Monthly Archives: January 2010

Squatting Buddha

David IglesiasDavid Iglesias has been one of Wheaton’s alumni who have hit the broader news on occasion, especially more recently. He is known for several things, such as being the inspiration for Tom Cruise’s character Lt. Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men, a writer, and a United States Attorney (later fired in a political firestorm), however poet has never been listed among his credits. Before this.

While a student at Wheaton College Iglesias wrote a poem that was published in Wheaton’s Kodon literary magazine.

The Lawn Sitting Laotian Woman
David Iglesias

Laotian WomanSquatting Buddha and
pretzel-like, the Laotian
woman remains passive,
unaware of her
manicured lawn.

Her turban hides
thoughts of steamy Laotian
and yellow parchment
eyes see past the colonial
brick buildings
pictures of huts, chickens,
slash and burn sunsets,

While others wear rouge
(Revlon), she thinks of
Khmer and blood.

Pipe going, eyes Mekong-
ward, the Laotian woman
squats by the hour and

Dunn Played Well

Canadian Bruce Wallace Dunn, responding to a question on his Wheaton College application regarding his choice for location after graduation, wrote, “California – otherwise no preference.” As it happened, Dunn’s career did not move him westward but straight south to Peoria, Illinois. As road-weary vaudevillians used to say, “If it’ll play in Peoria, it’ll play anywhere.” There Dunn’s fruitful ministry “played” for decades not because of chance, but as the result of, as he observed, “…many prayers, much planning, and sacrificial giving by hundreds of people.” Born to a godly family of Scottish heritage in Toronto, Ontario, Dunn was the first boy in Dr. Oswald Smith’s Sunday School class at the famous People’s Church. Regularly attending for years but still unsure of his beliefs, Dunn finally walked the aisle in 1936, publicly declaring his faith in Christ after hearing former hoodlum Anthony Zeoli testify to God’s grace.

Bruce DunnOffering his life to God, Dunn enrolled at Wheaton College where he robustly participated in campus life, involved with cheerleading, tennis, ping pong and the Aristonian Literary Society. In addition to sports, he reported for the Record, traveled with the Ambassadors (Wheaton’s musical evangelists) and served on the Men’s Interhouse Council. Earning his B.A. (’40) and M.A. (’46), he transferred to McCormick Seminary in Chicago and then Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he acquired his Th.D. After serving briefly in Iowa, Wisconsin and Chicago, Dunn in 1951 accepted a call to pastor at Grace Presbyterian in Peoria. A few months later he inaugurated a radio broadcast, later moving his congregation to a larger building and a successful television ministry called Grace Worship Hour. He enjoyed a national reputation as a powerful speaker, preaching for conferences like Moody Founder’s Week, Moody Keswick, Winona Lake, West Coast Prophetic Congress and many others. Specializing in prophetic interpretation, he stressed the need for continual evangelization.

Bruce DunnOccasionally his sermons were published as pamphlets, such as The Ecumenical Dream…One Big Church!, reflecting his alarm over ill-considered ecclesiastical mergers and unions. In 1960 Wheaton College awarded him its Centennial Award for his uncompromising testimony; and in 1968 he delivered the Baccalaurate address for Taylor University. Dunn’s wife, Eileen, graduating summa cum laude from Wheaton College in 1947, was employed as a librarian at Bradley University for 25 years. She died in 1989, her graveside service occurring on the 48th anniversary of their wedding. Dr. Bruce Dunn retired from Grace Presbyterian in 1991, continuing with writing and periodic speaking engagements until his death in 1993. His funeral address was delivered at Grace Presbyterian Church by Dr. Joseph Stowell, president of Moody Bible Institute.

Pigskin Pursuits – Sesquicentennial Snapshot

In the first installment of a three volume anthology of the history of athletics at Wheaton College, Through Clouds and Sunshine: A Story of Wheaton College Athletics from the Beginning (1892-1940), Edward Coray recounts the early endeavors of securing football at the school. Insights are also found another book by Coach Coray, The Wheaton I Remember.

Wheaton College Football, 1919 (Ed Coray, back row 4th from right)

President Charles Blanchard for a long time put football in the same category as gambling and hard liquor. To understand this, one needs to know something of Dr. Blanchard’s personality and character. A gentle man who loved the young people of Wheaton, he hated to think of any of these fine young men being involved in a sport where people might be maimed for life or even killed [note: a real possibility in the early days of football]. In addition the majority denounced the sport as brutal. So the administration and faculty members at Wheaton did not stand alone in being skeptical of the sport.

In 1906 radical rule changes made football a more open game and less susceptible to injuries. President Blanchard, a reasonable man, listened to the arguments of the boys who wanted to play football…Some of the boys, who he thought were nice boys, convinced him that it was a wholesome game and the purpose was really not to maim or kill your opponents. All you wanted to do was knock them down and run over them…Finally he became convinced that with the rules changed…the sport could be an asset rather than a liability in preparing young men for a lifetime of fruitful service….

He consented to having it on the program, though he never came to understand the fine points of the game. Once our opponents were running through our line as if it were made of paper. The backfield men were making such tackles as were made. I was in a good position to know how weak our line was because I was in it. Fans along the sidelines began moaning. “We need a line. If only we had a line.” Finally Dr. Blanchard said, “The college budget is quite low but if we need a line perhaps we should buy one. How much do they cost?”



Whither Wheaton? — Further insights into Wheaton College

Plumb bobAndrew Chignell’s article, Whither Wheaton?, appearing in SoMA (The Society of Mutual Autopsy), is proving to be rather provocative, especially as it garners attention for its content as well as its “backstory.” In attempting to provide a guide for the future by looking to Wheaton’s past (more accurately, “near-past”), Chignell reviews the presidency of A. Duane Litfin and his near 17-year tenure. Chignell’s efforts at dissecting Wheaton College’s history is not new, though his particular focus is. Histories and studies of Wheaton College have been written — some official or semi-official, Fire on the Prairie (1950) and Wheaton College: A Heritage Remembered (1984); some very specialized, Edwin Hollatz’s The Development of Literary Societies in Selected Illinois Colleges (1959), Randall Dattoli’s The Wheaton Graduate School (1936-1971): its history and contributions (1980), Lori Witt’s More than a ‘Slaving Wife’ (2001) (examining women at conservative Protestant colleges) and David Swartz’s The Evolution of Creationism at Wheaton College (1999); some focusing upon students and student culture, John Furbay’s Undergraduates in a Group of Evangelical Christian Colleges (1931), John Swanson’s The Graduates of a Midwestern Liberal Arts College Evaluate Their Experiences (1957) and Kevin Cumings’ Student Culture at Wheaton College (1997). These dissertations are also accompanied by numerous masters theses research on Wheaton College. Each title sheds light on what appears to be a monolithic institution; but as Chignell illustrates, Wheaton College exhibits a breadth of perspective involving nuances too often lost on “outsiders.”

Other historical works helping to reinforce Chignell’s article are found in Wheaton’s Archives & Special Collections. Each of the following are doctoral dissertations, representing research conducted prior to the installation of Litfin as president.

Tom Askew’s 1969 dissertation, Liberal Arts College Encounters Intellectual Change: A Comparative Study of Education at Knox and Wheaton Colleges, 1837-1925 investigates the intellectual life of two colleges led by Jonathan Blanchard, Wheaton’s founder. Blanchard had been Knox’s second (and now relatively little-known) president and Wheaton’s first (though the Illinois Institute had been around for seven years). Askew analyzes how Knox and Wheaton reacted to the tides of intellectual change. His work clearly shows how the president can be a defining and, at times, a polarizing figure, as so with Knox.

Examining Wheaton College and two other colleges, David Larsen’s Evangelical Christian Higher Education, Culture, and Social Conflict: a Niebuhrian Analysis of Three Colleges in the 1960s (1992) discusses Wheaton’s efforts to preserve “elements of the organization’s culture and history in the face of social change” (p. 201). Larsen notes “the place of tradition and the unusual power of the Wheaton presidency for shaping the organizational culture and history” (p. 202). Larsen documents the emergence of public dissent and the growth of underground publications at Wheaton College. The writer also analyzes views on social conflict and justice at Wheaton.

Michael Hamilton, former director of the Pew Young Scholars program that birthed Chignell’s graduate career, wrote The Fundamentalist Harvard: Wheaton College and the Continuing Vitality of American Evangelicalism, 1919-1965 (1994). Hamilton, using Wheaton College as an exemplar, charts its course as the modernist controversy catalyzes the fundamentalist movement, then discusses its emergence and solidification during post-war Evangelicalism as the pinnacle of Evangelical higher education, advancing the principles of faith(ful) integration.

An interesting addition to these dissertations is Citadel Under Siege: The Contested Mission of an Evangelical Christian Liberal Arts College by David Lansdale, a 1990 PhD graduate of Stanford University. Based on archival research and personal interviews (conducted on-site, while supposedly living in his van). An oversimplification, Lansdale’s thesis advances that tensions exist (at any college) between faculty and trustees. This occurs because faculty hold a responsibility to broaden the vision of its students, while trustees must chart and maintain a course. At times these two functions conflict, though not necessarily so. Lansdale’s thesis suggests that Wheaton’s faculty were a liberalizing force and that the trustees would need to counter that force in order to maintain a path of its choosing. This dissertation was circulating on Wheaton’s campus around the time of the presidential search process in the early 1990s.

Chignell’s article tells one aspect of Wheaton’s history over the last twenty years. The works mentioned above further illuminate Chignell’s work and the college’s past. This is certainly not the last word on Wheaton. May Truth ever be sought as scholars engage the historical record.

Wheaton’s Charisma

The modern Pentecostal movement emerged in 1906 during a revival conducted at 312 Asuza Street in Los Angeles. As the meeting progressed, worshipers received an entirely unexpected “baptism in the Holy Ghost,” wherein nearly all present spoke with other tongues, proclaiming heartfelt praises in “heavenly” prayer languages, presumably understood by God alone. Miraculous healings and prophetic utterances accompanied the event. Following the Asuza Street revival, Pentecostalism remained for years on the fringe of evangelicalism, confined largely to its own local assemblies and schools.

But in 1959 the movement shed its relative obscurity when Reverend Dennis Bennett of Van Nuys, California, rector of the “old-line stuffy” 2600-member St. Mark Church, heard about a mysterious “baptism in the Holy Spirit” experienced by a young couple in a neighboring parish. Bennett’s congregation was not troubled with heresy or divisions, but he fully realized that they – and he – needed a boost of additional energy, a blast of holy power to ignite dormant potential. So, curious but cautious, he visited the couple at their home, noting their extraordinary peace and evident stability. Praying with them at their behest, Bennett suddenly received his Baptism. There in the living room, utterly shocked amid an overwhelming flood of joy, he did indeed speak in tongues, issuing a torrent of unknown words, the supposed heavenly language. Later as he witnessed of this event, several members of St. Mark’s also spoke in these strange tongues, praising God with renewed vigor. As news of Bennett’s experience traveled – covered by both Newsweek and Time – other mainstream denominations investigated his claims. Consequently, pastors and lay people across the nation received a similar Baptism; and soon the Pentecostal blessing invaded the pews of not only most Protestant denominations, but spread throughout the halls of Catholicism as well. The widespread dissemination of Pentecostalism (now known as the “Charismatic Movement” because of its openness to the charisms, or gifts of the Holy Spirit) across denominational lines is usually documented as beginning with Bennett’s ministry.

Father Winkler and Leanne PayneHowever, Leanne Payne, founder of Pastor Care Ministries, explains in her autobiography, Heaven’s Calling (2008), that charismatic renewal within Episcopalianism had ignited as early as 1956 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Wheaton, Illinois, under the rectorship of Fr. Richard Winkler. She writes:

People, including well-known leaders (clergy, physicians, nurses, theologians, professors and teachers, authors, and lay leaders), traveled to Trinity Episcopal Church from the ends of the earth to visit, learn, and receive prayer for restoration and freedom from whatever chains bound them. Indeed, Fr. Winkler laid hands on, anointed, and prayed for countless numbers of priests to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and they in turn ministered to others. One of them was the Reverend Dennis Bennett who took the ministry forward in wonderful ways but especially through his book Nine O’Clock in the Morning and his ministry to orthodox priests.

Christian leaders who visited Trinity Episcopal to consult with Winkler include Agnes Sanford, founder of the School of Pastoral Care, author Catharine Marshall and missionary R.A.Torrey III, grandson of Reuben Archer Torrey, third president of Moody Bible Institute.

Leanne Payne’s papers (SC-125) are maintained in Special Collections at Wheaton College.

The Moving of the Holy Spirit – Hudson T. Armerding

In his memoir “The Hand of God: a testimony of the Lord’s provision and protection” (Wheaton College, 2004), Hudson Armerding recounts a spiritual awakening on campus during the early years of his presidency. 2010 is the fortieth anniversary of that event.

One of the most significant indications of the hand of God on campus was the gracious moving of the Holy Spirit during our special meetings in [February] 1970 with Dr. Ray Ortlund of California. On the Thursday evening of that week, Dr. Ortlund announced that several students requested a few minutes for personal testimonies. Assuming this might take about 10 minutes, he invited any who desired to do so to come forward. But more students kept coming, and the minutes soon became hours. Students listening to the broadcast from the chapel came over and made their way to the platform to share their testimonies. About once an hour we sang a hymn, and then returned to the time of witness and confession. Everything proceeded decently and in order until the service ended at 7:30 the next morning. That evening the service continued until midnight and the faculty-staff chapel the following Monday showed further evidence of the moving of the Holy Spirit. Our professor of military science, a colonel with Ranger and Airborne qualifications, came to me and with deep emotion declared that he “needed God.” Despite some criticism, the impact of this remarkable time had a very positive impact on campus. I believe what happened was the Lord’s response to the prayer burden of one of our transfer students, John Armstrong. He organized times of prayer and sought to claim the campus for Christ. I remain convinced that God’s hand was manifest as He responded to the fervent petitions of His servants.

Further recollections were recorded of Dr. Armerding in 1995 by the Billy Graham Center Archives, Ray & Anne Orltund in 2005 and recently in a memorial tribute by John Armstrong.

Wheaton and the Hour of Power

When Rev. Robert H. Schuller moved in 1954 with his wife, Arvella, and two children from a small Dutch Reformed Church in Dolton, Illinois, to Orange County, California, he little dreamed that he would establish one of the most influential – and controversial – pulpits in the United States. He did, however, approach his assignment with soaring hopes, energized by an appreciative reading of Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Weary of calcified congregations and ponderous sermons, Schuller decided to “preach positive,” telling creative, uplifting stories, emphasizing the words of Jesus rather than those of Paul. Implementing his revolutionized methodology, Schuller in 1955 rented a drive-in theater, a suitably unorthodox venue for preaching fresh messages to the secularized “unchurched.” Four miles away he built an additional stained-glass chapel and My Journey by Robert H. Schulleran adjoining “Tower of Hope.” Happily for Schuller, this campus soon outgrew its confines. Not only were structural additions needed, but his outreach expanded to television in 1970, embracing a nationwide audience. The televised services needed a name, so his friend, Dr. Billy Graham, suggested “Hour of Power.” Seven years later Schuller commissioned architect Philip Johnson to design the 17-million dollar “Crystal Cathedral,” which currently functions as the primary campus for Garden Grove Community Church.

Schuller, producing innumerable books and recordings espousing “possibility thinking,” also hosts the annual Institute for Successful Church Leadership conference, where years ago he suggested to a young minister named Bill Hybels that he purchase undeveloped land northwest of Chicago. Hybels wisely did so, acquiring acreage for the ever-growing Willow Creek Community Church, now one of the largest churches in the world. Schuller’s interaction with evangelical Christianity, already significant, intensified in 1977 during a visit to Wheaton College where his daughter, Jeanne Anne, was enrolled:

But Wheaton College in Illinois had been pressing me to speak there, and Wheaton, of course, was Jeanne Anne’s college. She wanted me to come; it would mean a lot to her, she said…She’d had to return to her classes immediately after her summer Holy Land semester. I agreed to fly out and speak at a morning chapel service. I’d get to town the night before, to have some private time with Jeannie. I’d speak the next morning and come straight back home to Carol and Arvella. I wondered if this audience would understand all that I’d been doing, and my desire to see the cathedral built. After all, I was continuing to hear criticism from conservative evangelical Christians. They were, more often than not, very blunt about their opinions – sometimes even brutal. There had recently been a vicious attack against me and the Crystal Cathedral in The Wittenberg Door, a fundamentalist magazine. One page of this particular issue – a page topped by a heading something like “What to do with fifteen million dollars” – had a line down the center. On one side was a long list of philanthropic endeavors. The article had hit the campus just days before I arrived. Jeanne had always been proud of her dad; she loved me and believed in my work. The Garden Grove Community Church was her home. She was excited that I was coming to her school to share with her classmates my enthusiastic faith. The morning I was to address the chapel, posters appeared in the college library protesting my appearance – signs that read “Schuller doesn’t preach the gospel”; “Schuller is building a monument to himself”; “Give the fifteen million dollars to the poor!” We saw the signs on our way to the service. I glanced at Jeanne. Her large brown eyes were as big as saucers. Tears welled up and began to spill over her lower lids, trickling down her cheeks and smearing her mascara. She looked confused. How could they? her eyes seemed to say. There was nothing I could do but make my way into the chapel, give my message, and get out of there as soon as I could. Maybe with me gone, the students would calm down. The next morning I was back in my office, hard at work. The phone rang, and it was Jeanne. Her classmates had been relentless in making cruel remarks to her about her father. She wanted to come home, she said. I tried to talk her out of it and eventually succeeded in convincing her to stay long enough to finish out the quarter. Then she could come home for Christmas; and if she still felt the same then, she could stay home. This solution seemed to pacify her, at least temporarily. So Jeanne came home for Christmas, but she didn’t go back for winter quarter. She needed time to be with us, time away from confrontations with her classmates. She did go back in the spring, however, and she did go on to graduate, making us proud.

In 2001 Dr. Schuller, signing at a Chicago-area bookstore, inscribed a copy of his autobiography, My Journey, for a college staff person: To Wheaton College, the power place for Jesus Christ! Thank you! Phil 1:6, Robert Schuller.

God’s Economy details the history of the “faith-based initiative”

God\'s EconomyGod’s Economy: Faith-Based Initiatives and the Caring State, a recent University of Chicago Press publication by Lew Daly brings to the fore the intellectual history of the faith-based initiative. Digging through the Daniel Coats Papers, Daly, a senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan public policy research and advocacy organization, traces the roots of the faith-based initiative to the pluralist tradition of Europe’s Christian democracies, in which the state shares sovereignty with social institutions. Daly argues that Catholic and Dutch Calvinist ideas played a crucial role in the evolution of this tradition, as churches across nineteenth-century Europe developed philosophical and legal defenses to protect their education and social programs against ascendant governments. Daly untangles the radical beginnings of the faith-based initiative and the influence of this heritage on the past three decades of American social policy and church-state law. Daly also makes an effort to free the concepts from the narrow culture-war framework that has limited debate on the subject since Bush opened the White House Office for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in 2001 and as President Obama signals a sharp break from many Bush Administration policies. Like Bush’s faith-based initiative, though, Obama’s version of the policy has generated loud criticism–from both sides of the aisle–even as the communities that stand to benefit suffer through an ailing economy. Daly believes that many have long misunderstood both the true implications of faith-based partnerships and their unique potential for advancing social justice. God’s Economy serves as a major contribution to the study of American religion and politics.

Larger Than Life! — new video bio of Red Grange

the Red Grange storyA new video documentary on the life of Harold “Red” Grange, creatively told through the backdrop of the creation of a new Grange statue commissioned by the University of Illinois, has been recently produced by the University and broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Grange was a sports superstar that transformed professional football and helped firmly establish the National Football league. Together with C. C. Pyle, Grange became a model for sports celebrity, marketing and endorsements. Now available online, the 45-minute long biographical production, Larger Than Life: the Red Grange story, weaves the story of Grange’s career with George Lundeen’s creation of the statue and is full of primary source materials and interviews with sports historians and other noted individuals. One of the historians interviewed is Gary Andrew Poole, author of The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American football legend. As with Poole’s book, the University of Illinois utilized several images from the Grange collection that are unique to our holdings in its production.

New Shades of Evangelicalism — Jesus and Justice

Jesus and JusticeUtilizing numerous collections in the holdings of Wheaton College, Peter Goodwin Heltzel has recently published Jesus and Justice: Evangelicals, Race, and American Politics (Yale University Press). Receiving very positive responses Heltzel’s book looks into American religion and its difficult relationship with cultural forces such as politics, slavery, race and justice through the lens of four evangelical social movements: Focus on the Family, Christian Community Development Association, the National Association of Evangelicals, and Sojourners. The Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections houses the records of the latter two organizations. Through these lenses Heltzel traces the roots of contemporary evangelical politics to the prophetic black Christianity tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the socially engaged evangelical tradition of Carl F. H. Henry. Heltzel shows that the basic tenets of King’s and Henry’s theologies have led their evangelical heirs toward a prophetic evangelicalism and engagement with poverty, AIDS, and the environment — shining new light on the ways evangelicals shape and are shaped by broader American culture.