When Dr. Everett Piper spoke to pastors in our black pastor network in Washington, DC a couple of weeks ago, he told them how he read a note from a student who said he and his peers felt singled-out after listening to a sermon and that the pastor should not have made them feel that way.
Dr. Piper, who is President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, was surprised. He realized something has seriously gone wrong when a student at a Christian university could feel bad about a sermon and demand the pastor to change it! But Dr. Piper faced a dilemma: does he confront students who also feel like this — students who pay the bills that keep the university’s lights on — or does he just let it go?
What Dr. Piper decided made national headlines. He wrote on his university’s website an article he titled ‘This is not a day care. It’s a university.’ In his essay, he wrote:
Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”
He then invited students to reexamine why they attend a Christian university or leave:
“If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.”
This message impacted our pastors so deeply because they face similar challenges in their own communities, especially on issues such as broken families, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and abortion. Many have told me how they lost congregations when they teach these so-called sensitive issues. Over the years, I’ve even been told by pastors that their congregation could fire them just for being seen with me! The loss, as you can imagine, is often financially catastrophic.
That’s why Dr. Piper’s message is so important because it teaches pastors to hold firm to the Truth no matter what. He told our pastors that we have an obligation to confront and challenge our congregations.
After Dr. Piper’s speech, my team placed his book, “Why I Am A Liberal and Other Conservative Ideas“, on the table outside of the room for pastors to take. I was shocked how quickly they were gone! I said right there to my team that we must put this book into the hands of more than 500 pastors in our Black Pastor Network.
Star Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at www.urbancure.org.