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Belmont Controversy–Inclusive of Everyone

In early December I wrote concerning an incident at Belmont University. (You can read it here).   The story died down some but has recently been resurrected.   Outside the Lines, an ESPN production, covered the story this week, and today the Tennessean reported that Belmont University had a change in policy.

The change in policy claims that Belmont University will no longer discriminate based upon sexual orientation.  President Fisher stated, “We are a Christian community that is welcoming, loving, and inclusive of everyone.”

I do not think anyone would deny that a Christian community should be welcoming, loving, and inclusive.  However, the real question for Belmont (and any group that wants to market themselves as Christians) is whether or not Christian moral conduct will be carried over into school policy.  Teachers, coaches, administrators, and other staff at a University are De facto leaders and role models.  Should not these leaders model Christian holiness?

Another problem is this idea of “inclusive of everyone.”  Are there no limitations?  Will Belmont be inclusive of any type of behavior?  If not then, can they truly say they are inclusive of everyone?  You see the language sounds great.  It sounds loving and has the appearance of great wisdom and godliness, however, it really means nothing.  No one can (or should) be inclusive of all behavioral choices.

This means that there must be a standard.  And if the standard is going to be Christian, then it must fit with Christian moral conduct.

In all honesty my concern is not with what Belmont University does.  I have no proverbial “dog in that hunt.”  But I do want us to realize that there are moral standards.  And as great as inclusive of everyone sounds, it is not Biblical.  Yes, Christians reach out to all people with a message of hope.  We model Jesus in not viewing anyone as too beneath us for our time, or too sinful for the gospel.   But that hope comes when individuals turn from their sin (repentance) and turn toward Jesus (faithful obedience).  We love all people enough to let them know that there is a loving God who cares for them.  But that doesn’t mean that God does not have a holy standard that we should strive for.  A holy and just standard has been issued by God and violation of that standard makes one a sinner and places the wrath of God upon them.  How hateful would we have to be to accept someone, as if what they were doing was totally fine, and watch as they continue a path toward hell! I hope I’m never that loving.

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13 Comments

  1. Good thoughts. The problem is that people want to define homosexuality as what a person is, rather than what a person does. By attempting to equate the fight for equal rights for homosexuals today with the fight for equal rights for African Americans years ago, they paint those who oppose homosexuality with the same brush with which they paint racists. No one can control whether his skin is light or dark and thus to discriminate against someone or condemn them just for that is wrong. But homosexuality is different. If a person has a sexual preference for people of the same gender, he still has complete control over whether he acts upon that preference or not. God has said that the only way people can have sex without sin is within marriage, and God’s design for marriage is one man and one woman (Gen. 2:18-25).

  2. Right on bro!!!

  3. Wesley

    January 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Kevin,

    You are correct. Our culture has stated that if you have an urge to do something then you have the right to do it. To suggest otherwise is to be bigoted. Instead of asking the question is the activity sinful, we charge those who uphold a standard with a sinful, judgmental attitude.

  4. “We love all people enough to let them know that there is a loving God who cares for them.”

    Society has not defined love as you describe in the sentence above. The truth is, we have let society “re-define” various words for our culture. Love is one of those words. True love, according to scripture, does in no way resemble what the world sees when “love” is discussed.

    Love has never meant “acceptance” of all things.

    When the world’s idea of love is accepted, this opens the door to every kind of relationship that is based in this so-called “love”. I am not sure that any institution really wants this to be the case, yet, that is the position taken.

    Until we stand firm on the word of God and His desire for love, this downward spiral of morality will continue.

  5. Wesley

    January 27, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Thanks for commenting David. You are spot on. We redefine words then put that redefinition back into Scripture in order to teach something that is just not true.

    No one could deny that Jesus loved, but at the same time he called people to repentance.

  6. So what do you think Belmont (and other universities) should do about homosexual students?

  7. Wesley

    February 5, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Jim,

    As I said in the last paragraph of the article my concern in the article was really not the Belmont situation. My concern is with, what I see at least, the new tolerance of our day influencing the church. I wanted to point out the fallacy of “inclusive of everyone” when it comes to being right with God. God requires men to turn from their sin. We can become so tolerant that we never let a sinner know that they have to turn from their ways.

    As to your actually question. The problem is that homosexual has become accepted in our society. So to think that a school would not allow students based upon that criteria seems overly harsh to us. But I do not think we would have that same feeling toward other sexual deviances. But, as I earlier said, since the world already stands judged, it is the church that I’m concerned with.

  8. Thanks Wesley,

    You didn’t really answer the question though. Do you think that schools should prohibit students for sexual sins? If so, do you think the same of other sins?
    I really want to hear your answer to this question.

    As far as I am concerned I don’t think that institutions can discriminate based on sins. They can, of course, discriminate based on things that are illegal, but homosexuality is not. Furthermore, why wouldn’t we be pleading for these kids to be around our kids and other children who are believers that can influence them with the gospel?

    I know your point was mainly about inclusiveness, but you based that point on your belief concerning how schools should view sin – that is what I want to (lovingly) challenge.

    Look forward to hearing from you
    Jim C

  9. Here is why you might be frustrated with my last answer. Mainly because my post has nothing to do with students. 1. The point of the post was to warn the Church against buying into a radical tolerance that downplays the need for repentance. Repentance was the message of John the Baptist, Jesus, and was the message the Apostles were to bring to the world. 2. The illustration from Belmont was about the change in hiring and faculty policy and had nothing to do with the students. My point was that if an institution wants to call themselves “Christian” (which I have inherent problems with that I hope to address in a later post) that they should have hiring policies that reflect that decision.

    Now, allow me to push back on some assumptions you make before I give my answer. First, the assumption that homosexuality is equal to other sins. This is a confusion that I see often in Christianity. We make the statement that all sins are equal. The statement, if not unpacked, leads to falsehood. It is true that all sins are equal in that they all separate us from God. However, Scripture does not give the idea that all sins are equal in every sense. The Law of Moses clearly taught, through the amount of earthly punishment given to certain sin, that all sins were not equal. Paul, in Romans, makes it clear that homosexuality is more than just a “regular” sin. It was the epitome of sinfulness when I people reaches the point that God gives them up to their passions. This seems to be the assumption you are making in your first paragraph.

    Second, I disagree with the assumption that all that we should concern ourselves with is the legality of a situation. Just because our culture has accepted something is legitimate, doesn’t mean we have to. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that what is now considered illegal will one day be legal. The Homosexual movement has done a great job of normalizing the lifestyle.

    Now to answer the question. I think we have to reach at to all with the gospel. This means the homosexual. For this to happen we have to have contact with individuals practicing this sin. I also agree with Paul that we cannot “leave this world” and thus we have to associate with those who are still in a sinful reprobate state. As to the question of should schools prohibit students based upon sexual sin? The answer comes down to the purpose of the school. To try to give a blanket answer would be foolish. I think it would be appropriate for a school to state that certain activities will lead to your expulsion.

  10. Hey Wesley, sorry it took me so long to get back. Have had a lot going on.

    Regarding my “assumptions”, you may have projected on to me what are common misunderstandings. I do not think that all sins are exactly equal, however I do not think that homosexuality is the one preeminent in that stands above all others. I would be surprised if you believe that, but that is the impression I got from your last response. Having said that, who else would you refuse to hire besides homosexuals? And by what standard do you make that determination?

    To the point about legality, I did not say (nor do I believe) that we should only concern ourselves with the legality of a situation. My point is more fundamental; if you are going to discriminate based on sexuality, what is the goal? What are you hoping to accomplish by doing so?

    Jim

  11. Wesley

    February 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I’m not for sure if I like the word discriminate. In normally has a negative connotation connected with some sort of hate or malice.

    As to the first paragraph, homosexuality is not the sin above all sins, but Paul shows in Romans 1 (as well as the Old Testament heavy condemnation) that it is a sin that clearly show the moral decline of a society.

    If I were running a college that wanted to call itself Christian (and like I have said before I think there is a problem with any entity labeling itself Christian), then I would hold my faculty and employees up to a Christian code of conduct. If someone persisted in practicing sin (to use the words of 1 John), then they would forfeit their job because of it. This would include someone who was an habitual liar, an adulterer,a homosexual,a drunkard, or any other person who refuses to turn from a sinful lifestyle.

  12. Thanks Wesley,

    Your last response is much clearer. I think we just happen to disagree on the issue of consistency. I just don’t know how you implement a policy like you have suggested. For instance, what if the employee was a habitual “speeder” or gossip or liked to watch racy television? Should we fire them? If we say yes, where do we find a person who doesn’t sin on a regular basis? Of course, there is a difference in a person who is seeking God yet makes mistakes, and a person who doesn’t care what God says. But how would you reflect that difference in an employment policy?

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I can understand trying to hire people with a similar ideology (i.e. faith, philosophy, etc…) But it seems that once you do that, the ideal emphasis would be on trying to focus everyone on the same goal. That is, trying to work through the sins that we will inevitably commit.

    So I agree with much of what you are saying (like not wanting to endorse those who are encouraging the proliferation of sin).

    Perhaps my initial reaction was due to the fact that I think many Christians have really hurt the church by an unfounded bias towards homosexuality. Even though it is a sin, and a serious sin (which is of course redundant), it is no different than adultery. And adultery does not have the same stigma.

    Anyway, thanks and keep up the good work.

    Jim C

  13. Wesley

    February 11, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Jim,

    I think we can make a distinction between committing sin as we strive to serve God, and stubbornly practicing sin without regards to repentance. In the case of homosexuality it is a lifestyle choice. The same as someone who would continue in adultery.

    I understand your bias toward a “culture warrior” mentality. I would agree with that as well. However, I don’t think we go to the opposite extreme to where we are not open and honest about its sinfulness and about the influence and power the agenda has.

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