To preserve the future of Christian higher education, faith-based colleges and universities must understand and navigate the complex issues of gender and human sexuality while presenting a clear understanding of their theological and spiritual identity, the president of International Council of Higher Education has said.
Kevin Mannoia, who serves as chaplain at Azusa Pacific University and chair of the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium, said that as the country continues to undergo broad cultural shifts, Christian colleges and universities no longer have the option of avoiding LGBT issues.
“Every one of these schools has to address the growing LGBT conversation,” he said. “The most important asset they have in dealing with those issues is their institutional identity, theologically and spiritually, because that’s going to determine how they go about doing it.”
Christian institutions must make clear to faculty and staff who they are and what they believe on such issues because every administrative decision is going to be shaped by their identity, Mannoia said.
“It’s kind of like an iceberg,” he explained. “The bottom of the iceberg is what holds the iceberg stable. You can’t see it, but without the bottom of the iceberg, the top of the iceberg has no stability and it has no ability to navigate stormy waters on top. So institutional identity is like the bottom of the iceberg. It’s what’s gonna hold these schools stable in the midst of a changing culture which is like a storm on top of the water.”
How each school addresses the LGBT conversation will differ, Mannoia said, based on their individual theology.
“There will be some schools that will address social issues in a way that would be more propositional,” he said. “Some schools will say, ‘We don’t want anybody from the LGBT community to come onto our campus.’ Other schools will say, ‘We’re going to welcome them on our campus and we’re going to have conversations about how we can find common ground for our students.’ Some schools will say, ‘We only want Christian students to come here.’ Other schools are going to say, ‘You don’t have to be a Christian to go here.'”
“So those are not merely arbitrary administrative decisions; those are decisions that are made out of the core institutional identity of the school,” he added.
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Source: Christian Post