***Editor’s note: This is not a planned part of the Falling Away series about Dordt University. But it is in response to a piece published in the Dordt student paper focusing exclusively on our series. Some of you do not care about Dordt, but here is why you should if you’re a conservative. Dordt is located in Sioux County. More than 80 percent of Sioux County voters picked Trump in 2016. Democrats, meanwhile, are gaining ground in Sioux County and one of the vehicles they are using is Dordt University and Northwestern College. So while Dordt may mean nothing to you, allowing this drift away from biblical principles may mean the difference between a red state or a blue state. It matters to all Iowans.***
The Dordt Diamond started by asking Dordt dean of chapel Aaron Baart why he thought I have brought these “accusations” against him. Here is why:
Because souls are at stake.
Because when the dean of chapel of a Christian college is giving a thumbs up to a same-sex wedding picture of a graduate from that Christian college, that’s a problem. When the dean of chapel of a Christian college is saying we should be so full of grace that people think we’re ridiculously soft on sin, that’s a problem. When the dean of chapel of a Christian college says he’s such a serious follower of Jesus Christ that if a gay couple asked him to bake them a cake, he’d bake them two, that’s a problem.
When the dean of chapel of a Christian college says the idea of Christians marching at the front of the gay pride parade “sounds a lot like Jesus,” that’s a problem. When the dean of chapel of a Christian college says God may not be done speaking on homosexuality and that Jesus never mentioned it, that’s a problem.
It is important to point out two things. First, these aren’t accusations. They’re all originally sourced stories. Accusations are things that cannot be proven.
We know that Aaron Baart gave a thumbs up to a same-sex wedding picture of a Dordt graduate. We know that Aaron Baart said if a gay couple asked him to bake them a cake, he’d bake them two. We know that Aaron Baart said we should be so full of grace that people think we’re ridiculously soft on sin. We know that Aaron Baart said the idea of Christians marching at the front of the gay pride parade sounds a lot like Jesus. We know that Aaron Baart said that God may not be done speaking on homosexuality and that Jesus never mentioned it. We know that Jen Hatmaker thanked Aaron and Nicole Baart for bringing her to speak at Dordt. Hatmaker, of course, is the lady who said she believes same-sex relationships can be “holy.”
Second, this isn’t about Aaron Baart. Aaron Baart is a symptom of a deeper problem. Dordt University is straying from its biblical roots. Focusing on Aaron Baart ignores the problem.
Aaron Baart acknowledges he and I have different worldviews. I hold a Christian worldview. I don’t support same-sex marriage. Baart asked me in 2011 if not same-sex marriage, couldn’t we support same-sex civil unions. He supports socialized medicine. He told me there’s never been a just war in the history of the world. He is anti-Second Amendment. He is far-left.
Those are big differences, and some of them really matter when it comes to religion.
Baart has hijacked the term “fundamentalist” to mean something negative. So, let’s define “fundamentalist.”
Fundamentalism is built on five important parts of the Christian faith:
- The Bible is literally true. The Bible is without error and free from all contradictions.
- Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was and is the Son of God, fully human and fully divine.
- Salvation is obtained only through God’s grace and human faith in Christ’s crucifixion for the sins of mankind.
- On the third day after the crucifixion, Jesus rose from the grave and sits at the right hand of God the Father.
- Finally, the miracles of Jesus recorded in Scripture are authentic.
What part of the above does Baart disagree with? Another scholar notes that one of the key points of “fundamentalism” is there are several issues with no room for debate — like abortion is always murder, and homosexuality is “a sin against nature and an abomination to God.”
Author Dale Robbins explains in his book “What People Ask About the Church” that the term “fundamentalism” is “commonly used by a liberal society and the news media to refer to groups that they wish to label as extreme.” Robbins says the term “fundamental Christian” would be better defined in modern times by the phrase “Orthodox Christian.”
You don’t say.
Baart says that fundamentalist views are incompatible with the Reformed worldview Dordt upholds. He’s wrong.
As a pastor from the other side of Iowa pointed out to me, the fundamentalist movement literally started with the Presbyterians and they are most certainly reformed.
“(Baart) does have a point on the different worldviews, but doesn’t understand what his is,” the pastor told me.
Another pastor friend of mine highlighted a fatal flaw in Baart’s response:
“Even the students who self-identify as LGBTQ that I have the privilege to visit with know this about me. But more importantly than that, they know that I love them deeply and so does God.”
That doesn’t comport with the Canons of Dort. More importantly, it doesn’t align with the Bible.
“The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” (Psalm 5:5)
“The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.” (Psalm 11:5)
God loved Jacob but hated Esau.
Recall – “thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” God hates the “wicked.”
And it was Lot who told the men of Sodom – “don’t do such a WICKED thing.”
Homosexuality is called detestable in Leviticus. It’s an “evil thing” in Judges. It’s an abomination. God abandons them to do whatever their shameful hearts desire. It’s unnatural. It is a lie. It is degrading. (Romans)
Homosexuality is one of many sins listed in 1 Corinthians that will keep someone from inheriting the kingdom of God.
Here is the reality – one of us is wrong. Both of us cannot be right. That’s how wide the divide is in this instance. And the consequence of being wrong on this couldn’t be greater.
I don’t believe there is any context to make the following words/actions biblical:
- We should be so full of grace that people think we’re ridiculously soft on sin.
- The idea of Christians at the front of the gay pride parade sounds a lot like Jesus.
- Jesus never mentioned homosexuality.
- God may not be done speaking on homosexuality.
- If a gay couple asked me to bake them a cake, I’d bake them two.
- Giving a thumbs up to a same-sex wedding photo of a Dordt graduate.
And please, please, please keep in mind – Baart is only part of the problem. Dordt hosted the following folks the last few years on campus:
- Jen Hatmaker – Same-sex relationships can be “holy.”
- Christina Edmondson – American exceptionalism is a myth. In America, you can hate your neighbor and still be considered a good white Christian.
- Jamar Tisby – The American church was built on white supremacy. Churches should pay reparations for slavery.
- Kristin Kobes Du Mez – Author of “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.”
- Marilynne Robinson – One of Barack Obama’s favorite authors. She disputes the virgin birth (at least she’s not a “whacky” fundamentalist). She supported the ObamaCare contraception mandate that Dordt literally sued the federal government about.
- James K.A. Smith – A “Christian who shills for the secular Left.”
- Jay Kahl – Proponent of same-sex marriage who is hostile toward Christianity.
Beyond that, Dordt has a book titled “My Princess Boy” in its campus library. One of Dordt’s most prominent board members penned an op-ed as a “pro-life evangelical for Biden.”
And there will be more coming.
I’ve never attended a class at Dordt. But to say I have no interest in Dordt and its future is ignorant.
My wife went there. My father-in-law works there. I was a judge for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge for years – until all of this boiled over. I spoke to a couple of their reporting classes. I covered athletics at Dordt for 13 years.
More than that, I have four children who will one day grow up and may believe college is in their best interest. As someone who struggled spiritually through my college years, I yearn for an institution of higher education that I can trust will be biblical.
And if it happened to be right here in our own backyard, even better.
Go back to Baart’s response to me. You know what you won’t find in his article? A Bible verse. Anything from Scripture.
He’ll try to upset me by making snarky comments – just like he did the day he accosted me on my mail route. He’ll call me a “fundamentalist.” He’ll refer to my political news website as a “blog” attempting to look like an “actual news outlet.”
As a former Dordt professor so rightly pointed out to me, this is what the political Left does. They present themselves as the kind, harmless victims attacked by the “evil fundamentalist” and manipulate students to instinctively defend them. Despite claiming to be tolerant, claiming to be all loving and claiming to be so full of grace they’re ridiculously soft on sin — I’m the “fundamentalist” who is a hard-nosed villain who hates minorities, homosexuals and, well, everyone. Typical liberal playbook — vilify your opponent. Make it about feelings, not facts.
Baart can call me whatever he wants. He can talk about my website however he wants.
But you know what he didn’t call me – a liar.
Do you know why? Because even he knows he can’t.
You won’t find direct answers to his direct quotes. You won’t find his direct explanation for the thumbs up to the same-sex wedding photo of a Dordt graduate.
You’ll find an awful lot of feelings, but you will not find many facts.
You will also find a hope that I can reconcile with Dordt. I had a meeting lined up with President Erik Hoekstra, but as soon as I told him I would record the meeting and send him an audio copy before leaving his office, he canceled. He didn’t want to be “taken out of context.”
Can we all admit there’s only one way to ensure that doesn’t happen? Record the conversation!
Aaron Baart is a charming guy. He’s cunning. He’s smooth. He is everything one would think a wolf in sheep’s clothing would be.
And while he may do good things — while he may do some great things – the good cannot make up for the bad if the bad is going against basic biblical principles.
Matthew 18:6 – “if anyone causes one of these little ones, those who believe in me, to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Causes one. Thumbs up to a same-sex wedding picture of a Dordt graduate on Facebook.
Think about it.
This is not intended to say everything related to Dordt is in shambles and horrible. Far from it. I still know many fine people at Dordt. There is not a coach who I talked to at Dordt that I wouldn’t be comfortable with my own kids playing for on a team. Not one.
Now, if you’re someone who thinks I shouldn’t have any say in anything about Dordt since I never attended, I turn that around on you.
Where are you? Where is your voice? What are you doing?
How can someone who never attended Dordt care so much more than you and be willing to put it all on the line in an effort to stop the drifting away and you just sit by idly while it happens?
Perhaps you didn’t know. Dordt has been an outstanding institution for decades. Founded by bold, godly men who from everything I’ve heard would be “rolling over in their graves” to know what is being said and allowed on campus today.
But now you can no longer say “I didn’t know.”
Now, what are you going to do about it?
What do I have to gain from any of this? Ask yourselves that? Every year I sort of lead the charge against OC Pride. I’ve been critical of Northwestern professors pushing evolution. I’ve been critical of Dordt for drifting away from its biblical roots. Critical of the Orange City Library for allowing the LGBTQ kids books. Critical of the city of Orange City for not standing up to OC Pride.
There is no influx of Christmas cards coming.
So, why do I do it?
Because God calls every believer to do it. And when God leads, we follow. Because we know that the world hated Jesus so much it crucified Him. And we know that if we truly follow Him, many in this world will hate us as well.
Why do I do it?
Because souls are at stake. Generations are on the line.
I referenced 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 earlier. The rest of that story needs to be told…”such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God!”
No matter the hills you’re climbing, no matter the battles you’re facing – repent. Be born again. Do your best to go and sin no more.
If you are someone who supports Dordt, I implore you to rise up now. Harvard, Yale and Princeton all once had rich Christian histories. What happened?
According to Answers In Genesis, “accepting a naturalistic worldview and compromising Scripture were the first cracks in these universities’ Christian foundations. These cracks led to the collapse of their Christian heritage.”
Why do I speak out? Because souls are at stake.
Because of the warning that was given in Matthew 7:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.”
There is no room to be soft on sin. Christians cannot be at the front of the gay pride parade. We cannot be workers of lawlessness.
Souls are at stake.
PREVIOUS STORIES IN THE FALLING AWAY SERIES:
1. Dordt’s COVID agreement
2. Reject institutional idolatry
3. Dordt speaker says American exceptionalism is a myth
4. Dordt hosts speaker who said American church built on white supremacy
5. Dordt hosts one of Obama’s favorite authors, she disputes virgin birth
6. Dordt hosts Christian who shills for secular Left
7. Dordt hosts speaker who says same-sex relationships can be ‘holy’
8. Dordt dean of chapel pushing liberalism
9. Dordt dean of chapel would bake a same-sex couple two cakes
10. Dordt dean of chapel says the idea of Christians marching at the front of the gay pride parade sounds a lot like Jesus
11. Dordt students told they should be so full of grace they’re ridiculously soft on sin
12. Dordt dean of chapel shares message – burn a cross and be a patriot, burn a flag and be a criminal, Welcome to Trump’s America
13. Dordt dean says Jesus never mentioned homosexuality or it wasn’t important
14. Dordt dean gives thumps up to same-sex wedding picture of Dordt graduates
15. Dordt stocks ‘My Princess Boy’ children’s book in campus library
16. Dordt board of trustee member Mouw pens op-ed as ‘pro-life evangelical for Biden’
17. Dordt ‘Diversity and Inequality’ class hearing from pro-LGBTQ speaker
18. Dordt history prof says Trump is morally unfit for presidency, compares Trump’s America to Germany before Nazis took over