BY Jim Baker, The Western JournalJune 26, 2023
1 year ago
BY 
 | June 26, 2023
1 year ago

'Daring Faith' Event Canceled by Christian College After Men's Ministry Posts No-Nonsense 'Pride' Month Statement

Belmont University, a private Christian college in Nashville, Tennessee, made waves in the Christian community this month when it opted to cancel a scheduled event with Promise Keepers, a well-known Christian men's ministry.

According to a June 19 report from ChurchLeaders.com, the university cited a clash of values as the primary reason behind the event's cancellation.

Belmont said in a statement that a Promise Keepers blog post about "pride month" included "comments that we believe unnecessarily fan the flames of culture wars and are harmful to members of our community."

In the May 30 post, the organization -- founded in 1990 by former Colorado University football coach Bill McCartney -- expressed its unwavering support for the biblical definition of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman.

Additionally, Promise Keepers raised concerns about the potential hazards associated with the pervasive influence of gender ideology in contemporary society.

"We will not stand on the sidelines and remain quiet," the ministry said. "As fathers, husbands, grandfathers, and young men -- we see the dangers of gender ideology and the harm it causes.

"In our present day, men and women are increasingly confused about their identities. Biological identity has been severed as separate from 'gender identity,' while children across the United States are actively indoctrinated into intense inner turmoil about who they 'really are.'

"What’s behind this change? Throughout history, humans have traditionally looked to God, the church, and their families as the starting points for identity. Now, our culture has decided each person must decide his or her own identity by looking inward -- which leads to isolation, loneliness, and confusion.

"As fathers, husbands, grandfathers, and young men, we see the dangers of gender ideology and the harm it causes. At Promise Keepers, we believe it is more important than ever to stand up boldly for what we believe as Christians. God's Word is very clear on this topic -- and we also see the way gender ideology has damaged lives, mutilated bodies, and torn apart families in our own communities."

The organization has long been a steadfast advocate for men striving to live with integrity, faithfully dedicated to their wives, actively engaged in their local churches and committed to deepening their Christian faith.

Throughout its history, Promise Keepers has organized large-scale national conferences that have gathered millions of men in stadiums and arenas, fueling a fire within their hearts to lead Christ-centered lives.

The event at Belmont, aptly named "Daring Faith," was designed to be an inspiring gathering for men of faith.

The planned date was Sept. 29, and the venue was set to be the school's Fisher Center for the Performing Arts -- an ideal location to foster spiritual growth and empower attendees to embark on a bold journey of faith.

Yet, just as anticipation was building and preparations were underway, Belmont abruptly withdrew its support, leaving many perplexed.

In a June 20 news release, Promise Keepers said the university "canceled an event hosted by Promise Keepers after the men’s ministry released a statement reaffirming its support for the Biblical, biological, sexual identity of male and female, man and woman, in the context of marriage. Belmont representatives cited a conflict in values."

Ken Harrison, the group's CEO, shed light on the disheartening turn of events during an interview with the Edifi Podcast Network.

He said the ministry had a signed contract with the university and had actively promoted the event. However, a mere two days before ticket sales were scheduled to commence, an email arrived delivering the shocking news: The university expressed that "due to recent information, we realize our values don't align with your values or something to that effect, so we can't do the event here."

Harrison noted the stark contradiction between the event's intended purpose and the university's decision: The theme of "Daring Faith" was intended to inspire men to exercise audacious faith in their lives, and the cancellation seemed to undermine the very essence of the gathering.

During his interview, Harrison also issued a cautionary warning regarding the state of Christian colleges and universities, expressing concern about a growing trend of institutions deviating from the fundamental teachings of Scripture.

He questioned the authenticity of institutions that claim to train individuals for Christ while simultaneously disregarding foundational biblical principles. Although some Christian colleges and universities continue to fight to preserve the free exercise of their faith, all too many have compromised on gender ideology in recent years amid a flurry of attacks.

Belmont issued a statement about the cancellation to ChurchLeaders.com.

[firefly_poll]

"Promise Keepers recently issued a press release that incorrectly states why Belmont University decided to withdraw the campus’ Fisher Center as the potential venue for an event anticipated for late September in Nashville," the university said.

"Belmont informed Promise Keepers leadership that the event could not be held on our campus because a blog the organization posted, 'In Light of June Being Designated as "Pride Month,"' includes comments that we believe unnecessarily fan the flames of culture wars and are harmful to members of our community.

"The Promise Keepers press release also falsely asserts that Belmont had not responded, when in fact University leaders have had multiple conversations with senior leaders at Promise Keepers, including CEO Ken Harrison. In these phone calls our reasoning was thoroughly and respectfully discussed, and we believed we reached mutual understanding.

"Belmont and the Fisher Center welcome the opportunity to host and work with a variety of groups that hold disparate opinions, and we encourage the exchange of dialogue. Yet as an ecumenical, Christ-centered institution we are also unequivocal in our belief in the value of each human being, and we are committed to engaging in constructive conversations that demonstrate kindness and seek understanding. We will not knowingly provide a space for any group whose language we believe to lack that same respect."

Belmont has an enrollment of more than 7,000 students from across the United States and various countries.

In 2007, the university severed its ties with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, concluding a 56-year-long relationship. This decisive action positioned the college as an independent, ecumenical Christian university with no denominational affiliation.

The school’s separation from the Tennessee Baptist Convention raised questions regarding Belmont's stance on matters of sexuality and its commitment to a biblical worldview.

Its cancellation of the Promise Keepers event raises broader questions about the difficulty in maintaining fidelity to core Christian values in an increasingly secular world. The controversy serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing cultural battles faced by Christian organizations that stand firm on traditional biblical principles.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jim Baker, The Western Journal

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