Dr. Randy Beckum addressed students at MidAmerican 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.
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.
MidAmerican 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