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The President of InterVarsity has a lengthy response (of sorts) to Collin Hansen’s CT piece about InterVarsity and Roman Catholicism, which also deals with broader trends.

To me, the most interesting line of Alec Hill’s response was with regard to Hansen’s journalistic integrity. Writing that he has “grave disappointment” about the piece, labeling it an “opinion piece” rather than actual reporting, Hill cites the following as his only evidence:

No one interviewed our student leaders at George Washington University. No one talked with our two campus staff. The only on-the-ground voices heard were those of the departing students and their pastor. Sadly, as a result, the article lacks balance.

Hill says that he reread the piece “multiple times,” but apparently he missed this line:

(Efforts to contact InterVarsity staff at GWU were unsuccessful.)

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12 thoughts on “The Leader Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks”

  1. Walt Quick says:

    Alec’s comments are in fact accurate. The parenthetical included by Hansen was not a part of the original draft which Alec and the rest of the InterVarsity leadership was given. Rather, it was a last minute addition and an incredibly distressing one at that, as no efforts to contact the staff were made. I know this because I was one of the two staff at the GWU Chapter last year. Neither Hansen nor CT made any effort to contact myself or my staff partner about the events of last spring. I received no phone call, voicemail, email, or any other form of communication. The article’s misrepresentation of the events are quite indicative of that fact, and it is my earnest hope that the comment will be retracted. This lapse in integrity is truly shocking and calls much of his “reporting” into question.

  2. Oh this should be interesting to behold…

  3. Jeremy says:

    Dr. Sweeney gets it right.

    “Tridentine Roman Catholics could not sign the Bear Trap Statement, for justification by faith alone was anathematized at the Council of Trent,” said Sweeney. “Such Roman Catholics could sign the 2000 statement, however, for Catholics have always taught that salvation is found in Christ alone. Further, the 2000 statement allows for a Tridentine commitment to the necessity of faith being formed or perfected by love before one is finally justified. This is the doctrine that the 16th-century Reformers opposed most strenuously.

    I would like Dr. George to respond to this. This is the exact criticism that was leveled at the original ECT statement and I was surprised then that he signed it and still am surprised that he continues to being the well-informed Protestant scholar that he is.

    I am not sure if the recent cooperation between Roman Catholics and InterVarsity resulted in the 2000 declaration, but at the very least it deserves a second look.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Another thing I noticed was this line from Hill: “We publish a wide variety of books—including N.T. Wright’s Justification—because we are deeply committed to stimulating evangelically-rooted conversations that increase fidelity to Scripture.” I have heard that IVP will not publish anything from the complementarian side of the gender/role in church/home debate. If that is true, how does that stimulate evangelically-rooted conversations?

    1. IVP has published a recent book called Marriage At The Crossroads that compares the views of an egalitarian and complementarian couples. It is by far the best book on gender roles in marriage to be published to date. I challenge you to read it. You’re views of the debate will be transformed.

  5. Josh Gelatt says:

    I’m not sure what Hill’s complaint is here. He was obviously cited, at length, in Hansen’s article and there given the opportunity to explain and defend Inter Varsity’s views on justification. Hansen quoted the pastor who (seems to have) led the students who resigned, and then quoted the president of Inter Varsity.

    Doesn’t the fact that Hansen got a response from the top dog count for something? Who is more credible—the president or some student worker at GWU? Frankly, some 20-something who I never heard of saying “oh Inter Varsity is really committed to sola fide” isn’t going to convince me—but hearing it from the president would carry more weight.

    But, then Hill wrote his response….

  6. JManning says:

    I was in student leadership at a state university’s IVCF chapter for a year in 2002-2003. I don’t know if it was the chapter, or perhaps state leadership in Florida, but the whole thing was social justice and racial equality first…gospel second. One of our leaders converted to Roman Catholicism at one point. The whole thing left me a little sour, and I opted to attend BCM for the remainder of my college stay after that.
    It seems Hill’s complaint is that he disagrees with the students, and somehow because of that, CT’s article was negative because it included quotes from the students.

    1. KevinS says:

      In reply to JManning: I was one of the IV staffworkers at the school he mentions, and I feel a bit of clarification/correction of JManning’s remarks are in order. The “whole thing” was NOT social justice and racial reconciliation first, with subordination of the gospel. We absolutely preached and shared the gospel and trained and encouraged students to do so. There was an emphasis on social justice and racial reconiliation as ramifications/outworking of the gospel in a disciple’s life (as were things like spiritual disciplines, healthy relationships, holiness, growing in Christian character, sexual purity, etc.). These two may have seemed emphasized a bit more–the first because one particular student leader got a vision/passion for serving the homeless in our community, and the second because of some unique situations vis a vis our campus and ministry. JManning is right, the FL state leadership at the time were passionate about these two issues, but those people are also some of the most evangelistically oriented and evangelistically fruitful people I’ve ever met.

      As to one of the student leaders converting to Roman Catholicism, he did not do so until after he graduated, and that was the result of his own theological/philsophical ponderings and not because of anything he was taught in InterVarsity. I was just as surprised and dismayed at his move as anyone.

  7. HHC says:

    Not surprised. I was also part of the student leadership at an IVCF for about 3 years. All we talked about social justice and racial reconciliation. We tried to accomplish that by being all Asian American. It was just counter-productive.

  8. Andy W says:

    (to humbly express my own disappointment) Why the need for such a snarky post on the matter? I realize this is your blog and you are free to write as you choose, but this type of tone and personal attack should be reserved for fan forums, not christian bloggers.

    There is no need to call Alec’s integrity into question based on a parenthetical quote that seemed like it was added on in the first place (and confirmed if Walt Quicks’s comment is accurate). As an IV staff worker, I am really thankful for the leadership that Alec has provided to our movement and his passion to proclaim the Gospel to the University.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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