Our recent Wheaton College (Norton, MA) event, “Crossing the Divide,” was a capstone to years of tearing down culture war approaches and investing in genuine efforts to create dialogue between the evangelical and LGBT+ communities. I was proud of the LGBT+ leaders. I was proud of the Christian Fellowship leaders.
Above all, I was so grateful to God and many wise advisers who have mentored me over many years. I remember once sharing the difficulty of talking across this culture war divide with my senior pastor. He said something very firmly: “Bill, you absolutely must have one message.” That has stuck with me.
Just weeks before the Crossing the Divide event, I was asked to present our Lead Them Home message at one of Christian Fellowship’s group meetings. Present were evangelical student leaders, LGBT+ leaders and the Associated Press! That night, the LGBT+ leaders heard the exact message that I shared at Urbana.
This experience set me free from worrying about who is in the audience. God has given us a singular, biblical message and it is good enough for church and LGBT+ leaders alike. The Crossing the Divide event would never have taken place if there were two different messages for two different audiences.
Footnote: The REAL reason this event took place is because leaders in both the LGBT+ and evangelical community came together in a mutual desire to have a better relationship on their campus while respecting the legitimate differences in belief. They saw that absolute agreement on all things does not have to stand in the way of accomplishing something mutually beneficial for both groups.