Three Questions Embattled Faculty at Religious Institutions Need to Ask

Feat-Exit-signGeneral Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary, Cedarville University, Shorter University, Bryan College are all names of religious institutions in the news for disputes with faculty over theological (and internal political) reasons. This week, my first piece (“Know When to Walk Away) is up at Inside Higher Ed and in it I look at three questions embattled faculty members at a religious institutions need to ask themselves.

This last July, my book (co-authored with Menachem Wecker), Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education, came out. This article at IHE is partly born out of the research for that book and partly out of my recent decision to leave my faculty position at Winebrenner Theological Seminary.

As I researched for my book, analyzed the controversies of other faculty and schools, and considered my own situation, I realized I no longer belonged in a faculty position at an evangelical theological institution. I formally ended my position in July, but I’m still teaching religious studies at a local university as an adjunct, where I’m able to pursue my field in strictly academic terms. Here’s an excerpt:

For an Evangelical school, the statement of faith is the first job qualification. A search committee may have the perfect candidate, but ultimately, if the person cannot sign the faith statement, he or she is disqualified. This faith distinction is often what’s behind news reports of faculty at Evangelical schools losing their positions over views of LGBTQ rights and identity or creationism.

When stories like these hit the news, non-academics often ask me: if these faculty aren’t a good fit, why don’t they just leave and pitch their tents elsewhere? It’s a valid question.

But it’s also extremely complicated. As a professor who just voluntarily gave up his faculty position at a Christian seminary, primarily over a faith statement, I can explain why it is so difficult to leave. Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed….

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