Month: October 2016

“Wall Street Journal” Recognizes Cedarville’s Student Engagement

Students in collaboration roomWe received word in September that the Wall Street Journal had ranked Cedarville University No. 4 in the United States for best “student engagement.” When the Journal’s reporter called to learn more about our approach, I had the opportunity to share how our students engage with each other through chapel and ministries, how faculty bring an eternal perspective to their lectures, and how our student life programs are intentionally educating the whole person. It was a privilege to explain how Cedarville’s life-transforming educational approach can place a small Christian college in Ohio above all the Ivy League institutions because we are engaging students with a Gospel purpose.

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President Defends Theological Necessity of Historic Adam and Eve

Dr. White speaking at the Creation ConferenceThe reality of God as creator of the heavens and the earth is critical to the Christian faith. At Cedarville, we maintain an unwavering commitment to a literal six-day Creation. That’s why we hosted the “In the Beginning: Creation and Your Biblical Worldview” conference with Answers in Genesis on September 15-16. At this conference — which was attended by our students and hundreds of others from around the nation — my focus was on the theological necessity of a historic Adam and Eve. Cedarville’s passion is that our students graduate with a fully informed biblical worldview, ready to engage culture with compassionate conviction.

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“First Freedom: The Beginning and End of Religious Liberty”

First Freedom book cover

Religious liberty is under attack in our country, and for that reason, I was privileged to partner with Jason G. Duesing and Malcolm Yarnell III in co-editing the thoroughly revised second edition of First Freedom. The book includes the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1 – Mutually Exclusive or Biblically Harmonious? Religious Liberty and Exclusivity of Salvation in Jesus Christ
  • Chapter 2 – The Defense of Religious Liberty by the Anabaptists and the English Baptists
  • Chapter 3 – Early American Political Theology
  • Chapter 4 – The Christian Doctrine of Religious Liberty
  • Chapter 5 – Religious Liberty and the Gospel
  • Chapter 6 – Religious Liberty and the Public Square
  • Chapter 7 – Conservative Christians in an Era of Christian Conservatives: Reclaiming the Struggle for Religious Liberty from Cultural Captivity
  • Chapter 8 – The Gathering Storm: Religious Liberty in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution
  • Chapter 9 – Religious Liberty and the Christian University
  • Chapter 10 – International Law, Religious Freedom, and Apostasy Laws in Majority-Muslim Countries

This book seeks to equip pastors, churches, and college professors to defend religious freedom. Leading evangelical scholars including Barrett Duke, Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, Evan Lenow, Paige Patterson, and Travis Wussow contributed to the book. The book was released October 15, and the first printing has already sold out, but more copies will be available soon.

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New Cabinet Appointments Position Cedarville for Continued Enrollment Growth and Expanded Influence

Janice Supplee and Scott Van LooCedarville University has announced a new cabinet appointment and an organizational realignment designed to expand influence and continue enrollment growth while positioning the institution for future expansion in graduate, adult, and online programs. Dr. Scott Van Loo ’98 has been named Vice President for Enrollment Management, and Dr. Janice (Warren) Supplee ’86 has been named Vice President for Marketing and Communications. This is an exciting day for Cedarville and another step forward in the growth of the institution. I am thankful for God’s clear leading and providential timing, bringing another quality member to the Cabinet team and positioning Cedarville for expanded influence. Above all, with these moves, our goal is to advance Cedarville for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.

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Trustees Increase Scholarships, Approve Naming of New Dorm

Artist's rendering of Jenkins HallThe Trustees approved a financial aid program for new freshmen and transfer students that will help make Cedarville University more affordable for students who desire an education marked by excellence and grounded in biblical truth. The new program increases academic scholarships by $1,000, increases need-based aid for new freshmen and transfer students, and establishes a new President’s Society Fellows Scholarship that awards $20,000 annually to selected students.

The Board of Trustees also approved the naming of the residence hall that will replace Faith Hall. Opening next fall, the new $3.3 million residence hall will be named Jenkins Hall to honor the late Eleanor (Ellie) Sommerfeld Jenkins and the legacy of service to Cedarville by the Jenkins family. This will be the first residence hall in Cedarville’s history to be built without incurring debt.

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First Freedom: The Beginning and End of Religious Liberty

First Freedom: The Beginning and End of Religious Liberty

First Freedom, Second Edition
Jason G. Duesing, Thomas White, and Malcolm B. Yarnell, III, eds.
B&H Academic, 2016
275 pages

Available at Amazon from B&H Academic. You can read a sample chapter here.


Challenges to religious liberty are increasingly common today as historical Christianity comes into conflict with a new, secular orthodoxy.

In this thoroughly revised second edition of First Freedom, leading evangelical scholars present the biblical and historical foundations for religious freedom in America, and address pressing topics such as:

* Religious freedom and the exclusivity of the gospel
* The Christian doctrine of religious liberty
* Religious liberty and the public square
* Religious freedom and the sexual revolution
* Baptist contributions to religious freedom, and much more.

The contributors equip churches, pastors, and Christian citizens to uphold this “first freedom” given by God and defended by Christians throughout our nation’s history.

Contributors include:

  • Barrett Duke
  • Jason G. Duesing
  • Evan Lenow
  • R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
  • Russell Moore
  • Paige Patterson
  • Andrew T. Walker
  • Thomas White
  • Travis Wussow
  • Malcolm B. Yarnell, III

What People Are Saying About First Freedom

It is difficult to exaggerate the historical importance of the Baptist witness to religious liberty. This immensely valuable collection of essays carries that witness forward, addressing new challenges to the rights of conscience presented by early 21st century liberal secularism. The spiritual ancestors of the contributors to the volume would be as proud of them as I am grateful to them for placing their impressive intellectual gifts at the service of our first freedom.

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

Religious liberty in America faces an uncertain and imperiled future.  The great battles for religious liberty in the past continue today in the courtrooms and public square as we contend for the right to live and speak our faith freely.  This book is an excellent resource for believers to be informed about religious liberty so they can take their place in helping to defend it both now and for future generations..

Erik Stanley, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

Historically, Americans have embraced freedom of religion, not merely freedom of worship. The former fosters freedom to practice one’s religion in the church and the culture. The latter restricts the practice of religion to the confines of the church. As religious liberties erode in America, First Freedom is a refreshing resource presenting pertinent information for all to consider regarding this seminal topic.

Steve Gaines, Senior Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee, President of the Southern Baptist Convention

Baptists have always been at the forefront in the fight for religious liberty noting the high stakes involved in the battle. The very able, stable of scholars in this volume continue the fight with biblical fidelity, historical awareness and cultural sensitivity. What they ask for themselves they would ask for all. I hold out hope that their just cry still might be heard.

Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina.

It is rare that a book and a moment perfectly meet, but that is what I believe has happened with the publication of First Freedom: The Beginning and End of Religious Liberty. Historically, Baptists have championed religious liberty for all citizens, believing that religious liberty is not majoritarian right or a gift of government, but an inalienable right for all citizens. Presently in America, religious freedom is increasingly threatened as governmental authorities steadily attempt to compel people of all faiths to compromise their beliefs or face legal consequences. It is past time for the American Christian church in general, and Baptists in particular, to reclaim our theological and historical commitment to religious liberty, in order to face the unique challenges of our day. This excellent collection of essays should be in the hands of every pastor, informed layman, and public servant in our nation.

David E. Prince, Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Pastor of Preaching and Vision,The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Assistant Professor of Christian Preaching

Nearly every week, the news informs us of new threats to religious liberty at home and abroad. In America, many fear this first freedom is becoming an endangered species as our culture’s idols of sex, money, and power converge increasingly against the free exercise of religion. For this reason, I’m grateful for this new edition of First Freedom. This revised edition includes several timely new essays that strategically update an already helpful book. The result is a “tract for the times” for Baptists and others who champion a free church in a free state and advocate for the religious liberty of Christians and other groups who suffer under foreign regimes that persecute religious outliers. I will be returning to some of the chapters frequently as I think through what it means to defend religious freedom until that day when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Nathan A. Finn, Dean of the School of Theology and Missions, Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition,Union University.

Religious liberty has been a foundational component since the formative years of our country. However, many Christians are ill-informed about the assault upon their freedom as American citizens. This updated edition of First Freedom is a timely work that exposes the areas in which our religious freedoms are being threatened. In it, a number of well-respected Southern Baptist leaders help us better comprehend the biblical foundation and history of religious liberty, identify the current challenges we face, and provide ways to move forward in today’s culture. After reading this book, you will feel confident to stand firm in the face of adversity and defend the religious freedoms our country was founded upon.

Robby Gallaty, Pastor, Long Hollow Baptist Church, Author, Growing Up and Rediscovering Discipleship.

For updates and more information follow First Freedom on Twitter at @FirstFreedom16 or take a look at the First Freedom Facebook page.

© 2020 Thomas White

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