- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

DAYTON, Tenn. (AP) - Four Bryan College trustees have resigned from the board, saying they are upset with the direction that the Christian college is taking under its president.

Trustees Jeff Ryan, Gary Phillips, James Wolf and Mark Senter stepped down this week while voicing concern over the leadership of President Stephen Livesay.

The trustees and other faculty have been disappointed in a change to the college’s 80-year-old statement of belief, The Times Free Press in Chattanooga reported (https://bit.ly/1noaveg).

Livesay in February amended the college’s statement of faith to say that humanity descended only from Adam and Eve. That conflicted with some faculty and students who believe that God may have used evolution to create human beings.

The college is named for former presidential candidate Williams Jennings Bryan, who wished to establish a school that teaches a biblical perspective. Bryan is known for his participation in the 1925 John Scopes trial in Dayton, where he sought to prosecute a teacher who had taught evolution, a violation of state law at the time.

Ryan, the former trustee, said in his resignation letter “a line has been crossed in that I cannot continue to support Dr. Livesay or (board) Chairman Haynes.”

Livesay couldn’t be reached for comment by the newspaper.

Board of trustees Chairman Col. John Haynes issued a statement Friday saying that during a July 11 special meeting, a majority of the board supported the direction the college has taken.

“There was a strong spirit of support by the majority of the board for the wonderful faculty, administration, and staff at Bryan College and continued support for our Statement of Faith and our historical stand on Creation,” the statement said.

Phillips wrote in his resignation letter that “the ongoing narrative from the president’s office presents interpretations of facts that differ significantly and regularly from what I believe to be true. … the president indicated that those on the board who do not support his presidency should resign.”

Ryan said he didn’t have a problem with the doctrine supporting creationism, but he didn’t like the manner in which the clarification was made.

“In my opinion, it was pushed through at a time when it didn’t need to be pushed through,” Ryan said.


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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