Anyone acting surprised that Calvin University has caved to the cultural prostitutes of LGBTQ activism hasn’t actually been following the news. For years, Calvin University has been in liberal decline as it has increasingly embraced facets of the LGBTQ movement through its student and faculty programs.
As a Christian university named after arguably the most famous Protestant reformer in the Reformed Tradition, John Calvin, it has become an icon for liberalism. Calvin University, formerly Calvin College, is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is associated with the Christian Reformed Church denomination which has its roots in the Netherlands and is largely influenced by the early twentieth-century theologian, Abraham Kuyper.
Today, The Christian Reformed Church is a full-fledged liberal denomination that boasts inclusivity and progressivism throughout its layers of organizational structure, including at Calvin U.
Calvin University is home to a number of student organizations, one of which is Sexuality and Gender Awareness (SAGA). The group boasts that it is “a peer education group of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, plus (LGBT+), and straight students who support each other and educate the campus” and holds yearly events including LGBT workshops in the dorms, “You are Loved Campaign,” and “various speakers including The Gospel Coalition contributor, Mark Yarhouse, on topics connected to sexuality and gender.”
Earlier this year, however, the denomination that presides over Calvin University took a surprising approach to its stance on homosexuality and the denomination voted 123-53 to codify homosexual sex as “sin” into their confession of faith. After two days of deliberation, the voters approved a list of “sexual immorality” that the denomination will not tolerate, including “adultery, premarital sex, extra-marital sex, polyamory, pornography, and homosexual sex.”
“The church must warn its members that those who refuse to repent of these sins—as well as of idolatry, greed, and other such sins—will not inherit the kingdom of God,” the report read. “It must discipline those who refuse to repent of such sins for the sake of their souls.”
Of course, being that a large portion of the students and faculty at Calvin University are either homosexual or affirming of sexual immorality, it was unsurprising that there would be dissenters. Just this year, one professor officiated a gay wedding which caused a stir within the school’s administration.
According to documents posted online by Calvin Provost Noah Toly, the school learned that Joseph Kuilema, a social work professor at Calvin who also served as an elder at Sherman Street Church, had officiated a gay wedding in late 2021 after the provost had received pictures of the event.
As a result of Kuilema’s actions, Calvin’s Professional Status Committee opted not to renew the professor’s tenure unless he could prove that he did not act out of line in accordance with the school’s policy. But several faculty members, including the dean of his department. According to the dossier posted online, Kuilema’s bid for tenure “was supported by his department, his dean, the PSC, and the Academic Affairs committee of the Board of trustees, but was ultimately denied by the full Board of Trustees, who cited concerns around his tone and strategy with regard to controversial theological topics and LGBTQ+ advocacy in particular.”
The dossier also stated that Board Chair Craig Lubben noted that while the professor has the “freedom to disagree with a position of the CRC,” the board retains the right to control how these disagreements are expressed. In other words, Calvin University has no problem hiring someone who disagrees with the school’s position on homosexuality, but the faculty members are limited in how they are allowed to function within their beliefs.
Kristen Du Mez, a pro-abortion activist who is also a professor at Calvin University, was among several faculty who lobbied the Board of Trustees for permission to dissent from the denomination’s official stance on sexual immorality. According to RNS, Du Mez said it was “a matter of integrity” and “It seemed necessary to register my dissent so that I could have clarity in terms of whether it was a space where I could continue to work, or whether I no longer fit within the mission of the community.” The mission, apparently, is to lift their middle finger to God Himself and tell Him that what he has to say about human sexuality doesn’t matter.
Ultimately, the Board of Trustees has now caved to the demands of liberal pro-sodomite activists like Du Mez and has agreed to officially allow faculty and staff to dissent from the official position on sexuality. According to a press release in the Calvin Chimes newspaper, Noah Toly, the school provost told faculty that “While we understand that not every member of the Calvin community will agree with every position or decision the University makes, our desire is that this be a place where even our disagreements are characterized by respect and love for one another.”
“I am hopeful that this process and outcome can serve as a model for our students and other observers as we continue to wrestle with important issues,” Toly continued.
Several of the faculty and staff, according to the Chimes, were undecided if they’d file an official gravamen or letter of dissent against the denomination’s official stance. Faculty are generally required to affirm the denomination’s official statement of faith including the Heidelberg Catechism but since the Board of Trustees is allowing dissent from these positions, it is unclear if an official complaint will need to be filed in order to retain one’s position as faculty.
Either way, to continue to allow those who affirm the rebellion against God to continue to train students and seminarians is, to say the least, ungodly. Ichabod!