I didn’t know much about evangelicalism when I matriculated at Fuller Seminary in 1990. I went there because a close family friend was a professor, and because I’d just spent four years on the East Coast — I thought some California sun would be nice. I completely enjoyed my time there, and I was intellectually challenged by the likes of Nancey Murphy, Jim McClendon, and Miroslav Volf.
So it came as a surprise to me when, sitting in the office of Geoffrey Wainwright of Duke, I was told that my Fuller degree would cripple my application to the Duke Ph.D. program. Indeed, in the Spring of 1994, I was rejected at Duke, Yale, Emory, and the University of Chicago. Of course, I have no idea what role my Fuller pedigree played in those rejection.
But if Fuller was looked down on in the academy, it may have been thanks to C. Peter Wagner.
Wagner was a professor at Fuller when I was a student there. I never took a class from him, as I am highly dubious of his brand of Christianity, but many of my peers did. Wagner’s classes were rife with healings (usually leg-lengthenings) and maps showing the “territorial demons” that had carved up Los Angeles County for their dominions. He played audio tapes in his class that he had recorded during exorcisms.
Fuller was smart to part ways with Wagner in 2001, when he retired after 30 year there. And, in my experience, an M.Div. from Fuller nowadays is seen as academically on par with the top seminaries and divinity schools.