Today I direct your attention to a piece by Pete Enns in which he speaks to a double standard which exists in the world of evangelical academia. This double standard arises from the fact that many evangelical institutions of higher learning were founded with an agenda to defend certain theological presuppositions from the assaults of Enlightenment-based modernity, and it says that honest academic discourse can happen anywhere except with regard to these presuppositions, which are off limits. Can such an institution be considered academic? Enns asks.
Yet in the world outside of evangelicalism, these presuppositions are engaged along radically different lines (not that everyone outside of evangelicalism is in agreement–they aren’t), and there is a much greater diversity of opinion. But in response, evangelical academics claim that the “guild” is too blinded by its own presuppositions to handle the word of God properly, or that the better scholars reside in the evangelical camp.
Enns asks poignantly:
…At what point, if ever, would it show more integrity for a school to say the following:
“Our center of gravity is not academic integrity or engagement but the defense of our theology by either mining the academic discourse of biblical scholarship where useful or condemning it where harmful. We do not see ourselves as primarily an academic body but an ecclesial one.”
Should such institutions publicly acknowledge that they are centers of theological apologetics and therefore not places of academic training? Should they even be allowed to grant academic degrees?