Judgment Begins with the Household of God

I don’t know much about Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. What I do know is what I read yesterday—that it’s a Christian university associated with the Georgia Baptist Convention and that it has decided to be consistent with that convention’s beliefs by asking its employees to sign a pledge indicating their agreement with the basic tenets of the church. To me, that’s only common sense. If you say “this is what we believe and this is what we seek to teach our students,” you should expect your professors and other staff to be in concert with your goals.

The pledge, though, has now become a center of controversy. More than fifty professors and staff have resigned rather than sign it. Why? What awful points of doctrine and/or practice are included? Here’s what university employees must agree to:

  • No homosexual lifestyle
  • No pre-marital sex
  • No adultery
  • No drug use
  • Be an active member of a church
  • Live as committed, Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ

My, how oppressive! A Christian university actually expecting their employees, including professors who are supposed to be teaching within a Biblical worldview, to live as Christians! [Note: I don’t usually go overboard using exclamation points, but they seemed to apply this time.]

Let’s keep in mind this is a private Christian university that has the authority to set up whatever ground rules it considers appropriate. Not being involved in sexual immorality and not being a druggie would seem to me to be minimum requirements for any institution that claims to be Christian. Yet, as can be expected, this has created a firestorm.

What bothers me the most about this is that some of those who resigned had been there for many years. One of the librarians was openly homosexual. This university doesn’t seem to have cared a whole lot about its Christian commitment for quite some time. By being lax in its internal discipline, it opened the door for the current controversy. If it had been consistently Christian from the start, this would be no big deal now. Therefore, it is now suffering the consequences of its previous policies.

All that said, I congratulate the university now for its attempt to set things straight, so to speak. But this is an object lesson for all Christian colleges and universities: be warned—you may go through a similar rough patch if you aren’t being faithful to Biblical standards now. We need to keep in mind these bracing words from the apostle Peter:

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?