Azusa reaffirms biblical standard for student couples

Azusa and Biola have competitive differences but the same deep calling.

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Azusa reaffirms biblical standard for student couples

Courtesy of apu.edu

Courtesy of apu.edu

Courtesy of apu.edu

Logan Zeppieri, Opinions Editor

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Biola’s volleyball victory over Azusa Pacific University during the Oct. 3 Cornerstone Cup rivalry game was an immense cause for celebration. However, two days prior to the game, there was a cause for celebration that seemed to glide under the radar.

Amid a report from Zu Media, Azusa Pacific’s student newspaper, that the university had reversed its prohibition on same-sex romance, Azusa’s Board of Trustees announced on Sept. 28 that they did not approve the change and instead reaffirmed the biblical standard for student couples.

While Biola reminded Azusa how to play volleyball, Azusa offers Biola a good reminder to “embrace all students who seek a rigorous Christian higher education” and “to boldly uphold biblical values.”

BACKGROUND

On Sept. 18, Zu Media reported, “Effective this fall 2018 semester, Azusa Pacific removed language from its student standard of conduct agreement that prohibited public LGBTQ+ relationships for students on campus.” This change came about in coordination with Brave Commons, an organization dedicated to raising the voices of the LGBTQ+ community in Christian universities and beyond.

On Sept. 24, The Christian Post reported on the event, citing Azusa’s reason for this change from the associate dean of students, Bill Fiala. The change to the student code of conduct was inspired to avoid creating “one standard for all undergraduate students, as opposed to differential standards for different groups.”

On Sept. 28, Azusa’s Board of Trustees announced they had not approved the changes in the student handbook and the original wording was reinstated.

AFFIRMING BIBLICAL STANDARD FOR STUDENT COUPLES

But it is not merely a reversal of a policy that should be a cause for celebration or give us hope—it is the full-fledged, unequivocal affirmation of biblical values for student couples.

The university’s Board of Trustees did not merely respond with minimal effort, denying that they approved the change. Instead, they provided a five-point response: reaffirming biblical values, unwilling to cave to political and social pressures, affirming marriage between one man and one woman, believing holy living supports Christian values and a dedication to equip disciples and scholars to contend for that vision in the world.

I believe, in response, Biola has three things they can learn from Azusa.

First, Biola is not “the conservative” Christian university in Southern California, a lonely island sheltering conservative students amid a hostile secular storm. The desire to stand firm in our dedication to Christian values is not a one-university problem, and definitely not a one-university solution. Azusa is fighting a cultural battle and has now drawn a line in the sand. Biola and Azusa are on the same side of that line.

Second, we must continue to “embrace all students who seek a rigorous Christian higher education.” If we want to impact culture for greater change, Biola must continue to to carefully balance inclusion of all students while remaining focused to its calling in Christ. Each student must be continually encouraged to seek each other in our differences, seek to address each other’s needs and use that knowledge to one day effectively change our culture.

And third, we must “boldly uphold biblical values.” It will not always be easy and it may not come from the most expected places. But as Christians, living at Christian universities, we share the same inconvenient calling. Despite all the differences between Azusa and Biola, we are asking the same deep questions and struggling to find the best solution.

OUR DIFFERENCES ARE ENTERTAINING, OUR COMMONALITY IS LASTING

Azusa has recently done something as a cause for immense celebration—like an underdog coming back late in the game. They boldly affirmed biblical convictions amid a hostile culture. And despite of our universities’ deep competitive rivalry, Biola and Azusa have something much deeper in common—the struggle to win back our culture for Christ.