Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kick at the Darkness

I can still picture the classroom -- the plastic faux-theatre seats with the swivel (and minuscule) writing surfaces, the hum and shimmer of the bluish florescent lights, and the thin, tinny sound of the many ceiling-mounted 4" speakers valiantly re-broadcasting the professor's voice from the tiny lapel microphone fastened too far down the jacket lapel to do any practical good.

And it wasn't just one professor, it was at least several, who sounded the same somber and ominous warning during those days. That history was against our Bible college. No matter how much we found it difficult to believe, church history demonstrated that, eventually, today's Bible colleges would be tomorrow's liberal colleges.

Not that we doubted this would happen. After all, weren't Harvard and Yale once seminaries, training pastors and missionaries? Naturally, it would only be a matter of time. Regrettable, but inevitable.

But how did it happen so quickly? 20 years later, and the Valedictorian address -- showcased on the front page of the subsequent newspaper sent to supporters and alumni -- makes much of the valedictorian who, arriving at Bible college en route to becoming a missionary, now boldly states:
  • that he's been taught and now recognizes that the whole concept of "missions" is antiquated and offensive.

  • that it's none of our business to decide who is "lost" and then try to evangelize prosyletize them (how arrogant of us).

  • that "missions" must now give way to humanitarian action, unencumbered by narrow-minded evangelistic agendas.
Yes, we had all nodded our heads twenty years ago, acknowledging that eventually even our school would "go liberal". We probably even had a few late-night speculative conversations about it over bad coffee. But it never occurred to us -- to me -- that it would happen in my lifetime, let alone before our 25th class reunion.
To quote Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn, "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight; Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight."