What happens at Calvin does not stay at Calvin? That’s right, so what about the LGBTQ war? —GetReligion


Back to the RNS analysis:

The actions of Wednesday’s synod will also have profound consequences for its flagship university, Calvin. In December, a third of Calvin’s professors signed a letter expressing concerns about the report on human sexuality, and some are now expected to leave. Calvin University professors must sign a document stating that their beliefs are consistent with the historical beliefs and denominations of the Christian Reformed Church.

The status of the document was unclear.

“A lot of people are polishing their resumes, start looking at what else is out there, and getting ready to go,” said Kristin Kobes Du Mez, professor of history at Calvin University and one of its faculties. stars.

The university is known in the world of Christian higher education for its supportive and pastoral approach to LGBTQ students.

The content of this letter played a major role in the previous “Crossroads” podcast on these debates. Hold that thought.

Now Du Mez — author of the groundbreaking “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation” — is a superstar in the post-evangelical world. I think her resume will launch her into the Ivy League soon and maybe a regular gig with The New York Times editorial page.

Thus, it is important to note his reaction to the CRC’s assertion of small-o orthodoxy, as posted on its Substack page: “LGBTQ in the CRC”. Read carefully, as these are powerful documents on many levels, especially regarding what Calvin-influenced people think on other campuses.

Often I hear traditionalists argue that LGBTQ inclusion is a slippery slope to abandoning the truth of the gospel. Or that by opening our churches to LGBTQ believers, we have already abandoned the gospel. I have heard enough debate on the subject to know where this argument comes from. But… what if they’re wrong? Because LGBTQ Christians in my orbit are some of the most resilient in their faith of anyone I have met, and they have served me.

Likewise, on the other side, I hear people wondering why the hell LGBTQ people would stay in places where they are not welcome.

Why would someone who isn’t straight even go to college like Calvin?

Certainly, for some, it’s because it’s the only college their parents will pay for.

True that.

Of course, reporters can flip that equation around and ask if Calvin’s recent enrollment declines have anything to do with “traditionalist” parents and churches losing faith in the school. But back to Du Mez:

… (For) many it is because they are drawn to mission: to think deeply, to act righteously, and to live wholeheartedly as agents of Christ’s renewal in the world. They want to a Christian education. Some are there for discretion Reform Christian education. I have known students whose parents not only kicked them out of their homes but also cut tuition fees. But these students are so committed to their Reformed Christian upbringing that they find ways to stay, sometimes going into deep debt to do so.

And that’s why so many of us stay. Because they stay, and at great expense.

In other words, these new Reformers cling to Reformers, convinced that the weight of their intellectual tradition and culture is really on their side (in part because of what they have learned during their years of studies on these campuses).

This brings us back to this pre-Calvin letter of protest, written by professors who now face difficult decisions about the doctrinal underpinnings of their faculty contracts:

The signatories, one-third of Calvin’s faculty, wrote, “The report and its potential adoption by Synod could undermine the academic freedom of the faculty and our status as a reputable academic institution in the Reform tradition.”

The key word is “reputable”. What happens in Calvin does not stay in Calvin.

The letter states: “Adoption of the report’s assertions regarding denominational status would harm our Reform community by severely compromising the ability of staff and faculty to care for our LGBTQ students in the manner our conscience dictates and that the scholarship supports. Although staff are not required to sign the Covenant for Faculty Members, some would consider working for an institution for which the report has been granted denominational status a violation of their conscience. »

It will be important, of course, to see what happens to enrollment patterns at Calvin — who are already stressed like many (but not all) schools recruiting students from the post-millennial market.

Here’s a potential story, if Calvin executives were willing to answer the questions: If faculty move up, how many applications will administrators receive for those open slots (if they can continue to fund them)?

Anglican thinker Steven Wedgewood had some thoughts on some of these issues, writing for the editorial site of World magazine: “CRC’s Valiant Stand and Calvin’s Moment of Truth.” The current crisis, he notes, could:

…be an opportunity to mitigate or reverse the steady demographic decline in Calvin. University enrollment steadily declined, even more than in similar Dutch reform schools. Compared to neighboring Hillsdale College, Calvin’s numbers seem abysmal. Hillsdale is cheaper than Calvin but can be much more selective. And over the past few years, the same years of decline for so many, Hillsdale has seen a boom in listings. The RNS reports have it all wrong. Calvin is not looking at another impending catastrophe.

Stay tuned. I would expect elite media coverage of the Calvin crisis this fall.

Enjoy the podcast and, Please circulate.

FIRST IMAGE : Screenshot from YouTube video titled “No Easy Options for Progressive CRC Churches”.


Comments are closed.