Goshen College withdraws from Christian association

Goshen College withdraws from Christian association photo Goshen College withdraws from Christian association

Eastern Mennonite University has voluntary left the “Council for Christian Colleges and Universities”, just a few months after the school changed their hiring and benefit practices to include same-sex couples.

Several CCCU institutions have expressed concerns about decisions by Goshen and EMU to update their non-discrimination policies and allow the hiring of married gay and lesbian employees. Other schools also threatened to leave the CCCU.

In the meantime, the CCCU announced September 21, both Goshen and EMU “voluntarily chose to tender their withdrawals from member status”. Mr. Swartzendruber also resigned from his position on the group’s board.

Other CCCU schools appear to have been willing to accommodate EMU and Goshen, as Hoogstra revealed during the Monday press call. “They have always said it from the beginning, they did not want to cause any division [within the council], and EMU and Goshen had a threshold for that”, Hoogstra added. They live out their [Mennonite] principles. She also characterized Goshen and EMU’s decision as “generous” and “sacrificial”.

Tennessee Baptist Convention affiliate Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Okla., weeks ago cancelled their CCCU membership in protest of EMU and Goshen being allowed to retain their membership in CCCU as Christian colleges that allow the employment of homosexuals engaged in same-sex marriages.

“As a broad and diverse association, the CCCU has never adopted specific creedal or doctrinal tests for its members and affiliates”.

The council is an worldwide association of Christian institutions of higher education with about 120 members.

The CCCU is made up of 180 Christian institutions around the world and says its mission is to, “advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth”, according to its website.

The council’s board said in a news release on Monday that it had “maintained the historic Christian view of marriage, defined as a union of one man and one woman, in its employment policies and student academic program conduct codes”.

While Goshen College has allowed gay and lesbian faculty members to be hired for some time, they were expected to remain celibate. I’m really excited for this show of unity within the CCCU. Hoogstra noted that, in general, there was a lack of consensus among member presidents about the role of affiliate members. Upon the task force’s completion, the task force will recommend to the board of directors how the school should fit into the CCCU’s associational categories.

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