Christian Theologian Demoted For Preaching Peace

KyleVSKing

On Tuesday, February 10th, Dr. Randy Beckum addressed students at MidAmerica Nazarene University’s regular chapel service. His message was in response to two films which have recently made headlines around the world; American Sniper and Selma. Dr. Beckum, who also serves as the University’s Chaplain and was the Vice-President of Community Formation, questioned the prevalent culture surrounding “Christians” in the United States which champions a killer above a preacher who taught non-violence.

You can read the manuscript of Dr. Randy Beckum’s full sermon here.

Dr. Beckum’s lesson spoke directly to Christians. The following is an excerpt of his controversial message:

“I am just talking to those who would be followers of Jesus. This is not for those who don’t care about being a Christ follower. I am extremely troubled. I have been for a long time and I have hesitated to address this subject publicly, but I cannot keep silent about it any longer. Something happened recently that has really disturbed me.

As you know two movies came out recently. Selma, the story of one of the 20th century most influential Christian leaders, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led a non-violent movement that changed the course of American History forever.

And American Sniper, the story of the most deadly Navy SEAL sniper in American history. Selma has made 29-30 million so far. American Sniper made over 103 million in the first 4 days. Gives you an idea about who our heroes are.

I don’t think it is an under-statement to say that our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation.

Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians.”

The former administrator of the year then went on to critique placing loyalty for one’s country above spiritual beliefs. Dr. Beckum said,

We have to be very careful about equating patriotism with Christianity. We never say God and…anything. God is above all, everything else is underneath.

I love my country and am thankful for freedom.

But the earliest Christian creed was very politically incorrect and dangerous.

Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.

We have put “our way of life”/freedom on the top rung. 

If you mess with it I’ll blow your head off.

For a Christian what is on the top rung? Love for all.

Fury and debate erupted across the Olathe, Kansas campus. Many believed that Beckum’s words were inflammatory while others whole-heartedly agreed with and supported his synopsis. Rumors persist that it was high financial contributors to the University and denominational leaders inside of the school who felt that the statements undermined the integrity of the University.

On Monday, Dr. Beckum was relieved of his Vice-Presidency. In a statement released by University President David J. Spittal, it was explained that Dr. Beckum will retain his position as Chaplain but will no longer serve in the VP position which he has held since 1996.

MidAmerica Nazarene University should not have to fall on the sword for something that is a cultural issue. This knee-jerk reaction should not reflect on a single institution but rather on society as a whole. The unfortunate situation that has transpired at a small private university in Kansas should be used as a teaching tool and cause many Americans to reflect on what they truly believe in. It is primarily the Fox News watching conservative Christian who is the cheerleader for U.S. intervention and subsequent violence which follows its sword around the world, when ways of obtaining peace should be promoted instead.

  • Why do Americans claim to value their freedoms but are threatened and call for censure when someone with an opposing view expresses their intellectual viewpoint and First Amendment right?
  • Why do Christians allow fear — as opposed to love — to dictate their decision making?
  • Why are Christians so loyal to the established order when it was the establishment who killed Jesus?

You can read the manuscript of Dr. Randy Beckum’s full sermon here.


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18 Responses to Christian Theologian Demoted For Preaching Peace

  1. Pingback: Question the prevalent culture surrounding “Christians” | Pentecostal Theology

  2. Chris Martin says:

    As a thought, the two movies were good and responses were flawed… IMO, the way MLK was portrayed in the movie missed the mark. Having lived through the 60s and 70s I remember MLK…. he wasn’t the angry black man portrayed in the movie… he was a peaceful, christian man who identified injustice in our culture and under a mandate from God, responded. The black population saw an MLK portrayed through the lens of the selfish, self-entitled person in our culture today…. very unfortunate…

    As far as American Sniper, the message out of the movie was that no matter what kind of hero you are in combat, you will always come away with “blood on your uniform”. That means the ugliness of war wounds your mind, your heart, your conscience and violates everything in you, regardless of your patriotism… The main character came away from his hero-experience a broken and hurting man who would never be the same…. that was the point of the movie, not how many people he killed, or how patriotic he was…..

  3. So the college demoted its VP for stating the obvious. It seems the emperor has a donned new set of clothes at Mid-America Nazarene.

  4. Reblogged this on Foodforthethinkers's Blog and commented:
    Turn off FAUX News, most political talk radio and most talk radio that calls itself Christian. Pick up your Bible and read the words of Jesus Christ. There is no scriptural basis whatsoever for believing that Jesus would be unconditionally on America’s side.

    • Chris Martin says:

      I’ve come to believe this as well. In the men’s bible study I attend some of the men were taken to complaining and murmuring about President Obama, Congress, Supreme Court etc etc…. I finally after several hints over the years, complained back and said that “our country is not above God, we are here to study His word, to be instructed, to be encouraged in the faith in order to strengthen our faith. I don’t come here to talk about America, I come here to talk about the Kingdom of God who’s King is Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of all Lords…. the US Constitution is not the Word of God, neither is the Declaration of Independence… I’m not here to talk about those two documents… I’m here to talk about the Word of God and Jesus Christ and living for Him, giving Him the glory He deserves.” I than said, “if we are going to continue to talk politics and culture, I hear enough of that on what has become trash talk radio, whose commentators do the same out of fear and pride…. I’ll go somewhere else where the Lord Jesus is lifted up and His Word is spoken and studied”….. just my 2c ….. tired of culture war talk etc… it’s empty and useless.

  5. Eric says:

    I knew Randy as a kid living in Europe. He had the unique opportunity to see American Christianity from outside our borders. He is a good man, and makes valid points in support of his faith.

    I see comments here that prove that political conservatism and blind patriotism have now become prerequisites for Christianity in this country. The hate and vitriol that users of this site are spewing toward people whose opinions don’t align with their own is evidence that not only was Randy spot on, but that Christianity is now nothing more than the storefront for right wing politics in this country. The two are indistinguishable.

    There is no longer room for love, tolerance, forgiveness, and acceptance. Only hate and condemnation.

    Cue the comments condemning me to hell.

    • Chris Martin says:

      No Eric…. Randy is right on in what he said…. the university was wrong in essentially dismissing him…. I would sit under his teaching today if given the opportunity albeit all I know of him is what was said in his message… how unfortunate that those in authority at the university were so blinded by…. perhaps donors, blind patriotism whatever…. regardless, they need to repent and reconsider.

      • Chris,

        By equating Chris Kyle, a US soldier doing his duty to a common murderer, Dr. Beckham demonstrated that he has no moral compass.

        Someone with no moral compass belongs in a atheist environment, not a Christian university.

      • Paul Smith says:

        Wow…”silenceofmind”, that’s an extreme knee jerk reaction. Saying someone has no moral compass when in fact he has stated that Mr. Kyle was the “most deadly navy seal”. He did not say “common murderer.” Misquoting a man’s words is not conducive to peaceful conversation or debate.

  6. Scott says:

    I think it is important as believers to show the grace that we say is missing from the actions of the university…I know this has the look of retaliation however there is more to the story. If this university was really punishing this man he would have lost not only the VP position but his chaplaincy position. Dr. Beckum is still in the face if spiritual development on campus. Which leads me to believe that MNU still has confidence in his spiritual leadership of students. Let’s speK peace an grace not cynicism and fear.

  7. Jeremy says:

    He only invited people to think about these passages. He didn’t even go so far as to make applications from them. How is it that someone who dares to wrestle with these passages gets relieved of his duties. God have mercy.

  8. Spoke like a true prophet and of course the establishment didn’t like the message of the OT Prophets.

  9. Pingback: shelboese.org

  10. Effective organizations get that way because they possess a leadership who shares the same outlook and is able motivate those subject to leadership, toward that same outlook.

    Evidently, the leadership at the University felt that good Dr. Beckham had parted company with them.

    Dr. Beckham is to be admired for his forthrightness and courage in expressing his views passionately, publically and without apology.

    But the University leadership is also to be admired for making was had to be a very tough course of action.

    • Rev. Dr. Randal L. Riddile says:

      The latter part of this comment (from silenceofmind) would be ROTFLMAO hysterical if it wasn’t so tragic (and idiotic). The appeal to what “effective organizations” do is a perfect example of the sort of idolatry Dr. Beckham sought to contrast with his Christian faith. While concerns for the “effectiveness” of any human institution (whether a university or a nation, etc.) rank below the ultimate concern of a believer, in this case it could be argued that this ostensibly Church-related institution was ineffectively carrying out its mission to represent the Faith which inspired that mission.

      I suspect Dr. Beckham’s priorities are sufficiently in order for him to be able to accept this travesty with a degree of personal serenity mixed with pastoral concern for the leadership of the university for which he is still chaplain. If the university’s Board of Trustees tolerates (or, indeed, instigated) Dr. Beckham’s demotion, they are in need of prayer (both for and by them). My guess is that Dr. Beckham is already attending to that.

      • Reverend,

        My impression of both you and Dr. Beckham is that you are leftists.

        Bible Belt Christianity cleans cake out of its undies when it finds leftists imbedded in their organizations.

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