Oxford warns theological college over evangelicism

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Written by Chris Perver  
Monday, 13 August 2007 06:33

Wycliffe Hall has been warned by senior academics at Oxford University that it must improve its academic standards and enforce a liberal ethos if it wants to remain part of the university campus. An internal report has been drawn up by the university's leadership, setting out 34 recommendations for the seven religious halls associated with the university. The document will warn the halls against adopting a narrow, conservative evangelicism, which is seemingly in conflict with the university's principles of education, that of a "liberal education conducted in a spirit of free and critical enquiry and debate". The controversy has stemmed from the appointment of a new principle at Wycliffe Hall, Dr Richard Turnbull, whose conservative views have upset a few people at the university.

Quote: "Complaints at Wycliffe, traditionally of broad evangelical principles for would-be ordinands in the Church of England, have centred around the management style and views of its new principal, Dr Richard Turnbull, who was criticised in a letter to the hall's governing council by his three immediate predecessors, although he has been supported by some current students. Dr Turnbull admits he has appointed a deputy who opposes women's ordination or leadership, but he rejects allegations of homophobia which surfaced in an anonymous internal document. At least five of the 13 academic staff have left over disagreements and the Thought for the Day presenter Dr Elaine Storkey is in disciplinary proceedings for allegedly criticising Dr Turnbull's leadership style during a private staff meeting. In a video of a speech released onto the internet this summer, Dr Turnbull is heard suggesting that 95% per cent of the population were going to hell unless they converted to conservative evangelicalism. 

I thought this story was particularly interesting, for I was watching a video last night on the history of the English Bible, which contained a segment on John Wycliffe. He worked at Oxford university and translated the entire Bible from Jerome's Latin Vulgate into the English language. In 1408 the Archbishop of York officially banned the publication of the Scriptures in English, stating, "We therefore decree and ordain that from henceforth, no unauthorized person shall translate any part of the Holy Scripture into English or any other language, under any form of book or treatise". It was the first authorized prohibition of the English Bible. Rome's hatred for Wycliffe was so great, that 44 years following his death, Pope Martin V had his bones exhumed, burned, and the ashes scattered on the river Swift near his church. Due to Wycliffe's position in Oxford university, he got away with translating the Bible into English, but many others paid with their lives. In 1536, William Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake by his Roman Catholic persecutors, for translating the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts into the English language. 

We take so much for granted. Christians in China are crying out for Bibles, while we have maybe three or four Bibles in our possession and how often do we even read them? Many men dedicated their life's work to translating the Bible into English, often at great risk to their own lives, with opposition coming from a hostile government that was ruled by an apostate church. Little has changed. Today Pope Benedict is seeking to reintroduce Latin in the mass, and has stated that evangelical denominations are not the "true Church". Liberal organizations are attempting to corrupt the Scriptures, releasing heretical versions depicting Jesus Christ as a woman, and Judas as a hero. It seems like the light the Scriptures have brought us these last 400 years, is slowing being extinguished. I hope that like Tyndale and Wycliffe, we will remain faithful to God's Word and help to spread the Gospel across the world, as faithful witnesses to Him in these last days.

Luke 21:33
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Source Guardian

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