Exhibit A: Shorter College (a university in name only), the Georgia Baptist Convention controlled debacle in Rome that is being made into the image of some fundamentalist Baptist preachers.
Their method: The big “Christian principles” lie.
Here how it works: You come up with some rules that you like — in this case, don’t drink wine with dinner or treat gay and lesbian persons too kindly. Then you label adherence to such silly rules as an affirmation of “Christian principles.”
NEXT STEP: Anyone who disagrees with you is, what? — that’s right — disagreeing with Jesus!
Then Shorter President Don Dowless, brought in as the Baptist preachers’ operative, puts it in historical perspective. Imposing this new narrow set of rules (though unrelated to the life and teachings of Jesus) is cast as “regaining an authentic Christian identity” and “reclaiming our Christian roots.”
There is no concern at all that such statements trash all the Christian students, alumni, faculty and staff who’ve actually invested in the college during those apparently “non-Christian” years. Unfortunately, they just didn’t have the benefit of real Christian leaders like Dowless, and the GBC powerbrokers who pull his strings, to straighten them out.
HOW SAD. All of those wasted years at Shorter — thinking you were providing/getting a good education in a Christian context. Now you learn that the school was teetering on the brinks of Hell, waiting to be rescued by outsiders whose “Christian principles” relate more to power than people.
And their defense: Anyone who disagrees with these heavy-handed shenanigans is not rejecting their abuse of power and people, but rather rejecting “Christian principles.”
What a big, fat lie.
John D. Pierce of Macon is executive editor of Baptists Today. Pierce is a Ringgold native and a graduate of Berry College.