On March 24, 2016 I received the letter from Cincinnati Christian University that appears on pages 3 and 5 of this issue. Please take time to read the letter and then come back to this page.
The letter calls for a “retraction” of one sentence from the April editorial. The sentence they want retracted reads, “Now anyone can teach or be a trustee.” Earlier in the letter the writer tells of an email that he sent to me “affirming CCU’s ‘continuing commitment to its mission and heritage.’” That email was sent, as he says, on January 26, and apparently I “acknowledged receipt of that communication” on January 27, 2016. (January 26-28 was our Bible Conference in Florida.)
In the interest of full disclosure, that particular editorial was sent to the proof reader on January 20, 2016, almost a full week before receiving the aforementioned email. The editorial was based on the bylaws dated May 14, 2015. At the time of the writing, the bylaws of January 5, 2016, were not known.
So, in the light of the January 5, 2016 bylaws, I retract the statement “Now anyone can teach or be a trustee” at CCU. I am thrilled that the trustees of that institution have seen fit to try to tighten up who can or cannot be employed at the school. However, changing the bylaws and trying to strengthen them has not really changed the original objection that we have been talking about the since the February issue.
The problem is that somewhere along the line someone (present or past, makes no difference) changed what the original bylaws said.
My dad was an auctioneer. When I first started working for him at his sales, he instructed me that I was not to allow anyone to use the “dolly/hand truck.” (He had lent them out before, never to get them back.) Sure enough, during that next sale someone asked me if he could borrow the “dolly/hand truck.” My answer was “no.” He said, “It’s OK, I know your dad. In fact, I’ve known him longer than you are old.” I said, “I’m sorry, Mister, but my dad told me that I cannot let anyone use it. You will have to ask him.” He walked up to my dad, interrupted him and said, “Harold, your son won’t let me borrow the dolly. Is it OK with you if I use it?” Dad said yes to him and looked at me and said that it was all right for that man to use it.
The dolly belonged to my dad. If he wanted to change the rules that was up to him, and not to me, no matter what I may have thought about it. I was working for him.
Here are the paragraphs from the April edition that were just before the paragraph with the offending sentence:
“The bylaws at Cincinnati Christian University have been changed. Of that there is no doubt. The original Constitution of the school said in part; ‘every trustee and teacher must be a member of the church of Christ (undenominational) and MUST BELIEVE, WITHOUT RESERVATION, in the full and final inspiration of the Bible to the extent that it is to him the infallible Word of God, and therefore the all-sufficient rule of faith and life; in the deity and supreme authority of Christ; obedience to the Gospel; the edification of the church; and the restoration of its unity on the New Testament basis.’
“That was in what was called ‘ARTICLE IV: CHARACTER OF THE CINCINNATI BIBLE SEMINARY.’
“Later, ARTICLE V: AMENDMENTS, said, ‘This constitution may be amended at any annual meeting of the Board of Trustees by a majority vote of the trustees provided notice has been submitted in writing to each trustee ninety (90) days in advance of the annual meeting, except that Article IV above entitled Character of Cincinnati Bible Seminary shall remain perpetually in force.’”
That was written by the founders of the school to protect the school. Those working as faculty or trustees at this time are simply working for the founders of the school. They can’t change what the founders said!
If the trustees have changed what the founders said could not be changed, then what is to keep them from changing what they themselves have written in the January 5, 2016 Bylaws? Next week, next month, next year, 5 years, or 25 years from now, who is to say that whoever the trustees are at that time will not change the bylaws again and allow anyone to teach or be a trustee. There is nothing to stop them in this generation or future generations from doing anything they want.
The letter on pages 3 and 5 has a line that says about my offending statement, “This statement ignores the clear statements which the CCU Bylaws unambiguously (emphasis mine) make (as sent to you), namely….”
Part of my answer to that email of March 24 is what follows:
“Who is to say that six months from now the ‘unambiguous(ly)’ bylaws that the current trustees have written will not be changed again?
“In looking at the original bylaws I must say that I thought that Articles IV and V were very unambiguous. Perhaps a retraction and correction should be sent from the CCU trustees to the friends of the school.”
Let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty of what is going on here. Back in August 1993, Tom Thurman, then editor of The Restoration Herald, wrote an editorial entitled, “Concerning Our Schools.” In it he spoke of how our schools, wanting to emphasize higher education, first banded together under the accrediting association banner of what was then called the American Association of Bible Colleges. That was supposed to help our colleges. Then seeking more prestige, the Bible colleges began joining the secular regional associations like Southern or North Central. (There is always the danger of wanting to be like the nations around us. See 1 Samuel 8:4.)
In 1993, Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary sent out questionnaires that were supposed to give information to help the future of the school. But there was a problem in that some of the questions were inappropriate. One question asked, “In your judgment, should the Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary expand its educational base and become a liberal arts college in addition to its stated mission?” The next question followed along the same lines, “In your judgment, should the Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary expand its educational base and become a liberal arts college in place of it stated mission?”
When Tom asked about the questionnaire he was told that the trustees had authorized the questionnaire but no one, trustee or otherwise, was advocating the changes asked about in those two questions. They were simply asked to see what the constituency wanted.
Twenty-three years after those questionnaires the subject has come up again. If the trustees want to change CCU into a liberal arts school, then why not say so? Just come out and say that the trustees have decided to change the school into a liberal arts college with Bible and ministerial departments. That would be unambiguous!
Of course, to keep it a Bible college that produces ministers, missionaries, and other vocational Christian workers will take work and it won’t be glamorous or prestigious in the eyes of the world. No football teams, no bands, no bowl games. However, there will be souls saved and disciples made for eternity. That was the vision of the founders of the school!
The original part of the bylaws that was never to be changed needs to be reinstated, but not because any one person says it or 10 million Greeks say it. That part of the bylaws needs to be in the current bylaws for just one reason and one reason alone: It is the right thing to do! That is unambiguous!