My name is Justin Duff

My name is Justin Duff

I am a second-year M.Div student at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and a first-year Assistant Resident Director at Cornerstone University.

As any neophyte Greek-geek will tell you, the word philosophy means “love of wisdom.”

These three words are what I wrote down on the back of an index card when Dr. Mills asked us to define philosophy in an Introduction to Philosophy class. And for the rest of the semester, Dr. Mills made me a wiser man.

He taught the class with authority, yet encouraged questions and dialogue. He never left us out to dry on life’s toughest questions and always lead us back to Christ as the source of wisdom.

Wisdom is not a subject often privileged today in universities. Wisdom, in its many shades of meaning, denotes skill in navigating life, fearing the Lord, and making just choices on behalf of others. The study of philosophy (and its sister subjects) remains one of the few public curriculums where questions of wisdom and right living are truly ventured.

If Cedarville votes to discontinue the philosophy program, Cedarville will cut off a hand that other public universities still flex, a hand that provides contact with the rest of academia. With the right professors at the helm (and Mills and Graves are both the right professors) a Christian philosophy program equips students to dialogue with the world.

I understand that universities often cut programs for financial reasons. But if the decision is purely financial, why is it that the programs and professors who teach lifelong, God-honoring skills are the first to be let go at Cedarville? Why aren’t other programs discontinued, smaller programs that will not severely inhibit the spiritual and academic life of a university?

If Cedarville refuses to continue the philosophy program, a program manned by two professors who have taught me (and so many others!) to live a wise and compassionate life, Cedarville will seem less concerned with shaping Christ-centered students and more concerned with quelling the misplaced fears and insecurities of key leaders. As an alum who cares deeply about the school, I hope that Cedarville will not succumb to fears or harmful dogmatism, but will continue to lead the world charge in fostering academically sound dialogue with Christ at the center.

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