Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Christian Univ. Students, Alumni Outraged--"Shaking": Pence to Speak at Commencement

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Students and alumni from evangelical Christian Taylor University are outraged and "shaking" over Vice President Pence being the speaker at their upcoming commencement.

Over 3300 "Christians" have signed a petition to get Pence uninvited as speaker for the mid-May commencement.

The reason? It's a spiritual matter.

Be informed.

Taylor University presents itself as an evangelical Christian University. It's located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Their mission statement declares: "For more than 170 years, Taylor University has stayed true to its heritage, challenging each generation of students to integrate faith with learning and follow Christ's calling."

When the university announced that they had invited Vice President Mike Pence, former governor of Indiana, to be the featured speaker at the upcoming commencement in mid-May, there was immediate push back by some students and alumni.

Fox News reported yesterday that over 3300 people have now signed a petition to get Pence uninvited, because the "Trump-Pence Administration's policies are not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear."

One Taylor grad said the school, "should be ashamed...I am physically shaking...I feel personally attacked."

That's interesting, in light of the fact that the Trump-Pence Administration has, by nearly all estimations, done more for evangelical Christianity than any other president in recent history.

Why would some students and alumni experience near emotional collapse at the thought of Mike Pence speaking at their evangelical University?

My wife and I once attended a commencement at a state university some years ago, where Michelle Obama spoke. I cannot think of anyone my wife and I would disagree with more--- but neither of us experienced "shaking," "grief," or "anxiety."

Kevin Holtsberry, a Taylor alumni, told Fox and Friends yesterday morning the outraged alumni and students are mistaking disagreement on political issues with personal attacks. He also said he appreciates the school standing firm and not pulling Pence's invitation.

Colleges and universities have a history of pulling invitations when the heat is turned on---including Christian colleges and universities. We'll see what happens. I don't expect this matter to go away quietly.

Fortunately, the president of Taylor University is said to have very strong biblical beliefs, and he fully supports having Pence.

The real issue at Taylor really isn't "political," it's spiritual.

Most of those gathering signatures and protesting Pence are doing so because VP Mike Pence does not embrace same-sex marriage and the homosexual lifestyle and behavior.

Fox notes that South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a rising candidate for the Democrat nomination for president who is openly homosexual and "married" to a man, has recently directed this at Pence:
"If me being gay was a choice, it was made far, far above my pay grade...That's the thing I wish the Mike Pence's of the world would understand---that if you got a problem with who I am---your problem is not with me, your quarrel sir, is with my creator."

That whole statement is based on a lie.

First, there is no scientific evidence---none ever--- that supports the claim that homosexuals were "born that way."

Secondly, Mike Pence as governor of the state, extended a very kind and considerate welcome to Buttigieg when he was elected mayor of South Bend. That is well known. In fact, Pence's response to Buttigieg's comments was, "He knows better than that."

Why do professing Christians choose to believe a lie, rather than God's Word?

I guess we could begin by asking Eve.

Maybe it just feels good to be "tolerant" and "inclusive" and "elite" even if it contradicts God's unchanging truth.

One factor that creates these kinds of conflicts and controversies is the failure to preach the "Truth"---the whole gospel from the pulpits.

New polling has shown that half of pastors say they worry about speaking out on "hot button" issues.

CBN reports that it should be no surprise the issues at the top of the heap of "hot button" issues are homosexuality and abortion.

Roxanne Stone, editor-in-chief of Barna research, says based on their polling,
"The pressure for leaders, and especially faith leaders, to satisfy everyone on all sides and to avoid offense is very real today, especially in the digital era. The public nature of social media only increases the stakes."

Barna found recently that 64% of pastors feel limited by their own church members in their ability to speak out on social and moral topics. By contrast, "69% fell pressured to address those same issues from the pulpit."

Michael Howard, senior pastor of Seaford Baptist Church in Virginia, explained that like everyone else, pastors wrestle with the desire for acceptance.

Understood. But should we pastors be driven by what people think---or by what God thinks?

For me, that was an easy decision I made some years ago. However, that decision has not been without a few negative consequences. But it has also provided a personal peace, and an opportunity to see many lives impacted and restored through the power of the Gospel. The whole Gospel.

This is a personal decision that must be made by a pastor with his God.

CBN notes that in 2016, mega-church pastor and televangelist Joel Osteen told CBS News he doesn't often address sin and hell because people "already feel guilty enough."

Pastor Howard said a minister's job is to "preach the full counsel of the Word, in season and out of season."

I agree. The only hope of deliverance, redemption, and restoration for an individual or a culture is the message of the Gospel. The whole message.

This is a season when fear and anxieties drive people to believe or reject Truth because of their lack of knowledge and their fear of not being accepted by their peers and cohorts.

And silence from those who have been called to speak.

Yesterday, we saw the video from Paris of historic Notre Dame burning, collapsing in flames, I was saddened. I've been in that cathedral several times, but have never seen more than a dozen or less worshipers at any one time, although millions of tourists visit it every year.

The loss of the 700-year-old structure is devastating to most Christians---Catholic and Protestant, around the world. The structure has survived 7 centuries and  2 wars.

Authorities are investigating to find the cause.

Sadly it also may illustrate the collapse of the influence of the Christian Church and God's Truth in America's culture.

And we know the cause.

America's culture is on fire. It's collapsing. And too many, who should be speaking God's Truth, are fiddling with public acceptance and job security while the culture burns.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Bold. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.