Tag Archives: Roman Catholic

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Reality, Healing

The Archbishop of Latvia rallied the major Christian leaders in his nation—Orthodox, Lutheran, Baptist, Roman Catholic—to stand together for God’s image in humanity and to refuse an effort of the European Union to legislate ‘gender ideology’ throughout the continent.

Christian efforts appeared to be doomed. But united as one bloc, Christ’s body prevailed and the legislation was defeated. Little Latvia slayed Goliath.

To do so, all the Church had to do was to assert her truth: there is no such thing as ‘gay marriage’–the marital union intrinsically involves becoming one-flesh, a physical and spiritual impossibility in same gender couples. Nor does ‘transgender’ actually exist, as it is a physical and spiritual impossibility for one to change his or her biological gender. Finally, the Church cannot mistake the need to defend the dignity of women for defending the ‘gender spectrum’—fifty ‘gender selves’ that are multiplying like fissures upon the cracked image of God in humanity. Rather, the Church upholds two natures—male and female; she advocates for the dignity of both genders while inviting people into reality.

The good Archbishop, a good friend and advocate of Living Waters in Latvia, is committed to the language and pastoral practice of helping people find reality. We cannot concede to unreality, whether in speech or political advocacy. Only the foundations of reality help wounded persons to find healing. We uphold reality in order to help persons heal.

On the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, we are committed to becoming living witnesses of reality—who we actually are and how Jesus helps us to realize those selves through His healing community. And this is what we did in our most recent trip to the Baltic nations—Latvia and Lithuania in particular—where we are partnering with the likes of the good Archbishop who is committed to the Church becoming a fountain of mercy for persons withering in the unreality of the ‘gender spectrum.’

I marveled at one gathering in which we instructed and prayed for eight teams from throughout Latvia who are committed to welcoming persons from a spectrum of identity brokenness, real persons who need merciful members of Christ to help them heal, to become who He made them to be. Reality. Healing.

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one-bride

November 20, 2014: One Bride

‘I in them and You in Me, Father. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me.’ (Jn 17:23)

Jesus is committed to one Church. He alone knows exactly who composes His bride; what we can know is that Jesus is singularly passionate for her.

I am growing in that passion for her too. I have always known that one cannot love Jesus without also loving His Church. That love culminated for me several years ago when I became a Roman Catholic. The historic church became a refuge for me amid cultural downturns in marriage and gender and the compromised response of Protestant denominations. Jesus and His friends met me there; daily Eucharist and the cheering on of the saints have bolstered me deeply.

I am grateful. And realistic. The Church’s strengths are also her weaknesses and necessitate I seek Jesus’ strength to love her as she deserves. Her weaknesses expose mine and require much mercy for me. But mercy works. I can extend that mercy freely to the Church for it is precisely Christ’s mercy through the Church that sustains me, keeps me free for love.

At times I miss my beautiful evangelical background. The vocation Jesus entrusted to Annette and I was born in the Vineyard church planting movement. We could not have asked for a better home. Open, humble, merciful: these are the faces I see from the Vineyard’s communion of saints that welcomed us and still inform us. On our Vineyard foundation, we will always pray for more of God’s Kingdom and Spirit for hurting people, and we shall always equip our fellow servants in the truth that Jesus calls and empowers them as surely as He does Pope Francis. We will adapt to the new ways God’s wants to meet people in order to reveal the same truths to new generations.

Catholics need to be empowered by the evangelical spirit, and evangelicals need the depth of Catholic teaching and worship. Each possesses a kind of authority that the other needs. I am grateful for both. In order to be whole, the Church needs both.

Early on in my Catholic conversion, I saw a picture of a huge river in which persons on both sides were drinking, soaking, and healing. Each shore revealed two distinct groups partaking of ‘living waters.’ Divided as Protestants and Catholics, they drew from the same Source. The river flowed: I could see some persons co-mingling until the two groups freely partook of the waters together.

Considering this vision, I wonder if the humbling impact of relational and sexual sins makes us less inclined to defend ourselves with doctrinal differences. Perhaps the wounds are too deep, the shame too great, to distance ourselves from the ‘other’ with a rosary or Bible verse. Broken, we cry out for mercy together and discover gifts the one possesses that the other needs.

My prayer has been partially answered by a series of trainings we sponsor in Mexico. Equal parts Catholic and evangelical, we are discovering one Jesus and one Bride. A river of water and blood runs through her.

‘Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all in all.’ (Eph. 4: 2-6)

Please join us as we pray for:

  1. South, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Dean Greer – Coordinator: For new regional leadership to be identified and raised-up, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
  2. Aguas Vivas: Baja California and Cuernavaca, Mexico: Guidance, wisdom and stamina for Maite at DSM/LW as she encourages and helps leaders to start ContraCorriente groups.
  3. Restored Hope Network: Prayer for wisdom, discernment and protection for RHN board members: Andrew Comiskey; Stephen Black; Karen Booth; Robert Gagnon; Denise Schick; Jason Thompson.

“Courage for Pope Francis, that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BLOGS & PRAYER POINTS FOR NOV. 20, 21, 22, 23

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Housecleaning

‘For we are reduced, O Lord, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins.’ (Dan. 3: 37)

church in stormFor a couple years my pastor engaged in heterosexual immorality; we discovered this later, but in the meantime, everything changed. Our church became the soil for a strange kind of ‘grace’ teaching; out of his compromise, the pastor seeded a guilt-free, unclean Gospel among us. He extended his false liberty to us, a group of new converts barely free from our youthful addictions.

Another pastor I know recently changed his view on homosexual practice and now believes it is compatible with the Gospel. One of his staff had repented of her lesbian past and had resolved, at no small cost, to live a chaste life. Hearing her senior associate’s new view opened doors for her. She has since met a vulnerable woman in the church with who she is now sexually involved.

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic leader, a cardinal, just acknowledged that he has been guilty of homosexual misconduct with several younger priests. (To his credit, he resigned and apologized for his actions.) No matter how conservative his theology, the ex-cardinal’s actions has sown perversion into a nation.

His sin also casts a deepening shadow on the cardinals who now gather to select a new pope. Several of these are already suspect of covering-up priestly sexual abuse in their nations. The weary ask: ‘Can anything good come out of Rome?’

Take heart. Jesus is not weary; He is intent on cleaning house. In the same way that He purged the temple of those who made the Father’s prayer house a den of thieves, Jesus will expose and get rid of those shepherds who prey on the sheep.

That was precisely Jesus’ point to the church at Thyatira. Jesus came to judge the church due to one Jezebel, a prophetic leader in the church who was leading congregants into that now familiar blend of sexual immorality and spiritual idolatry. (Rev. 2: 18-29) Sensual worship of the creature is an idolatry all its own.

His eyes blazing like fire, Jesus takes aim at those elders who did nothing about this woman’s ministry. Extraordinarily longsuffering with vulnerable sheep, Jesus is remarkably intolerant with tolerant shepherds. He claims that the elders have shirked their responsibility toward the most vulnerable. They let Jezebel do her thing, which involved seducing (v.20) and committing adultery (v.22) with the saints. Despite her claim to offer devotees ‘the deep things of God’ (1Cor 2:10), Jezebel is described by Jesus as trafficking in the ‘deep things of Satan’ (v.24).

Jesus is intolerant toward tolerating sexual immorality in His house. He insists on repentance, but claims that Jezebel will not repent. He thus visits judgment upon her and all that commit adultery with her. The unrepentant will suffer greatly, intensifying in the death of her offspring—morally, spiritually, physically. (v.22)

Jesus means business. His house will be a house of prayer, not of seduction. He wants us to love each other with clean hands and a pure heart. Those of us who know better need to help create a clean house for those just barely free from sexy idols. When we do this, we participate in ‘overcoming’ the deluge of false gods and goddesses tempting the people of God (v. 26). He promises that His very life, ‘the morning star,’ (v.28) will rise in our hearts and make a way for others, in truth the nations, to know Him more.

I close with this exhortation from Jude as to how we are to encourage the weaker ones to stand in purity. ‘Be merciful to those who doubt.’ (v.22) That means we reclaim those drawn to idolatry with kindness and gentleness. ‘Snatch others from the fire and save them.’ (v. 23) Decisive action is needed for those already under the power of sexual and spiritual seduction. Pray and love boldly. Jesus’ alone springs the trap but we can do our part!

Lastly, Jude urges us to be careful in our love, so that we do not fall under the deception of the beloved. “Show mercy mixed with godly fear.’ (v.23) That means we suffer long with profound mercy. We can do this while holding fast to God’s design for the vulnerable one as culled from Scripture and Church tradition. We proceed in mercy, certain of its power over sin and the judgment it incurs.

‘Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.’   (1Cor. 4:2)

 

 

 

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