I was shocked, yet not surprised, last week with the controversy in St. Louis during the Urbana Missions Conference. I served for several years as InterVarsity Campus Staff and am familiar with the shift in this organization to a strong social gospel emphasis. While the University climate today faces the issues raised by Black Lives Matter, the shift of emphasis away from salvation in Christ and Biblical authority in Campus ministry can be unsettling. I am glad that InterVarsity issued a response.
My strongest respect for InterVarsity is that this ministry always embraces the toughest discussions in Christian faith in the University environment. Many evangelicals shy away from harsh discussions through controversial rhetoric. Yet InterVarsity not only chooses to discuss the controversial Black Lives Matter movement, they also love those in the movement with whom they disagree.
David Schwartz posted a compelling insight at patheos.com into InterVarsity's connection to global evangelism and the Black Lives Matter issue.
The online response can be read in its entirety here.
This is an excerpt from InterVarsity's statement on Black Lives Matter:
"We chose to address #BlackLivesMatter at Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s Student Missions Conference, because it is a language and experience of many college students. Many Black InterVarsity staff and students report that they are physically and emotionally at risk in their communities and on campus. About one-half of those at Urbana 15 are people of color, including more than 1,200 Black participants. InterVarsity chose to participate in this conversation because we believe that Christians have something distinctive to contribute in order to advance the gospel.
InterVarsity does not endorse everything attributed to #BlackLivesMatter. For instance, we reject any call to attack or dehumanize police. But – using the language of Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson – we are co-belligerents with a movement with which we sometimes disagree because we believe it is important to affirm that God created our Black brothers and sisters. They bear his image. They deserve safety, dignity and respect. InterVarsity believes all lives are sacred – born and unborn. Interim president Jim Lundgren says, “Scripture is clear about the sanctity of life. That is why I’m both pro-life and committed to the dignity of my Black brothers and sisters.”