At the end of chapel on October 29, 2012, Dr. Brown announced his resignation as president of Cedarville, effective as of June 30, 2013. Dr. Brown stated that he will be serving as chancellor for at least the following year.
Dr. Brown’s resignation arrived under rather unusual circumstances. None of the faculty knew of his resignation until the chapel announcement, and the VPs were not informed until an hour before chapel began.
The official university statement on Dr. Brown’s resignation is available here; specifically, the text of the press release states:
William E. Brown, Ph.D., president of Cedarville University since 2003, will become the next chancellor of the University. Brown shared with the student body in Chapel this morning that he will step down as president, effective June 30, 2013. As chancellor, Dr. Brown will continue to represent Cedarville University.
“Serving the faculty, staff, and students at Cedarville University has been a true joy for Lynne and me during the past 10 years,” said Brown, referring to him and his wife. “The past 10 years is a testimony to the fact that as Christians, when we humble ourselves and serve the Lord fully, he will bless our work for his glory.”
Why This Matters:
Does postulating a link between Dr. Brown’s resignation and our other concerns make us a bunch of conspiracy theorists? We don’t think so.
Here’s why: The timing of Dr. Brown’s resignation matters much more than the impetus. The “when” matters more to us than the “why.”
That is, even if Dr. Brown really is resigning for completely innocuous reasons, this still creates a power vacuum.
As things now stand, the University seems to be having difficulties deciding whether it wants to become broadly evangelical or to return to its fundamentalist roots. This, we believe, explains many of the recent unfortunate events at the University. When the institution vacillates on its identity and vision with regards to the evangelical — fundamentalist spectrum, the Bible Department gets caught in the middle and people like Dr. Pahl bear the consequences.
Dr. Brown was one of the more prominent CU voices on the “broadly evangelical” side of things, one of his most valuable contributions to the Cedarville community as we move forward into the 21st century. With Brown’s announced resignation, a power vacuum has been created, one which could easily be filled by the same people who are responsible for the White Papers, for the rejection of the Theology Major, for the dismissal of Dr. Pahl, and for the continued reviews of CU faculty.
Is Cedarville University an evangelical or fundamentalist institution?
The answer to that question is important for current and future faculty and students alike.
Cedarville’s next president will answer this question one way or another.
This is our main concern with Bill Brown’s announced resignation. No “conspiracy theories” necessary.