Religion

Christian College's Policy Would Keep Students 'Pure'

| by Michael Allen

Cedarville University, a Baptist college in Ohio, has instituted a new policy aimed at keeping its adult students "pure."

The new policy is based on Philippians 4:8, which was written by the Apostle Paul, formerly known as a murderer named Saul, in the Bible:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

According to Christianity Today, the new Biblically Consistent Curriculum policy would forbid the Oscar-winning film "Schindler’s List" from being shown in its entirety because the Holocaust drama was rated R.

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The school is also forbidding its adult students from accessing any texts, plays, movies or art that "may be considered 'adult' in nature, that represent immorality, or that may be a stumbling block to students."

The Bible contains numerous passages about adultery, fornication, rape, incest, murder, torture and other graphic violence.

The new rules, which went into effect in spring 2017, are not sitting well with some students and teachers.

One unidentified professor painted a grim picture for Christianity Today:

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Faculty in various department meetings were absolutely furious -- even faculty who tend to be in favor of the administration’s policies. It seems to me the goal is to have a squeaky clean, shiny place -- scrubbed clean like a Christian bookstore.

The new guidelines were written by Vice President of Academics Loren Reno and Assistant Vice President of Academics Thomas Mach.

"We weren’t talking about science anatomy textbooks," Mach said. "We weren’t talking about determinism in the field of history. That’s not at all what the policy was designed to address."

"You don’t know how they are really going to enforce it," Naomi Harward, a senior, told Christianity Today. "We have to wait and see how it impacts classes."

"They tried to get rid of faculty before," an unidentified professor shared.

In the past, Cedarville has replaced the president and vice president, and axed faculty members because of their theological beliefs. It also stopped offering philosophy as a major.

Mach insisted that fearful worries were unnecessary:

The goal here is really not designed to create an environment of fear or mistrust. It’s designed to create more conversations about these things to make sure we’re on the same page as an institution.

We hear from parents regularly. Part of the thinking on this policy is to be able to say to a parent who disagrees with what’s being used in class, "This is our approach. This is what we expect from our faculty. They’re maintaining that."

"The lack of insight and the message of distrust to the faculty is insulting and demoralizing," one professor said.

Mach asserted that the administration focused more on serving the parents of the adult students and financial donors than the students themselves:

Faculty have the sense that policies should be originated by them or driven by them. That’s very much a part of academia -- no question about it. But Christian schools are distinct. In our handbook, these sorts of policies are driven by the board of trustees. The [Cedarville] administration is not serving the students as much as the parents who are sending the students and the trustees and donors.

Christianity Today reported in 2014 that the university's women's ministry program is only taught by women to female students.

Mark Weinstein, a university spokesman, explained the policy: 

In courses where we seek to equip women for women's ministry in the local church, classes have been reserved for women in order to accomplish this goal most effectively.

Sources: Christianity Today (2) / Photo credit: Nyttend/Wikimedia Commons

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