March 1, 2018 began one of the most tragic events that has happened to us as a Bible faculty and a school. Bill Schlegel informed IBEX Director, Will Varner, that he could no longer affirm the doctrinal statement of the university, particularly as it concerned the affirmation of the deity of Christ and the Trinity.
This came as a tremendous shock to the Bible faculty and in the midst of this, we engaged in efforts to not only protect our students but also to reach out to Bill personally. Our goal was to engage in a Matthew 18 like process all the while hoping to lovingly declare the truth to win Bill back (2 Tim 2:23-26). In light of this, the following took place. Bill was suspended from teaching his classes and we arranged for Bill to fly out to North Carolina to meet with an old friend and colleague, Doug Bookman (Doug hired Bill to teach at IBEX in 1995). So Dr. Bookman held a meeting where he along with other experts laid out the truths of the divinity of the Messiah before Bill. However, after a day long meeting, Bill did not change. Per the plan, Bill then flew out to California to meet with TMU administration. Before doing so, certain faculty members (Lisa LaGeorge, Todd Bolen, and Greg Behle) met with Bill personally to plead with him. Again, this was to no avail. Following this, on Monday, March 19, Bill met with Drs. Varner and Stead. Dr. Varner laid out further evidence of the divinity of Christ but Bill again refused to change his position. At that point, he was officially terminated from his employment at TMU.
Bill believes that Jesus is only a man. He is the most important man and he is Messiah, but he is not God and he is not pre-existent. Jesus is not the Second Person of the Trinity, and the Holy Spirit is not a person but the power of God. Even though Bill affirms much of what we would, what he rejects is of the utmost seriousness (1 John 2:22-23; 5:20). For this reason, we were vigilant to plead with Bill about the truth.
Even though this tragedy has happened, IBEX is still moving full speed forward. We have begun the process to find a replacement for Bill and the Lord has provided ample and able candidates. Dr. Varner is confident that the best days of IBEX are yet to come.
We know you may have further questions. That is completely reasonable. Below are some links to files that may help you in thinking through what has just happened as well as the wider doctrinal issue of the deity of Christ. Right now, the Bible faculty are diligently preparing resources to help you. We want to serve you. So please, especially in the the next few weeks (current date: 3/26/2018), revisit this page for additional resources.
We are so saddened and pray for Bill and his family, for all of the IBEX students, current and alumni, as well as the entire University community. At the same time, the school of Biblical Studies in particular and the University in general believe that we did everything we could to help Bill see the error in his thinking. We sought to go the extra mile to come alongside of him and see him repent. We all love Bill and pray the Lord would allow him to recant his false doctrine and embrace the true Christ.
Q and A on IBEX Situation - Todd Bolen
The Trinity and Divinity of Messiah - Bible Faculty
Is the Messiah God - Old Testament - Todd Bolen
The Divinity of Jesus - Benjamin Foreman
Faculty Staff Student QA Transcription Excerpts