Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Gay student gets Christian campus club suspended at SUNY Buffalo

From Christian Post.

Full text:

The State University of New York-Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) is looking into allegations that a Christian campus group is in violation of school policy and the law by requiring its leaders to sign a faith-based statement.

This week’s investigation by a committee of the Student Association comes after sophomore Steven Jackson stepped down from a leadership position with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship over differing views on sexuality.

JoAnna Datz, president of the Student Association at SUNY Buffalo, told The Christian Post Wednesday that “the [investigative] committee has been meeting and collecting objective information, reviewing the Student Association Constitution, clubs documents, and just collecting information.”

She said there is a lot of information that the senators need to be educated on regarding what happened between Jackson and the club.

On Friday, the university’s newspaper, The Spectrum, reported on a letter sent to InterVarsity’s executive board informing the group of its suspension. It stated: “All peripheral privileges afforded to Student Association clubs are revoked for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship until further notice.”

[...]Jackson served as InterVarsity’s treasurer and is openly gay.

Datz told The Christian Post that when a club is formed at SUNY Buffalo their constitution is reviewed before they can become recognized. So originally InterVarsity’s constitution was approved. But if they made any changes since its inception, none of those have been reviewed by the SA. It wasn’t until last year, Datz said, that a rule was put in place that any changes to club constitutions must be reviewed.

The investigation committee will be looking over InterVarsity’s constitution. The campus group requires leaders to be in agreement with its doctrinal statement, purpose statement, and living a life of Christian integrity. Membership, however, is open to all.

The requirement that leaders sign a certain set of beliefs is at the heart of the controversy. Datz said this week they have also been debating the differences between membership and leadership in this particular case.

Jim Lundgren, director of Collegiate Ministries for Intervarsity, stressed to The Christian Post that the organization does not discriminate based on sexual orientation. In Jackson’s case, however, “he decided to pursue a sexually active homosexual relationship” and InterVarsity doesn’t affirm a sexually active relationship outside of marriage.

SA’s executive board is expected to make a decision this coming Sunday at their meeting.

If InterVarsity is found to be in violation of antidiscrimination policies, Datz said the senate could choose to derecognize them as a club, take away their funding or require that they change their constitution.

But now I turn to the underlying problem.

Some Christians don’t think there is a problem with that

The Biblical standard is no sex before or outside of marriage and marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. In general, even divorce isn’t permitted. That’s what Christians believe about sex. So what happens when someone who doesn’t believe that wants to join a Christian organization in a leadership capacity?

Christians are not being mean when they exclude a person from an assembly of Christians because of a public, unrepented, sinful lifestyle.

Look at 1 Cor 5:

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.

2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?

3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.

4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?

7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 

10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 

11But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 

13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

So, this might be a surprise to many of you, but there is actually a lot of support for the idea of shunning someone who claims to be a Christian, yet who openly commits to a lifestyle that opposes the Bible’s moral standards. 1 Cor 5 actuallysays that it is ok to get along with non-Christian sinners, and not OK to get along with people who claim to be Christians but who are in some serious sinful situation that they are not sorry about at all. I think it’s a great idea to be friends with people who are non-Christian, and to treat them nicely, so long as they know that we disagree with them on certain issues and they are OK with letting us do that. Everyone sins – but Christians shouldn’t sin unrepentantly and repeatedly and then try to justify it as consistent with Christianity. But non-Christians are exempt from Christian moral rules, obviously.

What annoys me is when nice “Christians” try to make me feel guilty for taking the Bible seriously on sexual morality. Just because you want to think of yourself as “nice” according to the standards of the age, and you want non-Christians to like you and ask you out with them to movies, it doesn’t mean that suddenly it has become OK to redefine the Bible to mean what you want it to mean. Those rules are there for a reason, and your job is to adapt your views and defend them. You aren’t in charge.

The problem is that Christianity has been redefined so that people in the Church now think that their job is to sing happy songs, feel good, and then go out into the world telling everyone that the Bible has nothing at all to say about right and wrong. Instead of telling people “you are free to do what you like, but doing X is not wise or moral”, now we say “whatever you want to do is fine with me, as long as you feel good”. We want to be liked by men more than we want to be liked by God.

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Should Christians divorce their faith from public square issues?

I have had major problems with IVCF and Campus Crusade as an undergraduate student (IVCF) then as a graduate student (Crusade). Basically, they are totally driven by numbers and refuse to say or do anything that isn’t centered on privatized fideism. They refused to learn apologetics, take positions on economics or politics, or even to discuss the moral questions being discussed in the broader society – for fear of “offending” people. They do this because they think that being saved can be divorced from personal morality as well as engagement with society as a whole. Their focus is on “belief”, not on study, growth or practice. Whatever you believe about abortion, gay rights, environmentalism and socialism is totally fine with them, because Christianity has nothing to say about those kinds of issues.

Scott Klusendorf at the Life Training Institute assesses Campus Crusade for Christ’s decision to rename themselves “CRU”.

Excerpt:

Well, at Cal Poly SLO in May of 2008, the response of Christians to the abortion controversy did in fact turn-off at least one non-Christian, but not for reasons campus fellowship groups might expect. The ASB student leader responsible for organizing an abortion debate at that campus expressed her dismay that Campus Crusade would not attend the event or get behind promoting it with its members.

She asked me directly why I thought that was so. She thought for sure the Christians would show up and she was puzzled that they didn’t. Their refusal to get involved turned her off.

I didn’t know what to tell her. Perhaps CC had good reasons for not attending and I hold out hope it did, though it’s hard for me to imagine what those reasons might be. I suspect she is not the only secular student puzzled by CC’s non-involvement.

Indeed, according to a 2005 TIME Magazine piece, the overall trend is not encouraging. Instead of equipping students to confront the thought structures that determine culture in the first place, many of these groups help students nurture a very private and personal faith, a faith separate from the intellectual climate of the university. The TIME article states:

“But all the groups tend to go about their business quietly. “They kind of operate under the surface,” McKaig says. Josh Sanburn, editor in chief of the Indiana Daily Student, notes that the number of students in the fellowships is roughly the same as the school’s African-American student population, but unlike the Christians, “the black students on this campus are very good about making sure they’re heard.” Evangelical students, however, see their spiritual mission differently. Says sophomore CSF member Emily Hoefling: “We usually believe what affects people more than a newspaper article is to see people living Christian lives.”

Question: Since when does “living Christian lives” mean checking out of the real action on campus?

I fear that the message to Christian students and the campus at large couldn’t be clearer: Christianity is not relevant to the most pressing issues of our day. It’s fine as a personal life enhancement, but irrelevant to the real world of ideas, politics, morality, and law where the rest of the world lives.

Again, is that a good witness for Christ? As Charles Malik pointed out half a century ago, “If you win the whole world [for Christ] and lose the mind of the world, you will soon discover that you have not won the world.”

As I’ve said before, Christian leaders have it all wrong. My own experience suggests that far from turning people off, a persuasive pro-life case, graciously communicated, suggests to non-believers that maybe, just maybe, the Christian worldview has something relevant to say to the key issues of our day. But when we fail to even put in an appearance at key debates, the message to non-Christians is that we simply don’t care about the big stuff.

Including the biggest issue of all, “Christ?”

This reminds me of an article I found on Life News about Michele Bachmann.

Excerpt:

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is one of the several pro-life advocates seeking the Republican nomination to face pro-abortion President Barack Obama and she cites Christian writer Francis Schaeffer as an influence on her pro-life views.

In a campaign stop to speak to local residents at a church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Bachmann shared her testimony and talked about the Christian faith she and her husband share. That faith, which has matured thanks to the writings of Schaeffer, has led Bachman to a pro-life view that has seen her compile a 100% pro-life voting record in Congress and adopt dozens of foster children.

“One thing that Dr. Schaeffer said is that [God is] not just the God of theology. He’s not just the God of the Bible,” Bachmann said, according to the Des Moines Register. “Since he is the Creator God, he’s the father of biology, sociology, of political science, of you name the subject. … And that altered our way of thinking, that God had something to say about our career.”

“Francis Schaeffer also said that life is the watershed issue of our time, and how we come down on how we view human life will impact all other issues,” she said. “And so Marcus and I decided we didn’t want to be pro-life only, just as speaking… We wanted to live a life of being about pro-life.”

The Register indicates Bachmann told the audience that, upon the encouragement to put her pro-life views into action, she and her husband began counseling and praying with single mothers and helping them get to pregnancy and adoption centers to provide further practical support instead of abortion.

One of the reasons why I started this blog is because of my experiences with the campus clubs when I was a student. In many cases, you would not find a dime’s worth of difference between the worldviews of secular leftists and these campus club organizations, at least in my experience. The ones I belonged to were thoroughly compromised by postmodernism, relativism, leftism and anti-intellectualism. They blocked me from introducing apologetics and debates every step of the way, for fear of “offending” people. I will never forget the empty-headed people who proclaimed themselves “Christian communists” or the ones who explained to me how blind faith was more genuine than rational faith, or the science student who told me that Christianity and science were completely separate, etc. Every week it was another testimony or a prayer walk. Never would they even let a scholar come in to talk about the evidence for the resurrection.

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