Saturday, December 12, 2009

God Loves Adam Lambert
(Subtitled "God Loves Lady Ga Ga" etc., etc.)

And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Adam Lambert is a 27 year old Jewish man. He is openly gay and came to some notoriety in the television show “American Idol”. Anyone who has heard him recognizes the amazing vocal talent he has, and he is ├╝ber theatrical. My mother was an off Broadway actress and a stand up comedian (so now you know where I came from!) so I do appreciate the arts and the theatre. I play the piano, trumpet, and the guitar and I write and sing and have been the worship leader as well as pastor over the years.

I want to go back about 15 years and offer some perspective in the form of confession. I used to preach aggressively against homosexuality as well as homosexuals. Back then I still voted and was deceived into believing America was somehow a “Christian” nation. I also bought into the political game and I misguidedly thought legislation had some spiritual benefit. I, of course, voted the straight Republican party line (Am I speaking to some others as well?). Against my better judgment I was shamed into voting in 2000 for George Bush, and that will remain the last time I ever vote.

But back to the issue of homosexuality. The Bible is very clear as well as God’s physiological design. The practice of homosexuality is sin. But let us climb down from our moral perch and look at the issue through the lens of redemption and also the lens of the pharisaical American church. First let us consider how hypocritical the church is about the issue of sin. Our churches and pulpits are filled with practicing sinners. Oh yes, the only difference is that some sins have been elevated to trump card status while others are excused and many times not even recognized as sin.

It is impossible to participate in the American political and economic system without being an active player in sin. The entire system is constructed upon humanism, even to the point of worshiping past and present leaders and heroes. We as believers should not disparage people but neither should we exalt them. All men have feet of clay, and many of our so called “heroes” were men that had significant moral issues and some were not even believing followers of Jesus Christ. Let us compare today with another time in history.

When God’s people were carried away into Babylon they quickly assimilated into Chaldean culture. They were only there for seventy years and yet they had made friends, created business opportunities, and even had been elevated into governmental positions. And when God called them back to Jerusalem a precious few were willing to leave their new found lives of pleasure and comfort. When a small segment left to repair Jerusalem it also became evident that the Jews in Babylon had forsaken even the feasts and the reading of God’s Word. They had become Babylonians with a Jewish ethnicity.

Here we are today, living in modern day Babylon. And not only have we assimilated into the hedonistic culture of pleasure, wealth, and decadence, we have constructed a fairy tale that suggests that America was and should be a Christian nation. The words Jesus Christ appear nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, and the early signers were a mixed multitude. In some ways we are worse than the Babylonian Jews. And we boldly profess a solid belief that the Bible is God’s Word and is to be obeyed without question. And yet just a cursory reading of the Sermon on the Mount, the words breathed our directly from the Savior’s mouth, reveals our poor excuse for obedience.

It is significantly easier to not be gay when you have no struggle than it is to not save up money for yourselves in direct violation of Christ’s words. The pews are filled to the brim with professing believers who have unforgiveness in their hearts while others march right in to worship God while holding on to a spirit of judgmentalism. Many believers boldly confess that their worship service is divinely approved, and their style of music honors God. Others play secular music that has a decidedly anti-christian message in an attempt to draw sinners.

What percentage of believers spent more time preparing their bodies for church than their spirits? How many believers walk right into the gathering without even meeting with God that morning? Several years ago I set out for 8 weeks to listen closely to all the little conversations that took place at church. I heard sports, cars, family, sickness, politics, money, vacations, children, and everything else you can imagine. In 8 weeks I did not hear one conversation about Jesus in any form. None. And that was at a church that averaged 3000 in morning worship. Doesn’t that relegate the worship service as a performance and the members as spectators?

Are you beginning to see the hypocrisy that should remove any moral legs upon which to stand and judge others? I will not even mention the enormous mortgage payments that many churches have which include vast amounts of interest that the lending institutions use to lend to some of the same institutions we castigate. The way churches use money and build buildings is a convoluted mess that reveals a decidedly Babylonian mindset. Can I again use my own hypocrisy as an example so you do not think I have a higher vantage point.

Just last week my oldest son was in the enclosed patio cleaning our pool and he came in and shared these thoughts. My pool takes 15,000 gallons of water and needs at least $100.00 a month for maintenance. Think about that! How many Africans are desperate for water to drink and yet I have a tub of thousands of gallons, not for drinking or bathing, but for recreation. And to put a cherry on it, my health precludes me from using it. See, these types of things and more go on without any notice of their hedonism to say nothing of the many commands in the New Testament. And all this is because we have separated the church into geographical, cultural, and economic categories and with that we have become numb to our own lifestyle sins.

So tell me, follower of Jesus, which platform do you stand upon when you cull out certain sins and batter them publicly and claim you are imitating the Lord Jesus? The present western ecclesiastical construct is a monster of compromise and hedonism. We splash in pools or play basketball in million dollar church buildings and yet brothers and sisters are in dire need of common necessaries and wants. And do you think God places his children in different rooms and allows some to starve and die with sickness while he blesses others with comparative opulence? What kind of a God would do that?

Believe it or not we are all blind to the depth of our lifestyle hypocrisies since we were born in Babylon and we only know the church as it is. This man, Adam Lambert, apparently was on television and mimed some sexually explicit actions along with kissing another man. I will admit I cannot even watch such things, however how many believers will attend some movie theatres this very week who offer such things for your entertainment, as long as you pay for it? And the television is filled with sexual content and simulated sexual actions, some of which are acted by professing Christians whose testimony is sought throughout the country. The same believers who would castigate Lambert’s actions have sat and watched heterosexual entertaining similitudes. It is all so hypocritical.

But let us move on to the issue of the gospel of redemption. We are great and bold proclaimers of the gospel when it is comes to parading our orthodoxy, but when that redemption comes in contact with various unacceptable sins we rush to project our judgment and thereby accentuating our moral superiority. We have compassion to our unsaved uncle who is a heterosexual hedonist, but we recoil at the Adam Lamberts of this world who operate in a genre of sin of which we have defined as a transgression ghetto. The redemption of Christ’s gospel is the sacrifice given freely for just such sins.

When we organize sins and sinners we do despite to the gospel of grace. Jesus didn’t just reach out to such sinners, He took their sins upon Himself. He became sin for every sinner and should that not be our example? Instead of displaying self righteous outrage, we should run to such sinners with the love of Jesus Christ and the offer of eternal life. We have improved upon the model of Phariseeism shown to us in the Scriptures, because we now claim the Messiah aggress with us. We operate post-cross and yet we refuse to look deeply upon that bloody and ripped frame and see its implications. The Adam Lamberts of this world are not in need of condemnation; they are in dire need of redemption.

In the final words of Jesus, just before He left this world, He instructed us to be witnesses of Him and preach the gospel to every creature. Nowhere did He command us to search out people’s sins and hoist them upon the gallows of our self righteous judgment. Our calling is not sin, our calling is the gospel. It may seem like news to us, but God loves those who we do not love, and He offers salvation to all those whose demonstrative sin is repugnant to us and provides a platform for moral outrage and superiority. Bad news alert: Without the grace of God you and I are no better than Adam Lambert.

How dare we treat the gospel of grace like a military chow line, dumping portions out to whom we like. We have despised the word grace and turned it into a theological term but stripped it of a powerful and daring manifestation in the real world. And those who are partakers of God’s grace, but turn around and create a textbook of moral issues designed to both damn certain sinners and re-establish their own moral credentials, are perhaps the greater moral miscreants.

Every once in a while a sinner does or says something that is outrageous. And the religious crowd drags that sinner before the church and says, “We have caught this sinner in the very act of sin – stone him!” The church has two choices. We can verbally stone that sinners and receive the accolades of others and the self serving satisfaction of “taking a stand”. Or instead of taking a stand we can take a knee, and we can intercede for that person’s soul and exhibit the outward expressions of God’s love that would authenticate the cross we portend to preach.

The more vile the sin – the more glorious the redemption; at least from our perspective.
God loves Adam Lambert and so should we.
What should really surprise you is that God loves you.


Anonymous said...

The best "church" I ever attended was a 12-step group. Although we didn't call ourselves "sinners" we never pretended to be anything but broken people in desperate need of healing. Christians are scornful of the "doorknob as higher power" or "God as I understand Him" and such 12-step concepts. I can testify, however, that Jesus Christ was glorified more in those rooms during the brief time I was there than I ever saw in decades of attending an evangelical church. Not surprisingly, I learned more about God's transforming power there, too. I am so grateful for that because the organized church failed miserably to model that.

Anonymous said...

subtitled "God loves Lady Gaga, etc..." hehe, nice.

great post. one of the major factors that turned me to Christ and pushed me away from Catholicism was the powerful testimony of an ex-homosexual from my church. She spreads the aroma of Christ wherever she goes.

david said...

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Eph 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

david said...

Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Eph 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Eph 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

Grace is not God's excusing sins, but the power of of God to overcome sin in our life. Whether it be the sin of covetousness or homosexuality, sin is sin. Without being reproved for our sin, we will have no "godly sorrow" and therefore no repentance.
Mar 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Grace and Law must always go together.

David said...

"Grace and Law must always go together."

No, grace and law are enemies. All men, saved and unsaved, are vicious lawbreakers, even if they are heterosexual.

christopher said...

The sad thing is, modern liberal Christians have painted Christ as a hippie, a long haired, sheep cuddling saviour walking around in sandals, getting groovy with the lost, kicking back to some mellow tunes and exploring hidden wisdom. Yeah right.

Let me remind those that don't get it. Christ was loving, but this is the same man who fashioned a whip, fashioned in the sense that he literally took time to make it, fasten it together and you know what he did??? He walked into the temple, this same loving saviour Rick and others love to create in their own liberal fashion, and he whipped, beat the money changers. Let me repeat this, Christ WHIPPED, till the blood came down from their skin! Yes Christ loves Adam Lambert, but Christ made it clear that if you do NOT repent, if you do NOT follow him, you are his enemy. God will then treat you as his enemy. Enemies die. Enemies go to a place called hell. Rick's well meaning letter was nothing more than a liberal attempt to justify a nonjudgemental attitude about sin. We need more boldness from the pulpit and less of the warm and fuzy messages liberal preachers, writers and pastors are churning out these days.
C. L. Gregory

Servant2112 said...

Amen, Christopher. I am a wretch, and I have no standing among any. Jesus is glorified in my salvation, but if my sin had not been revealed to me, had I not by the grace of God been shown the depth of my wretchedness, I don't believe I would have ever been saved. It was by God's grace and by the light of His law that I was able to see the depth of my sin. I love homosexuals and the lost so much that I am willing to bear the discomfort of their disapproval to bear the light of God's truth. I don't stand in judgment of them or any unsaved person. But how will they know about sin and wrath, and redemption? When you encounter a blind man walking inexorably towards a cliff, do you warn him or do you walk along-side, "loving" him until he plummets to his death? That is NOT love. You can't have grace without repentence, and you can't have repentence without conviction. And you can't have conviction without the shining light of His law. We Christians are the bearers of that light by the Holy Spirit. We are a reflection of the Light of the World, which is Christ. Not in hate, or pride, or judgement -- but out of the love of Christ.

David said...

The accounts in John and Mark do not say Jesus struck the money changers personally. But that event seems to be given a more prominent status than Scripture would indicate, and let us remember the episode did not take place at an MTV event, it was at the sanctimonious church.

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

Anonymous said...

Just a few quick observations from an untrained but bible reading redeemed sinner about some things scripture talks about.

1. How are we saved.
2. How are we to live after we are saved. 3. What happens to the unsaved.

Under these categories much is written about "Church operations", including leadership, but much more about how we interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I could continue to write more obvious platitudes but M
my bottom line is God will judge the unsaved in due time but as a Christian I should be zealous for the purity of the Church through the exercise of my piety and in Christian love seek the restoration of brethren who have fallen into gross sin through biblical Church disipline.

Rick Frueh said...

1. How are we saved?
* By faith alone in Jesus and His death and resurrection

2. How are we to live after we are saved?
* Like Jesus - redemptively.

3. What happens to the unsaved?
* They live forever separated from God in a place called hell.

david said...

David said...
No, grace and law are enemies.

Gal. 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

How are we then to realize that we are in need of God's grace if not by the law? It is the law that brings the unrepentant sinner to Christ. It is the law that shows the man who professes Christ that He still needs God's grace every day to overcome the sin in his life. I need the law to show me that I am a "vicious lawbreakers" and that the only good in me is of God. I need the law to constantly point out that I am in desperate need of grace and that the ONLY way I can deal with sin in my life is by the power of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
They MUST go together. Grace Without the law is "turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jud 1:4) Law without grace is pharisee-ism.

Rick Frueh said...

In March of 1975 I was recouperating from a street fight at my aunt's house ten mile from New York City. I saw Billy Graham on televison and he said Jesus was coming back. I was raised and confirmed a Lutheran, but I was unsaved.

One night later, high atop Garret Mountain in Wayne, New Jersey, I believed on Jesus. I never really gave much thought to my sins, although I was a massive sinner.

I surely gave absolutely no thought to the "law". I had been illuminated by God's Spirit as to Who Jesus was and is and I believed.

My story -

Diane said...

"The sad thing is, modern liberal Christians have painted Christ as a hippie, a long haired, sheep cuddling saviour walking around in sandals, getting groovy with the lost, kicking back to some mellow tunes and exploring hidden wisdom. Yeah right."

I think that Brother Rick is a LITERAL Christian. Having read and been challenged by many of his posts, I don't think he waters down the gospel at all. I am most thankful to be shown how sinful my past judgment of unbelievers was, and God has helped me to have a new attitude toward them.

Rick Frueh said...

I appreciate your words, Diane. Yes, I am a "literal" believer, including believing the words "Love your enemies and do good to those who despitefully use you". I also believe Jesus was openly more judgmental to the religious leaders than he was to the garden variety sinner.

In fact, Jesus was roundly critized for eating with men like Adam Lambert. It doesn't mean that Lambert is saved, but it does mean than Jesus wants him reached.

Anonymous said...

A video clip of a Fox News anchor, Brit Hume lovingly saying he hopes Tiger Woods seeks forgiveness and redemption that only Christ can provide--is making it rounds through youtube. wow. He said it on a Sunday news show and then reiterated his encouragement to Tiger on the show, "The O'Reilly Factor."

"He needs something that Christianity especially provides and gives and offers, and that is redemption and forgiveness. I was really meaning to say in those comments yesterday more about Christianity than anything else...I think that Jesus Christ offers Tiger Woods something that Tiger Woods badly needs."

Anonymous said...

Ah, here is the transcript: Not to often you see major media figures make statements like this on national TV.

(From the Sunday show)

HUME: Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it's a tragic situation with him. I think he's lost his family. It's not clear to me that -- whether he'll be able to have a relationship with his children.

But the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal -- the extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith. He's said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith.

So my message to Tiger would be, "Tiger, turn your faith -- turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."