taking the words of Jesus seriously


EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week, TIME Magazine reported that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has established an “involuntary termination” policy for any staff who self-disclose that they disagree with IVCF’s position statement on sexuality. Several Red Letter Christians joined other InterVarsity Press authors is sending an open letter to IVCF. The full letter and a list of its signers is included below.


To Tom Lin, the InterVarity Christian Fellowship USA Cabinet and Board of Directors,


As authors who have published with InterVarsity Press (IVP), we are deeply troubled and concerned about your organization’s recent “involuntary termination” policy. Since our IVP books indirectly tether us to your organization, we feel it is necessary to make our feelings known to you and those with whom we have relationships. We understand that conversations related to marriage, sexuality, and gender are critical for Christians, but we also recognize that Christians of mutual goodwill can have those conversations and arrive at various conclusions. While we do not all share the same theological or political views, we are united in our concern for the dignity and care of our fellow Christians whose jobs are threatened by your policy.


Therefore, we urge you, for the sake our our collective integrity and the credibility of your organization to revoke the “involuntary termination” policy and replace it with one that allows your staff to conscientiously object. Allowing IVCF staff to remain in community despite not completely agreeing with a particular view of sexuality and marriage will demonstrate the inclusive and open-armed spirit of Christ. The Christian community is in desperate need of healing at this moment, and we believe you can help lead this effort.


For the sake of our friends,


Janell Anema, National Trainer with Sources of Strength, Director/Co-Director of IV’s Global Urban Trek to South Asia, and contributor to Letters to a Future Church: Words of Encouragement and Prophetic Appeals.


Kent Annan, author of Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humble in the World and Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle: Living Fully, Loving Dangerously.


Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Pastor of Little Flowers Community, co-director of YWAM Urban Ministries Winnipeg and author of The Cost of Community: Jesus, St. Francis and Life in the Kingdom.


Leroy Barber, Director of The Voices Project, author of Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided World and Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World.


Ivy Beckwith, Faith Formation Minister and Team Leader United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio and co-author of Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus.


Kristie Berglund, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Brookings, South Dakota, former IVP academic sales manager, and author of Resurrection: Living as People of the Risen Lord.


Brent Bill, Quaker minister and co-author of Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer­ and Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God.

Beth Booram, Co-founder and Director of Sustainable Faith and author of Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-given Dream and Awaken your Senses.

Jared Patrick Boyd, Founder of The Order of Sustainable Faith, Pastor and Spiritual Director at Franklinton Abbey, and author of upcoming Imaginative Prayer: A Yearlong Guide for the Spiritual Formation of Your Child.


Shane Claiborne, co-founder of Red Letter Christians and The Simple Way and co-author of Becoming the Answer to our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals.


Rodney Clapp, editor, Cascade Books, and author of Families at the Crossroads: Beyond Tradition and Modern Options and A Peculiar People: The Church as Culture in a Post-Christian Society.


Julie Clawson, author of Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices.


Dr. Christena Cleveland, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the Practice of Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School and author of Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart.


Rev. Ian Morgan Cron, Episcopal priest and co-author of The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery.


David M. Csinos, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, Atlantic School of Theology and co-author of Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus.


Dr. David Dark, Ph.D., educator at the Tennessee Prison for Women and Belmont University, and author of Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious.


Dr. Megan K. DeFranza, Ph.D., contributing author to Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations: Global Awakenings in Theology and Praxis, and author of Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God (which is listed under recommended reading in InterVarsity’s position paper on Human Sexuality).


Rev. John Flett Ph.D., DTheol.Habil., Associate Professor of Missiology and Intercultural Theology at Pilgrim College/ University of Divinity, and author of Apostolicity: The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective.


Dr. Dwight J. Friesen, D.Min, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, and co-author of The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community.


Sean Gladding, author of The Story of God, the Story of Us & TEN: Words of Life for an Addicted, Compulsive, Cynical, Divided and Worn-out Culture


Dale Hanson Bourke, author, The Skeptic’s Guide to: Poverty, Responding to HIV/AIDS, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Immigration.


Rev. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary and co-author of Faith-rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World.


Christopher L. Heuertz, Founding Partner of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism and author of Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World, co-author of Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission, and contributor to Living Mission: The Vision and Voices of New Friars.


Phileena Heuertz, Founding Partner of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism and author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and contributor to Living Mission: The Vision and Voices of New Friars.


Michael Hidalgo, Lead Pastor, Denver Community Church, Author of Unlost: Being Found by the One We Are Looking for and Changing Fait


Jon Huckins, Co-Founding Director of Global Immersion and co-author of unnamed, upcoming 2017 IVP book.


Logan (Mehl-Laituri) Isaac, Executive Officer of Centurions Guild and author of Reborn on the Fourth of July: The Challenge of Faith, Patriotism, & Conscience.


Dr. Amy Jacober, Ph.D., Professor and co-founder of Sonoran Theological Group and author of The Adolescent Journey: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Practical Youth Ministry.


Dr. Sylvia C. Keesmaat, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Toronto School of Theology and the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, and so-author of Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire.


Erin Lane, Assistant Program Director for Clergy and People of Faith at the Center for Courage & Renewal and author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe.


Andrew Marin, President and Founder of The Marin Foundation and author of the award winning Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community.


Dr. Jennifer M. McBride Ph.D., Associate Dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs and Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary and contributor to Christian Political Witness.


Dr. W. Travis McMaken, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religion and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies department, Lindenwood University and author of upcoming Explorer’s Guide to T. F. Torrance.


Rev. Dr. Kai Mark Nilsen, D.Min., Lead Pastor of Peace Lutheran in Columbus, Ohio and author of Renew Your Life: Discovering the Wellspring of God’s Energy.


Mark Oestreicher, Partner, The Youth Cartel and author of Hopecasting: Finding, Keeping and Sharing the Things Unseen.


Dr. Margaret Kim Peterson Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology and Psychology at Eastern University (St. Davids, PA), co-author of Are You Waiting for “The One?” Cultivating Realistic, Positive Expectations for Christian Marriage, and member of the editorial advisory board for the IVP’s Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology series.


Dr. John Phelan Jr. Ph.D., Senior Professor of Theological Studies, North Park Theological Seminary, former IVCF staff, and author of Essential Eschatology: Our Present and Future Hope.


Caryn Rivadeneira, author, Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed About God’s Abundance.


Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos, Ph.D., Mission Coordinator for Christian Formation Presbyterian Mission Agency, National Director of UKirk, the PC(USA)’s Collegiate Ministry Network, and author of A Community Called Taizé: A Story of Prayer, Worship and Reconciliation, and the upcoming Sustaining the Pilgrimage.


Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, founder of Faith-rooted Organizing UnNetwork and co-author of Faith-rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World.


Hailey Scandrette, contributor to Belonging and Becoming: Creating a Thriving Family Culture and contributor to Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most.


Lisa Scandrette, Teacher with ReImagine, co author of Belonging and Becoming: Creating a Thriving Family Culture and contributor to Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most.


Mark Scandrette, Founding Director, ReIMAGINE, author of Practicing The Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdome of Love, author of Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most, and coauthor of Belonging and Becoming: Creating a Thriving Family Culture.


Christopher Smith, Founding Editor of The Englewood Review of Books, co-author of Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus and author of Reading For The Common Good: How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish.


Suzanne Stabile, Co-founder and Animator of Life in the Trinity Ministry and co-author of The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery.


Dr. Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Psychology at Eastern University, and author of Gender and Grace: Love, Work, and Parenting in a Changing World, and My Brother’s Keeper: What the Social Sciences Do (and Don’t) Tell Us About Masculinity.


Laura Sumner Truax, Senior Pastor at LaSalle Street Church and author of Undone: When Coming Apart Puts You Back Together. 


Jer Swigart,  Co-Founding Director of Global Immersion, a peacemaking training organization and co-author of unnamed, upcoming 2017 IVP book.


Mark Van Steenwyk, Director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination, Co-Founder of the Mennonite Worker and author of the UnKingdom of God: Embracing the Subversive Power of Repentance.


Brian Walsh, CRC Campus Pastor at University of Toronto, Adjunct Professor at Toronto School of Theology, author of Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View, co-author of Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire, and co-author of Truth is Stranger Than It Used To Be.


Wendy VanderWal-Gritter Executive Director, New Direction Ministries contributor to Letters to a Future Church: Words of Encouragement and Prophetic Appeals.


Will Vaus, Pastor of Stowe Community Church in Stowe Vermont and author of Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C.S. Lewis.


Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, co-author of Becoming the Answer to our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals and Associate Editor for IVP’s Resources for Reconciliation Series.


Dan White Jr., Co-Planter of Axiom Church Syracuse, New York. Co-author of The Church as Movement: Starting and Sustaining Missional-Incarnational Communities.


Dr. Daniel White Hodge Ph.D., Director of The Center for Youth Ministry Studies & Associate Professor of Youth Ministry at North Park University and author of The Soul of Hip Hop: Rimbs, Timbs, and a Cultural Theology.


Adrianna Wright, former online publicist for InterVarsity Press.


Keri Wyatt Kent, author of God’s Whisper in a Mother’s Chaos: Bringing Peace Home and The Garden of the Soul: Cultivating Your Spiritual Life.


Mark Yaconelli, Executive Director of The Hearth, author of The Gift of Hard Things: Finding Grace in Unexpected Places.


*Please note that organizations and titles listed for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the position of the institution.


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