What’s Missing Here?

by John Henderson  Dr. Gran’Pa)

The following article appeared in the Church of the Nazarene’s official organ, “Holiness Today:”[1]

Note: SoulForce just recently visited Trevecca Nazarene University on March 11 and March 12, 2012, for an afternoon of discussion, fellowship and learning.  It was open only to Trevecca faculty and students.  No reports of the meetings are available at the moment.

Soulforce is scheduled to visit Southern Nazarene University on March 26, 2012

Gay-rights activists target MNU; university responds by respectfully sharing its message

Olathe, Kansas: During a day and a half of meetings with a group of gay-rights activists traveling the country to battle discrimination on college campuses, MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) accomplished its goal of communicating the love of Christ to its visitors without approving of the lifestyle they have chosen.  Soulforce, a national gay-rights organization, initiated a program last spring called Equality Ride in which young adults travel by bus to Christian campuses to confront administrators, faculty, and students with policies and practices that Soulforce considers to be discriminatory against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.

Soulforce Equality Ride was not invited to the campuses, but did give prior notice that they were coming. This year MNU and Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) are among the Christian universities targeted by the organization. The Ride is scheduled to visit NNU on April 13.

Many targeted colleges ban the activists from campus, and in most cases, the Riders have been arrested for trespassing on campus property. Before arriving at MNU on March 15, the Riders were arrested at the University of Notre Dame and Wisconsin Lutheran University.

In contrast, MidAmerica chose to welcome the activists, hosting them for a dinner with student leaders on Thursday night and six classroom presentations on Friday.

“We viewed this as an opportunity to listen to where they’re coming from and share the love of God with them,” said April Hansen, MNU’s director of public information and on-site coordinator for the visit. “We disagree, but there’s no reason to be afraid to talk to each other, to dialogue, and express Christ’s love, even in our disagreement.”

At an exit meeting, several Equality Riders expressed their appreciation for the kindness and openness with which they had been received by members of the university. One Rider tearfully expressed her thanks.

“When you told us you were offering Christ’s love to us and that you wanted to listen to us, we kept waiting for you to say, `but¿.’ and then share your condemnation,” the Rider said. “You didn’t do that. Thank you.”

For some of the Riders, it was their first experience with Christians being willing to love and listen to them.

“[The Riders] expressed how life-changing this has been,” Hansen said. “Those comments were very affirming and meaningful to all of us who helped plan the university’s approach to the visit.”

MNU President Ed Robinson said the visit and the campus’ preparations actually strengthened MNU’s commitment to its policy on homosexuality.

“Our position on the prohibition of homosexual behaviors from biblical and theological foundations was strengthened in the hearts and minds of the administration and, more importantly, students,” Robinson said in an e-mail report to MNU’s Board of Trustees. “You would be very proud of their spiritual discernment. The preparation we invested in students was beneficial and yielded the outcomes we intended.”

One of the Equality Riders wrote in his blog after the visit, “I know many, if not most, of the students differ with us in their views on homosexuality, but we were able to share fellowship. They truly modeled a Christlike response.”

MNU wishes to express its gratitude for the prayers offered around the world by churches and constituents during the visit. Most of all, thanks be to God!

[So… What Is Missing Here?]

On the surface, this would appear to be something that Jesus might do, but it stops short of what the Master would have actually done and has so demonstrated in the Scriptures.  Where they stopped short is what is missing, but apparently that was their goal as stated in the article: “‘The preparation we invested in students was beneficial and yielded the outcomes we intended.’”   Their intended outcome is clearly defined in the article:

“…communicating the love of Christ to its visitors without approving of the lifestyle they have chosen.”

“…to listen to where they’re coming from and share the love of God with them.”

“…to talk to each other, to dialogue, and express Christ’s love, even in our disagreement.”

To strengthen “MNU’s commitment to its policy on homosexuality…” their “… position on the prohibition of homosexual behaviors from biblical and theological foundations.”

The Board of General Superintendents recently issued a statement that essentially affirms a denominational position on the concept that while homosexual “orientation” is “amoral,” it is not the same as immoral homosexual behavior.

“Sexual orientation is not usually a willful choice. … It is amoral, neither moral nor immoral. Scripture clearly … does not address homosexual orientation. … the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene and the official statement of the Board of General Superintendents make a clear distinction between behavior and orientation. One is sinful, the other is not.”

[NOTE:  The Bible makes no such distinction between “orientation” and “behavior.”  It rather says that behavior emits from “orientation’—out of the wickedness of the heart.]

That error in logic and biblical doctrine has been addressed sufficiently by many who see it as the unscriptural compromise that it is, so I will move on with this matter at hand while keeping in mind that position by the General Superintendents as contributing to this response.

The important question about this incident is, “What is missing?”  They expressed Christ’s “love.”  What love?  Was it the love of God who gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish?  That was not mentioned.  Was there a call to repentance, to accept Christ as personal Savior?  That was not mentioned in the article as well as there was no mention of prayer at all.

The missing essential element was not brought up at all. Instead, we see something akin to the message of television’s “Touched by an Angel” that requires no repentance but rather tells sinners that God still loves you; or a Mr. Rogers approach that says, “God loves you just the way you are.”  Well, of course He does but He loves us enough to save us and has shown us the way through His Son as told to us in the Bible.  He will save us FROM our sins, not in them.  He loves us more than we can love or understand but He commands repentance:

2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Acts 17:29-31: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

The only response to all of that effort was someone’s tearfully telling a Nazarene host his or her appreciation for the non-condemning hosting.  What a squandered opportunity to win that soul to Christ!  He or she went away thinking that Nazarenes support them in their sin and the Nazarene went away empty handed.

I can go only on what I have read in this article, but the thought that comes to mind is a verse from the Bible:

James 4:4: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

If that encounter amounted to no more than being pals and no personal evangelism, I would say that the verse applies to tragic proportions.

John Henderson

[1] http://holinesstoday.org/nphweb/html/ht/article.jsp?id=300

7 responses to “What’s Missing Here?

  1. The gay task force was waiting for the “but…”. That never came, and unfortunately they left feeling their sin was acceptable. What happened to “Yes, we love you, Jesus loves you, Now go with our blessing and sin no more.”

    I cannot substantiate this, but I believe that the CotN and its affiliated campuses, is being targeted because it is being perceived throughout the gay alliance that the Church of the Nazarene is becoming soft on homosexuality. I wonder if Soulforce has visited Bob Jones University or Christ for the Nations? I do know for a fact that the bible college and seminary is churning out a different caliber of pastor than they were even 15 years ago. When I was at NBC in 1991-1993, there was a professor who only lasted one year who had the Pink Triangle of gay rights on his office door.

    My eyes are more open now, and I will say this. I can actually visualize a time coming very soon when it will be more of an embarrassment than an honor to be joined with the Church of the Nazarene. It is very, very sad that we have even approached this level of what we are discussing. No way was this on the radar when I joined with and was ordained by what once was a bastion and the standard of holiness.

    We have digressed and digression grieves God.

  2. Excellent thoughts John!!

    It should be noted that this particular trip took place in 2007.

    HOWEVER……if you go to their current link, you will see that SoulForce just finished reaching their goal of dialogue with TNU a few days ago. The map of the targeted schools can be found by scrolling down the page on this link. Notice that NNU is being targeted soon.

  3. Here is a link that provides some details from TNU as how they had planned to interact with SoulForce.

    Carver Bible College DID NOT allow SoulForce to bring their agenda onto their campus according to this pro-LGBT report:
    “Last week in Atlanta, the group encountered resistance from Carver Bible College when trying to establish a dialogue on their campus.” (end of quote)

    And THIS REPORT from the SoulForce blog states:

    “We came to Carver with hope that they would let us onto their property, that they would allow us to attend chapel and worship with them and then later come together and discuss what it is like to be a member of the transgender, lesbian, bisexual, gay or queer community on their campus.”

    “Instead of allowing us to have this conversation with their students, Carver made the decision to close their chapel doors and their schools gates to us. We were forced to stay on the sidewalk outside, where our only way of communicating with the students at all was through singing together and holding up signs as the students watched us through the windows of their chapel.” (end of quote)

    I believe Carver Bible College did the right thing in NOT allowing the SoulForce “Equality Ride” people onto their campus.

    No where in scripture will you find a reference that indicates that this lifestyle is to be endorsed, normalized, or tolerated.
    But you will find a tragic account where the sodomites tried to force their way into Lot’s house to get to his guests.

    It appears that their identifying use of the word “Force” is typical of their M.O. throughout history.

    And in closing, it is good to reflect on this scripture that states:

    2Cr 6:14-15
    Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
    Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

    So is it biblical to worship with SoulForce??

  4. Actually, the question should be stated:

    Is it biblical to worship/fellowship with SoulForce Equality Ride??

  5. The leaders at our Universities that have or who are yet to allow Soulforce on campus should have in my estimation looked a little closer at their mission: “Soulforce is committed to freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people from religious and political oppression through relentless nonviolent resistance.” From their mission statement it would appear that Soulforce came with the intention of converting not to be converted. They already know what the church stands for, so there was never any need to come except to convert the church.

  6. Wikipedia lists them this way: “Soulforce is an American social justice and civil rights organization that supports acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people through dialogue and creative forms of nonviolent direct action. Soulforce is inspired by the principles of relentless nonviolent resistance as taught and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.”

    The organization’s Executive Director is Rev. Cindi Love. Love has two children from her first marriage. In 2005 she married Sue Jennings in Canada after the country introduced legislation permitting same-sex marriages. They later announced plans to marry under Californian law at a ceremony to be conducted in Los Angeles on June 24, 2008.

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