Friday, November 28, 2014

The Valley of Decision


In case you have not noticed in the last forty years there has been an increase in evangelicals with children who have come out as gay. And in these past couple of decades there has been many children of evangelical pastors who also have come out as gay. This has presented a major problem for parents and the church. Of course the initial reaction was horror and rejection along with many different kinds of repair treatment. In fact most Neanderthal evangelicals strongly opposed the idea that anyone could be born with same sex attractions. And when the child submitted to therapy with no results the child was shunned and treated as a pariah even if he himself abhorred his attractions.

Many such children eventually turned to drugs and many committed suicide. Being ostracized from the church and being treated like a major disappointment by their families many could not bear that burden. And try as they might they could not stop the same sex attractions and therefore they were told God hated them. And faced with this dilemma the church either buried their heads in some theological sand or they acquiesced and changed their theology concerning committed gay relationships. Both paths are the easy way out.

I have addressed the dilemma HERE.

But how do we present the gospel love of Christ without diluting the Word about other moral issues? How can we express unconditional love for gay people without giving the impression we condone their lifestyle? This is a gigantic conundrum and one in which most professing believers will opt out. And since most church members will never share the gospel with anyone it is easy to sit back and cast moral stones meant to prove you believe the Bible.

I can understand evangelical parents who are so concerned with their child’s welfare that they soften their views on same sex relationships, but how can preachers do the same? It is only when you are tested can your claim of believing the Bible be substantiated. And when you must bow to Biblical truth, which may be misinterpreted as rejection, then we must do it in humility and try to communicate our love as well. I do not have all the answers, but one thing I do know is that the church has refused to deal with this issue. We can go to lost tribes in New Guinea who murder and steal and worship idols, and we can show them unconditional gospel love. But to the gay people we sign worthless petitions and protest and join hands to confront the gay agenda.

And these issues raise the ultimate question about the essence of the gospel. The word “gospel” has been bandied about by all sorts of ecclesiastical movements. It has been suffocated with ceremonial ornaments which theologians say must be part and parcel of the good news. It has been whittled down to some repeated prayer and then showered with assurance as the confused “convert” listens to a trained professional. It has been changed to mean a social justice theology. But we cannot even pretend to know how to approach the gay issue without a clear understanding of the gospel.

The gospel is complete in and of itself. It needs no human works afore hand, and it requires no life reformation before it can be believed. In fact it requires the exact opposite. We must admit who we are and who we need. It is good news to the sinner from all quarters. The practicing gay, the lost church goer, the self righteous moralist, the murderer, the conservative politician, all of these stand on the same fallen ground and are in need of the very same gospel. So if we believe the gospel to be filled with His work and void of ours, and if the gospel is activated purely by faith, then all our moral requirements are man made heresies.

But so often the church has placed the cart before the horse. A promiscuous and adulterous woman desires to believe on Jesus and we rush to her aid. But a practicing gay person also desires the same and we recoil with an uncomfortable atmosphere. Do we believe in gospel grace or are there caveats for certain sins? Martin Luther was used of God but he was still given to temper and to drunkenness and he was a rabid anti-Semite. And yet orthodox men use his name in their theology and some in their church title. How can those people demand moral perfection from others while they champion a man whose flaws were so conspicuous? It is because the church has made homosexuality the boogie man of all sins.

But again we turn to the gospel. It is the only true agent of change, and that change can only happen after a sinner believes. Too many have used the word repent to mean repent of your sins when the Greek word means to change your mind. So when you repent and change your unbelieving mind and believe the gospel you will be saved. Do we present one gospel to heterosexuals and another to homosexuals? Dare we trust the ministry of the Spirit to change people after they are saved or must we provide a litmus test to special sinners?

The culture continues to spiral downward and sins which were in the closet generations ago are now front and center. Does that mean the gospel is no longer relevant? Does it mean we must change what the Bible teaches? Does it mean we must fight against flesh and blood? Does it mean we must legislate certain sins away? One thing it does reveal:

The voting booths are packed while the prayer closets breed cobwebs.

The church must decide who we are, who Jesus is, and what the great commission is.

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