When news broke that Tufts University's student judiciary council expelled Tuft's Christian Fellowship (TCF) because it barred an unrepentant bi-sexual from its leadership team, the response of many Christians was straightforward -- indignation. When TCF released their statement "What We Believe About Homosexuality" several days later, however, that indignation was partially redirected. Though the TCF statement is intelligent, biblically conservative, and sensitively drafted, it attempts to douse the non-Christian public's accusations of hatred and "homophobia" by distinguishing the group's leadership requirements from its membership requirements. And, the secular public will be glad to know, "We welcomed Julie as a member of our group three years ago when she defined herself as bisexual."
Let's skip the question of membership within parachurch ministries, per se, and simply make several broad observations. First, the culture is increasingly hostile toward evangelicals, no doubt, but TCF's problem appears to be partly of its own making. It stands to reason that Julie would not have expected a leadership position after three years unless her involvement was active involvement (prayer or song leading? event organizing?). Second, the requirements of TCF membership, whatever they are, have allowed an unrepentant sinner to persist in believing she is a Christian. If she is in fact a Christian, the requirements have allowed a backsliding Christian to live comfortably in that state. Finally, if parachurch organizations should reconsider their ideas about membership (yes!), how much more should churches uphold high standards of membership by saying, "Christians live like this, and not like that. All are free to attend, but we will not support you in calling yourself a Christian when you live according to lifestyle x.'" There's nothing loving about giving people false assurance.