InterVarsity USA
(Photo : Courtesy of InterVarsity USA)
Students in InterVarsity engage in Bible study together in this undated photo.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has given its staff members an option to stay in the group based on their common sharing of organization's theological beliefs on sexuality.

Members are asked to state their disagreement with the group's position on same-sex relationships, premarital sex, divorce, masturbation from the biblical standpoint, and choose to sign or not sign on a form which states that their personal stand is same as that of the organization.

If any of the members do not agree with InterVarsity's position, they are free to resign from the organization.

"We're trusting their integrity that they'll resign rather than continue to work with an organization that disagrees with them," Greg Jao, InterVarsity vice president and director of campus engagement, told Christianity Today.

However, InterVarsity has denied the claims made in a Time magazine story, which said the organization would fire employees who do not share those beliefs, and said that that was a misrepresentation of the true policy adopted by the organization.

The organization said on its facebook page:

"We're disappointed that [the] article wrongly stated that InterVarsity is firing employees for supporting gay marriage. That is not the case. In fact, InterVarsity doesn't have a policy regarding employee views on civil marriage.

We know that LGBTQI people have experienced great pain, including much caused by Christians. We also know that we ourselves each need Jesus' grace daily. So we attempt to walk humbly in this conversation.

We do continue to hold to an orthodox view of human sexuality and Christian marriage, as you can read in our Theology of Human Sexuality Document at the bottom of the article.

That said, we believe Christlikeness, for our part, includes both embracing Scripture's teachings on human sexuality-uncomfortable and difficult as they may be-as well as upholding the dignity of all people, because we are all made in God's image.

Some will argue this cannot be done. We believe that we must if we want to be faithful followers of Jesus.

Within InterVarsity and elsewhere in the Church, there are LGBTQI people who agree with this theology, at great personal cost. We are learning together to follow Jesus."

All employees are not required to sign the paper, but those who disagree with the policy may disclose their opinion. The disclosure begins a two-week period of discussion, which ends with the employee and the organization parting ways if a reconciliation in their mutual stand is not arrived at.

InterVarsity will bear one month's worth of outplacement service costs after the termination of employment to assist employees with their next job search.

In a 20-page internal position paper on human sexuality, Intervarsity discusses their beliefs of a God-given design of marriage, and behaviors they believe stand outside of it, such as premarital sex, sexual promiscuity and prostitution to sexual abuse, divorce, and homosexuality.

"Scripture is very clear that God's intention for sexual expression is to be between a husband and wife in marriage. Every other sexual practice is outside of God's plan and therefore is a distortion of God's loving design for humanity," the document says on page 12.

The document was released in March 2015, and was to be studied for 18 months until November in conjunction with a nine-part study based on it.

The new move by InterVarsity was criticized and hailed by many Christian leaders from both sides of the issue.

"This seems like it really runs counter to their justice stand to be proudly embracing injustice and to be intentionally and actively persecuting a marginalized group within their community," Matthew Vines, author of 'God and Gay Christian' who was also previously active in InterVarsity at Harvard University, told Associated Press.

"When InterVarsity Christian Fellowship makes the pages of Time Magazine going into the weekend, you understand what we have been saying for a very long time," Albert Mohler Jr., President of Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, said in The Briefing podcast. "There is no place to hide. Soon we're all going to know what everyone believes on all of these issues, and Christian institutions, Christian organizations, Christian ministries, and Christian churches, indeed every single Christian will eventually have to give an answer."

Russell Moore, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, expressed his surprise at the scale of media coverage of the organization's decision.

"The policy they hold on human sexuality is the exact same view that has been held by every wing of the Christian Church for 2,000 years," he said.