Guest / Limited Access /

In his 25 years at Trinity Western University, Harro Van Brummelen says he has been free to teach as he chooses.

The fact that Trinity requires him to affirm the Bible as the final authority without error frees him to pursue truth from a Christian perspective. "In a sense, I have more academic freedom here than I would have in other situations," said Van Brummelen, professor of education at the British Columbia school.

But Trinity's faith statement for faculty puts it at the center of a national debate on whether such confessional standards are compatible with academic freedom.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) says they are not. The 65,000-member advocacy group has found that Trinity, Canada's largest evangelical college with 4,000 students, imposes "unwarranted and unacceptable constraints on academic freedom," and noted that other religious universities impose no such limits.

"I understand they feel they must have these constraints," said Penni Stewart, CAUT president and associate professor of sociology at York University. "In the end we disagree. It's a clash of values, really."

Trinity president Jonathan Raymond called the report "an arbitrary attack" and a "blacklist[ing]" that makes faculty appear "less worthy in Canadian academia."

CAUT is investigating other flagship Christian colleges with required faith statements, a move that worries some Christian scholars. They are concerned the report could hurt Trinity's standing with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), a prestigious body that has endorsed the school's academic practices.

"The danger is that it will provoke the AUCC to reconsider the membership of these confessional schools," said John Stackhouse, a theologian at ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only The Vertical Self
How biblical faith can help us discover who we are in an age of self obsession.
RecommendedCompassion: Why We’re Leaving India, But Still Have Hope
Compassion: Why We’re Leaving India, But Still Have Hope
‘Frustrated’ CEO explains how shutdown of 589 centers serving 145,000 children will affect staff, sponsors, and churches.
TrendingRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Editor's PickThere’s No Crying on Social Media!
There’s No Crying on Social Media!
Young adults are desperate not to let peers see any signs of weakness or failure.
Christianity Today
Confession Clash
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.