Can you imagine a media uproar over a Jewish university wanting to employ Jewish people? Or a Muslim university wanting to employ Muslims? Of course not. So why all the uproar over a Christian university wanting to employ practicing Christians?
The answer, of course, is pretty simple. Christianity is currently the only religion that it is politically correct to slander and abuse.
The Bible makes clear a set of rules for living. You may have heard of them. They’re called the Ten Commandments. Expecting Christian employees to adhere to them as best they possibly can on this mortal coil while working at a Christian university isn’t a stretch. In fact it actually makes sense.
“Imagine that, a Christian university wants to promote Christian values…..weird,” wrote Heather Harrison.
I practically laughed out loud when I read the comments of McKinley Starks, identified as an openly homosexual student at Shorter University.
“How can a self-proclaimed Christian university come out with a document that is not Christ-like at all? I feel that Shorter, the GBC, the Board of Trustees, and/or whoever can do what they want to the school. It’s their school, but I cannot personally attend a school so full of hate.”
He was referring to the Personal Lifestyle Statement that staff are required to sign and uphold if they want to work at Shorter University.
That document basically says the University wants its employees to be practicing Christians who attend a local church. Describing the document as “not Christ-like at all” is laughable, unless you can find some way to claim that Christ himself had nothing to do with the Ten Commandments.
“We have a right to hire only Christians,” President Don Dowless stated. “I think that anybody who adheres to a lifestyle that is outside of what the biblical mandate is and of what the board has passed, including the president, would not be allowed to continue here.”
I’m not the only one who agrees with Shorter University’s stand on this issue. Joe Coffey commented on the original story saying how proud he was of the stand Shorter President Don Dowless is making.
I am proud of the man for this move. In this age when most Christian institutions are bowing to the pressures to move away from Biblical standards, it is wonderfully refreshing to see one that is moving in the other direction. I applaud him for it. And the statements of the staff and students that are listed in the article are only examples that those people have no idea of Biblical truth. They have failed as students and teachers, so of course they are going to criticize someone who is moving in the right direction.
This is, simply put, a matter of principle for the university. If you don’t want to follow the tenets of Christianity I’m more than a little puzzled about why you would want to attend a Christian university in the first place, unless your entire motive is to turn it into something other than what it already is.
I also found the comments of Dr. Sherri Weiler to be, at the very least, uninformed, to be polite.
“Surely a kind and loving God wouldn’t condemn to eternal damnation those who didn’t interpret the Bible in an ‘approved’ fashion,” wrote Dr. Sherri Weiler, former Associate Professor of Music at Shorter University.
Clearly Dr. Weiler needs to re-read her Bible. God makes it quite clear that there is one way and one way only to avoid eternal damnation. Anything less guarantees it.
Romans 10:9-10 reads
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
You can choose to interpret that any way you like, but I’m fairly certain God isn’t interested in our idea of what he means… if we do not do as he says we’re guaranteed an outcome we really ought not to want.
The school is hardly “full of hate” as student McKinley Starks contends unless he is willing to call the entire Bible a “book filled with hate.” He probably does, which would explain his desire to have the world live by his values instead of Christian ones.
Thankfully Shorter University President Don Dowless has no interest in moving the school away from its Christian roots.
Thank God for that.
The Personal Lifestyle Statement is hardly un-Christian.
While the abstaining from alcohol is not a Biblical teaching, the Bible makes it very clear that drinking to excess is not condoned. That Shorter University wants to take a more strict approach to this simply tells me they want to ensure the best possible learning environment for their students. I have no problem with that at all and if current staff members do… well, then they’ll be free to find employment elsewhere.
The full Personal Lifestyle Statement reads as follows:
Personal Lifestyle Statement
A. Christian Commitment and Membership in a Local Church
Shorter University will hire persons who are committed Bible believing Christians, who are dedicated to integrating biblical faith in their classes and who are in agreement with the University Statement of Faith. Moreover, employees are expected to be active members of a local church.
B. Principles of Personal Conduct
I agree to adhere to and support the following principles (on or off the campus):
1. I will be loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.
2. I will not engage in the use, sale, possession, or production of illegal drugs.
3. I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.
4. I will not use alcoholic beverages in the presence of students, and I will abstain from serving, from using, and from advocating the use of alcoholic beverages in public (e.g. in locations that are open to use by the general public, including as some examples restaurants, concert venues, stadiums, and sports facilities) and in settings in which students are present or are likely to be present. I will not attend any University sponsored event in which I have consumed alcohol within the last six hours. Neither will I promote or encourage the use of alcohol.
I have read and agree with the Personal Lifestyle Statement and will adhere to it in its entirety while employed at Shorter University. I understand that failure to adhere to this statement may result in disciplinary action against me, up to and including immediate termination.
Don Laird says
Let’s hope they stick to their guns…….
OMG!!!…..I made a reference to guns in making a comment in support of Christians!!!….
OMG OMG OMG…I must be a right wing extremist!!!
Regards, Don Laird
Edson, Alberta, Canada
Wm Rowen says
Are you the Don Laird who graduated from Shorter College in 1960? I graduated in 1961.
Bud Young says
Go Christians, go, full speed ahead and may The Grand Architect of The Universe be with us All.
McKinley Starks says
Thank you so much for taking my words without my permission. That means so much.
Christopher di Armani says
You spoke to a reporter who quoted you in her published story. Do you believe I shouldn’t quote you from a published article unless you say it’s okay? Really?
If that’s the case, then perhaps you shouldn’t have spoken to the reporter in the first place.
McKinley Starks says
I never talked to a reporter. What I did was write about my experiences at Shorter and then posted them on a website to share with those of us who were hurting from what happened. Never did I want my words to be used in a mocking manner. My words came from the depth of my heart and you laughed at them. I find it rude and insulting that you used my words in such a way.
Christopher di Armani says
Well, I didn’t take your words from whatever site you posted them on, I took them from an article where they were reproduced by the reporter who wrote the article. http://christiannews.net/staff-of-christian-university-resign-in-droves-after-refusing-to-sign-personal-lifestyle-statement/
And while I’m sure you found my interpretation of what you said rude, that doesn’t necessarily make it so. It is, however, your interpretation and I apologize if I hurt your feelings, since hurting your feelings wasn’t my intent at all. My intent was to take issue with your proclamation of what is or is not “Christ-like.” My contention is that you have no clue about what “Christ-like” means.
I find it particularly horrifying that so many self-professing Christians seem to have no clue about Christ at all, preferring the progressive notion that He simply loved everybody all the time no matter what, and that He never hurt anyone’s feelings at all. Clearly those who believe this have never read the Bible, since I’m quite positive that the moneychangers Jesus drove out of the temple with a cat-of-nine-tails felt “hurt” by his actions. I highly doubt Jesus felt bad about that. In fact I believe he felt quite good about driving them out of the temple.
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
Man is eternally at war with God and far too often that includes those inside the Church. Man does not want to live by God’s Commandments. That’s hardly a new thing. It’s been going on since Adam and Eve disobeyed Him in the garden. That Shorter University is choosing to follow, as best it can, God’s Law has, I have no doubt turned off many, including those who profess Christ. I also have no doubt that many faculty and students have left Shorter because they feel put upon by a University that demands they live by God’s Law.
Shorter University’s Personal Lifestyle Statement is hardly in opposition to Christ or His Commandments. It is more directly in line with what He would have us do than most are comfortable with. That we are not comfortable conforming to God’s Law is certainly not surprising, especially if you read the Bible regularly. It is evidenced throughout the Bible.
I would suggest it’s not Shorter University’s chosen path that is the problem, but your own enmity with God. It is God who despises sin, not Shorter University or its leadership. Both of them are merely attempting to adhere to God’s Commandments regarding sin. That you are in opposition to that would place you, I would suggest, in opposition to God and that would naturally include Christ, His son.
Here is an article that you may find enlightening on the matter of what is “Christ-like.”
The Lawful Uses of God’s Law by Pastor Jim Butler
In 1 Tim. 1, Paul urges Timothy to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (v.3). He then indicates the nature of their error in v.7, “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.” The heretics desired to be “teachers of the law” but distorted the truth.
In v.8, Paul makes a statement for our consideration: “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully.” The Reformed confessions of faith summarize the biblical teaching concerning the use of God’s law which is a helpful corrective to the antinomian and legalistic tendencies in the church today, two tendencies which have the same enemy: the law of God.
The first is the civil use.
Richard A. Muller defines it as “the political or civil use, according to which the law serves the commonwealth, or body politic, as a force for the restraint of sin.” The LBCF of 1689 teaches that the law written in the heart of man at creation was “delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments” (19:2) and then states that this “moral law doth for ever bind all, as we justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.” The law is used by God for the restraint of His creatures.
The second is the pedagogical use.
Muller defines it as “the elenctical or pedagogical use; i.e., the use of the law for the confrontation and refutation of sin and for the purpose of pointing the way to Christ.” This function of the law demonstrates man’s sinfulness and shows his need for Christ. Paul indicates this in Rom 3:20, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” WLC #96 says, “What particular use is there of the moral law to unregenerate men? The moral law is of use to unregenerate men, to awaken their consciences to flee from wrath to come, and to drive them to Christ; or, upon their continuance in the estate and way of sin, to leave them inexcusable, and under the curse thereof.”
The third is the normative use. Muller defines it as the use that “pertains to believers in Christ who have been saved through faith apart from works. In the regenerate life, the law no longer functions to condemn, since it no longer stands elenctically over against man as the unreachable basis for salvation, but acts as a norm of conduct, freely accepted by those in whom the grace of God works the good.” The LBCF of 1689 amplifies this use in 19:6 and indicates that while the law is no longer binding as a covenant of works, it “is of great use to them [believers] as well as to others” in that it functions as a “rule of life.” John Murray observed concerning this use, “It is symptomatic of a pattern of thought current in many evangelical circles that the idea of keeping the commandments of God is not consonant with the liberty and spontaneity of the Christian man, that keeping the law has its affinities with legalism and with the principle of works rather than with the principle of grace. It is strange indeed that this kind of antipathy to the notion of keeping commandments should be entertained by any believer who is a serious student of the New Testament. Did not our Lord say, ‘If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments’ (John 14:15).”
Problems regarding the law are manifold in the church today. A return to the Reformed confessions and an emphasis on covenant theology should prove a helpful corrective in this area of study. J. Gresham Machen said, “A new and more powerful proclamation of that law is perhaps the most pressing need of the hour; men would have little difficulty with the gospel if they had only learned the lesson of law…So it always is: a low view of the law always brings legalism in religion; a high view of law makes a man a seeker after grace. Pray God that the high view may again prevail.”
 Richard A. Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1985), 320.
 Ibid, 320.
 Ibid, 321.
 John Murray, Principles of Conduct. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,  1984), 182.
 J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith? (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,  1974), 141-142.
Christ had nothing to do with the Ten Commandments. Thought I’d let you know. The bible IS a book full of hate.
Perhaps you should go read it.
Christopher di Armani says
If you think Christ had nothing to do with the Ten Commandments then I suspect I’ve read it more times cover to cover than you. Have a great day!
I respectfully disagree with you, and find this quite rude and insulting. I was a student at Shorter for 2 years, and this past school year was probably the hardest year of my life ( and I’ve been through some crazy hard times.) Shorter has been hiring Christian faculty for years… what they are doing now is picking out certain “brands” of Christians… I am a Christian, and find the Personal Lifestyle Statement very immoral. In the bible, god tells us to love and accept one another in Agape ( unconditional) love. It is not exactly Christ-like to reject people. God doesn’t make mistakes. a person certainly can’t help being who they are. We don’t have to agree with someones beliefs, but we should at least show them respect. Shorter is being FAR from respectful. So many people, including myself have been extremely hurt by this document… we’ve watched the most prestigious music program in the southeast wither away because of extreme censorship rules, and because of un-christ-like actions of higher-ups. Faculty and their families have had to uproot their lives to a whole new place. Shorter used to be a loving and welcoming environment… not anymore… so please have some sympathy for those of us who have been hurt by the actions at shorter… it’s more than just the PLS… it’s a lack of respect and fair treatment towards faculty.
Elizabeth McDaniel says
I am a practicing Christian and have been all my life. I know people on both sides of the controversy. I know firsthand the damage that Shorter’s new policy has caused to current & past faculty members as well as to students. It has done more to harm the cause of Christianity than any situation with which I have personally been involved. Methodist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, and yes,even Baptist Christians have resigned rather then sign a devisive hurtful policy. Over 60 faculty & staff have resigned so far including Deans, VPs, & Registrars.
june duval says
Hello, good article, keep up the great writing.