Is There Such a Thing as Academic freedom

We have written on this topic before but it seems that an update needs to be written in case no one searches our website for older articles. We were motivated to write on this topic again by what we saw in an article we linked-to in our In the News piece a day or so ago

That article, now linked to again, said the following:

We knew there were deep and abiding problems with them ever since the teachers got mad in 2009 and overwhelmingly voted against a policy that would have prohibited them from supporting homosexuality and same-sex marriage- due to their desire for “academic freedom” and differing opinions from the faculty– (bold ours)

We wrote about academic freedom when the Dr. Christopher Rollston scandal was taking place at Emmanuel Christian College some years ago. You can read about it here.

There are some misconceptions about what academic freedom entails. One person stated that many professors, etc., :

I have known colleagues who believed that academic freedom allows them to say anything they want, to anyone, in any venue, or to engage in behavior that most observers would assume to be inappropriate in any other workplace.(source)

Another writer says that is a false concept and he writes:

Academic freedom, as it’s typically understood, is a false freedom. Genuine academic freedom is not the license to teach or research whatever one fancies, but rather the freedom to pursue truth unencumbered by political and economic influence. (source)

People no matter which country they live in think that freedom means no rules. That is just not so. if society and education are to succeed, there have to be rules. if there were not any rules, how could students discern between what is true and what is false?

Then some people think that academic freedom is a source of protection for professors who may get in trouble with their employers or government when they teach the wrong topics

Academic freedom encompasses distinct rights for the individual and for the institution. Individual academic freedom protects the individual professor and governs the relationship between a professor, university administration, and external authorities (source)

But if the schools and governments cannot monitor what is being taught in class, how can they stop treasonous teaching? or other harmful topics that are used to brainwash students.

There has to be a limit on academics and freedom to teach different subjects need rules to guide teachers. However, we do know that the secular call for academic freedom targeting Christian universities, etc., is a one-way street.

The unbelieving professors want Christian colleges, etc., to adopt academic freedom in order to get their false teaching into those schools. They do not call for academic freedom when Christian teachers want to teach the truth or Christian subjects in their schools.

In other words, unbelieving professors are all for ruining Christian teaching but refuse to allow their students to be exposed to a belief that contradicts their own views. This is the typical double standard and hypocrisy every academic professional faces in their career.

So in essence, there is no such thing as academic freedom. As one group of educational professionals hinder or ban another group’s content when the latter is something they do not accept.

When those secular institutions stop discriminating against Christian beliefs and content, then they may have a leg to stand on when they call for Christian schools to allow for secular teaching in their institutions. However, that would still not allow false teaching to be taught in Christian schools.

Christian schools have direct commands from God on what to teach. Paul tells all believers to not lie one to another and when teachers teach something that is not in line with God’s word, they are lying to the students.

The Bible also bans false teaching in churches and church-related institutions. the Bible does not limit that ban to just the pulpit. The warning of James 3:1 will support that as would Jesus teaching on those who turn people away from their faith in him.

The millstone around one’s neck is a picnic compared to what happens later. Then we have God’s direct instruction to the Hebrews as they wandered the Sinai for 40 years:

and so as to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them through Moses.” (Lev. 10:11)

Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may have them hear My words so that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ (Deut. 4:10)

But as for you, stand here by Me, that I may speak to you all the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which you shall teach them, so that they may follow them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’ (Deut. 5:31)

“Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, so that you may do them in the land where you are going over to take possession of it, (Deut. 6:1)

The word ‘teach’ has 274 verses you can look through at Biblegateway and see the importance of teaching. God does not provide for academic freedom in his kingdom.

In Christian schools, there should be NO academic freedom as we are charged with teaching and telling the truth. You cannot get to the truth by leading students away from God and by teaching them false ideologies.

In God’s church, his schools, and in Christian homes, it is God’s ways, statutes, and commands that need to be taught. There are more details that we are not getting into at this time. They have been mentioned in our other articles.

But, if teachers and professors are clamoring for academic freedom in Christian schools, then it is time to examine their commitment to Jesus and see if they truly are saved or are in the process of leaving or have left the faith.

We do not bring false teaching into God’s schools or churches. That is the way to lose converts and harm the church in general. teaching in Christian environments is very serious work as the teacher needs to understand the Bible and know how to apply it to students’ lives.

They also need to be able to explain why some other schools are teaching false content and why it is false. Understanding helps students grow stronger in the faith.

We have seen many Christian schools when we were young, allow false teaching into their curriculum. That is not of God and not the right way to teach anyone. Those schools have lost so much in doing so.

It is sad to see our own undergraduate alma mater take this path. They lost sight of their original purpose and expanded into something that doesn’t even resemble the school of old.

There are many good Christian schools being destroyed because they follow secular demands and not God’s. When those students leave those schools and take up pastorates and missionary positions, the people, in general, are hurt and led astray.

They are not getting the food Jesus wants them to receive and they become weak Christians if they remain a believer at all. In Christian circles, there is no such thing as academic freedom.

There is just too much at stake. When Christians do not follow the God they claim to believe in, then why would secular people?