Doctrinal Witch Hunts and Ethical Lapses: Oord, Alexander, and Scandal at NNU (Skinner)

AlexanderI have often noted in my writing and teaching on the role of the Bible within society that there is (sometimes? occasionally? often?) an inverse relationship between how much some people revere the Bible and how little they seem to follow what they think it teaches. In my own personal experience, this is especially true of people in power. Many of us have been following the situation of Thomas Jay Oord, a well-known and respected theologian and professor who was recently forced out at Northwest Nazarene University over his support for evolution. It is important to note that one of the key interlocutors in the situation that brought about the demise of this tenured professor was NNU president, David Alexander. Over the past few days it has come to light that 25 years ago, Alexander was involved in an “inappropriate relationship,” a fact that has now caused his resignation from NNU. Alexander’s bio indicates that he was married 36 years ago, which means that his “inappropriate relationship” also happened just a little over a decade into his marriage. Thus, it appears that the relationship was both “inappropriate” and “adulterous.” So here’s the irony: Oord is ultimately forced out over an issue that many thinking Christians believe falls into the category of “non-essential” by a president who has been hiding an issue that Christians universally find objectionable and wrong. I guess the role of “the Bible” in this whole series of cascading events is a lot more about public politics than private reflection.