InterVarsity Getting Kicked Off College Campuses

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   7/30/2014

Intervarsity Christian Fellowship is a college ministry that has seen tremendous growth in recent years. They have solidly stood for Truth, not compromising even when the pressure turns up.

And the pressure has increased as some public universities have de-recognized this group as a student club on their campus. That means ICF would be seen as an off-campus group and would no longer have the same access to the facilities, advertising and moneys available to all other campus clubs.

And the main wrench that has brought about this mess is the fact that Intervarsity Christian Fellowship requires their student leaders to be Christians, to follow a statement of beliefs set forth by the ministry. Advocates fighting for their derecognition say this requirement is unfair and unequal. They state that anyone should be allowed to lead a student group, regardless of religious beliefs. 

The hypocritical part of this argument, though, is that no one would disagree with the equestrian club choosing only leaders who knew about horses, or the philosophy club choosing only leaders who were interested in philosophy. And what about the lesbian group choosing only leaders who support gay relationships? I doubt this group would allow a fundamental Christian to lead it, yet their recognition as a student club remains unchallenged.

This news is certainly a discouraging sign of the ruling opinions on college campuses, yet just as China has seen phenomenal Christian growth under a suppressed church, ICF has also seen phenomenal blessings.

Lisa Reick wrote a statement on behalf of ICF sharing that this backlash from host campuses has only strengthened their students' faith: "We believe, like the Twelve, that Jesus has the words of life. And we believe that every time we choose Him over the flavor-of-the-day or the easy-way-out or an I’ll-do-it-my-way attitude, He makes us stronger. Indeed, we know from Scripture that the disciples who stuck with Jesus experienced radical transformation and growth through His Spirit at work in them and through them.

We’re seeing nothing less in our students."  

At Bowdoin College in Maine, staff members noted that it was tempting to "seek unity at the expense of truth," but they stood firm. Though this chapter is not recognized on campus, they continue to receive awards for public service. And the students have learned more about showing grace, patience, perseverance, courage, and prayer. Another chapter in Florida saw growth after it was derecognized even though they could no longer meet or advertise on campus.

This story of faith thriving under persecution reflects much of how God has worked throughout history. His power extends beyond facility guidelines. He doesn't need campus permission to complete His work in people's hearts. Whether public universities recognize it or not, we are His tools and He is the workman. No one can vote-out, write-out, or defund God.

"As we face derecognition on some campuses and threats of similar decisions on other campuses, many things about our ministry are not changing. We’re continuing to choose to follow Jesus. We’re continuing to call others to follow Him. We’re continuing to study Scripture and pray and love students and faculty on college campuses." Reick wrote.

God's work thrives no matter the circumstances. When we feel suppressed, He is not.

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