Presidential Pressure: 4 Pressures on Seminary Presidents, Pt 2
3. Pressure from Faculty
Publish of perish is the mantra of academia. When new faculty are trying to build a respected reputation in the academy, they may be tempted to water down their evangelical convictions in order to be published in prominent journals, like Cambridge’s (foaming at he mouth liberal) theological journal. It takes a strong president to resist pressure from his own faculty to allow them to publish wishy-washy views that may in turn damage the reputation of the seminary.
4. Pressure from Students
Every generation of students will come with its own cultural expectations which they may wish to import into the seminary. The seminary I attended, as with many conservative schools, had rules about hair styles, dress code, drinking, smoking, etc. Occasionally I bumped into a student bent on petty revolution. Longer hair, jeans in chapel, and social drinking are odd convictions to forge, but nevertheless some students get irked about the “legalistic” restrictions that cage them.
Dr Negrut wryly recounted how an enclave of students asked him why they couldn’t smoke and drink on campus, citing Spurgeon’s practice as justification. They wanted to know where the line was between moderation and sin.
He told them this parable:
Once a lady with a Rolls Royce was interviewing chauffeurs. She asked them how closely they could safely drive the car to the edge of the cliff which they would need to navigate each day. One said he would be able to reach 80km/h, 4 meters from the edge. The second guessed he would be able to reach 100km/h 1 meter from the edge. The third man assured her that with a car like a Rolls Royce, he would as slowly, and keep as far away from the edge, as possible.
The wise president then told the students, if you were heading in the right spiritual direction, you would be asking different questions. He also lamented that a prominent American Christian college recently changed their policy to allow social drinking and smoking on campus. He asked their president about the decision, and he reasoned that the school did not want to make hypocrites out of students. If they were drinking and smoking at home, they should be allowed to do it at school. Negrut wryly observed that they don’t allow fornication on campus to minimize hypocrisy in that area!
For you seminoids who are in seminary right now, here are two reminders:
1. Remember to pray for the president of your school and esteem him in the Lord.
1 Thess 5:12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
2. And don’t be one of those who make his job harder.
Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.