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The Philosopher

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Tenure, Freedom of Speech and Press in the Church? Ver. 1.2.1
The Philosopher
https://anewparadigminchristianthinking.wordpress.com/tag/freedom
5/26/2015

Tenure in the College University System:

Tenure in the college university system was originally intended to give university professors a license to do research to advance their knowledge of a chosen subject that might be contrary to accepted thinking. The professors could not be terminated for writing or voicing the results of their research even if their conclusions were contrary to college and university policy.
“Academic tenure’s original purpose was to guarantee the right to academic freedom: [1] it protects teachers and researchers when they dissent from prevailing opinion, openly disagree with authorities of any sort, or spend time on unfashionable topics. Thus academic tenure is similar to the lifetime tenure that protects some judges from external pressure. [2] Without job security, the scholarly community as a whole may experience pressure to favor noncontroversial lines of academic inquiry. The intent of tenure is to allow original ideas to be more likely to arise, by giving scholars the intellectual autonomy to investigate the problems and solutions as they see fit and to report their honest conclusions. [3] However, it has also become a type of job security for professors.”i

Tenure in the Church:

Should there be tenure in the Church, for not only the leaders or compensated professionals in the church, but for investigative members of a church body as well? This is unheard of in any church to my knowledge, but it certainly looks to be needed in our churches. There are four cases in point of this argument of tenure in the Church:

[1] My first experience was with a Monsignor in a Catholic Church – the same Monsignor that baptized my son into the church when he was born. I met him a decade later at a Bible Study where he was teaching about Jesus. He had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church for his teaching on this subject when he was the Monsignor at this local church. He said to me, “Be careful who teaches you this Bible, for there are many misinterpretations of it being taught out there.” After 30 years of research myself, I see he was absolutely correct in his summation of the misinterpretations of the teachings of the Bible.

[2] I taught a Bible Study group and a Sunday school class for 17 years. I acted as a distributor of the information the church convention organization put together for us, and we held weekly
teachers’ meetings to put our lesson plans together for the upcoming Sunday. One Easter Sunday, I felt I could no longer teach the lesson plan provided by the church convention organization, for this Easter Sunday and I assembled my own lesson plan entitled, “Believing without Seeing.” The message of the lesson was that, “One of the reasons Jesus died on that cross was so we would believe what he had taught us while he was alive.” This line of teaching was not well accepted by this church and my teaching credentials were reduced to “Substitute Teacher Only.”

[3] We were already in the process of moving to a church in our new neighborhood, so we completed the move at this time. The Sunday school lesson plan that I had developed set me on a new path. I incubated on this subject for the next 15 years. An opportunity arose at our new church home to advance my knowledge on this subject with an in-depth study, of the book of Acts of the Apostles, which was being offered at this church. I presented a proposal to the two church leaders that I wanted to perform an in-depth research project on the Book of Acts by participating in this project the church was providing and that I wanted to perform the research according to scientific protocols. They stated they “didn’t want any science around here” and instead referred me to an adult Bible Study class that miraculously was just starting a study of the Book of Acts of the Apostles. I soon learned that I was in this class to listen and my insights to this information were not welcome in this class room setting. I started to record my insights from this in-depth study of the Book of Acts of the Apostles on this blog: https://anewparadigminchristianthinking.wordpress.com . When we finished the Book of Acts, which took approximately 28 weeks, I published my conclusions on this website as “The Fast Track to: The Gospel of Jesus Christ (The Good News of Jesus Christ)” on February 17, 2013. The class moved on to an in-depth study of the books of I and II Corinthians. At the conclusion of this in-depth study, which took about 29 weeks, I published my insights and conclusions to this study as “The Evolution of the Christian Church,” Part I, Ver. 1.0.1, on June 27, 2014 and “The Evolution of the Christian Church” Part II on December 27, 2014, along with other posts to this blog at: https://anewparadigminchristianthinking.wordpress.com/tag/evolution-of-the-christian-church/. This blog that I was writing came to the attention of the leaders of the Church, Church Elders and the Class Leader. They sent an envoy to my home to interview me and decided that I was writing information the church did not believe in nor could they support or even look like the church supported this information. Restrictions were placed on me as to whom and where I could talk to people about this blog.

On July 2, 2014, I received my letter of dismissal from this church body, a church where I had been a member in good standing for almost 20 years. I was released from my commitment to be under the authority of the Church Elders that I had made 18 years earlier. I have framed this notice of dismissal and have it hanging on my wall as a badge of honor.

I was quite relived to be released from the authority of the Church Elders. When the Church Elders were actually my seniors and knew more than I did about this Gospel, this was a good idea. But when the Church Elders aged out and became my juniors and thought they knew more about this Gospel than I did, it was a relief not having to be judged by those who knew less than I did about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since I am restricted from participating in this church’s activities, I miss some of my old friends, but I guess that is the result of lack of tenure in the Christian Church to not only its compensated staff, but to its members as well. There was a good reason to give seasoned professors in colleges and university tenure – to protect them from a younger generation that had achieved authority in the organization and were contrary with the information the seasoned professors were promoting.

[4] Look back about 400 years to the time of Galileo, the astronomer who improved upon the invention of the telescope and proved, by his observations and collected data, the theory of the Copernicus system of planetary motion that the Earth rotated about the Sun. This conclusion was contrary to acceptable interpretations of the Holy Scriptures of the time and in June of 1633, Galileo was summoned to Rome, tried by the Inquisition, condemned to perpetual arrest, forced to abjure, and forbidden ever to publish anything further.ii

These events should make it clear to anyone that tenure is needed in the Christian Church to everyone, members in good standing included.

Freedom of Speech and The Press in the Church:

As an alternative to Tenure in the Church, Churches, Congress or the Supreme Court could act to make the Freedom of Speech part of the First Amendment to the Constitution applicable to churches. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”iii If Congress or the Supreme Court were to address this issue, they would most likely address Freedom of Speech and Press in all non-profit tax-exempt organizations and would probably result in “excessive entanglement between government and religion” under the “Lemon test and therefore would not be heard by the court.”iv The Lemon Test: In Lemon, the Court stated that that the separation of church and state could never be absolute. “Our prior holdings do not call for total separation between church and state; total separation is not possible in an absolute sense. Some relationship between government and religious organizations is inevitable,” the Court wrote. “Judicial caveats against entanglement must recognize that the line of separation, far from being a wall, is a blurred, indistinct, and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship.”v

Accommodationists, in contrast, argue along with Justice William O. Douglas that “we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” This group holds that the Lemon test should be applied selectively. As such, for many conservatives, the Establishment Clause solely prevents the establishment of a state church, not public acknowledgements of God or “developing policies that encourage general religious beliefs that do not favor a particular sect and are consistent with the secular government’s goals.”vi

Progress or Extinction:

It would be better if each church addressed the Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press issues church by church. The Christian Church as a whole needs to see the advantage of these freedoms in the church. Just as there is strong opinion that the USA cannot progress without these freedoms, neither can the Christian Church progress without these freedoms. In this way the churches that want to progress—can and those who want to stay in the same rut they are in and achieving the same results as they have been—can. Some churches will progress and others will disappear. People vote with their feet.

QED