Friday, August 20, 2010

The Maranatha Philosophy

I think this is a useful summary of what many friends would affirm is the core of what we appreciate from our time at Maranatha:
One reasonable expectation is that a Maranatha product will be a student of the Scriptures—one who will approach an issue with an open mind, explore what the Bible says about it, then come to a valid determination based on that study.

"Our students are not spoon-fed a mandated, prescriptive position in every doctrinal and practical issue," Trainer said. "We don’t hand them a box of beliefs. We give them the tools to determine what the text says."

"My students make fun of me for saying ‘good men differ,’ " Saxon said. "We’ve never burned anyone as a heretic in my class. Even if they are totally wrong, I say, ‘Thank you for thinking.’ At the same time, we do have a coherent, consistent philosophy we want to expose our students to."

Oats said hiring faculty members who agree on core issues but have diverse beliefs on "peripherals" is a Maranatha distinctive that dates back to former presidents Dr. B. Myron Cedarholm and Dr. Arno Q. Weniger. Both led the College for 15 years, and both employed faculty members with whom they did not agree on every theological issue, Oats said.

Students are, of course, guided and directed by faculty to a consistent fundamental Baptist position. A student once approached Oats and said, "I need you guys to tell me what I am supposed to believe."

"That isn’t what we want to do," Oats said. "We have always taught students to be 100 percent true to Scripture. But, on issues where Scripture isn’t clear, we want you to work through those issues and come to a conclusion, not just parrot a particular faculty member."
Full story.


d4v34x said...

I'd say on the whole that sounds similar to my experience.

Yer makin' me all homesick.

tim said...

Looking back at my MBBC experience, I sensed a Word focus from a great majority of my Bible professors. Men like Bob Milliman, Ed Williams, and Jon Pratt joyously led us to the authority of scripture, even if it led off the beaten path.

Ben said...

And Larry Oats!

David Stertz said...

I couldn't agree more with you. Although I am from a more recent era than you the teachers there pushed me to think carefully through my theological assumptions and beliefs. Saxon's "good men differ" still rings in my ears as does his help in introducing me to Paul in Galatians and in the doctrines of grace through Romans and systematic theology. The Bible teachers were a great blessing to me.

Anonymous said...

Yah, except if you want academic credibility. 3 of the resident faculty at the seminary don't even have doctorates, they're "in progress", and have been for years. The chairman of the Bible department doesn't even have a doctorate. That, in my opinion, is an academic joke.

Ben said...

As much fun as it would be to interact with that comment, I'm going to maintain my practice of not engaging anonymous comments, particularly not pot shots.

But I am reminded of an article on accreditation in the same issue of the MBBC magazine. And I'll make the simple observation that academic credibility was the battle cry of Fuller Seminary. Perhaps that might be a more attractive option for those similarly inclined.

Tim Y. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joshua Caucutt said...

Unfortunately, this philosphy which I agree is alive and well among the Bible faculty will be the undoing of the institution that I happen to love for sentimental and nostalgic reasons.

Dr. Trainor and Dr. Oats are exactly right, we did learn to rightly divide the Word. However, as a result, many of us no longer hold positions that are also held the majority of the "Maranatha constituency". We all know that these positions are held quietly by most the Bible faculty . ..