Turning the CRC Into an Lgbtq+ Ally

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On Thursday evening, November 8, I attended an event at Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event was hosted by All One Body (A1B). A1B is an organized, highly-motivated group of CRC members, pastors, and office-bearers whose stated goal is to transform the CRC into a denomination that fully accepts and celebrates the values of the LGBTQ+ movement. A1B wants the CRC to normalize and celebrate homosexual activity, bisexual activity, and transgender identity in a fully-inclusive environment.

A Full Parking Lot

I had never been to Sherman Street CRC before. When I arrived at the church, night had fully arrived and even though it was only 7:45 in the evening, the parking lot was full. I drove around the building, but there were so many vehicles that many people had already invented parking spots where no legitimate space existed. This was a popular event! Just then, by luck or Providence (probably the latter) another vehicle pulled away, leaving an open parking spot in the first row. I took it.

The sanctuary of the church was packed with 200 or more people. As the event had already begun, I quietly took a seat about half-way up, on the left side of the sanctuary. As the evening went on, it became clear that everyone in attendance, save me and one other, were enthusiastic supporters of the agenda.

The main speaker for this event was Jim Lucas, a former CRC minister who currently works with the United Church of Christ (UCC), a denomination that already affirms the beliefs & ideas of the LGBTQ+ movement. After Jim Lucas spoke, 5 other people with connections to the CRC (a board member of A1B, a CRC pastor's wife, a CRC pastor who is not currently serving in a pastor’s role, a retired Christian school teacher, and a former CRC member who is now a UCC chaplain) were brought up on stage to join in a discussion that focused mainly on the best strategy for turning the CRC into a denomination that celebrates the values of the homosexual and transgender ideology.

What was that strategy?

The Inevitable Future, Personal Stories, and Hitting Close To Home

One of the speakers made an assertion that, I’m disappointed to say, I agree with. He stated that the current crop of young people in society at large and in the CRC in general, are completely on board with the idea that homosexual behavior is something to celebrate. He stated that it is merely a matter of time until the defenses of the CRC and other denominations like her crumble against the persistent battery of the LGBTQ+ movement. But where I am saddened by such a thought, the speaker was delighted. The problem for the speaker is that he, and most everyone who believes as he does, is not patient enough to wait for a new generation of leaders to rise up, friendly to the demands for inclusion, acceptance, and celebration. They want things to move much more quickly.

To this end, one of the board members of A1B gave the audience a piece of advice: Do not use Scripture to convince your fellow CRC members of the beauty of full inclusion. Instead, rely on personal stories. “Everyone has a story,” she said. “We can argue back and forth all day about Scripture, but we’re never going to win that way. Nobody can argue with your story.”

Another member of the panel shared the focal point of this “personal story” strategy. He said it is all about convincing people, through stories about real people who have embraced the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender lifestyle, that such people bear healthier fruit than those who are non-inclusive. Whereas the panel referred to “the old teachings of the church” as “toxic," A1B wants the CRC as a whole to accept the new teachings of full-inclusion, yielding good fruit.

The panel members made it clear that the relative health and goodness of the fruit is completely dependent on how a person feels about himself, herself, zheself (or whatever gender pronoun the person identifies with). When the church tells people that their preferred lifestyle is sinful and destructive, people will feel very bad about it. But if the church will affirm everyone’s lifestyle choice, those people will feel wonderful. That is good fruit!

According to the panel members, the power of personal stories is magnified immensely when the LGBTQ+ lifestyle hits close to home. A son, daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew, or child of a close friend who personally claims one of the letters in the LGBTQ+ movement is enough to break down even the strongest defenses. The people on stage at Sherman Street CRC were emphatic about the need to use real-life, personal examples to win people over.

And that brings us to the final strategy presented by A1B for bringing the CRC into the fold of full inclusion. The one that weaves together all the other chords, making one final, unbreakable strand.

The “Judicial” Strategy

The panel members recognized that the “legislative” approach of sending an overture to Synod was not likely to turn the CRC into an all-inclusive ally of the LGBTQ+ promoters. They also exhibited pessimism that the 2021 Synodical report on human sexuality will move the CRC closer to their desired outcome. Because of this, the panel revealed their preference for a strategy of using “judicial” rulings similar to the way the secular activists won their case at the United States Supreme Court with Obergefell.

A1B’s plan to transform the CRC will proceed as follows. They will identify a current CRC pastor who is sympathetic to their cause, who is willing to perform a homosexual “wedding” ceremony. Or taking another route, they will find a CRC congregation that is willing to elect an elder or deacon who is openly and proudly living in a homosexual partnership. Inevitably, this will cause a firestorm of protest in the CRC. Complaints will be filed. Debate will ensue. The Banner will publish articles both for and against. The great brouhaha will eventually make its way to Synod.

And the hope on the part of A1B is that Synodical delegates will embrace the path of least resistance and rule in favor of the pastor, or the church, or the office bearer. Synod might decide, as it has done with other controversial topics, that the LGBTQ+ question is a matter for each local church council to decide. Or, if the personal story of the individual involved is especially powerful, Synod may embrace empathy as the path toward inclusion. Perhaps a desire to prove the CRC’s relevancy credentials will convince Synod to “get with the times."

Whatever reasoning Synod uses, the panel members representing A1B were in agreement (and the audience was too) that the “judicial” plan presented their best path to victory. And I would say the mood in the room was cautiously optimistic that such a plan will eventually succeed in turning the CRC into the UCC.

Will it succeed? I suppose that is up to you…

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Community Builder

Thanks for the answers Laura.  Let me push back on them a bit.

If the "bi" of bisexual has any meaning, even if less than a 50-50 meaning so to speak, you still claim as your reason that bisexuals should be required to marry heterosexually because they should not have the burden of telling a same sex person which whom they have "fallen in love" that they can reciprocate but have to find a heterosexual person to fall in love with instead.  So how is that burden greater than that of a heterosexual person who "falls in love" with someone of the opposite sex but who isn't "eligible," (whether because that person is biologically related, or already married, or hasn't reciprocated in "falling in love," etc).  In fact, lots of hetereosexual people "fall in love" but can't act on it (some wanting to marry all their lives but never being able).  Assuming the injustice of relative burden is meaningful, I'm not understanding how that injustice is at all unique for bi-sexual people as opposed to some heterosexual people.

As to the "monogamy question," while you may not know of people saying they knew at ages 5, 8 or 10, there may well exist (high schools are full of "two-timers," evidencing those inclinations at early ages), but even if not, there are adult people who declare they have a irresistible desire to marry -- or just have sexually imtimate lives -- with more than one spouse (or partner).   And I've seen "Christian married couples" who describe themselves as "needing" an open marriage (not polyamorous but in many respects the same).  Isn't is burdensome to all of these people  for the church to deny them the polyamorous or open relationship they say they want and need?

I realize you, and perhaps A1B, may just want to talk about some things and not others, but those CRCers who believe scripture speaks rather clearly about prohibiting gay marriage also think it critically important what justification is used by gay marriage advocates.  If the, or a, key pro-gay marriage argument is "burden," then we believe there can be no constraint at all on human sexual behavior.  To add another example/category, people who have a bestiality fettish (and there are lots of those too even if they might rarely "come out of the closet") are also clearly burdened by cultural/religious constraints against their inclination.  The list could go on.

How would you or A1B respond to these concerns?  They aren't slippery slope concerns but rather concerns that the gate is swung completely open if the, or a, key argument is about unjust burden.

When we talk about lifelong celibacy, it's important to distinguish between circumstantial celibacy (anyone, gay or straight, who never finds a partner, but would like to for example) and the calling to be celibate, such as those in the priesthood or anyone who feels called by God to be celibate.  If the church imposes celibacy on all LGBT persons simply for being born LGBT and no other reason, that is a burden very different than examples of people who 'happen' to be celibate for circumstantial reasons.  I know I would live my life very differently if I lived with the idea that I might meet someone someday, vs being told I never could. Of course there are individual cases where people have heavy burdens to bear because of life circumstances, but that is different than classifying a whole group of people into the 'celibate' group simply because of how they were created. In that case, the church itself is the one placing the burden.  

When it comes to other 'relationships' (again, I hope it is noted that every time the LGBT topic comes up, someone always brings up polyamory, bestiality, pedophelia, etc. and it gets tiresome and I won't spend a lot of time on this, it's been done before). What Jim talked about at this event was the flourishing of people in their relationships and also in their faith, and the fruit that comes from it.  He talked about shalom. When LGBT people are in relationships they flourish the same way that straight people do and in the same conditions. LGBT people are the same as straight people in their need for relational connection. 

If you are making the claim that polyamory, bestiality, etc brings flourishing, then it is up to you to show that is the case.  I don't think it's difficult to make the distinction between momentary or fleeting feelings of 'feeling good' vs long term, lasting peace and wellness. (I should also add that sexual identity and fetish are very different things, this is frankly insulting to our LGBT members to compare them.  I hesitate to even engage with this line of comparison.)

Why is same sex marriage the issue that 'opens the gate' to all other issues?  Why not divorce, or birth control, or men/women's role in the church/family, etc.  Christians are able to disagree on these topics and this is 'allowed.' What is different about this issue?  Saying the Bible is clear on this issue but not the others doesn't hold up for me, as has been pointed out before there are many people who don't think the Bible is clear on this issue.

I see this argument all the time but doesn't it make sense to take each topic individually as it comes?  History shows we have these same concerns every time an issue is contentious.

 

Community Builder

Laura: Again, I appreciate the replies, but it seems to me you aren't quite meeting my objections.

Your prior response based its argument on the injustice of burden, including in the case of bisexuals who may be simply burdened with the reduction of a numeric field from which they can choose their mates.  In your most recent answer you say the burden for LGBTers is different because "I know I would live my life very differently if I lived with the idea that I might meet someone someday, vs being told I never could."  Well, bi-sexuals, even those "less than 50/50," might meet a heterosexual mate someday, not?  In that way they are no different than heterosexuals, except perhaps numerically.  The bottom line is you are confirming you are relying on an "injustice of burden" argument.

And when gay marriage advocates (A1B and others) make an injustice of burden argument, they themselves, not the other side, open the door for comparison to polyamory, swinging, bestiality and the like, because the injustice of burden argument applies to those who favor those other practices.

In other words, I'm suggesting that gay marriage advocates (A1B and others) need to drop the injustice of burden argument if they don't want to invite the other side to legitimately compare to polyamory, swinging, bestiality and the like.  The comparison is argumentatively appropriate so a posited injustice of burden argument.

To say this another way: You ask, "Why is same sex marriage the issue that 'opens the gate' to all other issues?"  The answer is because same sex advocates use arguments that in fact "opens the gate" to all other issues.  Again, same sex advocates need to drop arguments like the "burden argument" if they don't want to "open that gate."

To draw that out, if same sex marriage advocates would defend their position based only on scriptural exegesis, then a counter argument that says "what about polyamory, swinging and bestiality" would in fact be argumentatively  "out of order."  It doesn't mean there wouldn't still be an argument to be had, but the argument would be based on scriptural exegesis, not on relative burden.

I think I understand why same sex marriage advocates might choose to posit a multiplicity of arguments for their position.  They probably think it is more effective if you posit more arguments.  After all, who knows which arguments will be convincing to whom?  But the downside of positing some of those arguments is that the argument in fact "opens the gate."  

Hey, if A1B can convince me that gay marriage is consistent with what scripture has to say about marriage, A1B will in fact persuade me to come over to its side on this.  But if A1B attempts to convince me that gay marriage should not be prohibited (by the church) because of the injustice of burden thereby imposed on LGBT persons, then I will bring up questions about polyamory, swinging, bestiality and the like because those are practices that would also be defended by the "injustice of the burden" argument.

I'm not 'meeting your objections' likely because we are coming from very different presuppositions. You are giving examples of chosen behavior which is not the same thing as identity.  There is no evidence or research showing that polyamory, swinging, bestiality, and the like are part of a person's born identity, that is why I said they are not good comparisons.  LGBT persons who seek out relationships are doing so for the same reasons straight people do, not because it's a 'practice they favor' any more than a straight person seeking a relationship is a 'practice they favor.'

The burden on the bisexual person is not that they don't statistically have the same chance of meeting someone, it's that if they do want to marry a same sex person they're prohibited from that.  Forced celibacy.

I've been in the CRC for 40 years and I keep hearing these same 'slippery slope,' 'open the gate' arguments' every single time an issue of Biblical interpretation comes up.

All1Body (and others, like Wolterstorff, Justin Lee, Dr. Gushee, Gay Christian Network, etc. ) have provided detailed arguments, books, speeches, etc. explaining why they think same sex marriage is consistent with scripture and I won't reiterate all of that here.  If you don't find their reasoning effective I'm not going to tell you anything that would change your mind.

There is likely a 'multiplicity of arguments' because there is more than one reason to advocate for same sex marriage. 

Community Builder

OK Laura, I think our ability to converse about this has come to an end.  From my perspective, you want to make an argument based on unjust burden but without then having to defend the logical consequences of that argument, those consequences being that using that argument opens the gates to approving other sexual practices.

I do find it ironic that you conclude that "polyamory, swinging, bestiality and the like" are not "part of a person's born identity," and that "born identity" is a pre-requisite for approving non-heterosexual marriage/sex.  I suspect the "scientific conclusions" about the genetic predisposition for these other sexual inclinations are right around the corner; and certainly, there are no definitive studies I know of that say they are not. 

I also find it puzzling that you repeat the claim that if bisexuals are prohibited from marrying they have been subjected to "forced celibacy."  Relatively speaking, they simply aren't, at least if they are "50/50" bisexual.  Indeed, if they are, heterosexuals are burdened by the disadvantage because they only have half the options compared to bisexuals.

Thanks for the conversation, even if we have made little progress.  I've read quite a number of books and articles attempting to explain why sex sex marriage is consistent with scripture.  I'm frankly quite unpersuaded.  I was trying to explain, however, how using an additional argument (that of unjust burden) opens the door to responses SSM advocates don't like to deal with.  It would seem that SSM advocates will continue to push the unjust burden argument, in which case they will met by the not-inappropriate argument that other sexual practices would also be justified by the unjust burden argument.

Participant

Hi Doug,

I just thought I would clear up a misconception/error in your post, regarding Side A and Side B.

These two terms come from a now long-ago defunct website called Bridges Across the Divide.

Side A refers to "pro-gay theology." That is, that Scripture does not condemn monogamous same-sex relationships and that homosexual practise within those relationships is not sin. A1B would support Side A.

Side B refers not to bisexuality. No. Side B refers to same-sex attracted people who, perhaps like me, have spent many MANY years begging God to make them straight and the attractions never went away... but who still believe that Scripture is clear on this matter. A sexual activity outside a heterosexual marriage is sin. Scripture DOES INDEED condemn same-sex relationships and same-sex sexual activity.

As such, people who are same-sex attracted (SSA) and who claim Christ as Saviour are therefore called to celibacy. That is what "Side B" is.

I am same-sex attracted. Exclusively. But I believe gay sex is sin. I am personally Side B.

You and Laura refer to it being a burden. Sure it's a burden. I would love to have someone there to tell me he loves me and care for me. I would love to have a boyfriend. But I believe that would be sin. So I am single and celibate.

Laura states that might be too much of a burden for some. Well... that's the nature of living in a fallen world. We all have to pick up our cross and obey God's word. And God's word says that all sex outside a heterosexual marriage is sin. That's a burden. Absolutely. But to say it's too much a burden for SSA people... that that opens the door to saying that there is biblical grounds for Side A? No. We're all called to obey God's word no matter how hard it is... homosexual or heterosexual alike.

Doug, if this Side A or Side B thing still doesn't make sense, you can easily google the two terms. It's readliy available.

 

Community Builder

Thanks Joseph.  The "B" I was referring to was not "Side B" but the "B" in LGBT.

Adam, the call to lovingly engage the struggling sinner will always need a hearing in the church. Thanks for sounding it again. I can tell you that the church I serve has many dear saints who are unwavering in their commitment to orthodox sexual ethics and who are at the same time deeply concerned to love and shepherd those with same sex attraction. There are concrete instances of this in our midst I could point to. I don’t say this to promote our congregation in particular, only to witness to the reality of that for which you hope. In concurrence with what Eric said, most of this activity is the simple unsung faithfulness of the saints.

Dan, thanks for attending and reporting. I take the deepest solace in the promise that Christ will not fail to purify a bride for himself. May we pray fervently that the CRC would be a living member striving to be as beautiful a bride as can be for the glory of Christ her groom.

I think it is a mistake to scoff at the idea of story. We offer up selected Scripture passages as though we don’t recall it is a story—a larger picture of what it looks like to walk a journey of faith, to wrestle with our God who isn’t afraid of our laments, our questions, our anger, or of allowing us to live with unanswered questions this side of heaven. If God chose to reveal himself to us in and through stories of his people, doesn’t that indicate that our stories are powerful and viable? If the Israelites, the writers of the gospels, the apostles had not shared their stories, where would we be?

As it has been pointed out here, 2 Tim 3:16 says that “All Scripture is useful …” This includes the parts that are story, as well as the parts that you describe as a “blueprint.” I think what that means, however, is that we must live with the tension that sometimes story isn’t a clear blueprint. If we don’t place certain passages over another because all parts are God-breathed and useful, then the stories (and larger story) of the Bible are equally instructive and able to inform our understanding of the Bible. But how willing are we to embrace the idea that faith isn’t always about having the correct answers?

I think that God’s revealing himself to us through story also teaches us that people’s stories of faith continue to be important, and that we need to be willing to listen to each others’ stories (those that support our viewpoints, and those that don’t).

Unfortunately, the tone and language of this article suggests to me that the author did not go into this meeting with an attitude of gracious listening. Whether strategic or not, he employs an overall condescending satirical tone, repeated phrases that equate A1B’s “agenda” with the “values of the LGBTQ+ movement,” and language that pits one side against another using phrases like “win” and “victory.” Having been to a number of A1B events, I would describe the general posture as anything but militant and strategic. In fact, I have seen Christlike humility and self-sacrificial servanthood to a degree that is rare in the broader church. Anyone who has taken the time to understand this group would see that they love God, value Scripture, and affirm monogamous relationships, and that they are motivated by love. I would hope that someone who is truly trying to listen would make an effort to see that larger picture, rather than attend a single event in an attempt to write an already-biased one-off impression piece for his own strategic purposes.

If we are serious about listening to each other, I think the end result will be that we will be able to see that all of us—even when we find ourselves on opposite “sides”—love and serve the same Lord and Savior. Are we willing to make our love for Christ and his church our primary goal, rather than being right?

Participant

Question:

Jodi, you wrote "Anyone who has taken the time to understand this group would see that they love God, value Scripture, and affirm monogamous relationships, and that they are motivated by love."

How can those who do not affirm same-sex relationships still reach out in love?

I think often there are those in the CRC who are non-affirming but want to show love to those who are LGBTQ+ but (1) don't know how; (2) do it poorly; or (3) have attempted to do so but have been met with resistance on the part of LGBTQ+ folk in the church believing that there cannot be love without affirmation.

If it's #3 above, then there's an impasse that could never be crossed. I have personally seen all three of the above... and as I have shared above, I am personally same-sex attracted and "Side B" (i.e, hold the traditional view of Scripture that homosexual practice is contrary to Scripture)... so I have personally seen/experienced all three.

Joseph, I think that's a really good question. And not an easy one to answer--it's very complicated, for sure. The first part of my response is that you name 3 ways in which these relationships are difficult, and just one of those puts the onus on people who are homosexual and resistant, while the other two ways puts the onus on the rest of us. So, if we are being completely equal in our percentages, that means that 2/3 of the time, the problem comes with our inability (or refusal) to love well. I see this as the bigger problem.

The second part of my answer is this: for those whom I know who desire for the CRC to be affirming, and particularly those who are homosexual, they do not expect everyone to agree with them. They are simply grateful when people are willing to talk and listen, to have meaningful conversation about this topic. Their desire would not be that we all agree, but that we can together hold the tension that we all love and serve the same Lord. Approaching such conversations with openness by saying, "This is what I believe, but I'd like to hear your thoughts," goes a long way.

Jodi, 

What is gracious listening? Why is a story of the Bible on equal footing with a story of today? How is faith about answers? The word "monogamy" doesn't appear in the Bible, yet you use this term as to give it such weight. I believe your usage of the term has more of a 18th century Age of Enlightenment flavor to it.  And finally, your sentence " Anyone who has taken the time to understand this group would see that they love God, value Scripture, and affirm monogamous relationships, and that they are motivated by love." is loaded with sophistry. You draw many conclusions that are not necessarily there.

Brian, I would describe gracious listening as a posture in which we acknowledge that the person we disagree with has thought about and wrestled with the issue at least as much as we have. And also as being willing to enter a conversation with an openness and willingness to actually hear their viewpoint, rather than looking for fodder to use against them or support our own position.

I don't believe I suggested that our stories are on par with those in the Bible, simply that our stories are important.

When I used the word "monogamous," I was referring to the type of long-term committed marriage relationship that we hold as the hope and standard for those who are heterosexual.

As for the sentence you take issue with: I wrote it because I have taken the time to get to know what A1B is about, and I have found those things to be true. I didn't write the sentence simply because I thought it sounded good.

I think it's the taking time to hear each other that is so difficult--but I think it is key. I think perhaps the reason God gave us a Bible (a Word) that is sometimes unclear, is because he wants us to have a relationship with him. He wants us to take the time to get to know him. A list of rules does not invite relationship. But having to wrestle with the Scripture does. And that wrestling grows the relationship, produces faith. I think that's also true of our relationships with each other in the church--the wrestling isn't easy, but it grows the relationship and produces community. And it requires a lot of humility and graciousness from each of us. If we keep each other at a distance and approach these conversations with an attitude of looking for ways to poke holes in each other's theology, it is much easier to unfairly characterize "the other side" (as it seems the author of this article did with his attendance of a single A1B event and subsequent reporting of it). But if we take the time to listen graciously, community is produced--and I think then the agreement doesn't seem to matter as much.

Jodi,

Is homosexual behavior a sin? Christianity for millennia has said "yes". Settled theology and biology supports this traditional view. Now you and others are saying no. You develop a new hermeneutic with terminology like gracious listening(inferring that the opposition to A1B and similar voices is not nice) and monogamy(appears nowhere in the Bible). Who is ungracious in their listening?

What I find disingenuous about your whole argument is that Dan W reported the facts of the meeting and you are ascribing all kinds of feelings and attitudes to the author. He never editorializes in the article and yet you accuse him of "ungracious" listening. As a longtime CRC member he is concerned about events such as these( I assume that is why he went) with strategies such as this to undermine CRC tradition. In no way does he cast A1B in a bad light- they did that themselves.

Simply put, to Josh's point, its all about some members wanting the CRC to affirm the gay lifestyle. Listening, wrestling, lots of humility, a pound of gender-neutral monogamy, sprinkled with gracious , and stirred in with community makes for just the right CRC soup- for A1B. For most Christians, that soup would be overcooked and over-seasoned. You should graciously accept that. 

Jodi, fortunately you don't have to speculate about the author's attitude in attending the A1B meeting. Because I'm the author. No need for speculation.

8 - )

I attended the meeting with an attitude of 100% gracious listening. Just think about it...I took time out of my busy schedule to attend the event. I listened attentively for almost 2 hours. I even took notes...that's how closely I listened. I knew going into the event that the presenters agenda is to transform the CRC into what they call an "inclusive" denomination. I knew they probably would not allow any other perspectives to be presented. Yet I listened respectfully the entire time. Who is more gracious: the one who listens for 2 hours to ideas that he disagrees with, or the one who does not allow opposing viewpoints to be given?

Had the All One Body folks presented a convincing case using Scripture, they would have won me over. As Martin Luther said when he was commanded to change his ideology...if you can refute me from SCRIPTURE, I will be the first one to burn my books.

Well, if All One Body can convince me from Scripture, I will be the first one to go along with inclusiveness. But they cannot. They presented a false ideology of feelings, built on a quicksand foundation of personal stories.

I hope the CRC will be courageous enough to make the same statement Martin Luther did: HERE I STAND.

As somebody new to the Christian Reformed Church it is refreshing to see such an active group working together to be lovingly inclusive to this issue. The church I attended for over 35 years, a PCUSA church, is about to close it's doors because of a Minister we had hired to help grow the church. When the PCUSA made the decision to allow practicing homosexuals to become ordained ministers, he began to try to change the denomination we were a part of to a more conservative Presbyterian church. Needless to say he ruined the church I was a part of. People were leaving in masses. When I first joined the church there were over 750 members, when he came on  board there were about 500 members. When the presbytery removed him from the church we were down to about 100 members. So very sad to see such a vital church to the community closing. The were home to one of he largest food pantries in the ACCESS group of pantrys.

I pray that this goes well for your denomination. I couldn't understand how a religious body could have so much resentment towards any of God's children. God created all of us, I don't believe he makes mistakes and we need to be more tolerant and loving to everyone, not just those like us.

Thom

Community Builder

Gay marriage is NOT consistent with what scripture says about marriage.

God doesn't want us to be  happy; He wants us to be obedient.

When we are burdened by our circumstance -- whether it's same gender attraction, poverty, mental illness, debilitating illness -- that's when we turn to Christ who carries all our burdens. That's when we find our strength in Him. That's when God is enough.

Community Builder

I would like to enter this news release from The King's University in Edmonton Alberta.

FINAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 19, 2018 New Statement on Inclusion for The King’s University Edmonton-----The King’s University has a new Statement on Inclusion, recently passed by its Board of Governors, after more than a year of work and discussion by faculty, staff, students, and leadership. The statement provides clarity on King’s unique missional Christian role in Canada’s higher education scene. 

Simply stated:  Everyone is welcome here. 

“Our broader mission, which opens our doors to students from any background, is a key component to the missional work we are doing. We try to and I think succeed at creating a healthy place for Christian students from every denominational background to grow and be challenged, and for non-Christian students to be introduced to the hope of the gospel” says Tim Wood, CRC ordained King’s Campus Minister.

“This statement is important for all students as they learn to navigate diversity in ways that will serve them well both in class and upon graduation.,” says President Dr. Melanie Humphreys. “More importantly, the statement provides those underrepresented groups in our student population with the security to engage in their academic studies to the fullest of their abilities.”

“We believe that the role of a Christian university is to engage in discussions on important topics and challenging issues, not to take political or doctrinal positions,” says Board Chair Harry Kits. “We do not have an official institutional position on many issues, such as marriage, divorce, sexual orientation, politics, and the like.”

In the 1990s the strategy used in response to the rise of human rights commissions was to develop extensive statements defining institutional positions on any number of issues. There is a growing sense in Christian Higher Education across Canada that this strategy is no longer effective. The strategy we are employing is to define ourselves as a Christian university by our mission, our statement of faith, our curriculum, and our hiring of Christians.  With this clearly defined, we commit to be engaged, to stay at the table, and to create space for dialogue on issues for which there are significant disagreement.

 “We recognize that committed Christians within our community have a wide range of views on many of the important issues of the day,” Kits continues, “coming from deeply held beliefs and their own experiences. This is also true at King’s, where Christian faculty, staff, and students similarly hold a wide range of views on many issues, including LGTBQ2+ concerns. We welcome dialogue on all views.” 

Recent media stories, (including references to King’s historical experiences with respect to LGBTQ2+ persons) as well as the realities of our diverse community, highlighted the need for the University to have a clear statement on inclusion, in keeping with its Christian identity and its role as an academic institution. The Board of Governors, recognizing strongly divergent views in its supporting community and within the faculty, staff, and student body, affirmed the inclusion statement to bring clarity to the position of the University.  The King’s University Statement on Inclusion The King’s University (King’s) believes that all people are worthy of respect. Our faculty, staff, and Board of Governors are committed Christians and affirm Christ’s call to love others as we love ourselves. Held by this strong foundation, we consciously cultivate a safe, inclusive environment of mutual respect, where all may belong and flourish.

We are committed to equity of access and opportunity for all our students, faculty, and staff in keeping with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act. King’s accepts all students who qualify academically and we are deeply committed to serving all students who attend our university.  For more information, please see our website at: www.kingsu.ca/about-us/about-king

 

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