[we need] clear and reliable rules” (Five Steps
, 56). I submit that ways of engaging in love need to be deeply considered by the remaining leaders and faculty at Westminster Seminary.
Wouldn’t it be a glorious day to read about how the Holy Spirit swept across this seminary community in Pennsylvania and old foes were welcomed into a healthy new conversation rooted in radical love where past hurts were healed and lives deeply changed through repentance? Wouldn’t it be a great day if the trustees sat down with various former members of the faculty and shared a meal, a time of prayer, a time of loving friendship and the pursuit of an entirely new polis?
Is my suggestion a “pipe dream?” I guess the answer is yes. But then I believe the teaching of Jesus cuts right across most of what we commonly do in conflicts. We defend our position, explain why we hold it and then walk away. I am suggesting something so radical that we would begin to do exactly the opposite. Even my friends who left Westminster would find this way difficult I have to believe since they would need to open their lives up to being hurt all over just to take the risk of pursuing their enemies in this radical love. I cannot say who should take the first step, though it would appear to me that the leaders of the institution are the logical first choice. But it takes only one person to pray and seek God and then respond in a whole new way. This new way could make a difference that transcends all the labels and debates.
I have experienced the pain and loss of institutional approval and compensation. I have also seen a ministry come down around me and some of my friends leave me. It hurts. It hurts very, very deeply. But I have slowly learned a new and better way: “The spirituality of love.” (I am on a journey thus I have in no way perfected this pursuit.) I encourage all my friends to seek this new way. It is really not that new since this is what our Lord taught in the Sermon on the Mount. I believe it culminates in Matthew 5:48, a text that I misunderstood as law (a law we could not fulfill) for all the years that I spent in the conservative Reformed world. The love that we are all called to perfect (mature) is the love of God our Father. This loves reaches down to those who hate him and curse him. This loves prompted Jesus to bless those who despised him. This love culminates in the death of Christ on the cross. This love alone can restore the blessings of a school like Westminster Seminary. If I am wrong then I welcome your helpful corrective words. Before God I have sought to do no harm. I seek only peace by the way of the cross. This way has not been tried and found wanting at WTS. I believe it has rarely been tried, especially inside of Christian institutions that are run like corporations rather than like Christ-like communities.