What concerns me the most is not belief that the traditional view of marriage should be upheld, but that moving forward the theological liberty to question, doubt, and disagree in regards to human sexuality will be discouraged and even inadvertently punished by organizational policy. Although it’s true that most staff have always probably assumed a traditional view of marriage, Intervarsity has never had an official doctrinal position on this issue - at least I don’t ever remember signing one. There has always been an unspoken flexibility to question, wrestle with, and even disagree with the majority opinion of the organization.
My contention is that by raising up the secondary issue of sexuality to the equivalence of doctrine and the historical creeds of the church, Intervarsity is dangerously denying future generations of students and staff the freedom to wrestle with and discover Gods intentions for sexuality on their own. This is a worthwhile process for all followers of Jesus to go through in our day and age, and just because the senior leadership of Intervarsity were able to come to terms with their convictions after four years, it doesn’t mean that all staff are ready to make a decision.
My own 10+ year journey on this issue has not only led to my current convictions, but has been a transformative process in which the gospel has come alive to me in ways I could never have imagined. I am so fortunate to have met so many wonderful people from the LGBTQI community. We have had wonderful conversations about faith, Jesus, and the church, and in all honesty, I can’t imagine a single one of them being drawn to Jesus through an organization that has drawn such a binary line on this issue.
The reality is there are more people who identify as evangelical and open and affirming than ever before. Up to 54% of millennial Christians believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society. In 20 years, the most thriving bodies of faith will have to relegate this to a secondary theological issue - in the same way gender roles, eschatology, and predestination are important, but secondary issues. It’s going to be the churches and parachurches that are able to hold the tension of both sides that will have the loudest prophetic voices moving forward. It saddens me that Intervarsity, who has been a prophetic voice in the areas of race, gender, and ecumenicalism, is essentially giving up its mantle on this vital issue.
Joseph Lee, UCSD Alumni and Former Staff