*Posted by Joe Wooddell
This is a picture of Dr. Barry Creamer, Vice President of Academic Affairs, signing the Criswell College Articles of Faith, which is something all faculty, senior administrators, and trustees do annually. Typically, this happens each Fall on “Founder’s Day” when the College revisits the vision and principles of its founder, Dr. W. A. Criswell, long-time pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas.
Much of academia, the media, and popular culture has come to despise the notion of objective or absolute truth, and anyone who says he knows such truth. They see claims to truth as misguided, presumptuous, and even prideful or arrogant. Criswell College lovingly yet resolutely says No to such a feeble notion of truth. This is decidedly not arrogance or pride, but the exact opposite. One who says he believes in objective or absolute truth is more humble and less arrogant than the person who doesn’t. Here’s why: When I say “Jesus is Lord,” “the Bible is inspired by God,” or even “2+2=4,” I’m submitting myself to those realities. In essence, I am saying, “Reality is what it is and I had better get in line with it or pay the consequences.” This is a position of humility, not pride.
Many colleges initially founded on Christian principles have lost their original doctrinal commitments – whether Harvard’s Puritanism, Yale’s Congregationalism, or Princeton’s Presbyterianism. Other historically Christian schools find it necessary to explain away the “C” in their acronyms.
Criswell College aims never to go down that road. Article XII of our Articles of Faith clearly states that, “In Christian education, there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.”
The College, moreover, does not simply ask professors what they believe when they are hired. The College knows it is possible for beliefs to change over time, which is why it requires its leaders to re-affirm those foundational beliefs each year. Guided by conservative Christian principles, trustees, senior administrators, and faculty, and ultimately committed to the Bible as the authoritative, verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God, Criswell College is unique. Our hope and prayer is, among other things, not to go the way of popular culture, but to illuminate truth (be “light”) and add a preserving and flavoring effect (be “salt”) within the culture as we prepare students to honor God through a variety of disciplines and courses of study.