Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Christian Professor Finally Gets Academic Freedom

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Dr. Mike Adams was hired as an assistant professor of criminology by the University of North Carolina in 1993.

Dr. Adams was an avowed atheist.

He was also recognized as a brilliant professor who was often acknowledged by the university and his peers for his excellence in teaching, research and communication skills.

In 2000, everything changed.

In 2000, he became a Christian.

His spiritual transformation impacted every part of his life---as it should, including his worldview.

His conversion also greatly impacted his view on political and social issues, topics which he addressed frequently in his well read opinion columns.

As the University became aware of his change of heart and mind on social issues, he became aware that all the talk about academic freedom, tolerance and the like was mostly just that---talk.

The highly acclaimed professor also began to learn there is often a price to pay when a person follows Christ and shares his biblical worldview.

Because of his beliefs and expressed Christian worldview, Dr. Adams was subjected to intrusive investigations, baseless accusations, and a denial of promotion to full professor because the university often disagreed with his views---despite his award winning record of teaching, research, service, and scholarly output surpassing that of most of his colleagues.

This discrimination continued for a number of years. Dr. Adams persevered.

Finally in 2007, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against the University on his behalf.

ADF proved the University had doctored his record, misrepresented what he had accomplished, and they denied him a promotion simply because they did not agree with the things he had said---and believed.

The jury listened to the case a few weeks ago, then deliberated for 3 or 4 hours before giving their verdict.

The jury found that the University had unlawfully retaliated against Dr. Adams and that they had violated his First Amendment right to free speech by denying him a promotion because they disagreed with what he said and what he had written.

Last Tuesday, it was reported that a federal court forced the University of North Carolina to promote Adams to the rank of full professor, the position they had been denying him over the past number of years.

The court also forced UNC to include about $50,000 in back pay lost because of the University's actions.

Any time any one takes a public stand for Jesus Christ and embraces a biblical worldview, there is a price to pay, particularly in our present culture.

Only in recent years has the attack on biblical beliefs and values in our own country been elevated to the present level.

However, the value of any persecution is that it can strengthen rather than destroy.

Saul of Tarsus, whom we know as Paul, had not been an atheist, but he hated Christians and used his full power and authority to persecute and destroy those who followed Christ.

Then he, himself, had a transforming moment on the road to Damascus and became a follower of Jesus. He too was then persecuted greatly for his religious belief---what he said and what he wrote.

It was he who wrote about the value of persevering in the face of adversity.

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope" ( Romans 5:3-4).

And he wrote to the Galatian Christians, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).

Never give up.

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon often encouraged people not to give up---to hang in there, by reminding them that "By perseverance the snail reached the ark."

I am also reminded of an entry in the diary of another great preacher, John Wesley:

Sunday, A.M., May 5: Preached in St. Anne's. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5: Preached in St. John's. Deacons said "Get out and stay out."
Sunday, A.M., May 12: Preached in St. Jude's. Can't go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19: Preached in St. Somebody Else's. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn't return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19: Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26: Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2: Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2: Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.

Be Persistent. Be Not Afraid. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Strong. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.