Friday, July 27, 2012

ENDING POSTMODERN SEXUAL COMPROMISE OF THE GOSPEL

ENDING POSTMODERN SEXUAL COMPROMISE OF THE GOSPEL

Earlier this month, homosexual activists complained to the Advertising Standards Authority against a billboard by 'Light of the nations church', Pretoria which said that Jesus could set people free from a list of sins, which included homosexuality. The activists argued that Jesus cannot set people free from homosexuality in contradiction to the Bible (1 Corinthians 6:11) Tragically, without even trying to defend the gospel, the church responded by deleting the word 'homosexuality' from the billboard. http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6169 On their Facebook page, July 13 Pastor Deric Linley said the church's philosophy had not changed but the deletion had been to "a show of a non-judgmental spirit to the gay community. Because of this attitude, we have gay members in our church; and because our members already know our unchanged philosophy on this ... “Rather have homosexual people in a church with a good attitude, than heterosexual people with a bad attitude..." Actually, the ASASA has no juristiction over any church and is just bullying - it is a voluntary association. Sadly, a few years back on court instruction Moreleta Park church apologised to a homosexual music teacher they had fired for his immorality.

Is this an isolated incident? Sadly not. Evangelical pastors and churches from almost all theological and denominational camps are capitulating like dominoes to the homosexual agenda and other sexual compromise - some more publicly than others.

But lets move focus to some of the bigger names in evangelicalism: Tim Keller, Reformed scholar, mega-church pastor and one of the founder-leaders of the Gospel Coalition when asked whether homosexuality is a sin and whether homosexuals are going to hell replied "...it is very misleading to say, ‘Homosexuality is a sin’ But that’s not what sends you to heaven or Hell....”We would say homosexuality is not the original design for sexuality. Therefore, it’s not good for human flourishing." The homosexual interviewer cited the Bible, but Keller, under pressure of an interviewer, buckled and fudged the issue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZFCB9sduxQ (The answer to that question is simple: Yes homosexuality is a sin; Yes homosexuals are going to hell unless they repent of such sin. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Shockingly, this video is posted without criticism, correction or apology by the Veritas Forum, which purports to promote Biblical worldview.

In April this year, Andy Stanley, senior pastor of Northpoint mega-church in Atlanta preached a sermon with a case example about grace in his church. A man in his church left his wife for a homosexual relationship and the man and his new partner wanted to serve as volunteers in the church. Stanley told the man he needed to divorce his wife first, before he could do so. The story ends with the homosexual couple, the first man's ex-wife and their child, as well as her new boyfriend and his child from another relationship, all coming together to worship together church. http://global.christianpost.com/news/pastor-andy-stanley-responds-to-questions-over-homosexuality-stance-74262/#CGihldEQ4fcti11L.99 The implication is that homosexuality is okay, but adultery is not - and that divorce can legitimise marital unfaithfulness. Stanley has been strongly challenged but has not yet clarified his views. Stanley sends ministry teams to South Africa and his books are on sale here.

Many more similar examples could be given. Philip Yancey, Christianity Today editor and popular author gives a muddled view http://www.philipyancey.com/q-and-a-topics/homosexuality . Why are his books still stocked and why is he an editor of this magazine?

Is this just about homosexuality? No. Is the issue about sexuality in general? No. The issue is bigger than that. What is at stake is the gospel itself: Jesus power to save. Our right to proclaim it. The definition of sin. What is the message of the gospel? Subtly... step by step.. the gospel is being eroded. And the gospel is an issue for which we must be prepared to suffer unpopularity and if necessary die. When Paul rebuked Peter in Galations 2:11 the issue that let him to write that blisteringly angry letter was not just circumcision or even Jewish-Gentile race relations. The issue was the gospel. Paul didn't get madly upset about the circumcision issue until people started linking it to a false gospel - and that is what we have here too - the argument that Jesus cannot save people from homosexuality. On that issue we must not flinch in the face of persecution.

THE PATH OF COMPROMISE

When challenged, such people will usually argue they still believe what the Bible says about homosexuality - but they are compromising on the installment plan - each year, such churches are sliding a little bit further. Lets look at the slippery slope of compromise (not necessarily in order):

* The use of homosexual language which carry their assumptions: For example: 'gay' instead of 'homosexual'. 'orientation' instead of 'sin'.

* Accepting the assumption that homosexuals are a discriminated group needing protection - so called 'gay rights'.

* Compromise 'fall-back' political positions rejecting the worst demands of the homosexual agenda, but accepting the old ones. For example,opposing 'same-sex marriage', but accepting 'civil unions'; accepting 'same-sex marriage' but opposing homosexual adoption; opposing civil unions, but accepting anti-discrimination legislation etc.

* Apologising to the homosexual community for the 'hurt' caused by the churches 'unloving' attitude - creating a false guilt and excuse for futher cowardice with the gospel.

* Accepting homosexuality as an 'identity/sexual orientation' rather than a sin - failing to distinguish between a temptation someone struggles with but fights and something people just live with like a disability.

* Talking about 'gay christians' and 'gay churches' - as if there was such a thing.

* Preaching half-truths with lies and loaded messages:
- Preaching against 'all forms of discrimination & judgmentalism' while lumping homosexuality together with things people cannot change such as race and HIV status. Thus implying that homosexuality can't be changed as with these other things.
- Preaching trivialising sodomy and other sexual sin by putting it in the same category as much lesser sins - and then arguing we are all sin all the time so we should not make a big deal about sexual sin. (The Bible does categorise some sins as more serious than others, for example by the death penalty specified in the Old Covenant, the requirement of excommunication and the social effects of some sins can be seen as more destructive than others.)
- Preaching that homosexuals must just 'be celibate', while failing to preach that even celibate homosexual relationships and entertaining such lusts are also sinful.
- Being silent on the issue of homosexuality.
- Avoiding the whole concept of sin and repentance for it, and applying psychological language of 'problems' and 'brokenness'.

* Affirming the pro-homosexual misinterpretaton of the Bible as 'clever' without correcting it.

* Relationships with homosexual activist 'christians', thus given them credibility:
- Accepting homosexual activists claiming to be homosexual Christians as brothers
- Eating with homosexual activists, while the scripture says we must not (1 Corinthians 5:11) as did Mega-church pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-06-09/news/0806080226_1_gay-christians-willow-creek-community-church-rev-bill-hybels)

* Distancing, speaking against and even persecuting groups opposing homosexuality and presenting the true gospel to them - in order to get more acceptance from the homosexual community.

* The gospel message:
- Shifting from 'evangelising' homosexuals by challenging them to repent of sin with the gospel to 'dialoguing with them'.
- Shifting from trying to help people 'out of homosexuality' to trying help people to 'live with' the problem.
- Changing the message from holiness to treating people as 'victims of sexual brokeness' which ignores the whole concept of sin.

* Allowing homosexuals to be in the office of a pastor:
- first, provided that they are celibate.
- then, even if not celibate provided they are 'married' to their homosexual partner.
- then into more senior church positions.
- then with no constraints.

* Turning a blind eye to open homosexual couples attending church together, and failing to challenge their sin.

* Implying that our position on homosexuality is open to change in future but not right now - for example Emerging Church leader Brian McLaren (http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/01/open-letter-to-brian-mclaren.html)

* Arguing that one cannot speak against homosexuality unless one has first passed all sorts of requirements of close experience with homosexuals - for example Brian McLaren.

* Performing ungodly ceremonies:
- Civil unions
- Same-sex marriages

There is so much compromise on this issue that many people are unaware they are compromising or think they are doing well by not compromising as much as some other church or false-teacher.

While some more biblical christians may be shocked by the above and think they would never get into such confusion, they don't take into account two factors:

* OUTREACH RISKS: Those who get involved in any kind of outreach ministry to sinful people are under pressure to compromise to more easily reach them. If you are not doing such outreach you are not currently at such risk, but such outreach is dangerous. Yes, do the outreach, but a church or group should get into such outreach very cautiously and with determination not to compromise - bearing in mind how many people have got into compromise before them. The same is true of pro-life outreach (where some start affirming a pro-choice position to try save more babies), divorce outreach, scandal challenging, Muslim evangelism (compare the Insider movement).

* SOCIAL PRESSURE: If a whole community starts to compromise, the pressure mounts for you to compromise also to stay in with the group - only the only way to avoid compromise is to move. As this problem grows, more and more groups are buckling and if you are not careful you may too.

* NEW GENERATION CONFUSION: Older people grew up taking for granted biblical teaching on homosexuality, but many of our Christian youth have never properly heard it due to the cowardice and neglect of preachers. That have accepted by default many of the above views of the culture. If you don't teach your children and get them into a good church, they will probably be confused too.

DO YOU SEE THESE SIGNS IN YOUR CHURCH?

Not all backsliding churches and leaders are following these steps in the same order. If a pastor makes a mistake, lovingly point it out and give him a chance to correct it, but if he doesn't - and your church is showing several or repeated signs of compromise as listed above, be very concerned but not surprised. You need to challenge it from the scripture, pray for your church and pastor. Probably you also need to look for another church - painful as that may be to say goodbye to the community you love - but if the leadership want to go that way, then you will probably not be able to long resist backsliding yourself and with your family. Rather give your money, your time and your life to building up a healthy church.

If your own church is safe and healthy on this issue, thank God for this and keep praying for and encouraging your pastor. But this toxic compromise needs a wider response. When Ezra returned to Jerusalem and heard about the sin and compromise of the returning exiles (Ezra 9), he lay on the floor and wept. It is not just the liberals who have sinned and compromised, but our own evangelical leadership. These men who have compromised include OUR evangelical leaders of OUR organisations. Let us pray for God to forgive the compromise of the Western evangelical church - otherwise God may reject and destroy us as he has judged other compromised churches in the past.

We are going to win this fight and Biblical Christianity will outlast this compromise but many currently seemingly thriving churches will go ICHABOD (1 Samuel 4) - God will abandon them because of their compromising.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Rosenthal

10 comments:

Henrietta said...

“The issue is bigger than that - what is at stake is the gospel itself ; Jesus’ power to save”
WOWWWW!! Philip, this is a perspective I have never even thought about, thank you for opening my eyes

Henrietta said...

And this is just further proof of you point, Philip: http://apprising.org/2012/07/26/rob-bell-comes-out-gay-affirming/

Joseph Ostrich said...

The core case against gay marriage is extremely simple: If a mother's missing, that's important; if a father's missing, that's also important. There has been an ideology, a kind of religion since the Seventies that says that psychological differences between the genders were mere social constructs, but the advent of brain scanning devices and new research in social psychology are now shifting the balance back to show that nature shapes us to some extent after all. All this has enormous significance in the area of child-rearing, which is far-and-away the most important reason why society should keep committing itself to giving economic benefits and social recognition to mother-and-father couples.
Social Psychology. Studies in social psychology confirm the common observation that women tend to describe themselves more in relational terms, welcome more help, experience more relationship-linked emotions, and are more attuned to others' relationships (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Gabriel & Gardner; 1999; Tamres & others, 2002; Watkins & others, 1998, 2003).
Neuroscience. Behavioral differences between the sexes are the result of compelling forces set in motion before birth. For a woman, emotional structures in the female are larger than the male, while a male has about 20 times more testosterone than the female. All of these play important roles that make male-female relationships radically different than same-sex relationships. It's wired right into the chemistry of the brain. (Research by Dr. Louann Brizendine and many others).

Henrietta said...

A liberal stance on homosexuality seems to crop up everywhere: http://www.colsoncenter.org/issues/entry/42/19882

Reformation said...

Excellent article. Please keep posting.

Peter said...

Great article, Philip.
So many, if not all, of those 'compromises' are occurring here in Australia too.
We are now even being called homophobic by (so called) evangelical church leaders because we stand against such compromises.
The main 'Christian lobby here, ACL, has endorsed state based Relationship Registers, because they say "they do not mimic marriage", because they "believe in 'justice' for homosexual people" and because they think it will stop the push for 'marriage'.
Sadly, so wrong on all counts, yet they have convinced many ‘evangelical’ Christians they are right and that people like us at Salt Shakers are nasty right-wing rednecks.
How sad that they, and so many others, cannot see that all such actions actually make it easier for the homosexual lobby to normalise immorality and to creep closer to gaining full marriage 'rights'.
Once again thanks for the clear and unambiguous article.
Peter Stokes
www.saltshakers.org.au

Peter said...

Great article, Philip.
So many, if not all, of those 'compromises' are occurring here in Australia too.
We are now even being called homophobic by (so called) evangelical church leaders because we stand against such compromises.
The main 'Christian lobby here, ACL, has endorsed state based Relationship Registers, because they say "they do not mimic marriage", because they "believe in 'justice' for homosexual people" and because they think it will stop the push for 'marriage'.
Sadly, so wrong on all counts, yet they have convinced many ‘evangelical’ Christians they are right and that people like us at Salt Shakers are nasty right-wing rednecks.
How sad that they, and so many others, cannot see that all such actions actually make it easier for the homosexual lobby to normalise immorality and to creep closer to gaining full marriage 'rights'.
Once again thanks for the clear and unambiguous article.
Peter Stokes
www.saltshakers.org.au

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