Scripture and the Church

Is Anyone Watching on the Walls of Christian Academia?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Christian academia's response to the Emergent Church movement demonstrates the failure of men who are supposed to be watchmen.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

The latest issue of The Trinity Review features an article I wrote titled The Emergent Church's Retreat Into Pre-Reformation Darkness. You can read it online or download a printable copy.

Reader response has been interesting - especially from people who apparently had no idea that this apostate movement is exerting a deadly influence on young people attending reputedly conservative colleges and seminaries. An administrator at one college named in the article asked me how I could make such a claim about his school. So I told him just how bad things are in his own house.

On March 25, 2009 this particular college sponsored a full-day Emergent Church Conference featuring Emergent spokesman and author Tony Jones. Advertising for the conference (examples here and here) was completely favorable toward Jones and the movement he represents. During a chapel service (see below) a spokesman for the college reported that "dozens of local area pastors" attended, and the student body was invited to attend as well.

Jones is a thorough apostate. Among his many doctrinal deviancies, he denies the doctrine of original sin, has favorably publicized an Emergent homosexual website called Queermergent, and has endorsed same-sex marriage. He believes that the terms "unbiblical" and "high view of Scripture" must be removed from the Christian vocabulary because they imply that a person or group can hold a "right" view of the Bible or of a specific passage of Scripture.

Despite these things, Jones was also this college's chapel speaker on March 25, 2009. At the beginning of the service, the man who led in prayer asked God to "give us new direction" through the "word" they were about to hear from Tony Jones. The man who then introduced Jones spoke of none of his doctrinal deviancies, but spoke glowingly of his credentials and alleged accomplishments. He then had the audacity to ask the chapel audience to "welcome Tony Jones as he comes to share from God's Word with us" - which it then did with warm applause.

What happened at this college is not an isolated example. It is happening not only all across America, but around the world.

Where are the Watchmen?

How a reputedly conservative Christian college could do these things is beyond comprehension or explanation, except in the light of passages such as 2 Timothy 3:13: "But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." How an administrator in such a school could be unaware of what is going on is baffling to say the least.

Christian parents trust the faculties and administrators of reputedly conservative colleges and seminaries - and pay them tens of thousands of dollars - to teach their young people Biblical truth and guard them against apostasy. But Christian academia's response to the Emergent Church movement demonstrates that those who are supposed to be watchmen on the walls of Christian schools often fail to do the job.

This leads us inexorably to the question: Where are the faithful watchmen on the walls of Christian academia, guarding against such attacks by the devil? Who is protecting the spiritual well-being of the young people Christian parents are entrusting to their care? Who is warning them against apostasy? Sadly, in many colleges and seminaries today, the answer is, "No one."

Jehovah's words to Ezekiel apply equally to the leaders of Christian academia today:

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.' So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. (Ezekiel 33:1-7)

Christian parents, exercise great discernment in choosing the place for your children's higher education. Make sure the faculty and administrators are watchmen on the walls who will guard them against error and apostasy, not allies of the evil one who will encourage them to welcome the enemies of Christ and His Word with open arms.


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