Tag Archives: pride

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Pentecost and ‘Pride’

I love the fire of Pentecost—the coming of the Holy Spirit in power: exposing idols, commanding allegiance to one Father through the Son, raising up sons and daughters who will endure. One thing is sure amid ‘Pride’ month—we will burn like torches for chastity and gender clarity amid the fake fires raging around us. Our prayer at DSM this month as we go through many doors to effective ministry: ‘consume the sacrifice of our lives, O God.’ We draw upon Elijah who in the Spirit’s power gave all to expose the folly of Baal’s prophets in light of the ‘God who answers by fire’ (1 K 18:24).

Last weekend in nearby St. Louis, ‘Revoice’ held its second annual conference, gathering to extol the virtue of being ‘gay’ and Christian. Brainy millennials love this stuff—literate gender benders who have a form of faith but deny His power to transform them at core. Instead, the whole thing has a kind of whiny white narcissism—‘no-one knows the trouble I’ve seen’–in contrast to the stern and splendid task of actual conversion of gender identity and disordered desire. If Jesus did not die to reclaim for us the powers of life and love from our captivity to the Baals, then I do not understand Calvary. I don’t think ‘Revoice’ does either, if workshops like ‘Coming Out as a Gay Pastor’ and ‘Queer Culture’ are any indication.

Sadly, even the elect are drinking the cool-aid. Sexpert Dr. Mark Yarhouse for whom I did have the utmost respect keynoted at Revoice and later extolled his advocacy for this group ‘coming to terms with enduring same-sex sexuality’ (aka no change possible); in truth, Yarhouse now frames homosexuality as a condition worthy of one’s adult identification—‘not a problem to be fixed but a people to love and learn from.’ A people? Is disordered identification now the basis for a ‘people group’ in the eyes of progressive evangelicals? We understand secular culture not ‘getting’ God’s take on true personhood—that’s why teachers and therapists are so intent on enslaving kids with perverse ‘adult’ labels. For Christians to do so is diabolical, dangerous to kids and to the integrity of our faith.

Catholics are guided by a marvelous Catechism which details sexual purpose through the virtue of chastity—becoming integrated, whole. That would appear to safeguard the Church from falsehood. (Cheers to the recent Vatican document on gender, which is founded wholly on the inherent complementarity of men and women). Yet the battle for clarity on homosexuality has never been more intense in Rome. One gets the impression that Pope Francis is surrounded by warring factions, some who fight for truth in the sexual arena but tend to do so with a heavy hand that is toxic to the Pope; more comforting to him appear to be ‘progressives’ like the now disgraced Theodore McCarrick and the ascending Fr. James Martin who alongside ‘compassionate’ friends is making every effort to alter the Catechism to reframe gender-bending as a morally neutral human variant, not a disorder to be redeemed. Wickedness in high places. Pray for Pope Francis. A battle rages in Rome for what it means to be human, made in God’s image. As for evangelicals, this is a war for the integrity of our faith. You cannot alter how God designed us and not undercut orthodoxy.

So we burn. Not with hate but with zeal for His house. If we the Church alter the goal posts due to love for winsome, disordered, and deceived players, we all lose. We win when we the broken—humbled and consumed by holy fire–arise to tell the truth of how His mercy has set us free. Is setting us free. Our ever-increasing chastity frees us to break out of every little box people place us in. We are healed and being healed, saved and becoming saved. We look to the God who answers us with the fire of love and life and who frees us to gather others who have not bent the knee to Baal (1 K 19:18). No other way to live. Pentecost frees us from intimidation, for holy confidence, amid the din of ‘Pride.’

Please pray for the annual Restored Hope Network Conference in the Twin Cities from June 20-22nd, for our Living Waters Trainings in Warsaw, Poland June 22-28th and in Kansas City July 6-12th, and the International Courage Conference in Chicago, July 18-21st. Registrations still open for all!

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Naming Persons in Truth

‘So from now on we see no-one from a worldly point-of-view’ (2Cor 5:16).

It helps persons to name them as they really are. Everyone loses when we heed the false naming of persons according to feelings of same-sex attraction or other expressions of gender disintegration. We as Christians must lead the way by inviting others to align language with God’s vision for humanity. He made us and should be honored in how we see and what we say about others.

I refuse to call anyone ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ or ‘straight.’ I see a man or woman, made in God’s image. However estranged from Him, each person is deeply loved by the Father who through His Son seeks each out as His beloved son or daughter. He calls us to integrate our gender gift by learning how to befriend (not romanticize) our own gender and to honor the other as an essential good.

We set ourselves up for trouble when we adopt LGBT+ language; in doing so, we empower systems to grant a ‘people group’ status to an ever-morphing assortment of gender ‘selves.’ This proves dangerous to Christians. Last week, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled to remove graduate school accreditation from the law arm of Trinity Western University because this reputable Christian institution insists that its students abstain from sexual intimacy outside of marriage, a requirement deemed ‘discrimination’ by LGBT+ activists.

The Court ruled that abstinence clause would ‘deter LGBT+ students from attending the law school and would cause them harm.’ Wow. The state insists that Christian morality bow before a fractured band of persons who pretends to be a ‘people group.’

Not much different from AB 2943 in California. Based on false assumptions that persons are intrinsically wired as ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ from early childhood and will be devastated by anything less than a ‘gay’ wedding or gender ‘reassignment’, the state now seeks to remove any other option. In other words, the state seeks to make fraudulent a person’s decision to be reconciled to who God says he or she is.

We fight deception with proper language. Everyone can make the choice to integrate his or her gender; we base our way, and the words that describe it, on our Creator and Redeemer. He authors clarity, not confusion.

Speaking of confusion, a proudly Bible-based denomination with many good expressions in Kansas City has been significantly influenced by the ‘gay Christian’ slant of Wesley Hill. Hill embraces his same-sex attraction as identity, impermeable to change, yet holds to abstinence. I find that split between being and doing confusing.

Hill has impacted a Kansas City man who ‘gay’-identifies and who was recently ordained a minister in that denomination. He misleads others in his language and witness. Seeking no further integration in his sexual self, he exhibits a ‘gay’ sensibility in his identity and relationships with other men. He may be free from same-sex behavior but is unchaste, disintegrated. What can be expected from one who declares himself ‘gay’ as a Christian minister and leads others accordingly?

Finally, we see the impact of this confusion upon the most vulnerable. The New York Times celebrated two ‘men’ having a baby–in truth, one a woman pretending to be a man. This full-page article sought to normalize diverse families during ‘Pride’ month and ended up displaying the chaos that results when persons are encouraged to assume false selves. Honestly, their story descended into such confusion that even the one who gave birth remarked: ‘This is not real life; it’s some crazy soap opera.’ That may be a scream for consenting adults but now a child is involved who is daily subject to her confused caregivers.

Without consent. That is nothing short of child abuse, and everyone who champions LGBT+ selves without any consideration to God’s will and way may well be an accomplice to these injustices.

Christians run the risk of becoming insipid and dim when we begin to adopt LGBT+ jargon. Name persons in truth. See and say according to God’s will for our gendered humanity.

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Pride: The Folly of Proving Ourselves

‘When we take too much credit for our lives and achievements, when we look at our lives as products of our own striving rather than gifts, we move close to the idolatry in which the creature refuses to give due to the Creator.’ Willimon

Pride is the mother of all sins. Aspiring to be gods and defiant of the One, the original pair blazed a trail east of Eden that every one of us has trod since. It’s just how we are. Quite apart from our self-esteem or lack thereof, the most affirmed and neglected of us seem doomed to the treadmill of proving ourselves. We run hard for acclaim yet bypass the One who asks that we be still and know that HE is.

Pride is noisy, so much so that the original list of deadly sins put together by desert father Evagrius involved 8, with pride as the source of all the others. Instead of ‘pride’, Gregory the Great’s 7 deadly sins listed ‘vainglory,’ which is a primary manifestation of pride–the motivation to appear greater than one actually is. More recent lists subsume vainglory into pride. These seven are noteworthy for how generative they are. Like pride begetting vainglory, each is considered ‘cardinal’ because each one gives birth to many sinful ‘offspring.’

‘Vainglorious’ describes well my foray into the ‘gay self’ and its friends. Raised by parents who valued self-esteem above all else, I could hardly say that my perversion was anchored in self-hatred. I was simply vulnerable to a world driven by vanity, in particular, driven by vain men like me looking for some kind of masculine blast that would fill the ache. It was a noisy world, full of clamoring for attention. Such attention was sensational to get and yet hard to give away. I could not hold the charge.

Intuitively, I knew I needed Jesus and that following Him meant leaving the gay life. I also knew that I did not want to leave it. Jesus was ephemeral and dudes were real; therein lay the battle. Still I responded to His call to follow Him. Pride was my main enemy. I looked down on devout Christians as clueless misfits. Pure projection: I was blind and perverse, desperately needy. I needed to be saved and Jesus graciously revealed Himself as the Savior. Still my haggard efforts at proving myself persisted, so much so that these were the first words I heard Jesus say to me: ‘Unless you humble yourself, I can do nothing with you.’ Pride—the drive to prove myself as the clever, attractive, wanted one—almost sunk this convert.

But Jesus’ love prevailed and won over my worship; focusing on His presence became more important than self-concern. That came in handy when friends in droves rejected me for questioning the validity of my ‘gay self’. Yet I could not deny the depth of my same-sex attraction. In its troubling persistence, I discovered the key to relying upon the One. Only His love could reach my depths, even and especially in light of disordered desires. I came to rejoice in my disorder as the means through which God humbled me and showed Himself sufficient.

Today I face the Pharisee’s temptation to ‘thank God that I am not like other men’ in their obvious immoralities (LK 18: 11, see vs. 9-14). I sin quietly now. But pride in my chastity and ‘family values’ is readily overcome by bouts of chronic selfishness for which I can only ‘stand at a distance, look downward, beat my chest and say: ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (v.13) Sin persists but grace abounds and frees this captive from prideful, religious delusion.

‘Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us.’ (IS 26:12)

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