Unity with diversity in CCCU
As president emeritus of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., and of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, I should express my perspective in the circumstances regarding hiring policies and CCCU membership.
I believe that EMU, as a college within the faith perspectives of the Anabaptist fellowship, with the other Mennonite colleges, should take as highest priority the lordship of Jesus Christ, the authority of his Word, and the sanctity of the fellowship of his Spirit.
Thus, we should place before our students those whose lives model such discipleship of Jesus. We are called to integrity, to share with the community of faith in holiness, to engage marriage as Jesus expressed it in Matt. 19:4-6, to follow the practice of love for all people including our enemies, to be expressed in a nonviolent order of life (Luke 6:27-36).
This position means that while not being judgmental, we are selective, in not hiring persons whose life expresses the secular world order, such as those who engage in immoral behavior, who share in same-sex relationships, who endorse military participation, or whose pursuit of financial status is at the expense of others or indifferent to the poor.
Our calling is to be a community of the Spirit, seeking the will of God in our life pattern and seeking the very best for the lives of those we touch. Our calling is to live in faithfulness to Jesus Christ and to conduct ourselves by the priorities of his Kingdom.
As to the CCCU, which I helped to develop in its origin and later served, we had a stance of evangelical faith with a primary commitment to bring a Christian perspective to education. But this was with the diversity of the many denominations represented. In fairness, we did not develop a confessional statement but respected the role of each school. There was unity with diversity, no one position dominated the other, each was responsible to be faithful to the Lord and to his Word, as they interpreted the faith.
Above all, we are called to walk with our risen Lord. Sola deo gloria!
Myron S. Augsburger lives with his wife Esther in Harrisonburg, Va., and was president of EMU from 1965 to 1980. He was president of the CCCU from 1988 to 1994.
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