- Baptist Press - https://www.baptistpress.com -

FIRST-PERSON: Staying in the Bay Area


EDITOR’S NOTE: Jeff Iorg is president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP) — In an open letter to the community last week, leaders of City Church San Francisco recanted their biblical stand on homosexuality and agreed to welcome same-sex married couples as members. This church has been a strong evangelical congregation in San Francisco, looked to by many as a model for convictional ministry in a challenging setting. Their announcement was a bad day by the Bay.

The justification for their action was particularly troubling, even insidious. They claim they are taking the Bible seriously but have found new ways to interpret the Bible which justify — even mandate — their position. They carefully articulate their position as being biblical, not a rejection of biblical truth but a redefinition and clearer understanding of it. They have invented a new hermeneutic to support their experience-driven conclusions that several thousand years of biblical interpretation has been wrong.

The decision by City Church is not really about sexuality; it’s about biblical authority. The crux of the matter is this: Does the Bible define morality or does our experience define morality? The answer to that question has far more significant implications than affirming any form of sexual behavior. The Gospel itself is at stake. If the Bible is wrong on defining sinful behavior, then why should we assume it’s correct when it also prescribes the solution?

Over the past few months, much has been made of our decision at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary to relocate our primary campus to Southern California. Perhaps you missed the second part of the announcement — we are also building a new campus [2] in the Bay Area. We are staying in the Bay Area, with a significant investment in a new campus, to support the churches here who continue to submit to biblical authority and honor the historic understanding of the Christian faith (and its Old Testament Jewish heritage).

We will be sharing the first architectural drawings of our new Bay Area Campus in meetings later this week. It is a beautiful symbol of our commitment to shaping leaders who expand God’s Kingdom in one of the most challenging ministry settings in North America. It’s also evidence of our commitment to staying by our historic convictions as we train leaders for the challenging work we have to do in this part of God’s world.