By Daniel Jackson
SGA believes there are too many opinions and not enough gospel when Bryan handles controversial topics.
The class presidents of SGA met with the Bryan Board of Trustees Friday, October 26 and critiqued how the Office of Spiritual Life Formation handled the topics of homosexuality, the relationship between Islam and Christianity, and the topic of diversity.
“The problem with each of these controversial issues is that they have not been clearly presented in light of the gospel,” said Matt Dennis, sophomore class president.
Dennis believed that the college has been incrementally slipping from its Christian foundation, just in the way that Harvard and Yale slipped from their Christian start.
“If you look at it in a long-term perspective, it can become a bigger issue.”
SGA told the Board of Trustees that issues like Homosexuality get talked about, but never really addressed. At the couch event last year, the college said it was a big issue that needs to be talked about, but never actually addressed the question said Amy Morris, president of SGA.
Dennis said the Diversity forum focused on what divided the campus rather than what unites. It’s an important issue to him because its one that is “tearing this country apart.”
“(We) need to celebrate unity, not differences,” he said.
Lastly, SGA talked to the trustees about Buddy Hoffman’s visit to Bryan College. In the fall of 2011, Hoffman spoke in the first week of chapel about the relationship between Christianity and Islam.
Morris said there were serious theological flaws in Hoffman’s message and not many students were critical of the message.
Dennis talked to the Office of Spiritual Formation after SGA’s meeting with the trustees. After meeting with Ben Norquist, director of faith and missions, Dennis said there may have been miscommunication between the speakers and the students.
“He (Norquist) doesn’t think that’s what they believe. I’m still going to think about it instead of saying ‘okay’.”
Norquist said that the office will not change chapel because of SGA’s meeting with the Board of Trustees because the chapel team evaluates chapel based on a student survey conducted each year. Chapel is an educational part of Bryan College which introduces speakers that love the gospel and are bible-believing to the students. However, those speakers might articulate their belief differently than what students are used to, Norquist said.
Twice a year, members of SGA meet with the Board of Trustees. The trustees have several meetings on campus during a two day period in which they discuss budget issues and the long-term trends of the college.
Gary Phillips, a Bryan trustee who sits on the committee which heard the SGA members, declined an interview with Triangle, citing a pledge of confidentiality he took when he became a trustee.
“I will say, however, that you have excellent representation in SGA,” he said. ”They were thoughtful, serious about their responsibilities, and clear in their points; I greatly enjoyed hearing from them and talking with them.”
The SGA members were quick to say that they respect the Office of Spiritual Formation.
“They can do their best,” said Morris, “but they don’t always know exactly what that person is going to say so you have to give them a little bit of a break.”