In the past few weeks, two members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) — Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College — allowed their faculty and staff to engage in same-sex marriage. Wheaton College is also a member of the CCCU, and President Philip Ryken is on the Board of Directors of the CCCU.
The CCCU had conversations with most of the schools that are members of the council to discuss the two schools that changed their policies, but no formal action has taken place. The two schools remain members of the CCCU.
In response to the CCCU’s inaction, Union University withdrew from the CCCU on Aug. 3, in an apparent protest to the council’s ambivalence about what to do with the two colleges. Union was followed by Oklahoma Wesleyan University on Aug. 31.
EMU and Goshen College, according to Union President Samuel Oliver, “abandoned fidelity to God’s Word” when they endorsed same-sex marriage.
To Oliver, the fact that the CCCU has not been unanimous in its decisions also “damages (the CCCU’s) witness” as a collection of Christian institutions.
In an interview with The Record, Ryken said, “Wheaton College has not had any formal discussions about changing its membership with the CCCU.”
Wheaton College trustees, however, “are certainly observing what is happening” in the CCCU, Ryken said, acknowledging that EMU and Goshen College’s actions have not flown under their radar.
“This is definitely a year that the CCCU is being tested,” Ryken said.
The CCCU has 156 North American institutions as members and provides Wheaton College with resources, networking with other Christian colleges, and BestSemester services. BestSemester offers 12 off-campus and study abroad programs to Wheaton students through Wheaton’s membership with the CCCU.
The CCCU announced on Aug. 29 that its Board of Directors will convene to talk about EMU and Goshen College during a “special members-only conference call” on Sept. 21.