Sunday, March 26, 2006

Howell Leaves Louisiana College, Blasts Creedalism

Thomas Howell who has taught at Louisiana College for forty years is leaving Louisiana and going to the faculty at William Jewell College in Missouri. Howell was not reticent about sharing his reasons for leaving Louisiana College:

I'm leaving because Louisiana College is going in a dramatically different direction from what it has in my 40 years here, from what I believe it has always done. From my point of view, the simplest way to put it is, it is moving from education to indoctrination.

Howell describes how the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message is being imposed on the faculty:

Basically you have a situation in which -- no one has said yet you must be Baptist, but what they say is you must teach in accordance with and not contrary to what's called the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. And then beyond that, there is a definition that is coming out in the new faculty handbook that is what I suppose they mean by Christian. In other words, I discovered that, as far as I can tell, is believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as savior is not sufficient. That's basically my point of view, and I've always considered myself Christian. But apparently it's not sufficiently Christian, or maybe not the right kind of Christian, or maybe not even Christian at all.

The trend throughout the Southern Baptist Convention has been to move toward what the advocates of it call a truly conservative position. The opponents of it I suppose use the term fundamentalist. From the point of view of the conservatives/fundamentalists, whatever they are, the denominations, particularly the denominational schools, have been infected with liberalism. And so they see it as their duty to root out liberalism and instead put in place a system in which the people who teach and what is taught are in accordance with what has become a Baptist creed.
. . .
For many, many years, Baptists have said historically they are non-creedal people. My grandfather, who was by vocation a Baptist preacher, basically had a sermon -- and I've still got the notes -- called "No pope, no creed" in which he talked about how proud he was that the Baptists did not have a pope, that they never imposed a creed. Well, they've got a creed. Very specifically, we are told at Louisiana College that we must live up to this creed.

What's more, we've employed a vice president for integration of faith and learning whose job it is, according to the faculty handbook, essentially to interpret that creed in case there's doubt, I suppose, as to whether or not something is in accordance with it. He's at least supposed to give advice on it.
Kudos to Howell for standing on his convictions. William Jewell is gaining a fine new faculty member.

3 comments:

Greek Shadow said...

Do they call the new staff postition Fruit Inspector?

Keith said...

yes we lost a good person last week,

he was not the first, nor will he be the last.

i believe www.saveourlc.com has more info, including the link to the towntalk article on the new president's "installation" as they put it, which happened on the same week.

the whole resident theologian interpreting the BF&M 2000 for the faculty and how they should teach it seems very anti-traditional baptist.

Does that sort of thing happen at other fundamentalist schools?

LC Student said...

I am a student at LC. It has gotten a lot worse here recently. The administration has hijacked our student government election because they want a certain student to become student government president. His mother just happens to be on board of trustees. They have suspended the current SGA president for posting on saveourlc.org, a site which we can no longer access from our dorm rooms. We are scared to speak out because no one wants to get suspended or expelled. Please help us any way you can.