Wheaton’s New President? Philip Ryken. Wow.

Details here. Didn’t see that coming. Interesting, to say the least.

Ryken is among the most conservative of evangelicals, both theologically and on contemporary issues. Wheaton is…well, not. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It sure seems like an indication that Wheaton will lean back to the right after years of leaning (lunging?) to the left.



7 Responses

  1. That’s curious for sure. I saw that a bit ago and was puzzled.

    Ryken is a pretty solid conservative evangelical. Wheaton is broadly evangelical, and sometimes only marginally evangelical it seems.

    The comments there are pretty interesting too. One poster called this a hard right turn. Interesting to see where it ends up.

  2. Board support is going to be key. That’s what Mohler had. If he doesn’t have support of the board, he’s doomed. But he seems a smart enough guy that he wouldn’t have taken the position were he not sure of their support (plus he was already on the board to begin with).

    So, does this mean they’re going to change on drinking and dancing? :)

  3. Shocker for sure. His Dad is a member of the faculty, though. I wonder who takes Ryken’s place at Tenth?

  4. Wow is right. I’m glad for Wheaton, they could use Ryken’s influence. Hmm, maybe Barrett at 10th?

    “Dr. Ryken’s appointment marks the end of a two-year search process.” I don’t think the board and presidential search committee would spend such a long time searching for Litfin’s replacement and make a poor decision. I hope this becomes a conservative swing that lasts for a while at Wheaton.

    I wonder what kind of relationship Ryken has with Josh Moody, pastor of College Church?


  5. Larry,

    Many of us in the evangelical world (or what we consider to be the evangelical world–we may not meet your exacting standards) think that Wheaton has been moving to the right under Litfin, so I’m a bit baffled by your perception that the reverse is the case. If Ryken is the sort of evangelical admired by those who think Wheaton as it stands is barely evangelical, then this is really an astonishing (and for me an utterly dismaying) choice. I have no doubt that Ryken is a man of learning and integrity and an excellent representative of conservative Calvinist theology. But conservative Calvinists generally tend (as your own post indicates) to have a very narrow definition of evangelicalism, and from my perspective the choice of such a person as the president of the flagship evangelical liberal arts college is disappointing. Of course, I know that many of my liberal Catholic friends were horrified when Ratzinger was chosen as Pope. I thought then, and think even more strongly now, that this was an excellent choice. I can hope that Ryken will be similarly “surprising” to those of us in the moderate-to-liberal sections of the evangelical spectrum.

  6. Edwin:

    And precisely what is it that “moderate to liberal” evangelicals believe? A person either adheres to the orthodox, apostolic faith as laid out in the New Testament or he does not. Forget such labels as “fundamentalist” or “evangelical.” Quite simply, such a person either is a Christian or is not one. There is no such thing as a “moderate”, “liberal” or “conservative” Christian. Show me in the Bible anything that supports the existence of such creatures, or the basis for these divisions to be made. A person is a Christian, period. If this Ryken is a Bible-believing Christian with the qualifications and leadership skills required for this post, then you should applaud his appointment. But if your position is that he is not a Christian, or that he lacks the qualifications or ability, then state your position as such. Otherwise, you have no case against this man and only condemn yourself with your words.

  7. Edwin,

    I think Wheaton probably did move to the right under Litfin. That’s part of my point, that things at Wheaton had turned severely wrong, to the point of only marginal evangelicalism in some ways. I think if one looks at history, that is undeniable. It is untroubling to many, but certainly undeniable to all.

    As for “moderate to liberal evangelicals,” one of the core issues is simply to define evangelical. While I can’t speak to you since I don’t know you, it seems that most “moderate to liberal evangelicals” are, again, only marginally evangelical. To try to cast it as conservative vs. liberal is really to miss the point. It is about the Bible.

    The Bible itself gives a “pretty narrow definition of evangelicalism.” I think the modern day redefinition would be troubling to those who penned the original evangelical documents.

    I think Ryken is probably as good a choice that could be made. Wheaton needs to chart a course towards historic evangelicalism (not the late twentieth century variety).

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