BREAKTHROUGH BOOK. Dr. Richard Colling, Ph.D., is an evangelical Christian (Wesleyan/holiness, to be more specific) who has been teaching biology at Olivet Nazarene University (his alma mater and mine) for many years. Until recently, he was head of the Department of Biology at ONU. In 2002, Dr. Colling published Random Designer: Created from Chaos to Connect with the Creator, in which he put his profound faith and biology acumen together to postulate a theistic evolutionary process that is intended to bridge some of the typical barriers between Biblical faith and science.
A BETTER WAY FORWARD. In Random Designer, Colling challenges the faulty underpinnings of scientific creationism and intelligent design on the basis of good, fundamental science. He offers a more scientifically-defensible and faith-authenticating line of thinking. If taken seriously, Random Designer offers evangelical Christianity a way forward amid the current us-vs-them, creation-vs-science morass. While Fundamentalists will likely never budge from their white-knuckled positions, evangelicals should consider Colling's work in Random Designer a gift with which to engage our culture and the scientific/academic community unapologetically with our Christian story.
REACTIONARY BACKLASH. Some influential church and university leaders have not regarded Random Designer as a gift, however. On the contrary, enough of those who hold Dr. Colling's career at ONU in their hands, have reacted against it and him. As a result, his book has been banned from being assigned in ONU classes. Dr. Colling has also been prevented from teaching General Biology for the past two years. He has been made to run a horrendous gauntlet of suspicion, contradiction, innuendo, accusations, misstatements, and outright deception. Reading the documents reminds me of nothing short of an Inquisition in which, for all his efforts to speak the truth and get at the truth, Dr. Colling has been vilified and made to be the scapegoat for the university leadership's gross mishandling of the situation.
INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION RESULTS. After an independent investigation, the American Association of University Professors recently released a report charging that ONU has, in fact, violated the academic freedom of Dr. Colling. "Inside Higher Ed" posted this story on its website. The story quotes from the AAUP's report:
“The administration of Olivet Nazarene University curtailed the academic freedomREAD "BETRAYED BY FAITH" FOR YOURSELF. But don't take it from me or the AAUP. Read the documents for yourself. I have provided links to the PDF documents below. See if you do not agree that "Betrayed By Faith" is a sad commentary on reactionary church and university leadership. If you believe Dr. Rick Colling should be vindicated by virtue of these documents, perhaps you could take the simple but important step to let university and the church officials named and addressed in the documents know. To me, these documents have enough substance to indict some church and university leadership on some very basic ethics violations.
of Professor Colling in order to dampen controversy that had arisen among
anti-evolutionist elements of the university’s church constituency. In thus
acting, the administration placed a higher value on what the president called
‘constituent relations’ than on the principles of academic freedom to which the
university itself claims to subscribe.”
TRACE THE PROCESS. Read the Table of Contents of the many documents Dr. Richard Colling was required to submit to Olivet Nazarene University leadership in Fall 2008. This Table of Contents shows a toxic descent from a Christian university professor's breakthrough publication to backlash, prohibition, irrational behavior, and outright deception by church and university leaders. (Note on accessing the "Betrayed By Faith" table of contents and documents: they are hosted on a small-capacity free site. There is an hourly mbyte limit. When it is exceeded by downloading, it temporarily shuts down. Try again in an hour if this occurs for you. If you need these documents immediately, e-mail me.)
READ THE DOCUMENTS. Read all the documents--419+ pages of correspondence--that Dr. Richard Colling was required to submit to ONU leadership in Fall 2008. The content is important because it upholds the integrity of Dr. Rick Colling in his pursuit of the truth and fair treatment throughout the course of this debacle created by church and university leadership.
In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!