Calvinism a Problem at Patrick Henry College

Well, if you read my last post, I ended by saying that I look forward to hearing more of the story of what’s going on with the faculty departures at Patrick Henry College. According to Christianity Today, at least one of the reasons for tension between the faculty and the President was Calvinism.

[President] Farris, a Baptist minister, has publicly expressed views that have shocked some professors and students.

“He said St. Augustine was in hell,” said [Professor] Root. “I heard it with my own ears.” Other professors and students said Farris has repeatedly disparaged Calvinist theology.

“There is a sense that you face antagonism as someone who is theologically Reformed,” said [Professor] Bates, who sparred with Farris over a speech he was planning to deliver at the college’s annual Faith and Reason Lecture, and again over the use of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology textbook. According to Bates, Farris considered it “too Reformed.”

“We are put in a hard position,” said Bates. “We’re told this is an open dialogue, but if you engage in open dialogue, you’re in trouble. It’s infuriating because you’re an academic and want to engage in ideas.”

Bates said that at a meeting with Farris, “He told me that a person of the Reformed position to which I hold cannot in good conscience sign the statement of faith. When I responded that I failed to see the discrepancy between the two, he replied, ‘I define the statement of faith’” (source).

This is distressing indeed. Surely there’s enough room for Calvinists at Patrick Henry College, seeing as how Patrick Henry himself used to attend Presbyterian services with his mother (source). Maybe the college needs to get back some of that old time religion.

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