Dear President Corey,
The Nashville Statement, which now has been signed by ten Biola University professors, is in direct contradiction to Biola’s stated policies regarding the treatment of LGBTQ students on campus. Your silence on this is sending a confusing and damaging message to both LGBTQ students who are affirming as well as to those who have chosen celibacy.
The Nashville Statement says, “WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.” (Article 7). This means that the Biola professors who have signed this are opposed to anyone claiming an LGBTQ identity.
Yet Biola University has an approved campus group called, “Sustinere,” specifically driven to “create a safe space” for students navigating through same-sex attraction while allowing students to identify as gay and Christian.
Sustinere’s website states:
“This group, entitled Sustinere, will seek to provide a caring and supportive community where students can journey together as they learn to live authentically and lovingly with same-sex attractions, orientations and identities.
Led by staff/faculty advisors and student leaders, the group will aspire to be a safe space for students who experience enduring same-sex attractions or identify as having a same-sex sexual orientation or identity.”
The group’s creator and Associate Dean of Students at Biola, Matthew Hooper, is quoted as saying about this group: “[Sustinere]... faces the realities of LGB students on a Christian campus and equips them to be leaders holding onto their own convictions.”
Biola’s policy on Sexuality and Relationships acknowledges that students may self-identify as Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual:
“Biola University believes that students are best supported if they are able to share their questions, struggles, or their self-understanding with trusted others, including those in Student Development. Concerns about sexuality may be difficult to disclose, but struggling in silence is a far greater challenge. In all such personal issues, Student Development staff members are committed to discretion, sensitivity, confidentiality, compassion, and redemption.”
Furthermore, the policy addresses the historical mistreatment of LGBTQ people and encourages compassion rather than speech that diminishes one’s identity.
“We do lament the insensitive and often callous treatment that students working through these issues [same- sex behavior, same-sex attraction and/or sexual orientation] may have received from the Christian community. All members of the Biola Community are expected to treat one another with respect and Christ-like compassion. Insults, slurs and other forms of derogatory speech have no place in a Christian community. Through faculty & staff training, peer education and example we seek to educate staff and students about the harm caused by disrespectful or flippant speech around this topic.
Due to the complexity of issues related to same-sex behavior, same-sex attraction and sexual orientation, we are committed to engaging this conversation with courage, humility, prayerfulness and care. We believe, in accordance with Scripture, that we are all broken. Therefore, a primary goal of Student Development at Biola is to help each student find God in the midst of their unique history and struggles and discern how to walk with Him and others along the way.”
Biola’s stated policy on Sexuality and Relationships is completely incongruent to the wholly derogatory nature of the Nashville Statement and its assertion that its theological view is the only correct one regarding homosexuality and being transgender. (Article 10 of the Nashville Statement)
Dr. Corey, the fact that you remain silent about the claims made within the Nashville Statement and remain silent about your professors who signed the Nashville Statement, who are clearly in a position of authority within teaching, mentoring, and pastoring at Biola, is incredibly incongruent with your stated goals. If the “primary goal of Student Development at Biola is to help each student find God in the midst of their unique history and struggles and discern how to walk with Him and others along the way,” we ask that you would publicly disavow the Nashville Statement so that Biola can fulfill its stated intention towards the LGBTQ community.
Biolans’ Equal Ground
Biola University professors who are signatories and signers of the Nashville Statement;
K. Erik Thoennes: Professor & Chair of Theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.
Donna Thoennes: Adjunct Professor & Homeschool Mom, Biola University.
Alan Gomes: Professor of Theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.
J.P. Moreland: Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.
David Talley: Professor of Old Testament, Biola University.
Scott Waller: Associate Professor of Political Science, Biola University.
Darren Guerra: Associate Professor of Political Science, Biola University.
Freddy Cardoza: Director, Christian Education Programs, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.
Kevin Lewis: Associate Professor of Theology & Law, Biola University.
Stanley Ng: Adjunct Professor, Biola University.