As a 1977 Gordon graduate, I am amazed at and grateful for the College’s progress in scholarship, spirituality and service over the last 30-plus years. All of these are once again beautifully depicted in the excellent Summer 2008 issue of STILLPOINT. A profound sadness overcame me, however, when I saw the small but searing photo of ROTC cadets on campus--a sight my eyes never encountered at Gordon. The association of a prominent, progressive, evangelical Christian college with the American military will suggest to many around the country and the world that evangelical Christianity is an agent of both nationalism and imperialism.
The College’s commitments to postcolonial Christian mission, the global Church, the education of international students, justice, the Kingdom of God, and the lordship of Jesus are all compromised by the presence of the ROTC program. As Christian leaders, the College’s alums, faculty, administration and Board of Trustees need to reexamine this relationship with the military. To raise a favorite evangelical question, “What would Jesus do?”
—Mike Gorman ’77, Dean and Professor of Sacred Scripture, The Ecumenical Institute of Theology,
St. Mary’s Seminary & University
Editor’s Note: Thanks for your thoughtful letter. The ROTC program itself is at MIT; we are a cooperating institution. Gordon College has an obligation to prepare students for leadership in a wide range of vocations. Preparing leaders who enter the military with Christian perspectives is not the same as supporting the military strategy of a given political administration. As a broadly evangelical Christian college, we recognize a legitimate range of sincerely held convictions on the just war/pacifism question and other thorny issues. This is both an institutional strength and a challenge. We invite continuing dialogue on these matters from our alumni and friends.
The article “Latin American Evangelicals: Made in Whose Image?” (Spring 2008) was of particular interest to me, having served with Latin American Mission since 1950. I am now retired. It’s encouraging to see Ruth and Dennis Melkonian’s refutation of Stoll and others who attribute so much of evangelical church growth in Latin America to U.S. influences. U.S. pop culture certainly is influential down here, but an increasing number of Latin America’s leaders are looking for economic, political and cultural ideas in Europe. As for religious ideas, leadership in the mainline denominations is quite autochthonous now. There has been a strong Pentecostal/charismatic influence from the North, but this is waning as local leadership comes to the fore.
Again, my appreciation of STILLPOINT. May the Lord bless you all.
—Paul Pretiz ’49, Costa Rica