Deposition of Reverend William S. McLean
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
REV. BILL McLEAN, et al., )
VS. ) LR-C-81-322
STATE OF ARKANSAS, et al., )
ARKANSAS BOARD OF EDUCATION, )
THE DEPOSITION OF WILLIAM S. McLEAN,
TAKEN IN BEHALF OF THE DEFENDANTS.
CEARLY, GITCHEL, MITCHELL &
BRYANT, PA., 1014 W. 3rd Street,
P. O. Box 1510, Little Rock,
Arkansas, 72203, by MS. JOAN
KAPLAN, HOLLINGSWORTH, BREWER &
BILHEIMER, PA., Tower Building
Suite 955, Little Rock, Arkansas,
SKADDEN, ARPS, SLATE, MEAGHER,
& FLOM, 919 Third Avenue, New
York, 10022, by MR. GARY E.
ATTORNEYS FOR THE PLAINTIFFS.
MR. DAVID WILLIAMS, Deputy Attorney
General, and MR. RICK CAMPBELL,
Assistant Attorney General, Office
of the Attorney General, Justice
Building, Little Rock, Arkansas,
Attorneys for the Defendants.
The deposition of the witness was taken before me,
Terry G. Jackson, a Notary Public within and for Pulaski
County, State of Arkansas, duly commissioned and acting,
on Friday, October 2, 1981, beginning at the hour of 2:10
o'clock, p.m., at the offices of Cearly, Gitchel, Mitchell &
Bryant, 1014 W. 3rd Street, Little Rock, Arkansas, in
accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
pursuant to notice and agreement of counsel, taken at
instance of the defendants in the above styled cause, pending
in the United States District Court, Eastern District of
Arkansas, Western Division.
THEREUPON, the following proceedings were had, to-wit:
It is stipulated and agreed, by and between counsel
for the respective parties, that the deposition of the
witness may be taken at this time and place, by agreement
of counsel; that all formalities as to the taking of said
deposition are waived including presentation, reading and
subscription by the witness, notice of filing, filing, etc.;
that all objections as to competency, relevancy and materi-
ality are expressly reserved and may be raised if and when
said deposition, or any part thereof, is offered at the trial
of the cause.
WILLIAM S. McLEAN,
having first been duly sworn by the undersigned Notary
Public to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
the truth, testified as follows, to-wit:
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q Please state your name.
A William S. McLean.
Q And it's Rev. McLean, is that correct?
Q What church are you affiliated with?
A I am affiliated with the United Presbyterian Church
in the U.S.A., and the Presbyterian Church in the United
States. By virtue of the Union Presbytery, we now are
affiliated because of overlapping areas with two
Q Are you currently a pastor of a church?
A No. I am currently the Presbytery Executive for the
Presbytery of Arkansas.
Q Would you explain to me what the dutes of that include?
A I guess if we were Episcopalian they would call me a
bishop, it is really the chief executive, administrative
pastorial officer for a grouping of one hundred and
four (104) congregations in our judicatory unit that
we call the Presbytery.
Q Does that cover the entire geographic state of Arkansas?
A Only the northern two-thirds.
Q First of all, let's go into your educational background.
Just briefly, could you give me, first of all, where
you attended high school.
A Lenoir High School in Lenoir, North Carolina. One year
at Darlington Preparatoy School in Rome, Georgia. Four
years at Davidson College, North Carolina. Four years
at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.
Q What degree do you have from Davidson, first of all?
A I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
I have a Bachelor of Theology and a Master of Theology
from Union Seminary.
Q Did you have any particular concentration in your
Bachelor of Science degree?
A I was in college not knowing what I wanted to do, and I
majored really in Business Administration, took a minor
in history, and did some economics.
Q Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you said -- you have a
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration?
Q So, you don't have a science degree?
Q Have you taken -- did you take any science courses,
A I took biology in high school and physics in college.
Q Is that the extent of it?
A That's the limit.
Q All right. Have you been with the Presbyterian Church
throughout your ministry?
Q How long have you been in Arkansas?
A I graduated from seminary in 1952 and went to McGee,
Arkansas in '52, and I have been in Arkansas ever since.
Q Could you please tell me the churches after McGee?
A Four (4) years at McGee, eight (8) years as the pastor
of the First Presbyterian Church, Texarkana, Arkansas.
Ten (10) years as pastor of Pulaski Heights here in
Little Rock. And since October, '74, I have been the
Q Could you give me an idea of how you came to be involved
in this case as a Plaintiff?
A I was on a trip to South Carolina the week in which the
Act was effected. After coming back, I received a
phone call, I believe, from Bishop Hicks' secretary
telling me that some were interested in becoming
Plaintiffs, and I said in answer to the inquiry that, yes,
I would be very much interested in joining in.
Q All right. When is the first time that you were aware
that what is now Act 590 had been proposed in the
Arkansas State Legislature?
A I really do not recall. I was aware that it was in the
mill, but in terms of a time line, I don't have that.
Q Were you aware of it as having been proposed prior to it's
Q Had you met with Bishop Hicks or anyone else about the
matter prior to it's passage?
Q So, you had an awareness from reading the newspaper?
Q Did you try to make any personal action regarding the
passage of the bill?
A No, because I was out of town during the week of the
Q Rev. McLean, I would like to ask you if you could give
me the names of some widely known theologians whose
views would be most compatible with your's, or similar
to your own?
A I have been helped and guided by the writings of Carl
Barth. Reinhold Neibhur has been a tremendous help.
And I would say as a Presbyterian a lot of us key back
on John Calvin as one who had some pretty good thoughts.
Q Could you characterize your own theological viewpoint
A In reference to what?
Q Just a succinct statement of your own theological view-
A Well, I would say that I am consistent with the reformed
tradition, which starts out with the absolute sovereignty
of God, a purpose for man, the fact of the need for
redemption, redemption becoming effective in the
incarnation applied to us by grace but received by
faith, and this faith is to permeate all that we do
as a part of the church and the total life.
Q When you speak of the reformed tradition, do you connect
that to any particular date or event when the reform
tradition began in your mind?
A No. In my life?
Q No. In your mind.
A Actually, when I say the reformed tradition, of course,
at the time of the Protestant reformation under the
leadership of Martin Luther and John Calvin. And I
don't see that as the starting point. I see that as
a reforming process where they took the best of the past
and tried to screen out some of the abuses of the church,
and put together a different viewpoint in terms of the
meaning of the church, and the life of those in the
Q At Union Theological Seminary, you said that you have your
Masters from there?
Q I'm not that familiar with seminaries. In receiving
your Bachelor degree, would there be some fairly well
standard program which you would have to complete in
order to receive a Bachelors?
A At that time, they called it the Bachelor of Theology.
The Master of Divinity now has a three (3) year program.
I stayed on and did one year and got my Masters in
Q The Bachelor program, would that have been a fairly
standarized program which you would have to follow?
Q The Masters, the extra year that you did, would that have
also been standarized, or did you have some discretion
in the courses you chose?
A I chose my area of study and did work under one particular
Q What area of study would that be?
A Doctrine of Salvation and the Pauline Epistles.
Q Did you have to write a Master's thesis?
Q What was the subject of your thesis?
A Gosh, that was so long. I think it was called Salvation
Q As succinctly as possible, could you describe what you
consider salvation to include, to mean?
A To me, salvation is the assurance that in the grace of
God we are accepted as one of his children, despite our
own human failures. To me as a Christian, it involves
believing that there was a mediation of Christ. To me
It's not something that awaits future rewards in some
future life after death, but it is the beginning of
eternal life now, in terms of a new dimension because
of what we feel and know and experience as Christians.
It means that though we all fear death, we don't have
the same fears that others might, because it's a
transition but the same sort of existence with God.
Q Is your view of salvation, does it include a kind of
life after death?
Q Could the term fundamentalist, in your own mind, be
properly applied to you?
A You know, everything comes from a framework of reference.
In terms of the fundamentals of the Christian faith,
I could call myself a fundamentalist. In terms of the
use that has been applied to it in recent years, I
perhaps would not qualify.
Q Well, could you enlarge upon what you see the use to have
been in recent years?
A I guess really the real water shed is the interpretation
of scripture. I think that more than any other issue
or area has been the dividing line.
Q Could you give me an idea by what bench mark you would
look at the interpretation of someone's view on that
and decide on the modern day or the current day usage
of the word fundamentalist that would apply to them?
A Let me say, I don't want to stereotype everyone that
might be accused of being a fundamentalist, but speaking
broadly, I would think that a fundamentalist would
believe that if any portion of the written word were
proven to be untruthful in any sense of the word, why
then, the whole framework of faith would perhaps start
Q Does this relate to what I've heard termed the Doctrine
of Biblical Inerrancy?
Q So, that would be a standard in your own mind that you
would apply to --
Q Applying this to yourself, how would you come out. If
the standards applied to you, what is your own opinion
of that doctrine or that belief?
A Our standards say that the Bible is the word of God and
the rule for the practice of faith in life, and it does
not go into inerrancy at all. And that is very satis-
factory to me.
Q So, do you have a position on inerrancy yourself?
A Oh, yes.
Q What is your position on that?
A Well, I think that in terms of the way in which the Bible
has evolved, it has human authorship, there are errors,
but no errors that in any way threaten or even gnaw
away at my own faith in terms of the major truths about
God and man and relationships of life, which I consider
to be fundamental.
Q What is your own view as to the inspiration of the Bible?
A I think that the Lord, working through the presence of
the Holy Spirit, inspired folk of old to make record of
those things which seemed to be important, first of all,
in the life Israel as they achieved a sense as a people
of God. I think inspiration, of course, caused those
folks that were involved in the life and ministry of
Jesus to make records in terms of their experience and
writing letters to share their experience. And that the
Spirit was at work making these things significant.
Q So, in terms of the inspiration, could you be more
specific as to whether you feel that the general subject
areas covered, words written, are exactly what was
A Run that by again.
Q Okay. What I'm really asking you, simply, could you be a
bit more specific. You've talked in general terms that
You believe that the scriptures are inspired by the Holy
Spirit, as you put it, in writing. In writing, first of
all, to the problems of the nation of Israel. And then
you enlarged upon that a little bit. But I want to know
more specifically your own position as to the degree of
inspiration and the degree to which God controlled or
didn't control the writing of the scriptures.
A Well, I'm trying to think of how I can enlarge upon what
I've already said. For instance, as Paul wrote the letters,
I don't think Paul was put into a trance and all of the
sudden became a mechanical first century robot for the
Holy Spirit to write those words. I think the Spirit
was working in his life in a way that he didn't realize,
like I hope it works in our lives today. And I think
what came out in terms of sharing his convictions, the
church looked upon it and said this was Spirit inspired.
I think the historians of Israel wanted to keep these
important accounts alive, and I think the hand of God
was working in it. But to say that the hand of God made
every jot and tittle absolutely correct is not in my
theory of inspiration.
Q So, would it be fair to say that you consider the fact
that these individuals wrote -- the fact that they put
down, pencil to paper if you will, what they did, it
was generally inspired, but as to what was specifically
wrote, they wrote from their own personal experience?
A Their own personal experience cognizant of a working of
the Lord in their life. It was not someone sitting down
to write a thesis. I think they felt a peculiar, unique
Q I'm really not trying to be difficult but I'm really
trying to understand just what your own personal belief
is. When you use the word divinely inspired, I mean,
that conjures up images of everything from the robot,
which you now have excluded, to just the fact that
unconsciously these people felt a need to write something
maybe. And there is a wide range in there. So, if you
can be more specific, I would like to ask you to be.
Could you maybe give me an example of how -- of what --
based upon your own knowledge and personal belief,
believe one of these books might have been written?
A Well, the example of Matthew, the experience he had in
terms of being related to the Lord, felt that these facts
and -- how we see the Spirit working in his life. I
don't know to what extent he was aware as to what he
was actually doing. He felt compelled to put this down
as best he knew it. And to me, the Doctrine of
Inspiration is far more involved than just what was
happening at the moment. It involves the church and the
church's judgment on the validity of it and the church's
acceptance and what it meant in the life of the church.
Q But there you're talking about the councils which accepted
these. You consider that to be a part of the Doctrine
of Inspiration, as you view it?
Q For example, when you speak of Matthew writing those
things down, or perhaps when Paul wrote some of his
letters, could you conceive, could it be possible for
someone of present day to be inspired in the same sense
with divine inspiration to write something?
A Not in the same sense, no.
Q How would those be different?
A Once again, I think it's tied in by the doctrine of the
church. When the church said the canon is closed, this is
it -- I think a lot of inspired writings have occurred
since then, but I think the Holy Spirit worked with the
church council to say this is the central corpus in terms
of holy writ.
Q What is your view of the Genesis account of creation?
A I feel that the Genesis account of creation is a
theological affirmation that God created all that is
and that man was the very highest creation for a purpose
which comes out in the phrase, "In the image of God".
I think the story is a theological affirmation.
Q Okay. To me that is kind of vague. It's an affirmation
A Of theological truth.
Q All right.
A I think I've just finished, you know, relating the
truths that I feel it affirms.
Q Let me ask you some more specifics then. Do you believe
that God created the heavens and the earth?
A You'll have to say a little bit more about that.
Q Well, taking that statement first of all. Do you believe
that God created the heaves and the earth?
A I would have to put it in a little different framework.
Q All right.
A I would have to say that God is sovereign and everything
that has come about has been under his sovereignty.
Q So, you would not use the term created yourself in
viewing the heavens and the earth and the world as we
know it coming into being?
A Yes, I would use it, but I would have to footnote it.
Q By what process do you think god used in trying to
bring the world as we know it into being?
A Well, frankly, I don't know. I think that everything
that has evolved in terms of bringing the world to this
point is the work of God.
Q Would you -- do you think that God in bringing man about
as we know him -- I guess the first question, obviously,
do you believe that God was responsible for bringing man
about as we know him today?
A Oh, yes.
Q The second question then is, what method do you think
A I do not know.
Q Do you have a belief?
A Let me say that my belief is, I am willing to leave open
to study, perceptive to the best findings of people in
the disciplines of science and anthropology and all,
and look at them critically and say we are always in the
process of finding truth, whatever that truth ultimately
is; God is sovereign and God is in control and behind the
Q So, you would then, as I understand your last statement,
consider God to have brought about man as we know him
through what you know was the scientific method?
A Let me say that I do not know that I know absolutely
the scientific method whereby that came about.
Q I'm not asking you to tell me with one hundred percent
sureness that you know that it was through this method.
I'm just asking for your own personal belief. That's
all I really want to know.
A All right. State that again.
Q Okay. From your earlier statement, would it be fair to
say that God brought man about as we know him through
what you would consider to be a scientific process,
A Well, we have put the term scientific process on to the
exploration that has taken place to try to uncover
certain facts. I'm not sure that that would be my
affirmation. I'm just saying, however he came about
in terms of the creation of man that God is the one who
is ultimately in control and responsible, and has created
all those things that have brought this about.
Q Do you have a personal belief as to the manner in which
God created man?
A I have a pretty open door there. Let me say that I do not
believe that it was a seven (7) day process. That is
not at all consistent with my own framework of Biblical
Q That is not consistent with your framework?
Q How is that inconsistent with your framework of Biblical
A Because I do not believe that Genesis I and II contain
either science or actual history. I think it contains a
theological affirmation that God did it.
Q All right.
A And let me go ahead and say, you know, if it took four
million years, God still did it, and that doesn't bother
me one bit. I know of the final product, and I think the
final product we saw primarily in the early part of the
Q Maybe I don't understand what you're saying. You say
that your belief is that a seven day period was not
used, is inconsistent with your own Biblical framework.
A No. I do not believe in the literal seven day period.
Is that clear?
Q I understand that. Your statement, at least implied,
or I inferred from it, that somehow you believe that the
seven day period from a Biblical text was what was in
A I don't think I implied that.
Q Okay. If you didn't mean to, that's fine. I just want
to clarify that. Now, I was asking you the question
as to what means you believe God brought about -- used,
excuse me, to bring about man. And I asked you a
question which we digressed from and I would like to
return to that question. By what means did God bring
A Let me say that God is the one who is in control and
always has been. I think that all of the laws and
principles that govern our lives in the universe are
His, or maybe Her's. And I really don't struggle with
how that came about. I am satisfied with the fact that
man evolved to the point that we now know and experience.
Q I understand your answer. I understand that you say that
it's not a great struggle for you. But with all respect,
I still don't think I've gotten an answer to my question.
What means do you believe -- if you believe any, that
God used to bring about man as we know him?
A I feel that it is not at all inconsistent with my
theology and Biblical interpretations to feel that there
was a long period of evolution of some sort. I do not
call myself a Darwinian or anything else. I just feel
that science has put before us too many basic research
facts in terms of the age of the world, and the development
of the whole universe. And I feel that there was some
evolving -- I even hesitate to use the word evolution,
because before you know it you're pegged. But I think
there was some evolving process whereby all of the
sudden man came into awareness of this unique relationship
with God. And how long it took, how it happened, the
process, you know, I have no idea at all.
Let me interrupt just a second. Would you like a
drink of water or something?
Let's go off the record.
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q So, it would be your belief that some evolving was
utilized by God to bring man to where he is today?
A Yes. Consistent with the laws of his universe.
Q And that evolving that you speak of, in your own mind.
might it include some change or, I guess the word
man evolving from lower forms of life? From other
forms of animals?
A It could.
Q That would not be inconsistent with your religious
A No, it would not.
Q In the general framework of evolution, that would not be
inconsistent with your religious beliefs, as I understand
what you're saying.
Q Do you have a belief as to when creation occurred?
As to when man as we know him came into existence?
A No idea at all.
Q Do you have a belief as to who wrote Genesis?
A I think it was several historians that wrote certain
things in terms of the early experiences of mankind
coming into a consciousness of God, and that these
different writings were put together by some later
scribe or author into the collection we have now.
I think there is a good chance that there was a many as
maybe four (4) authors.
Q I think you have earlier spoke of Carl Barth. Could you
give me your own opinion of what you think of the
writings of Carl Barth?
A Well, I think Barth was instrumental in turning around
some trends that were getting the church in his era
and on the European scene a bit removed from the
centrality of the Bible as a central witness for
Christian faith and life. And I think Carl Barth's
major thesis was the word of God. Jesus Christ being
the central word of God, the word made flesh, the
written word being the other witness, and the third
portion of that, is that in a sense, though it's not
on the same level with creation that under the Biblical
authorship he says there is a unique sense in which
the word is reenacted in the worship experience of the
church. Not just what the preacher says, but the way
in which the Bible is interpretated and received. I
think that's the thing about Carl Barth that was --
Q Significant for you?
Q Did you say that Barth took some of the central focus
away from the scriptures? Is that what you said?
A No. He put it in.
Q Oh, all right.
A He was the one that pulled the church back toward the
Bible, as the church, at least in certain parts of
Germany, was drifting away from seeing the importance
of scriptures in the heart and life of the church.
Q What had they been drifting to, if they had been drifting
to anything before Barth began his writings and had the
effect that it did?
A Oh, I wouldn't say they'd been drifting into deep heresy.
I think it was more a proneness on the part of the
church to begin with the existential experience of man
and work from there to God. Barth did not deny any
of their findings. He said, "You're at the wrong starting
Q Could you also tell me what you think of the writings of
Reinhold Neibhur? The impact that he's had on you?
A Yes. I think Reinhold Neibhur, in my own view of his
writings and life, did a beautiful job of maintaining
scriptural, theological integrity and dragging the
church out of an isolated cubbyhole and saying, "Look
here, you don't live in a monastery. You live in a
world. And the church has a real responsibility to be a
part of and witness to the world".
Q So, I take it that he had -- his writings had a signifi-
cant impact upon your own theological beliefs?
A Very much.
Q What about Emil Brunner?
A I'm not real conversant on Brunner. I think that he
certainly was a very significant theologian. I have read
some of his books, Man In Revolt. I'm trying to think
of the other.
Q Did that have any impact upon your own theological belief?
A Yes, I'm sure. But let me say, I haven't read Brunner
since seminary, and I don't want to jump back in 1949
and describe my experiences them.
Q Okay. What of Paul Tillich?
A I think Paul Tillich, though he would not be one that I
would say I can line my theology with, I think he has
made a good contribution in terms of wrestling with the
problems of existence. What does it mean to be a man?
That sort of thing. Of course, he's no longer with us,
but he was one of the existential theologians, which I
can follow a long way, but not all the way.
Q How far can you follow? Where do you have to depart?
A Tillich got a little hazy in terms of some of the things
that I feel are basic. I think he tried to make too
little of the resurrection and this sort of thing.
Q What is your opinion of the theological writings of
Graff? Are you familiar with him?
A I'm going to have to pass on that one.
Q Okay. What about Wellhousen?
A Yes. I think Wellhousen made a big contribution in
terms of understanding the real dynamics of the scriptures,
especially the Old testament. It was his hypothesis
that caused people to see that these books that had
been described real simplistically, the one author,
you know, where it's totally different, is in similar
style in the word used for God, is trying to put, you
know, the writings of the editor of the Gazette over
against the poetry of Shakespeare. They realized that
all of the sudden, you know, these things don't match.
And you've got to realize that they're telling the same
story. But to say that the same person wrote them is
Q Would his writings be consistent with your own
A Let me say that I'm not sure that I've read all that
much of Wellhousen. I have read about him, and I think
most of his works were in German.
Q Were they translated very much, do you know, to English?
A In the Old Testament courses at seminary, we may have had
books that expounded his theories.
Q All right. To the extent that you had those books and
understood them, would the exposition of his theories
be consistent with your own theological beliefs?
A You know, not having read all of Wellhousen, what I was
taught in terms of a key to understanding the Old
Testament, yes, it made sense. I don't know all he's
wrote. He might have written a lot of things which I
have no idea about and would completely disagree with.
Q That's fair. I understand that. What of Harry Scribner
A I do not know him.
Q Excuse me. Edward Scribner Ames.
Q William Newton Clark?
A I guess I've been some place.
Q What about George A. Cole?
Q Harry Emerson Faustic?
A Yes. Most people have heard of Faustic.
Q All right. What is your opinion of his writings?
A Actually, his writings are primarily, you know, the
publishing of his sermons. I feel he is a man of a great
spirit. I'm not sure that I would agree with all of his
theology, but I can't even document that.
Q Have you done much reading of his sermons or any other
A I guess I've read two or three of his books, and then he
has a devotional book. I forget the name of it. But
that's been very meaningful to me.
Q Do you use the devotional book very often?
A I haven't in years, no. But I used to.
Q What of Schailer Matthews?
A I'll pass on that.
Q You're not aware of anyone by that name? A theological
A I may have heard a few comments.
Q Okay. Walter Rauschenbuseh?
A Yes. I know a little bit about Rauschenbuseh.
Q What is your opinion of his writings?
A I feel that he made a very significant contribution.
Some of his theological principles, I do not think,
would be consent with mine. But I think that he wrote
at a time in which people needed to be reminded once
again of the importance of the individual. The social
implications of the gospel. So, though I would not say
that our theologies align perfectly, I'm sure he wouldn't
mind if I said that. It wouldn't threaten him at all.
I feel he made a good contribution in terms of trying
to awaken the conscience of the church.
Q Your theologies would not align perfectly. Would they
align somewhat less than perfectly?
A I think the point at which they would align pretty close,
would be his concern for human beings. The feeling that
the church was losing a concern for human beings. He
saw in the ministry of Christ an absolute concern for
individuals, especially those that have sufferings and
hurts. I don't know even how to describe his theological
stance. I've been told that at that time he was considered
liberal. I don't even know what that means.
Q What of Earnest Troeltsch?
A Oh, I have read something of him in seminary, but I don't
remember enough about it to even comment on it.
A He was one of the ones that was really concerned with
the human situation to such an extent that people felt
that he was forgetting and he was more keying in on
human existence than in devine reality. And I guess he
was one of the ones that Carl Barth sort of reacted to.
Not that Carl Barth, once again, denied the findings of
Schielmarker. He would say that we've got to make sure
that our findings are rooted in certain convictions
about a transcending God.
Q Would his theology then tend to be more consistent or
inconsistent with your own?
A Once again, I did not read Schielmarker to analyze his
theology. I read it to open up my own sensitivity to
Q So, can you make a judgment as to whether it's consistent
A Consistent in terms of the care and the love of God for
individuals. What his theology of the trinity or
resurrection or eternal life, I have no idea.
Q What about Bultman?
A Rudolph Bultman, yes, I've read some of his works.
Q Could you characterize it for me?
A Of course, everyone is a theologian in a sense. Even
you are. Sometimes we're bad and sometimes we're good.
But Bultman, I think, would be looked at more as a
New Testament scholar than a theologian. I find his
writings insightful. I don't agree with all he says.
Q But do you agree with some of what he says?
A Bultman tried to get the church to take an honest look
at the New Testament, and I think he made his contribution
there. He went far to far in terms of my own convictions
in terms of his demythologizing of the New Testament.
Q What was that term again?
Q Okay. Not demon.
Q Could you describe what demythologizing of the New
A Oh, basically he said, and here is where I can't quite
get into him, that there are certain segments of the New
Testament that are a myth. Now, please understand,
Americans usually go up into orbit when you hear myth.
Myth doesn't mean a lie or something. Myth is -- a
better word would be parable. But sometimes a myth
is a vehicle for containing more truth than a literal
account. so, Bultman's approach for those things that
caused him too much difficulty were in his vocabulary
they were myths. And you demythologized and got the
truth from the myth, and you separated that in terms of
myth from the historical fact of the incarnation, and
there you could have a consistent New Testament approach.
Q Would he attach less weight to the myths than to the
A Oh, I think he would put weight on both.
Q Equal balanced treatment, if you will?
A Well, example, one myth very evident is when Christ
told the parable of the prodigal son. You know, that's
myth. And it's as important vehicle of truth as historical
fact about the life of Christ.
Q I understand that that's a parable. I thought I under-
stood you to say that some of the things which were
recorded, for example, some of the things that Christ
or the Apostles might have done were in fact myths.
A I think Bultman would say, and I don't know for sure
that this is one, but this is just an example, the thing
of walking on the water, was a myth. Not that it was a
lie in terms of how we view it, but this was the early
church's way of saying, here is somebody that is super,
period. Bultman was saying to people who were dropping
away, "You don't have to believe that's literally true
in order to have faith." Here is a New Testament church
saying, here is one so great that he could hold out his
hand and still the storm and walk across the water.
Q Do you have a belief yourself as to whether those things
are historically accurate?
A You know, that's the type thing I agonized over in
seminary. It doesn't bother me now. I can accept them
as truth. If somebody is searching for truth and says
this is a bunch of baloney and I cannot be a Christian,
I believe I can say, well, here is a route where you can
be and we can sit in the same boat. I don't put myself
Q I understand that, but do you have a personal belief
as whether it's true or not? Not what you would tell
one of your parishioners, if you will, as to whether they
had to believe it, but your own personal belief.
A My own belief is, that with God, nothing is impossible.
And I don't go around applying that to all these various
little things. I can accept it as an account of the
power of God, and it doesn't even really bother me.
Q So, what I understand you to be saying is you don't
believe that's necessarily literally true.
A I think it very well could be literally true. I don't
want to be put in that box, because if I'm talking with
a college student and I said this is literally true,
then all of the sudden I've fenced him out.
A I'm saying that I can ride both horses.
Q It can be literally true and it cannot, and it doesn't
really matter to you?
Q Could your own theology in your mind be fairly character-
ized as neoorthodox?
A Yes. That's a pretty broad umbrella.
Q Well, I want to give you an opportunity to -- if it's
to contrast yourself to a neoorthodox, if there are
A Once again, when you say that, neoorthodoxy covers
Brunner and Barth who had a lot of debate about the
nature of the word of God. And it includes Tillich
and -- maybe Tillich, and the Neibhur brothers, Reinhold
and Richard Neibhur. You have such a broad umbrella.
Neoorthodoxy is basically a term that the church uses
to say that there was a stern orthodoxy back in -- a
few centuries ago that was really winding, and the church
broke away and tried to get away from any sort of
legalism or binding theological affirmation, and neo-
orthodoxy means that we're trying to get back the
certain fundamental things in terms of the word of God,
the meaning of life. And to say that I am neoorthodox --
that's the ship I'm in, but by golly, there are a lot
of the members in the crew that are very different.
But neoorthodoxy is generally the church going back in
the direction of trying to honor the fact of a
transcendent God, and the importance of the Bible, and
the call of the church to be a reall witness. To that
extent, I am neoorthodox.
Q Would you consider your theology to be liberal or
A I consider my theology to be conservative.
Q Would you consider yourself to be an Evangelical?
A Very much so.
Q A conservative Evangelical?
A Now once again, we're using terms that we've got to be
real careful about.
Q Well -- answer my question first, and then I'll give you
a chance to define it. Do you consider yourself to be a
A I would ask what you mean by that before I answer.
Q Well, I'm going to let you define the term for me.
A That's what I wanted to do. I am conservative in that
I really feel that my theology is in conformity with
the reformed Presbyterian tradition, and it is in
conformity with the revealed truths of God and man that
we see in scripture. And to me conservatism is accepting
that. I have some friends that would call me a liberal.
But I deny that. I think that I am a conservative
theologian. A liberal is one that says the resurrection
didn't occur. It was in the minds of the church. That's
Evangelical is a term that I sour of resist, having
been jerked away by certain groups. Evangelical comes
basically from a word that means the gospel. And our
desire to share the gospel. As such, I am a conservative
Evangelical. But I am not with those groups that call
themselves conservative Evangelicals, and thereby try
to cut me out.
Q Have you had a chance to read Act 590?
Q Would that be consistent with your own religious beliefs?
What part of Act 590?
Act 590 itself.
I don't understand the question. The existence
of Act 590?
A Would you mind me looking at it.
(Counsel hands document to witness)
A Okay. Now, what about Act 590.
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q Well, the call within Act 590 that evolution science
and creation science be given balanced treatment. Is
that consistent with your own theological belief?
A I don't know.
Q Could you tell me how it's inconsistent?
A Well, my theology is not just the church words I use
about trinity and eternal life, grace, justification.
My theology concerns the whole of my being and all that
I am. I think that's the only valid theology. And
I guess I have three major concerns that I can say come
within the spectrum of my theology that deals with human
relations and dignity of people. And this morning, you
don't mind, I wrote it out, because I thought brevity
and accuracy might be of help.
Q All right.
A I do not feel that a state legislative body should be
engaged in the passing of legislation which dictates
the content of public school curriculum. To me that's
a theological affirmation in terms of my -- Two,
it's a breach of academic freedom to instruct a teacher
to give balanced treatment to a particular theory which
has not been a part of his or her academic training, and
in which he or she believes to be untrue. Three, I
believe that creation science is rooted in a particular
approach to Biblical interpretation and theological
perspective. It would be impossible to teach in a
classroom setting without becoming involved in religious
issues and viewpoints. Because of this, I feel that
Act 590 would violate the religious establishment clause
of the First Amendment.
Q Could I see that?
(Witness hands document to counsel)
I would like to mark this as McLean Exhibit #1,
and make this an exhibit to your deposition.
(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit #1, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 94 .)
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q You said that you wrote this out this morning?
Q Would this be, in your mind, a fair summary of your
concerns over Act 590?
Q Could you tell me, based upon your theology, why you feel
a state legislative body should not be engaged in the
passing of legislation which dictates the content of
public school curriculum?
A Well, as I said before I read that, my theology covers
the whole sphere of relationships, ethical relationships,
and I don't know that I even want to, in the long run,
say that that is a theological statement. I'm saying
that all I am comes under the umbrella of my theological
orientation. Thus, as a theologian, I think that is
just a breach of the assigned duties of the state
Q I'm interested in your statement that your own theology
is all that you are. How far would you go with that?
For example, would you consider your beliefs on certain --
a preference for one office seeker, a politician, over
another. Would that be part of your own theology, giving
your own definition?
A Not technically. I think my theological orientation would
dictate my choices. And I think there is a difference
between what you've asked and what I said.
Q All right. What is the difference between that part of
your theology and your choice being dictated by your
theological orientation? That is the difference, as I
understand it, between the two.
Q Could you explain to me what that difference is?
A Well, you know, I would say that sometimes it might not
be called in my own mind a theological issue. I think
that in terms of say the candidates, or if I felt that
there were issues involved which have to do with
integrity, welfare of human beings in the nation, that
to me would become a theological choice.
Q Would your own decision on issues be resolved by your
own theological orientation?
A In terms of my understanding the theology, yes.
Q All right.
A And let me say at this point. We have mentioned this
several times. Theology can be seen -- you know, we have
our Westminster confession of faith. That is our formal
statement of creed in the Presbyterian church, plus
other affirmations. What I'm trying to say is, I think
that your theology is lived out in all that you are and
do. So, therefore, you can't state in one situation
that I am a theologian and in another situation I am not.
Sometimes it might be neutral. But you're still
operating out of your theological perspective in all that
you are, do and say.
Q Could you define then theology?
A Theology comes from two words, theo and logos, our
knowledge of God, and therefore, in this discipline what
this knowledge of God has to say about who we are and
what we're about.
Q Would it be fair to characterize theology then generally
as your frame of reference, whatever belief you might
A No. That question does not catch what I'm saying. My
theology is a way in which I respond to a frame of
reference in my belief of a transcedent God, and the
scriptures and everything else. My theology -- I can
make a lot of mistakes, and therefore, I become off
course. I think what you were saying was what
Schielmarker was doing. And I think Carl Barth's
theology of the word is what called the church back,
which is what causes neoorthodoxy to mean so much to
Q Do you consider this document, the sentiments expressed
on here, to be a theological statement?
A No. I consider it to be a result in my theological
orientation. You know, let me say, there are other
disciplines, areas of ethics and all, but I think
theology is the overall, in terms of my own frame of
reference, theology is your own conviction that gives you
your direction in terms of your decision about what is
right and wrong. So, though that would not be a form of
theological statement, that comes as a result of my
Q Would you consider atheism to be a religion or to be a
A I have several answers to that, and I'm not sure you want
Q Well, try a few of them on me. Give me a summary of your
A All right. Let me say, it is not Christian theology.
There is a school of thought that says it's impossible
not to have a theology because everyone is a worshiper
of something, whether it's the dollar or power or what
have you. So, atheism is, in a sense a theology,
because it's not a Christian theology, it's not a
Buddhist theology, it's now a Jewish theology. I don't
really quite buy that. So, as a Christian theologian,
atheism, no, is not a theology.
Q Not in the same sense that Christian theology is a
Q Would you consider atheism to be a religion?
A I do not believe so. I'm not sure what you mean by
religion, but as I hear your question, I don't think so.
Q If you were going to characterize atheism, if it's not
a religion and it's not a theology, is there some other
term you would use? Could you characterize it as a
value system or --
A Probably a philosophical orientation.
Q What besides the fact that atheism does not recognize
the existence of God would differentiate it from
A Well, the answer to that is so obvious, I'm not really
sure what you're asking. If your philosophical orienta-
tion is that there is no God, well then, from there on
in they have a philosophical framework. I have a
Christian theological framework. And we're on two
pretty different trails.
Q All right. But in terms of your unwillingness to
classify it as a theology, is that not caused by the
fact that atheism necessarily denies the existence of a
Q Do you feel it's appropriate for some legislative body
besides a state legislative body to be engaged in the
passing of legislation which dictates the content of
public school curriculum?
A Well, of course, I think there are certain area in the
whole educational set up, and I don't understand all of
it, and someone has to set a curriculum. Let me say, my
wife is a Texan, and she reminded me that in Texas, and I
think in Arkansas too, there is a legislative mandate
that you study Texas history. That's one thing. It
doesn't say how you teach it, et cetera, et cetera. This
is a course. The differentiation in terms of my statement
there is that by act of a legislature, you are telling
what to teach in terms of content and theory. And that's
where I think -- it's really in terms of what I would call
the ethics of it. I don't think they have a right to
Q So, then, if in the same vein that Arkansas requires that
Arkansas history be taught, but does not tell them how --
exactly how it must be taught, if the Arkansas Legislature
required that creation science be taught, but did not
tell them, you would have no objection?
A I have every objection in the world.
A To say, to teach Arkansas history is one thing. But to
say to teach creation science, that's another thing.
Q Well, let's say that Act 590 merely provided that creation
science be taught. Then in terms of your example,
they would be consistent, would they not, the teaching
of Arkansas history and the teaching of creation science.
A Not at all. I have a conviction after about two months
of real heavy reading that there is no way, absolutely
no way, that you can teach creation science without
getting into theological and biblical interpretation
issues; and therefore, you are into religious matters.
Q Would you tell me what you've read in the last two
months which led you to this conclusion?
A I've read books and articles and things that you have in
the file there.
Q Some of which I have here?
A Right. I've gone back to my interpreter's dictionary of
the Bible, and commentary on Genesis written by the
way -- I have five commentaries. I bought one written
in 1904 by a conservative Englishman, and he would turn
over in his grave with this law. I went over and I know
that the material has not been decided upon. But I spent
a considerable hours looking at what has been sent thus
far to the Department of Education.
Q What did you see that had been sent in? Is that in
A That's in there, yes. As I say, I'm not big on that,
I was just curious.
Q Is this what you were talking about? (indicating)
A No. I just have some summary notes.
Q What did you look at? Do you recall?
A Oh, primarily the booklets for teachers and students,
edited by Seagraves.
Q Are you aware of whether that's been approved for use
under this law?
A No. You were asking what I had read though.
Q I understand that. But I just wanted to follow that up.
I have what I am going to mark as McLean Exhibit #2,
a two page document.
(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit No. 2, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 95 .)
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q I would like for you to look at this document and tell me
if you can identify it.
(Counsel hands document to witness)
A Let me say, I took some notes and wrote down and
brought it along. I think if it's going to be a
document, I would like the privilege of looking over
it and making sure. I was over in the corner of the
educational building and I was trying to dictate with
my cassette. My secretary typed it.
Q You have not had a chance to proof that, is that what
(Witness reviews document)
A These are notes I took, impressions of the books they
Q While I'm thinking about it, would you give me a list
of the books you've read in the last two months that
you said led you to this conclusion?
A Well, actually, I think the primary -- you know, it's
far more than reasoning. It's a conviction I've had all
along about the separation of church and state, and what
happens when the classroom in public schools gets into
religious matters. I think I brought along these three
and an article from other areas, you know, I think it
brought it into focus.
Q Do the other books that you have with you, I believe in
your portfolio attache there, did those influence you
in this way also?
A Oh, these books have been a part of my, you know,
theological training all along. I just went back down
through and checked --
Q Just give me the names and authors of the books you
A One is the Book of Genesis by S. R. Driver, Westminster
Q Is that the 1904 book that you mentioned?
A Uh-huh (affirmative). The other one, Interpreters
Dictionary of the Bible, and it's by a lot of editors,
articles on creation and et cetera. I just went back and
checked base in terms of where I am and where those folks
that are recognized as scholars today.
Q I note that in your summary or comments here that you
have performed in Exhibit 2 of the books which you reviewed,
you make several references to Biblical passages in
these books. Isn't that correct?
Q Are you aware that that would in fact violate Act 590?
A Yes. I'm aware that no choice has been made. It might
not even be these. I'm aware of the pamphlets that may
be put in, but also for some reason, they state in his
basic book ,which seems to be the overall viewpoint of
Seagraves, regardless as to what the textbooks under
his editorship do or do not say.
Q Are you aware if this is the only source for material
to comply with Act 590?
A I do not know what sources there are.
Q I'll show you a document which will be McLean Exhibit #3.
(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit No. 3, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 96 ).
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q I'll ask you to look at this and tell me if you can
(Counsel hands document to witness)
A Yes. Let me say, I haven't looked into this real closely.
These are current books on biology.
Q You haven't personally reviewed this as to whether you
would have any objection, theological or otherwise --
A Well, let me say that the one thing that came to my
mind or I guess maybe caught my attention, was through
the title "creation". They say that evolution denies
the creative powers of God. I know a lot of convinced
evolutionists who are very, very convinced that it's
all under the umbrella of the creative power of God.
So, therefore, statements like that do catch my eye.
Q All right. Now, that reference which you make under
"Creationists Say", which is part of a book entitled
Biology, An Inquiry Into the Nature of Life, you under-
stand that that's not being presented as fact, but it's
being presented as the creationists' position.
A Uh-huh (affirmative).
Q I would like to have you look at that again, this page.
Have you had a chance to look at this page out of this
text? (indicating) Other than that last statement?
A I have read through the page. I'm not sure what your
Q So, you have read it? That's my question.
Q Do you have any objections to that page?
I'm going to enter an objection at this point. As
to the witness answering that question, he is not a
lawyer, and whether or not there are legal objections to
that page, is something which he doesn't know. I'll
just leave the objection at that.
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q Well, I'm not asking for your conclusion as a lawyer.
I'm asking you as a person if you have any objections
A In what way?
Q Well, do you feel that that material presented on that
page could be presented without violating your own
theological framework which caused you to have the
concerns about Act 590?
A I would have to see the textbook and the chapter and
Q I'm asking you just to the extent as far as that page
The witness has stated that he's unable to answer
that question without seeing the whole book.
I understand that, but I'm asking just looking at
But the witness has said that he's unable to make
an evaluation based on looking at one page.
I'm not asking him to evaluate the entire page.
I'm asking -- I mean the entire book. I'm asking him to
evaluate this one page in isolation.
A In isolation I would say that getting into the discussion
of "Creationists Say", you will get into a discussion
of theology and Biblical interpretation, which to me
would be offensive.
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q All right. Do you think that evolution should not be
criticized in the classroom?
A I don't think I understand your question.
Q Well, do you believe in a scientific theory being
presented and then having criticism of that theory
A Allow me to answer this way. If I have a student in a
science classroom, I think the academic enterprise says
you are free to criticize or question anything which
remains a theory.
Q Looking at that page again, could you please identify
for me that portion of the page which you feel involves
A I think the total impact of it would involve religion.
Statement two says, "Since no one was present at the
creation, neither creation nor evolution is provable."
That statement in itself would cause -- the thing about
creation science is that it causes a person to jump back
either consciously or subconsciously to an interpretation
of Genesis. And though I see this indirectly, I see
it as consistent with what I have voiced in three
Q In terms of discussing evolution in a classroom, don't
you think that could also indirectly cause someone to
jump back to consider creation and to consider Genesis?
A I don't think it has to.
Q This document includes such things -- in what Creationists
Say, it includes such things as radioactive dating,
Lyell's theory of slow change, dating of rock strata,
the fossils, animal phyla, transitional forms, mutation,
species, I mean, all of these things are discussed.
Do you consider those to evoke some sort of religious
A Not the way you read it, but I am still talking about
the total impact of the total statement.
Q Then in terms of your own framework, you completed
theological seminary what year?
A 1951. I did my graduate work in 1952.
Q That's approximately thirty (30) years ago. Since that
time you have been involved actively in the ministry?