This past week I was quoted in several different national periodicals primarily because of my opposition to the actions of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), an organization of which Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OKWU) is a member. The reason for my disapproval is quite simple. After two longstanding CCCU member colleges recently announced their intent to begin affirming gay marriage, the CCCU’s immediate response was not to remove these two schools from membership, but, rather, to issue a call for “discussion and deliberation.”
Why do I oppose the CCCU’s action? Put concisely: There are times when the discussion becomes the offense.
Presumably there are some things within any organization that are not, and should not be, subject to deliberation and any discussion to the contrary simply betrays a telling lack of conviction. For example, would anyone expect the Anti-Defamation League to “discuss” whether or not Jews are human beings, worthy of the same dignity and rights as Germans or Iranians? Would anyone dare challenge the NAACP for its predictable reluctance to “deliberate” the Dred Scott decision’s definition of a black man? Would any of us seriously condemn the National Organization of Women because it doesn’t want to seek “counsel” on whether or not women ought to be subjugated to the power and privilege of men? Would PETA “deliberate” the health benefits of eating meat? Would we expect Green Peace to “discuss” the advantages of harvesting whales?
I surely hope the answer to all these questions is no. I would assume that all the aforementioned organizations would consider some agendas to be so abhorrent (presumably including the examples I mention) as to be beyond dispute. In like manner, I would argue that any organization claiming the adjective “Christian” should consider certain ideas so far outside the boundaries of any definition of Christianity that they would simply say: “Some things are just not debatable, the discussion is over.”
So, I have to ask the question: Why the discussion? Why the deliberation? Why is a Bible-honoring organization having a conversation about the acceptability of behavior that is explicitly prohibited in the Bible? Why is an organization that purports to be representing Christian higher education willing to even consider an agenda that many (on the Left and the Right) believe to be an existential threat to Christian higher education? Why? Could it be that the CCCU’s openness to dialogue has actually become the offense because its ambivalence demonstrates an apparent lack of conviction in favor of consensus?
The Council’s insistence on discussing, ad infinitum, the merits of membership for colleges and universities who have forthrightly announced that they intend to celebrate and sanction sexual behavior specifically condemned in Scripture implies an openness to redefine the subject (i.e. biblical morality) by input and vote. Otherwise what is their point? One might ask the leadership and board of the CCCU the rhetorical question: What will you do if your “deliberative” and “consultative process” (their words, not mine) reveals a consensus in favor of sanctioning the homosexual act as a moral good? Would such a hypothetical vote (unlikely though it may be) have any bearing on your final decision? I surely hope not, but the bewildering desire to engage in this lengthy conversation causes one to wonder if the organization might be willing to follow the voice of the crowd rather than stand resolute in the teaching of the Church and revelation of Christ.
Once again: There are times when the discussion becomes the offense and this is one of those times. It has unmasked a lack of ontological, theological and biblical conviction that is a much bigger problem for the evangelical church and the CCCU than the debate over sex. The genie is out of the bottle.