A Reply to S. M. Hutchens’s “Abreast of the Times”
by W. Bingham Hunter
Thank you for the opportunity to provide a brief historical statement concerning matters touched on in the Fall 1995 issue of Touchstone.
In 1989 the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) faculty approved the following statement:
This statement has appeared in the seminary catalog and other publications since September 1990.
In the summer of 1992, a postgraduate program fellow was asked to revise our “Graduate Student Handbook.” This booklet provides advice and guidance to students concerning Masters-level program academic procedures, residency, candidacy, graduation requirements, certain fees, comprehensive examinations, thesis deadlines, format and style. In the process of revision, the material (pointed out in Touchstone) on referring to a so-called mandate to use inclusive language was added without the knowledge or approval of either the faculty or administration of the Divinity School. Due to a series of administrative transitions and new personnel, the Handbook containing this unauthorized material was published in September 1992.
During the 1995–96 academic year, the seminary Educational Policies Committee recommended to the faculty that this section of the Handbook be revised to remove the unauthorized “inclusive language mandate” statement including the following explanatory and illustrative material [quoted in Hutchens’s article], leaving only the catalog statement given above—which the TEDS faculty and administration continue to affirm. This motion was approved by vote of the whole faculty. The Divinity School administration has directed that it be implemented in September 1996, when the Handbook is reprinted.
Your 1995 article may have led some Touchstone readers to draw erroneous conclusions about TEDS and the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA). Because of this, it seems important to note here that:
(1) the Evangelical Free Church of America, which owns and operates TEDS, has national ministerial procedures through which legal governmentally recognized credentials may be issued to women for service in such venues as the military and hospital chaplaincy. However, the EFCA denomination does not ordain women to pastoral ministry; and
(2) the Trinity faculty are widely known to be in the forefront of Evangelical efforts such as the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Dr. W. Bingham Hunter is the Academic Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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“A Reply to S. M. Hutchens’s “Abreast of the Times”” first appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of Touchstone. If you enjoyed this article, you'll find more of the same in every issue.
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