Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Harding engages homosexuality

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 6:33 AM

Harding University began a two-night series of programs last night on the topic, "How Christians Should Respond to Homosexuality."

The announcement of the program from Harding president David Burks is on the jump.

I look forward to the award-winning campus newspaper's coverage of the programs.

The event drew some 700 students last night for four faculty members talking about what the Bible offers on the subject. Burks gets some points for engaging on the issue following the publicity that ensued over a publication and website that criticized Harding's attitudes toward gay students. The Church of Christ-backed college holds that homosexuality is a sin. I don't believe the programs represent any softening in that point of view.


Chapel Announcement by Dr. Burks
April 8, 2011

As you all know, a few weeks ago I made a statement in chapel concerning the web site about homosexuality at Harding University. It was a tense moment, and an uncomfortable time for all of us. I want you to know how much I appreciated your respectful attention to my statement that day and how much I have been blessed by your many expressions of encouragement since then.

I understand that my statement sparked a lively discussion across campus — in the world of Twitter, Facebook, blogs, classrooms, and in countless conversations all across campus.

Now, from the distance of a few weeks, there are a couple of things I would like to share with you. The first is that I believe this discussion has been a very good thing — not always easy, not always pleasant, but overall a very good thing. An important part of your college education involves wrestling with difficult ideas, seeking to understand people with whom you disagree, clarifying your own beliefs, searching the Scriptures, learning to express yourself precisely, and engaging in respectful dialogue without compromising bedrock convictions. This discussion has helped us in all these ways.

Secondly, as a follow-up, we have planned a two-evening event, this coming Monday and Tuesday night, in which we will explore the question: How should Christians respond to homosexuality? It will be held in the Administration Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. each evening.

Monday night, the one-hour program will be an exploration of what the Bible says about the matter. Dr. Kevin Youngblood will look at the Old Testament, Dr. Scott Adair will look at Jesus, Dr. Ken Neller will look at the writings of Paul, and Dr. Monte Cox will look at the challenge of “speaking the truth in love.” The program should last one hour and be over by 8:00.

Tuesday night, we will ask, “What should we say to the man on the bus?” This question comes from a story that Steven Ramsey shared with me about an encounter he had this summer in New York City. He was working in a ministry and one day was taking a bus ride up to Boston. A man sat down by him on the bus and they started talking. Steven shared that he was working in a ministry, prompting the man’s response: “Well then, you must know I am gay.” I think that Steven’s encounter raises a very important ministry question about how we should respond to someone in such a situation. It involves a very important ministry skill that all of us need to develop for speaking with a friend, a sister, a neighbor, or a co-worker whose life is touched by this matter.

So, on Tuesday night, we will hear from Dr. Ken Cameron about his view as Christian Psychologist and from a couple of other people about their experience with a special ministry related to this discussion. Then a panel of all the presenters will take about 30 minutes to explore the question: “What should we say to the man on the bus?” The Tuesday evening program will be over at 8:30.

I know everyone is terribly busy at this time of the year, but I hope you will join me for this two-night program as we all seek the truth of God and the skills we need to be ambassadors of Christ to the world in which we live.
Thank you!

How Should Christians Respond to Homosexuality?
A Two-Night Exploration

Monday Evening (7:00-8:00)
What does the Bible say about this matter?
• Kevin Youngblood — The Old Testament
• Scott Adair — Jesus
• Ken Neller — Paul
• Monte Cox — Speaking the Truth in Love

Tuesday Evening (7:00-8:30)
What should we say to the man on the bus?
• Ken Cameron — A Christian Psychologist’s view
• Robert Channing — A safe and caring place (Integrity Ministry)
• (TBA) — Bridges: What builds them and what burns them?
• Panel of All the Presenters— What should we say to the man on the bus?

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