considering church & college ethics in this time

considering church & college ethics in this time May 29, 2022

Michael Santoroski | Springtime at Roanoke | 03.23.12 | creative commons

There are plenty of church and college issues to consider now in this time. The following is a review of governing documents. I am in the process of discerning, perhaps not in a traditional sense of finding a new ministerial path. However, I am searching for a vocational direction.

I would love to remain under some sort of Christian umbrella if at all possible. There have been multiple times in my career when I have been able to do so, while maintaining my credentials, which have been in-play non-stop since 1993. I am truly honored to walk in what one might call a “third space” at times, passing the time of my sojourning here in fear and wonder (1 Peter i.17).

What follows are articles on a sensitive topic that could be a deal-breaker for some people.

However, as you read ask yourself what is your company policy on the topic?

Is your company taking the time to approach the topic with the reverence and Christian values that you will find in these articles, even if you do not wholeheartedly agree with the perspective?

The resources I offer here, although I may not even agree with each one wholeheartedly, are still challenging perspectives from respectable faithtribes.

I would be willing to explore further.

A Social Statement on Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

For the position paper CLICK HERE

I read through the first half just now, especially focusing on couples, before the paper shifts toward children. I’m considering submitting an admissions application at a local Lutheran college.

This may truly be an ecumenical piece.

However, there is a profound respect for the historical Lutheran view. There is also a succinct articulation of about 4 movements within the greater movement and their beliefs on the issue.

If I am reading right, someone who has a more traditional view is still very welcome, and is also welcome to address the issues. Nonetheless, the Lutherans now encourage people to treat those who live other lifestyles as neighbors who indeed do have civil rights.

The Lutherans seem to be in the throes of how and what faith rights to offer. Furthermore, although there are about four major views that have surfaced, the primary movement does not appear to have dismissed the traditional view.

In some ways, I don’t think they’ve quite taken a dive off the deep end like some other denominations have. I could be wrong, and there are certainly more conservative Lutheran denominations, or at least conservative divisions within this one.

Sanctified Sexuality
Free Methodist Church

For the position paper CLICK HERE

This paper is a shorter read, although I still have an appreciation for the nuances of the Lutheran paper, and their respect for traditional views. This paper does cut to the chase though, and distinctly upholds the traditional standard from a Biblical standpoint as well. This is a difficult stance to take in our day an age.

Believe me, I’ve worked on our denomination’s task force to draft such a position paper. It’s in our governing documents.

When Sheri Phillips was working on her Ph.D. at Azusa Pacific University we would talk about the developments. Azusa has some roots in the Free Methodist Church.

Being in both community development and counseling, I was interested in chatting with her whenever possible.

She would visit Azusa a couple times per year for a couple weeks each time, and then work online with cohorts the rest of the year. Azusa’s newer Ph.D. programs were already starting to become competitive with Biola University and Fuller Theological Seminary.

At the time, instead of making students sign some type of Christian covenant, Azusa required all of the faculty to sign a Christian covenant. They wanted the campus to be an open door for students to enter and learn, while having the opportunity to be highly influenced by top-notch, ecumenical leaders.

General Bylaws: One Mission – One Movement
Pentecostal Church of God

To access the online governing documents CLICK HERE

Since I took the time to mention my denomination and our beliefs, I am quite proud of us for taking the time to articulately speak to the issue (beginning on page 42 and following).

You will find some solid Biblical interpretation here, guiding our whole movement, including Messenger College.

As stated above, I was part of the formative task force, one of the great honors thus far of my ministerial career. The current language in the portion of the governing documents mentioned above was ratified by the entire general assembly in 2015.

en conclusio

There are plenty of church issues to consider now in this time. However, as stated earlier this is a deal-breaker for some. To be honest, it could be a deal-breaker for some people that I answer to, if I don’t take time to do due diligence.

I also take this as an opportunity to revisit beliefs that the church at large has been grappling with in recent years, especially this century. It’s never easy, and seldom a matter of simple policy. I would encourage you to read deeply into your church ethics as well.

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