President Barry Corey expounds on Biola’s homosexuality stance in family discussion

President Barry Corey addressed Biola’s stance on homosexuality in a family discussion on May 18 at the last chapel of the semester.

This morning’s “family discussion” in the last chapel of the semester saw president Barry Corey addressing the conversation on homosexuality and promising it will continue in the upcoming school year. Corey opened with personal stories, touching on his own experience with discussing homosexuality, and the experiences of students who struggle with same-sex attraction.
“I’m here today to say, though this may be hard for some to believe, that we all stand together as persons created in God’s image, and we all kneel together as broken persons who need God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ,” Corey said.

Intentional conversation will continue next year

Corey reiterated the promises made in his letter to facilitate ongoing conversation over the next year.

“In the coming year, we’ll be having intentional moments to discuss and be educated on all matters of sexual identity,” Corey said.

These moments will focus on biblically robust and culturally applicable truths, he explained.

“I’ve heard enough statements from the [Biola Queer] Underground, and above the ground, to know that this conversation is alive, and it is also wide-ranging in opinion,” Corey said.

The discussion surrounding homosexuality, especially online, often results in the trading of Bible verses without context, which Corey sees as a human-centered reading of Scripture. Additionally, he mentioned that the callousness often seen in online discussion is detrimental for good conversation. It is critical that discussions bear in mind the work of Christ throughout Scripture, he continued.

Grace and truth key factors in aiding discussion

Corey explained what sorts of conversations he’s heard already, with campus and outside media, saying he will not tolerate hateful comments.

“This conversation certainly needs grace, but grace is inseparable from truth,” Corey said, drawing murmurs from the crowd.

Corey made it clear he believes all Christians are called to chastity — by remaining pure until marriage and faithful after — and that all discussion of sexuality should center around the idea of surrendering all sinful desires.

“Students, this is not a political issue. It’s an issue in every area of our life to submit our desires that are morally in contradiction to God’s design as articulated in Scripture, whether it’s my desires of opposite-sex attraction, or my brother’s or sister’s desires of same-sex attraction,” he said.

Students react to chapel talk

Sophomore Mary Kate Reynolds, an English major, said she agreed with Corey’s talk, but she would have appreciated a more intricate look at homosexuality and marriage.

“I wanted him to clarify how if you are a homosexual, you can’t have that sexual expression within marriage, so I did kind of want more specificity on how he saw that, but I assume it will come up in the next year,” she said.

Freshman Bible major Jack Franicevich appreciated the reminder to balance grace and truth, noting the importance for students.

“You can come out of a Bible class with a bunch of knowledge you can thump on people … but if you can marry that with grace as well, without sacrificing truth … that’s the ultimate challenge, that’s what makes Christians the ultimate light,” he said.

No plans to expel or condone students with same-sex attraction

Corey also noted two extreme responses he has heard, one side calling for expulsion of students who experience same-sex attraction, the other side calling for policy revision approving intimate same-sex relationships. Biola will not fall into either of these two camps, he said.

Biola will, however, continue to walk alongside those struggling with same-sex attraction, in a loving and prayerful way, Corey said. The university will continue to seek to determine how to create a safe space for students to continue the discussion. 

“We recognize that Biola’s position may not satisfy those in the LGBTQ community,” he said.

But, in order to remain committed to what he believes to be truth, Corey said he is willing to live with this level of disagreement.

A call to conform to live in God's truth

“We are not touting a political agenda. We are sincerely striving to look at the entirety of God’s word and the history of his people as [it] relates to human sexuality, and we’re standing on a conviction that to be faithful disciples, we are called to conform our lives to God’s truth,” Corey said.

“We are not going to accommodate a relative reading of Scripture to fit increasingly accepted ethical or moral norms. In particular, we don’t need to modernize or bend our biblically based position on sexual ethics.”

Giovanni Rincon, a senior psychology and communication major, appreciated Corey’s content and clarity.

“I think that was very clear. The fact that we’re going to continue to talk about these things, it’s good — I don’t think we should stop talking about them,” said Rincon.

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