June 24, 2024

Monday, June 24, 2024
June 24, 2024

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‘Evangelical’ Seminaries — The Latest Example Of The Church’s Willingness To Accommodate Sin

David Bowen

This week, a headline caught my eye: “California evangelical seminary ponders changes that would make it more welcoming to LGBTQ students.” The seminary is Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. What caught my attention is that just five years ago, Fuller was sued for expelling a student who was in a same-sex marriage, so it made me wonder why they were now looking at accepting same-sex relationships.

Expelled From Seminary

The lawsuit came from an online student from Fort Worth, Texas, who began taking online classes through a Texas satellite campus in 2015. She says she was single when she started taking those classes but later married her female partner. A school administrator found out about her change in marital status through her 2016 tax return, which was included in her financial aid documentation. When the administration questioned her, she said that in 2018 she wrote a letter to the School of Theology dean. The response she received was the citing of the school’s policy on marriage, which Fuller stated biblical marriage is a “covenant union between one man and one woman.” Then, the school expelled her from the seminary.

Church Acceptance

That was November of 2019, and now in May of 2024, we see the headline that states Fuller Seminary is pondering changes that would make it more welcoming to LGBTQ students. One has to wonder what happened between 2019 and 2024? Maybe the answer comes from an April 2nd Harbinger’s Daily article that said 41% of churchgoers find no biblical problem with homosexual marriages. The article confirms that almost all of those who claim to hold to a biblical standard for marriage have now changed to holding a position of acceptance.

Another Harbinger’s Daily article, this one from March 25, 2024, said more Americans (and Christians) now support same-sex marriage. The article sourced a recent Gallup polls that reported 71% of Americans think same-sex “marriage” should be legal, and 64% believe gay or lesbian relationships are morally acceptable. These numbers are double that of a generation ago! This means the general acceptance of supporting same-sex marriage is on the increase.

United States Supreme Court

It was Friday, June 26, 2015, when the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage by a 5-4 decision. That decision was not expected to come down until Monday, June 29, but it happened on the Friday before. So, that Sunday, I remember speaking about it during church service. I knew that the church would never be the same again. I knew that the Supreme Court decision just divided the church. I knew that some on one side of the church aisle would be against the decision and others on the other side of the aisle would be okay with the ruling. With nine years of hindsight behind us, we see that as true. Surveys are showing each year the Christian population gravitates towards accepting same-sex marriage.

World Magazine

World Magazine published an article in 2024 about the history of the same-sex movement. The magazine highlighted a 1989 book by Marshall Kirk and advertising executive Hunter Madsen. In their book, they presented a game plan for the culture to accept same-sex relationships. They felt they could target certain churches to be a resource for helping society accept a lifestyle that had long been rejected. They wrote, “Find easy-to-manipulate churches, especially mainline Presbyterians, to get on board and help promote the idea that gays are victims.”

That was the plan: “Find easy-to-manipulate churches… and promote the idea of gays being victims.”

World Magazine traced the last twenty years of cultural acceptance of same-sex relationships. A Gallup Poll published in 2023 looked back at the previous twenty-six years and presented a graph explaining in 1996, just 27% of society supported legalizing same-sex marriages. In 2022, that number increased by 44% to an acceptance percentage of 71%. This means now 7 out of 10 Americans feel same-sex marriage should be accepted and valid. This research proves that we live in a culture where society relies on their opinion, not the Bible, to define what is biblically acceptable.

Faithwire

In response to the Gallup results, Faithwire looked into how this change in acceptance and accommodating same-sex marriage has affected the church. Remember, nine years ago, when the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal, I said the church would never be the same again. Faithwire’s efforts, conducted from February 13-25, 2024, revealed a notable rise in Americans who think religious beliefs are at odds with mainstream culture. Those results were not even close. 80% of Americans say the church’s influence is declining.

Studies like the one done by Faithwire confirm that we are living in a time when hearts are turning hard against God. It seems we can remind people that we all have sinned. We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We can tell people that the wages of sin is death. Still, the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). We can repeat the encouraging words from James 5, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).

God’s Warning

God has been very clear in how He sees our actions. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). The Apostle Paul said very bluntly, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but instead expose them, for it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12). The issue is that things are no longer done in secret; they are done out in the open. We can lean on Isaiah to bring some hope, “‘Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord: ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).

Pride Month

I am not willing to accept sin and accommodate behavior that is disrespectful to God. However, I am not at the point where hope is lost.

As we enter the month of June, our culture has decided to dedicate an entire month to gay pride. In April, we have Lesbian Visibility Day (April 26), and in July our culture celebrates International Drag Day (July 16). In October, our world recognizes National Coming Out Day (October 11), and recently, we have given November over to Trans Awareness Month.

God will NOT be mocked! The final authority is God’s Word, not the desires and lifestyle of the culture.

71% of Americans may think same-sex “marriage” should be legal, and 64% may believe gay relationships are morally acceptable. Sadly, 41% of regular churchgoers do not have any biblical problems with homosexual marriages, and now Fuller Theological Seminary is looking at being more accommodating to that culture. And we wonder why 8 out of 10 Americans feel the church’s influence is declining.

God will judge this world, but we’re still here, and we still have work to do. The Church is still called to be salt and light to a dark and dying world. We are not to openly accept sin—any sin. We are to offer hope and the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done.


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David Bowen

This week, a headline caught my eye: “California evangelical seminary ponders changes that would make it more welcoming to LGBTQ students.” The seminary is Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. What caught my attention is that just five years ago, Fuller was sued for expelling a student who was in a same-sex marriage, so it made me wonder why they were now looking at accepting same-sex relationships.

Expelled From Seminary

The lawsuit came from an online student from Fort Worth, Texas, who began taking online classes through a Texas satellite campus in 2015. She says she was single when she started taking those classes but later married her female partner. A school administrator found out about her change in marital status through her 2016 tax return, which was included in her financial aid documentation. When the administration questioned her, she said that in 2018 she wrote a letter to the School of Theology dean. The response she received was the citing of the school’s policy on marriage, which Fuller stated biblical marriage is a “covenant union between one man and one woman.” Then, the school expelled her from the seminary.

Church Acceptance

That was November of 2019, and now in May of 2024, we see the headline that states Fuller Seminary is pondering changes that would make it more welcoming to LGBTQ students. One has to wonder what happened between 2019 and 2024? Maybe the answer comes from an April 2nd Harbinger’s Daily article that said