Monday, May 05, 2014

20% of Faculty Leaving Bryan College

The Tennessean is reporting that quite a number of faculty have either left or been dismissed from Bryan College as a direct result of the new statement of faith, promulgated by President Livesay and the board of directors, that the faculty have been required to sign.  They write:
The dispute at Bryan College, named for William Jennings Bryan, began in February when trustees clarified the school's statement of belief to state that Adam and Eve were historical people who were not created from previously existing life forms.

Since then, the conflict has escalated with a majority of professors voting "no confidence" in the school's president, and students and alumni penning petitions in response to the controversy.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press ( reports that in a day of action last week, students wrote notes to the Board of Trustees, signed petitions, wore black armbands and expressed their opinions on social media, among other actions.

The protest was prompted by the loss of at least nine of the college's 44 full-time professors, two of whom were fired after rejecting the college's clarified statement of belief, and statements by Bryan College President Stephen Livesay, who has downplayed the controversy.
How do you downplay the loss of 20% of your faculty? That would be devastating to any institution of higher learning.  Livesay has also said that “the reality is we are solid.” Funny, that is not what quite a few students are saying. From the Times Free Press story:
In the foyer of the small Christian school's administration building on Monday, students wrote notes to departing staffers, whose portraits lined a long table. Recent news stories of the controversy at Bryan hung on a big poster. Comments from Livesay that students are happy and Bryan is "solid" were highlighted.

"Is this your voice?" the poster asked.

More than 170 students initialed a sheet that answered "no." One set of initials sat under the side that said "yes."

Dozens of students tied strips of black fabric to their arms to highlight the sadness on campus.

And at a morning chapel service, the last of the year, students stood up to announce their discontent and that Monday would be a day for students to speak out.
I am not sure how this is going to end up but it does reflect a growing sense that, as a Christian body, we need to grapple with the science coming out of genetics and palaeontology and assess different scriptural models rather than ignore them, which is what the board is doing.

There is a new book out titled Four Views on the Historical Adam (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) which assesses the hermeneutic arguments for whether Adam and Eve really did exist. There is a good reason that there are four views and good reasons that scholars have been wrestling with the relevant biblical texts for centuries.  President Livesay and the board are not only saying that three of the views are wrong, but that they aren't welcome at Bryan.  So much for studied academic discourse and dialogue. 


  1. By my (possibly inaccurate count), they only have 6 science faculty. If all 6 left/were fired, that would effectively end their science program.

  2. i jim/ sorry for my english.i learn a lot about evolution and id also. i do think that evolution is false because of the evidence against it. for example: the flagellum its a self replicat-organic motor. and we know that a motor need a designer. even if its very small.

    what do you think? have a nice day.

  3. Anonymous9:19 PM

    The non-literal Adam guy is on the money. And I up his bet and say that Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuslelah, Lamech, Noah....Er...Cosam...Naggai....Amos...and Heli weren't real people too.

    Want to take a guess where that leaves Luke's account?

  4. He was using what he had at the time. Very few biblical historians take those early names literally.