Thursday, 14 June 2007

Theological college's head is undermining it, say predecessors

The principal of Wycliffe Hall, the Oxford University Anglican evangelical theological college, was under renewed pressure last night after his three immediate predecessors claimed he was undermining its reputation and threatening its survival as an academic institution.

The unprecedented intervention, in the form of a joint letter leaked among members of the evangelical community, represented the latest twist in the crisis that has gripped the 130-year-old permanent private hall, which trains theological students and candidates for ordination in the Church of England, and its conservative evangelical principal, Richard Turnbull, following revelations about his conduct of the college. Read more


Dave Williams said...

This goes from bad to worse. These letters don't just "get to the Guardian by chance"

Here are three people no longer involved in the college trying to undermine the current Principal. It is bluntly none of their business.

I fear that a whole generation has invalidated itself as Christian leaders. They should be well and truly ashamed and repent.

Mind you "repentance" based on recent CEN correspondence is something that theologians don't do

michael jensen said...

It is a disgrace. An utter, gobsmackingly awful disgrace.

If the writers of the letter were really interested in the reputation of the college then they wouldn't be besmirching said reputation in the secular media.

I'll stop now.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Revd John P Richardson said...

One person commented with the following:

"Yeah, Dave, what's Alister Mcgrath ever done for the gospel? An intellectual pygmy when compared to Dr Turnbull, no?"

The use of sarcasm, etc, directed at others who have commented does occur on other Christian blogs.

As moderator of this blog, however, I would like to give notice that such language will, in future, be 'moderated'.

Why not write, "Dave, Alister McGrath is a man of great intellect (especially when compared to Dr Turnbull), who has done much for the gospel"?

Same point, better tone. (You will notice, though, that the point has become rather bland - which shows that sarcasm can also be lazy, like a comedian who swears so as to be 'funny'.)

Think before you post.

davewilliams said...

Thanks John,

I don't doubt Mcgrath's intellectual credentials. My questioning is of a number of people who are failing to exercise godly leadership of the church. That responsibility must come first and foremost before intellectual reputation.

Some of us remember fondly Roy Clement's writing and teaching. It was a sad day when he invalidated his ministry. It seems to me that malicious gossip and back biting is as deadly a sin in the life of the church as is sexual sin.

As a church we must repent of the former as much as the latter.

Paulg said...

I'm all for keeping comments polite John. So why did you let the unevidenced and rude slur on Elaine Storkey through?

And why the assumption by commenters that the authors of the letter leaked it? I agree that it's likely to be someone supportive of its content - and that the leak was a wrong action, unless it was totally accidental, which seems unlikely - but it's quite possible that the authors copied the letter to various people involved in the issue, and that one of those leaked it. Isn't it?

Revd John P Richardson said...

Paul g said, "I'm all for keeping comments polite John. So why did you let the unevidenced and rude slur on Elaine Storkey through?"

Because I decided to draw a line, and this is where I've drawn it. (Notice I did publish the actual comment made about Dave Williams' post, but I removed the post to protect the feelings of the poster, and gave 'fair warning' for the future.)

I did wonder about the post regarding Elaine Storkey, especially as it is anonymous. I don't like anonymous posts, but there are those posting here who use the same pseudonyms or first names only (!) on other blogs, and so as to allow people to move between blogs I'm letting those go.

Paulg said...

I didn't refer to the anonymity, but to the tone and unsupported mudslinging, which is far worse than the comment you chose to highlight. As you pointed out in that post, when reworded the comment you drew a line at is a pretty unexceptional fact, whereas the comment on Elaine is an unfounded insult.

Oh and my profile now has my full name...

Revd John P Richardson said...

No Paul, I know you didn't refer to the anonymity. That was a point I picked up on as being another possible issue about publishing any comment.

In the past I've rather tended to publish whatever people say and let the reader judge how unpleasant it is and make their judgement of the contribution accordingly.

Like I said, though, I'm now choosing to take a somewhat different approach in the hope of encouraging a better tone, at least here.

I hope everyone else takes note. You may disagree with when and where I have chosen to draw the line, but I'm not about to go back through all the published comments and check them out.

There is quite enough heat generated on blogs already. I'm rather hoping to take some of that out of the equation - from now on!

Dave Williams said...

It's very easy. A quick public letter from the three saying "we didn't leak it, it's none of the medias business." and a further declaration from McGrath that his wife's article was completely inappropriate and is now being withdrawn with a full apology from her that should settle it!

Carl said...

If you don't want something to be leaked, for goodness sake don't copy it to others except under strict embargo.
It seems to me that if it is leaked, then it is still ultimately your responsibility.