Christian University VP Calls Student Who Denies Existence of God ‘Great Advocate for Student Body’

NCU fbEUGENE — A vice president of a prominent Christian university in Oregon is defending the school’s student body president after he recently came out as an atheist.

Eric Fromm attends Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon, an educational institution that  seeks to be “characterized by its commitment to equip students to discover and answer God’s call in their lives.” It was founded in 1895 by Pastor Eugene Sanderson, whose passion was to train men for the ministry.

Fromm states, however, that he chose the university largely because of its communications program and the personalized attention he would receive from professors. He says that he was an atheist long before enrolling, but some of his peers did not know that he was not a Christian.

In a recent op-ed featured in the university’s publication The Beacon Bolt, Fromm, who was elected as student body president this year, came out to students and faculty as an atheist.

“My name is Eric Fromm. I am Senior at NCU majoring in communications, and I am an atheist,” he wrote in an article entitled Lifting the Curtain. “Yes, you read that correctly, I am an atheist.”

Fromm then outlined that he was raised Methodist and baptized Lutheran, but concluded over time that “God wasn’t real.”

“For me, church was an empty ritual that I participated in so I could see friends,” he said. “Scripture was largely mythological, and Jesus was a great moral teacher, but he wasn’t God.”

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Fromm stated that he wanted to write the piece because he believes that some students who are aware of his atheism judge him for his lack of faith.

“I want to take my peers to task on their inability to accept those who don’t fit their Christian pattern,” he wrote. “Growing up in church I heard a lot of lessons about how Christians shouldn’t judge others, but it seems like some people slept through that lesson.”

But school officials state that they don’t have an issue with Fromm’s atheism, nor his position as student body president. The Northwest Christian University website outlines that students do not have to be Christians to enroll at the university.

“We welcome students who have no faith commitment or are from other faith commitments,” it states. “NCU is not a ‘church’, nor do we require students to be Christians or to subscribe to any faith statement.”

In this light, Michael Fuller, vice president for enrollment and student development, told the Register-Guard that he’s known about Fromm’s views for years and didn’t question his election as student body president.

“He’s a man of very high character and respect,” Fuller said of Fromm. “He’s a great advocate for our student body, which is exactly what he’s supposed to be and do.”

“If we all had our wishes, we wish Eric would be a strong Christian man,” he continued, but added, “We’re an open and welcome community, and we meet students exactly where they’re at.”

Beacon Bolt editor and fellow student Brandon McInnis likewise expressed support for Fromm.

“I felt proud of him,” he wrote in a follow-up piece in the publication. “Fromm is handling this correctly. He didn’t take the easy path; he took the right one.”

McInnis stated that he believes it is better for McInnis to be open about his unbelief rather than hide his atheism.

“I think that pleases God,” he wrote, “and if you disagree, go consult Proverbs 12:22 and John 8:44.”

He opined that it is best that students simply allow Fromm to see the reality of Christ in their lives without trying to change him.

“Condemning him, or strong-arming him, can’t make things better,” McInnis stated. “Trusting God and loving Fromm for the lovable young man he is, can. Plus, it’s what Jesus commanded us to do.”

Ten Bruggencate
Ten Bruggencate

But Sye Ten Bruggencate of and the documentary How to Answer the Fool told Christian News Network that the university’s response raises a number of red flags.

“Of course as Christians we have to be kind to those who do not believe in the word of God, but as far as lauding this fellow [and] the fact that they are fine with his belief system, that’s a problem,” he stated. “I think it’s very inconsistent for a university to call themselves Christian and come out with a statement like that.”

Ten Bruggencate said that the university holds to an unbiblical philosophy in believing that Fromm may someday become a Christian simply by students and staff being welcoming of his atheism.

“They can hope that, but that’s like the very liberal position to ‘Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words,'” he explained. “They’re talking about friendship evangelism when the majority of evangelism in Scripture is using words–is preaching the Gospel to people, so that’s just an acquiescence to a very liberal view of Christianity.”

“People are confusing tolerance with acceptance,” Ten Bruggencate, who preaches at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada, continued. “This man wants acceptance, but we as Christians are not supposed to accept error. … This man does not want tolerance; he wants acceptance of his position, which is something that we as Christians cannot do.”

Ten Bruggencate said that he believes that Christian universities should require students to be Christians. However, since Northwest Christian University enrolls those of differing faiths or of no faith, he opined that Fromm should be allowed to graduate from the institution. But, he said, Fromm should not be permitted to proceed as student body president.

“The Bible says that everybody is certain that God exists. Everybody knows that God exists and are without excuse,” Ten Bruggencate stated. “They have to preach the truth to Fromm in love in the hope that the Holy Spirit opens his eyes to it.”

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  • Mark Moore

    Just as many Catholic priests are practicing homosexuals so are many church clergy atheists, agnostics and non believers. Many who turn away from the faith do so as a result of reading the bible. Without apologetics applied to the bible god is a mass murderer and Jesus a moral talker while promising horrific torture to billions of people that don’t worship him enough.

    If mankind is to survive we need to turn away from superstition and myth (religion) and move into the light of discovery and understanding that honest investigation of the natural world brings. If God shows up – so be it, otherwise we need to get on with life.

    • Tom Riddle

      Well first, the you can’t just make a claim like “so are many church clergy atheist, agnostic” etc etc, without any evidence. In all probability, that could be untrue and there’s no way of knowing it, and at the lack of evidence you’re not warranted to chose any conclusion you like.

      Second, there are a few big problems with your statement “many who turn away from the faith do so as a result if reading the bible.”
      1) People don’t fall away from the faith.” As john tells us, “they left us because they were not of us”.

      2)Nonbelievers flinch at Gods “mass murder” and just horrible statement of “you go to hell if you ‘don’t worship me enough'” because they are dead in their sins and unregenerate. What’s key is regeneration or “new birth” as Jesus put it. This is primarily the condition of accepting Gods ‘mass murderings’ and Jesus horrific teaching of hell.
      The solution to these ‘problems’ isn’t apologetics exclusively. It’s exegesis and doctrine. Once you understand that the bible also mentions that the nations Israel destroyed were pagans and sacrificed their children to Balaam, it’s easy to see that their destruction was Gods righteous judgement on them. And in the case of Jesus’ teaching of eternal damnation, once you understand that God is infinitely holy and just and therefore can’t let any sin go unpunished, then it’s only natural that the punisent should be severe.

      You also say we have to leave behind superstition (religion) and look for the honest truth in the natural world. This is obviously cicular. You’re assuming at the outset that Christianity is false because if it’s true then the natural world reveals God at every turn so that everyone is without any excuse. I don’t want to put words in your mouth but it seems like you’re operating from an empiricist worldview. You would probably say that everything that is true has to meet the criteria of sense perceptions. If this is so, then you have given up all knowledge whatsoever because you system contradicts itself. How would you know that everything is known by sense experience? If your worldview is true then you would have to say that you experienced that everything knowable is subject to our senses. But if you say that, then you beg the question (using experience to justify your experience; which is exactly what’s under question), and (this is the contradiction) it’s impossible to know the statement that everything without simply taking it as an assumption (and not empirically verifying it.

      The solution isn’t to say that our senses are useless but to say that the only way we could know that they’re not useless is if God has revealed himself and told us so. And he has in the bible.

      • Praise the Lord Jesus Christ for your response Tom! Only if Mark was Born-again he would understand the Word of God.

      • WorldGoneCrazy

        Outstanding reply, Tom! Thank you for making the time and effort to connect the dots for Mark by showing the self-refutations in his arguments.

      • M. A. Reichard-Saeger

        Mr. Riddle: Thank you for your excellent explanatory response. Much better than I could have explained, and accurate.

  • Frank Moloney

    I am a former student of NCU. I can say without reserve that this school does exactly what it says it desires to do: provide a liberal arts education with a Biblical emphasis. When I attended NCU there were numerous students on campus who were in the Degree Completion” or many of those students were not “Christians”. I see nothing wrong with allowing this student to contribute to the culture of the school, as long as he adheres to the codes of conduct that the University has for all students.

    I am really disappointed in all these comments about being “apostate” and how the school has declined from being a place to prepare for ministry. NCU is a Liberal Arts College with a variety of educational opportunities open to anyone who meets scholastic requirements and adheres to a code of conduct.

    Why can’t someone with a different set of beliefs be accepted there? How are we supposed to be a witness in the world if we throw out people who don’t believe the same exact things. In reality, WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF? This young man isn’t going to damage NCU or negatively affect the student body. Maybe God drew him to this school to receive GRACE from other students instead of condemnation from all of the reactionary, closed minded, spiritually insecure people posting on this website.

  • 1 Timothy 3
    Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
    3 A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
    2 It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,
    3 Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but
    4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.
    5 But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

  • Abi

    What a bunch of pathetic pop-culture hooey!

    This kid is not “a man of very high character and respect”, he is an unregenerate sinner and enemy of God destined to destruction and eternal separation from God! Tell him!

    “Condemning him, or strong-arming him, can’t make things better”? Are you kidding me? What are they teaching these kids? Tell this kid he is a sinner headed to hellfire and damnation. Tell him the bad news, and if and when that sinks in, THEN tell him the good news aka the Gospel.

    “Trusting God and loving Fromm for the lovable young man he is”? Is this a joke? This kid is not lovable, he is a sinner condemned. He is a filthy, rotten enemy of God.

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;”

    Time to get real people.