By Lonnie Wilkey
MILAN — A West Tennessee pastor has launched an effort to show support of Union University and its president, Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver, in the wake of the university’s recent stand for Christian values.
News outlets reported July 23 that Union University had rescinded an admissions offer to a graduate level nursing student after learning of the student’s sexual orientation.
The student went public on social media outlets which led to a flurry of both negative and positive comments about Union University.
Pastor James Rogers of Oakwood Baptist Church, Milan, told the Baptist and Reflector that he appreciated “Dr. Dub’s” and Union’s stance even though he knew there would be negative publicity in the secular world.
Rogers has met Oliver on occasion and has had interaction with other Union faculty and staff members. In addition, one of his son’s teachers at Gibson County High School was Oliver’s daughter. His son, Micaiah, will be a freshmen at Union this fall and he plans to study for the pastoral ministry.
“Seeing how his daughter acts and how he acts tells me a lot about his character,” Rogers reflected. “It bothered me that people would attack him without knowing his character.”
Because Oliver is known for his “bow ties” across the state, Rogers thought it would be a great way for pastors all across Tennessee to show their support of Oliver and Union by wearing a bow tie in the pulpit on Sunday, Aug. 2. He also encourages pastors to take a photo and post it on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
“We live in a world where you will be attacked if you stand for Christian values,” Rogers said. “This is a way we can show our support in a tangible way.”
Oliver expressed appreciation for “the many expressions of encouragement and support people have shared, including this one. I hope that visibly showing support for fellow Christians seeking to be faithful to the Word encourages many.
“At Union we are committed to living out our beliefs, beliefs founded on the Word of God. We have done so throughout our history, and we will continue to do so in the future. Our standard is Scripture. No matter how much the world around us may not like it, God’s standards do not change with the passing of time or with the currents of culture. Our obligation as believers is to be faithful to Christ and to His Word,” Oliver said.
Oliver added that Union’s goal “is to be faithful. We are not making decisions based on the loudest voice or the most voices. The voice of the Lord is the One we want to hear, and He has the final word.”
“I think this is a great way to show support for Dr. Oliver,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. “Dub is a godly leader committed to leading Union University in biblical fidelity. Tennessee Baptists are proud of Union.
“We stand in support of Union and its president as they make a compassionate yet determined stand to remain faithful to the biblical convictions clearly articulated in Union’s statement of community values that governs the actions of every student and Union employee,” Davis added. B&R