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Christian college officials are defending their school’s controversial decision to invite a lesbian faith leader to lecture students this month, claiming that they have no plans to reconsider the invitation and that people cannot be “guided and dictated by a first-century worldview.”
Bishop Yvette Flunder of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, California, is expected to speak at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 18, as part of the school’s Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, a conference that focuses on Christian leadership.
Richard E. Jackson, vice president for administration, finance and legal affairs, told the Christian Post that Flunder — who is married to Shirley Miller — will be welcomed to speak, despite controversy and protests from some Christian clergy who disagree with the school’s decision.
“The reaction I have gotten is ‘what’s the controversy, what’s the big deal?’ You all are an educational institution,” Jackson told the outlet, adding that it is important for critics to consider that Flunder will be speaking mostly about her ministry to people with HIV and AIDS.
“I think that is completely compatible and consistent with the belief and philosophy of Christian people and Christian institutions to care for the least of us in any given society,” he said.
Forrest Harris, the school’s president, reflected similar sentiment, telling the Tennessean that he finds it “sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people.”
When asked to explain what he meant by “idolatry of the Bible,” Harris offered up a definition that will surely have some Christians up in arms.
“When people say [the Bible] is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century worldview.”
See Flunder defending same-sex marriage below:
The event that Flunder is speaking at has been promoted by the National Baptist Convention, the largest denomination comprised of African American Christians in the U.S., though another group affiliated with the sect has expressed disagreement, according to the Tennessean.
The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, a group of conservative preachers, has launched a petition against the invitation.
“We believe that President Forrest Harris should rescind the invitation for Bishop Yvette Flunder to speak at ABC, solely on the basis that she is a proud, practicing, and public advocate of same-sex marriage,” the petition explanation reads. “We are also requesting that in the future, no male or female involved in a same-sex marriage be invited to speak at ABC.”
In a separate press release, the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors said that it is “irresponsible, scandalous, non-biblical, and certainly displeasing to God” that a lesbian faith leader has been invited to speak at American Baptist College.
As for these critics who are vocally protesting the American Baptist College’s decision to host Flunder, Jackson said that he believes colleges can host speakers who come to address pointed and important topics without being forced to express support for ”any particular viewpoint.”
The school continues to double down, posting letters of support for Flunder’s speech that were sent by other faith leaders.
Read more about the controversy here.
(H/T: Christian Post)
SOURCE: The Blaze