How Are People Reacting to the Change in Wording?
While many in the leadership of APU may feel that the University is holding to biblical standards by keeping the wording in their statement of beliefs that defines marriage as between a man and woman, others believe the University is succumbing to “theological drift.” This reason, along with concerns over financial management, led to two board members resigning last year. SGVT reports Pastor Raleigh Washington of Chicago and businessman Dave Dias of Sacramento resigned in December citing these reasons.
Additionally, those in that Christian evangelical community that APU is trying to stay in are criticizing the administration for this move. Author Denny Burk articulates his grievances this way:
The fundamental problem here is that Azusa’s student handbook fails to make a moral distinction between homosexual and heterosexual relationships. Even when abstinent, they are not morally equivalent. A heterosexual relationship can and may have the covenant of marriage as its aim and goal. A homosexual relationship can never have marriage as its aim and goal. That means that a homosexual relationship can never be holy or pleasing to God. By definition, it is sinful (Rom. 1:26-27).
One more item is problematic. The school’s standards of conduct prohibit students from cohabitating with the opposite sex (9.0 Cohabitation). Yet students of the same sex are still permitted to cohabitate—presumably including those students who are in homosexual romantic relationships. Does Azusa believe that it is good for same-sex attracted students to be cohabitating while experiencing sexual desires for one another?
No matter how you view this move by APU, the solution is tenuous at best. It seems to allow LGBTQ relationships by way of technicality, without taking a former or conclusive stand on homosexuality. While LGBTQ students are surely happy they will not be punished for being in a same-sex relationship, some might take issue in the future with APU’s traditional definition of marriage.