Shorter University, A Different Angle

I was reading through my yearly bible reading plan and guess what? In the providence of the Lord I read across a passage that brought back a bitter / sweet memory.

Psalm 119:116 “Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope.”

Any who know me knows for sure I do not believe in the happy plunge method of bible study. Open the Scriptures with eyes closed, plop a finger down, read and know the Lord’s will for that particular situation. That is something akin to Ouija bible. Not good.

But Father is supernatural and can intervene in physical life to rescue his hurting people, no doubt.

This is what happened to me on a hard evening’s wrestling with hard questions. After having my simple and young trust in Jesus brought to the brink of annihilation with left leaning biases in every science I threw my bible against the wall, swore at Father (which I regret to this day) and yelled at him why he would give me untrustworthy counsel and lead me to a faith that is not defensible.

I went to pick up the bible to throw away and Psalm 119:116 caught my eye. It was supernatural. I can’t explain it. I don’t have words for it. It was supernatural. But that Psalm rescued me. Spirit birthed something in me. My confidence in the Lord grew instantly. My faith bolstered. Pieces of scholarship came together. I prostrated myself and gave thanks and made a vow that I would become the best scholar I could be regarding biblical things. I’m still working on keeping that vow.

Here is my thought: I was brought to the brink of walking away from Christianity because of the course content in every science, and for some reason I was rescued. Why I was rescued and others were not is a question for another blog. There were many who came to the brink and walked over it at Shorter because of the same content. Their young and vibrant trust in Jesus was crushed, not built up. There is a difference in challenging to build up and crushing for the sake of an agenda, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Do I believe professors were intentionally trying to crush faith? Not at all. They were not. However, that is what was happening. Many victims of a crushed faith. Many whose faith was severely bruised.

With all that has happened at Shorter over the past few weeks folk seem very concerned about faculty and students being alienated who have an unquestioned allegiance to things overtly non-Christian at a Christian school. But no one is asking about the students who were silent victims of having non-Christian values and left leaning teaching crush their faith. What about those students? Should not have Shorter lived up to it’s “Christian” billing rather than saying “Christian” and having young and unsuspecting students get their faith crushed with nothing to uphold it?

I get challenge. I teach Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology and Apologetics at a private school. I intent to challenge my students but not challenge their faith. I intend to challenge the level of their knowing and ability to critically analyze. I then delve into the depths of bible, why we have bible, how we got it, the historical process of canonization, the spiritual reality of that process, the trustworthy and inerrant nature of Scripture, why it’s inerrant and not just infallible (which it is), what this matters, etc…..

Should Shorter have done this rather than the former? I have to, because of what I read in Scripture, have more concern about the status of a student’s soul who has walked away from Jesus because of the authority in the class (According to James teachers have a stricter judgement) than a professor who has to find another job without having his presuppositions questioned.

Those who are Shorter alumni know some of the people who walked away or nearly did. I am one that nearly did because of Shorter and no one is asking about me or my friends who were in the same boat. All seem more concerned with the temporal welfare of faculty who will need a new job rather than the eternal state of the souls who were crushed because of the content of courses. That shows me that there are more practical atheists out there than Christians operating with a Christian worldview. Think it through.

Here is Jesus on that matter, and I’ll close my thoughts with his: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:5-6



  1. As a Christian, I have no problem with believing the earth is billions of years old as to the puny 6,000 years the Nelson Price purports. After all, carbon fossil dating isn’t that faulty! The complexity of a single plant, much less the design of the plant and animal kingdoms, oceans, and universe should be enough for anyone to be in absolute awe of such a brilliant Creator. The psalmist, writing in a world where only learned men had any knowledge of science, marveled at the wonder of His universe, but may have had little knowledge of the laws that, then and still, govern physics, chemistry, and math — rules that were designed by the Trinity and taught in classes at Shorter College by faculty who devoted years to their students and didn’t, to my knowledge or anyone else’s, flaunt adulterous affairs, let themselves be seen drunk in public, or even share pro-homosexuality views in class. Judging by the scores of former students I know, or who have written to the RNT, far more have spoken of their gratefulness to have gone to a Christian school where they were taught by a caring faculty in a warm, gracious environment, than by the author of the above opinion; a school where, far from being crushed by heretics, their faith bloomed. I hear of many more people who never wanted to step foot in a church because they were raised in an environment of “religionists,” like Dowless and the current Board, who enjoy showing others how devout they are, but in truth show none of the fruits of the Spirit, love being the greatest. Furthermore, Dowless continues to purposely mislead and downright lie to the public, in both his supposed willingness to engage in civil disagreement (sign or you’re fired), in his claim that other Christian schools such as Notre Dame had “similar” policies (OMG, a school full of Catholics, who outnumber Baptists worldwide by a staggering number, and who, at the least, drink real wine at Communion), and in their plans for Shorter, plans that will in no way be revealed to the public. Furthermore, the Board and Dowless all need to fire themselves, as “adultery” also includes simply lusting in your heart. Who realizes that Shorter is NOT a theological or “Bible” college? To those who simply say the faculty, even tenured faculty who have done nothing but nurture grateful students for decades, can “go elsewhere, this is a private college,” have little or no true understanding of Shorter, or what comprises a liberal arts college that has a denominational alignment, such as Young Harris, Berry, or Mercer, to name but a very few. I would advise choosing Lee, Brigham Young, Oral Roberts, or the ultra pious Bob Jones U, where they actually allowed interracial dating a few years ago (I’m guessing they think Jesus had white skin and blue eyes). The actions of Don Dowless and the Board of Trustees are nothing but sanctimonious rules for exclusion. Had they lived in another time in our history, they would have been burning heretics at the stake (Protestants and Catholics gladly lit the fires for each other, and were equally assured that their take on Christianity was God’s), or at least throwing lots of stones at all those sinners that Jesus spent his time ministering to. Shameful, shameful, shameful, made even worse when fundamentalist hypocrites are outed with their own homosexual flings or adulterous affairs. I know plenty of people who would have fit the “personal lifestyle” criteria that Shorter demands (that, interestingly enough, leaves out “love”), and were horrible people who brought no one to Jesus. They were judgemental, holier-than-thou Bible thumpers who were awful to their spouses, children, and other people who didn’t live up to their own list of “do-nots.” Sounds a lot like Dowless and the current board, who have not a Christian agenda, but that of a fundamentalist Baptist, no matter their lofty words to the public. I hate to see such a wonderful school go down the drain, which, regardless of what Dowless supporters think, will happen. They may get money from the GBC, may get children of those supporters, but the reputation that this school built on the backs of current and past faculty and administration will be crushed. Sad, very sad.


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