SFT UPDATE 1: If you missed the article “Northwest Nazarene: Symbol Of What’s Wrong In Our Christian Schools”, you can download the issue now from the InterMountain Christian News site, as well as subscribe to this fine Christian newspaper published by Rev. Anthony Harper, which serves Idaho and several other states in that region. (Dr. Mark Maddix, Dean of The School of Theology, was offered the opportunity to respond to my article and an article by Matt Slick, but he declined.) I will be doing a profile in the future about several Christian publishers who are trying to hold the line on the truth of scripture, even as others are compromising. For Dr. Harper’s interview on 94.1 The Voice radio, click here, where he discusses his ministry and also the emergent church problem.
UPDATE 2: Click here -> to Sign The Petition For Nazarenes to Return To Solid Biblical Publications of NPH, Barefoot Ministries, and The House Studio.
Update On The Homosexuality Controversy At Point Loma
Last week’s post (Homosexuality At Point Loma Nazarene University) drew more attention that any other in my two years on this blog, more than double the daily average, over 1,000 daily for four days. I was not surprised, because of the nature of the story. However, do not also be surprised to see this type of situation revealed at other Nazarene institutions soon, and perhaps within certain Nazarene churches.
Since last Friday’s post, some things have happened at Point Loma. All God’s Children, an LGBT discussion group (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) will no longer be meeting at the San Diego First Church located on the campus of Point Loma. See the student news article here: http://blogs.pointloma.edu/thepointweekly/2011/03/28/all-gods-children-disinvited-from-san-diego-first-church/. The change was made at the request of District Superintendent John Denney. However, the group, led by Professor Phil Bowles of Point Loma, and his wife, who is also a professor at the school, will be meeting again to decide how to go forward. Since the official statements are very long in totality, you can read them all at this link: Responses By Point Loma On The Homosexual Controversy.
The matter of the young student chaplain who is at the center of this issue is unclear. As he stated at the meeting of the group, “THIS IS MY PROCLAMATION: I AM GAY. I AM CHRISTIAN. AND I WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE IN THAT MANNER.”
So it remains to be seen what will happen in the long run, but I pray that this young man will be able to be counseled wisely from a solid biblical perspective, and come to fully realize that his lifestyle is not only destructive in the long run, but that it is clearly disobedience to God. It does not appear that he and others on the campus have been given the best opportunity to see the truth and repent from something which they wrongly believe to be compatible with scripture. Instead, it seems that this group was not formed for anything but a support group to encourage GLBT “Christians” to remain in their unrepentant lifestyles.
My concern about this story is that perhaps it might serve to distract us from the most critical problem in the church, of which this is only one of the symptoms, and if it goes away completely, it is only a tiny part of the big picture. More on that “most critical problem” in a later post. In the meantime, some questions to ponder:
- Why was this action only done now, since this group has been active for over two years? Was the impetus mainly because of the publicity?
- Why have at least three Nazarene professors been allowed to give their support and encouragement to such a group when it clearly has an agenda that runs contrary to biblical and Nazarene teaching?
- Will these professors clarify with a public statement their specific beliefs about homosexuality, and whether they agree fully with the official Nazarene position, and more importantly, with the Biblical position? If they publicly affirm traditional biblical teaching on this, refer back to question #2.
- Since the student chaplain, elected by his fellow students, has stated publicly his intention to live in a manner contrary to biblical doctrine, should he remain as student chaplain, and should any student be appointed to such a position if he or she states a position that is contrary to scripture?
- How much of an effort will the university now make, to ensure that students struggling with homosexuality and other sins, are given the wisest biblical counsel on how to overcome their sin? Why don’t we stop having a “conversation” about this sin, and let’s start confronting the sin instead.
- Has biblical discernment been thrown to the winds? Is this just another game of “let’s always be nice to each other” without hurting anyone’s feelings, and is that a true biblical concept at all times?
These are just a few questions. It remains to be seen whether these new developments signal that a true change is coming, or whether this only happened because someone’s hand got caught in the cookie jar. I cannot help but be a little cynical, although the leadership did the right thing here and canceled the group meetings. It should have happened a long time ago, in my opinion. Is it enough? We will see.
Finally, here is an apt observation by a friend after he read the official statements:
“We don’t talk about adultery as being “complex” and part of our “faith journey” nor should we. We don’t talk about pedophiles as being yet another “minority group” struggling with their “identity” nor should we. We don’t talk about premarital sex (fornication – an unpopular word in our present day) as being a “difficult” issue in need of understanding and openness, nor should we.
So why have we taken this particular issue of homosexuality and implicitly elevated it to some different level of acceptability by putting it on the pedestal of “open dialogue” and community debate??
This is the real problem lying just under the surface of this controversy. The other stuff is merely a symptom of what I view as an epistemological cancer running through the bloodstream of evangelical Christianity in our present day.”
I could not agree more. I urge all Nazarenes concerned about this school and many of the others, to continue asking questions, including asking their favorite Christian school to provide clarity about what they believe in words, and then see if what they say matches what they do.