Tag Archives: tolerance

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

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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Courage and Contending – Part 4

‘I felt that I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith,’ in light of ‘those who change the grace of God into a license for immorality.’ (Jude 3, 4)

Jodie Foster and David Geffen, two giants of the entertainment industry, recently revealed the deeper ache at the core of their homosexuality. Both have blazed a trail for ‘coming out’; both reveal the disintegration that no amount of gay liberties can cure.

LonlinessIn an extended interview, Geffen remarked: ‘You do not get healed in this lifetime.’ Rambling at an awards show, Foster declared before the world and two children her singleness and acute loneliness. Both possess enormous power and influence. Yet neither can heal themselves. Only Jesus can stop the bleeding and establish the home in us that can contain and release love, all our days.

Why then is the church of Jesus Christ so intent on blessing the worldly ‘gay self’? I marvel at a recent paper I read by an evangelical leader who argues for blessing active gays and lesbians on the grounds that Scripture does not actually prohibit ‘good’ gay unions, and besides, the church should be all about inclusion.

But including what? An identity based on needs so profound that no amount of inclusion can satisfy? Let the cure match the wound! Only Christ will do; His Kingdom come to bind up the broken-hearted. The church must thus command repentance unto Him who gave all to heal us: first for the broken heterosexual and then for the wound that is homosexuality. I am convinced: for the church to mimic the world in championing the ‘gay self’ is to fortify the very prison that binds men and women to a false security, a false hope.

We must beware of a church so intent on offering forgiveness that she forgets what needs to be forgiven. Real seekers are not mocked. We who have longed for completion in sexual and romantic union with our own gender know the delusion of making friends lovers. It does not work. No amount of success or civil liberties or theological gymnastics can change that truth.

Only Jesus can. That’s why He dwelt with humanity. That’s why He died. That’s why He rose again and still pours out His Spirit of new life upon us, beckoning us to repent of our sin and to be reconciled through Him to our good Father.

For the sake of Geffen and Foster and a generation who are following their misbegotten lead, let the church be about the Kingdom of God. In the words of St. Paul: ‘The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.’ (Gal. 5:6)

‘The Lord will respond to the cry of the destitute; He will not despise their plea.

Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord. The Lord looked down…to hear the groans of the prisoners, and to release those condemned to death.’ (PS 102: 18-20)

 

 

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Courage and Contending-Part 2

‘We must help all believers acquire a more vigorous, conscious adherence to the Gospel.’ Pope Benedict

 ‘I urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.’ (Jude 3b)

day38How Christians apply the Gospel to those with same-sex attraction will become a litmus test for the Gospel they uphold. Will we be the Church that calls seekers to repent unto Christ and His design for their humanity? Or do we bless the worldly model of forming an identity, even a marriage, around one’s same-gender tendencies? As never before, homosexuality will signal the divide between the compassion of the Cross and that of mere men.

More than any other issue, including abortion, homosexuality will divide the Church of Jesus Christ.

The falling away of many from a Cross-centered Gospel is already evident in the way some conservative churches address homosexuality. A lay leader recently shut down a friend of mine requesting prayer to uphold marriage (in light of several ‘gay marriage’ initiatives) on the grounds that we don’t ‘take positions against gays.’ That very month a church in the same evangelical denomination hosted a civil ‘gay wedding’ ceremony.

The Church must steward the fullness of both grace and truth. Yet we have faltered to define that truth—the relational order and purity Jesus commands. As a result, our message of grace has no power. We have lost any notion of how far we have fallen. Thus our call to repent unto Jesus, the Source of our order and purity, has no direction, no urgency.

The Church is now subject to an utterly false mercy. We want to be relevant and ‘loving’ to those in sexual darkness so we turn down the Light. We agree with angry broken people that we should not uphold marriage because it is offensive. Why else would 59% of Roman Catholics in the USA favor ‘gay marriage’? St. Paul said it best: ‘They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.’ (Rom. 1: 25)

The Church must uphold God’s best for humanity and not alter His will for the delusions of men. To do so is idolatry. That is why I and Desert Stream Ministries continue to hold out for God’s vision of marriage, regardless of the changing tides of popular opinion. We have a holy mandate to obey. Political victories rise and fall; they are not our hope. Jesus is. We render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to Jesus what is His. Marriage belongs to the Maker, and we shall fight for its integrity until death frees us for full consummation with Him.

Those Christians who think differently are marvelously short-sighted. You cannot pretend to love the same-sex attracted then agree to a legal covenant that further binds them, the children they adopt, and the culture that supports them to a perversion that has power to send body and soul to hell.

Truth and transformation go hand-in-hand. Hold out God’s best and call the broken into full repentance. Line up with Jesus and be the Church that represents His compassion, His absolute surrender at Calvary that demands nothing less than ours.

‘Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear, hating even the clothing stained by immoral flesh.’ (Jude 22a, 23)

‘Go stand in the temple courts,’ an angel of the Lord said, ‘and tell the people the full message of this new life.’ (Acts 5: 20)

 

 

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Courage and Contending, Part 1

‘I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once and for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men…have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men who change the grace of God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.’ (Jude vs. 3b, 4)

dark clouds over gay marriage

The NY Times celebrated 12/12/2012 with a front page photo of two brides (one indistinguishable from a man) making out on the subway. The caption celebrating their ‘gay marriage’: A Day They Won’t Forget.

The world won’t let us forget the gains gay activists have made. Every day and everywhere we are inundated with the delusion that gay anything is just great, especially ‘gay marriage.’

Activists are smart. When gays redefine marriage according to their distorted image, they have won. The boundary lines change for generations to come. And it does not stop at the ‘new normal’ of two brides or two grooms. All must bow at the altar of every gender variation that the GLBT community demands of us. Anyone who differs is a bigot, cruel and unjust.

Having been persuaded that ‘love means never having to say you are sorry’ for actions that grieve the heart of our Creator, we begin to adopt a wholly secular set of values. We speak of tolerance and compassion, ‘marriage rights’ and equality. We consider winsome same-sex attracted friends and think: ‘They deserve marriage.’

For non-believers, that kind of flat morality may make sense. No God, no godly values. But when Christians begin to accommodate, even defend ‘gay marriage’, they reveal that they have become worldly and have forgotten the very essence of the faith: that God made us in His image as male and female, and that Jesus redeems us according to that image.

Christians have been entrusted with the truth of the Creator’s design for all humanity. That is precisely why Pope Benedict pointed out in his Christmas message that ‘gay marriage’ is idolatry: the creature shaking its fist at the Creator and recreating itself in an image that seems right to him or her. We are the real victims, every one of us. To deny the Creator is to forsake the ground of our dignity as persons.

We the Church must repent of our worldliness. We must confess and renounce how we have distorted the good news of the Gospel for worldly drivel that issues out of wanting to be popular, not truthful. But grace is meaningful only when we uphold what is real and true about God’s desire for us. Our only chance at real beauty and real dignity is to forsake false identities like the ‘gay self’ and its devolution in ‘gay marriage’.

We turn to the One who makes all things new, ‘who shares in our human weakness in order to transform it according to the power of Resurrection.’   (Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict)

The fight for the restoration of the homosexual is at core a fight for the Gospel. Let us pray for courage to contend for the Gospel amid counterfeit expressions like ‘gay marriage.’

‘I know your deeds, your love and faith, your faith and perseverance. But I have this against you. You tolerate this woman Jezebel…By her teaching, she misleads my servants into sexual immorality…So I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely unless they repent of their ways.

To him who overcomes and does My Will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.’ (Rev. 2: 20-26)

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