One of the reasons I pursued a theological education at Liberty University (LU) years ago was because of their unwavering commitment to biblical truth. Founded by the late Jerry Falwell in 1971, LU has grown to become the largest Christian university in the world. Because of its fundamentalist roots, all faculty members are required to be in agreement with the university’s doctrinal statement. Yet, emphasizing this standard of biblical orthodoxy unfortunately does not extend to everyone, provided they are associated with the ‘correct’ political party.
Such is the case with Mitt Romney, the former Governor and Republican presidential candidate who is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at LU in May 2012. Romney is a member of the Mormon Church, and few Christians recognize the incompatible nature of evangelical teaching with Mormon doctrine. Consider the following teachings from his Church:
• Jesus is the Brother of Lucifer
• Men can become gods in the future
• Those with black skin are accursed by God
• Blacks were not allowed to enter the Mormon priesthood until 1978
• The Book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible
• The Mormon Church is the one true Church
• Evangelical Christians are said to be part of apostate Christendom
In light of these (and other) teachings, the question must be asked: why was Romney invited to give the commencement address in the first place? Is there a shortage of qualified evangelical leaders that lead to this tragic compromise? I believe the answer is indicated in the title. This is an example of how political affiliation trumps doctrinal integrity and truth.
Why would a Christian university invite a Mormon to speak at their commencement? The President of the Mormon Church would not officially endorse the doctrinal statement of LU. Maybe the chancellor of LU believes that Romney’s commitment to pro-life values and his opposition to same-sex marriage are the most important issues of our day. After all, who cares what Romney believes about the Bible, as long as he is against abortion? It doesn’t matter what Romney thinks about Jesus having malevolent siblings, as long as he is against same-sex marriage. How Romney’s Church feels about blacks is irrelevant, insofar as he upholds middle-class American values. My friend, this is an abomination to Christ and His Church!
I pray that LU will receive the necessary criticism over this decision and avoid such a heinous compromise in the future. It is true that Romney can offer graduates a word of encouragement as they venture into their respective career options. However, the university is implicitly endorsing him for the presidency, even to the point of giving him a platform to speak at a university that has traditionally regarded his Church as a cult.
According to the apostle John, those who repudiate the teachings of the Church should not be given platforms to encourage the Christian community:
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
(2 John 1:10-11, NIV)
It is a shame that Mitt Romney’s biblical beliefs are esteemed as less important than his political views. And when politics becomes more significant than Christian teaching, divine dishonor is inevitable.
May the Lord convict those at LU who authorized this arrangement.