Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Cloud Of Chaff Grows Larger By The Day

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)
The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities or CCCU has been notified that member school Union University that Union is leaving the coalition in the wake of inaction by CCCU in response to  the decision by two "Mennonite" schools to hire practicing homosexuals as faculty and staff. This is just the latest example of the splintering being driven by the issue of normalizing homosexual behavior and it certainly will not be the last. The President of Union, Dub Oliver, is quoted by World Magazine as writing to the leaders of CCCU:
“It grieves us to make this decision as we have been members of the CCCU since 1991,” Oliver wrote in the letter. He said Union benefited from the council’s programs, professional development, and advocacy, but “our faithfulness to the authority of Scripture takes precedence … marriage is at the heart of the Gospel.”
A hearty amen to that. Being faithful to the authority of Scripture, and not paying it just lip-service when it is convenient is an indispensable part of Kingdom life in Christ.

Goshen and Eastern Mennonite University are allegedly Mennonite schools and yet they have chosen to flaunt their willful disobedience of and disregard for the Bible in a vain attempt to earn the approval of the world, leading to an unequal yoking with schools that choose not to surrender. I am not sure what the right term is for their religion but it isn't Mennonite and it isn't Christian, no matter how often they invoke the name of Jesus and talk about "social justice". The Mennonites and their fellow Anabaptists were notable for, and viciously persecuted for, their insistence on seeking a comprehensive faithfulness to Scripture. They were, in other words, known for standing against the winds of the culture and the traditions of man and for simple trust and Biblical fidelity, even when that resulted in persecution. Those who claim to follow on their path by doing the exact opposite of what the Anabaptists believed and practiced either don't know or don't care what the early Anabaptists thought and taught. Men like the earliest Anabaptists living out Anabaptism today would be on the forefront of opposing these cultural surrenders, not participating in them and cheering them on. Certainly the historic Anabaptist traditions identified with those on the margin of society but the people on the margin they identified with were there because of their fidelity to the Biblical faith. In fact one of the things that drove the Anabaptists and formed the basis for the idea of a regenerate, voluntary church made up only of the regenerate was the laxity of lifestyle and immorality they saw in the state churches. To say now that these issues are irrelevant is to thumb your nose at the blood shed by the Anabaptist martyrs.

I wonder if this is simply another example of how pursuing higher education and seeking the recognition of the world. especially the academic world, leads inexorably to compromise and eventually capitulation. Look at the original colleges that now make up the elite Ivy league schools. Virtually all of them at their founding invoked the Christian faith in their founding documents. Now being a Christian at these schools is tantamount to being a leper in the first century. Likewise later schools like Wake Forest, Duke and Baylor founded by Baptists; Methodist and Quakers; and Baptist respectively. These schools are essentially completely secular. Schools like Calvin College in Michigan and Wheaton in Illinois seem to be heading down that same path, albeit more slowly. Even more recent, "conservative" schools like Liberty often welcome false teachers, unbelievers and cultists to speak to their presumed Christian student body simply because these speakers share the right (i.e. boilerplate Republican) political positions. There are still examples of orthodox schools in higher education, often smaller schools, and the most notable example which can be found in the Southern Baptist Seminary system along with other smaller seminaries but even those are being nibbled at on the fringes. If the conservative resurgence had not succeeded in the Southern Baptist Convention I wonder if any major universities or seminaries would exist or if they all would have gone down the wide path of the world.

It is often seen as impolite to suggest that someone who asserts that they are a Christian, whether an individual or a local church or a denomination or a school, might in fact not be Christian at all. Anyone who takes the time to read the New Testament, and especially the Gospels, would see very quickly that we are warned over and over that many will come in the name of Jesus but will be found to be teaching another gospel, whether by adding requirements to the Gospel or in revising the teachings of both Jesus and the apostles on topics like sin and judgment to make them more palatable to the world and less embarrassing for these  wannabe academics. We should not be surprised when this happens and we absolutely should not be silent for the sake of some misguided sense of unity. When you willfully walk away from the historic teaching of the Bible and the understanding of the church on a topic throughout the ages, you are the one who is being divisive and causing schism. Unity in the church based on disobedience is a false unity in every way. What ought to unite  the church is shared agreement and unity grounded in truth. In the church the order is plain: Unity In Truth>Unity In Externals.

When the going gets tough, and it will, where will you stand? Will you stand in front of the crowd and be willing to suffer all for Christ? Or will you slink to the back of the crowd and hand them stones? This question is very quickly going to cease to be academic.

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