And so, while InterVarsity did well to call for churches to reach out with sensitivity and compassion to the LGBT community and to recognize the struggles experienced by many true believers, they erred seriously by putting forth the mixed message of Marin and others, a message that surely was felt in InterVarsity’s campus ministry as well.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is one of the leading campus ministries, and its publishing arm, InterVarsity Press, is one of the top Christian publishers. But this fine ministry is learning the hard way that, when it comes to homosexuality, you cannot straddle the fence.
In a moment, I’ll explain exactly why I say that InterVarsity has tried to straddle the fence when it comes to homosexuality, but first, here’s the relevant background.
Last week, InterVarsity announced “that it will begin dismissing employees who disagree with its theological stance on human sexuality starting on November 11.”
As reported on The Atlantic, “Rather than force employees to sign a document outlining their position, the organization is asking employees to out themselves. Once the employees inform their supervisor of their personal views, the ‘involuntary terminations’ will be triggered.”
From the standpoint of the historic, biblical faith, there is nothing in the least bit controversial about this, and InterVarsity is actually calling on its employees to act with integrity: If they do not agree with the ministry’s moral and spiritual standards, standards they agreed to uphold when joining the ministry, they should immediately resign.
As for the specific issue of men having sexual and romantic relationships with other men and women having sexual and romantic relationships with other women, this is a non-negotiable and it represents a line that must be drawn in the sand.
Not surprisingly, given today’s confused and compromised spiritual climate, there has been a backlash from within InterVarsity.
As Jonathan Merritt reports on the Religion News Service, “40 authors in InterVarsity’s publishing house stable including Shane Claiborne, David Dark, Christena Cleveland, Ian Morgan Cron, and Chris Heuertz are calling on IVCF head Tom Lin to immediately replace the policy with one that makes space for opposing views. The letter indicates that the signers ‘do not all share the same theological or political views’ but ‘are united in our concern for the dignity and care of our fellow Christians whose jobs are threatened by your policy.'”
Also this week, “a public protest letter from ‘concerned ICVF alumni’ was posted on Change.org and addressed to Tom Lin and IVCF’s board of trustees. Similar to the authors’ letter, this petition stated that signers ‘hold a range of beliefs with regard to marriage and human sexuality.'”
The protest letter specifically states that, “we would be remiss not to address the particular pain, rejection, and fear that this policy has caused lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex members of InterVarsity in the days since its publication. Being LGBTQI in InterVarsity has never been easy, even for those who agree with its traditional position, but this policy places additional burdens on our siblings in Christ who too often have been marginalized or outcast among Christian communities. Whatever our disagreements, InterVarsity can and must do better.”