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I’ve read more than one column written by an American Christian decrying Middle East Islamic violence in reaction to recent cartoons of Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. I understand their criticism of the violence. It saddens me too, and I agree that it should be condemned by all good thinking people worldwide.

I also understand the Christian writers’ disagreement with certain basic tenets of Islam. My Christian theology doesn’t match Islamic theology either. I understand the writers’ tendency to list differences in Muhammad and Christ, for the differences define the distance between man and God.

I also understand the shake-your-head amazement at what many Americans, of the Christian faith or not, consider the emotional Muslim over-reaction to twelve cartoons. We can’t comprehend it. We’ve weathered The Last Temptation of Christ, The Da Vinci Code, postmodern sacrilegious art, and the ACLU’s latest pique about the Ten Commandments or Nativity scenes on courthouse lawns. It’s not that we don’t care about our faith or its icons. It’s just that we’ve learned a little bit about living in a religiously pluralistic democracy.

But there is one thing I do not understand—smug condemnation. What I must caution, at least for myself, is a too self-righteous response. Sadly, tragically, history offers us way too many examples of people acting just as emotionally, just as violently in the name of Christianity. They’ve tortured, they’ve crusaded, and they’ve killed unjustly. I don’t think this fact besmirches Christian truth or the character of God, but I do think it should cause us to speak with a bit of humility. People are people, Christians included, and those who name the name of Christ have not always acted in a Christ-like manner.

So I am not condoning violent Muslim reaction to cartoons, nor am I saying Christianity is anything less than a faith that focuses upon the Sovereign God of the Bible, the Creator God of the Universe. I’m just saying Christians don’t always act like Christians, me included.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers’ resignation last week is an occasion to reflect upon what people want from a university president.

Summers’ five year combative reign at Harvard featured one battle with the faculty after another. Summers wanted African-American studies star professor Cornell West to actually teach classes. That battle ended when West left for Princeton. So who won the battle, Summers or West?

Summers reintroduced ROTC to Harvard Yard, a sin in the eyes of militant anti-militarists. Summers’ biggest faux pas in the eyes of Harvard’s tenured radicals was his audacity to wonder aloud whether “intrinsic ability” more than sex discrimination explained why there are not more top female engineers and scientists in America’s elite research universities. This politically incorrect indiscretion the Harvard faculty could not abide.

The ironic part of this story is that Summers is not a conservative tilting at liberal windmills. He’s a Clinton Administration liberal, ostensibly one who would fit in with eastern liberal establishment faculty.

Not all people think Summers was ill-suited for his role. What Newsweek magazine called his “missteps” others called “leadership.” Summers was appointed by Harvard’s Corporation with the idea he would “get control of Harvard,” that he would provide focus for a behemoth secure in a $26 billion endowment even as it still attracts $400 million per year in federal grants. He dared to try by questioning “sacred” precepts of academic culture. He made some progress, and students liked him. But his administrative demise suggests he not only didn’t gain control but that members of the Corporation failed to backstop him.

Sure, Summers bears some of the responsibility for his fall from academic grace. He was arrogant, undiplomatic, and too often allowed his sharp tongue to overpower his sharp mind. Despite his Washington, D.C. experience Summers was not exactly politically savvy. He drove around campus in a stretch limousine, directed the chauffer to park it illegally, and appointed a personal press secretary. None of these actions are all that odd for government officials or CEOs of American corporations—except in academia. All this and more earned him a vote of no confidence by the faculty with another vote scheduled, until he made his resignation announcement. Apparently, he didn’t give the people what they want.

So what do the people want of a university president? It’s easy, really:

--They want unending growth and success without change.

--They want to keep doing the same things with ever different results.

--They want an academic bureaucrat, an “Educrat,” who manages but never leads.

--They want a president who speaks cautiously never courageously.

--They want a president who raises more money but doesn’t ask them to help.

--They want academic excellence without controversy.

--They want someone who wins the Friends of the Student Award, is beloved by Alumni, is a social butterfly, gives scintillating speeches and writes great books, is First Scholar among the Faculty, attends all university athletic, music, academic, and cultural events, never misses church, birthdays, or committee meetings, is always on campus, is always visiting friends of the university in other states, is here, is there, is everywhere.

--They want Everyman who is Superman.

Summers was not all that, nor am I, nor is any university president. But that’s still what people want from a university president.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

American culture is in danger of losing one of its most cherished democratic principles, the ability to disagree with another person’s ideas. Tolerance and “sensitivity” toward others are now considered more important than cogent debates on the merits of the issue at hand.

Watch any public debate and you will see how quickly the focus of the debate shifts from ideas to people. It’s gotten to the point on some occasions that what masquerades as a debate is little more than a mini-civil war of the groups involved

Postmodern culture transposes discussions of ideas into commentaries about people’s ethnic or racial heritage. Blacks only trust other Blacks, regardless of the nature of the discussion. Whites don’t really believe Blacks or Arabs or Jews, unless and until other Whites make similar statements. Worse, when one person disagrees with another he or she is in danger of being labeled a despiser of the other person’s racial or ethnic heritage.

If I say that I do not agree with a speaker’s religious views I am in danger of being called intolerant, a bigot, insensitive, even a racist. For example, if I say that I am a Christian and, thus, I am not a Muslim, I mean that I disagree with Islamic beliefs about God, the world, the person of Christ, and a number of other theological viewpoints.

I disagree with their religious ideas. I am not attacking people. I do not hate or even necessarily dislike any given Muslim individual or Muslims in general. I certainly do not advocate any harm toward them, nor do I want to curtail their religious freedom.

If I say I am against casino expansion, someone plays the race card and says I am anti-Indian. Yet I am not against Native Americans having or enjoying economic opportunity any more than any other Americans. I just don’t think gambling operations are the answer.

Of course I am not suggesting a person’s demographic characteristics or heritage are unimportant. I’m saying that, typically, one’s race, gender, nationality, or ethnicity has nothing to do with the merits of his or her point of view.

Nowhere in Scripture does it say that our human ecology is irrelevant. In fact, it says God determines the times and places of our lives (Acts 17:26). But the Word also says our speech should be characterized by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

American culture will be better served to remember and revive its democratic heritage, which aligned more closely with Scripture than public discourse today. We need to focus upon what is said more than who said it.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Child pornography has got to be one of the more despicable crimes an individual can commit. Frankly, it makes me sick to write about it. But it’s real.

In an article in the February 19, 2006 issue of Parade magazine, attorney Andrew Vachss, notes that child pornography is one of the fastest growing “businesses” on the Internet. He observes that the production of child pornography is incredibly inexpensive and easy, requiring only the equipment on can purchase in any discount store. Once a picture is taken and posted in cyberspace that picture lives forever. As Vachss says, “Images on the Internet can never be destroyed. The only things ‘used up’ in the child pornography business are its victims.”

Pornography of all kinds is more available, accessible, and affordable than ever before. Literally, anytime you get on the Internet you are just two clicks away from some of the most morally reprehensible material ever produced. Pornography of any kind is about presumed pleasure and profit. But for the victim it’s about exploitation, abuse, enslavement, violation, emotional destruction, and sometimes physical death. Child pornography simply takes all these tragic outcomes to an even deeper level of debasement.

As Vachss puts it, “No child is capable, emotionally or legally, of consenting to being photographed for sexual purposes. Thus, every image of a sexually displayed child—be it a photograph, a tape or a DVD—records both the rape of the child and an act against humanity.” So called Kiddie porn is egregiously named. There’s nothing cute about it.

As gambling is driven by compulsive gamblers, yet it sucks money from many casual gamblers as well, so child pornography is driven by pedophiles, yet it entices the curious and the emotionally crippled too. Certainly it attracts the corrupt—those who demand the product and those who profit from it. Men are primarily responsible, of course, but women are also participating as purchasers and purveyors, sometimes using their feminine personas to attract and reassure the victims.

Other than pedophiles, probably no one but the most extreme libertarian or maybe no more than a very few members of the American Civil Liberties Union would defend child pornography. It is a heinous crime.

Resources are available for those wanting to help. The National Association to PROTECT Children is one such nonprofit agency.  This organization offers assistance to victims of childhood sexual abuse as well as knowledge and contacts for those wishing to work the political process on behalf of children.

This is admittedly a very ugly subject, but it seems to me that Christians ought to be talking more about it, perhaps even leading the charge for appropriate legal, social, and ministerial response. Obviously we care about child victims. We can also demonstrate care for pedophiles as human beings tragically in the grip of horrendous sin.

I don’t think it is self-contradictory to push for more stringent laws and consistently applied criminal justice for child porn perpetrators even as we work spiritually to reach their hearts. Accountability and forgiveness are twin themes in Scripture from which I and every other believer have benefited. So it can be for those who seem the worst among us.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


The defining characteristic of a Christian university is its Christian personnel—faculty and staff members who know Jesus Christ as Savior, who live dedicated Christian lives, who hold biblical doctrines in common, who have learned and can articulate a biblical worldview, and who can apply that biblical worldview to academic disciplines and professional activities.

Without this individual day by day commitment, no doctrinal statement, no set of policies or handbooks, no covenants or lifestyle statements, no rules or standards, no denominational affiliation, no historic affirmations can guarantee that a Christian university will remain truly Christian. What matters is people.

Cornerstone University is blessed with 285 people who fit this definition. I am proud of them and proud to be associated with them. They are intellectually energetic, hard working, dedicated, friendly, and professional. They are careful and critical thinkers. They love the Lord, love their disciplines and professions, love scholarship, love higher education, and love their students—or radio listeners as the case may be.

After nearly 15 years at CU, I know these people well. They are an outstanding body of people. That’s why I sometimes get a little testy when people periodically impugn our faculty and staff members’ integrity or their spiritual maturity or their dedication or their Christian commitment or their academic capability. None of these imputations are fair or accurate.

This outstanding body of people is also why I revel in their accolades. No part of my job is more fun than recognizing the accomplishments of our personnel. Presidents typically get more blame and more kudos than they deserve. I’d rather talk about what our people are achieving, for it’s a great story. God has blessed us with real Christians doing real work for him.

These faculty and staff members join me in affirming these Plumb Line Principles, our university core values:

Biblically Christian – An educational ministry committed to the principles of biblical Christianity, nothing more, and nothing less.

Theologically Conservative – A belief that the Bible is the Word of God in its entirety – inspired, infallible, and inerrant.

Christian Worldview – A Christian philosophy of life and learning forming the basis of the university’s approach to the world, history, and culture.

Intentional Spiritual Formation – A vigorous student spiritual formation program encouraging students to develop their understanding of the biblical faith and their desire to serve God.

Committed Christian Personnel – We want to attract, retain, and develop personnel who are Christians of character, credentials, competence, commitment, and creativity. We want people who look upon and perform their calling with the highest possible professional standards. We expect a Biblical work ethic, and we believe that our people’s talent is God’s greatest blessing upon Cornerstone University.

Quality – We believe that we serve a holy and perfect Creator God Who expects quality as our reasonable service unto Him. We therefore work to create quality in everything we do.

Stewardship – We wish to administer resources, financial, human, and physical, with the clearest expression of integrity, accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness. We believe that our decisions are a sacred trust before God, our students and parents, our personnel, our friends, and the public.

Higher Education – In the university we work to challenge, stimulate, stretch, inform, and motivate our students to serve. We consider teaching and learning a two-way street, with professors and students responsible for their academic work as a form of worship unto God.

Leadership – Christian leadership is not an option but an opportunity. Leaders with character can provide godly direction in a declining culture with no moral vision for its future.

(c) Cornerstone University 2001

Each Cornerstone University faculty and staff members is a born again believer in Jesus Christ, each one annually affirms the university’s doctrinal statement, The Cornerstone Confession, and each one is faithfully involved in an evangelical and biblical church.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Cornerstone University is reviewing its Personnel Lifestyle Statement. The point of the review is to assure the university is positioned to fulfill its mission “to enable individuals to apply unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world.”

In fall, 2004, I appointed a Personnel Lifestyle Statement Team comprised of five faculty and staff members, charging this team with reviewing the statement and recommending possible revisions in wording that would ground the statement in the university’s biblical worldview philosophy. This Team has modeled spiritual maturity, provided theological, philosophic, practical, and experiential insight, and conducted its work with the highest standards of professionalism.

The Team (with the input of colleagues provided electronically or in open forums) has taken four slightly disjunctive current statements (the discovery that the university was working with four existing similar-but-not-identical statements is reason enough to develop one new statement) and used them as a starting point to craft a new, beautifully written draft. The new draft calls upon each university trustee and employee to live a life of personal holiness and Christian cultural contribution to the glory of God.

In January, 2006, the Team discussed the new lifestyle statement draft with the university’s Board of Trustees. No vote on the draft was solicited or balloted at that time. The Team is now moving to the next step in its very thorough process.

Throughout spring, 2006, the Team will lead university personnel in evaluating the current policy listing three historic prohibitions: use of alcohol or tobacco and participation in gambling. These prohibitions are being reviewed for several reasons:

a) To determine whether the mission of the university requires additional agreed upon limits to employee Christian liberty;

b) To determine whether these prohibitions should be maintained but placed within personnel handbooks rather than the lifestyle statement—and if they are maintained to develop current rationale for the importance of such prohibitions;

c) To determine whether these prohibitions should be discontinued.

Once this review is complete, the Team will make its recommendations to the president and I in turn will report to the Board of Trustees. The current review is a conversation. Whether the Board of Trustees will ultimately add, alter, or discontinue these policies is still an open question. The university is genuinely seeking to understand what is best for its mission.

For all of its 65 year existence, the university has asked trustees and faculty and staff members to sign the school’s doctrinal statement (since 1999 called “The Cornerstone Confession”) and to agree to abide by a lifestyle statement listing community covenants wherein individuals agreed to abstain from certain behaviors. Trustees and professors have always signed the doctrinal statement annually, while staff members signed it at the point of hiring. In the past few years, staff members have also signed doctrinal statement annually. This university practice of annually reaffirming commitment to “The Cornerstone Confession” will continue.

While I do not think that use of alcohol or tobacco in moderation is intrinsically evil, in other words a sin, I do believe these commodities are dangerous to many and deadly for some. I am also on record via my book, Gambling: Don’t Bet On It, contending that gambling violates at least five doctrines of Scripture and is, thus, intrinsically evil. Not every Christian agrees with my perspective of alcohol/tobacco or of gambling.

I also believe that it is entirely appropriate for a Christian institution of higher learning to determine what “preferences” it wishes to embrace as organizational policy—beyond its doctrinal convictions. Historically, such preferences have run the gamut of virtually every conceivable issue from length of hair to music styles to movies to art to dance to fashions, and on and on. While institutions can act prudishly or legalistically in applying their preferences, the mere existence of such preferences does not ipso facto mean an institution is acting improperly. Institutions that establish preferences can simply be distinctive, and this can be a very good thing.

The same may be said for those Christian institutions of higher learning that have jettisoned certain preferences. This act is not in itself a signal the university is losing its faith. It may simply mean the university is being a careful steward of its responsibility to help students understand how to live “In the World” while being “Not of the World,” even as it encourages students to go “Into the World” as Christ’s ambassadors.

If you wish to read more on this subject, see my book, Christian Liberty:  Living for God in a Changing Culture. God gave us a limited but very important short-list of moral absolutes, any of which we ignore at our peril. Beyond these few moral absolutes, God gave us the doctrine of Christian liberty.

**No changes in the university’s student policies on these matters (i.e., No use of alcohol or tobacco; no participation in gambling) and no change in campus or university event practices (i.e., Alcohol and tobacco-free and gambling-free) are being considered.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at