are we dangerous?

Last week the California State University system (23 schools) said InterVarsity Christian Fellowship could no longer be a recognized campus group because it requires its leaders to commit to certain beliefs, beliefs that naturally exclude others who do not hold them. It seems that California is punishing faith-based groups for having faith. It believes that Christian organizations are a threat to the diversity it seeks to foster in students, and it will no longer permit IVCF to freely meet on campus, recruit at new student fairs, or participate with the student activities department. What should we think about this?

1. They’re wrong. It’s hypocritical to discriminate on the principle of non-discrimination, and we should politely call them on it. As Tertullian pointed out the inconsistencies of Rome (e.g., you accuse Christians of murder yet you attend gladiatorial contests and support abortion; you accuse Christians of rebellion against your emperors yet you kill one and replace him with another who seems promising), so we should logically deconstruct this power move.

No one supports diversity more than Christians who know they are made in the image of the triune God and who belong to the body of Christ, which includes men and women from every tribe, nation, and language. No one learns and appreciates other cultures better than us. Have you attended a missions conference? Have you noticed the rising number of international adoptions in our church family? We get multi-culturalism. We’ve lived it for a long while.

2. On the other hand, they’re right. California may be on to something. Of all the organizations that meet on campus, I’d hope that IVCF is the most dangerous to their fallen system. Jesus’ kingdom is political, and it is a threat to every system that does not worship him. Jesus warned us this day would come. “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23).

I interpret California’s decision as a sign that IVCF is doing something right. They are being excluded, insulted, and rejected precisely because of their allegiance to Jesus. He must be proud.

I also see this as an opportunity. When would you rather be a Christian college student on a secular campus? Back in the golden era—whenever that was—when your commitment to Jesus was understood and respected? Or now, when the authorities perceive that your allegiance is dangerous? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be dangerous. If you follow Jesus in today’s world, that’s exactly what you are.

5 Comments

Add yours →

  1. Finally a return to the vibrancy of 1st century Christianity. The church seems to be at its weakest when inserted within the context of an explicitly Christian nation, when church attendance and a semblance of religiosity are the cultural norms, because that is when the lukewarm feel free to enter in swarms until they make up the bulk of the body. The temperature of the whole church is brought down to tepid at best. It has been said that of all the attempts the Romans made to destroy the church, the one that came the closest was when Emperor Theodosius made it the official state religion. With the ouster of evangelical Christianity from cultural acceptability, those who are not as committed to the cause will opt out and cease watering down the numbers of the faithful. numbers may go down, but potency should go up an inversely proportional manner.

  2. We too often have the meek and mild Jesus.

    I think more often we need the Jesus that went into the temple and threw over the tables and made a whip and pulled a Matthew 23 on the Pharisees.

  3. I recall the late Indian theologian Dr Ben Wati once telling me that he encouraged fellow Christians to vote for an extreme Hindu fundamentalist candidate rather than a moderate, because Christians
    are stronger and more effective under persecution than when they are simply tolerated.

  4. Thanks for this post – this seems to strike just the right tone. Christian bloggers are telling us to “decry” the situation … which is dispositionally about the furthest thing imaginable from “rejoicing and leaping for joy”!

  5. Pragmatically speaking, this will lead to another legal confrontation, which the courts do usually have a high record in ruling for religious freedom on secular property. When the lines are black & white as they are in California, 1st Amendment rights are usually upheld. It’s when you delve into ambiguous legal areas such as same-sex marriage the courts rule for secular concepts. And what about Islamic organizations on campus? Islam is more exclusive than Christianity? Maybe they’re not banned…..at least not yet, because these bureaucratic secularists are scared to death literally of terrorists?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: