Two members of the board of trustees of Azusa Pacific University, (APU) the first Christian college on the West Coast, resigned last week, arguing the major evangelical university has “drifted” from its mission and that its new ideology is at odds with many of its policies, statement of faith, and even the Bible itself.
In an exclusive, the website WND (formerly WorldNetDaily) reports Raleigh Washington, a prominent pastor known for his leadership of the Promise Keepers men’s movement, and Dave Dias, a Sacramento-area business executive submitted their letters of resignation to Azusa’s board of trustees.
Azusa’s main campus is located in the San Gabriel Valley in Azusa, California.
Washington had served on the board of trustees for 15 years. He told WND he had brought ample evidence to the board’s attention over the last six years that the administration and a large portion of the faculty were “promoting a progressive ideology that clashed with the institution’s statement of faith and core principles.”
“After fervent prayer and with integrity of heart, I cannot continue to be a part of these violations of God’s word,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I fear the spiritual consequences of this lack of correction and discipline.”
As CBN News reported last September, the university came under fire after reversing its policy on banning public LGBTQ relationships on campus after caving in to pressure from activists. However, the Board of Trustees said they never approved the change and have reinstated the policy.
“That action concerning romanticized relationships was never approved by the board and the original wording has been reinstated,” the board said in a statement.
“We pledge to boldly uphold biblical values and not waiver in our Christ-centered mission. We will examine how we live up to these high ideals and enact measures that prevent us from swaying from that sure footing,” the statement continued.
“What happened with the student handbook was an indication of a bigger problem that exists, and that problem is theological drift from what is required of an evangelical Christian university,” Washington told WND.
Dias agreed with Washington’s statement.
“I have deep concerns about the long-term viability of APU as a ‘God-first’ university,” he told WND.
David Poole, board chairman for APU’s Board of Trustees, responded in an email to CBN News on Tuesday writing: “The board is firmly committed to upholding the biblical values that undergird the university and it will not waver in providing leadership toward our Christ-centered mission. We recognize that disagreements can arise even between people who share the same goals and convictions. Despite the assertions made by those who resigned, the board stands united in our commitment to our evangelical Christian identity.”
According to the university’s website, the school was founded in 1899 and is a community of individuals representing diverse Christian backgrounds, but whose core identity is built on the Wesleyan Holiness tradition.