Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's Going on at Northwestern College and Radio?

For the past few years I've been hearing that something is going quite wrong at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN, under the leadership of President Alan Cureton.

There's now a website--Friends of Northwestern College & Radio--that seeks to provide some explanation and documentation of what's going on there. The most recent posting, I believe, is a letter from five former Trustees.

There are other documents as well, explaining serious doctrinal and theological concerns, as well as very significant misgivings regarding managerial style and decision making (including heavy-handed intimidation, bullying tactics, manipulation, and suppression). I would probably not post on this publicly, except for the fact that I know--and have the deepest respect for--some of the key leaders who are raising these concerns: Drs. Paul Helseth, Tim Tomlinson, and Doug Huffman. These are bright, godly, careful men. And when they write what they have written, I think it demands to be taken seriously.

In one document, Tomlinson writes:
The bottom line is this: much damage has been done to this college in the last five years. We are moving away from our historic niche and we have adopted an approach to going about our business that is not God-honoring. Because of these things, a significant and increasing number of faculty and staff do not have confidence or trust in the leadership of this administration. This is the present reality at Northwestern College. To the trustees: the financial and numerical dashboard may look okay right now, but that is akin to a cancer patient who appears fine on the outside, but on the inside is dying a painful death.
In another document, Tomlinson writes:
. . . [T]here is clearly a new operating ethos here at the college. Pragmatism over principle. Image over substance. Political Correctness over Biblical correctness. Little by little, these values, fueled by the encroachment of postmodernism into our ethos, will undermine the authority of the Bible, and therefore Christ, over the affairs of the college.
Why should outsiders care about all of this? One reason is that it seems to be an unfolding example, before our eyes, of the pattern documented in James Tunstead Burtchaell's book, The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from Their Christian Churches.

May God mercifully open eyes and stop the biblical and moral drift.