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Northwestern College held a day of prayer and fasting today to seek reconciliation after a two-year debate over theological identity and management practices went public in October.

Last month, a group of former trustees took their case online, asserting that the suburban St. Paul school is "badly divided" and drifting from its conservative evangelical identity under president Alan Cureton, who came during the school's centennial in 2002.

The school says it has established "academic, fiscal, and program strength" under Cureton's leadership while "holding firm to its Christ-centered biblical foundation." Dissenters fear their beloved college, where evangelist Billy Graham served as president from 1948 to 1952, is poised to become the next example of "the dying of the light" among Christian colleges.

Confrontation Between Believers—Online

The former trustees assert that "thoughtful dissent is neither welcomed nor tolerated" at Northwestern, where one-third of the board has resigned or been removed since June 2007 for allegedly refusing to give Cureton their "complete and unfettered support" during the college's Envision Excellence capital campaign. On October 27 the trustees launched a "Friends of Northwestern College and Radio" website in order to engage the debate publicly on whether or not Northwestern is growing lax on matters of biblical interpretation such as gender roles and eschatology.

"It grieves us that it has come to this point," said Galen Call, former trustee and current senior pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California. "We don't see this website as being the source of the problem. We see it as taking the covers off a problem that has existed for some time."

News quickly spread when the website ...

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