American Baptist College Defends Invite to Lesbian Speaker, Says Christians Make ‘Idol’ of Bible

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American Baptist College Defends Invite to Lesbian Speaker, Says Christians Make ‘Idol’ of Bible

By Heather Clark |

ABCNASHVILLE – An American Baptist College is defending its invitation to an openly lesbian United Church of Christ minister, asserting that Christians are making an “idol” of the Bible.

“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people,” American Baptist College President Forrest Harris told The Tennessean on Wednesday.

The publication then asked that he clarify his use of the phrase “idolatry of the Bible.”

“When people say [the Bible] is synonymous with God and the truth,” Harris responded. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.”

The college had invited Yvette Flunder, a bishop at the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, Calif., to speak at its Garnett-Nabrit lecture series next week, which focuses on Christian leadership. The theme is “Ministry in Motion: Living Faith, Doing Justice.”

Flunder its expected to appear at next Tuesday’s evening worship service, and then again at the Nannie Helen Burroughs luncheon, where she is expected to talk about her work to combat HIV and AIDS. The United Church of Christ leader is “married” to her partner Shirley Miller.

But after word of the invitation reached other pastors in Nashville, several denounced college administrators for their actions. Randy G. Vaughn of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church told local television station KMBT that he and other Baptist pastors from across the country will be present to protest Flunder’s appearance next week.

“We do not wear our sin as a badge and parade it,” Vaughn said. “When will the downward spiral end?”

“We don’t feel you have the right to live any way [you want] and be respected in the congregation of our faith,” he continued. “There is nothing holy about lesbianism as there is nothing holy about heterosexual adultery.”

According to a statement on the Refuge United Church of Christ website, Flunder believes that one’s self image can be harmed by believing that their lifestyle isn’t acceptable to God.

“Trying to establish a relationship with a God that barely tolerates you but cannot truly accept and certainly will never celebrate you can do incredible damage to ones self-esteem,” she wrote. “City of Refuge UCC welcomes people to be who they are by embracing a theology of acceptance—a radical inclusivity that leaves no one behind.”

Flunder and her partner spoke at an event in 2013 to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California’s Proposition 8, which enshrined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

As a result, the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors is petitioning American Baptist College to reconsider Flunder’s invitation.

“We believe that President Forrest Harris should rescind the invitation for Bishop Yvette Flunder to speak at ABC, solely on the basis that she is a proud, practicing, and public advocate of same-sex marriage,” the petition reads. “We are also requesting that in the future, no male or female involved in a same-sex marriage be invited to speak at ABC.”

“For a Baptist college president to invite a lesbian bishop legally married to a woman, to be a guest speaker and worship leader on a Baptist college campus is irresponsible, scandalous, non-biblical, and certainly displeasing to God,” the organization states.

But Harris does not seem interested in changing the college’s plans for the event.

“It is particularly important for American Baptist College to truly live its educational mission of justice toward creating a community where all persons are able to love and be loved without social, political or ecclesiastical penalty so that all people may enjoy life and wholeness as God intends,” he said.

11 Comments on “American Baptist College Defends Invite to Lesbian Speaker, Says Christians Make ‘Idol’ of Bible”

  1. This is getting really old. If they want to drag themselves down fine that’s your choice, but to get others confused and mixed up is not right.

  2. I urge everyone to be dictated and guided by God’s “worldview”, regardless of when the text was given. He did create the world ( I guess they still teach that ), seems like his thoughts would be relevant, and current with the times. American Baptist College has throw out Romans 1:26-32, and 1 Timothy 2:12, to boost the low self-esteem of homosexuals, while destroying their souls in the process. Pretty soon we’ll be left with nothing in the
    Bible but blank pages, but high self-esteem for those who can’t take instruction. Pastor Vaughn said it well, sin can’t be worn and paraded about.Talk about wasted tuition. There is another ABC, that is teaching truth. Thank
    God for them.

  3. As the end draws near, mankind is becoming more and more rebellious. When the people of God choose to compromise with the wicked, woe is us.

  4. Flunder is wrong. God IS in fact intolerant of the conduct and character of the sin factors in our lives, not of the sinner. The premise of Calvary is negated if we feel we can live our lives in any kind of manner and expect God to accept the very sin Jesus died to save us from. Flunder, Harris, and all those that charge God with folly have not repented of their original sin. The word is not hidden in their hearts so that they do not sin against God. He is a holy God, not a tolerant God, and we should not misconstrue grace for tolerance.

  5. WOW! WOW! and triple WOW! What bible are these particular people reading?! What do they base their convictions on??! Oh, I know, it’s the book of 2nd opinions…..This is heart breaking to read.

  6. After having read your previous blog about “Bishop” Yvette Flunder, I cannot agree at all with Mr. Harris’ position (especially because of his presidential title in a conservative biblical seminary.). On the other hand, I fully agree with pastor Randy G. Vaughn’s stand (this is biblically-sound advice). Ironically enough, “Mrs.” Flunder and “her husband” are from “enlightened” California, while ABC is from the Bible Belt in the Deep South. Paradoxical, isn’t it?!? There is no way that Jesus-Christ would welcome this “revolutionary” lifestyle, either in His church (espe-cially there!) or in the world. There are enough ‘unsanctified’ unions as it is in this fallen world, we neither need more Adams and Steves or Eves and Evelyns to “replenish” this planet. I welcome some feedback.

  7. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

  8. The rainbow was an agreement between God and the world that he would not send floods to rid the world of his people….so my question is how did we let them take the rainbow and make it theirs? I always wondered.

  9. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.” Satan said.

    The covering of human skin has been unmasked and Satan has been revealed through this lesbian. Anyone who holds the Word of God with such a lowly view should be looked at with suspicion. To hold the Word of Truth with such disregard is blatantly defiant. How a place of learning would allow such a speaker to visit their buildings is criminal. It doesn’t take much to see who this lesbian has been convorting with. All places of worship should place her on the do not call list.

  10. Ok, so what did Jesus mean when He instructed the disciples in Mathew 6 how to pray? Wasn’t He revealing a truth and a pattern to them? “thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom of God is about extending God’s rulership authority and establishing HIS dominion in the earth. Sorry but “Yvette Flunder” does not fit the pattern of The Kingdom . Satan knows that any leader that does not have or embraces the revelation of what Jesus Christ came to establish which was ” God’s Kingdom” not man’s, is a potential meal for the kingdom of darkness. Take a look at this quote, “Trying to establish a relationship with a God that barely tolerates you but cannot truly accept and certainly will never celebrate you can do incredible damage to ones self-esteem,”This in itself is error in it’s highest form, Jesus Christ is the reality and evidence that GOD DOES WANT TO ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU MS FLUNDER , that’s why He became sin on your behalf. God will not compromise His Kingdom for no one, absolutely no one. American Baptist College President Forrest Harris has compromised his responsiblity of what he was entrusted with , and who he is responsible to as a leader. My prayers go out to him, I pray for his repentance.

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