Oftentimes I feel like we talk about the dangers of fundamentalism at our school, but it feels a little like railing against an amoeba. It's hard to find definite things which point to the very real dangers. That's why we try to highlight schools like Shorter University, where no one could say anything until it was much too late.
That's part of the problem! We would like to get our school through the perilous waters of post-Takeover Baptist education unscathed and definitely still accredited. We can't afford to wait until 50+ faculty are stomping away indignantly, and watch as the rest of the school inevitably burns to the ground.
So we continue to try and give this amorphous blob a shape, and continue to proclaim its danger.
But finally, here is a solid glimpse.
Last week, there was an incredibly interesting series in the Baptist Messenger which, for us, was lucky in many ways. There are a few things about this particular Baptist Messenger series I would like to highlight.
This series was a series on Christian worldview, written by 6 guest writers -- 5 of whom are recent additions to the OBU College of Theology and Ministry. It is interesting to me that the ones who are writing essays about Christian worldview are all people who've made it through the new litmus test of hiring questions which has been instituted since the new administration has come to OBU.
Please find the entire series of Baptist Messenger "worldview" essays here.
In the days to come, we will go through these articles and show our readership exactly what kind of education OBU will give in our new post-Takeover fundamentalist world.
But why bother with an obscure series in a statewide Baptist newspaper?
First, it is interesting to me that this series is coming out after Save OBU has recently made more and more contacts with Oklahoma Baptist clergy. What better way to counter anything we've said to them than to show them that the REAL OBU is teaching this fundamentalist diatribe. Coincidence? Probably. But as always, we will continue to show that fundamentalism is not the only version of Christianity, and certainly not the version which makes for a good university.
Second, I have always had a particular problem with the idea of worldview.
I have already mentioned that the descent into fundamentalism is moving OBU further and further out of the realm of relevance and into a smaller and smaller echo-chamber where the only voices all mirror each other. This obsession with worldview is the perfect demonstration of that point. I have only ever heard conservative, evangelical Christians use the language of "worldview." I avoid saying fundamentalists, because I don't know if that is a fair assessment. But it is definitely my experience that the concept is only talked about in circles with extreme familiarity with fundamentalism. It's not a real thing worthy of an academic classroom.
Further, worldview is a sneaky word which allows for the obsession with doctrinal purity to be enforced. Talking about a Christian worldview is to say that there is some normative model for the way that every Christian should think. It means taking non-essentials of the faith and then making them essentials. By saying that it is part of a Christian worldview, one can now take any doctrine, highlight and treasure it, and suddenly those who do not affirm it are not Christians-- or at least do not "view the world" as a good Christian should.
The prevalence of talk about worldview at OBU did not arise until the new administration came. Honestly, I'm not sure I had ever heard the word until they instituted a new Christian worldview class into the curriculum. Granted, I was too old for the changes to affect me, so I don't remember everything perfectly. Long story short, J-term became required for freshmen again my senior year. There were a few classes which were offered for free -- and one of them was a new Christian Worldview course, team taught by the new dean of the (then) School of Christian Service and an outside apologist.
So that's probably a good way to get a ton of students to take that class.
Granted, I didn't take the class. So I can't tell you with any sort of certainty what happened there. I can make a few guesses.
But why guess? Now, the newest members who shape the doctrines of OBU have published a 6-part series which will show me exactly what a Christian Worldview is.
So, what is a Christian Worldview? What are we teaching our students is necessary to believe in order to be a Christian? As we go through this series and reveal what those who are taking OBU in a new direction say, you might be surprised.