Mar 272014
 

WorldVision-LogoPhxP note: I found this compelling and asked if I could reprint it and Pastor Hawkins graciously agreed.

World Vision is on everyone’s mind. They stepped into the middle of the most volatile religious-political conflict on the planet. Offering a neat self-exhonerating explanation of a new policy giving tacit endorsement to gay marriage they threw their conservative constituency into frothing confusion. 48 hours later, an apology and a recanting of their avant-garde policy put them back in step with their constituency.

What they gave us was a glimpse into the future. What they failed to anticipate was collateral damage. I write this because that piece of the problem has been so overlooked. When multitudes complained and many promised to withdraw pledges it changed the scenario. Suddenly two issues arose. One got all the attention the other is my focus. The first was of course the benefactors of World Vision dollars, specifically the children supported by pledges.

Overlooked in all of this was the pending demonization of World Vision’s constituency by untold numbers of people who spoke up for the children. Most of those who spoke up were condemning people for withdrawing pledges while they themselves had not been donors. To be fair many new pledges were garnered but where were all of these concerned and compassionate souls before this political hot potato? Where were these morally outraged people before WV tossed their hat into the ring of political correctness? Doesn’t it seem odd for people who were on the sidelines to condemn people who had been in the game, many of them for years? It was the height of hypocrisy for people doing nothing to condemn people who were doing something.

America is first and foremost the land of freedom. Central to that freedom is the freedom of conscience. The freedom to determine the dictates of ones’ own heart. Freedom to live by conscience without coercion. At the root of religious liberty is a respect for individual conscience. World Vision created a  perfect storm. They set the grid for future suppression of conscience. In the middle of it all? The lives of children. The discussion of our cultural conflict over homosexual marriage was obfuscated behind a wall of kids. You would think that the WV donors were literally throwing kids into the abyss by all the hue and cry that was raised. You would think the donors were terrorists hiding within a schoolroom.

World Vision cannot hide their guilt in this. They put children at risk and they put their donors in a conundrum of conscience that they knew could not be easily solved. They forced people to choose between conscience and children. The left, secretly could not be more pleased. Even in losing this round they won again. They were able to portray Bible believing Christians as bigots, hate mongers and murderers of children. Witch hunting has found a new definition in America but the school text books will never tell you the unvarnished truth.

Compassionate people all over America are now marked as hateful and murderous. It is easy to dismiss those that you consider evil. World Vision has retracted and apologized but they have inadvertently  labelled their own constituency as enemies of virtue. WV leaders were careless stewards of the people who support them. This sad chapter will have endless implications. However, it is not the faithful donors who should account for this mess. It was conscience that drove them to support WV and a crisis of conscience that cause them to be endlessly condemned. We must not hate conscience. We must not destroy it. We must find ways to solve our cultural dilemmas without harming innocent people whether they be donors or benefactors. We must find better means to wage our wars.

  234 Responses to “World Visions Shortsightedness: Alan Hawkins”

  1. This is really insulting. I’ve been a WV supporter for years and I was one of the “morally outraged people”. Casting most of the pro-LGBT side of this debate as detached spectators is inaccurate and offensive.

    And he’s wrong. The “left” (as he sees it) didn’t win. The anti-theist crowd has another bludgeon to wield against the church, but the left side of that Church lost spectacularly.

  2. Anyone is welcome to start their own charity.

    Progressive, “fundie”, whatever.

  3. I’m quite sure I missed the numbers reported, but (1) how many people dropped when they had their first announcement?

    (2). How many new people joined?

    (3). What’s the net gain/loss now?

    Real or numbers, “trends” and speculation welcome.

  4. Adam Whitley,

    I was not being ambiguous so let me clarify my comments. I intended to insult anyone who came out criticizing the donors of World Vision especially those who only began to donate when their political hot button was pushed. People may offend you by their rejection of gay marriage and strong reaction to WV’s careless policy change, but they were undeserving of the vitriol that was heaped upon them. Thank you for informing me that I hit my mark.

  5. Thanks Alan. Heart searching is always a good thing regardless of what side of this issue we land on.

  6. I will admit that I have not read anything about this WV dust up other than what’s here – but I am trying to figure out the sides.
    Were the, I don’t know what to call them, the liberals, the progressive?? I know, the group that RHE is a part of;
    1.) were they celebrating that WV was hiring same sex marriage folks, or
    2.) were they just all upset about the conservative reaction.

    In other words, if there was no conservative backlash, would they be having parties today for gay rights victory? Help me.

  7. An excellent article. My wife and I have lost confidence in World Vision after this flip-flop. I doubt that our confidence will be renewed until their CEO is gone and a majority of that Board is changed out. We are still seriously considering switching our support to another organization. As my wife put it, they seem to be selling out for government money.

    Seeing what this reveals of their attitudes, what kind of propaganda is being handed out with that aid? We have been naively assuming that their slick brochures and website represented the truth of what occurs “out on the field” but now I wonder.

    Organizations must go through financial auditing to be a part of certain associations like the ECFA. Maybe it is time to have regular “spiritual audits” from an outside group to ascertain if the organization is truly holding up to the morals and values that they proclaim in their PR stuff.

    Frankly, I no longer trust that World Vision is behaving like the claim they are.

  8. Spiritual audits. Now, that’s compelling. But it seems to me, World Vision just failed that one pretty bad. Hard to recover in my opinion until Richard Stearns and most of the board resigns.

  9. My gut feeling is that neither side in this intramural blood letting is really hearing the other side.
    I’m feeling caught in the middle as I hear some things from each that merit consideration.

  10. My gut feeling is that this WV fiasco was only to test the waters and was well thought out, planned and executed with both the original policy change as well as with the retraction. I believe its all calculated to push a progressive agenda to the church and I believe other huge non profit Christians organizations will be next.

  11. “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice” is what Stearns and World Vision were too obtuse to recognize in what was a pathetic Solomonic attempt at baby-splitting.

    Far better (for their PR and financial coffers) if they had just said, “Look, we see no sin in homosexual behavior, no call for repentance to actively practicing homosexuals, and no basis for excommunication – and thus no contradiction in our commitment to only hiring Christians of a high moral standard in choosing to now hire them.” To flat out say “Our old hiring policy was bigoted and wrong and today we right that wrong”

    THAT at least would not be cowardly, inconsistent and contradictory weasel language like that seen in the CT interview.

  12. There are born again believers on all sides of this issue.
    At some point we need to choose to dialog and tone down the rhetoric or just damn each other and move on.

  13. When it comes to supporting the poor we all know that mercy ministries over time tend to abandon evangelism in favor of alleviating suffering. The tragedy of human lostness is overcome by the tragedy of human suffering. I went to two seminaries that had those variant values. I received much from both and have profited from the contrast. What is happening now is different. There is a culture war that will accept no middle ground and allow no tolerance. It is a winner take all game. Media, education, politics and public opinion are all in the bag already. When the tipping point hits, and it will. It will be off to the censored margins for us all. There will be no tolerance of those who are branded intolerant.

    What riled me yesterday was how quickly World Vision’s political shift became an opportunity to attack people who were simply doing the right thing. These people were supporting the poor with genuine motives and diligence. Then the organization abandoned those people’s values without warning, without preparation and without process. (None that I have accessed) Those people reacted in a normal way and were suddenly considered evil. I am still incensed about it.

    Let’s continue to deal with the issue of homosexual marriage. Let’s continue to figure out how to live and let live. Let’s do the hard work. Let’s not make people into villains. Sooner or later we need to talk about the complexity of human sexuality and why some of us are genuinely concerned about the future. But that is not likely in the present atmosphere.

  14. And yes Michael is right,

    Genuine believers are on all sides of this issue and not a few bullheaded jerks like me.

  15. Alan,

    I agree with all your conclusions…but if the atmosphere is going to change it must start with us.

  16. Alan,

    You know me.
    I want to be sarcastic, bombastic, bull headed, and on the edge of mean.
    We don’t have those luxuries anymore if we’re going to pull this culture back from complete fracture and implosion.

  17. Michael,

    I think you are correct which is why I ended my posting with an appeal and stand by that appeal. Nevertheless, I think this matter is lost and we will only see it change when the pain in culture demands change.

    God gave people what they wanted over and over in scripture and frankly the church has done the same thing over and over and on this issue must do it again.

    It will take generations before the folly of it all will become too painful to bear.

  18. Alan,

    Funny you should say that.
    I was thinking through this stuff before I went to sleep last night.
    The conclusion I came to was that there would be a time one day when the fruit of this would cause people to ask us what to do to save themselves and what’s left of the culture.
    I’ll be gone by then, but it is inevitable.

  19. What I read was that WV was leaving the decision of whether it was ok for gay people to marry up to each church.
    If they have an employee who is married in the sight of their state and their church, and they were qualified in every other respect for the job, they would have the job with benefits where appropriate. The benefits would cover their legally married spouse.
    There are still no benefits for either straight or gay domestic partners. Only legal spouses.
    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I think it seems they were trying to do right by their employees which too far companies do.
    So what happens now? Do married gay Christians have to loose their jobs in order to satisfy those that withdrew funding?

  20. London,

    There was no known issue until World Vision raised one. Perhaps they had some situation internally that they were pre-empting. No one has their job in danger that I know about. The idea that a Christian organization would have moral standards for employees is hardly new or controversial.

  21. When I was a younger Christian and read the book of Daniel, I was attracted the most by the visions of the future and the miracles. Now, though, I am more impressed by Daniel himself, a man of spiritual integrity in a sin-soaked, cruel empire. He held to his faith for all of his life even while being a man of influence. He didn’t apologize or make excuses for his faith but neither did he unplug from society.

    Daniel’s engagement in society made a difference, bringing a lessening of the evil and cruelty. His engagement saved lives.

    I hope that I can copy Daniel. I want to live my remaining years/ decades in integrity, engaging our society. I do not declare society my enemy, but I also will not accept its values as my own. At times, society may label me “the enemy” and those will be hard times to endure, but I will try not to return such hatred with my own.

  22. World Vision was trying an end run around owning responsibility for their ethical standards. It was a thinly veiled attempt to shift responsibility to others. People saw through the moral shenanigans and made WV take responsibility. Those people were then reviled and excoriated. WV caved. The matter will return with vigor.

  23. What if WV had announced that all the board members were current adulterers but the company felt it was best served to leave them in place?

    Would we be having this conversation about donors walking away and people feeling betrayed and angry at a long time ministries decision?

    The call would be for all of us to vacate.

  24. MLD has it simplified.

  25. I was amused at WV asserting that all sex outside of marriage is sin but homosexual marriage is a local church matter. Few things are more impressive than watching humans wash their hands of personal responsibility.

    We always seem to forget the guy who made that famous is the one who crucified Jesus.

  26. I understand there are born again believers on all sides of the World Vision issue, but where I draw a line no matter the cost is to say that someone actively in homosexual behavior is in sin – period,

    And if that sin is public, boasted in, and known throughout the church, (as would be the case in a gay marriage) then that person must repent or be excommunicated – period.

    I expect that stance will run me into trouble one day – and that day will come even quicker the more other Christian organizations and churches celebrate the homosexual identity and guys like me are more easily vilified than they are now. And that is why I said what I said above. If World Vision wants to go down the path of Presbyterian USA and others, then that is their right and they won’t hear a word from me except to say they are wrong – but if they are going to profess an affirmation for Biblical authority, and traditional marriage and make smarmy arguments like Stearns did in the CT article, while they compromise on both, then I will express my views in hopes they will reverse course.

  27. I question whether the people you described as bible believing Christians are in fact bible believing. This issues for me is whether it is biblicly immoral to employ a sinner. If it is, who qualifies for a job? Put another way, does one have to be sinless to qualify for a job? Is hiring a homosexual affirming his/her lifestyle?

    Should homosexuals be confined to poverty for their sin? Is that how to communicate the gospel?

  28. Hawkins,
    I was just reporting what I’d read.
    I do not think any one’s job is in danger (well, none of the gay people anyway) but they now won’t qualify for the same benefits that straight married couples qualify for right?
    Even though the state in which they live, and the church which they attend (and I presume had a pastor from said church recommend them for employment) say the marriage is legit.
    Of course there are moral qualifications for Christian organizations. No one is saying there shouldn’t be. I think what most people who are opposing the opposers would say is that to chose that one sin and ignore all the others is hypocritical and self serving.

  29. To me, the high rate of pay of the CEO, and the fact that 2,000 kids were dropped in one fell swoop with little regard to the effect on those kids is worthy of louder protest than someone working at a place who is gay and getting benefits when they have gone through the motions to have that marriage legally binding.
    Maybe I have spent too much time in the corporate world to get riled up over this.

  30. It has nothing to do with “employing a sinner”.

    If someone openly advocates, flaunts, and affirms unhealthy behavior, that is more than human imperfection.

  31. Who openly advocated, flaunted or affirmed unhealthy behavior in this dispute? What is alleged?

  32. I think he means the people that decided to dump their poor kid because someone who works at an office is gay.

  33. J, L, I need to do some research to determine exactly what happened.

    But announcing to one’s Christian employer that one is unrepentantly engaging in unchristian behavior could be considered advocating, flaunting and affirming.

    As James Robison put it: “Many churches and ministries employ people with dark pasts and who may continue to battle with weakness, but they don’t redefine it as appropriate or acceptable.”

    I suspect (I do not know) WV has long-term, trusted, hard-working closeted employees who live in states that recently approved gay marriage, and who now want their employment status updated to reflect their gay married state. I have some sympathy with WV on this!

    WV has now come out and said they require abstinence for single employees. Of course their single employees are not all abstinent. But what WV really means is, single employees cannot openly advocate, flaunt, and affirm non-abstinence.

  34. I may be wrong and am open to correction but it is my understanding that World Vision has not hired open homosexuals in the past. Much like the military, “don’t ask, don’t tell”

    In looking on their website I read this: World Vision U.S. is both an equal-opportunity employer and a faith-based religious organization. We conduct hiring without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, marital status, parental status, membership in any labor organization, political ideology, or disability of an otherwise-qualified individual. The status of World Vision U.S. as an equal-opportunity employer does not prevent the organization from hiring staff based on their religious beliefs so that all staff share the same religious commitment which is central to our mission.

    Noticeably missing, yet found in these sorts of statements in the corporate world, is “sexual orientation”

    I read a blog article by someone who supports homosexuality who worked at World Vision and he said there were plenty of homosexuals already working there, though they were not “out”

    The big news was about hiring those who were openly homosexual, World Vision added the caveat that they be married in a state that recognizes that marriage – which as I pointed out on my facebook makes no sense when more than half the states do not allow gay marriage. Why would someone in a legal civil union or domestic partnership (if that is all the state would allow) be unqualified for employment until some judge decided to “upgrade” the state from civil unions to marriage licenses. NOW, then the person would be Christian enough to hire? Makes no sense.

    Like I said, if someone can show where that is wrong, I am open to correction. I sure dug around a lot though. If I am wrong, then this reversal would not effect any homosexual from applying openly for employment as a single gay person (celibate) who also affirms the statement of faith and Apostles Creed.

  35. I don’t think the issue is that complicated. There is only one type of man: “Sinner”. How does the Christian employer live faithfully for Christ by excluding people just like him from holding a job? The love and charity of the employer is not contingent on the repentance or silence of the object of his love. Neither is the love and charity of the employer affirming of the morality of the employees. Someone please read Jeremiah 29. If the Jews could do it, so can Christians in America.

  36. PPP Vet,
    Every person that is employed by WV and every other employer is sinning. I’ve been having a heck of a time not talking bad about some of the people I work with…I think that’s “gossip” and it’s a sin (of course it’s hard as hell to stop doing)…
    so, should I not be able to work at a “christian” organization.
    or, would it just be if I was gay (I’m not), got married and applied for a job?
    I’m so confused about what qualifies for “openly sinning” and what doesn’t.
    I think people should just say “we don’t like gay people having the same rights as everyone else. We want to feel superior and this is a way I can do it and still appear righteous”

  37. If an employee at World Vision was moonlighting doing legal heterosexual pornography, and that fact become known…he/she would be fired

    I’m sure they could play the “we are all sinners” card, but fired they would still be…

  38. being married to a same sex partner is hardly the same as being involved in pornography.
    silly comparison

  39. “Do you intend to continue?” If you say yes, that is openly sinning.

    Unrepentant sin: disqualifying
    Human weakness: forgiveable.

  40. “being married to a same sex partner is hardly the same as being involved in pornography.” Actually, it is worse. But that is a whole nother discussion.

  41. Quick aside:

    Michael,
    Is that one of EricL’s books being advertised on the sidebar?

  42. And employers are supposes to judge? Who put Christians in the judging business?

  43. Cool, bought it.
    Looks like it might be pretty good.

  44. It’s actually a non-profit and not technically a “business”. It’s the board that judges such things by their bylaws.

    PP- I probably will continue…but only about those I don’t like 😉

  45. I used it deliberately as a heterosexual sin. Guys like me are constantly told we single out homosexuality (and are hateful on top of it), but no, I classify it as just another sexual sin – alongside fornication adultery, porn – whether legal, with strangers or lifelong friends, your fiance or anything in between.

    But as seen in this discussion, the issue beyond World Vision is whether or not homosexual activity is sinful in itself. Is there some sort of commitment that takes the homosexual act from a sinful one to a God-ordained one, as is the case with heterosexual acts. My answer, and the answer of Scripture, is a loud, No. The behavior itself is sinful – there are churches that think otherwise and they can have their members and we can leave each other alone until Jesus comes. Fine by me.

    Except churches like mine and businesses run by people like me will not be left alone. They will be targeted for extinction or “re-education” – and it will happen in our lifetime in this country.

    THAT is where the battle lies. Nobody is fighting for special rights and acceptance in the Church for any sin but the act of homosexuality. Yes, we are all sinners, and my sins are different than someone else’s but none of these sins are encouraged, celebrated, and told there is no need for repentance except homosexual sexual behavior.

  46. Not my point at all.

  47. One day I will find out that two people I just assumed were friends and came to church together are actually in a same-sex marriage, legally licensed by my state (which now does so).

    I may find out when someone in leadership tells me they signed up for the married couples dinner or even are seen on the patio in a subtle but clear public display of affection as any married couple might otherwise do in the boundary of taste. Maybe they simply will tell people as they make friends around the church

    At that time I will certainly have to talk to them, but I doubt I am going to get them to divorce and forsake their homosexual lifestyle. So then I will have to tell them they are no longer allowed to attend church together here. I will do so graciously, but with reference to our church’s convictions about the teachings in Scripture. I hope they would understand, we could part friendly, and go our separate ways.

    Some reading here will be outraged at that opinion. Fine. Most reading here will never be the person required to make such a decision.

    But a couple of us (Alan for example who wrote this article) will be faced with this choice. And there is a chance we will be on the receiving end of a lawsuit when we do…..

  48. Where did WV say that homo… is not a sin?

  49. Steve, that doesn’t mean people who are not going to be in that position have no right to an opinion.
    No one was talking about churches. We, at least I, am talking about WV which is a specific instance.

  50. So, in other words, you’ll courageously take up your cross for Jesus.

  51. London, I did not mean you should not have an opinion. I am just asking for the consideration of a unique choice that a few of us may have to make any day now – and the possible legal consequences that may result.

    And thus why I can express some passion as to the WV case, as to the relative ease of difficulty of success for my beliefs to continue to be honored by the courts, politicians, and general public and media.

    The more pronounced Christian organizations like WV change, the easier it is to just lump guys like me with Westboro Baptist.

    And yes, WV is not a church, but they do discriminate based on behavior and belief, legally allowed to do so where other businesses can’t because of their religious organization and structure. They are very, very much like a church in this discussion.

  52. J, I think WV implied it was a sin they could live with (before they flipped back and said they couldn’t).

    Haven’t seen such confusion since God changed his mind on polygamy and black people in Salt Lake City.

  53. Heard in the last few days that CC is refrocking one of the few guys we managed to get defrocked.
    He torched his family…nuclear and extended, torched more than one church, got me ripped to shreds for months…but he’s good to go now.
    Thank God he was just sinning against a woman and a straight family and his sin was good old heterosexual, all American adultery.

    I’d fight the war over again, but nobody would give a damn.
    Evidently, the Gospel is only at stake if you’re gay.

  54. So who is it? We can make some calls – or take him out.

  55. I already bled enough on that one.
    It proves once again what I’ve been saying all along…we institutionalize the sins that we might fall into ourselves and demonize the ones that make us gag.

  56. It’s not a tease.
    It’s a fact that proves the point of our own hypocrisy…and I’ll get scorched for bringing it up.
    If you really want the details, develop some sources and write your own damn articles and let them come after you.
    I’ve already paid my dues.

  57. “It’s a fact that proves the point of our own hypocrisy…”

    It’s not my hypocrisy … why do you claim it as your own????

    Why can’t you just declare CC as a rogue church and turn it off? I did.

    Rome. when they developed Trent lost all rights to be a part of Christ’s body … perhaps the same thing for CC – but again why do you claim their hypocrisy as your own?

  58. MLD,

    I’m (or I’ve been) an evangelical.
    The issues in one part of evangelicalism reflect on all of evangelicalism.
    We are supposed to carry each others burdens and take individual responsibility for the corporate good.
    All of us share in either ignoring our issues or being part of a constant Reformation.
    These things aren’t unique to CC…that’s just were I happen to have inside sources.
    This issue of how we deal with the sin of homosexuality in the church is important and there is much at stake.
    I would suggest, however, that it’s no more important than the issues we need to address internally.

  59. You have no idea what it is like to deal with homosexuality in the church, The LCMS has had to break pulpit and altar fellowship with very large Lutheran groups … but we don’t claim it as OUR sin.The sin that leads to women pastors and homosexuals having leadership positions is the denial of scriptures.

    But we do tell the others that we will leave a light on once they come to their senses.

  60. And the sin that leads to adulterers and abusers of power in leadership positions is…?
    I’m going let you folks solve this problem and go spend quality time with my cat.

  61. “Heard in the last few days that CC is refrocking one of the few guys we managed to get defrocked.”

    Frocking ridiculous.

    Gimme, gimme. Email me the details.

  62. I’m all for grace…I just don’t like it when the church judges outsiders and extends very little if any grace to homosexuals etc…yet give carte-blanche grace to their pastors/leaders who can do whatever they want with little or no impunity.

    The pastors in CC, in general, also don’t extend the same carte-blanche grace to “sheep” or assistants or employs etc who get on the wrong side of the CC senior pastor.

    It’s a very one-side grace…and again, 1 Corinthians 5:12 sure seems crystal clear.

  63. RiBo,

    If CCA decides to follow through with this, I’ll handle it.
    It will be a considerable effort to find all those files.
    In the end, it will make little difference.
    As I said, this isn’t just a CC issue…it’s part of the DNA of who we are.
    We cover our own mess while yelling loudly about someone else’s.
    Time for bed.

  64. “But we do tell the others that we will leave a light on once they come to their senses.”

    This is great and I feel the same way, let me see we are now living in the 21 century, Yes I think I am right on that on. Yes MLD I agree we will leave the light on, if we lived in the earlier world views we would not have lights, computers, cars, antibiotics, antivirals, planes, satellites, weather prediction, sanitation, clean water, air planes, computers, telephones, the internet, TV, Radio, tractors, trains, ships, cell phones, x rays, ………… and so on. Yes we will leave the light on.

  65. You convinced me, Michael.

    Yes, I have no moral authority. I am a hypocrite for daring to speak out against the homosexual activism that is on the march in this country and a legitimate threat to the future of those churches and Christian-led businesses and groups that do not toe the PC line. I actually don’t know how I can ever refer to God’s word again for that matter on any moral topic of any sort.

    Because apparently one of the 1600 or so guys I have never met is one of the CC good old boys, who I guess (you are lean on facts) is re-ordaining one of his good-old-boy buddies….

    (which of course is a far cry from saying CC is doing so – Nobody in CC hierarchy today is going to tell (or has the power to tell) any church who they can or can’t ordain in their own church. For that matter there is no CC ordination body outside of the individual local churches)

    Then I’m guessing he is hoping to talk to another of the good-old-boys in CCA to do him a favor and allow the guy to call his new work a CC church. But this hasn’t actually even happened yet – per your big “if” in post 66. But you wrote it anyway.

    And this all comes from your CC inside sources, who no doubt are gnashing their teeth at how horrible this all is without actually doing anything themselves (but feed you dirt),

    And even as you toss out the red meat, now no doubt ending Alan’s article discussion, you refuse to name any names, which sort of makes it hard to check out the story or for that matter raise a voice of opposition.

    The only one so far that is covering a mess is you. And if it cost you so much, then why bring it up now, here….Very unlike you.

    Funny how many times we have seen you rebuke RiBo with the words “This thread has nothing to do with CC” when he chose to post something unrelated to get people off subject.

    Make your own application…..

  66. WOW, 33 yrs a Christian and this is the first time I have come under the teaching “Guilt Trip for Jesus.”

  67. “Yes, I have no moral authority. I am a hypocrite for daring to”

    If I may comment outside of this post, Pastor Steve this is the world I live in I have no “Moral authority” and I am a hypocrite. I do not deny either of these; I am still trying to understand why God does not strike me down right this very second. So we do relate to some degree. Personally, all the rhetoric over what consenting adults does in the privacy of their is well silly to me. I guess I am strange that way. I am personally a prude, I live a celibate lifestyle, from day one, I have been ashamed of that as a Christian. I could go on but will not. In my field of work I have come to know many people who were gay couples etc. to a person everyone of them are more conservative them myself.

    I get your point; well maybe I do not, but let me try. In my line of work, I have come to know several folks who were “Christian” in their history but because of their physical state, they may not have been. I hope you follow me here, say there is a woman who was a Christian and she served the church but became ill (dementia). She would scream the foulest of phrases out concerning God. The scripture is very very clear on this, true Christians do not continue to sin and if they do, they are not true Christians. I don’t get that, because the human condition is not like that. We are all just one “episode” away from losing it. That is just the way we are and that is a fact.

    To a person I can state in my personal experience not one person whom I have met that is gay, wants to be, it is not some plan they have or some agenda. They don’t want to be, in fact most of them wish they were not. That is just my personal experience. Therefore, I am stuck on that, having been a celibate person my adult life, at times, “accused” of being gay or some other type of “pervert” seeking to offend an almighty God. I don’t want to offend anyone, especially God. I missed the boat on that one, because according to Romans 1 I stay up nights thinking of ways to offend God. I know this sounds stupid, and it is, but I want to serve God, I really do, and the few people I have interacted with that are “gay” Christians want to do the same. They really do.

    One other point, I agree none of us have any moral authority, we never have. I do hope you have a nice weekend, thanks for being a good pastor it is hard to do what you do.

    Michael, thanks for being a good pastor as well.

    RB, thanks for being well a good father and husband and braking the cycle.

    Please pray for me I do not want to leave the faith I really do not. God bless one and all.

  68. “WOW, 33 yrs a Christian and this is the first time I have come under the teaching “Guilt Trip for Jesus.””

    Really MLD this was day one when I was a “Christian” which I am not from what I have come to understand but guilt tripping was apologetic 101. Seriously I mean it was the mainstay of the faith guilt was a very powerful truth. We are guilty, we caused the death of Jesus, basically we murdered God do to our utter depravity. I did not want to kill God myself I missed the boat on that one. Seriously you mean you never felt utterly totally guilty about being a human being, breathing air, taking up space etc. Wow, I wished I lived in that world. It was almost daily I felt guilty, tried to repent of being a human being etc. Maybe I will convert to being a Lutheran. I actually cant imagine being a Christian without the mind numbing guilt about almost every single aspect of being alive. I envy you.

  69. Jean said, “I don’t think the issue is that complicated. There is only one type of man: “Sinner”. How does the Christian employer live faithfully for Christ by excluding people just like him from holding a job?”.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    If this is your rational than why does WV take a stance against “singles” that are living in a heterosexual relationship? You are right that the issue really is not that complicated but the hypocrisy smells to high heavens. If WV feels that its appropriate for sexual moral standards than its got to be consistent across the board. Making these exceptions, not based on the word of God, but on the rule of a judge in a court room is hypocrisy at the highest level.

  70. I never defended WV’s original policy, it’s amended policy, or it’s reversal. I don’t know how Christians can love, heal, redeam people for Christ if we aren’t willing to even work beside them. Do we judge, shame and punish people into the kingdom? What do you think?

  71. Jean – so in a private Christian school you would have no discrimination who can teach? Would you have a non believer teach just so you could “work” next to them and redeem them?

  72. I don’t know how Christians can love, heal, redeam people for Christ if we aren’t willing to even work beside them.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    If you are referring to working with a fellow government employee or at a secular job than yeah I would say you are right. But in this case, the assumption is they are already redeemed and we are partnering with them like Paul partnered with Barnebas in laboring for Christ together to reach the lost.

  73. MLD, I don’t see this issue as black and white. If I’m hiring someone to teach Christian morals, which I would see as part of the teacher’s job description in a Christian school, a qualification for the position would certainly include affirming Christian morality and ethics as affirmed in the Bible.

    Off topic, some thoughtful people have questioned whether the idea of Christian schools is wise. Can Christian families be salt and light by segregating themselves in civic life, such as schooling?

    Sometimes I wonder if our Christian worldview, seen through the lens of our American cultural worldview, has further dimmed the mirror through which we see.

  74. Jean,
    Many times Christians are chased out of the public schools. Also, and you may not have noticed, but there is more to “civic” life than what school you go to.

    My church runs a pre school and K – 8 – 1/3rd of our student population is unchurched – 1/3 non Lutheran.Guess where our mission field is?

  75. I am the boss at my business – I have working for me coke heads, guys who spend their lunches drinking – I have a couple of guys who step out on their wives. But they are great salesmen and that is all I care about.

    I would have a different view of them if I ran a faith based company or they applied for leadership at my church.

  76. MLD, #77, that’s a great example of a mission field. I wonder if all Christian schools look at it that way. Anyway, thank you for sharing that example.

  77. MLD, #78, I’m not sure I understand what a “faith-based company” is. I’m sure a lot of Christian business owners try to apply their faith in their business decisions. If I publicize that I’m doing it, does that make it faith-based? Luther warned about ascribing to God the desires of man.

  78. If I publicize that I’m doing it, does that make it faith-based?
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Nope, but if you ask all your employees to share your statement of faith, than yes I would think it would be faith-based.

  79. Steve,

    You’re right, I never should have have wrote it.
    I should stick to the task at hand of making sure I correctly identify all immoral and ungodly behavior as being what other people are doing.
    I lost my temper and perhaps, part of my mind because I foolishly have seen much more damage to the cause of Christ from inside rather than out.
    The only people who have threatened to sue me or do me harm were heterosexual clergy.
    Still, I shouldn’t have brought it up to make my point…carry on culture warriors.

  80. “In the end, it will make little difference.”

    Maybe 6 or 7 years ago….today it will make a difference. Different time we live in now. Blogging has changed quite a bit. Look at Driscoll and Gothard etc as recent examples.

    It will make a big difference. Whatever community it is that this dude resurfaces in should know the situation so they can make an informed decision about whether to give their money or not to this Franchisee.

  81. RiBo,

    They know, they don’t care.
    I’ll discuss it with you later.

  82. Michael, you are very right about that.

    If you all are bible folks and keep telling me it’s “the” authority etc etc….then the bible is very clear:

    1 Corinthians 5:12

    But…most are not really bible folks and don’t really take it all seriously as that verse is asterisk’d over and explained away as somehow not meaning what it clearly says.

    The “church” spends the vast majority of its time and effort and energies judging outside the church…then it tells you “don’t judge us!”….when Paul the Apostle states quite clearly the exact opposite.

    …but that’s just the bible which is not to be taken seriously or literally or simply b/c none in the church really believe it as they example in what they do.

  83. Well CCA might not care…but that dude’s community will care…and the least they’ll be able to make an informed decision and won’t be giving money and support w/o the facts.

  84. Again, you guys lament “why” Evangelicalism and conservatism in Christianity* is under fire…this is largely why….

  85. Ribo,

    His community doesn’t care… it’s the classic matter that I’ve talked about ten thousand times.
    He’s a “good teacher”.
    Please leave this thread to those who want to deal with their subject matter.
    I am.

  86. Calvary Chapel: “Gay marriage is EVIL! If we let Gay marriage in, God will judge our nation!”

    Outsider: “Um, but you guys show you have no problem with Child Abuse, Adultery, Financial Corruption as you either ignore it in your ranks or you grace over it and put these guys back in Positions of Trust. Gays marrying isn’t hurting anybody…the other stuff is. What’s wrong with you people? You must be dishonest and can’t be trusted therefore I won’t listen to you if that’s your mindset. No “good” God would allow his people to think that way and act that way. Proves you’re message is invalid.”

  87. OK, posted before I read that. You give up too easy. Send me the details and I’ll take it on. I’m young and strong and more persistent.

  88. Jean’s #73 said this:

    ” I don’t know how Christians can love, heal, redeem people for Christ if we aren’t willing to even work beside them.”

    This isn’t what the WV issue is all about.

    WV cast itself as a “para-church” ministry, which means they say they come along side the church to provide a service or ministry that maybe the local church can’t. In this case it was to provide the benefits of feeding the poor and hurting children of the world.

    Because WV is a “para-church” organization I would expect them to hold to the same basic standards of the average church they provide their service to. I read carefully their original statement justifying why they were going to allow the homosexual marriage as an additional standard for employment. I believe they thought they were fulfilling the idea of meeting the standards of those whom they serve as a ministry. Understand this, while WV feeds and clothes children their ministry is actually to the churches and people whom they provide this service for; basically they represent all the churches and people who donate funds and time to feed children.

    Surprisingly (Okay not so surprisingly) WV found the average church they served with their service did not support the modification to their marriage standards. What is sad is it is also revealing about the doctrines and theology of WV. My observation is they are not run today by people who hold a traditional view of Christianity.

    BTW I have to ask myself one question, “Would I donate money either to Muslim or a homosexual led group who provided the same service as WV to feed those in need?”

    Answer: Yes.

    BTW, I find working aside others who are passionate about things like homosexual marriage rarely provides an opportunity to lead the to Jesus. My observation is normally it is the reverse which happens, the “Christian” gets converted to the “dark side” of the issue.

  89. …but that’s just the bible which is not to be taken seriously or literally or simply b/c none in the church really believe it as they example in what they do
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Not true. I believe it and I am in the church. Might want to change “none” to “some”.

  90. RiBo:

    Can you knock it off.

    You remind me of the Monty Python:

    CROWD: Burn! Burn her!
    BEDEMIR: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether
    she is a witch.
    CROWD: Are there? What are they?
    BEDEMIR: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
    VILLAGER #2: Burn!
    CROWD: Burn, burn them up!
    BEDEMIR: And what do you burn apart from witches?
    VILLAGER #1: More witches!
    VILLAGER #2: Wood!
    BEDEMIR: So, why do witches burn?
    [pause]
    VILLAGER #3: B–… ’cause they’re made of wood…?
    BEDEMIR: Good!
    CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah…
    BEDEMIR: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
    VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
    BEDEMIR: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
    VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.

  91. I was pondering what I wrote about WV and one thing came to me loud and clear; Where are the homosexual run ministries to feed the poor, clothe the naked and meet those who are in prison!”

    Why is it their battle has to be the conversion of people who hold a tradition view of marriage and sexuality? I know some will say I’m naive and before they can wage the war against hunger they have to win the battle of recognition.

    Okay back to work.

  92. Well this is something. I get accused at both blogs of ‘protecting’ CC pastors and here I am ready, willing and able to take this guy out, spit in his eye, call fire from the heavens on him – but he is protected by anonymity.

    Curse ___________ pastor at CC ______________. Stay away from him and his abuse.

    Let no one say i don’t take on the bad guys!!

  93. MLD,

    It works like this, if someone reveals a CC pastor’s name than they are the target from the rest of the CC community. That is the way it typically works in CC. Gosh, you even agreed with me what a jerk my CC pastor was in Vision Casting but if I ever mention him again I would be the target from you in being labeled stupid in being there in the first place.

  94. Do all PxP discussions eventually evolve to the same topic? Do they all end with the same conclusion? Perhaps an anthropological archeologist will some day sift through all the bits and bytes to try to determine what early twenty-first century Christians thought was important.

    I read this following paragraph today on another blog.

    Maybe it seems that because the Bible was written so long ago, and since we understand so much more today, that we should rewrite it, to bring it in line with modern customs and attitudes. But not according to Jesus – and He knew what He was talking about when He said:

    “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”. (Matthew 5:18)

    I wonder about the state of our current culture. We’ve changed the rules for sex and the consequences of divorce. We’ve redefined wealth and declared greed is good. We’ve redefined marriage. We’ve created celebrity preachers and focused on the cash flow.

    Are these new ways better? Do we know better? Are there no rules?

    Perhaps we should look at the statistics. A divorce rate of 50%, give or take. Same in and out of Christendom. Single parent families and poverty growing hand in hand. Gay marriage now sweeping the nation like a tidal wave. Does it make any difference?

    Yet Jesus broke the rules. He worked on the sabbath and hung out with tax collectors, Samaritans, and worse. He defended the immoral. So it doesn’t seem to be about the rules, but rather about the consequences.

    I don’t know what to think. I’ve got enough trouble managing my own sin so I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the sin of others. I will tell you this. When you say the “church,” I think of all Christians. I think we are in it together, even if we have broken into the thousands or tens of thousands of denominations that are often repeated here. We ARE brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m still struggling with what to do with that fact.

    God bless you all. I’ll keep reading. You all keep writing. The truth is out there if we can only understand it. But is the truth in ourselves? Or is it elsewhere? And so the discussion moves in circles.

  95. J.U.

    “Yet Jesus broke the rules. He worked on the sabbath and hung out with tax collectors, Samaritans, and worse. He defended the immoral. So it doesn’t seem to be about the rules, but rather about the consequences.”

    Be careful bout what you write. Jesus may have “broken” the cultural rules, but I believe if you read carefully He never broke the Torah rules. If He did He would not be a savior or worthy of being the sacrificial lamb for humanity.

    We can’t remake Jesus in our image!

    Statements like yours are a means to justify our sin, individually and culturally, rather than recognize it for what it is.

    BTW – I too struggle daily, if not by the minute with my sin, but I will never justify it.

  96. Jesus didn’t defend the immoral, he forgave them. I think there is a big difference. With the woman caught it adultery, he didn’t condemn her but he did tell her to sin no more. There is a difference.

  97. Andrew,
    The only reason why I would object about what someone says about their EX pastor (take note of the EX) is that he is the EX

    You, me and others made a decision to make them an EX – let i go. Some of you guys are like a divorced guy who is remarried and all he can talk about is his ex wife (pastor) and her family (CC)

    Give it up and put all of your energies into your new wife (pastor) and her family (church)

  98. ” he didn’t condemn her but he did tell her to sin no more.”

    Actually, he did condemn her – if someone had stepped forward with no sin, Jesus would have handed him the rocks. But, no witnesses against her.

  99. Give it up and put all of your energies into your new wife (pastor) and her family (church)
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Whoa, with this topic of gay marriage, not so sure its good idea of mixing metaphors. 🙂

  100. Actually, he did condemn her – if someone had stepped forward with no sin, Jesus would have handed him the rocks.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Actually, Jesus was without sin and choose not to condemn her. That is the amazing thing of the story.

  101. “I’d fight the war over again, but nobody would give a damn. Evidently, the Gospel is only at stake if you’re gay.”

    World Vision doesn’t preach the Gospel. Stearns has an aberrant view of the Gospel, and he makes it VERY clear that preaching the Gospel, was never his goal, at any time:

    Stearns: “We don’t proselytize. We do not force our religious beliefs on anyone, and we don’t discriminate in our delivery of aid in any way. If the people we serve want to know why we are there, we tell them. St. Francis once said: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Love put into action is a compelling and attractive worldview.”

    He uses a ridiculous quote from “saint” Francis, a quote that contradicts Scripture. Scripture says, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. They have to hear it verbally, to believe it. Feeding the poor won’t do it.

    And he calls it “religious beliefs”. He doesn’t call it, the truth.

    He never preached the Gospel, he never will, and this flip flop over the last few days, is meaningless in terms of getting souls into heaven. He doesn’t care about souls going to heaven. He cares about his social gospel organization.

  102. Andrew

    MLD’s right. In the account of the Adulterous women Jesus was called upon, and tested, to be the judge of the woman presented to Him. In the Torah witnesses are required to condemn and since Jesus is only the Judge and not the witness He is required to rule according to the Torah, and that is what He is being tested on.

    But Jesus makes the test even bigger, He challenges them about their own sin (where’s the man who should be condemned with her) and they all leave. So when they all leave there’s no one to witness her sin and therefore no ability to judge or to condemn her. He admonishes her to “sin no more.”

    Jesus passes the Torah test presented to Him, a woman gets another chance and He teaches a bigger story.

    Now had there been witnesses (at least two)…

  103. Andrew:

    “He never preached the Gospel, he never will, and this flip flop over the last few days, is meaningless in terms of getting souls into heaven.”

    I said it in my post, WV serves the church and the individual who provides funds, not those whom they feed. They are a service provider filling a hole you and I can’t do on our own. They are not a teaching/preaching organization and I believe they don’t hide that fact. Send missionaries if you want teaching/preaching.

    But they do hold themselves as a “Christian” organization and therefore should live to whatever the standards are of those they serve and represent.

  104. We of all people are the most blessed as we belong to Christ. We also are part of a body that does and will continue to do very incredible things in the name of Christ while glorifying His name. I can’t imagine life outside of Christ as I have no clue what would have become of me.

    I am self conscious of every weakness I possess and the bad I am very capable of doing. There’s a war I enlisted in all those years ago when I came to Christ. I experience it daily with choices I make and the choices others make as well. I never wanted that war. I wanted the easy and predictable christian life. It took me ages to figure out easy and predictable wasn’t going to be available.

    We live in a sin infested world that manages to stain us all to varying degrees. The stains always look better on everyone else though and for me it’s easier to focus on the stains of others while justifying or ignoring my own. Yet I can never escape the reality of who I am and what I am very capable of if not for God’s grace and if I can better understand how far short I fall my eyes won’t focus so much on others.

    When I choose to see the absolute miracle my salvation is and all of the incredible people who are trying to live the Christ honoring life I have hope in the midst of all the unfairness and absolute stench of things done by those who name the name of Jesus.

    I say to those suffering with mental illness that even though circumstances scream out that God has left the building He has not. There is hope for us here and now even though it isn’t going to be easy. As Jimmy Valvano said… “don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

  105. “They are a service provider filling a hole you and I can’t do on our own”

    First, technically I am Andy, not Andrew. Two different people. He got upset in the past about that, and I don’t blame him.

    And they’re not filling any hole, in my opinion, as some other financial things were brought out years ago, but that’s another story.

    Christians are called to preach the Gospel. If they’re not preaching the Gospel, then they’re just an aid organization. So don’t call them a Christian organization. Of course, they don’t want to lose that title, since it means more $$$$$$$$ to have the title.

  106. In the Torah witnesses are required to condemn and since Jesus is only the Judge and not the witness He is required to rule according to the Torah, and that is what He is being tested on.
    ______________________________________________________________________
    But being God himself (speaking of Jesus) was not He also a witness?

  107. Bob, Andy and I are different people. We share some views in common and others we completely differ on but just be careful who you are addressing in post.

  108. Bob,

    I think you completely misread what I meant. In fact, your conclusion from my writing is 180 degrees opposite of what I meant. I guess I’m not a very clear writer. My bad.

  109. I re-read what I had written. Not very clear, I admit. I don’t have that gift of communications, and that is obvious to me.

    But I also think about something I heard once that no one can listen if they are busy thinking about how they will reply. I’m not picking on anyone, but I wonder if we all are not careful when we read what others have written or say and are too busy forming our response to carefully listen to what others are saying.

    Is that the source of a lot of conflict on this blog and in this world? Do we not listen well enough?

    I know it is a busy world and we are all very busy. But we probably should spend twice as much time listening to each other, after all we have two ears, before we rush to respond.

    I read all the time on this blog “when did I say that?” in response to a response. We should all have a goal to understand each other at the same time we’re trying to make our points and reply to what we just read.

  110. J.U.,

    I really, really like what you bring to the table here.
    Just thought I’d say so.

  111. Ok I have three apologies to make:

    Andrew and Andy I’m sorry. I mixed the two of you up. Whoever I responded to about WV. I do agree those who follow Jesus are supposed to speak and walk it out (preach and live it).

    J.U. If I missed your point it is a fault of this medium of communication. I’m sorry if that is the case.

    General comment about Jesus though. He had to be perfect or else He’s not the sacrificial Lamb. Perfect means He lived both God’s written and unwritten Torah (law) to perfection, if not let’s all become anything we want because He’s just a he.

  112. Andrew (I hope I got it right). 😉

    Being God is not a player, remember He voluntarily lowered Himself.

    He is being tested by the leaders and His knowledge and execution (pardon the pun) of Torah. If He failed they would have blown Him off as just another wacko itinerant rabbi common to the time.

    Think of it in a similar way to how the Devil tested Him in the wilderness.

  113. Erunner,

    I missed your comment and will now add my amen…

  114. Being God is not a player, remember He voluntarily lowered Himself.

    He is being tested by the leaders and His knowledge and execution (pardon the pun) of Torah. If He failed they would have blown Him off as just another wacko itinerant rabbi common to the time.

    Think of it in a similar way to how the Devil tested Him in the wilderness.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Bob, Yes, and I understand the point of him following the Torah and I understood that he passed the test but I still see something in the story with the women caught in adultery that is amazing to me. Jesus specifically said, “neither do I condemn you”. I think it would have been sufficient for Him to say “where are your accusers?” but Jesus didn’t stop there and said, “Neither do I condemn you” after the others had left. I don’t think Jesus had to say those comforting words to her especially after the others had left since the test was already over and this was just Him and the woman.

  115. Andrew:

    I have to go but I thought I would say this, “I agree with you!”

    I mentioned Jesus gave them more than a test. They thought they were testing a itinerant Rabbi, but they got more.

    But, the problem I have is over the decades I hear preacher consistently representing Jesus as some sort of liberal, cheating and Torah breaker when He was never any of those. He did challenge the major interpretations of Torah and even was split on the various “oral traditions” of the day, but in all of it He always brought more to the table when challenged.

    Of course God saw her sin, but think about it, does God ever condemn people for their sin or is it the sin itself which condemns us? Oh there’s a lot of teaching in those simple words of Jesus.

    Thank you for the response and for at least hearing my apology over any confusion of persons.

    Got to go.

  116. Hey Bob. Thanks so much! You got some really great insight. ttyl.

  117. Bob, I agree completely. Jesus was born without sin and lived a life without sin. Otherwise he could not provide the ransom sacrifice.

    Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath by the Pharisees. He replied that “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

    Was he violating the law or was he just breaking one of the hundreds of rules that the Jews had established beyond God’s instruction? I believe it was the latter because Jesus was without sin.

    We now live under his grace and freedom and so our interpretation of the rules can be difficult and confusing. And, although Jesus came to fulfill the law, that doesn’t mean he rejected the law.

    Again, it can be confusing. That is one reason, I believe, that there are so many interpretations and denominations in this world.

    But my point was and is that we are not to rewrite the Bible to match our modern society. Rather we should adjust our behavior to match God’s instructions. I think that most of the disagreements here and elsewhere are on the specific way we are to do this, not the basic premise.

    I do believe Jesus was sinless. However, he went out into the world of sin seeking followers. The story of the Samaritan at the well and the prostitute brought to him for judgement both teach me of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and grace – as well as other lessons. Yes, there are rules. Yes we all break them. The lesson to me is God’s forgiveness. Yet we are not to break these rules just so we can increase forgiveness, nor are we to do things, although allowed, that would cause others to stumble.

    It is a difficult path. It is actually an impossible path. Only God Himself could stay within those narrow bounds. That’s why grace and forgiveness are so important.

  118. And thank you Michael for your #113. Thank you all for giving me much to consider.

  119. “Christians are called to preach the Gospel. If they’re not preaching the Gospel, then they’re just an aid organization. So don’t call them a Christian organization. Of course, they don’t want to lose that title, since it means more $$$$$$$$ to have the title.”

    Christians are called to love their neighbors. Feed the poor, clothe the unclothed, house people, speak out when there is injustice etc.
    there is no “heirarchy” of what is Christian and what is not.
    speaking words does not trump serving others.
    They are not “just” an aid organization if they aren’t going around “just” preaching.

  120. Interesting discussion I hope everyone has a nice weekend.

  121. The only “dialogue” Christians need to have on the topic of homosexuality is “It is sin, repent.” This should be said calmly and firmly, without hysterics. The idea that we need to be “in dialogue” with proponents of the homosexual agenda is just an intermediary stage that will lead to full on acceptance. The “I believe homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says so but we need to be in dialogue with those who think otherwise” is a compromising step that I will never take.

    Are we embarrassed by what the Bible says? Does it make us look like fundie troglodytes in the eyes of the cool bloggers? Who cares! God is my judge, not them.

  122. Xenia is again 100% correct on this one. Why even let them put their nose in the door? Look we already let the liberals in the church (those who have already tossed the faith in the trash can) – even led by the ELCA have the cool name -“Progressive” when in fact most are just either rank unbelievers or whatever the medical term is for a person with no spine.

  123. I’m not compromising my beliefs at all.
    I’m saying that truth needs to be communicated with love and grace and that we need to be as concerned about the sins common to our own camp more than those outside of it.
    There is a huge disconnect here…as I read the Scriptures the attitude and the heart behind the proclamation of the truth is almost as important as the truth itself.
    I was asked about this mess by a pagan family member…and it’s one hell of a process to get people to put aside the harsh rhetoric on both sides to actually hear what the core issues are.

  124. Michael,
    I think what we are addressing is the conversation about homosexuality and it’s role in the church.
    You are saying that the conversation should be polite
    Some of us are saying that there should not even be a conversation.

  125. MLD,

    That’s at least honest…most don’t want to have the conversation.
    How do we persuade people without dialog?
    I thought faith came by hearing…
    This is a different culture…I was raised in Sunday School and sang “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the word for me! I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E!”
    Today, we need a little better apologetic for people who were never in Sunday School…

  126. We seem to forget as well that we are speaking about real people…and we must speak not only to people who are gay, but to those have gay loved ones, friends, and family.
    That takes more than just a declaration of sin and repentance.

  127. No, you have the emphasis on the wrong part of the conversation. This is not how the church deals with real people who struggle with sin – and homosexuality being one of them. No one discounts the importance of that.

    But you know very well that we are speaking of the activists who want the church to negotiate. Oh, they won’t say it that way but it takes quite the naive person to not see that is the agenda.

    I said yesterday to someone, they, the homosexual community want only one response from the church… strike homosexuality from your sin list or face the consequences. They will take nothing less.

    Holding “conversations” with them is no less than when Israel holds conversations with the Arabs … and Israel 100% of the time walks away with less land and more scorn from the world community.

  128. Did St. Paul tell the Church in Corinth to dialogue with the member who was having an affair with his step mother? No, he said to excommunicate him until he repented.

    Concerning homosexuals and other sinners outside the Church, I am not too concerned about them. They are like all people before they become Christians- sinners in need of a Savior. I don’t expect them to practice Christian morality although I would appreciate if they could keep it to themselves, thank you. I am alarmed by the increasing acceptance of homosexual sin within the church and the WV debacle was an example of that. When a so-called Christian ministry accepts “married” same-sex couples they are making the statement that sexual perversion is no big deal, this is the 21st century, we are enlightened so deal with it. Homosexuals who claim to be married are not struggling with their sin, they are embracing it and expecting us to embrace it, too. I will not.

    Maybe some day you might preach against homosexuality and some group might take offense and picket your church and call you and your members names. This recently happened to one of our parishes in San Francisco. The priest and parishioners did not respond in anger, they responded in prayer. But they did not “dialogue” with them. “Dialogue” means both sides have something to say. Those promoting the homosexual agenda have nothing to say that the Church needs to hear. We owe them no apologies. The Fred Phelps bunch is not part of the Church so we don’t have to apologize for them. If someone comes to a Christian and says “Help me, I am a sinner, lead me to Christ so my sins can be forgiven” — That is a dialogue I can agree with.

    Even if the person struggles big time and falls many times, it is the struggle and the repentance that counts. The homosexual who says he is without sin is a liar, to paraphrase St. John. The homosexual who says “I am a sinner, Lord have mercy on me” is a brother/sister in Christ and has all my support and respect, no matter how many times they fall.

  129. MLD,

    By focusing on the extremes, we ignore the rank and file person who may have genuine concerns and confusion over these issues.
    The activists are rude and cruel and we match them in intensity, not in love and truth, but with equally harsh rhetoric.
    The early church won people over by with truth and love and their deaths if necessary.
    It’s a radically different model.

  130. Do you really think a blogger and like Ms. Evans will be satisfied until every church and Christian accepts homosexuality as a non-sin? Don’t you see that this is the goal?

  131. Xenia,

    I haven’t read anything from her that would make me think that is her goal.
    By the same token, I’m not sure that she understands why this is such a big issue for some of us.
    With the rhetoric at the pitch it’s at now, I doubt she will.

  132. I’m not sure that she understands…<<<<

    Well that much is certain.

  133. Michael,
    These people you speak of are not extremists at all. They are run of the mill homosexuals who decided to get off their butts and take what in their mind is rightfully theirs – the Christian Church.

    Are you saying a christian who gets off his butt to protest abortion is an extremist?

    I said in my #130 that I was not speaking of those who struggle with sin.

    The ELCA sat down and had conversation with the homosexual and look what it got them. Peace , love and homosexuals in their pulpit.

    I would say “make your own application” but the results are foretold – your church will be homosexual friendly … to put it nicely.

  134. MLD,

    No, my church will still hold to the biblical teaching on the issue…the three or four times in my life I’ll actually teach on it.
    We may succumb to the apostasy of gluttony when the summer barbecue season hits, however.

  135. Michael, can I ask a simple and direct question. One that truly is a yes or no and that I have not seen you directly deal with in any of the discussions this week.

    If you are a ruling elder at a church with formal membership – and a legally married homosexual approaches your church, who comes in full agreement with the various Christian doctrines of the church, will you support his/her membership into the church in good standing if there is no desire to repent of the homosexual lifestyle.

    That is all that Xenia, MLD and I have been saying in this discussion. Somehow the discussion keeps getting shifted to peripheral issues – still important, still worthy of discussion, but peripheral to this main question..

    Is active, unrepentant, homosexual public lifestyle a disqualifier for membership in the local church?

  136. Looks like we had a nice ghetto convo here this afternoon. Again we are back to the matter of settling this at the table. Might be right.

  137. London wrote: “there is no “heirarchy” of what is Christian and what is not”

    There isn’t???

    Fine. Then your statement is self-defeating. You can’t define Christian. I can and will, so I stand by my original assertion. World Vision is not a Christian organization. They are an aid organization at best.

  138. Andy,

    I would have agreed. But then they capitulated and loaded it with Christianese so, the husk is there I have no idea if there is fruit inside.

  139. Amazing how the willingness to listen and dialog brings your orthodoxy into question.
    I have stated my position clearly half a dozen times this week.
    I’ll write slowly this time.
    I believe in the traditional teaching of the church that says homosexual behavior is sinful.
    Thus I could not allow a gay married couple to share in the Lord’s Table with my church.

    The other issues that have been brought up may be “peripheral” to you, but I think they are very germane to the whole discussion.

    There are a bunch of pastors I wouldn’t let near the elements either.

  140. I think any Christian would be willing to listen to a homosexual (or any sinner) that was struggling to live a pure life and wanted a sympathetic ear. Every pastor I have ever had, be he Baptist, CC or Orthodox, would take all the time it took to give a listening ear to someone who wanted to step out of the darkness and into the light. If one of my family members or a friend was struggling with same sex attraction and wanted help, I would listen and talk with them forever, for as long as it took. This is not what the WV debacle was all about.

    I don’t see much point in dialoguing with members of advocacy groups that want to force their agenda on Christian organizations. They can go whistle.

  141. Michael – as you yourself brought up, homosexuality is no different than the other sins we have be talking about. So, would you commune the fat guy?

  142. So lets imagine a scenario where a homosexual advocacy group wants to dialogue with a Christian Church. How would it go?

    Advocate: We think you should rethink the Christian stand on homosexuality.
    Church: No.

    Advocate: We think you should start hosting homosexual weddings.
    Church: No.

    Advocate: We think you should have a pro-homosexual ministry.
    Church: No.

    Advocate: We think you should hire homosexuals in ministry positions.
    Church: No

    Advocate: We think you should ordain homosexuals
    Church: No.

    Advocate: We think you should contribute money to homosexual advocacy groups
    Church: No.

    Advocate: We think you should rent space to us for homosexual dances and club activities
    Church: No.

    Advocate: We think you should use our “rainbow” Sunday School curriculum.
    Church: No.

    Advocate: We think you should allow homosexual couples to go to your married couples activities.
    Church: No.

  143. Well, like I said the other day, if WV had made the announcement that they hired openly adulterers for their board ‘in the best interest of the firm’ we would not being having this conversation or if we did it would not be in the tone of dialogue and reconciliation

  144. Then your statement is self-defeating. You can’t define Christian”

    I can’t??

    News to me.

  145. The word of God never changes, but human knowledge and understanding of it does change. Hence, the reformation. And, the reformation continues. So, Christians, in humility and with listening ears, should always the willing to audit their beliefs to confirm that those beliefs are in conformity with the will of God as revealed in his word and to reform those beliefs as necessary. This includes listening respectfully to those who question our beliefs. I like how Paul put it in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel….”

    I like the way Ben Witherington put it in one of his books: Everyone is welcome to come as he/she is, but no one is welcome to stay as he/she is. Christians are called to lay aside the old man…and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image. Therefore, there is no siting still for any of us.

    What troubles me as a Christian about this issue, exemplified by the energy expended by so many of this blog post, is that many Christians are so self righteous about homosexual sin, but I wonder if we’d have this many comments to a post about adultery, covetousness, slandering, etc. If we were, who would be left to be a member of a church.

    I get it. Many heterosexuals are repulsed by the idea of inserting a penis into another man’s anus. I am too. I imagine God is also grieved (as he is with all sin). Either admit we’re bigots because we’re repulsed by homosexual sex, or get over it.

    So, what can we do about it? We don’t cave on our values. But neither do we demonize those living in this sin. Some probably love it. Others are probably ashamed and scared. Many probably wonder why they are different and wish they weren’t. So, let’s no lump everyone in one basket. I believe there’s a ministry here for people called to minister to this sin. We need to find the compassion to welcome everyone as they are, provided they understand what we believe in and that we expect those we welcome to embrace the gospel of Christ.

    And let’s not start with the whole “persecution of the church” BS. If you want to know what persecution is, I’m sure you can Google several countries in the contemporary world where Christians place their lives at risk every day for their faith. And by the way, the way of Christ is the way of the Cross. That’s why Paul rejoiced in his sufferings. Why do American Christians expect the plush, we’re a Christian nation, way of Christ?

    I hope we can soon move on to another topic, like maybe what could we possibly do or contribute as a blog community to relief for the landslide victims in Washington?

  146. Jean,

    Excellent post….thank you.

  147. “I get it. Many heterosexuals are repulsed by the idea of inserting a penis into another man’s anus. I am too. ”

    Aren’t we just as repulsed in a man does that to a woman?? or are there 2 standards?

  148. Tomorrow I will most likely have those in church who have confessed to the pastor that they are struggling with homosexual desires – not as a fluke, but because they have been coming every week for months or even years and know they are loved by their pastor, not vilified as a special class of sinner, and their sin has been kept in confidence by the pastor they prayed with. I trust all of you can say the same as we all agree on the things that we have all been agreeing on over and over this week.

    Now I am curious to ask MLD and Xenia both something, as I believe they only offer the Lord’s Table to members, and my original membership question was answered in light of the Table.

    My question to you two, how would your church handle a situation where someone just wanted to be there, and was willing to pass on communion. Maybe in this hypothetical they actually are a little vocal about not just telling everyone they are in a loving, happy same-sex marriage, but the fact they are being so denied communion despite their desire to partake and how wrong it is…maybe even trying to get sympathetic ears amongst the other members of the church.

    Would you churches allow them to stay, longterm, on those terms. Even if they did not cause division would your church allow them to stay longterm as openly, publicly people in a same-sex marriage.

    I would also ask if it is possible for them to be members (in other words members but not allowed the Table) because they otherwise believe in the statement of faith. Or is their homosexuality acceptance a sole disqualifier from membership.

    I sincerely ask because of the difference between your churches and mine, and that you are familiar (both) with CC world

    Thanks.

  149. I ask because the Corinthian passage does not have Paul denying them communion, but kicking them out of the church entirely…however, I also know that communion was a vital, regular part of worship in Corinth so the one sort of follows the other back then most likely.

  150. This may be a duplicate – I was having internet issues

    Steve,
    I think it would / should be handled in the same manner that you would an adulterer showing up at church with his 25 yr younger girl friend, and having the same dialog.

    Excommunication is for those who are known to be living in unrepentant sin after counseling to the contrary.

    As to the other question – membership is to get to the table. Now some long time members do keep themselves away from the table for unkown periods of time and for unknown reasons. As sharp pastor will know who is avoiding and go speak to them.

  151. I think it would / should be handled in the same manner that you would an adulterer showing up at church with his 25 yr younger girl friend, and having the same dialog.Excommunication is for those who are known to be living in unrepentant sin after counseling to the contrary.
    ———————————————————–

    Thanks MLD – When I was leading our home Bible study back in the 1990s a guy I was friends with was a regular, and he started to bring a girl to the study – they would go to dinner first, or get coffee afterwards or whatever….

    Then, after many weeks someone ELSE in the study came up to me and told me that the woman was married all this time – that she had admitted so and that the guy knew this as well. The thought was the marriage was over…except of course it was not over.

    I don’t go around playing Holy Spirit, and I sure don’t assume I have to interrogate people who visit….I was shocked.

    But once that news was known to others in the study, even as it was news to me, I now had an immediate responsibility before the Lord to not let a little leaven leaven the whole loaf. I needed to talk to the male friend and encourage him to break this off, and if he would not then he would not be allowed at the study.

    The glory in this story is that the night I was going to meet with him over coffee and have this conversation (the next week upon learning the knowledge), she did not come that night. When we met after study he told me the Lord convicted him that week to break it off – before I even had to tell him (though I did tell him what I was going to do if he had not)

    That is what this conversation has been about for me all week. Gracious, loving, but uncompromising leadership principles in the Body of Christ, whether WV or the local church.

  152. In my church, any prepared member of a canonical Orthodox may receive communion at any EO church, not just a members of a particular parish. “Prepared” at my parish means having been to confession the night before and having kept a short fast. I have seen visitors approach the chalice and heard Fr. G. ask them if they were Orthodox and if they have been to confession and if the answer is “no,” they get a blessing instead of Communion. Sometimes he will take the person (if Orthodox) off to the side to hear their confession and then continue on with Communion. Can a person lie to Fr. G. during Confession? I’m sure it happens all the time. But God is listening and you can’t fool God.

    An excommunicated person can’t receive Communion. If he or she is repentant, they will go through a process of bringing them back into full Communion, and they can of course attend services.

    I think a person could attend services indefinitely without going up for Communion. It depends how large the parish is and the personality of the priest how long they can go without being asked about it. If it’s a large parish with an introvert priest they could probably go for a very long time as long as they didn’t draw attention to themselves. If same sex couple held hands or acted like a married couple, people would notice, the priest would be alerted and I don’t know what would happen next because I have not seen this ever happen.

    If a person has homosexual leanings, it all depends on their struggle. We all sin and we all struggle with our sins. I don’t know what the priest says to a member who confesses a homosexual act. I suspect it would be the same if they committed fornication? If a sin is grievous they might be asked to stay away from the chalice a few weeks but if they are repentant they won’t be excommunicated. Everything seems A-ok at my parish and I don’t know of any situations that could give me an insight as to what is done.

  153. Well Jean, the reason we are talking about the sin of homosexuality is because it is the topic of this thread.

  154. Thank you too, Xenia.

  155. Talk about self-righteousness. Jean gets to frame and interpret the reasons and emotions behind those who have clearly expressed opposition to the sin of homosexuality as it relates to church polity and discipline, by calling them “bigots”, and Michael says it’s an “excellent post”.

    Wow.

  156. Scott,

    Way to hit the hot button.
    What I heard Jean saying is that we react more viscerally to this than other moral sins and I agree wholeheartedly.
    Bigots may be an unfortunate choice of words, but I thought the whole of the post was well said.

  157. Scott, It seems the so-called progressives have ridiculously equated same-sex marriage to interracial marriage for quite some time – that the church’s stance on the former is just as wrong as it was on the latter and just as all but the most bigoted churches now accept inter-racial marriages, so all but the most bigoted churches will do the same with same-sex marriages.

    I’ve read or heard it expressed 1000 times from the liberal progressive folks the last several years.

    It is a “wow” moment for this blog though. Especially the “amen”

  158. This is ridiculous.
    I have affirmed the churches traditional teaching on this matter.
    if anybody read what Jean wrote, it was affirmed there as well.
    It’s not enough.
    Nobody here has compared the gay marriage issue to racial civil rights or if they have I sure missed that post.
    We can’t be harsh enough to satisfy the loving brethren here…but God help us when we point out the sins in our own camp.

  159. Steve,

    Where the hell on this blog did someone make that comparison?
    Where?
    I want to see it that “wow” moment with my own eyes.

  160. I’m looking and looking and I can’t find it.
    I sure as hell didn’t say that, Jean didn’t say that…who said it?

  161. So let’s look at what Jean actually said.

    “I get it. Many heterosexuals are repulsed by the idea of inserting a penis into another man’s anus. I am too. I imagine God is also grieved (as he is with all sin). Either admit we’re bigots because we’re repulsed by homosexual sex, or get over it.”

    Please note that he/she is including him/herself in this statement, not throwing a rock at someone else.

    The point, (as I understand it) is that this sin grosses out those of us who do not participate in it in a way that other sins don’t.
    I will affirm that.
    I am bigoted against this behavior far more than most others.

    There is no idea of racial issues whatsofreaking ever.

    So… if this is the comment that this person and myself are being misrepresented by, I’ll wait for the apology.

  162. Michael,
    Sorry, but calling those who call homosexuality sin bigots “is” equating them with racists of some sort.

    “I get it. Many heterosexuals are repulsed by the idea of inserting a penis into another man’s anus. I am too. I imagine God is also grieved (as he is with all sin). Either admit we’re bigots because we’re repulsed by homosexual sex, or get over it.”

    Basically this says we are bigots or we are bigots who need to get over it.
    Am I to just roll over anytime someone compares me to a racist?
    Is that the dialogue we are talking about here?
    Time to quit acting like we are somehow just not getting each other’s arguments.
    I here them loud and clear.
    They are wrong.

  163. There was nothing there at all about race.
    Are we not more repulsed by this sin than others?
    I think we’re reacting to a common use of the word that was not intended in this case.
    Why can you not see that he/she also affirmed the church’s stance?
    Why is any comment thinking that the reaction to homosexuality is out of proportion of that we make to other sins so constantly dismissed as without substance or liberal?

  164. Furthermore, as I already said, Jean was including him/herself in this comment.

  165. Michael,
    Everyone knows what the word bigot implies.
    Everyone here knows that it is being used to make us all look like Westboro members in society every day on this issue.
    It is a common tactic
    Sort of similar to throwing the word Nazi out there to immediately gain the high ground on your opponent.
    Not hard to make the connections.
    Don’t treat us like we are being dense on this.
    That is insulting.

  166. Derek,

    You are accusing a person who has affirmed the same position you hold and I hold of calling persons who hold this position racists.
    This makes no sense to me.
    They would be accusing themselves of the same as they have affirmed the same position.
    This person appears to be one of “us”, with some of the same issues i have about how we engage it.
    I think they used an unfortunate word, which I have done as well so I’ll drop my rocks.

  167. Jean,
    I am about to go to bed for the night.

    Michael says that you include yourself in the group of bigots.

    I would rather hear your word on the matter.
    Please say where you are on this matter.
    It seemed to me that your “we” was a convention for the church as a whole.

    So are we bigots?
    Are you a bigot?
    Did you include yourself in those who see homosexuality as a sin?

  168. Are we not more repulsed by this sin than others?
    ————————————————-
    No, Michael…”WE” are not. And “WE” have been saying this for a week. Believe me a liar if you desire, let the stereotype rule my reputation rather than my actual actions, words, and beliefs…(that’s par for the course around here a lot of the time anyway). This inclusive “we” that gets thrown around here is nauseating. Someone comes on here and tries to include Michael N. in a “We don’t really care about the poor or the immigrant” and all hell would break loose from you.

    I have a visceral reaction to any sin, when I see it destroying someone I love and minister to – either directly or his/her family.

    I pastor hundreds of people. Drugs, alcohol, porn, adultery, abandonment, violence, rip-off artists, ALL are sins that I deal with regularly, and I either see the direct damage to the offender, or the family collateral damage (or sometimes both). And yeah, sometimes the tears and prayers are about someone leaving spouse and children to pursue sexual pleasures with someone of the same sex.

    And then there is the doctrinal delusions and beliefs that likewise are ungodly and need repenting of as well. Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, New Age garbage. The bigot word is tossed around a lot in this world for daring to exclude Mormons and Islam from the Kingdom too.

    Christianity has always been about faith and works. It is not enough to talk the talk if one does not walk the walk. We hear that all the time here, and we SHOULD. It’s one of the good things about the blog. Go help somebody in need. Remember the least of these. Likewise, it does not matter how giving and loving someone is if they do not talk the talk. I’m not embracing as a brother someone who denies the foundations of our faith no matter how many poor people he feeds. By the way, neither does World Vision!!

    And so, for the last time, I too will repeat what I have said over and over…as have others here. The issue with this sin is not extra repulsion, but the unique place it holds in the nation of mandating acceptance. THAT was what the WV issue was all about. That is what Phil and Duck Dynasty was all about. That is what led to attacks on a wedding baker and photographer (and note, I think it is pretty poor form to debate levels of persecution. Sure, losing your business, your livelihood, your ability to take care of your family is not the same as being beaten and jailed…but it sure is persecution for Christ’s sake when it is caused 100% by radical homosexual activists who want the Christian destroyed rather than take a referral and give their business elsewhere)

    If good old Phil had just used as an example of a decaying society something like adultery, violence, drug abuse…nobody would have batted an eye. He used homosexuality and was fired for it.

    I did not get into that cause, because A&E is not a Christian organization. Phil and the gang are rich and they were going to be just fine. My only comment was to point out A&E’s hypocrisy in running the show’s reruns practically 24 hours a day even after they fired Phil.

    And as I also said, if WV had simply said they were now embracing homosexuality, no longer seeing it as a sin and incompatible with marriage, I would have just dismissed them as another PC casualty in the Body of Christ. No different than those within the Lutherans, Presbyterians, and other denominational splits.However, Stearns wrote a pathetic 5-page article for CT attempting to justify their decision while calling it love, unity and following Jesus, and so I got a little passionate that the people I pastor would read such reasoning unchallenged. Thus my lengthy FB article. It has been a topic here this week too…thus the commentary.

    And where I come from, to call someone a bigot is a pretty deep insult. Looks like Derek and Scott can see that too. But like I said, I’ve been called it 1000 times over the years on political blogs having this discussion – by strangers though…and almost always by people who admit a hatred for ALL things Christian.

    So maybe using the language of the haters, used in the arguments of the haters, to then try and supposedly convey a wholly different message than the haters is not very wise. Demanding an apology from those who rightly take offense to being called bigots (even with the inclusive “we”)…likewise.

  169. Well, Steve, many of us are.
    I count myself as one is who naturally disgusted by that kind of behavior more than most others.
    My friend wrote about this earlier in the week and I think he makes a great point.

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/the-real-issue-that-no-one-wants-to-talk-about

    I didn’t expect that you would apologize for accusing me of giving the “amen” to something I was in no way affirming.
    I got what I expected.
    Good night.

  170. I need some input from the conservative side of the aisle. A man at my church who is a good friend is under ‘church discipline’. He is a handyman working toward getting his contractor’s license. He greatly under bid a remodeling job for a lady at church and walked off the job when he ran out of money. She reported him and the pastor told him to step down from his (volunteer) ministry. He told me that he’s run out of money and there’s no way he could pay the difference to finish the job. He believes a contractor he knows is finishing the job.
    This happened about 6 months ago and the pastor set no time limit. Is this the type of sin that should require a lay minister to be removed?
    This friend of mine used to be a Hell’s Angel. You wouldn’t know it to see him now. He does a lot of volunteer work at church and in the community. He really loves the Lord and loves people. He is well loved and respected. He says this is “killing him” and is considering going to another church. I told him the enemy wants to separate him from his friends and will beat him with guilt over it. I recommended he ask the Lord to supply the money and leave it there.

  171. Oops! I meant to post this on Open Blogging.

  172. Oy Vey! I have never seen Michael with such a blind spot.
    1.) We have all been talking about the homosexual activists trying to command a position in today’s Christian Church and you keep retreating to some pew sitter who is struggling with his sexuality. Two different positions and you know it,
    2.) You say you affirm our position … but you have spent 3 days arguing against it.
    3.) You continually avoid the fact that by far the majority of church people, when confroted with their sin will cop to it. They may drag their feet and may return to it – BUT they will admit it is sin. The homosexual will not only NOT admit to sin, but will accuse you of bigotry in the mean time. This is your biggest blindspot.
    4.) Posting the Intermonk’s article does not help your position. When he converted to Lutheranism, he made the conscious choice to join the ELCA – the homosexual friendly ‘wing’ – the one which had already allowed for homosexual membership and has since OK’d homosexuals to be the pastors.

    No one is casting individuals aside – we are speaking out against a mainline movement and if you don’t think that there is a mainline movement, then you are naive. This is not just a movement against the Church by homosexuals, but by the so called “progressivces” of all stripes in our society (Hollywood as mentioned, the media & a runaway Justice Department) – who are actually using and abusing the homosexual community for their own anti Christ / anti Church reasons.

    This is no small issue – if you are happy with what you see in the ELCA, the Presb USA, the Episcopal Church the UCC … well, just keep advocating your position… they all dialoged with the homosexuals instead of, as Xenia said, just say NO!

  173. MLD.

    1. I have made distinctions between the various groups as necessary.
    2. Bald faced lie. I have consistently affirmed the traditional position of the church.
    3. The point from day one has been that the church (God help me if I say “we”) doesn’t even bother to confront many sins in the traditional church that the Bible addresses as sin…effectively denying the sinfulness of those acts.
    4. I posted that as a specific response to my accuser on a specific point.

    I have now been falsely accused and lied about.
    Anyone can read the thread and see what I actually said.

    My point on this issue and others is that we are to comport ourselves as ambassadors of Christ, pleading with people to be reconciled to God.
    Once again, in my ears, we sound like the law of God making sure that people know their condemnation is set.

  174. To welcome and love sinners into the church is not the same as affirming a sinful lifestyle.
    Sadly, the gay activists are demanding that affirmation. Some will not be satisfied until the church proclaims that homosexuality is normal and sanctioned by God.

    There is a huge difference between loving and accepting people into the church, with the hope of each sinner being reconciled to God through faith in Christ, verses the church affirming a sinful lifestyle. (this would/should apply to ALL sin)

    I agree with Xenia’s 145.

  175. 3. “… the church doesn’t confront many sins effectively denying the sinfulness of those acts.”

    Ok: exactly what sin does the church confront?

    Only one: wrong doctrine.

    And that is exactly what we are confronting here.

  176. “Sadly, the gay activists are demanding that affirmation. Some will not be satisfied until the church proclaims that homosexuality is normal and sanctioned by God. ”

    Nonnie gets it. The only thing I will add is that the homosexual activists are not the extreme and they are not the fringe … they are becoming much of the mainline society as I said above (Hollywood, the media, and the runaway Justice Department).

    Look, it even goes to my ELCA mother in law who is sympathetic – and she is by no means extreme or fringe.

    The camel has it’s nose in the tent and the church has decided to be PC.

  177. Michael,
    “Once again, in my ears, we sound like the law of God making sure that people know their condemnation is set.”

    You need to get your hearing check. Our message has been 180 degrees opposite what you just stated. Our message is that your salvation is 100% assured when you repent.

    And please, stop with the “I have been falsely accused and lied about.” None of us do that when you accuse our position – thicken your hide a bit.

  178. Anyone can read the thread and see what I actually said.<<<

    What you continually say is some form of "I affirm the traditional teaching of the church on homosexuality but……

  179. I noticed the Internet Monk Blog also posted this.
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/ashamed

    Which seems to indicate some equate buying from a gay owned grocery store as analogous to supporting a christian organization that employs gay married couples.

    What a crock.
    This is not equivalent.
    Buying food at a gay market would be the equivalent of buying food sacrificed to idols.
    It doesn’t matter in other words.

    Not supporting a Christian organization for employing gay married couples is another matter.
    We are to judge those inside the Church.
    This is where some are going wrong in this whole conversation.
    The WV thing is not about the homosexual world at large.
    It is about a Christian organization deciding to turn a blind eye to OBVIOUS sin.
    This some sin that someone is running around trying to hide, like adultery.
    It is flaunted sin.
    The Corinthian situation applies here.
    In fact the Corinthian solution was started and the organization decided the cost was too high and made a 180.

    Michael, you misrepresent our side just as much as you claim we misrepresent yours.

    There are two sides here.
    One calls for repentance, acceptance and inclusion.
    The other calls for acceptance and inclusion.

    There is a difference in these, but some see no need for repentance, because they deny sin, judgement and hell. Therefore, they will never see the problem.

  180. Crud, left off the misrepresentation part.

    The misrepresentation is the continual conclusion in “we”.
    I have never met a Christian in real life who is acting like you seem to make the “we” sound like.
    No one is hating on gays and advocating for all their rights as Americans to be taken away.
    No one online that I read is Westboro Baptist type hating on gays.
    They are saying the same moderate things about interaction that I continually read here.
    They are tired however of being called bigots and made to seem to be the equivalent of the KKK.
    People better get used to pushback and not the duck and cover they used to expect when someone throws out words to make us look like racists.

    Now I haven’t seen you do this directly to us, but your “we” always includes us in some nebulous category that really only seems to be a few that call themselves Christian.

  181. “This some sin that someone is running around trying to hide, like adultery.”
    should read
    “This isn’t some sin that someone is running around trying to hide, like adultery.”

  182. Zakly. Tired of being called morally inconsistent and hypocritical for thinking a behavior is wrong.

  183. “Michael, you misrepresent our side just as much as you claim we misrepresent yours.”

    “There are two sides here.
    One calls for repentance, acceptance and inclusion.
    The other calls for acceptance and inclusion.”

    My words have been misrepresented.
    I can’t make my position anymore clear.
    Evidently, there’s a third “side”…one that see’s homosexuality as a sin and also sees our hypocrisy in dealing with it.

  184. “Now I haven’t seen you do this directly to us, but your “we” always includes us in some nebulous category that really only seems to be a few that call themselves Christian.”

    This is unreal…now it’s “us” as if I hold to a different doctrine.

  185. Well, I’m convinced.
    Dialog is impossible.
    What I have consistently questioned is “how” we engage this topic, and called the consistency of our beliefs into question.
    That has put me outside the camp despite saying half a dozen times that I hold to the same biblical standard.
    Certainly, if that’s the price one pays inside the Body, then there will be no discussion inside or out of it.
    Meanwhile, inside the Body the churches of known adulterers and abusers will be packed and supported because those leaders chose an acceptable sin.
    You can have it…just don’t think that most don’t see it.

  186. Michael

    Thank you for taking out the comment I was offended by. I’m apologize for the intend I made back to the one who posted it.

    Please accept my apology.

  187. Michael

    I’m not sure what your expectations for dialog were or are. Are people who find the issue more than just another sin supposed to given into the pressure to accept it in some form or another?

    I think your threads haven’t divided at all, rather it has allowed people to safely tell how they feel and believe. Do we have to agree? I don’t think so.

  188. MN is calling us hypocrites, apparently for publicly saying a certain behavior is wrong, without taking specific action against other wrong behaviors. Not trying to twist his words.

    Who is the hypocrite? Me? Exactly how do I need to change so that I can no longer be hypocritical in this area?

  189. Is there some disconnect here.
    Are adulterers and abusers open with their sin?
    No.
    Why do you keep making that somehow equal to this argument?

  190. Steve

    I know many are at church right now and I have already had the opportunity to worship today with others too.

    You commented on are some sins more repulsive than others, I would like to comment and say that in my opinion the answer is yes. I understand to many sin is sin and all sin makes one guilty before God, but I believe sin does have degrees of vileness. In the case of this thread the subject is homosexuality and acceptance of marriage based on it. Is this more vile than others? I think the answer is in our natural reaction to sexual perversion

  191. PP Vet

    I can’t put words in anyone’s mouth but church does have a problem with not doing stuff. We easily allow co-habitators to be a part of our groups because they look the same as us, but without a marriage covenant.

  192. Bob,

    Thank you for asking instead of putting words in my mouth.
    One of the most compelling things Dr. Packer pointed out in the video I posted is that to tell people in sin that their sin is acceptable to God is a denial of the Gospel and in reality, a withholding of grace.
    That has to be (along with the biblical injunctions) the foundation of everything else we say on the topic.

    My concern is that as we speak to unbelievers, or those in the church that are confused about this issue, is that we have little moral authority to speak to this sin as we have a less than stellar record of dealing with our own corruptions.
    My other concern is that we speak the truth in love.
    That we speak with compassion, with our hearts, and with hope recognizing that Christ died for sinners of all stripes.
    There are those who would indeed silence the historical voice of the church, who will be unsatisfied until they exempt us from society.
    There are others, inside and out of the church, who I believe would hear us if we mixed a bit of grace in with our judgements.

    Despite all the furor, the conservative, historical view of the church on homosexual behavior is been presented clearly and boldly by many over and over again on these threads.

    I simply had hoped that the compassion and grace of God had been presented as boldly and clearly.

  193. Derek,

    I made a list here at home the other day of a dozen pastors who I know of that were caught in adulterous situations and simply moved to new locations without any mention of their sins to either congregation.
    I did that in about five minutes.
    If that adultery had been committed with another male, they would be Wal Mart greeters in Guam.
    I’ve spent over a decade chronicling abuses in the church online.
    Everyone of those pastors has a church and congregation to this day.
    They are in good standing with the group they associate with.
    My guess is that thousands will attend Mars Hill services today…despite the fact that we now have multitudes of charges being brought publicly and by pastors and elders who worked there.
    If one of those allegations had involved homosexuality, Driscoll would be holding a cold salmon for a customer at Pikes Place this morning.
    The distaste for leaven depends on who is serving it.

  194. Bob,
    “We easily allow co-habitators to be a part of our groups because they look the same as us, but without a marriage covenant.”

    This may be the response of your church, but not mine or any that I know. A guy and gal may be assumed to be married, but are you telling me once it gets out publically to the church that they are “shacking up” that your pastor will not say something to them?

    Look, 2 guys comoing to church may be assumed to be church buddies – but once they start lobbying for gay issues then the cat is out of the bag.

    How would your pastor react when the guy & gal would like to start a “shacking up” ministry?

  195. MLD:

    My church? Truthfully, “my church” has tolerance for those who attend and live in less than a “traditional” church lifestyle.but, I hold nothing back as far as this (marriage sexuality…) stuff goes, but I also know in a “crowd” can any of us expect those in the crowd to live as we think they all should.

    However, that was a rabbit trail, and to answer your question I have observed that as long as people look and seem “normal” they get accepted in our general and church culture. Rarely do I experience the church leading cultural, it seems to more like the tail of the dog rather than the nose.

    Let me ask you this, “does our culture treat two homosexual women different than two men?

  196. I have a family member who used to be a worship leader and then put out a christian cd. Today he is a hater of christianity and out of the closet homosexual.

    We have had talks where he just flat out unloads on christians and then because of what I hold to tells me I’m part of the problem because I won’t bend.

    I have to think it was a mess for him trying to live a closeted life as a christian while coming to grips with his homosexuality. So he is where he is now and we still love one another but with an understood cease fire if you will.

    Along with everyone here I’ve seen and heard the militant side of the homosexual community. I for one am irked when I am included in a broad brush description of christians usually based on caricatures of so called evangelicals.

    Although off topic that has irked me here on PP when I’ve seen evangelicals marginalized and spoken of in almost similar fashion.

    To that point I believe some here are tired of what they see as the broad brush being applied to them.

    Your failure here Michael is when you come back from a sabbatical you choose to not go with the easy topics! 🙂

  197. erunner,
    “Along with everyone here I’ve seen and heard the militant side of the homosexual community.”

    The point I have been trying to make is that we re not dealing with a “militant side” – gay or straight. You will get just as much flak from non homosexual folks who today think pushing the gay agenda is the thing to do.

    A person does not need to be gay or part of the homosexual community to call the church bigoted or to lobby for holding churches in contempt over this issue.

    A look at the ELCA for example is not an organization of homosexuals – they are Christian straights who decided that the homosexual position was worth discussing – and now they and church groups like them are the #1 advocates in this country actively lobbying for homosexual rights in the church – it’s not even the homosexuals any more.

  198. Try giving the traditional position on morality on a university campus and you will soon realize that 99.99% of your fellow students enthusiastically embrace the pro-homosexual agenda and will cheerfully call you a bigot.

  199. MLD, I’m speaking from personal experience perspective only. Believe me I am fully aware of non homosexuals and their place in all of this. A few I know figure I’m a tea party nut job.

    Where I think progress has been made is to paint the christian community with a broad brush until we all fall into line with the idea homosexuality is not a sin. As we continue to stand behind our convictions I imagine more heat will be applied through various means even through parts of the church as you described.

    On a personal note my attitude towards homosexuals has changed a lot since coming to christ. I came from a background where it was normative to mock and belittle them as freaks of nature. I can say that christ has given me a different heart towards them while I still hold to my personal convictions.

    At times I think it is lost on some that homosexuality does not send a person to hell. It is a person’s rejection of the gospel message that does that. These are people christ died for and at least for me I will seek to demonstrate I am not a Westboro nutjob while holding to my convictions.

  200. MN 197, that is a totally different point: is the penalty suffered in the church and in ministry for committing and then repenting of sin greater for some types of sins than others?

    Yes, but you are skating to another topic to move away from the thin ice you are on, on the current topic.

  201. PP Vet,

    Where am I on thin ice?
    This is the kind of statement that sends me through the roof.
    I have said that homosexual behavior is sin and that I would fence the Table from those who blatantly practice it.
    Where am I biblically incorrect?

  202. MLD:

    “A person does not need to be gay or part of the homosexual community to call the church bigoted or to lobby for holding churches in contempt over this issue.”

    That is a true statement, but that isn’t the subject.

    I hear a couple of things here, one people want to standup for standards and two they want to reach those whom these standards push away. Can it be done?

    I think you are very content with your church, doctrines and life, a very good thing. Not everyone is in such a position of contentment.

  203. “I hear a couple of things here, one people want to standup for standards and two they want to reach those whom these standards push away. Can it be done?”

    We have to try…and how we try will be as important as what we say.

  204. Michael,
    “We have to try…and how we try will be as important as what we say.”

    Perhaps what we are missing is an example. You must have something in mind.

    Pastor Michael, I am Christian and a homosexual, who is in a loving long term same sex marriage, and I am an outcast in most Christian churches. I have been reading on blogs that you have a different attitude … talk to me.

  205. Bob,
    “That is a true statement, but that isn’t the subject. ”

    Sorry, but that is the point – no one was ever talking about individual pew sitters who struggle with their sexuality. This whole thing has been on the Macro level – World Vision – Gay Lobby same sex marriage – following government labor laws.

    On the Macro, i can have discussions about church bigotry towards homosexuals without ever talking to a single homosexual – they have their own long line of surrogates… such as homosexual friendly churches who may not have a single homosexual in their individual local church membership. or as Xenia just pointed out university campuses and their student body.

    Several of us have directed the question to the macro and Michael and a few others have fought back on the micro … the individual – who has not been the topic.

  206. MLD

    I get your point as well as those with the “micros”.

    I agree with Michael about trying.

  207. Bob,
    May Iask you to go to Xenia’s #145 and answer her questions? Would your answers differ from hers? If not, what else is there to discuss?

  208. MLD,

    This thread has been an example.
    I have stated clear convictions, but I’m “on thin ice”.
    It’s the stridency and attitude and the utter unwillingness to hear.
    Hell, I don’t want to talk about it anymore and I am a believer.

  209. It’s the same thing as we’re facing politically.
    The animus and the rhetoric is so severe that there is no hope for communication or change.
    That’s not how the church is supposed to work, but I’m ready to walk away like the progressives are…I’m just going to go a different direction.

  210. and here I though I was giving you a “teaching moment” opportunity (#208)

  211. MLD,

    I’ve stated my position over and over again and over and over again it’s mocked and misrepresented by the good and holy brethren.

    It’s not right, but I guess as long as you’re straight, it’s irrelevant.

  212. I’m going to church now…

  213. “I’ve stated my position over and over again and over and over again ”

    Well obviously you have not stated it clearly if folks are still taking shots. Why would we take shots at someone who is agreeing with us.

    Xenia put the best spin on it when she graciously said;
    “What you continually say is some form of “I affirm the traditional teaching of the church on homosexuality but……”

    I guess we are pushing back on the but.

  214. Have a good church service

  215. MLD

    I’m not discussing much. I’m not of a traditional denomination and really don’t have an organization to protect of defend. I haven’t equivocated on the gay issue one bit. But I get Michael on this one.

  216. Bob,
    first – “don’t have an organization to protect of defend.” That is a snotty condescending comment. As if somehow you are above the fray. Me, Xenia, and Steve are from 3 different backgrounds and hold to the same conclusion – that it is important to protect the church.

    All of this can apply to a single local church. Xenia’s questions @ #145 apply to someone approaching your single independent local church.

    Michael won’t answer – perhaps you will. What is it you want to dialogue about when the guy comes up to you

    Brother Bob, I am Christian and a homosexual, who is in a loving long term same sex marriage, and I am an outcast in most Christian churches. I have been reading on blogs that you have a different attitude … talk to me.

  217. MN, the “thin ice” is that you imply a moral equivalence between brazen unrepentant sin and moral weakness. No matter how much you protest, you always come back to saying the church is full of adulterers, etc., as if that has anything to do with whether or not the aberrance in question should be declared wrong.

  218. The little church had just been crushed to learn in their Sunday night meeting of a horrible affair involving the pastor and some worship team members.

    Just then two gays appeared at the door holding hands.

    One of the elders stood and said, “We don’t like what you do, but we are in no position to comment. Why you don’t you come in and sit down, and we will all learn about Jesus together.”

    That is a response I could understand.

  219. MLD:

    ” That is a snotty condescending comment.” It is, but after three decades plus of church ministry it’s how I feel about all the defenses I often hear.

    I agree with this, ” it is important to protect the church.” But I also know the church is filled with real people and the story of those of faith is very messy. I have, no I know the church has struggled with sin, order, doctrine, theology, practice and much more from the very beginning. My study of church history tells me there’s no single balanced or perfect group and anyone who says their is is deceived.
    I used to regularly say, “don’t come to my church of you’re looking for a perfect one, because I’m there.”

    Now if you want to challenge me about protecting the church let me fill you in on what I have had to do over the decades. I have confronted homosexuality, leaders living with their sig others, the making of communion and baptism common, people who stole money from the church, leaders who have financially ripped off their fellow members, pastors who have dumped their families (not just for other women) and much more.

    I would love to be “tired” of all of it, but I’m not, its a calling to be a part of Jesus’ body of believers and while work it has been a blessing.

    No I will not defend an organization, I will step up again and again to defend and protect people, because that is who Jesus died for. Oh and I will defend the homosexual if the calling comes.

    Michael has done a great job to try and get a conversation going on the difficulties with sin and in particular the WV issue and how it affects the whole church body. All many want to do is dump on a him and from both sides. I am defending him and commend his attempt.

    Yep you got me going, so take it for what it is.

    BTW “Snotty” is something children are. I learned to blow my nose and use the appropriate tissues a long time ago.

  220. Bob, I don’t believe anyone here has said that they would “do” anything to a homosexual that you would need to defend. In fact, several of us have clearly stated that we would welcome anyone who comes to church, or for that matter anyone we meet who wants to talk about the hope found in Christ. On the other hand, what is completely a separate issue is that we don’t understand how we can, in good conscience, ignore God’s word and say that homosexual activity is now considered good and sanctioned by God. That is what is being asked of the church in our society. It is no longer “live and let live,” no longer “don’t ask, don’t tell.” It is now, “you must affirm my lifestyle or you are a hateful bigot.” The attitude I have about homosexual activity is the same as I have toward adultery or fornication, so I am not a bigot, I am not hateful, and I would welcome anyone who is struggling with any sin to come to Jesus and live! I, for one, am thankful that people reached out to me, when I was living a sinful lifestyle. They didn’t point at my sin, rather they pointed me to Jesus. God help us to do likewise.

  221. Nonnie

    “On the other hand, what is completely a separate issue is that we don’t understand how we can, in good conscience, ignore God’s word and say that homosexual activity is now considered good and sanctioned by God. That is what is being asked of the church in our society. It is no longer “live and let live,” no longer “don’t ask, don’t tell.” It is now, “you must affirm my lifestyle or you are a hateful bigot.”

    Agreed and I don’t think there is any dispute here at all.

    It’s tough following Jesus, it makes a person a cultural outcast, sometimes even in one’s own church.

  222. In an attempt to love and sympathize with the publicly proclaiming homosexual on an individual micro basis, some that publicly denounce homosexuality have privately shared their own private sins in the hope to show that they no different, no better and need a savior for their own sins. However I believe this is a costly mistake but others may disagree. These very public homosexuals now feel its their moral duty to make the privately confessed sins to them made public. This is blackmail and is the reality in the church culture today. We are to confess our sins to one another but I don’t think this means we need to confess them to the entire world as the publicly proclaiming homosexual does hoping for acceptance of their sins.

  223. To confess and repent of sin is completely different to proclaiming and celebrating it.

    Apples and oranges. I believe this is what the whole “debate” has been over. Each one of us here (assuming) has said we would welcome and love any homosexual that came into a church we attend. They would be no different from any of us….we are all sinners…we all have issues we struggle with, we all need the forgiveness and grace found in Christ, alone.

    The other side of it is when people want us to say that yes, there are some sexual sins, but homosexuality in a committed loving “marriage,” can no longer be counted amongst those sins, in regards to church belief.

    I am guessing that we all agree on that. The problem is that when that line is drawn, we will be called hateful, intolerant, bigots.

    Hey, I have plenty of friends/family that are gay, as well as single heterosexuals who are “shacking up.” I love them, I hope for the best for them, I pray for them. They know my beliefs and although we disagree on this issue, we affirm one another as human beings and can enjoy one anothers’ company. Yes, there is certainly not “fellowship,” but there is friendship. I am not hateful or intolerant. I can love someone without agreeing with them. I have unbelieving friends who extend the same grace to me on issues they don’t agree with, namely my Christian faith.

  224. Hawkins wrote: “I would have agreed. But then they capitulated and loaded it with Christianese so, the husk is there I have no idea if there is fruit inside.”

    One form of fruit would be the Gospel being preached, which they don’t do, so…

    MLD wrote: “Aren’t we just as repulsed in a man does that to a woman?? or are there 2 standards?”

    It is just as repulsive and unnatural. I’m convinced that it is satanic, both ways. There are even certain deliverance ministries that believe that the act, male or female, draws demons to attack the person.

    While a person might challenge that assertion about demons being drawn, know that pornography, which we can all agree is demonic, very strongly emphasizes such activities between men and women, at a very high percentage.

  225. ….know that pornography, which we can all agree is demonic…
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Not sure we can even all agree on the definition or pornography let alone say its all demonic. I personally believe its more of the “flesh” than demonic.

  226. Pornography is pure evil. Women, men and children are used and abused, disease is rampant, and lives are utterly destroyed. There is nothing remotely affirming in it whatsoever.
    As far as I know, no one is calling for it to be accepted or affirmed in the church.

  227. Nonnie, Pornography is pure evil.

    Some of the church art work in times past that featured nudes was considered pornography. I think you need a good definition of pornography. Is Sport’s Illustrated swim suit addition considered pornography for instance?

  228. Bravo to Nonnie’s 230 post.

    It is pure evil, and that makes it demonic.

  229. I think it makes it “fleshly”. I don’t think demonic is the right word. Jesus said if you look at a woman with lust in your eyes, you are committing adultery. I’m sure Satan uses pornography but I’m not into these deliverance ministries that try to identify the demon of this and the demon of that. Its our own sin and we need to stop blaming Satan for our own sin.

  230. Bob,

    Thank you for hearing me on this…very much.

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