Op−Ed | TCF to appeal TCUJ derecognition
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 12:10
For a detailed breakdown of the Tufts Christian Fellowship's derecognition, see our news story published today on the front page, "TCF loses official TCUJ recognition, plans to appeal". More background on the group's suspension earlier this semester can be found in a story that ran on Oct. 3, "TCF's group recognition on hold pending constitutional changes."
This semester, the InterVarsity Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF) has been suspended, and now derecognized, by the Tufts Community Union Judiciary (TCUJ) because of clauses in our constitution addressing faith−based requirements for leadership. Specifically, our constitution states that leaders should demonstrate support and advocate for the letter and spirit of TCF’s Basis of Faith. The TCUJ expressed to us that they consider this leadership requirement to be a violation of the non−discrimination clause of the TCU constitution.
Our Basis of Faith reads as follows:
“The Tufts Christian Fellowship is dedicated to understanding and celebrating the basic Biblical truths of Christianity. We believe in the only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit — full of love and glory. We believe in the unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible. We believe in the value and dignity of all people: created in God’s image to live in love and holiness, but alienated from God and each other because of our sin and guilt, and justly subject to God’s wrath. We believe in Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who lived as a perfect example. We believe in justification by God’s grace, to all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. We believe in the indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life and a new calling to obedient service. We believe in the unity of all believers in Jesus Christ. We believe in the victorious reign and future personal return of Jesus Christ giving over the unrepentant to eternal condemnation but receiving the redeemed into eternal life.”
Myself and other members of TCF’s student executive leadership team, the Vision and Planning Team (VPT), have been in communication with the TCUJ regarding these clauses in an attempt to reach an agreement. The VPT accepted some of the suggestions the TCUJ presented for changing our constitution, but ultimately did not feel that we could fully satisfy their recommendations without compromising the central beliefs that we gather around. We decided to stand by our leadership requirements, and the TCUJ decided to derecognize TCF as a student organization.
TCF now has the option to appeal the decision of the TCUJ to the student and faculty Committee on Student Life.
The purpose of InterVarsity Tufts Christian Fellowship is to be a dynamic, Christ−centered community that seeks to strengthen its members and reach out to the entire Tufts campus.
Our community is ever changing, and each person’s story is incredibly and beautifully different. Beyond being diverse and dynamic, TCF is meant to be a community that is centered on Jesus Christ. As such, our mission is to encourage the understanding and celebration of our shared beliefs about Jesus. We feel that the best way to fulfill that mission is to have leaders who uphold and are unified by those beliefs. The VPT also feels that the best way to be honest and transparent is to openly express in our constitution the expectations we hold for our current and future leaders. Therefore, our constitution states our desire for leaders to uphold the Basis of Faith.
As an organization that is part of the greater Tufts community, it is our desire to add to the discussions and activities on campus. Since we are an organization dedicated to the understanding of a set of faith−based beliefs, we feel that we have the right to be selective of our leaders on the basis of belief. This is not to govern the behaviors of the fellowship’s members, interested leaders, or current leaders, but to ensure that TCF remains centered on the traditional evangelical Christian beliefs on which it was founded. We want to be an organization that can appropriately provide guidance and a forum for discussion to other students who are interested in the discovery of the joy and satisfaction of following Jesus Christ.