In regard to the Soulforce visit to Cedarville
After graduating from Cedarville in 1997 I spent four years in vocational student ministry, and four years as a senior pastor. During that time, I’ve had the privilege of observing God’s redemptive work in many contexts. However, I have never experienced a situation where an individual experienced Gods grace through exertion of force, majority power, shame, or legislative action.
So when I read the prayer requests regarding the visit from Soulfource, I was surprised and concerned by the emphasis (in each of the categories).
There are a number of passages in scripture which make mention of activities that devalue human sexuality and dishonor God. And a few of those passage do include examples of heterosexual people engaging in same-sex intercourse (typically in the context of self-destructive excess, or idol worship). However it seems at the very least questionable, that these limited glimpses, which are steeped in contextual circumstances, offer some sort of conclusive answer to the sincere questions being asked by our Christian brothers and sisters in the GLBT community.
To further insist that these secondary clauses from a few passages of scripture comprise the gospel in a greater or more essential way than God’s relentless cry for advocacy on the part of the marginalized; seems to cast a sinister light on the work of the cross, and the heart of historic orthodox Christianity.
It is my prayer, that Cedarville University, Dr. Bill Brown, Dr. Carl Ruby, and all Christians from all backgrounds, will refocus our attention on those ways that we have not embodied the gospel in terms of justice, mercy, and humility. I pray that Cedarville’s administration, faculty, staff, and students will sincerely engage in a hospitable dialog as Soulfource visits.
I pray that its leadership will exhibit the kind of self awareness that humbly articulates their own biblical interpretations, without posturing them as the only faithful, or the only “biblical position.”
I pray that this dialog would not be hindered by the backhanded implications of “lovingly sharing the gospel” with those who claim the name of Christ, and demonstrate the fruit of the spirit.
I do pray for “wisdom and unity for Dr. Carl Ruby, worship presenters, and the task team.” But I do not pray for uniformity. I pray that Cedarville University would always be a place for thinking Christians to humbly seek God’s truth and engage difficult question; never in fear of negative repercussions. And if there are repercussions, I pray for the courage needed by those who should face them.
I pray that Christians everywhere (certainly myself) would always be open to God’s work, that our “hearts and minds would be changed by God’s truth.” But I pray more specifically, that Cedarville University would not be a place where impressionable minds are trained to direct that challenge outward instead of inward.
Christianity carries with it far too many historical stains. Far to many times, Christians have spilled blood, empowered or condoned oppression, and dehumanized those whom God has called us to treasure and defend. All this under the guise of defending a God whom we believe to be omnipotent.
As a Cedarville Alumni I encourage hope that students, faculty, and administration will consider the broader picture, and partner with Soulforce in their essential kingdom work.