Calvin University Loosens Religious Requirements for Faculty

Calvin U

Both of my daughters attend Calvin University. The university recruited my oldest daughter to play for its national-championship caliber NCAA Division III volleyball program, but ultimately her decision was based on Calvin’s reputation for Christian learning. She will graduate in May after completing a double major in history and psychology.  My youngest daughter is finishing her freshman year at Calvin. She is majoring in politics. She initially did not want to follow her sister to Calvin, but after visiting a lot of first-rate Christian colleges, she concluded that Calvin was the best fit for her. (Both of my daughters seriously considered Messiah College, but chose Calvin because they did not want to go to college a few miles from home).

Calvin is a confessional school. It is connected to the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The school’s Reformed faith informs its educational mission. My daughters were not raised in the Christian Reformed Church, nor would they consider themselves “Calvinists” or “Reformed.” But I suggested that they look at Calvin because of the kind of academic rigor that has long been associated with the Reformed faith.

Calvin has always placed strict requirements on its faculty. Faculty needed to affirm Reformed creedal statements, attend Christian Reformed churches (or similar Reformed congregations), and send their kids to Christian Reformed schools in the Grand Rapids area.

But it appears that things are changing at Calvin. Here is a taste of Juliana Knot’s piece at Chimes, the Calvin University student newspaper:

Calvin faculty are no longer required to be members of the Christian Reformed Church and to send their children to Christian day schools. Faculty senate voted to approve the change on April 21, and the board of trustees approved this unanimously on May 8.

Faculty are now able to attend “a Calvin University-supporting Protestant congregation” in addition to a CRC congregation or a church in ecclesiastical fellowship with the CRC. This church must be a Protestant congregation that affirms the three creeds of unity (Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, and Apostles’ Creed), as well as accept that the faculty member attending there affirms the Reformed creeds (the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dordt).

The new policy states that faculty will be expected to articulate an understanding and affirmation of “essential Reformed Christian theological ideas” as part of their tenure and five-year tenure review. Calvin will enter into “strategic partnerships” with the churches that faculty attend, both non-CRC and CRC.

Mirroring the stance of the CRC, Calvin is no longer mandating that faculty send their children to Christian day schools, but is still encouraging them to do so. The report to faculty senate stated that professors applying for tenure will be expected “to articulate a Reformed Christian view of education and to describe how they actively support Christian education.”

Read the rest here.