What Goes Around, Comes Around

Speaker: Categories: Jul 10, 1993

 

[1hr, 17min, 16sec / 40min, 7sec]

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

Much has been published and presented during the last decade regarding Dr. Desmond Ford, that fateful Forum meeting at Pacific Union College, and the subsequent reverberations resulting in Glacier View and the defrocking of an eminent Adventist theologian and professor. At our July 10 meeting, Dr. Jack Cassell will for the first time make public some of the forces and events associated with this Adventist epoch (debacle)!

Dr. Jack Cassell notes, "Following the events at Glacier View, the Adventist religious right appointed themselves as the exclusive defenders of the faith and proceeded to launch a witch hunt directed toward SDA college and university academics and administrators. They concentrated their attacks on Pacific Union College and Southern Missionary College, which were considered to be the last bastions of higher education conservatism." Student and community spies, he further observes, were sent into classrooms with tape recorders and note pads to document anything the teacher said which seemed contrary to their understanding of "historic Adventism." This religious right accused many faculty of having been tainted by Ford's "new theology" and actively promoting these ideas in their classrooms.

Dr. Cassell has observed that Dr. Ford's Pacific Union College colleagues in the Theology Department respected him though, as would be true in any academic setting, they differed with him on various theological topics, including his position on Christ's two apartment ministry in heaven. These colleagues became highly incensed, not by the church's rejection of Des Ford's views on the Investigative Judgment but by his treatment at Glacier View. These fellow theologians "were frustrated and angry at church leaders who had chosen to reject a well established and accepted academic procedure for evaluating the accuracy and legitimacy of a scholarly thesis for the publicity and sensationalism that is usually generated by a church trial," reports former President Cassell.

"Glacier View precipitated a feeding frenzy by ultraconservative fringe groups that resulted in personal and professional character assassination, disruption of educational programs on several Adventist college campuses, and destruction of confidence by many in Christian higher education," contends Dr. Cassell. "Church leaders, in some cases, either actively encouraged and supported these individuals and groups or stood idly by without challenging their false assumptions and accusations while failing to publicly support college faculty and administrators. As a result the church has reaped a bitter harvest as evidenced in a loss of confidence in church leaders, in declining financial support, in the growing arrogance of ultraconservative groups, and in the alarming attrition of Adventist youth."

Dr. Cassell concludes, "Adventist institutions of higher education have existed for over 100 years because they have provided a learning environment where the youth of the church were encouraged to think critically and not merely reflect the ideas of others [as Ellen G. White had admonished, Education, p. 17, editor's note]. To maintain such a philosophy of education, church leaders must be prepared to publicly support and defend an academic milieu where traditional beliefs and behaviors are often discussed and, on occasion, challenged."

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Dr. John W. Cassell, Jr. served as president of Pacific Union College, 1972-1983. The five years prior he was Pacific Union College’s vice president. From 1963-67 he was Academic Dean at Southern College; 1960-63 he was Dean of Students at Andrews University. He earned his doctorate at Michigan State University (1962), his master's degree from the University of Maryland (1955), and his bachelor’s degree from Columbia Union College (1950). He and his wife, Charlotte, make their home in Calimesa, California. The have two adult children: Jan Mitsch, legal secretary, and Jon Cassell, D.D.S. At the July meeting it will be of interest to inquiry of Dr. Jack Cassell regarding his current employment!

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