Should Vice Chancellor be a Bishop
On Monday, 12 February 2018, the Supreme Court of India will continue hearing the case involving Bishop R. B. Lal. He is a scientist and the Vice Chancellor of India's first full Christian university, SHUATS (Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology, and Sciences). Some people are angry that the executive head of a state university is also the Founding-Bishop of a Church -- Yeshu Darbar. Thousands come to hear him every week as he preaches the Gospel, heals the sick, and casts out demons.
What is a Chancellor? Why are Germany and Austria governed by Chancellors and not Emperors, Presidents, and Prime Ministers? Switzerland also has a Chancellor. He is the 8th President. He attends all the meetings of the 7 presidents, though without a vote. Earlier, Britain's Prime Minister was the First Chancellor.. The Second Chancellor, the Finance Minister, is still called the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
"Chancel" (Latin) or "Kanzel" (German) literally means the artistic lattice work on a wood. It is used in "pulpits" in churches. Therefore, in German, a pulpit is a Chancel (see the picture below). Behind the chancel is kept God's sacred word -- the Bible. The Bishop climbs up the pulpit (the Chancel). The people sit below, listening to him expound the Bible.
Roman Empire, after it became Christian, first used the term ‘Chancellor’ for the legal expert who sat between the judge and the people. The judge, usually a bishop, sat behind the Chancel, hidden from the people. Since the lady Justice is “blind”, the judge should not look at the appearances of the accused and the accuser. Every case must be decided strictly in accordance with the law, on merit. Who is the accused and who the accuser, must not be factors in judging a case.
The Chancellor sat between the judge and the people. As an expert in law -- God's law as well as man's law -- he represented the people to the judge and the judgement to the people. His role helped him acquire unique expertise. That, in turn, enabled judges to leave routine cases to the Chancellor, especially where the law and the precedence were clear.
The Chancellors were trained in Christian universities. As the office of the Chancellor acquired prestige, universities began to use the title for their head. Most universities grew out of monasteries. The chapel was always their most important and most beautiful building. Students and staff gathered in the chapel, initially seven times a day, then five times a day. Every traditional college in universities such as Oxford and Cambridge continues to have two daily services even now.
The head of the university was already a wise man. He taught God's sacred word to students and staff. In the classroom and library students acquired information. They needed an overview, a worldview, wisdom, in order to make sense of the details that they learnt. The teacher behind the 'Chancel', (the pulpit) expounded the sacred word that gave to students the light that they need to relate information to life.
Before Germany was united as one political unit, it had approximately 350 semi-autonomous principalities, ruled by High Magistrates. The High Magistrate could be a hereditary king, a bishop, or an abbot. Each had a Chancellor. The Chancellor's roles was to mediate God’s wisdom to the rulers and the people. Germans speaking nations chose to be ruled by Chancellors because they knew that a people that reject wisdom higher than man's, condemn themselves to be ruled exclusively by the folly of the sinful majority.
Dr. Valson Thampu, the former Principal of St. Stephen's College, Delhi, used to say that his college had given more ministers and civil servants to India than any other single college. ‘That makes us most responsible for India's corruption’. Thampu was right: Christian English Medium education bears a great guilt for the mess in India's public life. Why did that happen? Because Christian educational institutions have not required their heads to be teachers of God's wisdom, to serve as bishops over the souls of their students and staff.
Should RB Lal serve simultaneously as a Vice Chancellor and a bishop? In my opinion, he is a man of God and should be consecrated as UP’s Chancellor — the Pradhanacharya. He should dedicate his life to delivering our state of its demons of crime and corruption, ignorance and superstitions, bigotries and hatred.