Scot McKnight's blog, Jesuscreed.org, had an article about Cedarville University yesterday (with a follow-up today). I guess Cedarville invited Shane Claiborne to come speak at the school, but when some watchdog blogs disapproved of the invitation, it was revoked. McKnight's blog had an interesting discussion about academic freedom in evangelical universities, and whether or not Cedarville did the right thing when they pulled the plug on Claiborne. (I have heard that they have since re-invited him to come speak at a later date.)
I wasn't surprised at the move at all. Cedarville has historically been a very conservative school. I don't know much about Shane Claiborne, but from what I gather about his theology, he doesn't fit the Cedarville mold. (That's okay, I'm all for diversity of opinion.) Cedarville, being a private school, relies heavily on financial support from alumni and other conservative groups. If their financial support is against one of their decisions, it makes good business sense to change the decision. I don't have a problem with that.
I do, however, think it's sad that Cedarville'c onservative support is afraid of Claiborne speaking at the school. It's not like they were going to make him chair of the Bible department. Further, I think it's sad that "watchdog" blogs exist to call people out for being "heretics." On what authority do they make these claims? It's a pretty bold move to call someone a heretic, and it presupposes a lot of spiritual authority on the one making the proclamation. Does anyone today in America have such authority? Even real heretics like Arius were condemned by councils of churches representing all of christendom, not by individuals on their blogs.
I'm glad Cedarville re-invited Claiborne, and I hope he says something controversial that gets the campus talking. I'm all for theological dialogue.
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