Students Fight for Homosexual Rights on Christian Campuses . . . And Emerging Church Leaders Must Share Blame

LTRP Note: The New York Times article below, stating how more and more students attending Christian colleges are “coming out of the closet” and trying to get their Christian schools to accept and embrace the homosexual lifestyle, has come as no surprise to Lighthouse Trails. And we believe much of this occurrence can be attributed to contemplative emerging spirituality leaders and teachers. In Roger Oakland’s book, Faith Undone, Oakland addresses the “new” sexuality coming into the church through the emerging church. We have posted that section of Faith Undone below the New York Times article. Basically, through the contemplative/emerging spirituality the practice and acceptance of homosexuality has gained immense ground within Christian youth circles. As we have stated for nine years, if your kids are attending youth groups or colleges that are promoting spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative), not only could they be exposed to mysticism, panentheism, and universalism, they could also be exposed to the view that homosexuality is normal and even good. This New York Times article is indicative of a runaway  Christian church that is filled with confused leaders, teachers, authors, and pastors who do not have the courage or spiritual gumption to stand for the truth.

Erik Eckholm
New York Times


“Even on Religious Campuses, Students Fight for Gay Identity”

WACO, Tex. — Battles for acceptance by gay and lesbian students have erupted in the places that expect it the least: the scores of Bible colleges and evangelical Christian universities that, in their founding beliefs, see homosexuality as a sin.

Decades after the gay rights movement swept the country’s secular schools, more gays and lesbians at Christian colleges are starting to come out of the closet, demanding a right to proclaim their identities and form campus clubs, and rejecting suggestions to seek help in suppressing homosexual desires.

Many of the newly assertive students grew up as Christians and developed a sense of their sexual identities only after starting college, and after years of inner torment. They spring from a new generation of evangelical youths that, over all, holds far less harsh views of homosexuality than its elders. Click here to continue reading.

“Sexuality in the New Reformation”
by Roger Oakland, from Faith Undone

It may seem out of place to include a section on sexuality in this chapter on the postmodern reformation. However, one aspect of the topic cannot be ignored, and it has become an earmark in the emerging church—that aspect is related to homosexuality.

In this section, I am merely going to present certain statements made by those in the emerging church for the purpose of showing you this paradigm shift in attitude toward sexuality. How you interpret these statements is up to you, but it is my prayer you will look at them through the eyes of Scripture. One thing is for sure, after reading this section, I think you will agree that emerging spirituality is attempting to redefine how Christians view and think about sexuality. I begin first with the Word of God:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

One example of this new reformation mindset on sexuality can be found in Dan Kimball’s book, They Like Jesus but Not the Church. Kimball devotes an entire chapter (called “The Church is Homophobic”) to homosexuality and says that Christians need to reinterpret what we thought the Bible says about homosexuality. He states:

Because this is such a huge issue in our culture, and because all of the tension and discussion on this issue is over what the Bible says about it, we can no longer just regurgitate what we have been taught about homosexuality.… We cannot do that any longer … We must approach the Bible with humility, prayer, and sensitivity, taking into consideration the original meaning of Greek and Hebrew words and looking into the historical contexts in which passages were written.… we can no longer with integrity merely quote a few isolated verses and say “case closed.”1

Kimball elaborates:

Quite honestly, and some people might get mad at me for saying this, I sometimes wish this [homosexuality] weren’t a sin issue, because I have met gay people who are the most kind, loving, solid, and supportive people I have ever met. As I talk to them and hear their stories and get to know them, I come to understand that their sexual orientation isn’t something they can just turn off. Homosexual attraction is not something people simply choose to have, as is quite often erroneously taught from many pulpits.2

Kimball does not stand alone within the ranks of the emerging church in his permissive, accepting view of homosexuality. Someone else in this camp is Jay Bakker, son of Jim Bakker of the former PTL Club. In an interview with Radarmagazine, Bakker says, “I felt like God spoke to my heart and said ‘[homosexuality] is not a sin’”3 (brackets in original). On Bakker’s website, he upholds this view.4 And in a December 15th, 2006, interview with Larry King, the following conversation took place:

KING: Would you say that you’re part of the liberal sect of Christianity?
JAY BAKKER: Well, I definitely say I’m a little bit more liberal than probably most, yes.
KING: You, for example, in your church would you marry gays?
JAY BAKKER: If the laws passed, yes.
KING: You favor there being a law, though?
JAY BAKKER: Yes, I do.5

Brian McLaren expressed his views (or lack of them) over the subject and stated:

Most of the emerging leaders I know share my agony over this question [on homosexuality].… Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.” … Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements.6

One pastor who runs a ministry that helps homosexuals leave the lifestyle, can help us see the extent of these changing attitudes toward homosexuality. He explains:

They call themselves new-evangelicals. Philip Yancey devoted a whole chapter to homosexuality in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace? He thinks we need to extend grace to people who can’t change their homosexuality.… Tony Campolo thinks people who can’t change their homosexuality should live in celibate homosexual partnerships. His wife thinks gays should just get married to each other. Lewis Smedes agrees with Richard Foster. They all seem to agree there are some gay people who cannot change their homosexuality, are not able to live celibately and therefore exceptions should be made for them.7

The pastor, an ex-homosexual, disputes those in the church who publicly embrace homosexuality, and he believes there is an answer to these postmodern views. He states:

Since when are Richard Foster, Philip Yancey, Tony Campolo and Lewis Smedes experts on the changeability of homosexuality? … I have lived this issue for most of my 42 years. For seventeen years I’ve helped hundreds, maybe thousands, of people come out of homosexuality. I’ve never seen two healings alike. And I’ve never seen someone who by the grace of God could not be healed. Now that’s what’s so amazing about grace! It empowers us to live a moral and transformed life in Christ.8

In 2004, Philip Yancey (author and editor for Christianity Today) accepted an interview with Candace Chellew-Hodge for Whosoever, “an online magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered Christians.” When Chellew-Hodge asked Yancey about his views on gays and lesbians in the church, Yancey answered:

When it gets to particular matters of policy, like ordaining gay and lesbian ministers, I’m confused, like a lot of people. There are a few—not many, but a few—passages of Scripture that give me pause. Frankly, I don’t know the answer to those questions.9

My question to Yancey and other proclaiming Christian leaders is why don’t you know the answer? The Bible is clear on this matter. We may not always understand but part of being a Christian is accepting God’s Word and trusting that it is truly just that. Yancey may not be an emergent leader, but his beliefs certainly fit with emerging spirituality. The following statement he makes shows he shares a similar disregard for biblical doctrine:

Perhaps our day calls for a new kind of ecumenical movement: not of doctrine, nor even of religious unity, but one that builds on what Jews, Christians, and Muslims hold in common.… Indeed, Jews, Christians, and Muslims have much in common.10

(from chapter 12, “New Reformation,” of Faith Undone by Roger Oakland)

Notes:

1. Dan Kimball, They Like Jesus but Not the Church, p. 137.
32Ibid., p. 138.
3. Interview with Jay Bakker, “Empire of the Son” (Radar, http://radaronline.com/features/2006/12/empire_of_the _son _par t_ iii.php).
4. Bakker’s website: http://www.revolutionnyc.com/links.htm.
5. Interview by Larry King with Jay Bakker; see transcript: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0612/15/lkl.01.html.
6. Brian McLaren, “Leader’s Insight: No Cowardly Flip-Flop: How should pastors respond to “the Homosexual Question”?(Christianity Today, January 23, 2006, http://www.christianitytoday.com/leadersnewsletter/2006/cln60123.html).
7. Mario Bergner, “Conversations with Jason about Homosexuality” (Redeemed Lives News, Spring/Summer 2001, http://www.redeemedlives.org).
8. Ibid.
9. Interview by Candace Chellew-Hodge with Philip Yancey, “Amazed by Grace” (Whosoever online magazine, http://www.whosoever.org/v8i6/yancey.shtml).
10. Philip Yancey, “Hope for Abraham’s Sons” (Christianity Today,  November 1, 2004).

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