Young Life & the immovable Word of God
Hi Friends! So glad to be blogging again after a brief absence… I’ve just finished a new book on being and making disciples in the Western church, and I’m the kind of writer that it’s hard for me to do other writing while I’m book writing. The new book will be available in the next couple of weeks… I’m really hoping that it’ll be used in mighty ways!
Over the last week or so, a story has caught my attention that I’ve been looking forward to blog about. Many of you know that I came to Christ through the ministry of Young Life, and I have a deep heart for that ministry, and for High School ministry in general. When people are in High School, it’s a great time to introduce them to the Gospel and Young Life is so good at what they do in this area.
There has been a story that has been developing over the last year or so about Young Life’s position on the sexual orientation of those that serve in leadership within the organization. Young Life has a position in this area that would be consistent, both with other evangelical organizations and more specifically, with Scripture, that only those who are heterosexual may serve in a leadership position. Over the last year, thousands of people have come forward to express disappointment and hurt that they are not able to serve in a leadership position, whether volunteer or staff, because of their sexual orientation. I won’t go into too much into the details here since media outlets like The Denver Post have written about this issue in much detail. I would encourage you to read their content, but many people have come forward to express their stories of exclusion and heartbreak because of Young Life’s position. Their feeling is that having been included in so much of the ministry of Young Life, it’s hurts even more then to be excluded from leadership.
As for their part, Young Life has created a council to study this issue to ensure that their response here allows for all kids that come through their ministry to feel loved, while still holding to a Biblical standard in this area. Because I like to keep my blog posts relatively short, here are some quick hit thoughts and observations on this issue:
- The media outlets that are reporting on this make it clear that they side with those making the accusations and that Young Life, by excluding these people, is in the wrong here and that Young Life should be more ‘inclusive’ in this area. The thinking here is, ‘Why would they be excluding people when they proclaim to be for ‘all kids?’’
- As an evangelical Christian ministry committed to the authority of Scripture as the inspired Word of God, Young Life, together with every Christian ministry that believes the Bible is the inspired Word of God, are following Biblical teaching on this issue. The Bible is clear that sex is given by God as an expression of love to be shared and enjoyed exclusively between a husband and wife. Further, evangelical Christian ministries would be convinced that the Bible leaves no room whatsoever for confusion or ambiguity where homosexual behavior is concerned. The Bible both explicitly and implicitly regards it as falling outside of God’s intention in creating man and woman as sexual beings who bear His image as male and female.
- Therefore, caving on this issue would be impossible for those organizations that take this stand. The very purpose of evangelical Christian ministries is to bring people to a right relationship with God, and God has made it clear the same-sex relationships are not His best for us. Biblical teaching on this issue, together with all issues, are the solid rock on which we stand. It’s our unmovable object.
- Young Life has made it clear that they love all kids, and given my experience, I believe that to be true. From their website, ‘Young Life is for kids from all walks of life. Every kid is made in the image of God and deserves to be loved, respected and dignified.’ I believe it’s possible for them to love kids and show them Christ, while still keeping to their standards. This should be the standard for all ministries: Love people like Jesus while keeping a high biblical standard.
- Young Life has certain tenants they’ve decided are important to them, and they’ve asked leadership of any kind within their organization to agree to those tenets. They have the right to do that and the right to determine who qualifies for leadership within their organization. For those who disagree, that’s your right to do so, but please don’t try and force an organization that has strongly held beliefs to change them on your account. It’s like my response about Jack Phillips, the Denver-area Christian baker who refuses to bake certain cakes for events that he disagrees with. If you don’t like what Jack Phillips believes about issues, find another baker! There are a lot of other bakers in Denver, and there are other organizations like Young Life that you may find agree with your perspective. This forcing your belief on others through pressure is called coercion. And coercion, in this case through social media and the use of the hashtag #dobetteryounglife, is wrong and should stop now.