An Open Letter to Abilene Christian University
From Thomas B. Warren and Roy Deaver
We' the writers of this letter, are graduates of Abilene Christian College (now ACU). Although not everything was perfect when we were students (1943-1947), we did immensely enjoy our studying there, and we are deeply grateful for that privilege. We sincerely appreciate and respect the professors of Bible under whom we studied.
But, alas, in our judgment, ACC is not really ACU, and ACU is not really ACC. In our judgment, the board of trustees - by its choices of presidents and faculty - has allowed the school to drift into "liberalism." As a result, the school no longer really teaches many of the crucial truths of the Bible and does allow many matters to be taught which are not in harmony with Bible teaching and which are in complete contradiction to the chartered purposes of the school.
This open letter is an effort to lovingly call ACU back to the faithfulness which was basically characteristic of it during the years we were there. We will explain why we feel moved to write this letter.
At the close of Steve Flatt's lecture on "Leadership" during the 1992 ACU Lectureship, Dr. Royce Money, president of ACU, said:
I want to encourage you toward unity in the body of Christ. The last and longest prayer of Jesus before he went to the cross haunts me. Surely the unity cannot come out of uniformity. We have tried that. It will have to come out of diversity, and out of other virtues.
It is clear that Dr. Money has here contended that the unity which the Bible demands cannot come as a result of people's learning and obeying what the Bible plainly teaches in regard to (1) obligatory matters (which the Bible demands that people do, Rev. 2:10, et al.) and (2) forbidden matters (what the Bible demands that people not do, cf. Gal. 5:16-21).
The Bible teaches that, to be saved, the alien sinner must (that is, it is absolutely necessary, it is obligatory) both learn and obey the Gospel of Christ. To be saved, people must be in conformity to what the Bible teaches.
We must not demand of God's people that they, of necessity, must be unified on the details of optional matters. However, Christians must uphold biblical truth. Christians must demand of themselves that they face the truth that unity is demanded by God in obligatory matters (including forbidden matters).
However, it seems clear that Dr. Money and at least some of his faculty in the College of Biblical Studies hold that the only "unity" which God demands of anyone is what ACU now refers to as "unity-in-diversity." And what, may we kindly ask, does unity-in-diversity" in religion mean? To put it succinctly, by "unity-in-diversity" in religion, Dr. Money (and at least some members of his Bible faculty) means that the people who are involved must agree to disagree! They hold that this view is relative not only to optional matters but also to both obligatory and forbidden matters. (Note: we recognize that forbidden matters rightly come, in a negative way, within the scope of obligatory matters.)
Given Dr. Money's view of Christianity, the logical antagonism between the elements of the following sets of two positions is of no importance whatsoever. Given Dr. Money's view (and that of at least some of his Bible faculty) insofar as salvation from sin is concerned, it makes absolutely no difference whether:
The "law of excluded middle" states: "Every precisely stated proposition is either true or false." Dr. Money and at least some of his faculty seem not to understand this vital truth. Reject it, and one is faced with affirming both (1) that God exists and (2) that God does not exist. But to hold such a view is to reject the plain teaching of the Bible.
We cry out to our brethren at ACU to become deeply involved in training their students to accept the truth which is taught in the Bible and to reject every doctrine which is contradictory to plain Bible teaching. Is this too much to ask?
When students are taught (in a setting which they conceive to be truly Christian) a number of doctrines which are the tenets of liberalism, then it is likely that at least many of these students will go back to their homes and will strive to turn local congregations into centers of liberalism (one basic tenet of which is the acceptance of the "unity-in-diversity doctrine" already accepted by Dr. Money and at least some of his faculty in the Bible department).
Even a casual look over our brotherhood today warrants the conclusion that a number of "our Christian colleges" definitely are a part of the problem, rather than their being a part of the solution, as related to the matters which young people face today.
We pray for Dr. Money, to the end that he and his Bible faculty may come to see the very, very serious error which is involved in his stance. With Christian love, we emphasize that we are indeed friends of both Dr. Money and of ACU. It is also with love that we tell him that there is a "groundswell" among a great many of his fellow Christians against (1) his advocacy of the "unity-in-diversity" doctrine (even in obligatory and forbidden matters) and (2) his rejection of the Bible doctrine of Christian unity.
If Dr. Money is right (that "unity-in-diversity" is the way to go), then Jesus was wrong! (Cf. Matt. 7:13-14, et al.).
May every Christian think carefully and prayerfully about this matter. The eternal destiny of souls is at stake.
Nothing would please us more than to see Dr. Money and his staff shift from his stance on "unity-in-diversity" to the unity which the Bible upholds.
(For brother Deaver's complete review of Dr. Money's speech, "On This Rock. - I Will Build My Church, " delivered as the keynote address at the 1993 ACU lectureship, please read the special 32-page May/June issue of Biblical Notes, brother Deaver's bimonthly publication which is available from Biblical Notes, 7401 Glenhaven Path, Austin, TX 78737. The cost for a year's subscription to the 16-page journal co-edited by Thomas B. Warren is $10.00. The Firm Foundation is pleased to recommend this insightful paper.)