Comment on An apology to PUC by Karl G. Wilcox.
I began teaching at PUC 20 years ago(1990-1994). It is an ‘open secret’, among those of us who have taught at PUC in that period and later, that the Psychology department advocates homosexuality as a perfectly moral and acceptable lifestyle within the frameword of a Christian lifestyle. I have no reason to think that this position has changed. If it has, then I would welcome the news!
As I mentioned before, this stance was public knowledge at PUC. The message, as I heard it, did not advocate ‘tolerance’ as in be patient with homosexuals as fellow sinners, rather it published the view that homosexuality is not a sin. This was very clearly stated in a public debate. The argument made by the pro-gay contingent was as follows: ‘the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, rather it was the sin of inhospitality’– when Scriptural arguments were brought to bear on this bogus interpretation, I was told merely that, “You have your [biblical] experts and we have ours”. In short, the Bible can be read to mean whatever your preferred set of experts want it to mean. This obscure debate at PUC should have set in motion a real fire storm of commentary, but it did not. That may well be the real crisis– not the maverick sceptics who teach at our colleges, but the spineless, comfort loving constituencies that really could care less what is taught.
I am still puzzled by why La Sierra has been such a target while PUC remains relatively unscathed. I suspect most Adventists really are afraid to open up the homosexual debate– it seems better to just ignore it (maybe it will go away). Meanwhile, an entire of generation of PUC students has been taught that homosexuality is not a sin.
I recall a particularly heated moment in the office of the PUC president (circa 1991) when I asked him how he would face the Judgment knowing that under his watch a professor had taught Adventist students that homosexuality is not a sin. He deftly changed the subject. When I insisted he answer my question, he refused on the grounds that these rumors had reached him before, but they had not been able to prove the charges. But within that same year, he attended the debate where those views were made public.
I am not one of those who treats homosexuals with cruelty. In fact, I work with my students who struggle with this particular sin to understand that, like all sins, it’s power can be broken (and I have seen homosexuals fully recover their God-given sexuality). I am afraid that while we debate Creation vs. Evolution, we allow a far more dangerous foe to establish himself in our church– I mean nothing less than the secular drive to make homosexuality respectable. How many of us have become dupes of the gay propaganda to the extent that we remain silent on this issue out of either ignorance or fear? Sodom was not destroyed for its Darwinism…
A parting anecdote from my PUC years sort of embodies all that I found wrong with the place… in a particular course that I team taught called “Classical World” we discussed St. Augustine’s Confessions. I don’t recall how we got to it, but I happened to mention that Adventists, of course, did not agree Augustine on the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul. To my surprise, I found that most of my honors students (all products of SDA Academies) actually agreed with Augustine on this point. My fellow professor (it was a team taught course) found no reason to admonish the class. Of course, I did! I asked one girl how she had arrived at so unbiblical a conclusion, her response was amazing: “Well, I just have a hard time believing that I can ever really die”. In the end about 2/3 of the class adopted a perfectly Roman position on the destiny of their Adventist souls! Remarkable? Not really, especially if you know something of the post-modern mind. It is not just that Adventist teachers have advocated error, although that does happen, it is also the case that they have not refused it either. It amounts to much the same thing in the end.
Karl G. Wilcox Also Commented
An apology to PUC
Anyone who believes that SDA colleges’ formal statements of committed orthodoxy are worth a fig is simply naive! We must, of course, seem to be re-assured that such statements are forthcoming, but I think it more realistic to assume that they are merely rhetorical. Brian Ness, a former collegue of mine, may have been unjustly accused, but I think the burden of proof lies with him, not ‘Educate Truth’. The evidence is murky to the extent that we really can’t tell from the videos whether or not Ness ever gets around to offering a powerful critique of the materialist world-view, or if he just leaves students to decide ‘for themselves’. It is not enough to merely present the ‘other side’, you also have to expose it. Ness protests too much, I think– he should know, as well, that all kinds of heterodox views get bandied about under the rubric of church loyalty, etc. Where is the video of Ness showing why materialism/secularism should not be believed?
Perhaps the larger issue is this: how do we build up faith in our students without erring either on the side of unthinking indoctrination or equally unthinking scepticism? How about ‘thinking orthodoxy’– where do we find any evidence of Ness doing that sort of critique?
PUC should not be given a pass to easily. I left PUC after teaching there four years not because of evolutionary teaching in the class-room, but because of an openly pro-homosexual agenda in the Psychology department. The administration would not address the issue. Perhaps they are now? If you really want to see PUC in its true colors, just begin to air the views of the professors in their social science department. These professors do not hide their views, they merely– and loudly– proclaim their loyalty to Adventism and the Christian church. This has, thus far, been cover enough. They are truly living a lie as an institution. At one point, both Roy Gain and myself participated in a public debate over the homosexual issue with the Psychology department. The debate made public the clear division in the college between those who believe in the Bible and those who have rejected the Word of God. The college president at the time attended the debate, he heard the open advocacy of homosexuality by the Psychology contingent. Nothing came of it. Passivity has put us in the place we now suffer– we have colleges where ‘thinking’ has come to mean just one thing: conformity to secular mores. Do not blindly ‘trust’ the colleges’ public relations screeds– they have no intention of backing their much avowed orthodoxy up with real deeds. I am relieved that my own college has not tried to manipulate its constituency with a stream of ‘look how Adventist we are…’. Instead, we are just quietly going about the business of Christian education by actually using the Bible to help our students resist and over-come the secular onslaught. Sincerely, Karl G. Wilcox, Dept. of English, Southwestern Adventist University