Guest / Limited Access /

Less than a year after Cedarville University hired theologian Michael Pahl, administrators relieved the associate professor of his teaching duties.

The issue at stake? A historical Adam and Eve, a debate that dates back to Augustine and has recently ...

Read More

Displaying 1–20 of 20 comments.

1    Show All

Roger Morris

November 11, 2012  5:54pm

Fundamentalism is a dirty word. This fomenting of disunity by biblical literalists will only further accelerate the decline of Christianity's relevance in the contemporary culture.

Report Abuse

Joe Martin

November 01, 2012  7:01pm

As a professor this amuses me. There is far greater dissent on far greater issues than the mere interpretive one showcased here. Plenty of profs diverge from orthodoxy on scores of points, but are allowed to teach. Christian Colleges desperately want the friendship of the world and the affirmation and dollars of their young students. A small board's statement of orthodoxy does not insure fidelity when hiring committees are bringing on female professors and Ivy League names that mouth acceptance while fairly obviously chasing the cultural zeitgeist. By comparison, Cedarville is a tempest in a teapot.

Report Abuse

Claire Guest

November 01, 2012  4:05am

Michelle Wilson, I appreciate your time in responding to my query, and I believe I understand the situation better now. Personally, I can't see any reason to read the Bible any differently than just as it is written. Christ Jesus confirmed the veracity of OT events over and over again, including some which are often mocked and scorned today as unworthy of acceptance. I don't know if or how this might compare with a very simliar issue the SBC faced in the '80s, but I do know that unBiblical teaching in SBC seminaries was a real problem which undermined the quality of preaching and teaching in SBC churches, which of course directly affected pastors and laymen alike.

Report Abuse

David Lee

October 31, 2012  3:48am

Reading the gospels, then reading the account above, I wonder how long would Jesus of Nazareth be tolerated before being asked to leave?

Report Abuse

Matthew hamilton

October 30, 2012  9:19pm

Oh, come on Jim Ricker! Would it really be that bad to not have amillennialism or any sort of dispensationalism?

Report Abuse

Jim Ricker

October 30, 2012  6:16pm

This trend is bad news for the future of Christians who attend Bible colleges and universities. Although these schools are free to require such adherence to their own dogmas, it fosters indoctrination and not exploration. It is the epitome of arrogance and if this was enforced with perfection in the late first century AD, we would still understand most of the prophecies of the First Covenant that have fulfillment in the New Covenant as spiritualistic (non-literal) in nature and we would not have amillennialism or 7 point dispensationalism (or much understanding of much of the New Covenant teachings).

Report Abuse

Zach Schneider

October 30, 2012  2:55pm

If anyone's interested in further reading or more information on Dr. Pahl's firing, I'd recommend checking out the related article in the most recent issue of The Ventriloquist. The Ventriloquist is an independent, student-run newspaper on Cedarville's campus. (Full disclosure: I co-wrote the article in question.) http://theventriloquist.us/article/on_the_firing_of_dr_pahl

Report Abuse

Matthew hamilton

October 30, 2012  1:39pm

I just posed a question on my blog, namely, what is the purpose of statements of faith? For those of you involved in this discussion, I would love it if you would share your thoughts on that question there (and here as well, if you wish!): http://hamiltonmj1983.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/statements-of-fai th-and-academic-integrity-a-follow-up-question/

Report Abuse

Stephen Smythe

October 30, 2012  9:50am

All that should be required is affirmation of the organization's statements of belief. His personal thoughts on the matter should be just that, i.e., personal.Further inquiry on the part of that organization smacks of an inquisition. One in Christian history was enough.

Report Abuse

Michelle Wilson

October 30, 2012  7:31am

@Claire - As a current student, I will attempt to speak for Dr. Pahl to clarify what I believe he meant by these statements. Dr. Pahl adheres to the doctrine of a literal Adam and Eve in his understanding of Christianity, but does come to this understanding primarily through exegesis of Genesis (as many conservatives do). Rather, he believes a literal Adam existed for other theological reasons, for example, the comparison of Adam to Christ - the second Adam. Other reasons could include genealogical records, the problem of death in an evolutionary time frame fitting into a picture of a perfect world before the fall of man, etc. I believe Dr. Pahl's statement "Once again we are in an area of academic freedom... (see above)" describes his belief that as long as a person adheres to the points made in the doctrinal statement, his or her path leading to the stated conclusion may vary. Such freedom promotes unity and discussion in the body of Christ, rather than chauvinism and division.

Report Abuse

Claire Guest

October 29, 2012  11:54pm

RE: the subtitle question - "Does it matter 'why' Christian professors agree with their colleges' doctrine?" I can only speak for myself. IF I were a student in such a class, yes, it would matter to me. RE: "I hold to a historical Adam and Eve, though not on exegetical grounds," Pahl wrote in his defense to trustees, which CT obtained. "My reasons are more theological in nature…." Later, when explaining his take on Paul's use of Adam and Genesis, Pahl stated, "Once again we are in an area of academic freedom as the doctrinal statement does not mandate specific exegesis of specific biblical passages." WHAT does this mean? His statements sound a bit vague and non-explanatory to me as a layman. Can someone who has been his student explain his position to those of us who speak and read simple English, including what is not said after the ...?

Report Abuse

Kimberly Prijatel

October 29, 2012  9:24pm

As a CU Alumnus, I am so disappointed to see some extremely talented and intelligent professors targeted as possible threats to Cedarville's Christian community. I double majored in Philosophy/English and every single professor I had in both departments helped me become a better person through their humility and patience. My professors in these departments taught me to see no divide between academia and ethics and instead taught me to see knowledge as something to use to make the world a better place. They didn't just preach it, they practiced it---I saw them serve the disadvantaged, literally with the coats off their backs, invite everyone into their homes and give past comfort. I am currently teaching in New Mexico in a reservation community because they taught me to fix injustices. The world is a better place because these professors teach at Cedarville. If this isn't more important than doctrinal quibbles to Cedarville, I'm not sure what students they are hoping to produce

Report Abuse

Josh Steele

October 29, 2012  9:14pm

Behind Dr. Pahl's dismissal seems to be an "identity crisis" of sorts. Cedarville cannot decide whether it wants to become broadly evangelical or to return to its fundamentalist roots. The faculty (Bible department mainly, for obvious reasons) gets caught in the middle when the University vacillates on its identity and vision. When scholars like Dr. Pahl get fired, it creates an atmosphere of confusion and fear inappropriate to any institution of higher education, much less to one which claims the name of Jesus the Messiah. Dr. Bill Brown was one of the more prominent voices at Cedarville University on the "broadly evangelical" side of the spectrum. Even if his resignation is not directly related to the Pahl incident, the two events taken together do not bode well for Cedarville's broadly and robustly evangelical aspirations, unless the power vacuum is quickly filled with true evangelical leadership.

Report Abuse

Josh Steele

October 29, 2012  8:45pm

Contra "Cedarville Student," I can "confidently state" that Dr. Pahl's dismissal was inappropriate and unnecessary. After reading his work and grabbing coffee with Dr. Pahl last semester, I was eager to take one of his courses before graduation if at all possible. Unfortunately, Cedarville University got rid of him before I had the chance. Wish I could have traded places with "Cedarville Student," for it sounds like we would have both been happier. Michael Pahl is an incredibly gracious and gifted man. He's the kind of person Cedarville needs as it struggles to outgrow its days of fundamentalism and become broadly evangelical. Respectable biblical theologians who agree with Cedarville University's outdated doctrinal statement are becoming harder and harder to come by, much less ones who have years of teaching experience and the gift of communication. It's tragic that Dr. Pahl was sacrificed to the unstated "penumbra" of CU's Doctrinal Statement. We miss him greatly.

Report Abuse

Matthew hamilton

October 29, 2012  7:29pm

@bennett willis - The thing is, this guy doesn't even sound very liberal! He believes in a literal Adam and Eve (be it on theological grounds), which makes him much more conservative than the majority of OT Scholars out there.

Report Abuse

Cedarville Student

October 29, 2012  7:28pm

I had the misfortune of taking a class with Dr. Pahl here at Cedarville University before he was fired. After hearing his teachings for a full semester, I can confidently state his dismissal was appropriate and inevitable. It had nothing to do with "saving face in front of donors," but it had everything to do with his theology and lack of ability to teach well. @Laura Bartlett- No, Dr. Brown's resignation was not related to Dr. Pahl being fired, and Dr. Brown will continue to serve Cedarville as Chancellor.

bennett willis

October 29, 2012  5:14pm

As someone once remarked, "It is easier to be the most conservative professor at a liberal institution than to be the most liberal professor at a conservative institution.

Report Abuse

Laura Bartlett

October 29, 2012  2:04pm

Searching "@Cedarville" on twitter right now, it looks like their president just announced his resignation today. Does anyone know if the resignation is related to the Pahl firing?

Report Abuse

MATTHEW HAMILTON

October 29, 2012  1:15pm

This is just another, unfortunate, instance of a supposed "institution of higher learning" sacrificing academic integrity in exchange for ... what? Saving face in front of donors to keep revenue flowing in? That's my guess.

Report Abuse

Jonathan Bundy

October 29, 2012  11:23am

It's "Cedarville," not "Cedar-ville" (first paragraph).

Report Abuse

Displaying 1–20 of 20 comments.

1    Show All