Christian colleges: Will you fold under cultural pressures or actually BE what you say you are?
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Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
CHRISTIAN COLLEGES STRUGGLING TO MAINTAIN CHRISTIAN CODES
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, NPR ran an in-depth story recently, “Christian Colleges Are Tangled in Their Own LGBT Policies.” The article goes on to say, “Conservative Christian colleges, once relatively insulated from the culture war, are increasingly entangled in the same battles over LGBT rights and related social issues that have divided other institutions in America.
Students and faculties at many religious institutions are asked to accept a faith statement outlining the school’s views on such matters as evangelical doctrine, Scriptural interpretation and human sexuality. Those statements also include a rejection of homosexual activity and a definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
Mary Hulst, senior chaplain at Calvin College says, “You’ve got these two values. We love our LGBT people, we love our church of Jesus Christ, we love the Scripture, so those of us who do this work are right in the middle of that space. We’re living in the tension.”
DR. REEDER: You can see immediately the world and life view and perspective of the reporter and the article and those who are engaged in the interviewing process, even by the phrase that “Christian Colleges are Entangled.” Well, actually, they are being entangled. They were just going along as normal with a Biblical doctrine of sexuality and marriage. Marriage is one man, one woman, one life, with heterosexuality within marriage, monogamous — the Bible doesn’t change even though culture is visibly changing itself into chaos by redefining marriage and by the sexual revolution.
WHAT SHOULD SCHOOLS DO?
Therefore, what do Christian colleges do? First of all, you have the cultural elite motivated in compliance with and complicit with the LGBTQ agenda. They want to impose that upon Christian colleges so they will use phrases like this: “You’re going to be on the wrong side of history. If you don’t get on-board with redefining marriage as same-sex and affirming homosexuality as normal, if you don’t do that, you’re going to be on the wrong side of history.”
The Christian colleges they have leverage upon are those who are receiving whatever kind of aid from the federal government. At the moment, the present administration has removed the pressure that had been placed upon them in the previous administration.
However, of course, you don’t know what administration is coming and it’s more than likely that these same pressures are going to come that, “If you don’t affirm, embrace and allow, for instance, transgender definition of self-identification of gender — what bathroom, or facility or sports team you play on — if you do not affirm same-sex marriage, if you do not affirm same-sex sexuality, then the federal programs which you participate in can and will be removed and we will remove them if you don’t change your positions in your handbook and your practices.”
Now the Christian college is going to have to make a decision: Do we want to be politically correct, do we want to be on the “right side of history” or do we want to be theologically correct and be on the right side of the Word of God and God, Himself, in terms of what he has declared.
TWISTING THE BIBLE TO FIT THEIR PURPOSES
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me give you a quote from Brad Harper, who is a professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Multnomah University. He says, “Millennials are looking at the issue of gay marriage and, more and more, they’re saying, ‘Okay, we know the Bible talks about this, but we just don’t see it as an essential of the faith.’”
DR. REEDER: Right. What you see now is things that are being promoted like the Tony Campolo movement of “The Red-Letter Revival” — those Bibles that put the words of Jesus in red letters. What he’s saying is, “See how gracious Jesus is? Don’t be like Moses. Don’t be like Paul. We need to have Jesus Christ correct Moses and Paul.”
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SEXUALITY?
Well, first of all, in the Bible, the Bible is never contradictory. Jesus doesn’t correct — in fact, Jesus is the One, by His Spirit, who led Moses to write what he wrote, and Paul to write what he wrote, and Luke to write what he wrote and Peter to write what he wrote because the Author of all the authors is the Holy Spirit and it’s non-contradictory. What the authors are doing are not correcting each other, but they’re complementing each other.
And then, secondly, you probably, Mr. Campolo, do not want to read very closely those “red letter words” of Jesus. If you want to do a Red-Letter Bible, everything in the Bible ought to have the red letters, but if you’re just identifying the direct quotes of Jesus, you’ll notice that, first of all, He gave more information on the doctrine of Hell than anybody else. In fact, two-thirds of the information on the doctrine of Hell is given by Jesus.
If you want to go to Jesus, then you can just pick up, for instance, in Mark 10: “But you do not know the Scriptures, for from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.” Well, there we are. God made them male and female. God made marriage because He goes on to quote from Genesis, “For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one,” so he affirms sexuality within marriage, He affirms a heterosexual marriage, a covenantal marriage, a conjugal marriage, a procreative marriage and, therefore, same-sex could never be accommodate by “the words of Jesus”.
PRESSURE IS MOUNTING FOR COLLEGES TO APOSTATIZE
Where we are are these apostate theologians, the colleges: “You must apostatize. It’s more important for you to get the approval of the government, and the money of the government, and the approval of the culture and the applause of the culture than it is to be faithful to God, Himself.”
Hear this very clearly and very pointedly from a Christian world and life view: If these colleges, in order to maintain the money and to maintain the freedoms of the culture that they offer to you, if they decide to apostatize from the Word of God — redefine sexuality, redefine marriage and find a way to accomplish that — if they so vacillate, if they so apostatize, then they are no longer a Christian college. You can’t be a Christian college and sacrifice the supremacy, the sovereignty and the sufficiency of the Word of God in terms of what we believe and how we practice.
The colleges that will most likely withstand the challenge are those that are under a local church or under a faithful evangelical denomination — they will be the ones that most likely will stand. If someone from a Christian college came to me right now, I would say, “You need to take advantage of this present administration backing off on the assault upon what you believe and what you do and use that period of time to go out with your Development Office and your fundraising and your friend building and get the support you need for your college so that you are not dependent upon the government. If you’re dependent upon the government, you’re going to be tempted to compromise.”
STUDENTS HAVE REDEFINED THEIR IDEA OF CHRISTIANITY AND WANT TO LEGITIMIZE IT
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me give you a quote from a student, Sam Koster, who is a junior at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He identifies as queer. He says in this article, “When I realize that my faith wasn’t necessarily about the Christian Reformed church and it wasn’t even necessarily about the Bible, but about my relationship with God and that God is all-compassing and loving, I felt very free.”
DR. REEDER: When you hear that from a student that’s in a Christian college, you know that Christian college has already failed in its job because no thinking Christian could ever say, “I don’t need the Bible.”
How do you know you need to be saved by Jesus without the Bible? How do you know who Jesus is and that He is a sufficient Savior without the Bible? How do you know who God is without the Bible? The Creation reveals God is Creator, but it does not reveal God in Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — because the Bible tells you that.
Therefore, you can’t be a Christian without the Bible and Christ’s church is not just a little addendum for the Christian — it is, as John Calvin said, “the womb established by the Lord to nurture believers as they grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.” You can’t have your relationship with God without the Bible. You can’t grow in your relationship with God without the Bible.
The Bible consistently condemns any sexual activity, whether it’s heterosexual promiscuity or homosexual perversion, it condemns it continually. He calls those “clobber passages” — don’t bring those passages to clobber me. The Word of God that brings the passages to clobber sin also tells you of the Savior who was clobbered under the righteous judgement of God so that you could miss any and all of that judgement because of Jesus Christ, Who will take you to glory in Heaven. And where do you find all of that out? You find it in the Bible.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.