Tag Archives: Emmanuel Christian Seminary

If You Needed More Evidence that Emmanuel Blew It When It Forced Chris Rollston Out…

Here it is:  Chris’s tribute to his students there-

A Tribute to Emmanuel Students:

From my perspective, life brings many things, some welcome, some not, some good, some not. Such is the ebb and flow of human existence, I believe. This first week at George Washinton University was absolutely marvelous, at a number of levels. At this juncture, though, I wish to pause for a moment and emphasize strongly, and with heartfelt emotion, that I am deeply grateful for the honor it was to teach so many wonderful graduate students at Emmanuel during the course of the past decade (and all of you were truly quite wonderful).

I sincerely hope that our paths cross often in the future and please know that all of you will always be part of the tableau of my life for which I am thankful. I will not forget you. Not ever.

Please be well, flourish, and please keep in touch. I love to research and write, but I am never more alive than when I am teaching. I will miss all of you. And….please also know that my dearest friend on the Emmanuel campus, Dr. Jason Bembry, has mentioned today to me that he’s going to keep the “free coffee tradition” alive within the Old Testament area….I hope that you will visit him often….and drink a cup for me as well! Le-Hayim.

Chris Rollston.

And Emmanuel found fault with him?  That speaks volumes about the school.

‘Losers’ May Be too Kind of a Description…

rollston_emmanuel_sink_comicBut all in all Bob Cargill’s post (and Danny McClellan’s comic) nicely capture the whole Emmanuel Seminary war on Chris Rollston and academic freedom.  Give Bob’s piece a read.

Were I to add anything to it it would be that even Milligan will now have problems attracting gifted scholars to teach there.  Who wants to risk what Rollston experienced?  If Milligan and Emmanuel are so akin that they can merge, it stands to reason that their ideological viewpoints are similar enough that any Professor working at the former may be under the same gun as those who worked at the latter.

Emmanuel shot off it’s legs in order to swat a fly.  That bodes ill for any ‘body’ merging with it, or absorbing it.  Furthermore, if Blowers and Sweeney are connected with Milligan then nothing has really changed, nor will it.

Toxic wastelands are seldom cleaned simply by a change of name.  An anti-intellectual institution remains that no matter what it calls itself.

Christopher Rollston is Leaving Emmanuel Christian Seminary

Emmanuel has lost a brilliant scholar thanks in no small part to the petty wranglings of a few manipulative ‘control freaks’ and assorted senseless fundamentalists.

Emmanuel’s loss is George Washington University’s gain- as Chris is heading there for a visiting professorship.

Ahead, for Chris, only the best.  Ahead, for Emmanuel.  Nothingness.  Nichtigkeit.

Why Is Emmanuel Christian Seminary Dragging its Feet?

Are they hoping that support for Christopher Rollston will die out or that scholars and colleagues will lose interest and then Emmanuel can remove a tenured Professor without cause simply to satisfy the personal vendetta of a couple of ill tempered administrators?

Well, they’re wrong.  We won’t lose interest in the matter and we won’t turn our backs on Chris.  We will stand by his side until every last issue concerning his employment is resolved to his satisfaction.

Emmanuel may be feet draggers- but the rest of us aren’t.

Milligan Beware: A Marriage To Emmanuel Christian Seminary May Result in Muzzled Faculty

Bob Cargill notes

Confirming two items that I’ve mentioned on this blog over the past month (here and here), Emmanuel Christian Seminary President, Dr. Michael Sweeney, confirmed via two separate emails sent to all Emmanuel students the following two items:

  1. Emmanuel is close to signing a $3,000,000 donation from a donor, who has offered the money to be used in debt reduction.
  2. Milligan College has voted to pursue acquiring Emmanuel Christian Seminary, including its assets and debts.

I hope that if the ‘deal goes through’ Milligan realizes that if it retains the current Emmanuel Administration that Administration may attempt to do to Milligan’s what it has done to Christopher Rollston: i.e., muzzle him and threaten dismissal if he doesn’t ‘toe the line’.

Bob continues

These emails from the Emmanuel President all but confirm what many have been saying throughout Emmanuel’s scandalous attempt to dismiss a tenured professor: that Emmanuel’s “very direct answer to prayer” appears to have involved an attempt to terminate Dr. Chris Rollston in exchange for a large donation. There is certainly evidence to support such a claim. Likewise, the letter reveals that Emmanuel Christian Seminary’s financial woes are far greater than many thought; Emmanuel’s present administration appears to have led Emmanuel into such a deep financial hole that discussions of the acquisition of Emmanuel’s debt and remaining assets have been ongoing with Milligan College for some time now. Likewise, President Sweeney explicitly hopes that “the result of this process will be to integrate Emmanuel into Milligan College”. That is, according to an email Emmanuel’s President sent to its students, Emmanuel wants Milligan to assume control. Thus, we’re past the point of if it’s going to happen, but we are now talking about when.

Shameful really- the whole sorry absurd episode is just a blotch on academia in general and the institution called Emmanuel Christian Seminary in particular.

I recall that years back I defended the Church of Christ when it was attacked as a cult.  But maybe I was too hasty.  Emmanuel certainly wishes to exert the same kind of mind control one finds in a cult.  And evidently has ‘deep pockets’ (perhaps it’s the Koch Brothers looking for a new hobby horse to ride since their Romney steed fell to pasture) willing to underwrite its disturbingly manipulative ways, just like a cult.

Bob has more. Give it a look.

P. Kyle McCarter’s Letter In Support of Chris Rollston

From his personal web-page

Public Letter re: Chris Rollston

11/13/2012

Emmanuel Christian Seminary wants to fire Chris Rollston.  This is not news.  It’s already known to readers of this list and other public and semi-public forums.  Still, it seems to me to be a matter of such gravity, and now urgency, that I should call attention to it yet again.  My hope is that colleagues who share my concern will find time to send messages expressing their points of view to relevant addresses at Emmanuel — but more on that below.  First let me describe the situation more precisely and then explain why it’s especially important to me.

To be precise, administrators and others at Emmanuel Christian Seminary have been working hard since at least September to sever the contractual relationship between their institution and Christopher A. Rollston, The Toyozo W. Nakarai Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies.  They want to revoke his tenure, and remove the protections it gives to his academic freedom; they want to terminate his teaching privileges, and prevent him from sharing his knowledge and ideas with Emmanuel students; and they want to discontinue his salary, and require him to find another way to support his family.  The reasons these members of the Emmanuel leadership have decided to take such drastic action are complex.  I think I understand most or all of the issues,  but I’m not directly involved, my information is second hand, and I don’t think it would be useful or fair to Emmanuel or to Chris for me to give a detailed account of my understanding of the things that have been said and done.  What is clear, though, is that the Emmanuel officials who want Chris Rollston ousted have serious religious objections to the things he says about the Bible and to the way he teaches it.

Before commenting further on the last point, let me be candid about my own interest in this case.  I place the highest possible value on intellectual freedom, and I hope I would respond strongly to any situation where I thought I saw it being threatened or abused.  Here, though, I also have a clear personal interest and no wish to conceal it.  First, I consider Chris a close friend, and I hope he thinks of me the same way.  Second, I hold him in high esteem as a colleague who is doing increasingly important work in scholarly areas of special interest to me.  Surpassing even these things in influencing my perspective on Chris’s current predicament, though, is the fact that he was my student, my Doktorsohn.  These days, in light of what he has achieved as a scholar, I feel very good about how well I taught him Hebrew paleography, but I worry that I fell short of my responsibility to counsel him about how small-minded and mean-spirited the Academy can be at its worst.  I’m saddened and outraged by what I see happening at Emmanuel, and when I think of the ordeal Chris is going through, I’m agonized and enraged.  So I can’t represent myself as only a principled senior academic who is affronted when he sees an institution misbehaving — with me this is much more personal than that.

Now, returning to the earlier point, I’ve suggested that Emmanuel officials object to Chris’s views on the Bible.  To be more clear, Chris’s thinking seems to be regarded as too progressive for some who are in decision-making positions at Emmanuel.  This seems strange to me.  The foundations of Chris’s biblical training were acquired at Emmanuel itself (then called Emmanuel School of Religion) when he was a master’s student there working under fine Old Testament scholars like Robert Evans (now at General Theological Seminary in New York).  After receiving his M.A.R. from Emmanuel, Chris came to Johns Hopkins as a Near Eastern Studies doctoral student.  We found him already well prepared in historical-critical scholarship and entirely comfortable with its application to the Hebrew Bible.  Perhaps some will suspect that while Chris was doing his Ph.D. work we introduced ideas into his thinking that would be objectionable to Emmanuel, but that suspicion seems contradicted by the fact that as soon as Chris finished his work with us, Emmanuel hired him as a member of its Bible faculty.  That was more than a decade ago, and Chris’s biblical scholarship must have been deemed acceptable to Emmanuel when they hired him then.  In fact, it seems safe to say that it was still fully acceptable at least as recently as the spring of 2006, because that was when Emmanuel promoted Chris to the rank of Professor and awarded him tenure.  
In the years since Chris’s promotion and tenure his academic reputation has burgeoned nationally and internationally, most especially in the field of Northwest Semitic epigraphy, in which his voice is rapidly becoming one of the most respected in the world.  This seems to me especially relevant to the concerns of Emmanuel, since it indicates that a principal part of Chris’s work has to do with examining, interpreting and evaluating ancient inscriptions, perhaps especially ancient Hebrew inscriptions.  To put it somewhat melodramatically, Chris is a scholar who brings to life the voices of the people of the biblical world, and his findings are an embarrassment to any scholar or layperson who might express skepticism about the historical reality of the ancient community.  So if someone told me that Chris had become a hero of religious conservatives, I might not have been surprised, but to hear the opposite, that conservatives find his work abhorrent, is astonishing.  It makes me wonder if there is some great misunderstanding hidden in all the ugliness that has erupted at Emmanuel.

I fear, though, that there is no misunderstanding, and that there are those at Emmanuel who have both the power and the will to persist in their persecution of Chris Rollston.  If this is true, then Chris has no choice but to take the steps necessary to protect himself from charges and action that he believes to be incorrect, unjust and improper.  What can the rest of us do?  First, I think, we can be vigilant about the process of Chris’s case to be sure that it’s conducted according to the long and widely accepted academic principles that apply to cases of proposed dismissal for cause.  For example, if it is true, as we have all heard, that the catalyst for these events was the disapproval by some members of the Emmanuel community of a Huffington Post blog entry posted by Chris last August, we must understand (and if necessary remind Emmanuel) that this is a matter that cannot be taken into consideration in the deliberation of Chris’s case unless Emmanuel chooses to disregard the generally accepted recommendations and guidelines of such groups as the American Association of University Professors, in which such matters are explicitly excluded from dismissal for cause cases.  In other words, we must keep in sight the long-held opinion of AAUP and others that stipulates that Chris’s contract with Emmanuel cannot deny him rights possessed by every other American citizen.  This is only one example, but I think it illustrates the need for those of us who are Chris’s friends and colleagues (likely including his scholarly adversaries who nevertheless are concerned about the infringement of academic freedom) to pay attention to the events as they transpire and collectively insist on a fair process.  In this regard it’s reassuring to know that an officer of AAUP has already written a letter of concern to Emmanuel’s president expressing the hope that all of AAUP’s widely accepted procedural standards will be followed in Chris Rollston’s case.  Emmanuel Christian Seminary does have a written policy on academic freedom of its own, and it uses language adopted directly from AAUP documents, so that I think there’s reason to hope that AAUP’s concern will not be quickly set aside.  I also find it encouraging to know that Emmanuel Christian Seminary is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), and I expect that these two bodies will take an active interest in Chris’s case in order to satisfy themselves that their accreditation requirements and guidelines that apply issues with which the case is concerned are being conscientiously followed.

I’ve written this public letter because I’ve watched the treatment of Chris Rollston by Emmanuel Christian Seminary closely, and what I’ve seen so far has me deeply troubled both professionally and personally, as I’ve explained.  My sense is that events are now beginning to move rapidly, so that declarations of concern at this point will be very timely.  I’ve expressed the hope that we will be vigilant and attentive to the process, and I believe that it might help if we directly notify the institution of our general concern and our intention to play a watchdog role.  We can do this by contacting the chief academic officers of the Seminary.  The President is Michael Sweeney (msweeney@ecs.edu) and the Academic Dean is Jack Holland (jholland@ecs.edu).  Even brief messages to President Sweeney and Dean Holland will demonstrate the sincerity of our interest.  Those of you (and there are many) who have knowledge of specific issues and events (things I’ve deliberately omitted from this letter for reasons already explained) may wish to address those things at some length, but (to repeat) short messages will help too.  Many of you will have already written, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t write again.  You might also consider writing to Emmanuel’s accrediting boards, mentioned above.  The representative at SACS is Steven Sheeley (ssheeley@sacscoc.org), and the representative at ATS is Tisa Lewis (lewis@ats.edu). Some of you, moreover, may have special knowledge that could be particularly useful.  If, for example, you have worked in any capacity with either of Emmanuel’s accrediting boards (SACS or ATS, see above), you may know a more direct way to call their attention to this issue — I feel confident they will want to investigate, but I don’t know if they are yet involved.  If by chance any of you knows one or more trustees of Emmanuel Christian Seminary, you might be able to play a particularly valuable role.  As I said above, considering the inevitably positivistic character of Chris’s epigraphic work, it’s surprising to me that he hasn’t found support within even the conservative spectrum of Emmanuel’s constituencies, and I wonder if all the trustees have been told the whole story.

In sum, all of us who hold academic positions, whether in secular or religious or confessional institutions, have a stake in what’s happening in Johnson City, Tennessee.  Many of you don’t know Chris personally, but even some of you who don’t know him personally have already taken bold positions on his behalf, and you have and deserve the special respect of us all.  For those of us who do know Chris, who know the quality and integrity of his work, and who know the quality and integrity of the man, we can’t help but ask ourselves:  Is this a man whose job performance is such that he should be threatened with dismissal for cause?  This man?  Chris Rollston?  The notion is so absurd that it stops all thought processes, leaving only confusion.  How did things get to this point?

Respectfully yours,
P. Kyle McCarter
William Foxwell Albright Professor of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
The Johns Hopkins University

Robert Cargill’s Call For Letters in Support of Christopher Rollston

I was out of town when Robert issued his call so I didn’t get to his post till now.  Here it is.

I’d like to announce an open call for letters in support of Dr. Christopher Rollston, who Emmanuel Christian Seminary is presently attempting to terminate, despite the fact that he is a tenured professor holding an endowed chair.

Then follows further explanation of the situation.  Bob has already received several responses but many more are, I think, needed.   Take a few moments to do it.

Naming a School ‘Christian’ Doesn’t Mean It’s So

Bob Cargill observes

The scandal at Emmanuel Christian Seminary involving the attempt to (wrongfully) terminate Professor Chris Rollston appears to be much uglier and more mishandled than we first thought.

Thomas Stark, who first broke much of this story on the Religion @ the Margins blog, has posted a new story that at first seems too unlikely to be true. But after reading the story, and more amazingly, viewing the screen shots, it unfortunately appears to be all too real.

Emmanuel President Michael Sweeney apparently asked Thomas Stark to issue a press release for Emmanuel that addressed the Chris Rollston disciplinary action presently underway at Emmanuel. This is, quite frankly, insane! (With all due respect to Thomas Stark and the Religion @ the Margins blog.) Since when does a university president ask a blogger to issue a press statement on the blogger’s blog?  Does the Emmanuel President not own a computer and a website? And how is it that we STILL haven’t heard a single thing from Emmanuel on this issue (outside of Paul Blowers divulging the confidential business of a disciplinary action to the public on Facebook, and then writing an entire article to the B&I website discussing the situation publicly)?

There’s a lot more which deserves a reading.  My take-away from this whole sordid sorry affair is that plopping the name ‘Christian’ down in your institutional title doesn’t guarantee that the folk there actually are.  And if actions speak louder than words (and they do) then… well… draw your own conclusions.  Or, in biblical terminology, take heed to the warning of Jesus that ‘you shall know them by their fruits’.

So for Emmanuel ‘Christian’ Seminary, Money is the Determinative Factor, Not Scholarship, Education, or Academic Integrity

Scholarship doesn’t matter – it appears – at Emmanuel, money does.

The president of a Tennessee seminary told a tenured professor that his views were offending prospective students and possible donors and that he should look for work elsewhere.

The trouble began when Christopher Rollston, a professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, a graduate seminary affiliated with the Restoration Movement, wrote an opinion article for The Huffington Post’s religion section about the marginal status of women in the Bible. “To embrace the dominant biblical view of women would be to embrace the marginalization of women,” Rollston wrote. “And sacralizing patriarchy is just wrong.”

Rollston is completely right to write as he has written and his view is both theologically and biblically correct.  If prospective students at Emmanuel or donors think otherwise it’s merely an indication of their own theological ignorance.

Further, the fact that the school is acting as it is purely for the sake of money shows beyond any shadow of a doubt that Mr Blowers and his cohorts are more interested in money than truth.  And that means Emmanuel has ceased to be an institution of higher learning and is now simply a money collecting agency.  How sad.

Congratulations Mr Blowers, you and your ilk have managed to destroy a school and turn it into a gathering of greedy televangelists telling the ignorant flock what it desperately wishes to hear just to make a buck.

Dr Robert Cargill’s Response to Emanuel’s Dr Blower’s Critique of Chris Rollston

On the previously mentioned essay (in comments) Cargill writes (extensively, and yet I’m compelled to replicate it all)

Dr. Blowers,

As an alum of, and former adjunct professor at a Restoration school (Pepperdine), and as a colleague of Dr. Rollston’s, I have taken an interest in this developing story, one that increasingly looks like an attempt by the administration at Emmanuel Christian Seminary to terminate a tenured professor at the urging of a professor of church history, who just happens to be the son of a wonderful and well-loved regent of both Emmanuel and Milligan College. (That would be you.)

So as one who was raised in the Churches of Christ, and as one who now proudly teaches Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, and who is heavily involved in the Digital Humanities, I have taken additional interest in this story because so much of it has taken place in the form of YOUR public comments in the online realm, such as Facebook and blogs.

HOWEVER, as a member of the academy, and as a scholar and a professor engaged in the academic enterprise, it is every bit my, and ALL scholars’ business to know whether or not a supposed institution of higher learning is abiding by fundamental academic principles like tenure.

Do you not realize that your repeated (non-)responses of “it’s just our internal business” and “you don’t have all the information” makes the recent events at Emmanuel appear all the more scandalous, as these are the typical responses of an organization that is attempting to cover up and distract from something that goes against all rules of professionalism and academic propriety?

If Emmanuel has terminated a tenured professional, and one that is as respected as Dr. Rollston, for doing his job – offering an interpretation of scripture based upon his expertise, but one which you, as a Professor of Restoration history, happen to disagree with, and for which you have publicly chastised him – then there will be such a professional and public outcry against Emmanuel that whatever is left of their credibility will instantly be flushed away and the only individuals who will support the institution, and the only students who will attend the college are the far-right leaning, bordering-on-fundamentalist conservative Stone-Campbell sectarians who regularly champion anti-intellectual causes and badmouth any form of critical biblical scholarship. Are you TRYING to make Emmanuel look even MORE anti-intellectual than Glenn Beck University?

And do also you not realize that while you may establish yourself as the big fish in the small bowl and as one not to be trifled with at Emmanuel, you will have concomitantly so tarnished your own academic reputation that your only remaining colleagues will be those who will join you in spitting on the concept of tenure and who insist that a college’s professors MUST CONFORM to a predetermined dogma of identical thought and conclusions, rather than understanding a college as a place where students can observe highly trained individuals of DIFFERING thoughts and opinions DEBATE and DISAGREE in a PROFESSIONAL and safe environment?

If what is rumored to be happening at Emmanuel is actually happening, you may very well have single-handedly brought about the beginning of the end of Emmanuel Christian Seminary. Do you not think that other faculty who may quietly disagree with you are not already updating their resumes and applying to teach elsewhere – anywhere? Do you think that what will be left of your colleagues will ever feel safe if the results of their research must conform to predetermined conclusions as a condition of employment? What kind of REAL research will that ever produce? Will they ever feel safe if they know there is not only a possibility, but an ESTABLISHED PRECEDENT of one of their own policing their thoughts and research, and handing them over to the administration for disciplinary action whenever you feel they have not spoken ‘the truth’?

And do you think any potential donor is going to throw more money after bad money to bail out a college that insists that everyone arrive at the same conclusion? Will students want to attend, and will alums want to financially support a college that so readily discards one of its most beloved professors?

Allow me also to draw attention to the quite skilled apologetic, yet logically fallacious responses you have given recently in the public sphere. For instance, I cannot help but note that you put scare quotes around the term “heresy trial” in your earlier response to me. Now, I acknowledge that we are in a political season, but Mr. Caruso is correct in his comment above: you appear to be engaged in an exercise of semantics, and are repeatedly denying your own straw man argument in a game of apologetic parry and riposte.

I didn’t ask you if there was a “heresy trial” going on at Emmanuel. I asked you if an institution of higher learning (Emmanuel) has begun a disciplinary hearing against a tenured professor (Dr. Rollston) based at least in part upon his Huffington Post article, and whether said disciplinary action came about as a result of any referral from you to the Emmanuel administration.

To this, you respond with the answers I’d expect from an organization in the midst of a scandal – answers like, “You don’t know all the facts”, and “you don’t even know us”, and “it’s none of your business”.

In my opinion, your claim that the disciplinary investigation of a tenured professor based upon your interpretation and critique of an article he wrote is “none of my business” is nothing more than a tacit affirmation that there IS, in fact, a disciplinary hearing underway, that you are complicit in it, and that you wish everyone would JUST PLEASE STOP ASKING ABOUT IT, as it makes you look highly unprofessional and makes Emmanuel look like a bunch of fundamentalist religious sectarians suffering in the midst of a moderate-to-severe financial crisis, which has resulted in the recent change of the name of the institution from “Emmanuel School of Religion” to “Emmanuel Christian Seminary” in the hopes of perhaps appealing to more conservative donors, who might not like some of the professional, “critical” scholarship one might expect from a generically named “School of Religion”, and who would much prefer the doctrinally conforming apologetics we’ve come to expect from southern Bible colleges and like-minded “Christian Seminaries”.

Perhaps the idea of terminating a tenured professor in an endowed chair looks appealing on paper, as it will save a financially strapped college some money while as a bonus, can rid itself of a scholar who doesn’t align with your particular definition of what a traditional Stone-Campbell conservative theology ought to look like.

Of course, I concede that this is just my opinion and sheer speculation. I may be way off, and as you’ve repeatedly suggested, I appear to know nothing about what’s going on there.

There is no such thing as “an extremely limited knowledge of what is going on” in ANY Restoration school, especially when a college is engaged in bypassing the hard-won academic institution of tenure, for which even professors who disagree with the particular speech being made will rally to defend a professor’s right to say it – EVEN AT a private Christian seminary where some actually believe that silly federal laws don’t apply.

(Again, please feel free to correct me if I’ve misstated anything. If you think I have “rushed to judgment” in any way, shape, manner, or form, please disabuse me: where in my initial 4 questions above have I misstated or misspoken?)

One last thing: I admire how you have repeatedly made the distinction that you have praised Dr. Rollston “in public.” But is this not also the very definition of duplicity? You keep repeating that you’ve praised Dr. Rollston in public, while having already apologized for trashing him in public, and for publicly stating that you’ve encouraged disciplinary action against him in private. In fact, your repeated highlighting of the fact that you’ve ALSO praised Dr. Rollston in public only underscores your duplicity as a colleague who has handed him over for disciplinary action at an institution where your father served as a regent. You concede your own duplicity.

Your own continued comments in the public realm betray the seemingly scandalous activity at Emmanuel: scare quotes, non sequiturs, red herrings, circular reasoning, admissions and apologies – all of this betrays to the learned that something is going on at Emmanuel. Something ugly. Something academically unprofessional. Perhaps the possible termination of a tenured faculty member because a well-connected colleague didn’t like what he wrote.

If this is the case, I can completely understand why you would not want to answer any questions about it. It makes you and Emmanuel look very, very bad.

And let me assure you that members of the academy will not stand idly by and hold the coats of those who wish to academically stone Dr. Rollston along with the concept of academic tenure.

Cheers,

Bob Cargill

His last sentence – along with everything else – is 100% on the money.  Amen, and amen.  I once more appeal to the more reasonable people at ECS to speak out, publicly, in support of Dr. Rollston and I likewise urge all of our academic colleagues to do the same.  This matters.

An Open Letter to the Emmanuel Christian Seminary Concerning Christopher Rollston

To Whom it May Concern,

I cannot, at the present moment in time, imagine why Christopher Rollston has come under fire from certain quarters simply because his views are intelligent, refined, dignified, honest, truthful, insightful, brilliant, and recognized around the world as authoritative.

If I may, to help you see things from a broader perspective, point out to you several facts which you should certainly be aware of:

1- Professor Rollston is widely and universally positively regarded and highly respected by his peers, colleagues, and even opponents in the academic world.  You are, and I assure you of the truth of this fact, blessed, in every sense of that word, to have him on your faculty.  Let me say that again, you are blessed to have him there.

2- His anemically unintellectual attacker should be ashamed of himself for his cowardly and underhanded manipulative attempts to persuade you otherwise.  No one brings more to the table than Chris when it comes to honest and genuinely useful interpretation of the linguistic facts.  Certainly not his enemy in this case!

3- If you were to survey people in the field of epigraphy and ask them whose opinion and interpretation they trust, Chris’s name will come up, I guarantee, in the top three every time and most likely his will be the first name mentioned.

In this, a humble – open – public – and plain letter I appeal to you to see with open eyes that the only motivation behind this scurrilous, shameful, scandalous attack on Prof. Rollston is crass and disreputable sub-Christian jealousy, impure and simple.

Therefore I urge you, in the plainest language possible, to stand up for Prof. Rollston publicly, loudly, and immediately.  Your reputation as an institution of higher learning is at stake.

If you stand by and allow this contemptible attack to continue unanswered, I can faultlessly assert that you will be seen as a school where petty jealousy determines policy, and that, dear friends, would be a true and authentic tragedy.

Yours most sincerely,

Jim West, ThD
Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies, Quartz Hill School of Theology
Pastor, Petros Baptist Church

[Please do feel free, dear reader, to send a letter of your own to the Dean and the President and others at the Seminary as you see fit.  You can contact them here].