InterVarsity reiterates policy on human sexuality

By November 1, 2016

USA (MNN) — InterVarsity Christian Fellowship recently reiterated its stance regarding human sexuality after years-long study into Biblical teachings on the issue.

Conflict Zone

(Photo Courtesy InterVarsity via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy of InterVarsity via Facebook)

As a result, InterVarsity has asked staff members who don’t agree with the ministry’s stance on the topic, which includes the matters of divorce, pornography, sexual preferences and more, to come forward and begin their transition out of InterVarsity. The ministry’s move has since sparked backlash.

Yet, a big reason why InterVarsity took the time to dig into what the Bible says on human sexuality is because the consensus of the culture has changed regarding the issue. InterVarsity’s Vice President and Director of Campus Engagement Greg Jao explains:

“We’re working with college students who are intimately affected by these issues, and we want to make sure we and our staff are providing a consistent, coherent message that Jesus’s invitation to follow Him may be painful and difficult, but ultimately results in life.”

In fact, prior to the request for staffers in disagreement to come forward, InterVarsity had invited its staff to study the Bible, sift through various resources, and even go through a nine-part curricula during an 18-month process for the staffers to discover if they were indeed in agreement with InterVarsity’s stance or not.

However, InterVarsity doesn’t see disagreement as an end-all, but rather an invitation to join in conversation and to explore Scripture regarding God’s Word together.

To Agree or Disagree

Still, many people have begun asking, ‘Why not agree to disagree?’

“[For] InterVarsity’s official representatives or the pastors of a church and their elders, it makes sense for them to have a consistent, clear message that they agree and believe in,” Jao says.

“Otherwise what you have is, if you’re at a church, one pastor teaching one thing and another pastor on the side saying, ‘Well, we don’t actually think that’s true.’ And I think that actually confuses the conversation far more than it clarifies it.”

(Photo Courtesy InterVarsity via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy of InterVarsity via Facebook)

And that’s what it comes down to. InterVarsity will struggle to lead its students according to the Biblical standards, the same ones it found in the Scriptures after years spent searching the Bible, if leaders are teaching their own personal convictions instead. After all, a house divided will fall.

InterVarsity’s call for those who are now in disagreement, after the 18-month process of searching Scriptures together as a staff, isn’t to condemn people or cut them off. It’s to have a staff that’s in agreement and can work together, not against each other, on campuses and reaching out to students.

Self-Integrity

Jao shares, “As I’ve talked to people, some people who’ve already left, what they’ve said is, ‘I would love to think… I’ll just submit to a policy I disagree with and submit to a theology I disagree with.’ But they said, ‘There are integrity issues for me. I can’t teach what I actually don’t believe to students. I can’t disciple somebody into a direction which I disagree with…’”

InterVarsity doesn’t only care about its students, but also its staffers. That’s the other reason why the ministry has asked people in disagreement with InterVarsity’s stance on human sexuality to come forward, so as to not put these people in a conflicted position, expecting them to teach something they don’t believe.

“I think particularly for students and for members of the Church, it’s important to do two things. One of the things that is critical to do is recognize this is a pastorally painful set of questions the Church is facing today,” Jao explains on the topic of human sexuality.

“I walk into these conversations with, I hope, a great deal of humility, appropriate penitence for the ways the Church has not loved people who identify as gay, and a desire to listen well to their stories, to their pain, and to their experiences.”

In the end, God’s Word may be hard news, but it is good, life-giving news that needs to be shared with all. Sometimes love is hard. But it’s worth loving in the truth of the Scripture rather than the truth that culture, as intriguing as it is, has crafted.

Join in Prayer

(Photo Courtesy InterVarsity Christian Fellowship via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship via Facebook)

So please, pray for InterVarsity in this time of transition. Pray for its members who both agree and disagree with the ministry’s stance as well as for the LGBTQI community and all others who may be dealing with sexual brokenness, for their protection, and for them to find fullness of life in Christ.

Also, pray for InterVarsity as it seeks to serve through Biblical truths and as the ministry explains its stance on human sexuality to all who ask. Finally, pray for this entire conversation about human sexuality to push all of us deeper into Scripture and compassion.

To learn more on InterVarsity’s stance on human sexuality, click here!

7 Comments

  • Pat says:

    God bless you for your methodical, Spirit-led study of God”s Word, and continued openness to listen and discuss with those in disagreement. This is the essence of speaking the truth in love. May those who leave become transformed by God’s Word, which will accomplish all for which it was sent / has been given. My prayers are with you and for all our brothers and sisters and our nation.

  • Margie says:

    This is a hard stand you are taking, but one that is necessary to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in ALL of His teachings. I am praying for you to continue no matter what the cost, and for the forces of evil to know they cannot harm you, and to take leave of you.
    I recently took a very hard, and Biblical, stand on homosexuality, and gained a friend who thinks he is homosexual, but is not practicing. He believes he is saved, but I have very strong doubts. As we discuss the scriptures, through prayer I am able to stand fast on the Word of God, and pray for his salvation. I know what I know through personal Bible study for over 30 years. And the Holy Spirit keeps me firm in my beliefs. Praise God for His marvelous works among men (and women)! He will keep you in the same way!

  • Jack Haveman says:

    I am so thankful for an organization/ministry that seeks to pursue Biblical truth for today’s rapidly shifting culture. I am also thankful for your compassionate approach toward the “marginalized” minority; doing the hard thing, the way of Jesus.

    May the LORD add his favor as we labor together.

  • Ted Veer says:

    A work well done. Congratulations.

  • Dora says:

    I applaud you. It takes firm conviction and strength in the Lord to do what you are doing b/c a firm stand often involves heartbreak. Life and freedom can only come from truth as you have well said. Jesus Himself said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” God bless you all and all those on a truth seeking path.

  • Deborah says:

    Praise God and thank you, InterVarsity, for up holding the Authority of the Word of God! Sadly, it is hard to take a stand under social and cultural pressure in these days and age. We are told ‘to be in the world but not of the world.’ I will be praying for the LGBT community and am standing with you.

  • master says:

    To God be the Glory

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