. I sensed an underlying tone of liberalism and a "compromising with the world" deviation from scripture. Perhaps it was the student assigned to give us the campus tour (he was the son of a high level administrator of ISTA - the Indiana teacher's union), but neither myself or my daughter felt the Holy Spirit leading her there, and now after reading the Excalibur publication and Peter Heck's fine response, I am extremely thankful she chose another university. More damage can be done to a young person by attending a wayward Christian school, than a totally secular school where you expect to be fed a whole lot of stuff that isn't true or scriptural.

I don't find it critical to weigh in here on the content of Excalibur or any responding articles. But, as a current Taylor student, I feel that it's extremely important for me to share what's happening here. Yes, there is a lot of tension on campus right now, and discussions are taking place among students, faculty, staff, and administration. An issue like this could be a defining moment for how the university will resolve conflict and dissenting views moving forward, and how we handle it is of utmost importance. I appreciate that there are people at all points on the spectrum of this discussion (it's not a simple, two-sided 'argument' in any way), but more than that I appreciate that people of all perspectives are engaging--they're willing to step up and share what they see, what they believe to be biblically true, and what their concerns are about the state of our university and culture. God calls us into open communication, and sometimes that means conflict and friction. I believe it is more valuable to be willing to speak out and voice their opinions with an open mind and the ultimate purpose of seeking God's face than to harbor resentment and bitterness. God is present in this time as we work hard, together, to determine His will and discover His truth. We are not fighting with abandon. We are doing the hard work of life together, speaking the truth in love, and becoming vulnerable for the sake of one another. I believe this process can be honoring to God and I will not condemn it simply because we disagree.

Bravo.

It's amazing the self-deception and useful idiocy of the historically and especially Biblically illiterate, sad ostriches who put heads in the sand pretending either that all is fine or that it will go away. As seen in the article, Harvard was once a Gospel minister preparer; now it is diabolically apostate with Taylor desiring to join it. More than a century ago Harvard people employed the same ostrich routine, and we see the result. All the clever, deceitful nonsense ruse about "conversation" is a devious ploy, like that seen in several once godly churches (e.g. TEC) whereby ungodly diabolical fascist pawns keep godly Christians talking until they complete the takeover. Diabolical evolutionist fascist pawns did the same with creationists then in power. "Oh, just give us a place at the table for conversation; we just want equal time to TALK with you ... blah, blah" -- until they completed the takeover and expelled creationists so now MRI inventor Damadian is denied his Nobel for being a creationist, the bigoted pseudo-science brainwashing is so complete, i.e. you're not a scientist because you're a creationist (i.e. you don't agree with the proven lies of our agenda, regardless of how your hard data actually proves you position is true, since we no longer believe in absolute truth. See creation.com for capable, scientific refutation of the bigoted, deranged, unfalsifiable evolutionist hogwash of useful idiocy (Stalin and the USSR loved it as do today's successors) real, rational scientists, like NASA founder, creationist Von Braun, reject. Also see how modern pseudo-science has delusionally and hypocritically abandoned truth and reality in the following articles I happened unintentionally to find in a search, as they desperately but vainly try to avoid the inevitably fatal results of such derangement some at Taylor sadly would invite: The Tensions of Scientific Storytelling
americanscientist.org/article/the-tensions-of-scientific-storytelling
The Persistence and Peril of Misinformation
americanscientist.org/article/the-persistence-and-peril-of-misinformation God save us.

As a 2006 grad of Taylor, I read in amusement the assertions in this article. At least when I was at TU, the evangelical Christianity worldview, which has been corrupted by Right-Wing politics, is by far the dominant ideology at TU. I still remember when faculties and students would question whether or not I was a Christian because I didn't support George Bush's Iraq War (Ironically, I ended up serving in Iraq). The line between Christianity and Right-wing political ideologies are so blurred that there is very little respect for the so-called "morality" coming from evangelical Christians today. Simply put, the same people who prosecuted President Clinton for his moral failings are the ones wholeheartedly supporting Trump today. Hypocrisy 101. Wonder why non-evangelicals generally sees evangelicals as hypocrites and intolerant bigots. Go figure. They speak of social justice for others as a "worldly pursuit" while aligning with corrupt, immoral political leaders and ideology in order to earn political power and domination for themselves. Justice for others is a "Marxist worldly pursuit." Justice for themselves is the Christian thing to do, otherwise, they wouldn't be lobbying for political power and laws that suit their "earthly" interest. The moral hypocrisy of the evangelical right wing Christianity is mind-blowing.

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