InterVarsity hedges and obfuscates concerning their IU event promoting sodomy (part VIII)...

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(Tim: this is eighth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight] responding to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at an Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011. This post was written by Pastors Tim Bayly, Jacob Mentzel, and Lucas Weeks.)

"The decision to pay Campbell to speak at the event was made by a number of upper-level InterVarsity staff and, following the event, InterVarsity's staff workers who were present had no problem with what Campbell had said."

This Wednesday, April 6, 2011, InterVarsity e-mailed a statement to some of the individuals who had expressed concern over their recent presentation, "Jesus and the End of Homophobia," here at Indiana University. The statement was not published on any public forum.

According to InterVarsity Headquarters, the primary failure of their "Jesus and the End of Homophobia" event is that "some who trust InterVarsity" were led into "confusion" about InterVarsity's "position on the compatibility of ministry leadership and homosexual practice."

So what is InterVarsity's official position on homosexuality?

Who knows? Go to their web site and try to find it. With many others, we've searched and we couldn't find it anywhere. As we said to an InterVarsity vice president this past week, IV has carefully hidden its position behind its firewalls. This is the fear of the world's disapproval and shame of Jesus Christ that led IV into this predicament in the first place...

In Athens, the Apostle Paul proclaimed the Gospel, condemning the Athenians' besetting sin of idolatry. He preached the wickedness of idolatry and warned them to flee the Coming Judgment.

But today, IV avoids proclaiming the Gospel by condemning university students' besetting sins of fornication and sodomy. Instead they hire a sodomite to do evangelism by preaching "Jesus and the End of Homophobia."

In Athens, the Apostle Paul preached "Jesus and the End of Idolatry."

In Bloomington, InterVarsity paid a gay man to preach "Jesus and the End of Homophobia."

Then in the face of the loss of the financial support of donors, InterVarsity issued a private statement expressing regret that their good-faith effort to "begin conversations about the claims and life of Jesus as the antidote to our broken world (which started) a conversation between Christians (and) Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and the Transgendered" caused "confusion and disagreement."

"Confusion and disagreement?"

When the Apostle Paul preached on Mars Hill, it caused the members of the Areopagus to disagree with him. They didn't like their besetting sin condemned and they didn't like the Apostle Paul calling them to turn away from their "ignorance" and they didn't like the Apostle Paul threatening them with the coming Judgment.

But what "confusion and disagreement" did InterVarsity cause?

They caused "disagreement" between themselves and the Church of Jesus Christ; between themselves and believers committed to the holiness without which no man will see God. InterVarsity's message, "Jesus and the End of Homophobia," led to schism in the Church. The people of God were scandalized that InterVarsity had used the Name of Jesus Christ and His Church to promote sodomy; and that when believers tried to speak out against the blasphemy, they were silenced, and after the meeting punished.

We wish we could say InterVarsity's message caused the sexually immoral to come under conviction of sin and to flee the coming Judgment, but that was the one thing their meeting and speaker opposed.

Instead InterVarsity invited a man well-known to be gay and to have left their employment because of his gayness to come and speak in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ addressing the subject "Jesus and the End of Homophobia."

In a day when Evangelical Christians think naivete is the highest spiritual gift, we can't repeat this often enough. William Campbell, by his own admission a "Gay" man who likes to "get his flame on" and calls himself a "Christian," was given the floor to do Christian evangelism on behalf of InterVarsity. And the subject he was assigned was "Jesus and the End of Homophobia."

So Campbell showed up and was happy to proclaim that being a Christian and being a homosexual are perfectly compatible. Students who spoke up to deny these claims were told to be quiet.

And now, InterVarsity's sends a private statement out that reads as if none of this ever happened and these concerns had never been raised.

InterVarsity claims a "mouse-over photo caption" on the Indiana Daily Student's website was the primary cause of the "inaccurate impression that InterVarsity had changed it's position on the compatibility of ministry leadership and homosexual practice." The implication is that the newspaper's hard copy didn't identify InterVarsity's staff worker as a gay man, but it did. How could they not have known this?

Everyone on campus knew the article and its caption appeared in the print edition of the Indiana Daily Student, also, and that this hard copy was distributed to 42,000 students across the city of Bloomington.

Furthermore, the article and its hard copy caption are completely accurate. Here's the text of the caption:

In the lecture, Campbell drew upon his life experiences as a homosexual Christian and from working as a staff member of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship program for college students in Chicago.

Readers may have concluded that Campbell was a practicing homosexual at the time that he was on staff with InterVarsity, but that conclusion isn't required by the text. And it all begs the question whether Campbell was a practicing homosexual while holding a paid position with InterVarsity. Has anyone asked him? We're betting he was.

Additionally, the promotional material for the event printed and distributed by InterVarsity gives no indication that there is any incompatibility between Campbell's open advocacy of homosexuality and his work on staff with IV:

For the past 5 1/2 years, he has worked with college students throughout Chicago as a staff member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Since leaving InterVarsity in October 2010, he has been working on launching an online magazine with other editors focused on issues of faith, sexuality, and race called "The Orientation." His long term goals are to see more spaces created where LGBTQ people can find the freedom to be who they are and encounter God genuinely, as well as foster platforms for honest conversations & dialogue between the broader Church and LGBTQ communities.

Keep in mind that the meeting with InterVarsity's local staff worker, Mark Abdon, a week after the event established beyond any doubt that the decision to pay Campbell to speak at the event was a decision made by a number of upper-level InterVarsity staff, and that following the event, InterVarsity's staff workers who were present had no problem with what Campbell had said.

To which InterVarsity's Headquarters responds: "The planning and running of the event was not what should have been." Really? What was wrong with it?

This statement saying something was "not what should have been" is nebulous and the statement was issued only to a few private individuals. Where has InterVarsity done anything to correct its blasphemy on the campus of Indiana Unversity, and done its correction in a forum as public as the forum in which the blasphemy occurred?

We have privately asked InterVarsity a numer of times to place an ad in the Indiana Daily Student acknowledging their failure and publicly identifying what the Word of God says concerning homosexual immorality--explicitly affirming their commitment to this Word. For almost two weeks, now, we have called and e-mailed veteran IV staff workers as well as the offices of InterVarsity's vice presidents and president. We've spoken to one of the vice presidents twice about the matter. Each time we reiterated our request that they issue a public correction in the pages of the Indiana Daily Student. We have told them that it won't weaken their reputation at all. It will only strengthen it.

Nevertheless, InterVarsity has issued no public correction and the blasphemy stands.

Meanwhile, InterVarsity has issued a private statement to its supporters that does not acknowledge what actually happened and does not indicate there was anything specifically wrong with the forum.

The statement is a classic example of damage control by obfuscation, and we've said this to a vice president.

In addition to the items dealt with above, the statement also claims:

The entire week of meetings was funded by the IU Student Association's Funding Board, under the Funding Board's criteria. It was not funded by InterVarsity or through funding received from our supporters.

This is not true. The IU Student Association's official policy states: "Organizations can only be awarded a maximum of seventy-five percent of the total initiative cost" (Article IV, Section 5 of the IUSA Funding Board's Constitution). This means at least twenty-five per cent of the funds for this event were provided by InterVarsity. If InterVarsity wants to claim it didn't provide any money for Campbell to blaspheme, who did provide the remaining twenty-five per cent?

Again, InterVarsity claims the event was "co-sponsored by several organizations." InterVarsity's promotional material indicates there were three organizations who cpo-sponsored the events: InterVarsity itself, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality (SAGE), and Christian Student Fellowship (CSF). But CSF has disavowed any association with the event:

We were very surprised to learn that we were listed as sponsors of the event. The CSF staff did not give our permission. We were not aware of the speaker's stance on homosexuality and do not agree with Monday's talk.

The only other organization who could have contributed to the cost of the event was SAGE. We suppose it's possible that SAGE made some contribution to pay Campbell to speak on InterVarsity's behalf, but such an idea strains our credulity to the breaking point.

InterVarsity's statement is patronizing, claiming those concerned about the forum's blasphemy have  overreacted to a "mouse-over" caption in an online edition of the student newspaper.

We are Christian pastors who are jealous for the reputation of Jesus Christ in our community. We are also concerned for the souls of Indiana University students InterVarsity has led astray. We have appealed to InterVarsity a number of times through private communications to correct their error.

Our appeals seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Rather than issuing a public retraction to the Indiana University community, InterVarsity has sent a bunch of obfuscatory damage control to its donors.

We remain hopeful InterVarsity will finally take responsibility for the blasphemy it committed and renounce their promotion of sodomy. InterVarsity has sponsored similar events on other campuses that were Godly and fruitful for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. May God give InterVarsity the grace to do what is right.