Cedarville, Let there be Light. (pt. 1)

The Statement:

“Dr. Michael Pahl has been relieved of his teaching duties because he is unable to concur fully with each and every position of Cedarville University’s doctrinal statement.  This decision was made following a review by the University administration and trustees prompted by Dr. Pahl’s recent book, The Beginning and the End:  Rereading Genesis’s Stories and Revelation’s Visions.

Dr. Pahl’s orthodoxy and commitment to the gospel are not in question, nor is his commitment to Scripture’s inspiration, authority and infallibility.  He is a promising scholar and a dedicated teacher, and he will be missed by his colleagues and students.  Nevertheless, the University has determined this decision to be in the best interests of its constituency at this time.”

The “Logic” of the Statement:

Hence, the Following Questions:

  • Why were the five accolades attached to Dr. Pahl above (orthodox, gospel, Scripture, scholar, teacher) not enough to keep him on the teaching faculty of Cedarville University?
  • Don’t we want promising scholars and dedicated teachers who are committed to the gospel, to Scripture, and to orthodoxy at Cedarville University? If not, why not?
  • Upon review of Dr. Pahl’s book, I do not see how it contradicts with any of the points of Cedarville’s doctrinal statement.
    • Have I missed something?
    • Are there more standards that the ones enumerated in the Doctrinal Statement  that the professors are expected to hold to (i.e. White Papers)?
    • If so, why aren’t these made public? If the White Papers flow directly from the Doctrinal Statement, and if they are important enough to fire faculty over, then shouldn’t the students and general public know about them?
    • Is it possible that other motivations are at play here?
    • Does the “best interests of its constituency” imply that Dr. Pahl was dismissed from teaching because of non-doctrinal concerns?
    • Was this decision in any way motivated by attendance or enrollment or popularity of the institution in certain Christians’ eyes?
    • If that’s the case, then why would those things be worth more than “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” to the administration and the trustees?
  • What did “the review by the University administration and trustees” look like? Were the proceedings ethical? Were the proceedings made public in any way so as to provide for oversight?
  • What is the definition of “constituency” according to the statement above? Does it include the entire constituency of the University, or just a select portion?


Published by

Joshua P. Steele

Managing Editor of Anglican Compass; Creator of Rookie Theologian; Anglican Priest; Ph.D. Candidate in Theology

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