City Church is San Francisco's largest evangelical megachurch. The pastor and elders have announced that their congregation will now allow non-celibate homosexuals to become members. According to their pastor, this is the best way for them to minister to all those God is bringing through their doors. For more on this, read Nick Pitts's Questions and truth: San Francisco's City Church.
It seems that evangelicals are forced to two options today. One is to affirm historical biblical orthodoxy, which forbids homosexual practice. Many, whether gay or straight, see this position as antagonistic to the LGBT community. The other is to revise historic theological doctrines regarding sexual morality.
Michael Lindsay is president of Gordon College, the only evangelical college in New England. A graduate of Baylor, Oxford, and Princeton, he was a sociology professor at Rice University before moving to Gordon. He is a longtime friend and one of the most brilliant and gracious people I know.
Gordon's longtime doctrinal position affirms sexual relations only within heterosexual marriage. The school does not discriminate in admissions or hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. Nonetheless, critics in the region and beyond have been scathing in their rejection of Gordon's position.
Yesterday, Dr. Lindsay announced the results of a nine-month study project he initiated. First, the school and its trustees have reaffirmed their doctrinal position regarding sexual activity. This is an important note to remember. Second, they will create a "Life Together" task force comprised of students, faculty and staff working on human sexuality issues on campus. They will bolster their anti-bullying policies, and will consider adding staff members to provide expanded programming and support for all students around issues of human sexuality.
In a personal conversation, Dr. Lindsay expressed to me his desire to minister to all students while maintaining the school's historic commitment to biblical truth and morality. I see this initiative as a model for schools and churches. God will show us ways to uphold his truth while sharing his grace. In fact, the two are inseparable. God's unchanging word on sexuality describes what is best for God's creation. (Tweet this) Speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) is the only way to extend both truth and love. (Tweet this)
Today is the Feast Day of St. Patrick, commemorating the life and legacy of the man who brought the gospel to the Irish. Born in England, he was kidnapped and enslaved in Ireland. He escaped, but sensed God's call to return as a missionary. His ministry led hundreds of thousands to Christ.
Patrick was the first church father to speak against the abuse of women, particularly slaves. And he was the first missionary outside the Roman Empire. According to historian Thomas Cahill, "the step he took was in its way as bold as Columbus." He proved God's love by his own.
How will you join him today?
Note: I invite you to join Dr. Lindsay and me for a leadership symposium, "Elevate Your Contribution: Faithful Leadership that Makes a Difference," at Dallas Theological Seminary this Thursday, March 19 from 9-3:30. I hope you'll register to attend, or pray for us if you cannot.
Publication date: March 17, 2015
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
Read today's First15 at www.first15.org.