Letters to Emmanuel from the Students of Christopher Rollston

Much has been said over the past six weeks to disparage the character of Dr. Christopher Rollston as an academic and a Christian. But what has been painted is a distorted and ultimately false portrait of the man who has touched deeply the lives of countless students and Christians throughout his career. What follows are just a handful of the many letters that have been sent to President Michael Sweeney in support of Dr. Rollston. They paint the real picture of Dr. Rollston’s sterling character, his tireless commitment to students’ needs—both academic and personal, his abiding love for the mysteries of Scripture and the church, his faithful and enduring service to his congregation, his dedication to helping students forge a robust faith that embraces both criticism and mystery, and his gratuitous devotion to caring for his students well beyond the bounds of academia, often accompanying students through the dark nights of their souls. I wish that more of the letters that have been written on Rollston’s behalf could be published here, and there remains an open invitation for students to contribute their voices to the chorus of those who have been profoundly and forever impacted by Dr. Rollston’s selfless service and loyal friendship.

Many of the letters that appear here have brought me to tears; some of them made me blubber. I urge everyone to read each and every one of these letters. Even if you have no association to Dr. Rollston whatsoever, these stories of his service and his friendship should inspire us all to be better human beings.

I need to point out that each of these letters is written in support of Dr. Rollston and his place at Emmanuel Christian Seminary. What they expose is the gargantuan hole that will be left in the Emmanuel community should Dr. Rollston be terminated. But these letters don’t speak to the politics at play. We all hate the politics, love Emmanuel, and most importantly here, we love Chris Rollston.

The comment thread of this post will be dedicated solely to those who wish to add their own words of support for Dr. Rollston. I encourage everyone who has known and been loved and served by Chris to add their stories to the collection. This post is a sacred space, outside of the politics surrounding Dr. Rollston’s tenuous position at Emmanuel. Anyone who tells their story here can do so without fear of becoming engaged in the political fray.

Technical notes: if the writing is too small, you may click on the “arrow” icon at the top-right corner of each document to open it in a new window. Also, the letters appear in alphabetical order by surname.

UPDATE 01: Now updated with a new letter from Stephen Paul.

UPDATE 02: Now updated with a new letters from Bradley England and Matthew Worsfold.

UPDATE 03: Now updated with a new letter from W.G. Hulbert.

UPDATE 04: Now updated with a new letter from Joe Beal.

Without further ado…

 

A letter from Adrienne Armes to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Travis Armes to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Joe Beal to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Adam Bean to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Ted Booth to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Josh Covey to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Heather Dana Davis Parker to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Jason Eisele to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Bradley England to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Christopher Frisina to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Nathaniel Greene to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Nathan Hawkins to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from W.G. Hulbert to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Katya Ivanova to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Wes Jamison to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Rachel Knowles to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Kristina Linden to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Brian McGrath Davis to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Jeff Morgan to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Stephen Paul to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from R.J. Powell to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Jared Poznich to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Richard Voelz to President Michael Sweeney

 

A letter from Matthew Worsfold to President Michael Sweeney

 

Now tell us your stories.

One thought on “Letters to Emmanuel from the Students of Christopher Rollston

  1. I was a student for barely over a year at ECS from 2009-2010. My time there was short, but the education I received at this institution has enriched my faith and my life on levels I never thought possible. As I continue my journey of learning what it means to be a better human being, I reflect often at lessons learned at ECS. I learned how to think critically in Johnson City, TN and to question in such a way that would reveal educated answers vs speculation and conjecture.
    Dr. Rollston, while among others, stands out as the single most influential person to me during my time at ECS. I was only blessed to take OTI 1 and 2, but my experiences in both of those classes were extremely positive. He taught me how to question, how to let “The chips fall where they may”, how to wrestle with the text in such a way that it would yield rich lessons valuable to man, and how to determine good scholarship from poor.
    On a personal level, Dr. Rollston was there for me in what was one of the most difficult seasons of my life. He believed in me, complimented my sense of humor, made me feel valuable as an asset to the Church, and he taught me how to train dogs. Even though I ended up leaving Emmanuel for personal reasons, Dr. Rollston remains a friend and an inspiration to me of what true integrity and pastoral care look like. I will not forget the lessons learned from him, as they have been life changing and have made me a significantly better person.
    Thank you Dr. Rollston for your investment in my life, and the lives of so many others. It meant the world to me.
    Spencer Drew

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