By Jay Rogers
Published April 1, 1990
Controversial Boston University president John Silber recently announced his intention to run for Governor of Massachusetts. Silber explained his decision to enter the political fray of the Bay State: “One of the reasons why I am in this campaign is that I am testing the proposition that rational political discussion is still possible in this country.”
Silber, who is known for his polemic speaking style and strong stances, has also been credited as the man who put Boston University “back on the map.” The BU president extended his philosophy of reform in education to the troubled urban setting of Chelsea, Massachusetts as Boston University took charge of the city’s public school system this year.
If elected, Silber proposes to bring his life long success as an educator to the state level. Silber’s “get tough” approach to educational reform includes requiring higher SAT scores for college entrants and that public school teachers pass competency tests.
Silber’s penchant for controversy stems from his self-described postition as a “procedural conservative and a substantive liberal.” On certain issues he is profoundly conservative; his abortion stance is pro-life; his foreign policy is staunchly anti-communist and interventionist. Yet his support for social spending to aid the poor and his dedication to the public schools has placed some of his views alongside the traditional liberal politics of Massachusetts.
Although he believes that the current welfare system is disastrous, he attributes this state of affairs to misspending. Spending on education, according to Silber, is an investment in securing opportunities for future generations.
Having grown up during the Depresssion, and having had to struggle with a physical handicap, Silber has obtained a compassion for the sick and needy. Yet his tone changes when addressing the problem of the welfare state: “It must always be the overriding concern of a welfare program that welfare be liberating, not enslaving,” says Silber.
His proven ability to overcome has made him a national figure, yet one of his greatest challenges will be to secure a nomination at the Democratic Party’s convention in June. Silber’s deviation from traditional liberal politics has earned him many enemies within Massachusetts’ dominant party. Yet some political observers have suggested that it would be an unwise move for the Democratic Party to keep a candidate of Silber’s stature and national reputation off the fall primary ticket.
Highest of all Silber’s attributes is his incomparable intelligence and his love for debate. His ability to disarm foes using forceful eloquence has made him a media spectacle as well as a formidable political candidate. Part of the Democratic Party’s reticence to his candidacy may be related to an underlying fear of the gains Silber might make against his contenders in a televised debate.
The fact remains that Silber is likely to continue to draw national media attention which will only increase his strength as a candidate. He has sought to bolster his candidacy by including a staff of experienced advisers, such as former Boston Mayor Kevin White, currently employed by Boston University as a political science professor. Furthermore, his role as an outsider to Massachusetts’ politics during the state’s current fiscal crisis is likely to give him appeal to working people.
As the June convention nears, Silber’s stridency will be tested. His love for the battle of ideas and his brash speaking style is unlikely to change as he shifts his focus from the academic world to the political arena. However, in an attempt to reform the American educational system, Silber’s strongest contribution to society will be made as his ideas are heard by the public as the national media covers his candidacy.
B.U. President Silber comments on April 1990 article:
I appreciated your letter of May 5 and the opportunity to see your article about my campaign. (The Forerunner, April 1990, “B.U. President Enters Race for Governor”) I noticed a small error; Kevin White is not on my campaign staff, but he is a close friend. He plays a role in my campaign either on or off the staff. Otherwise, your summary of my objectives is superb.
Boston University President
Candidate for Governor of Massachusetts
See also: The Boston Awakening
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
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A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
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