On LGBT, Evangelical Colleges At Bargaining Stage
An Evangelical professor really, really doesn’t like what Carl Trueman and I said about the coming “Waterloo Of The Christian Colleges,” in which Christian liberal arts colleges will either violate Christian orthodoxy and submit to the Zeitgeist on LGBT issues, or accept that they will pay a heavy price for fidelity. Prof. Chris Gehrz of Bethel University in Minnesota writes, in part:
While the CCCU affirmed a traditional stance on marriage in 2015, it eventually developed a “collaborative” membership category for institutions that disagreed on that issue but otherwise met consortium criteria. And despite a tense confrontation in 2016 in the California state legislature, where Christian colleges lobbied against a proposed anti-discrimination bill, by the end of last year the leaders of the CCCU and National Association of Evangelicals were promoting a “Fairness for All” initiative to reconcile LGBT rights and religious liberty.
But such conversations and compromises are precisely what horrify conservatives like Carl Trueman, a church history professor at Westminster Theological Seminary.
They “horrify” him because he knows exactly how they’re going to turn out. LGBT advocates construe Biblical orthodoxy as the equivalent of racism. Few Christians today would tolerate compromise with white supremacy on campus. More:
Second, I know that I can’t see other Christians’ hearts clearly enough to hear “compromise” and know it to be cynicism. I know that listening patiently to opposing points of view doesn’t evince weak character; it’s essential to ongoing intellectual and spiritual formation.
I don’t know that a desire for dialogue is clearly naïve. Now, as someone who’s been reading his blog for several years and is currently several chapters into The Benedict Option, I think I get why Rod Dreher needs to believe that there’s no realistic chance of compromise. After all, Obergefell marked “the Waterloo of religious conservatism.” (I’m not sure why religious conservatives would make their cause the analogue of Napoleon Bonaparte’s, of all people.) Having premised the need for his “option” at least in part on the claim that “there can be no peace between Christianity and the Sexual Revolution,” Dreher can hardly concede much potential for Americans to work out a solution. (Say, a variant of John Inazu’s “confident pluralism.”)
Trueman “might suggest that such optimism verges on criminal negligence.” But no one living on this side of November 8, 2016 ought to be predicting the near future with any pretense of certainty. Historians certainly shouldn’t talk that way — least of all those who believe in a deity as fond of surprises as our creating, forgiving, liberating, incarnating, atoning, and resurrecting God.
Read the whole thing. Or, if you prefer, this summary: “We surrender! Just don’t you dare say that we’re surrendering, or rationalizing our capitulation!”
Another Evangelical college professor, Denny Burk, knows how this sort of thing always goes. He calls it the Four Stages Of Evangelical Acceptance Of Gay Marriage. Excerpt:
(1) Oppose gay-marriage: Every evangelicals starts here, or at the very least they appear to start here.
(2) Oppose taking a stand on the question: Persons in this stage are becoming aware of how offensive the traditional view is to those outside the church. Their initial remedy is to avoid that conflict by not talking about the Bible’s teaching on this subject. In Brian McLaren‘s case, he urged evangelicals to observe a 5-year moratorium on talking about gay marriage. For Jen Hatmaker, she advocated going “into the basement,” where we don’t talk about these things but just love people. Choosing to avoid the question is never a final answer for anyone in this stage.
(3) Affirm gay marriage: At some point during the “we’re not talking about this anymore” stage, those who used to oppose gay marriage find grounds to affirm it. Some do it by questioning the Bible’s truthfulness. Others do through revisionist interpretations of the Biblical text. In either case, proponents end up affirming what the Bible forbids.
(4) Vilify traditional marriage proponents: Persons in this stage not only affirm gay marriage. They also view traditional marriage supporters as supporting invidious discrimination against gay people.
Neuhaus’s Law holds that, “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.” You watch: Within 10 to 20 years, every college involved in this conversation that believes that Christian orthodoxy on the LGBT issue is optional will have become a college where Christian orthodoxy is anathema.