To My Friends At Erskine
What I say does not necessarily represent Erskine. I’m speaking as a Christian who is a student at Erskine, and is interpreting Erskine’s statement, individually.
I am aware of the variety of emotions that are being experienced due to Erskine’s statement on human sexuality. Everyone is angry. Just look at all of the capital letters and the exclamatory remarks.
Eventually I want to strictly address some of the arguments given on both sides, but for now I believe it is necessary to introduce my thoughts.
I think the more pressing issue is the emotions (or passions) that are tied up into this controversy. This is one of those thorny issues where it is imperative that we examine those loud cymbals clanking in our head that tend to preclude rational thought. After that, then we can aim for precision, and produce some healthy conversations.
Some passages to meditate on:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt 5:9)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt 7:7)
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.” (James 4:1-2)
Jesus says that Peacemakers are blessed. Not that they will be blessed (even though that’s true) but that they are blessed. The reason He says this is because peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Apart from being in Christ, who sends the Spirit (John 15:5,26) it just won’t happen. Those who have been given the Spirit are children of God, and so they grow in fruition in peace. In a lot of cases, it is ever so gradual, and constantly interrupted by our own sinfulness.
As you can tell James is writing to Christians who are fighting. The reason he does that is that even though they are in Christ, and have the Spirit, they are not acting like it. That’s our story. When we don’t get what we want, we transgress the law of God by trying to take it. It starts with our desires (James 1:14), and if not stopped, it results in the evil action, which results in the consequences of sin (James 1:15). James wants to head that off. He’s writing a pathology of that disease known as sin. Because we are morally responsible, he wants us to be able to diagnose the issue, so we can pray for the grace that the Spirit supplies to surgically remove it. God is working in us powerfully everyday of our lives in Christ.
The way this applies is where our motives are. In this controversy, are we peacemakers, or peacebreakers? This is something the bible addresses, so we need to be mindful of it in this debate. It may be that people on both sides of this debate will be all across the map in terms of whether they seek peace, or are in it just to troll. Something to consider instead of committing hasty generalizations.
That being said, I agree with the statement:
A) I don’t think the statement just applies to those who have same-sex attraction. It also applies to those of us who have sexual desires in general (this includes heterosexuals) .
B) Any institution must conduct itself with a code of ethics. This means we can’t do anything we want anytime we want it. Can you imagine the idiocy of affirming a statement that allowed the students to be able to have sex with anyone they want at any given time? Surely no one agrees with that.
C) The only support the statement has for any sexual activity is under the institution of marriage. This crosses out anything else. So it isn’t aimed directly at homosexuality. It’s aimed at the practice of sexuality outside of marriage.
D) It would be reasonable to believe that whatever policies applied would be directed at those who violate by *practicing* any form of sexuality outside of marriage. This is to be distinguish from the “being” of same-sex or opposite-sex attraction.
If you’re of the particular persuasion that the statement on “human sexuality” is “hateful”, you probably have reservations for the use of that dreaded “S” word. It probably kicks you in the stomach when someone calls you an “S” word. Guess what? It has that effect on me, as well! It’s a terrible thing to be a sinner (I should know!), and whether you’re a Christian or not, on some fundamental level, you are against wrongdoing! (Otherwise you wouldn’t be reacting so strongly to what you find “hateful”).
On a side note:
1. Let me point out that it’s a bit odd that someone who doesn’t like the idea of an action being classified as a “sin” will turn around and call someone “hateful”. It’s odd to me because you’re saying that the person is “full of hate”.
2. Let me also point out that hatred for one’s brother is classified as “murder” , because murder has it’s conception in hate.
3. In other words, hatred for someone created in the image of God is a sin.
4. Someone saying it is wrong to be hateful is borrowing ideas from the bible. Which lists other kinds of offenses as sinful.
You’ve probably all heard the news that in the Christian worldview, we’re all sinners. Yep. You should probably also know that some sins are more detrimental than others. Yes, they all equally incur the wrath of God (so we’re all on equal footing in terms of our default), but some are more harmful to us or our neighbors. For example, a starving person stealing a loaf of bread from a rich man is not equivalent to murder. They are both condemned by the law of God, but they certainly don’t do as much damage.
Erskine College identifies itself with a Christian Worldview. This is how she sees herself, and this is how she’s seen herself since the establishment of the school! Her ID card reads: Arm of the ARP denomination. However, we can generally say that she is an arm of the universal church at large in that she is on a christian mission.
Now that “sin” word is a word that connotes transgression. It’s what we label any transgression (from small to large) against God. It’s the problem of evil. It’s the problem of mankind. It results in all sorts brokenness, and it has the effect of molding us into a self-destructive tendency.
Think of self-righteousness. Someone who establishes a kingdom in their own mind. They believe everyone else must subvert themselves to their will. Psychology has a word for that: Narcissism. The medical field has a word for that: sick. The bible has a word for that: sin. Because of sin, we have suffering
(though let me be clear to say that not every instance of suffering can be traced back to a sin that the sufferer is committing).
But it is a result of the one sin through which every other sin entered the world. From that one sin resulted a curse. Issuing a bent toward destruction along with every instance of suffering you or your loved ones have experienced.
This may not be your view. However, Christianity is Erskine’s view. So Erskine’s statements will reflect that view.
Look forward to your follow-up post.
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