“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” ~ The Apostle Paul (Romans 1:32, NIV).
Fuller Theological Seminary, where I earned my Master of Divinity degree in 1979, has officially sanctioned a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) student group on campus. They are the first evangelical seminary to sanction and support an LGBT group, but they won’t be the last.
Fuller was founded to prepare future church leaders for ministry. Today, it prepares them for moral compromise, in the name of “leadership.” Under the sanction of the seminary, this new LGBT student group hosts meals where students can discuss how homosexuality and Christianity intersect. They present film festivals highlighting homosexuality, including such films as Milk, Pariah, and Seventh Gay Adventist.
The new group’s co-presidents identify as “gay Christians,” an identity that Fuller embraces as a category for official group status. Co-president Chelsea McInturff said, “I identify as same-sex attracted.” Notice she did not say she “struggles” with it. Another co-president, Nick Palacios, promotes what he calls “faith, gender identity, and sexual orientation reconciliation.” Not transformation, but “reconciliation”– which amounts to conciliation with sin. He sounds fully unrepentant. While he sees no reason to change, he seems to be filled with aspirations to change the attitudes and perspectives of others, moving them away from repentance and closer to pride in something God’s word affirms is sin.
For faithful Christians, the main issue is not homosexuality or any alternative sexual inclination. Also, love for sinners stands as a mandate for all Christians. At issue here is repentance, without which there remains no authenticity in any claim to Christianity.
As a student from 1976 to 1979, I was stretched, empowered and inspired at Fuller Seminary. My devotion to God and His word grew in leaps and bounds. Today, I am profoundly grateful to a school that no longer exists. What exists today under the same name is a popular and prestigious seminary that embraces the prevailing culture and its values with increasing vigor. Fuller Seminary currently employs a professor of “Christian spirituality,” Tony Jones, who publicly supports homosexual marriage and fully ordained gay ministers. Lots of rhetoric about the gospel can still be heard at Fuller, but culture is king, not Jesus. Fuller has absorbed itself into the world’s mold while retaining its elaborate “Christian” costume as an institution.
At Fuller, I was taught the importance of understanding culture and how to speak to it. I am grateful. Today, the call to understand is being smothered by the plea to identify with culture. To sanction a student group based on open unrepentant identification with homosexuality is to defy the power of the gospel and spurn the Holy Spirit who is a sinner’s only hope for regeneration and transformation.
Authentic repentance is incompatible with an ongoing proud identification with one’s temptation and/or sin. After surrendering your life to Jesus and claiming full forgiveness, continuing to define yourself by your sin or your inclinations to sin defies the “new creation” principle in 2 Corinthians 5:17. It is the polar opposite of repenting because it retains the pride and eliminates the turning of the heart. Affirming such identification in students is the polar opposite of Christian leadership.
The New Testament word for repentance in Greek is “metanoia,” (change of mind or frame of reference), not “metamorphosis” (change of forms). You don’t just change the form or the behavior and leave the inside as it was. Your entire orientation turns around with repentance. ‘Metanoia’ does not separate our internal spiritual mindset from our external behavior or lifestyle. Rather, it integrates them as we turn all of our selves (inside and out) to God. This can be a difficult ongoing struggle and the struggle is NOT a sin. But those who identify with their sin as if it is fixed and take pride in it refuse to struggle. That refusal is the sin and it is fatal if retained.
Homosexuality (the mindset and the behavior) is a sin that can be forgiven through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. An honest recognition of the sin is where forgiveness and change begins. True repentance won’t allow our sinful culture to define our terms of understanding, our self-definition or our behavior. It breaks my heart to see my old seminary intentionally cave in to sin.