Theological and Bible Colleges play a vital role in preparing the next generation of ministers, pastors and clergy. One of the issues they will face is how to deal with questions about sexual orientation.
Accepting Evangelicals is happy to visit Colleges to present the case for an accepting or affirming theology for faithful, committed same-sex partnerships. To invite a speaker, please email email@example.com
Below is a reflection on just such an event at Trinity College Bristol last year:
During the first session of the day, 2 homosexual evangelical Christians gave their stories to the assembled students. Both told their struggle to come to terms with their sexuality and faith – with very different conclusions. Then after coffee, I presented the case for an affirming evangelical theology of sexuality and same sex partnerships, while Jonathan Berry from True Freedom Trust presented a case for celibacy and abstinence for Christian homosexuals.
In the afternoon, there was a question and answer session with all 4 speakers before the students split into groups to discuss what they had heard.
It would not be appropriate to go into detail about what was said, but I came away rejoicing at the way in which it was possible to have an open and respectful conversation about these things at a distinctively evangelical Theological College.
Each speaker was listened to with courtesy and respect. No-one felt the need to walk out – indeed attendance was very high from the student body and evaluation forms showed equally high scores for the day. Each of the speakers were able to thank each other for their openness and honesty, despite there being significant differences of opinion and understanding.
Perhaps the most significant comment on the day came from one student in the Q&A session. She said that she was now more confused than ever, because as each speaker concluded their contribution, she wanted to say “Yes- I agree with that!” Not that we are in the business of creating confusion, but when she ultimately makes up her mind, she will have a real understanding of how others could come to different conclusions. By listening, she had realised that this was no open and shut case.
These are the kinds of conversations we should be having – conversations that build understanding and respect. So I would like to express my admiration to Trinity College for arranging the day, and would want to encourage other Theological Colleges, churches and fellowships to follow their example.
To invite a speaker from Accepting Evangelicals , please email firstname.lastname@example.org