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What used to be a no-tolerance policy for divorce or adultery among faculty and staff at Christian

colleges is softening into an it depends policy at some schools even those whose religious
traditions condemn such practices.
The board of trustees at 4,500-student Abilene Christian University, which is affiliated with the
socially conservative Churches of Christ, voted last month to retain President Phil Schubert as he
goes through a divorce, the school paper The Optimist reported.

In an email to faculty and staff posted by the Christian Chronicle, which is also associated with the
Churches of Christ, Chairman Barry Packer said the boards responsibility is to make decisions that
best align ACU with its critical mission and Christ-centered heritage, repeatedly emphasizing
prayer, wisdom and discernment.

Packer said Schubert and his wife have experienced challenges, and while marriage is created by
God, the trustees believe strongly in the power of grace in a broken world and the call to be
The trustees have agonized over whether to let Schubert remain president a post he assumed in
2010 but after praying fervently and investing significant time in dialogue we are confident he
is a man of deep integrity, is pursuing God, and that his leadership will continue to bless ACU,
Packer said.
The university has declined to share any details about the divorce, though the Chronicle said the
Schuberts married 22 years cited irreconcilable differences in papers filed at Taylor County
District Court.

Schuberts position may be more secure because the Churches of Christ is not a formal denomination
with central governance and authority over Abilene Christian. Its a network of self-governing
congregations that claim the Bible as their sole authority but have no formal creeds.
The Idaho-based Internet Ministries is the informal hub for Churches of Christ resources on
evangelism, congregational directories and theology even a dating website but its founder made
clear to The College Pulse that there was no simple answer on whether Schubert should remain

I cannot explain to you if it is acceptable because that would take hours on end it is not an easy
conversation to have, Silbano Garcia said in a phone interview. The Churches of Christ stance
would basically be what the Bible says. We believe what the Bible speaks and the Bible says we hate
Abilene Christian isnt the only religious school judging divorce on a case-by-case basis, and the
association that represents Christian colleges doesnt appear to have formal policies either.
Nondenominational Wheaton College lets faculty and staff stay employed when there is reasonable
evidence that the circumstances that led to the final dissolution of the marriage related to desertion
or adultery on the part of the other partner, according to Christianity Today. A Wheaton
professorresigned in 2008 rather than share with administrators the details of the divorce he

Biola University, Taylor University and Gordon College all nondenominational as well have
policies similar to Wheatons, Christianity Today said.

Abilene Christian is one of the largest members of the Council for Christian Colleges and
Universities, which also includes Biola, Taylor and Gordon.
Charles Pollard, chairman of the councils board and president of John Brown University, declined to
tell The College Pulse what guidance if any the council gives its members on handling infidelity,
divorce and abuse by faculty or staff. Vice chair Barry Corey, the president of Biola, told The College
Pulse he was not authorized to speak for the council on the issue.

The Supreme Court affirmed a ministerial exception to antidiscrimination laws in 2012, giving
faith-based organizations and churches a shield against their employees suing for discrimination.