“I lack the fervency, vitality, life, in prayer which I long for. I know that many consider it fanaticism when they hear anything which does not conform to the conventional, sleep-inducing eulogies so often rising from Laodicean lips; but I know too that these same people can acquiescently tolerate sin in their lives and in the church without so much as tilting one hair of their eyebrows.”-Jim Eliot link
The Wartburg Watch community extends its sympathies to female professors who have been mistreated, solely due to their gender, at Christian colleges, universities and seminaries.
Today I tweeted about Al Mohler's response to a Religion News Service article called The evangelical unease over contraception link. His response, Al Mohler responds: The evangelical unease over contraception link gave me pause and I realized that it directly relates to a growing controversy at Cedarville University. Here is a quote from that post.
…The references he cites all predate the current debate over the contraception mandate, and most long predate the election of President Obama. This is not a recent development, but a long-term evangelical reconsideration of birth control and the place of contraception within larger understandings of marriage, the family and human sexuality.
…the shift of the evangelical conscience on birth control — and the rise of a new urgency to recover a more biblical understanding of sex, gender roles, marriage and reproduction — represents a far more formidable challenge to modernity
Why the focus on limiting contraception as opposed to limiting abortion?
It is important to note that this is not a discussion about abortifacients. This is about contraceptives. This is not about adoption of the many unwanted children in the world. It is about the sin of contraception. And this sin, according to Mohler is linked to gender roles and reproduction. Oddly Al Mohler and Paige Patterson (who will soon enter this discussion), who are hoping that Christians will forgo contraception, have had only two children each. They did not adopt children in order to fulfill some sort of mandate about huge families so one wonders if there is a different agenda here.
Whenever the Duggar family comes up in discussion forums, the inevitable question is raised. Why don't the Duggars adopt? A potential for huge families is one of the issues surrounding those who forgo contraception. At least one of Duggar's pregnancies resulted in a prolonged hospitalization. She has had 19 children which, barring miscarriages, means that she has been pregnant for 190 months (roughly 17 years). Women who experience multiple pregnancies, along with the added pressure to homeschool, are usually unable to enter the work force and must rely on their husbands to provide. In other words, women will stay at home and leave the jobs to the men. Could the focus on contraception, as part of the overall push for defining of gender roles, actually be helpful in getting women out of the workforce and out of positions of authority? It sure seem to us that something is afoot in some Christian universities and seminaries.
Cedarville University is experiencing an exodus of female faculty
TWW has been contacted on several occasions over the years by anonymous female employees of Cedarville. Why anonymous? We shall get there.
Cedarville College was chartered in 1887 by the New Light Reformed Presbyterian Church; at the time, the surrounding township was largely Presbyterian.
In 1953, the Baptist Bible Institute of Cleveland relocated and transitioned into management of Cedarville College through a merger arrangement with the college's Presbyterian board of trustees, who each resigned in turn. The Baptists were affiliated with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, a fundamentalist group which later dissociated itself from the college.
In an article, Leadership changes at Cedarville University point to conservative direction, at Religion News Services link we see some worrisome developments. Before I begin, I find it interesting that word "conservative" in the title is directly linked to women faculty who are leaving the university. Once again, words are being redefined. Conservative, which once meant believing in certain fundamentals of the faith: Virgin Birth, Resurrection, etc., no longer means that. Conservative, if one reads the article, now means believing in a literal 6 day creation and a limited role of women in academia. The following quotes are from that article unless noted.
The university has been taken over by Southern Baptists.
A private religious university in Ohio is undergoing a faculty shakeup, including an exodus of women faculty, after having been taken over by Southern Baptists.
Really conservative Southern Baptists. Paige Patterson and other Southern Baptists who have a history of problems with women teaching men.
Then in June, the school hired Thomas White, formerly vice president for student services and communications at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas,
The 25-member board now includes only one woman. Added to the board is Southwestern President Paige Patterson, a staunch biblical literalist and one of the leaders of the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Suddenly, women start resigning and can't say anything because of confidentiality agreements.
I do not blame these women for signing these agreements. In the business world, severance payments are often tied to confidentiality. In other words, they may need that income to support their families.
The recent departures include prominent women such as Bible professor Joy Fagan, associate vice president of student life Kirsten Gibbs and Briana DuPree, resident director and coordinator of diversity student programs.
Fagan, who signed a confidentiality statement, said she’s limited in what she can say.
“I do not feel I am a good fit for the university going forward,” she said, declining to elaborate. Fagan is the only woman listed on Cedarville’s Bible department website
The university says that they have plenty of women in each department.
White said nothing has changed in the school’s official policy and Cedarville has women in every department.
“Our position is that we don’t train women to be in the office of pastor, elder or bishop,” White said.
But observers believe the university is undergoing a seismic shift in theological views on the role of women.
Under Brown, some say, it fit under a wide evangelical umbrella that engages the broader culture in ways similar to institutions such as Wheaton College (Illinois) or Taylor University (Indiana). Now, one alumnus said, Cedarville might be viewed as more akin to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago — a school that does not allow women to teach men theology.
The school now integrates "Scripture and discipline."
Reading between the lines, one can imagine that this means a dim view on the role of women in academia.
The difference between the two administrations, said David Dockery, president of Union University in Tennessee, lies in the presidents’ theological perspectives. Brown would have put a greater emphasis on general revelation, finding truth outside of the Scriptures in God’s creation, in the natural world, Dockery said.
“Dr. White’s emphasis on the truthfulness and the sufficiency of the Bible causes people to ask a different kind of question,” he said. “It’s not so much the integration of faith and learning; It’s the integration of Scripture and discipline.”
There is an ongoing federal investigation into sexual discrimination and sexual harassment on campus.
TWW has been in touch with folks who know about this situation. Although we are not at liberty to state what we have been told, we can categorically say that this investigation is far more than "they hate women." It involves some serious complaints. We hope to discuss this in the near future.
In September the university said it is under review by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in response to a complaint claiming the university is in violation of Title IX — a federal gender equity law that requires colleges to adjudicate sexual harassment and violence on campus.
The office is still investigating whether campus officials resolved a complaint alleging sex discrimination.
It appears that being anything but Republican as a professor could result in being fired.
Worse yet, it could close down an entire department!
A philosophy faculty member caused a stir last fall when writing an op-ed for the campus newspaper on “Why I am Not Voting for Romney.” The philosophy department staff has since been cut back. The philosophy and physics majors have been eliminated.
So, are women really being eliminated from certain positions in the university?
Here is a comment under this post which adds more charges to consider.
Comment by Anon
Dr. White’s wife teaches classes that are only open to women. Not much of a counterexample.
Also, I’m also a Cedarville student, and I think your remark that it’s not a big deal outside of people “looking for controversy” is both incorrect and offensive. Over the past year, the new regime has caused the departure of a third of the trustees, over a dozen Bible faculty, the president, several vice presidents, and over thirty faculty and staff. Many of these individuals were forced to leave
Women teaching the Bible to men is "unbiblical" in the university setting as well?
I find this unsettling. Many of the complementarians claim that the only place a woman cannot teach men is within a local church. Don't believe them. It appears that they will extend this teaching far beyond the local church and seminaries and into academia. Who knows how much further this will extend?
In an article, Fagan Leaving Cedarville After This Semester link, note what Professor Joy Fagan has to say about this.
Bible professor Joy Fagan is resigning from Cedarville after two decades of service to the university. Her last day is Dec. 20.(2013)
“The why is tricky,” she said. “Every administration has the right to take the university in a particular direction, and every faculty and staff member has the responsibility to determine if they are a good fit for that direction.”
Fagan said she believes she is no longer a good fit for the university, particularly because of her role as a woman teaching in the Bible department.
Paige Patterson being appointed to the trustees is proof positive that women will not be welcome in the academic environment unless they teach homemaking.
1. Dr Dorothy Patterson, Paige's wife, founded and heads up the homemaking school at SWBTS link. Needless to say, they do not offer a "heavy chores" degree for men.
Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.
It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women.
Coursework will include seven hours of nutrition and meal preparation, seven hours of textile design and "clothing construction," three hours of general homemaking, three hours on "the value of a child," and three hours on the "biblical model for the home and family."
Seminary officials say the main focus of the courses is on hospitality in the home — teaching women interior design as well as how to sew and cook. Women also study children's spiritual, physical and emotional development.
2. In a well known incident, Dr Paige Patterson despicably treated SWBTS professor, Sheri Klouda.
Here is an excerpt In an article by Wade Burleson. Sheri Klouda: Gender Discrimination, Federal Law and the Law of Christ in the SBC and SWBTS link.
A Sad Story
Paige Patterson was a hired as President of Southwestern Theological Seminary on June 24, 2003, a little over a year after trustees had hired Klouda. The trustees voted voted unanimously to hire Dr. Patterson just as they had Dr. Klouda a year earlier.
Some of the faculty at Southwestern were concerned about the hiring of Paige Patterson. Paige was asked during a June 24, 2003 press conference following his appointment if he would hire women in the school of theology. He responded that “Dorothy serves on the theology faculty at Southeastern”, and that “ provides somewhat of an answer.” Then he added, “there are ample numbers of men who are well-qualified for those positions.” Patterson said he planned to build the faculty with “God-called men.”
Patterson’s philosophical perspective on the roles of women in theological education prevented him from feeling comfortable about women teaching biblical studies or theology to men. In September of 2003, two months after his appointment as President of Southwestern and a one month before his official inauguration,Paige met privately with all staff and faculty . David Allen, the 2003 chairman of the board of trustees responsible for hiring Dr. Patterson, and who himself would be hired by Patterson in 2004 to serve as dean for the SWBTS School of Theology, said of that private meeting with faculty and staff, "While some speculate about Patterson's compatibility with our faculty, I have high hopes that our excellent faculty will work well with Dr. Patterson."
At that closed door meeting in September 2003, Paige gave personal assurances to faculty that their jobs were safe, regardless of gender. Sheri acknowledges her concern at the time, but after the faculty meeting, and the personal assurance by Dr. Patterson that her job was secure, she relaxed and continued in her commitment to invest her life and service in the school she loved. A few days after Patterson's inauguration,four professors resigned unexpectedly, including Dr. Bruce Corley, however, Klouda placed her focus on serving her school and being loyal to President Patterson and the constituency that hired her.
Sheri is the primary provider for her family due to several illnesses which have plagued her husband over the years. In July of 2003 William and Sheri purchased a home in Arlington, in order to be closer to the seminary so that she could spend more time at the school and with her family than on the highway commuting.
A little over a year after Sheri received the personal assurance that her job was secure, she was called to attend a meeting in June, 2004, where she was informed that she would not be granted tenure because 'she was a woman.' Ironically, Dorothy Patterson was serving as Professor of Theology in Women's Studies, but unlike Sheri, Dorothy 'only taught women’. Though it was often said by Paige and Dorothy that Dorothy worked ‘officially’ under the auspices of the School of Education at Southwestern, she was listed on the school’s web site as teaching in the School of Theology. As of January 2007, Dorothy Patterson’s name continues to be listed on Southwestern’s official web site as teaching in the School of Theology.
In that June, 2004, precisely a year after Patterson had been appointed President of the school, Sheri was told that it was ‘the President’ who would never recommend her for tenure. Why? It had nothing to do with her professional performance or collegiality, but simply her gender. She would not be given tenure by the President, because she was the only female teaching biblical studies in the school of theology, and that was not the proper place for a woman. There were many qualified men that could fill that position and it was the President's desire to replace her. Southwestern would give her two to three years to find another position at a reputable school, but she was to do her best to find another position as quickly as possible.
Sheri was stunned. In her mind she had the job of her dreams. While the issues surrounding tenure do not guarantee that a professor will retain his or her position at an institution, she saw herself as working towards tenure at Southwestern. She had invested her life, her family, and all her energy to be close to the school she loved. There was not one thing she had done to discredit her school. Rather, she was well liked by the students, had been loyal to administration and faculty, and had done her best to bring excellence to the school of theology in evangelical circles.
She was being forced out because she was a woman.
Al Mohler's Southern Baptist Theological Seminary also has some concerning statistics on the presence of women on faculty link
The tenure status for instructors and researchers at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says it all.
95% men; 5% women
Summing it all up:
The authoritarian, gender driven crowd appear to making a full court press to get women out of Christian academia. However, it was sure nice for them to be able to limit the size of their families so their wives could lead conferences and seminary programs designed to make sure women have lots of children and stay at home.
Please understand, Deb and I did stay home with our children. We have no problems with stay at home moms and large families so long as it is a choice as opposed to a mandate. This is turning into the Louisville Creed-Repeat after me." I believe that women are to get pregnant, have lots of babies and stay out of academia-Amen!"
The future, within certain segments of Christendom, looks rather bleak for those of the female gender who wish to participate fully in the life of Christian academia and the church. We express our sorrow to these women who have given years of service to universities and students, only to be encouraged to leave because they had the misfortune, in the eyes of some men, to be born female.
Lydia's Corner: Isaiah 51:1-53:12 Ephesians 5:1-33 Psalm 69:19-36 Proverbs 24:7