In the most recent issue of In Trust, Dorothy Ridings tackled the question of whether seminaries should make their voice heard in the public square. To read her article, “Church and State: When Politics Affects Faith, It’s Fine to Take a Stand, Say Legal Experts,” click here and then click on "Full List."
For some schools this isn’t a tough question. If you have the right search terms queued up in your Google Alerts account, your inbox will receive a regular stream of press releases, op-ed pieces, and stories of a handful of seminaries regularly taking a stand on various issues. In fact, for some schools, the voice of the seminary “crying out in the wilderness” is as much a marketing tool as it is actual advocacy. (“Look, XYZ Theological Seminary is taking a stand!”)
Since reading the “Church and State” piece I’ve been keeping my eye out for stories of schools that have taken a position on an issue -- perhaps schools that don’t often make headlines. Last week I read about Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. The president, Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton, addressed the Indiana House Judiciary Committee to testify against HJR-3, an amendment that would change the state’s definition of marriage.
What I found unusual about this story was that Boulton came clearly representing the seminary. He was not there on his own, with his role at the school simply another credential in his pocket. Rather, he arrived representing the “CTS Board of Trustees, the CTS Faculty, and the CTS Administration, for we stand united against HJR-3.” I trust that he consulted with his board, faculty, and administration before speaking officially like this!
You can read the whole statement online, if you’re so inclined. Many will not agree with the stand the school took, but I think there’s something to be learned from seeing how they took it.