Christian Newspaper at UTK: The Spectator

The following article was submitted by Jeff Dwiggins, editor of the Spectator, a publication at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The Spectator is representative of a “new breed” of newspapers that are springing up on college campuses all over America. What is said in this piece could also be applied to The Forerunner and this new group of campus newspapers.

What kind of a newspaper is this anyway?

We are the new campus newspaper, founded to offer an alternative, conservative viewpoint and to reverse the erosion of traditional values in our society and on this campus. However, we must also make clear that we are more than just a conservative, traditional values defending newspaper.

Words like “conservatism” and “traditional values” can often have very different meanings. For example, conservative values in this nation are linked to opposition to communism. But, ironically, those in the Soviet Union today who are in favor of maintaining the communist system in that country are also referred to as “conservatives” by the American media. Another example is that abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia are traditional values as far as paganism is concerned.

George Grant points out in his book Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-life Movement, practically everywhere Christians have begun to introduce the Christian religion and help the sick, lame, and socially outcast they have had to struggle to uproot these particular traditional pagan values. In this respect, Christians are the progressives. Every person, no matter what his or her political persuasion, is a conservative in respect to some values that he or she wants to conserve and a progressive in respect to other values.

Let me be clear then, whether you want to see us as conservative or progressive, this is a Christian newspaper. The purpose of the paper is to promote Jesus Christ and the Word of God (the Bible). We believe that this includes defending such issues and values such as pro-life, free enterprise, sexual abstinence outside of marriage, Biblical (“literal”) creation, decentralized government, homosexuality as sin, the Bible as inerrant and the Word of God, salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone, and the eternal damnation of sinners.

The Bible says that all things were created by Christ and for His glory (Col. 1:16), and it commands us that we are to be “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Therefore this paper will demonstrate the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every discipline taught at this university. Jesus Christ is the LOGOS (John 1:1) that is behind every “- ology” from archeology to zoology. In fact, this is why the university, a Christian invention, is not called a multiversity, despite the fact that many different disciplines are taught here: when the university came into being, all areas of thought and life were believed to have their unifying factor in Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things.

The attachment of the name conservatism to what are basically Christian values is not without reason. A major thesis that this newspaper will be defending is that what makes Western Civilization and the United States unique is that both are historically rooted in a Christian worldview. Most of what is valued in society today (and all of what should be valued) finds its foundations in Christianity. This includes the university system, science, free market economics, universal literacy, hospitals, the sanctity of human life, and decentralized (or republican) government.

The association of the name “right-wing” to what are Christian values is not without cause. The terms “right wing” and “left-wing” as way to describe two ends of the political spectrum originated among Enlightenment thinkers at the time of the French Revolution. They took the term from the Bible, the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25, in which Jesus, at His Second Coming, separates the saved (“sheep”) from the unsaved (“goats”), putting the saved to His right side and the unsaved to His left, and then grants the sheep the kingdom of heaven and casts the goats into the eternal fire. The Enlightenment revolutionaries pridefully associated themselves with the goats on the left. I think that their assessment was correct.

In another respect, the idea of progressivism is properly attached only to Christianity. Although the idea seems to have been taken over and secularized by the Darwinists, Christianity is the source of the idea. Before Christianity, the world only knew of cyclic time. As Stanley Jaki points out in his groundbreaking book, Science and Creation, the Hindus, Chinese, Incas, Mayans, Greeks, and Egyptians, and everyone else it seems, believed that progress was possible for a while but that eventually the cycle of destruction would take over, and these cycles of construction and destruction have existed from eternity past and will continue for eternity future.

With the advent of Christianity, and especially St. Augustine’s The City of God, the world at large was introduced to the concept of linear time: the idea that time had a beginning and is progressing toward a definite end: “the summing up of all things in Christ, things in heaven and things upon earth” (Ephesians 1:10).

So whichever way you choose to look at this paper – as conservative of progressive – just remember this: our one end and aim is to glorify Jesus Christ, for He is worthy, the only hope for healing (salve – ation) in this hurting, confused world.

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