IRD: Will Christian Universities Collapse or Give Strong Witness?

on August 14, 2015

Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
August 14, 2015
Contact: Jeff Walton office: 202-682-4131, cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail:

“Current cultural challenges make a strong witness from Evangelical education more important than ever.”
-IRD President Mark Tooley

Washington, DC—Several Christian colleges and universities are poised to depart the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) by the end of the summer if two institutions that revised their employment policies to allow the hiring of faculty and staff in same-sex marriages remain members.

World magazine reports that the CCCU, a coalition of 180 Christian colleges and universities around the world, initially said it would address the issue of Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College at the annual members meeting in January. But on July 28 the CCCU board said it would begin contacting each member president to discuss the matter sooner.

Union University, citing a slow process and general discontent with the CCCU’s direction, this week became the first institution to withdraw from the group.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

“CCCU’s seeming ambivalence so far about two of its member schools adopting secular sexual ideology, prompting another member school to quit CCCU in protest, is disturbing.

“Current cultural challenges make a strong witness from Evangelical education more important than ever.

“The last century is full of countless tragic examples when Protestant-founded colleges and universities surrendered their Christianity in favor of secular acclimation. Evangelical academia will follow the same unfortunate trajectory if groups like CCCU do not unequivocally affirm Christian teaching.

“Let’s pray and urge CCCU to clearly affirm its support Christian doctrine and ethics, and for religious liberty, in a time when traditional religion is under cultural assault.”

  1. Comment by Dan Horsley on August 14, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    The acceptance of homosexuality occurs on the coattails of the acceptance of feminism, and feminism has definitely cut a swath through all the colleges. On another blog, a woman who recently graduated from Regent University (yes, that’s right, the school founded by Pat Robertson) is claiming that the role of women in the church is based “in what angers us.” The feminists turned congregations from being fellowships of worship and belief into battlegrounds where a zero-sum game is being played out – identifying the church as a patriarchal conspiracy against women (never mind the fact that even in the most conservative denominations, more women attend than men). The liberal churches caved in to the loudest feminists, and the evangelicals are going that same route at present. Once that phrase “I’m being excluded!” gets repeated over and over, the fellowship is destroyed.

  2. Comment by Robert Placer on August 14, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Excellent Dan, you are among the few that cannect the dots showing the connection between feminist ideology and the promotion of homosexual rights.

  3. Comment by Dave Nuckols on August 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Associations like CCCU include evangelical members with a range of views on many issues (including views of salvation differing among Calvinists vs Arminians). It is wrong theologically as well as strategically to make same-sex marriage a litmus test issue and cause for expulsion and condemnation by previous friends.

    Taking this approach by evangelicals within mainline denominations has weakened those denominations. And now we see some evangelical leaders within the evangelical movement willing to turn on fellow evangelicals. This will only hurt evangelical witness, evangelical vitality and evangelical institutions.

  4. Comment by Brad F on August 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    So what’s wrong with a litmus test? I think there will be Calvinists and Arminians in heaven, but according to Paul the apostle, there will be no unrepentant homosexuals, and any church or college that says otherwise does not deserve to be named “Christian.” Sometimes we have to draw lines and stand pat. The Christian goal is to save people from their sins, not to preserve institutions. If the evangelical churches conform to the culture, as the mainlines have done, they will eventually suffer a well-deserved decline. Right now the only churches in America that are growing are those that hold the line on marriage.

  5. Comment by Dave Nuckols on August 15, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I think SSM is inappropriate as a litmus test. My church is in a very suburban area of conventional views and stagnant population, but we affirm SSM and are a vital and growing church. I don’t argue that is only way to grow, but it is a real counter example to your last statement.

    Whether Paul’s words about man-on-man sex (likely slave rape, pederasty, idolatry temple prostitution) also applies to same-sex marriage is a matter of much dispute and certainly not a slam dunk for the traditional view. Likewise whether Paul’s reference to women exchanging natural for unnatural relations (likely oral and anal sex with men, possibly imperial court incest) also applies to lesbians in same sex marriage is likewise disputable.

    These are disputed matters between evangelicals as well as between progressives and traditionalists. These disputable matters are a poor basis for disfellowship.

  6. Comment by Brad F on August 16, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Seriously? Paul definitely condemned homosexuality, but you’re not sure if that “also applies to same-sex marriage”? You don’t validate a sexual perversion through marriage, you might as well say that incest is OK as long as the people get married. Paul didn’t live in a bubble, he saw homosexuality all around him, the one difference being that the pagans were never deluded enough to propose that anything as ludicrous as “marriage” of two men or two women could take place. The LGBT movement has used a lot of squeaky-clean propaganda to convince people that they’re just like everyone else, but their rates for STDs, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, and suicide tell the real story. It’s a gutter lifestyle, and the fact that two guys pursuing that lifestyle buy a home in the suburbs with roses around the front door changes nothing.

    If things ever reach a point where every congregation in America gives its approval to homosexuality, I’m prepared to make the break. Maybe it’s time the institutional church was buried anyway, since it’s pretty near death.

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