Calvin University to allow staff to disagree with doctrinal views on sexual sins

The chapel at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The chapel at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. | Wikimedia Commons/Ejd24

A university tied to the theologically conservative Christian Reformed Church in North America has decided to allow faculty members to dissent against the denomination’s views on sex outside of marriage.

Late last month, the Grand Rapids-based Calvin University board voted to allow faculty members to publicly disagree with the stance of CRCNA on human sexuality, including support for same-sex marriage.

The move came in response to considerable pressure from theologically progressive faculty and students who belong to the LGBT community, among others at the Christian academic institution.

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The Christian Post reached out to Calvin, with a university spokesperson emailing a statement on Tuesday noting that faculty will still have to “adhere to the university’s expectations for teaching and personal conduct that honor the church’s position.”

“The Calvin University community has been well served throughout its 150-year history by accommodating a range of faculty perspectives on specific doctrinal issues, while affirming and upholding the confessional standards of the Christian Reformed Church in North America,” read the statement.

“The Board characterized its decision as respectful of the university’s covenantal partnership with the CRCNA, consistent with confessional commitment, congruent with existing policies and procedures, supportive of academic freedom, and reflective of constructive engagement.”

In June, the CRCNA Synod held a legislative meeting at Calvin, and voted overwhelmingly to affirm the definition of "unchastity" in the Heidelberg Catechism to include homosexual acts.

This meant that opposition to homosexuality gained “confessional” status in the denomination, thus complicating the situation of clergy or other leaders who disagree with the stance.

"Since 1973, there have been officebearers who disagree with (the church's stance that homosexual practice is a sin)," stated Michael LeRoy, the outgoing president of Calvin, earlier this year in response to the Synod vote.

"For officebearers who have written or spoken in opposition to this, there would be cause for church discipline. Consider the implication for officers of the church."

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