Public apologies regarding Ministry Forum comment
Below are written statements from Dr. Toby Jennings, Professor, College of Theology, and Dr. Jason Hiles, Dean, College of Theology, regarding comments made by Dr. Jennings during a GCU Ministry Forum held September 19, 2016:
Dr. Toby Jennings
In light of the reality that I, Toby Jennings, am a sinner who has received the forgiving and rescuing grace of Jesus Christ, I confess that I both sin and have sinned. Particularly, I have inexcusably offended many fellow image bearers of God by my imprudent use of inappropriate, uncharitable, and incendiary language. Not only does my communicated sentiment not reflect my personal and more thoughtful disposition toward any and all priceless treasures who bear the image of my heavenly Father, but my impassioned choice of words certainly does not reflect the pathos, practice, and vision of Grand Canyon University.
Having been entrusted with representing such an institution that has a public record of contributing Godward change in individuals and in our community, I deeply and sincerely regret having communicated such ill-motivated rhetoric—particularly in light of our nation’s present rhetoric-saturated distress. While words, once spoken, can never be taken back, my hope is that my sincere apology for my own words can pave a more gracious path toward reconciliation—a reconciliation that is at the core of the gospel of Jesus Christ—humanity’s sole hope for rescue from all its evils.
Dr. Jason Hiles
I, Jason Hiles, wish to extend a formal apology for my handling of comments made during the context of a Ministry Forum event on GCU’s campus in the fall of 2016. During the course of responding to student questions, a professor under my supervision made insensitive and incendiary comments about certain individuals within the Black Lives Matter movement.
These comments were entirely inappropriate, inexcusable, and out of line with the University’s views on racial issues and the Black Lives Matter movement. While I addressed the comments directly with the professor after the event, in retrospect I believe that an immediate, public refutation of the comments would have provided greater clarity to the 85 faculty and students in attendance and the 199 or so who have viewed the video since.
It was not my intention to leave ambiguity about the University’s position on these complicated matters, nor did I intend to imply that the comments were acceptable. While this is by no means an excuse for my misjudgment in this case, I am confident that what I have learned from the incident will enable me to respond more adequately if faced with a similar situation at a future date.
Again, I apologize for this incident and I accept full responsibility for failing to adequately address comments which clearly have no place in civil public discourse.