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Wheaton Graduates? Yikes!

February 21, 2007

On Monday my dad brought home a pile of mail which included several old issues of World Magazine.  (What can I say?  Mail tends to pile up when you only pick it up once a month or so…)  Anyway, today I was perusing one of the magazines (the January 27, 2007 issue with Hillary Clinton all over the cover, to be exact) and I ran across an interesting article about “Classroom Christianity” (subscription required).  While I did find the article informative and interesting, this post is not about that article.  Rather, I’d like to draw attention to a paragraph from the article that caught my eye:

Taking a class from Bart Ehrman, for example, could come with risks.  Ehrman, a popular professor who teaches New Testament studies at UNC, recently authored Misquoting Jesus, a textual criticism of the New Testament that denies the Bible’s inerrancy and casts doubts on Jesus’ divinity.  The book was a New York Times bestseller.  Ehrman, a former evangelical who graduated from the Wheaton College, abandoned his Christian beliefs after studying at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Besides being surprised by the oxymoronic nature of the statement that Mr. Ehrman abandoned his Christian beliefs after studying at a seminary, I was somewhat disturbed by the fact that World claims he graduated from “the Wheaton College.”  Now, I know that there are in fact two Wheaton Colleges, one in Wheaton, IL, and another in Norton, MA.  So, before I started panicking over this newfound information, I decided to google Mr. Ehrman and see what I came up with.  The results confirmed my fears, for a Wikipedia article on Mr. Ehrman similarly states that he is a graduate of the Christian Wheaton College.  I, however, do not trust Wikipedia as absolute proof about anything, so I continued to dig.  When I stumbled upon UNC’s web page about Mr. Ehrman, however, the fact was indisputably confirmed: Mr. Ehrman did graduate from the Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.

I find it rather sad that this man, who has doubtless caused many to question the Bible and Jesus Christ’s divinity through his bestselling Misquoting Jesus, is a graduate of Wheaton College.  Wheaton’s motto is, after all, “For Christ and His Kingdom.”  I’m not saying that this man’s works against Christ’s Kingdom are a result of his attending Wheaton; I would attribute that more to his studying at Princeton.  However, it still doesn’t look too good for Wheaton that this heretic is a graduate of that school. 

This uncovering of a rather uncommon Wheaton grad reminded me of another embarrassing graduate that my older brother told me about when I visited the college.  Upon some more research (isn’t the Internet wonderful?) I discovered him: Wes Craven.  I remembered my brother telling me about a Wheaton graduate who, after leaving the school, went “somewhat crazy” and now makes awful horror movies — not the typical profession of a former Wheaton student.  Clicking on a few of the movies that IMDb lists under this man’s filmography revealed that they are, in fact, not-so-pleasant-looking horror flicks.  Another Wheaton student who went rather strange in the head…

Now, I’m not blasting Wheaton or anything — I know that they have produced myriads of well-educated, strong Christian men and women who have impacted the world positively for Christ’s Kingdom.  I’m certain you could find black sheep from any Christian university; it’s just a matter of looking for them.  Nevertheless, I’m beginning to get a little concerned for my older brother, who is now studying at Wheaton.  I’ll be even more worried if he mentions plans to write books or direct movies anytime soon.

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