Corporate-Discrimination-Flyer1

Homosexuality is one of easily a hundred sins listed in the Bible.  There is really only one that will close the door of Heaven to us, and that is rejecting the one and only Saviour of our souls.  Where we go badly off the rails is when we demand that what God calls sin, we call good.  So for years Trinity Western University has played fast and loose with the authority of God’s word, but now they want to take a stand on just one moral sin.

For too many years, Trinity Western, that university that lays claim to a Biblical foundation, has compromised on the authority of the Word of the living God, the God they claim to believe……...Except they don’t believe His word from the beginning of the Bible.  And if you don’t believe the beginning, the foundation upon which the rest builds, why, logically would you trust the middle or the end of the author’s words?

We are fallen, sinful creatures, but God has not left us helplessly locked in our sins.  He sent his only Son, Jesus, who came to earth, born fully human, and without sin, so that he could die on our behalf, and pay the price to redeem us.  We must be born-again, by His Spirit, and only then do we begin to grow as children of God.  Until we die and leave this temporal mortal life, we will still stumble and fail, which is why we need to learn the will of God for His creatures.  God has much to say about what separates us from His presence and also what brings us meaning and peace and joy, even in the midst of difficulty.

Trinity Western joins a long, and growing longer, list of Christians who dare not stand on God’s truth, for fear of being jeered at by a world that mocks their only creator, sustainer and Lord.  To them the Lord Jesus Christ says,……”Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Once you try to join the just-so stories of our evolutionary ascent with the Biblical account of creation,  as does TWU and Regent College,  because,……well….. because SCIENCE has disproven the Genesis account, that account of God – the One who spoke the world into being, the only One who was there in the creation week, and the only One who knows what He did, and how He did it, and when he did His work of creation.

Evolution is not synonymous with science.  In order to be recognized as ‘scientific’,…..experiments must be repeatable.  Hypotheses must be testable and falsifiable.  And data must be observable.   Evolution is none of these.  It is just a religious mantra.  Tell a lie often enough and loud enough and you might win the day, at least for the duration of this transitory life.

Evolutionists mock at cowardly Christians who start singing from a compromise hymnbook.  “Oh but we really do still believe the holy word of God, but you see (fallen) man is so much more intelligent today than he was when God created him in His own image, back there is that ‘garden’.  Well yes, the Bible does say that God declared the first humans “very good”, but now we know that science has proven the first humans ssssllllloooowwwlllyyyy, and incrementally over llllooooonnnnggg periods of time, by the cruel, clumsy process of luck, chance mutations, survival of the fittest, kind of clawed their way to our present (inglorious) state,…….Homo sapiens.”

Everything in the evolution fairy tale contradicts the revelation of God. Both scenarios are religious in nature, but which of the two accounts best matches the wonder, the design, the complexity, the artistry, the profound beauty and utility of the word we live in?

Creation ex-nihilo some 6 to 10 thousand years ago is a miracle.  Evolution with it’s total dependence on kabillion years stretching far, farther and gone beyond our reach to discern is vastly more miraculous.  We are asked to believe that microscopic life forms somehow, someway appeared, out of nowhere, from nothing, in direct contradiction to all known science, – all empirical data.  Then those little miracles somehow grabbed their little sockies and pulled themselves up out of their slime and ooze and by sheer grit, luck, determination and miracle after miracle, transformed themselves ever upward,…….contrary to anything we have ever observed or created in the lab.

We humans can only study, dissect, utilize and emulate what God the creator has given us.  We can do astounding things with God’s gifts. Every year plant nurseries are filled with wonderful variations of trees, shrubs and flowers.  We can produce an astounding range of hybridized plants and animals, but there are bounds set within the genetic code beyond which we cannot pass without producing twisted, distorted and damaged life forms.  A classic example of that limitation is in the millions of mosquitos we have grown in laboratories, and zapped to produce variations on wing-size, eyes, legs and body.  But we have not produced a single mosquito better equipped to do what the little bug does very successfully in the wild.

Every ‘proof’ of our evolutionary ascent blazoned on our front page newspapers ends up an ignoble note, buried in some obscure back section as a retraction, or correction, given enough time,…..that is, if there is even enough integrity in the halls of academia to admit that the news release failed to live up to the headlines.

So why have our Christian colleges and universities, (hence most of our church leaders) bowed before the religion of atheism?  In order to make their compromise statements under the guise of ‘theistic evolution’, day-age theory, or any other gutless and unsubstantiated nonsense, these people have to twist themselves into pretzels and distort the Word of the living God beyond recognition.

And the reason for this cowardly retreat???  I can only guess it is because the truth of God has not really transformed their lives, because the scales have not been removed from their eyes, or maybe they are true believers but ...”the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”

Trinity Western and Regent College, and many mainline churches now claim that God used the process of evolution, back there in Genesis.  In time these pastors and churches are forced to drop or distort pretty much every part of Scripture because it simply will not fit into this  revised bible fiction.  Not that this is new.  There is nothing new under the sun, just variants of the old Satanic rebellion against God.

So having compromised with the godless for so long, having given up their stand on the authority of God’s word,……having backed up, and ducked and bowed to the point of having little but a hollow shell of belief left,  TWU can’t bear to throw out the last remnants of their convictions about what God has to say on sexual relationships.  So either they do believe in God, and his Word, as passed down through the ages, or their faith  lies in tatters at their feet.

Trinity Western has been backed to the edge of the cliff.  The world they so badly wanted to placate has turned on them.   They were willing to compromise on Genesis, the first book of the Bible, but they want to cling to some fragment of the moral teachings found in that Book they have so seriously undermined.

Good luck Trinity Western.  You rejected the purity and holiness of God’s word, now the world attacks you for wanting to retain a torn fragment of His righteous garment.

Parents are wiser to teach, and live, the truth of God, before their children, and then send them to secular schools.  There kids learn to distinguish truth and error in the rough and tumble of life.  Better that then to send them to ‘christian schools’ where they get inoculated against real Christianity.

FOR FURTHER READING – Trinity Western University:  “It’s a great place to lose your faith,

zmcknight@vancouversun.com

Trinity Western University sits where Glover Road meets the Trans-Canada in Langley, only 50 kilometres east of Vancouver but three hours by public transit and miles away from stereotypical campus life.

Notably absent are empties, cigarette butts, or a campus bar. There are no flyers for keggers or toga parties. Outside the entrance to the student centre, various themes of upcoming daily chapels are advertised on a sandwich board. Inside, Colossians 2: 6-7 reminds students: “Just as you received Jesus Christ as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Thomas Aquinas, C.S. Lewis and Henri Nouwen feature prominently on the bestseller shelves of the bookstore.

TWU was founded on the principles of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada, and today Catholic, Lutheran, Mennonite, Dutch Orthodox as well as Jewish and Muslim students attend. There are students from the Northwestern U.S., Asia and parts of Africa, and program offerings in Richmond, Ottawa, Bellingham, Salt Spring Island and even China.

As an independent university – not a bible college – Trinity Western receives little public funding, relying on tuition and donations to cover operating costs. The school was recently granted $2.6 million under the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program to expand a science centre and improve information technology. Last year, it received more than $9 million in private donations.

About half the 1,900 undergraduate students live on campus; others commute from across the Lower Mainland, especially from Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford. With steady growth over the last five decades, eight new buildings are being planned within the next 25 years.

But for now, the campus remains small and studious, with wide-open green spaces dotted with students sitting outdoors, prepping for exams on an unseasonably sunny day earlier this spring.

Most readily agree that Trinity is unique. “Guys here open the door for you. It’s the first thing I noticed,” says Katie Iliffe, a first-year student with a blond ponytail and cowboy boots who identifies as Evangelical, or “E-Free.”

Iliffe – who applied only to attend TWU – appreciates the fact her courses are grounded in Christian teaching.

“It makes you stronger in your faith, because it points more toward Jesus and God,” she said. But her classes discuss “the other sides, evolution, skeptics. It’s nice to have the different perspectives.”

“Not all profs are shoving the Bible down your throat.”

Iliffe, who commutes from Langley, was on her way to study at a collegium – buildings set up like cosy dens to create a hangout for off-campus students who might otherwise feel adrift.

These are far from the original buildings described by one founding faculty member as “Camp Rough-It,” fashioned of salvaged plywood converted into dorms and a single lecture hall in 1962.

That year, there were 17 students participating in an experiment then known as Trinity Junior College. Tuition was $510 a year. By the early 1970s, there were about 350 students. Trinity became a degree-granting university in 1985, and has always branded itself as not a bible college, but a small, comprehensive Christian liberal arts institution, the first and only one of its kind in Canada.

When vice-provost of students Sheldon Loeppky arrived 18 years ago, there were no grad studies, no continuing education, no online courses or professional schools, just 1,000 undergrads. “We don’t ever see ourselves becoming a mega-university like UBC or (the University of Toronto). We view ourselves more as a Princeton – smaller, very focused on being really good at a small number of things,” Loeppky says during an interview in his office overlooking McMillan Lake and Salmon River, which runs through the campus.

CONTROVERSIES

Despite its lofty aspirations, idyllic setting and close-knit student body, TWU has found itself embroiled in a few high-profile controversies over the years, particularly due to a staunch defence of its religious approach.

Staff, students and administrators are asked to sign a “community covenant” declaring they will live according to Biblical values while on campus – abstaining from obscene language, gossip, drinking, smoking, viewing pornography, dishonesty, and same-sex relationships. By signing, students agree to refrain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Trinity won a hard-fought battle – all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada – in 2001 when Canada’s top court ruled the university had the right to create a teachers’ college despite protests from the B.C. College of Teachers, which worried that the school’s condemnation of homosexuality would impede its ability to train teachers for the public system.

Today, more than 300 students are enrolled in the five-year concurrent degree program, which has now graduated 500 teachers.

A similar storm is currently brewing over a proposed law school, which would be the first Christian law school in Canada. Last fall, the Council of Canadian Law Deans circulated a letter addressed to the Federation of Canadian Law Societies decrying the proposal, stating “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unlawful in Canada and fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools.” The letter expressed concern that gay and lesbian students could be subject to disciplinary action, including expulsion.

The council’s president later explained his organization opposes the covenant’s antigay provision, not the idea of a Christian law school itself. Trinity’s bid for the law school has been supported by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Even so, editorial pages have been filled with concerns that devout Christians cannot be trusted to uphold equality rights. The B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education has convened a panel of academic legal experts to review Trinity’s application, and ultimately has the final say. A decision is expected this summer.

TWU says concerns over the code of conduct are overblown. In his nearly two-decade tenure, Loeppky says, exactly zero students have been expelled over a breach of the covenant.

But Trinity’s intimate size means peer pressure drives adherence to the covenant, at least on campus, and students who do drink only party in town on weekends, according to students interviewed by The Vancouver Sun.

The school’s retention rate is between 70 and 80 per cent after first year. The top reason cited during exit interviews is not the rigidity of the covenant but rather finances, Loeppky says.

Just one year of tuition, housing and books can cost more than $30,000, which is out of reach for many despite the $11.2 million in scholarships and bursaries handed out last academic year.

Students reject the inference that the community covenant creates an oppressive learning environment. Several pointed out that critics had failed to talk to students about their campus experience, and few – if any – had ever set foot on its grounds.

Bryan Sandberg, a columnist at the Mars Hill student newspaper, wrote about his experiences as an openly gay student at TWU.

“Here at Trinity Western, we know the Christian community does not have to be hostile toward gays and lesbians. I am only one of numerous gay and lesbian students who have had very positive experiences being welcomed and loved by this amazing community,” he wrote in February, while noting TWU’s openness may not be the norm among more conservative Christians.

His friend, Justin Poulsen, said students take the covenant seriously on campus, even if they don’t agree with it.

“(Staff) don’t pretend they can police us off campus,” Poulsen, a fifth-year communications student, says from a picnic table in front of the student centre. “But we believe it’s impossible to provide this quality of education without some form of spiritual nourishment.”

Some students aren’t believers but attend anyway, drawn by shared values or a chance to play for the Spartans. TWU’s men’s volleyball and women’s soccer teams have won multiple national championships, including both in 2012.

LAW SCHOOL OPPOSITION

Bob Kuhn, an evangelical Christian, attended TWU in the early 1970s, when it was still a two-year college with 300 students who were then prohibited from dancing and making public displays of affection.

The opposition to a proposed law school sounds familiar to Kuhn, now a lawyer. Half the lawyers at his firm are TWU alumni. Over his three-decade career, he has argued a single but significant case before the Supreme Court of Canada – when TWU challenged the B.C. College of Teachers’ application to prohibit the school from opening a teachers’ college.

Kuhn and Trinity won the case in 2001, when eight out of nine justices agreed there was no evidence to prove teachers trained at Trinity were more likely to discriminate against gay students in public schools.

To Kuhn, it is “inconceivable” that critics should prevent the development of a faith-based school of law, noting a significant part of western law is already based in Judeo-Christian principles such as the Ten Commandments.

Besides, same-sex marriage is already permitted under 2005 legislation, and equality rights are protected under Section 15 of the Charter. Kuhn has represented gay clients, and agrees in principle that freedom from discrimination is as important as freedom of religion. Personally, he takes a “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach.

But if Kuhn doesn’t think a Christian law school would necessarily breed intolerance, others do. Dozens of critics piped up, editorials and pundits announced their opposition, with some even suggesting that TWU students lack critical thinking abilities, even though the school consistently ranks high for academic achievement.

‘A+’ RANKING

For seven years in a row, TWU has received an “A+” ranking in the Globe and Mail’s university report for quality of learning and teaching.

According to the most recent Macleans magazine Canadian university survey, 97 per cent of TWU students said their professors encouraged class discussion; 99 per cent said their professors were available outside class; 98 per cent said they were satisfied with the overall quality of their education; and 90 per cent said they were satisfied with the concern shown for students as individuals.

In contrast, at Simon Fraser, only 54 per cent of students were satisfied they were recognized as individuals. Alumni contacted by The Vancouver Sun said open debate is highly encouraged at TWU, and critical thinking – including about Christianity’s place in society – has been part of the culture all along.

“That’s what a university is supposed to be about. You don’t arrive at truth without debate,” says Benno Friesen, a Mennonite, a founding faculty member and, later, a longtime parliamentarian for Surrey-White Rock. He has maintained close ties to the school, which he called “anything but doctrinaire.”

The backlash has surprised many within the administration who thought the matter was settled.

“There are some fabulous elements about (TWU) that should not be threatening to your average B.C. resident,” says Matt Jenkins, a former editor-in-chief of the award-winning Mars Hill who now makes educational video games. He credits the school with developing his social conscience.

“I got to have one-on-one time with PhDs from across disciplines. In fact, I think my education there was better than most other universities in the province.”

Jenkins was editor during 2005, the same year the school permitted its first official dance, and the year a sexual harassment complaint against former president Neil Snider was brought before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. In both cases, the newspaper offered critical coverage and was never censored, Jenkins says.

DIFFERENT FAITH

TWU may even be too liberal for its own good.

It’s a great place to lose your faith,” Jenkins says. His first-year class on the New Testament “blew students’ minds” when the Bible was taught alongside other historical and secular texts.

I know a lot of students who graduated from Trinity who have a different faith from when they went into it,” he said.

“What (the school) does is teach the fundamentals of western culture, of which the Bible is a major part. But it teaches you to think very well about those fundamentals and how they have evolved, and some of them become unnecessary in the world we live in.”

Attending Trinity had been a lifelong goal for Katie Clogg, who was raised by parents who were both in the Baptist church ministry. But she grappled with her faith during her degree, and after graduating in 2010, considers herself an agnostic.

Your world view becomes shattered,” she said. “You start running on this existential hamster wheel and you just can’t get off of it. You’re asking questions constantly, about the world, what it means, your position in it. … What do I have to hold on to? What is real? What is absolute when all these things are relative?” But even Clogg, who now works in fundraising for nonprofits, says she still recommends the school for its academics, even if she was left with more questions than answers.

At TWU, there are other growing pains – the ambitious expansion plans are contentious for some who do not want to see green space turned into outbuildings, or who have opposed the removal of 9.5 hectares from the Agricultural Land Reserve for the “university district,” and worry the development could impact the Salmon River.

Also, a group of about 20 faculty members lobbied for a union, a move opposed by the administration.

“The institution has grown at a pace that has outstripped the human resources infrastructure of the place,” said philosophy professor Myron Penner, one of the organizers.

He said the existing faculty association has no budget or authority over decisions. And despite the fact TWU faculty are the lowest paid in Canada, Penner says it is not about money, but rather a formal process for dialogue. But the union drive failed in a 54-46 vote in late March.

And as of June 30, president Jonathan Raymond will end his seven-year tenure as president, stepping down for health reasons. It was announced in May that Vancouver lawyer Kuhn will serve as interim president until a search committee selects a new candidate to lead the institution.

zmcknight@vancouversun.com

© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

Advertisements