Does Trump have any support at evangelical colleges?

I haven’t much time to chat with my colleagues about politics this semester. I mostly go to campus to teach my classes and then return home for meetings and office hours via ZOOM. So I honestly don’t know if any of my colleagues are supporting Trump in November, but I imagine that if there are Trump voters among the faculty the number is small.

I don’t have a good pulse on the student body this year due to COVID-19, but I am sure there is a pro-Trump constituency among the student body.

So what is happening at other Christian colleges? Insider Higher Ed talked with Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges & University. She was very diplomatic: “President Trump has taken actions on issues like abortion and religious freedom that are important to Christians…But President Trump’s actions distress many who have deeper faith practices. I think the president’s behavior has made it a hard choice.”

The reporter, Kery Murakami, also spoke with professors at Wheaton College, Union University, Calvin University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Pepperdine University. Richard Mouw is also mentioned, but his name is misspelled.

Read the entire piece here.

335 Union University Alums Protest Administrators and Faculty Signing the Nashville Statement


The Jackson (TN) Sun reports:

Four names from Union University were on the list of signatures on the Nashville Statement from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on Monday, and a group of university alumni were unhappy that representatives from their alma mater chose to be associated with it.

The Nashville Statement is a list of 14 statements affirming biblical teaching on issues pertaining to gender and sexuality, according to the council. A number of evangelical leaders from across the country signed their name to the statement in agreement, including Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention president Steve Gaines and nationally known evangelist John Piper.

Union University, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, was represented on the list as well as its president Samuel “Dub” Oliver, dean of School of Theology and Missions Nathan Finn, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy C. Ben Mitchell and associate professor of political science Hunter Baker.

Since its release on Tuesday, the Nashville Statement has drawn both praise and condemnation from across the country. Some of those who support it appreciate it’s clarity. Some of those who oppose it think its harmful toward LGBT people. In Nashville, many in the city, including Mayor Megan Barry, take issue with the statements moniker and say it doesn’t represent the city’s inclusive views. The statement was named after Nashville because a draft of it was finalized last week in Nashville.  

“I was disappointed when I read the statement and saw Union’s name attached to it,” said Caraline Rickard, who graduated from Union in 2012. “I was disappointed because the message had a harshness to it that isn’t consistent with the message we’ve heard from most evangelical leaders.

“The statements were consistent with the point of view of Union as an institution, but the Union I knew as a student delivered that point of view in a loving and kind way, and not hateful like this seemed.”

Rickard drafted an open letter opposing the names from Union on the list from Union alumni, and 355 alumni or former students have attached their names to it.

Union issued a statement on the issue this week.

“The Nashville Statement provides biblical clarity and compassion about these issues in a time when it is needed most,” Oliver said in the statement. “At Union, we always want to speak the truth in love.

Read the rest here.   It should be noted that Union University was one of a handful of Christian institutions of higher education that left the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities over this issue in August 2015.

David Michael Bruno Weighs in on the Gay Marriage Controversy in the CCCU

David Michael Bruno teaches history at Point Loma Nazarene University, a member institution of the Council for Christian College and Universities (CCCU).  In this insightful post, drawing from the theological work of German scholar Helmut Thielicke, he provides some much needed perspective on the current debates going on in the CCCU regarding gay marriage

A taste:

There is this small book by the late German theologian Helmut Thielicke titled, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians. First published in 1962 and just more than fifty pages long, it is a short book in which Thielicke speaks volumes. Disagreements among professing Christians about what it means to be faithful occur at all times and in all cultures. So I am not trying to elevate one particular disagreement in one particular culture to a severity of historical proportions. I simply want to layer Thielicke’s caution on top of some of the disputes brewing among some Christians in the United States. I especially have a concern for Christian higher education..

Thielicke wrote A Little Exercise as an admonition to his young students who were learning fancy theological terms like apophatic and cataphatic, then returning from university to their home churches. At home they interrupted Sunday school classes with their theological erudition. Erudition, not edification. “It is possible,” said Thielecke, “that theology makes the young theologian vain and so kindles in him something like gnostic pride. The chief reason for this is that in us men truth and love are seldom combined.”

So sure, that old lady in the congregation thinks the hypostatic union is what happens to her knee when she wobbles out of bed in the morning. She has a leg up, even so, on many young theologians when it comes to living a charitable life that blesses the body of Christ. Merely possessing knowledge cannot save or satisfy the soul. To earnest yet immature young theologians, Thielecke said, “Love is the opposite of the will to possess.”

…Thielicke pushes further still. He not only chastens young theologians who look down their hermeneutical noses at laymen, but he also cautions them to be gracious with one another. When I was studying systematic theology in school, one of my professors used a memorably simple illustration to express two different postures taken by humans studying theology. He reached out his hands in front of him and made fists. Then he opened his fists and raises his palms upward. We can do theology pridefully or we can do theology humbly. We can battle our way to God or we can submit our way to God. As we choose our posture toward God so too do we choose our posture towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is remarkable how many theologians with open palms towards God make fists at each other. Again Thielecke provides an insightful caution.

…those who affirm the doctrinal boundaries of orthodox Christianity must contend with equal earnestness to safeguard those boundaries as well as protect the unity of the church when a dispute takes place outside of those boundaries. This is not easy work because the boundaries are not always clear and because even the disputes outside the boundaries of orthodoxy are important. In this matter it is my personal view that the church must sit at the feet of faithful historians and that those historians must rise to the challenge of faithfully guiding the church through this difficult work. The church needs to be reminded, for example, how John Wesley and George Whitefield ultimately elevated brotherly love above doctrinal differences. Their relationship was messy. In the end, however, it was not characterized by schism. There are a thousand similar examples. So then, fists clenched or palms up? Humility and unity, especially when it is hard, is the way of Christ.
…Perhaps, in keeping with Thielicke’s admonition to his young students that they return to their home churches and keep quiet for an extended time, we could advocate a similar discipline. Thielicke wanted his students whose brains were freshly packed with theological nuance to sit still upon returning to their home churches and observe how the work of Christ takes place without their theological erudition. Perhaps what Christian institutions of higher education need is a silent ambassador program in which an ambassador from one institution is sent to another, not to articulate a doctrinal position or negotiate terms, but to sit still and watch. Would these silent ambassadors observe points of doctrinal disagreement? Most assuredly. Would they observe the work of Christ taking place in spite of disagreement? I think so. Would that change attitudes about disunity? We must hope it would or else grieve that the witness of body of Christ is not what Christ himself desires it to be.
Good stuff, indeed.

Scot McKnight Responds to Union University

Scot McKnight

Last week we did a post on Carl Trueman’s article at First Things in which he wondered whether Union University was expecting too much from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) by demanding that the Council expel Goshen College and Eastern Mennonite University for allowing faculty to participate in gay marriages. (See our coverage of this issue here and here and here.

Following the publication of Trueman’s piece, Union University Provost C. Ben Mitchell responded. Here is part of what he wrote:

Thus, Professor Trueman is right to say that our relationship to the CCCU, like both of our relationships with the ECFA, is not built on comprehensive confessional commitment. But here’s where he errs, I think. Our relationship with the CCCU is not “really pragmatic and only very superficially theological” any more than Westminster’s relationship with the ECFA and financial responsibility is pragmatic and only superficially theological. We take the CCCU’s missional affirmation of Christ-centeredness and service to biblical truth very seriously. We believe that claiming Christ’s lordship over Christian higher education is, or should be, a robust theological claim.

That is why we have been so deeply disappointed over the last nearly two years in the CCCU leadership’s unwillingness to deal decisively with whether or not the organization will take a stand for traditional marriage. The good news that Jesus is Lord entails that we believe what he says wholeheartedly and follow him faithfully. In our view, one cannot consistently affirm his lordship and affirm the legitimacy of same-sex marriage. After all, every time Jesus dealt with questions about the sanctity of marriage, he himself affirmed that “at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’” (Matthew 19: 4). The prescription, “a man” and “a wife” in a “one flesh” union, proscribes same-sex marriage.

Now Scot McKnight, whose original post at his blog Jesus Creed prompted the Trueman piece, has responded to Mitchell.  Here is a taste: 

To all this I would say: It is big leap to go from the essentials of the faith and theological robustness to the ethics of same-sex marriage. Not that I disagree with Union or with traditionalists on the ethical stance about same-sex marriage —I’ve been contending for the traditional view for a long time. The issue is that essentials of the faith and theological robustness speak to the Christian creeds and not to anything about marriage. The CCCU’s terms about theology, as I understand them, were designed to set a boundary against theologically liberal colleges and seminaries and against church- and denomination-based schools. The problem was that there were some Christian colleges in name only. Perhaps now Union thinks that of Goshen and Eastern Mennonite. I suspect these two offending institutions have not changed their theological statements. 

Furthermore, the CCCU has been a mishmash of theological orientations and persuasions and articulations for its entire history. Notice this list of Christian colleges/universities and that Union has been in some kind of “fellowship” with these schools for as long as it has been part of the CCCU.

The point is clear: There is here a widespread—if not breathtaking—set of differences between these schools. Theological robustness is stretched beyond anything that could possibly be maintained in one theological statement. Here is the list:

Anderson University in Indiana
Baylor University
Campbell University
Emanuel College
Evangel and other charismatic and Pentecostal schools
All the Churches of Christ schools
Franciscan at Steubenville is overtly and radically Catholic
Friends, George Fox, Malone and other Quaker schools
Fuller Theological Seminary
Wisconsin Lutheran

Traditionally, conservative Evangelical schools will have tensions with all or some of these institutions, and vice versa. The CCCU embraced this kind of diversity at the theological level because its concerns were not primarily theological but rather rooted in some very basic agreements.

What cracked the surface here, then, was the culture war being waged over same-sex marriage—not commitment to theological robustness and the essentials of the faith. What Carl Trueman rightly calls “comprehensive confessional commitment” is not what the CCCU has in mind because it offers only a basic theological commitment for pragmatic, practical, and strategic common concerns. These are schools who say they are “Christ-centered” and who believe in the “essentials of the faith” but who gather not to discuss theology but to help one another along in their commitment to Christian higher education. One could well say the CCCU’s statement is too thin to garner deep theological unity—but it may well answer back that its concerns are more practical.

So what this crack-up with the CCCU illustrates is the total inability for theologically non-specific theological statements to hold Christians together theologically. Generic brand theological statements in low churches will never be enough and nearly all such churches end up amending the statements, producing white papers, or announcing at some level new conclusions about pressing theological concerns. The CCCU is not in the position, nor does it have the theological breadth and depth, to adjudicate pressing theological challenges. 

Chris Gerhz Responds to Remarks By President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

I have said it before and I will say it again, Chris Gehrz, the chair of the history department at Bethel University and the man behind The Pietist Schoolman blog, is emerging as one of the most important voices in the Christian college world today. I hope you have been reading his posts on Union University’s decision to withdraw from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  (By the way, we have covered this issue here and here).

Today Chris responds to Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OWU).  OWU, led by Piper, has threatened to pull out of the CCCU unless the the organization expels Goshen College and Eastern Mennonite University by August 31 for their stand on gay marriage.

Here is a taste of Piper’s recent remarks to the faculty at OWU:

This past week, I was quoted in several different national periodicals primarily because of my opposition to the actions of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), an organization of which OKWU is a member. The reason for my disapproval is quite simple. After two longstanding CCCU member colleges recently announced their intent to begin affirming gay marriage, the CCCU’s immediate response was not to remove these two schools from membership, but rather, to issue a call for “discussion and deliberation.”
Why do I oppose the CCCU’s action? Put concisely: There are times when the discussion becomes the offense.
Presumably there are some things within any organization that are not—and should not be—subject to deliberation and any discussion to the contrary simply betrays a telling lack of conviction.  For example, would anyone expect the Anti-Defamation League to “discuss” whether or not Jews are human beings, worthy of the same dignity and rights as Germans or Iranians?  Would anyone dare challenge the NAACP for its predictable reluctance to “deliberate” the Dred Scott decision’s definition of a black man? Would any of us seriously condemn the National Organization of Women because it doesn’t want to seek “counsel” on whether or not women ought to be subjugated to the power and privilege of men? Would PETA “deliberate” the health benefits of eating meat? Would we expect Green Peace to “discuss” the advantages of harvesting whales?
I surely hope the answer to all these questions is no. I would assume that all the aforementioned organizations would consider some agendas to be so abhorrent (presumably including the examples I mention) as to be beyond dispute. In like manner, I would argue that any organization claiming the adjective “Christian” should consider certain ideas so far outside the boundaries of any definition of Christianity that they would simply say: “Some things are just not debatable, the discussion is over.”
Here is part of Chris’s response to Piper:
If readers would like to respond to Piper’s argument, the comments section is available. Just don’t expect me to join in. I’ve said enough on the particular topic of marriage and its status as an issue of primary or secondary importance for a Church that is made for unity. If I don’t agree with another CCCU president that our view of marriage “is at the heart of the Gospel,” I’m certainly not going to agree that opposition to same-sex marriage is so central to Christian identity that questioning it is akin to the ADL questioning the humanity of Jews!
But offensive as I find the line of argumentation here (a barely veiled Holocaust allusion!), let me pull apart one of Piper’s rhetorical questions, since it unfortunately pits against each other two words that actually belong together:

Chris Gehrz

Could it be that the CCCU’s openness to dialogue has actually become the offense because its ambivalence demonstrates an apparent lack of conviction in favor of consensus?
Now, I need to acknowledge that I instinctively incline to seek consensus — and that instinct is fallible. Indeed, I’m sure that I occasionally confuse conflict-avoiding with consensus-seeking.
But knowing that those moments are few and far between, let me suggest a few theses — not 95, just thirteen — about what it normally means when Christians talk about holding to their convictions:So I’m probably the kind of person Piper has in mind when he thrice complains about Christians who lack conviction. As Protestants we ought to know that there will be moments when we need to say — against the consensus of the present, and perhaps the past — that our convictions, like our consciences, are captive to the Word of God. Here we stand. We can do no other. God help us.
  1. Consensus is not the enemy of conviction, for
  2. convictions are not meant to be held in isolation, but in community.
  3. (My Latin is virtually non-existent, but doesn’t convictus imply something like “living with”?
  4. Also, the verb from which it descends means first “to convince” and only secondarily “to conquer.”)
  5. We hold convictions about what is true not as private property, to be protected from threats, but as public goods, to be shared as part of life together.
  6. Holding convictions defiantly might feel more emotionally satisfying than seeking the subtle, slow-arriving, and inevitably compromised joys of consensus — but that feeling isn’t always trustworthy.
  7. (As Yeats wrote, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” when “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” Too many people who think they’re holding convictions courageously are really just full of “passionate intensity.”)
  8. To hold convictions as a way of “living with” others requires more conversation than declaration.
  9. Conversation requires time, but what’s the hurry?
  10. Shouldn’t a deeply held belief sustain more, rather than less, patience?
  11. A dialogue might reveal what you’ll rarely realize in the middle of a monologue: that your belief is misheld.
  12. Which should remind us that we use the word “conviction” far too often to label a strongly held belief and too rarely in the sense of being convicted of our own shortcomings (including shortcomings of understanding and belief).
  13. So finally, conviction is less something that you decide to hold to and much more something that happens to you, a sinner.
Nice work, Chris.  

As I wrote in an earlier post, the decisions of Union and OWU to leave (or threaten to leave) the CCCU are an example of “second-degree separation.”  Back in the day I actually wrote an M.A. thesis on this phenomenon as it developed among self-described “fundamentalists” in the middle-decades of the 20th century who were unwilling to cooperate with liberal Protestants (“modernists”) and those conservative evangelicals who cooperated with liberal Protestants in theological and evangelistic matters.

For example, Billy Graham regularly invited liberal clergy to participate in his evangelistic crusades. According to Grant Wacker’s new biography of Graham, the evangelist often insisted that he work with mainline and ecumenical Protestants wherever he set up a crusade.  Such cooperation would have certainly taken him outside the bounds of traditional Christian orthodoxy.  In 1960 Episcopalian Bishop James Pike prayed at Graham’s San Francisco crusade.  Pike rejected the doctrine of Virgin Birth, believed that Hell did not exist, rejected the Trinity, and supported LGBT causes.  

As Wacker writes: 

…horizontal cooperation [with liberals or modernists] was not minimalist cooperation.  It required fellowship, a genuine exchange of hearts, not just a polite shaking of hands.  Graham said that he had studied what Scripture had to say about the relationship of orthodox to fellowship.  On the eve of the 1957 New York crusade, Graham told the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals…that the “one badge of Christian discipleship is not orthodoxy, but love. There is far more emphasis on love and unity among God’s people in the New Testament than there is on orthodoxy, as important as it it.” These may have been the most widely quoted words Graham ever uttered. (Wacker, America’s Past: Billy Graham and Shaping of a Nation, 182).

Self-styled fundamentalists such as Carl Mcintire, John R. Rice, Robert T. Ketcham, and Bob Jones were furious about this kind of cooperation with the theologically unorthodox.  In response they refused to cooperate with Graham. Second degree separation.

I bring up Graham here because a certain faction of the Southern Baptist Church–the faction that is in control–claims to carry the torch of Graham and his neo-evangelical movement.  Union University is a Southern Baptist school in this tradition.

Is cooperating in an organization of Christian colleges with institutions that uphold gay marriage worse than cooperating in an evangelistic crusade with people who deny certain orthodox doctrines such as the Trinity?  I will let my readers decide.

The CCCU, Union University, Gay Marriage, and the Problem of Evangelicalism

Over at First Things, Carl Trueman of Westminster Theological Seminary has weighed in on Union University‘s decision to leave the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. 

If you have read this far, you probably know the story.  We have covered it here and here.  Union University has left the CCCU–an associated of Christian colleges–because it refused to expel two Mennonite colleges (Goshen and Eastern Mennonite) for allowing gay marriage among the faculty.

Let’s review.  There is nothing about gay marriage or sexual ethics in the CCCU membership requirements.  College and universities affiliated with the CCCU must have a mission statement that is “Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith” and be committed to “integrating Biblical faith with education programs.” I realize that this looks very restrictive to many secular readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home, but from the perspective of evangelical Protestantism in America this is rather broad.  The CCCU has schools representing many Protestant denominations.  Member schools all think that being “Christ-centered” is very important, but they interpret what that means in different ways.  I am sure, for example, that both Goshen and Eastern Mennonite believe that their embrace of gay marriage is fitting with their deeply held beliefs about what it means to be “Christ-centered” and Christian.

Moreover, as Jay Green suggested in the comment section of this post, Goshen and EMU seem to be committed to defending the religious liberty of other CCCU members institutions who uphold more traditional views of marriage.

Trueman gets to the heart of the matter.  The problem, he argues, is with evangelicalism and its failure to offer any confessional boundaries.  He writes:

Many classic Protestant confessions contain definitions of marriage which implicitly rule out of bounds same sex marriage (and any other permutation of partners which the human mind might invent). And is marriage really more important than, say, the doctrinal differences between Baptists and Quakers? In the current climate, Christians need to be very careful to make sure that the perceived political needs of the hour do not translate into words and actions that can easily be shown by our critics to be highly selective and very inconsistent with respect to our larger doctrinal commitments and convictions.

This points to a wider problem which evangelicalism looks set to face in the very near future. It implicitly assumes too much and explicitly states too little. Roman Catholics have their Catechism, confessional Lutherans have their Book of Concord and Presbyterians have the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Evangelicals often have at best very minimal doctrinal statements and a range of other, often confessionally unstated, cultural concerns which guide policy.  These brief statements of faith and ‘shadow confessions’ are wholly inadequate to handle the coming cultural storm or indeed to guide day-to-day catechesis within the churches themselves.  They  also mean that the ‘gospel’ can tend to operate as a useful means for justifying any distinctive stand which evangelicals care to take.

This problem is both theological and cultural. Theologically, it will not be solved by the simple addition of a clause on marriage to such statements. The Christian understanding of marriage rests upon a whole complex of other doctrines, from creation to Christology to anthropology to eschatology. For a confessional statement on marriage to be coherent, the confession must also address all of these other topics.  

Culturally, while American evangelicalism may be numerically healthy, the Union/CCCU debacle indicates a fundamental flaw in the movement which will only become more acute over time. It is too rooted in extra-ecclesial alliances and thus tends towards confessional reductionism.  If evangelicalism is to have long term theological stability, it needs to learn from churches with properly elaborate confessions and catechisms. That will involve a major culture shift which might well cost its current leadership significant power and indeed money. A movement built on broad-based networks of churches and parachurch organizations will inevitably fragment when it tries to move to more thorough doctrinal statements. Yet failure to do so is surely not an option at this point in time.  Evangelicalism may have the numbers but it needs confessional coherence to maintain its identity in face of the coming challenges.  The ambiguity of the case of Union and the CCCU represents precisely the kind of problem which a lack of comprehensive confessional commitment necessarily involves.  

Union’s stand is no doubt popular with the base.  It may also serve a useful wider purpose. Yet it points not to the strength but to the weakness of evangelicalism.

What is Going on at Union University?

I have friends and acquaintances who teach at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.  These folks are serious Christian thinkers and educators.  I have never visited Union, but I have always respected its work from afar.

This is why I was disappointed to hear that Union has left the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.  Inside Higher Education reports:

Union University, in Tennessee, has quit the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, saying it cannot remain in a Christian group in which some member institutions will hire people in same-sex marriages.

Union may not be the last college to leave the council, and its action is creating division in a group that has been proud of representing Christian colleges from many denominations and viewpoints. But while there is a diversity of views about many issues among CCCU institutions, the issue of same-sex marriage has been elevated by some institutions to one on which no compromise is possible.

The action by Union follows the announcements last month by Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College that they were willing to hire faculty members in same-sex marriages. The two universities, until then, had said they would hire faculty members who were celibate (gay or straight) or married in heterosexual relationships. The new policy means that gay and straight applicants for faculty positions will be judged in the same way. The two colleges are the first CCCU members to be willing to hire gay and lesbian faculty members who are married to other gay or lesbian people.

Union President Samuel W. Oliver released a letter he sent to the CCCU in which he explained that while Union is a member of higher education groups with a range of views, it could not be a member of a Christian higher education group that deviated from the university’s views on marriage. Eastern Mennonite and Goshen “abandoned fidelity to God’s word when they endorsed same-sex marriage,” Oliver wrote.

“The reason we are passionate about this is because what we are talking about is not a secondary or tertiary theological issue — marriage is at the heart of the Gospel. To deny the Bible’s concept of marriage is to deny the authority of Scripture,” Oliver wrote.

Want to learn more? I strongly suggest reading the following commentators:

1.  Chris Gehrz, aka “The Pietist Schoolman.”  Chris is the chair of the history department evangelical Bethel University in St. Paul, MN and the author of The Pietist Vision of Christian Higher Education.  Read his posts on this issue here.

2.  Scot McKnight, New Testament scholar and author of the Jesus Creed blog.  Scot is
supporter of traditional marriage, but he challenges Union’s belief that marriage is
somehow “at the heart of the Gospel.” Read his post here.  A taste:

Let me register this: I disagree with Eastern Mennonite and Goshen, and often do on theie progressive courage fronts, and Union and others can do what they want, but this is culture war stuff being used theologically to create division…

I do have a couple of observations/thoughts:

First, Union’s decision to separate from the CCCU seems a bit hasty.  The CCCU has not made any decision about the status of Eastern Mennonite’s or Goshen’s membership yet.

Second, when it comes to marriage being the “heart of the gospel,” I am convinced by McKnight.

Perhaps I am biased–McKnight taught me Greek and New Testament at Trinity
Evangelical School, the divinity school where former Union president David Dockery now serves as president.

Third, I am very curious to hear from members of the Union University faculty.  What
does the faculty think about Oliver’s decision to pull the university out of the CCCU? (I
am guessing that faculty who disagree with Oliver’s decision might be hesitant to speak
up out of fear of consequences from Oliver and his inner circle).  I would be very
surprised if Oliver has universal support for this move among the faculty.

Only time will tell how the issue of gay marriage will divide the CCCU.  At the moment
see three groups.  First, some institutions are willing to leave the CCCU over this issue
before any official decision about Eastern Mennonite’s and Goshen’s membership has
been made.  They are practicing what might be called “second-degree separation.” They will not associate with Eastern Mennonite or Goshen (and any other CCCU school that might affirm gay marriage) and they will not associate with Christian colleges who believe in traditional marriage but are unwilling to kick these Mennonite schools out of the CCCU.  Union and Oklahoma Wesleyan (so far) fall into this category.

The second group is made up of institutions that privilege traditional marriage and are willing to be part of a CCCU that permits schools that affirm gay marriage

The third group is made up of institutions that will wait to see how the CCCU responds to Goshen and Eastern Mennonite and decide to leave the CCCU if it allows these Mennonite schools to maintain membership in the organization.

The CCCU makes its decision about Goshen and Eastern Mennonite on August 31.

And what about the Lilly Fellows National Network of colleges and universities? Union
University is a member of this organization.  Will they leave this fellowship of church
related schools because many of the schools in the network hire homosexuals

ADDENDUM:  I also encourage you to check out John Hawthorne’s post: Dis-Union in the CCCU