Campus News

A Look at Bethel’s Stance on Sexuality

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MISHAWAKA, IN—In the past, we have had speakers in chapel discuss the topic of sexuality and the LGBTQ community and what is biblical and acceptable, but what is Bethel’s stance on sexuality? Many students have asked this question, especially after a chapel message like this past Monday. The answer can be found in the student handbook under sexuality and relationships. 

“Sexuality and Relationships  

Bethel University recognizes that God designed sexuality as a unique expression of love and unity between a man and a woman who have committed themselves to a lifelong marriage. This is the context in which childbearing is to take place. Therefore the Bible explicitly forbids both sexual behavior outside of marriage for heterosexuals, and all homosexual behavior. Additionally, the university understands gender to be a matter of chromosomal identification and primary, overt sexual anatomy at birth, except in the rare cases in which both chromosomal identification and physical anatomy are both indeterminable. All students should abstain from sexual cohabitation, any involvement in premarital or extramarital sexual activity, and homosexual activity (including same-sex dating behaviors). 

We believe this is a Biblical instruction, illuminated by the Holy Spirit and validated by the larger Body of Christ. While some Christians or Christian institutions may disagree, Bethel holds to this doctrinal position as orthodox and faithful to both the Bible and historic Christianity. Moreover, the college shares this conviction with our denomination, the Missionary Church. 

Neither same-sex attraction nor gender dysphoria is sin. People who experience these feelings are to be loved and valued. All people deserve dignity and respect, and we condemn any malice directed toward those who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. We encourage all members of our community to engage others with civility and respect regardless of their convictions. 

Occasionally, members of our community navigate same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, but when their feelings lead to improper behaviors, it can disrupt our desire to maintain a community that is committed to a Biblical sexual identity and personal holiness. For this reason, the university will not permit cross-dressing or other expressions or actions that are deliberately discordant with birth gender and will respond to such matters within the appropriate spiritual and accountability processes of the university. 

More specifically, students whose behaviors violate our community standards regarding sexual expression will meet with a member of the Student Life Staff and will be treated in a loving, redemptive manner throughout the process. The university may dismiss a student who, after counsel, continues to show disrespect for policies related to sexuality by promoting, advocating, or behaving in a manner contrary to this community commitment. 

Bethel acknowledges the need to examine each situation on an individual basis, interpreting this policy according to the unique characteristics of a person or context. Ultimately, we believe a community dedicated to honoring God can act lovingly, graciously, and redemptively on such matters.” 

The student handbook can be found on the Bethel University website, or by clicking this link. https://my.betheluniversity.edu/ICS/Student/Student_Handbook/College_Policies.jnz  

These are some student responses to the question “Are you aware of Bethel’s stance on sexuality and do you agree with it?” 

Austin Stump, Freshman, Business Management Major. “I am aware of Bethel’s stance on sexuality and I do support it because at a Christian college, our stance on sexuality should represent Christ’s view of marriage and relationships.” 

Anonymous. “I disagree with Bethel’s view of sexuality because I don’t think it’s constitutional to restrict actions that are legal, whether they’re supported by Bethel or not.” 

Anonymous. “I am aware of Bethel’s stance on sexuality, and I believe it is appropriate given the body of Christianity should be understanding, but not necessarily condoning acts it disagrees with.” 

As stated in chapel, there is a support group here on campus, specifically designed for those who do struggle with sexual identity. the group is there to encourage each other in their daily lives and in their walks with God. Bethel bases their view of sexuality and other topics of importance on what the Bible states. They also believe in loving and embracing those who do struggle with their sexual identity just as Christians are called to love everyone. A good example of this command is 1 Peter 4:8, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers over a multitude of sins.” 

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