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Cornerstone University is reviewing its Personnel Lifestyle Statement. The point of the review is to assure the university is positioned to fulfill its mission “to enable individuals to apply unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world.”

In fall, 2004, I appointed a Personnel Lifestyle Statement Team comprised of five faculty and staff members, charging this team with reviewing the statement and recommending possible revisions in wording that would ground the statement in the university’s biblical worldview philosophy. This Team has modeled spiritual maturity, provided theological, philosophic, practical, and experiential insight, and conducted its work with the highest standards of professionalism.

The Team (with the input of colleagues provided electronically or in open forums) has taken four slightly disjunctive current statements (the discovery that the university was working with four existing similar-but-not-identical statements is reason enough to develop one new statement) and used them as a starting point to craft a new, beautifully written draft. The new draft calls upon each university trustee and employee to live a life of personal holiness and Christian cultural contribution to the glory of God.

In January, 2006, the Team discussed the new lifestyle statement draft with the university’s Board of Trustees. No vote on the draft was solicited or balloted at that time. The Team is now moving to the next step in its very thorough process.

Throughout spring, 2006, the Team will lead university personnel in evaluating the current policy listing three historic prohibitions: use of alcohol or tobacco and participation in gambling. These prohibitions are being reviewed for several reasons:

a) To determine whether the mission of the university requires additional agreed upon limits to employee Christian liberty;

b) To determine whether these prohibitions should be maintained but placed within personnel handbooks rather than the lifestyle statement—and if they are maintained to develop current rationale for the importance of such prohibitions;

c) To determine whether these prohibitions should be discontinued.

Once this review is complete, the Team will make its recommendations to the president and I in turn will report to the Board of Trustees. The current review is a conversation. Whether the Board of Trustees will ultimately add, alter, or discontinue these policies is still an open question. The university is genuinely seeking to understand what is best for its mission.

For all of its 65 year existence, the university has asked trustees and faculty and staff members to sign the school’s doctrinal statement (since 1999 called “The Cornerstone Confession”) and to agree to abide by a lifestyle statement listing community covenants wherein individuals agreed to abstain from certain behaviors. Trustees and professors have always signed the doctrinal statement annually, while staff members signed it at the point of hiring. In the past few years, staff members have also signed doctrinal statement annually. This university practice of annually reaffirming commitment to “The Cornerstone Confession” will continue.

While I do not think that use of alcohol or tobacco in moderation is intrinsically evil, in other words a sin, I do believe these commodities are dangerous to many and deadly for some. I am also on record via my book, Gambling: Don’t Bet On It, contending that gambling violates at least five doctrines of Scripture and is, thus, intrinsically evil. Not every Christian agrees with my perspective of alcohol/tobacco or of gambling.

I also believe that it is entirely appropriate for a Christian institution of higher learning to determine what “preferences” it wishes to embrace as organizational policy—beyond its doctrinal convictions. Historically, such preferences have run the gamut of virtually every conceivable issue from length of hair to music styles to movies to art to dance to fashions, and on and on. While institutions can act prudishly or legalistically in applying their preferences, the mere existence of such preferences does not ipso facto mean an institution is acting improperly. Institutions that establish preferences can simply be distinctive, and this can be a very good thing.

The same may be said for those Christian institutions of higher learning that have jettisoned certain preferences. This act is not in itself a signal the university is losing its faith. It may simply mean the university is being a careful steward of its responsibility to help students understand how to live “In the World” while being “Not of the World,” even as it encourages students to go “Into the World” as Christ’s ambassadors.

If you wish to read more on this subject, see my book, Christian Liberty:  Living for God in a Changing Culture. God gave us a limited but very important short-list of moral absolutes, any of which we ignore at our peril. Beyond these few moral absolutes, God gave us the doctrine of Christian liberty.

**No changes in the university’s student policies on these matters (i.e., No use of alcohol or tobacco; no participation in gambling) and no change in campus or university event practices (i.e., Alcohol and tobacco-free and gambling-free) are being considered.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Virtually every time an incident occurs in a local college or university related to homosexuality, a media personality visits our campus and asks me, “Do you kick out gay students?” If I say, “Yes,” than the university may be portrayed, at a minimum, as old-fashioned or intolerant, or at worst, as gay-bashers or homophobes. If I say, “No,” than perhaps the public will think that the university winks at such matters or maybe even endorses homosexuality in some way.

So I say this: Cornerstone University affirms biblical views of human sexuality and, therefore, we teach and promote abstinence from any and all sexual activity or expression outside the boundaries and the bonds of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Consequently, all forms of sexual expression outside the marital relationship are immoral.”

For those who want more than a sound-bite and are willing to read the university’s “Statement on Human Sexuality,” we observe that “in a biblical view, God defines one’s gender at conception prior to birth. One is either a male or a female. Sexuality, however, while a gift of God, is often perverted to sinful ends by both men and women. Sexual expression is a moral choice. According to the Bible, God defines all forms of sexual immorality as sin, and God condemns any and all alternatives to monogamous, heterosexual marriage.

Christian colleges and universities around the country are struggling with what has become “the homosexuality issue.” Why?

1) Homosexuality has become a key, unavoidable moral debate of our times.

2) In some states, gay individuals have targeted Christian institutions of higher learning as a battleground.

3) Some colleges and universities that still wish to foster some form of Christian commitment no longer employ a confession of faith or other policy statements requiring personnel to affirm the institution’s understanding of Christian values and practice.

4) Some Christian colleges and universities have been challenged by personnel who have in one manner or another publicly endorsed homosexual expression in same-sex marriages, etc.

5) Media sources periodically probe Christian college and university attitudes and practices regarding homosexuality whenever gay issues develop in area educational institutions.

6) For many people, homosexuality has become a political not a moral issue, so Christian colleges and universities wishing to maintain biblical injunctions regarding homosexual expression are increasingly portrayed as biased, discriminatory, “intolerant,” or hateful.

7) With the continuing collapse of cultural barriers, homosexual practice is increasing, so more Christian students are struggling with homosexuality.

Homosexuality, or gay and lesbianism, is as old as humanity but it is a particularly bold and central issue of the new millennium. Christian colleges and universities, therefore, cannot and should not ignore the issue. Christian schools must and should engage the issue. “Engage” in my book does not mean embrace or endorse. “Engage” means to know applicable biblical principles, to be informed about social developments, to participate in public debate, and to seek to influence public morality based upon biblical morality.

I believe Christian colleges and universities must continue to affirm biblical truth regarding homosexuality and then exercise moral leadership on behalf of the Christian Church. Homosexuality is a question for which God is the answer, and Christian campuses are in the business of providing answers. No other response qualifies as faithfulness to God and his Word.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

You don’t have to watch the Olympics very long to understand why they’re the best reality show on television. Jaded sports pundits say the games are boring, but what do they know? The 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy have demonstrated once again why the games enjoy such enduring allure.

My family and I have avidly watched the games every cycle for thirty years, thrilling at victory and agonizing at defeat. There’s something incredibly pure and compelling about athletes giving their all for a chance to reach the international pinnacle of their sport.

The Olympics are a spectacle of pageantry, patriotism, world class talent, desire, discipline, and “heart.” The games are a showcase for athletically gifted individuals whose emotions are as real and as raw as the winter snow. Olympic athletes provide us with incredibly heroic efforts, not just to win the gold or even to honor the homeland, but to fulfill the Olympic spirit, to compete, to leave every ounce of effort on the field of play.

Ice skaters fall, hurt themselves then finish their routines. Downhill skiers forced outside the course by the treacherous nature of the mountain still finish the run. Cross country skiers without the talent to ever win a medal slide to the finish with as much emotion as any gold medalist has ever felt. Teenage athletes excitedly look into cameras and say into microphones whatever is on their minds, totally unaffected, honest—laughter, tears, shouts of utter joy or frustration. How can you not appreciate this unscripted drama?

But despite all the best efforts of the International Olympic Committee to protect the integrity of sport and to affirm sportsmanship, still, the Olympics are comprised of people and people do not always do the right thing. Athletes and coaches are dismissed for doping. Athletes are disqualified for cheating or for some other infraction of the rules of competition. Coaches have been known to improperly award points to athletes from theirs or a favored country. Fans sometimes commit unsportsmanlike acts. These are sad developments, but even these instances offer spectators worldwide a chance once again to celebrate the beauty of fair competition.

Then there are individuals who are a morality play all their own. Before nearly every Olympics at least one athlete is heralded as the world’s greatest in his or her sport. They’re touted by media as “bad boys” or “bad girls” because of their devil-may-care attitudes or rebel-like lifestyle. Then the get to the Olympics and don’t win anything, partly if not largely because they’ve squandered their talent and their opportunity on arrogance. They believed the media hype and thought they didn’t have to sacrifice, only to watch some underdog with arguably less talent take their place on the medal podium.

This year’s poster boy for flippancy might be American downhill skier Bode Miller, who made the cover of Newsweek before the games due in part to earlier athletic achievements and due in part to his “I’ll do it my way” attitude that the media loves so much. He still has a chance at this writing, but so far he is 0 for Olympics, wiping out in three of his five events. Meanwhile, his hard partying lifestyle apparently continues.

On the flip side is American speed skater Joey Cheek, who has donated his $25,000 Gold medal money for the 500 m and his $15,000 Silver medal bonus from the 1000 m to a charity called Right to Play. The money is designated to help Sudanese refugee children in Chad. Cheek is winning accolades on and off the ice for his attitude, humility, and generosity.

But that’s the Olympics, the good and the not so good right alongside the excellent. So despite fawning media and over-hyped people and products, every two years the Olympics still offer us a seat at the greatest of all games. I’ll be watching, I’ll cheer for the USA, and I’ll cheer for the underdog, whoever he or she may be.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

I would like to stop talking about youth gambling.  But I can’t, because the problem is very big and getting bigger.

Let the record show that I’m not against poker—if it’s played simply as a card game.  But I must say that poker is almost synonymous with gambling, and the current poke craze sweeping the country makes Texas Hold ‘Em and other poker games a growing threat to youth well-being.

Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, says, “Gambling has become the most popular high-risk activity among teenagers, outpacing drinking, taking drugs, or smoking.”  According to NCPG studies, 70% of 12 to 17 year olds have gambled in the past year.  (See Margery D. Rosen, “Junior High Rollers,” Family Circle, (February 2006), p. 26+.)

Parents are buying poker starter sets for their children.  Middle schoolers are playing poker for money in their family rooms.  Some parents think this is harmless activity, perhaps even a better alternative than being out with friends, doing drugs or abusing alcohol.  Yet young people are embracing another equally dangerous, pattern forming, and for some addicting, behavior capable of ruining their lives.

Americans continue to believe that gambling is a harmless game, that the money they lose in gambling is no different than any other misspent entertainment monies.  But gambling is different.  It gets under your skin, and it gets under the skin of adolescents even more quickly and dangerously.  Few if any people become addicted to movies, eating out, golfing, boating, hunting, or shopping.  These forms of entertainment cost money and maybe an individual spends beyond his or her means, but these activities still do not typically possess the incredible capacity to harm found in gambling.

Gambling via poker may be a game, but just like in the Old West, it’s a game that—eventually—almost always brings pain and penury and almost never brings profit.  I wish parents could see this.

I say to parents, “Model good stewardship with your funds, teach your children to do the same:  to develop a good work ethic, to save and invest, and to be generous by giving freely to good causes.  And tell them that whatever they do, to stay away from gambling.  Tell your kids that gambling is a house of cards that always comes crashing down.”

Parents, I don’t care how much money you have or make available to your children.  Ask your children if they are gambling.  Ask them specific questions about poker, online gambling sites, sports wagering at school or work, and more.  Find out what they know, what they are doing, and what they say their friends are doing.  Then talk about the bad economics of gambling, the way it masquerades as a game, the way it can, like a snake in the grass, lay quietly and unseen for a long time before it bites you.  Talk to them about honoring God in all that they do, including how they handle their time, talent, and treasure.  Keep talking to them.  And above all, do not gamble yourself.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Mr. Doug DeVos visited campus today as Executive-in-Residence and speaker at the Executive Series Luncheon.

Mr. DeVos spoke in a student and personnel chapel, conducted a question-and-answer session with students and personnel, visited classrooms, and spoke at a university business luncheon. At the luncheon, Mr. DeVos recommended four values, all grounded in his Christian faith: Partnership—shared values; Integrity—Who are you when no one is looking; Personal Worth—everyone is special and important; Achievement—success is not sinful, but one should not stop at success…the next step is to help someone else.

A warm and engaging speaker, Mr. DeVos clearly loves his family and leads his business with an eye toward honoring God. He belies the current culture and sometimes media caricature of all business leaders as nothing more than unscrupulous robber barons ready to cheat the next person out of one more dollar. His commitment to integrity was on display as he shared both successes and some less than successful personal and professional experiences.

Mr. DeVos is the president of Alticor and its subsidiaries, global direct-selling giant Amway Corporation, North America’s e-commerce leader Quixtar, Inc., and business-to-business supplier Access Business Group LLC. As president he oversees the $6.4 billion enterprise and shares the chief executive office with Chairman Steve Van Andel.

The Cornerstone University Executive Series Luncheon is distinctive in that it encourages Christian business leaders to share how their faith influences them in the marketplace. The Series is now in its tenth year providing a venue about four times per year for discussion of Christian faith, business, the economy, and leadership. The lunch is provided to attendees without cost by Executive Series Luncheon supporters Integrity Business Solutions; Grotenhuis; and Mika, Meyers, Beckett and Jones, all of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Series reinforces the university’s mission “to enable individuals to apply unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world.”


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

University students are taking cheating high tech. Information technology has changed virtually everything about students’ ability to undermine or destroy the integrity of the academic experience.

Students used to trade copied papers, exchange pirated examination questions and answers, or ask a friend to place their name on the attendance sheet even as they skipped class for other pursuits. Now students can use computers, cell phones, calculators, iPods, even video equipment, to cheat and to plagiarize.

It may seem self-evident to some of us that whether one cheats off line or online it’s still cheating. But students in the early Twenty-First Century are coming from a culture that says cheating is not only acceptable, its just part of the game. Don Campbell, writing in National CrossTALK, a newspaper published by The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, reports “cheating and plagiarism in the country have reached epidemic proportions on college campuses.”

Since fall 2002, researcher Donald McCabe of Rutgers University, has surveyed some 50,000 students on more than 60 campuses. On most campuses, 70% of students admit to some cheating, with one or more instances of serious cheating on written assignments reported by half the students surveyed. Some 44% of faculty members surveyed did not report cheating when they discovered it.

McCabe also found that high school students are cheating in record numbers at record rates. More than 70% of students surveyed in 18,000 high schools admitted to cheating on tests.

No one seems to know how to fix the problem. Faculty members don’t want to hurt students’ chances for advancement or they don’t want to involve themselves in possible confrontation. Students think cheating is really no big deal because they are maturing, or at least aging, in a culture that reinforces a morally relativistic point of view. Academic institutions have tried honor codes and online services that check student prose against vast databases. The former approach is breaking down and the latter approach is costly. Plus, no one seems to affirm a moral consensus capable of providing ethical punch to discussions about academic dishonesty. Everybody’s view of right and wrong is different.

Student dishonesty is simply a younger example of what adults are also often doing in the workplace. In this sense, students come by their dishonesty “honestly.” They mimic their adult mentors.

Technology is not the culprit, only the means. Computers, communications technology, and the Internet are not making cheating and plagiarism possible, just easier. What matters is the student’s moral code. What’s needed is a return to basic moral instruction in families and in elementary, middle, and secondary schools. Waiting to teach ethics to students in college is an already lost cause.

Christian university students also cheat. Sorry to say, lack of integrity, lying, cheating, and plagiarism also exist on the Cornerstone University campus. But we do have a different way of dealing with this problem than it appears our public university and most private college peers embrace. We teach students that God said “Do not lie” and “Do not steal.” We teach them that whatever they do, “whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).

This Christian ethics approach works for many of these students but not all. We find that some students, no matter how they’ve been taught, still seem to want to make their own choices, perhaps their own mistakes. The light goes on sometimes four or five years after they’ve graduated. In the crucible of life alumni begin to understand that God’s way is indeed the best way.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at