Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”
But Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21, 22)
Recently, a brother has been faulting me for writing that InterVarsity ought no longer to receive support from our missions giving--whether personal or congregational--and we ought to stop patronizing InterVarsity Press.
As he sees it, such recommendations display a number of spiritual defects in me including especially arrogance and overgeneralization. He points out that InterVarsity has many good chapters that have not yet evangelized for the sodomite perversion in the Name of Jesus and many staff workers who are still the old style of Evangelical Bible-believing Christian. As he sees it, I'm wrong to call for the end of InterVarsity and InterVarsity Press when there's still so much good being done by individuals on their payroll. So here's a short response that goes beyond the shorter responses I've made to him already.
InterVarsity has an illustrious past that includes both my father-in-law and my father holding key positions at the top of the organization. And even after leaving InterVarsity back in the early sixties, Dad sat on the board until around 1982. Then he resigned because he could no longer support the direction the organization was taking. That was thirty years ago and across those intervening years InterVarsity has gotten much worse. In what ways?
InterVarsity Press has been allowed to publish many heterodox and heretical books. Principally, InterVarsity Press has become a consistent advocate of the feminist heresy. It's not simply a matter of an occasional work here and there that pussyfoots around the boundaries on this issue, but rather a clear commitment to opposing God's Order of Creation. I've been party to several private e-mail exchanges between IVP's publisher and pastors and elders expressing concern over this rebellion deeply lodged in IVP's list for decades now, and the publisher has been dismissive of those concerns and the church officers expressing them.
This is no surprise since his parent organization, InterVarsity, has for decades been a proponent of the feminist heresy. IVP is simply a reflection of InterVarsity in this matter. Starting with my friend, Tom Dunkerton, back in the eighties, InterVarsity's presidents have been committed to rebellion against the Word of God's command that woman not teach and exercise authority over man...It was Tom Dunkerton's mission as President of InterVarsity--a mission he expressed candidly in private correspondence sent out to his close friends--to promote women into InterVarsity's leadership. And so he did as have the other presidents since him. Tom had spent his career as a Madison Avenue ad executive and this was the way of the world. He thoroughly approved of this way.
As the years went by, local chapters put women staff workers over men; Urbana force-fed its impressionable and naive student attendees a steady succession of feminist drivel and songs and speakers; Madison headquarters put out a paper on the subject that made it clear InterVarsity would not tolerate the old-and-in-the-way Biblical commands faithfully taught and obeyed by all prior generations of believers; and so on.
Thus from the time that Mary Lee and I lived in Madison and went to church and were friends and small group members, and I was a fellow PC(USA) presbytery member with InterVarsity staff workers and executives, it's been clear that the Madison home office is one with its local staff and faculty advisers in pushing the organization into the feminist rebellion and heresy. Since leaving Madison back in 1979, the entire direction of the organization has been in that same direction.
So, for instance, this past year InterVarsity staff (both local and national) supported an evangelistic event that promoted sodomy in the Name of Jesus here on our Indiana University campus. When this blasphemy was documented and brought to the attention of InterVarsity's local, regional, and national staff, they refused to correct the matter here in Bloomington. So to this day, the students who attended the campus-wide publicized event are left with the message they heard that night, that being "gay" is a fully Christian option and "getting my flame on" as a gay man is a Christian act. InterVarsity paid the self-proclaimed and self-affirming gay speaker who came in and promoted sodomy, and when godly Christians present tried to object, a national InterVarsity staff member present for the event rebuked them.
Since that night, despite many asking InterVarsity to issue a retraction and apology for paying and promoting and supporting this wickedness, InterVarsity's headquarters refused to correct the matter. Instead the issue was given over to their Vice President for Development to manage and a private letter was sent out to those who'd expressed concern telling them there was really nothing to worry about. They could continue to send their money in and trust InterVarsity to spend it well.
Some will point out that other InterVarsity chapters have not yet promoted sodomy, but rather have taken hits from campus administrators for not allowing gay men and women to serve as officers of their organizations. This is true and we are grateful for this faithfulness to the Word demonstrated here and there by those still committed to honoring God in college and university campuses. But one swallow doth not a summer make. For three decades now, InterVarsity has promoted sexual anarchy. Back in the sixties they published Lew Smedes Sex for Christians which argued for responsible petting. And within InterVarsity, this was no anomaly.
InterVarsity has long given itself to sexual rebellion and the evangelization for sodomy in the Name of Jesus that took place on the campus of Indiana University this past year is simply the logical extension of arguing that petting is a responsible option for unmarried believers. It's the logical extension of women being placed in positions of authority over men at every level of InterVarsity from its board to its national office to its regional staff to its local chapter staff to its student officers. It's the logical extension of women teaching and preaching everywhere from Urbana worship services on down to local chapters. It's the logical extension of InterVarsity and InterVarsity Press being intolerant, closed union shops of the feminist heresy.
It's all of a fabric. There's a coherent strategy behind the Evil One's attack upon God's beautiful gift of sex and when individuals and their organization set out to destroy that beauty, it's hard to decide where to draw an arbitrary line saying "thus far, but no further."
"Will all our missions committees take us out of their budget if we publish a book promoting abortion? Will they remove us if we have women preach at Urbana? Will they remove us if we publish books attacking the historic Christian doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture? Will they remove us if we publish a book promoting responsible petting? Will they remove us if we make nice about homosexuality? Will they remove us if we evangelize for homosexuality while we evangelize for Jesus Christ? How many of the historic tenets of Biblical faith can we remove before they see us for what we are and the gravy train stops?"
Decades ago, IVP published a book that promoted abortion. Decades ago, IVP published my friend, Donald Bloesch's heretical volume on the doctrine of Scripture. For decades InterVarsity has been a pale and ghostly apparition of its former vital and godly and Biblical self. InterVarsity and InterVarsity Press have spent so many years promoting heresy that it's boring.
So I say it's time to stop sending tithes and offerings given by the People of God to these charlatans fomenting rebellion against God. It's time to stop buying their books, paying their salaries, sending our children to their godless missions conference, making nice and helping to promote their local chapter events. Wake up, brothers and sisters! InterVarsity is spiritually bankrupt. Those staff workers who are still at this late date calling for the reform of the organization and a return to Biblical obedience are at this late date calling for the reform of the organization and a return to Biblical obedience at this late date. Get it?
If the church reformed is always reforming, it's no shame or arrogance to expose the rebellion of InterVarsity. Instead it's an act of faith. Of love. Of godliness. Of hope. Of truth.
Those InterVarsity employees calling for a return to Scripture are in the minority. There's been a battle and the people of God lost their fight for obedience to Scritpure many years ago in this organization. Yes, there are still mop-up operations here and there and sometimes those mop-up operations make national news causing the naive ones to think the exception is still the rule within InterVarsity. But it's not.
InterVarsity has long been gone and to rejoice that there are still some faithful staff workers who honor God while denying the overarching reality is culpable naivete. Furthermore, those staff workers you think are orthodox likely are much less so than you think.
Before you pass your next year's missions budget, sit your I-V staff worker down and ask him or her to sign a statement of faith concerning sexual matters that is thoroughly Biblical, telling this missionary of your church that you will place the document and his signature up on your church's web site and send it to the Madison home office as a record of his commitment to honor God at the place of battle on every college and university campus.
Then watch him squirm and remonstrate and cavil explaining that "It's just not that simple."
There are many, many reasons to stop funding InterVarsity today. Many reasons. And those who argue against defunding them by pointing to good staff workers and helpful volumes published by IVP must ask themselves whether we've really been reduced to claiming it's a victory that some men and women within a parachurch organization are not rebels against God? Is that what Evangelicalism has come to--that we rejoice that not every last person on our missions budget is a feminist heretic who thinks that monogamous unions between gay men and women are better than gay promiscuity? That we rejoice that IVP still makes money off J. I. Packer's Knowing God while also making money off attacks upon the Holy Spirit's inspiration of Scripture and God's creation order?
So we're left nullifying the Word of God for the sake of our Evangelical traditions and friendships and legacies. When we gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
Evangelicalism today is the liberalism our Evangelical fathers separated from back in the first half of the twentieth century. It's long been clear and its time for us to stop giving God's tithes and offerings to organizations that foment rebellion against the Living God and His Perfect Word.
If we have brothers and sisters who are still drawing their paychecks from dead men's bones like InterVarsity, it's love to exhort them to move on and find somewhere to work that doesn't undercut their commitments to obedience and holiness and sanctification. Many of us have taken this step, choosing not to nullify the Word of God for the sake of our Evangelical traditions. It's time for us to call others to join us, leaving Evangelical liberalism behind for the Church of the Living God, the Household of Faith, the Pillar and Foundation of the One Truth. This is faith. This is hope. This is love.
Stop sending your tithes and offerings to Madison. Call your faithful missionaries to move on to another campus organization that consistenly honors God.
Here in Bloomington, we've started ClearNote Campus Fellowship. It's Biblical. It doesn't ask woman to teach and exercise authority over man. It doesn't hire sodomites to "share the Gospel" in the context of promoting their perversion. We discipline petting as the fornication it is. We are a ministry of the Church and call every student to corporate worship each Lord's Day, to submit to the elders, and to join us as we eat at the Table of our Lord. We preach repentance as well as faith. We repudiate neo-orthodoxy. And our staff worker makes a fraction of what the lowest paid InterVarsity staff worker makes.
There are good campus ministries like ours all over these United States and each of them has a tiny fraction of the wealth of InterVarsity. Stop supporting InterVarsity and begin supporting them.
This is the meaning of the church reformed, always reforming.