04 March 2008

Who does Luke Timothy Johnson think he is? God?

by Dan Phillips

Let's take a second look at another item that's been around the blogs.

Luke Timothy Johnson, the Robert R. Woodruff Professor of New Testament at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, produced an article titled Homosexuality & the Church: Scripture & Experience. Johnson is a former Benedictine Monk, and is a Roman Catholic.

Warming up to the famous part, more or less:
I have little patience with efforts to make Scripture say something other than what it says, through appeals to linguistic or cultural subtleties. [Hear, hear!] The exegetical situation is straightforward: we know what the text says. But what are we to do with what the text says? We must state our grounds for standing in tension with the clear commands of Scripture, and include in those grounds some basis in Scripture itself. To avoid this task is to put ourselves in the very position that others insist we already occupy-that of liberal despisers of the tradition and of the church’s sacred writings, people who have no care for the shared symbols that define us as Christian. If we see ourselves as liberal, then we must be liberal in the name of the gospel, and not, as so often has been the case, liberal despite the gospel.
Sounds deep, eh? Promising? Then here it is:
I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good.
And finally, this:
...we explicitly reject as well the premises of the scriptural statements condemning homosexuality-namely, that it is a vice freely chosen, a symptom of human corruption, and disobedience to God’s created order.
Well, that's different. Johnson's not asking for a "five-year moratorium." He says the text is clear right now, we know what it says — and we reject it!

Now I'll pause to say that I have been this close to actually offering people money to get them to display that kind of candor. Roman Catholics, Mormons... and more than a few stripes of Christians. Just say it: "No way Scripture teaches ___, but I believe it anyway." Or "Scripture pretty clearly says __; but, instead, I believe ___." It would put the discussion on a whole different wheelbase. But no, such candor is rare. Again and again they get out The Pervertaneutical Rack, strap in those poor innocent texts, and start twisting until they scream out things they never meant.

By contrast, here's Johnson admitting, "Nossir, no way the Bible says what we wish we did. It says A, we say Z, and there's no denying it." Rather refreshing.

Johnson admits they must "appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good." Another authority? Superior to Scripture? To Johnson, yes.

Johnson's article breathes disdain for Biblical Christianity from the first paragraph to the last. While Johnson may "have little patience" with people who pervert the text of Scripture, he even less for those who feel themselves in any way bound to that text. He complains that
If the neglect of Scripture is a form of sin ... a blind adherence to Scripture when God is trying to show us the truth in human bodies is also a form of sin, and a far more grievous one. ....it is a far greater risk to allow the words of Scripture to blind us to the presence and power of the living God.
"Blind adherence to Scripture" — an odd expression, that, given that Johnson's already granted that his opponents are right about what Scripture actually says. What is "blind" about that? They see it clearly. Are we "blind" because we not only see it and understand it, but believe it and try to live by it?

So let's say I'm convinced, or at least shamed out of my "blind adherence to Scripture." Let's say I want to throw off the shackles of the Bible, so that I can know this glorious freedom Johnson promises. What is this "still more excellent way"?

Here it is. Ready?
And what exactly is that authority? We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us.
The authority is — me! You! Dr. Johnson! Our experience, and our stories. See what you feel like doing, what others feel like doing and, if it's the right kind of feeling, go for it.

Really, that's about it. Oh, Dr. Johnson might be deeply offended at that characterization. What he writes is all very nuanced and deep-sounding and full of profound catch-phrases. Devotees of his viewpoint aren't amoral, autonomous libertines; no (he insists), they are noble souls "who perceive God at work among all persons and in all covenanted and life-enhancing forms of sexual love." Got that?

So Johnson says listen to people's stories. (Indeed, story or stories occurs fifteen times in the article.) Not just any stories, though. We must use "careful discernment," mustn't follow "every idiosyncratic or impulsive expression of human desire," but only "those profound stories of bondage and freedom, longing and love, shared by thousands of persons over many centuries and across many cultures, that help define them as human." He says this itself is the ongoing saga of the work of God within the life of man, unfolding and disclosing himself in human stories, et cetera and so forth. Or, as Johnson says memorably (if not very coherently):
When read within the perspective of a Scripture that speaks everywhere of a God disclosing Godself [?!] through human experience, our stories become the medium of God’s very revelation.
Then of course, in spite of his earlier bracing cautions against doing violence to Scripture, Johnson finds he must do violence to Scripture. He can't just let the matter rest with his open rejection of Biblical teachings.

For instance, Johnson mercilessly flogs poor old Galatians 3:28 yet again.
[An aside: merciful bunions, is there nothing that beleagured old text can't be bludgeoned into rationalizing, these days? A few decades ago, we (= you, I, and the apostle Paul) were breathlessly informed that it cancelled out the Biblical prohibition against women pastors. Now (we learn) it cancels out the univocal Biblical condemnation of homosexuality. What next? "There is neither male nor female, gay nor straight... human nor animal, vegetable nor mineral, love nor hate, sin nor righteousness, God nor Satan, cephalopod nor houseware appliance, National League nor American League, smoking nor non-smoking"? The mind boggles! Does Paul, in glory, regret writing the verse? Surely not!

But I digress.]
Johnson even trots out 2 Corinthians 3:6. Well, part of it: "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." Doing merciless violence to the context (which not about believing the word of God versus believing that I am the word of God), Johnson actually opposes "the letter of Scripture" (sic) to the work of the Spirit of God — the very Spirit who breathed out that Scripture which He is now said to oppose (1 Corinthians 2:13; 14:37). For
...if the letter of Scripture cannot find room for the activity of the living God in the transformation of human lives, then trust and obedience must be paid to the living God rather than to the words of Scripture.
At this point my Irony-ometer is on overload. The letter of the text is being quoted to condemn the letter of the text. You see, "The letter kills" means exactly that, word for word and in isolation from all else (we are told). This part of the Bible means that everything other part of the Bible is nonsense. That's the only verse that means what it says — well, that and "Judge not." But you have to take both verses in absolute isolation from everything else.

I'll retire to Bedlam.

Like all humanly-devised systems, Johnsonanity as expressed in this article collapses under its own weight and incoherence. For instance:

FIRST: The real revelation of God is (not the Bible but) "profound stories of bondage and freedom, longing and love, shared by thousands of persons over many centuries and across many cultures"? Then what shall we say of the "stories" of the Bible-believing Christian church? Does Johnson's description, in itself, not describe those stories and those experiences as well? On what basis shall we oppose Johnsonites and their stories over against — what shall we call them? "Christians"? — and their stories? On the basis of greater numbers? That argument won't work very well to normalize homosexuality. Because they aren't "profound" enough for Johnson? Then we have to go to Johnson to have our stories sifted? "Profound... not profound... profound... definitely not profound...." Will Mt. Profundity replace Mt. Sinai, or the Sermon on the Mount? And will Johnson replace Moses... or Jesus?

Do we have an objective, transcendent standard to which we can appeal?

Well, we do. Johnson acknowledged it, rejected it, messed with it, puts himself in its place.

So why are Johnsonites' stories revelations of God, but diametrically-opposed stories of Bible-believers aren't? Why are Johnsonite libertines motivated by the life of God expressing itself in them, but those who hold to Biblical teaching are moved only by ignorance, and a "mix of fear and anger"?

And what's God's current story on the world, and whether we should love it and be conformed to it, or not?

SECOND (but related): have we really gained, by moving the locus of authority from an objective and external source to a subjective and internal source? Again, what will be our basis and our criterion? Johnson and I could look at the Bible and get into an exegetical discussion, with all of the data out there for everyone to see. But interpreting subjective stories as the voice of God? Why the stories of passion-enslaved libertines? Why not the stories of the far vaster numbers of Muslims? What's to prevent the Taliban from telling Dr. Johnson "Great! Thanks! We'll take it from here!" and then dealing with his homosexual friends according to their stories?

I don't think he'd like that story.

THIRD: none of this can claim the authority of any Jesus of Nazareth who ever actually lived. Johnson has gained some notice as a critic of the Jesus Seminar. Great; I'm no fan either. But the only Jesus who ever actually lived never, ever spoke disparagingly either of the word of God that we call the Old Testament (Luke 16:17; John 5:47; 10:35), nor of the words of God that we abidingly possess in His own teachings in person (Matthew 24:35; Mark 8:35 [very germane in this connection]; Luke 6:47; John 8:31-32; 12:48; 14:23-24; Revelation 3:8) or through His apostles (John 16:12-15; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:13 [NAS]; 14:37).

This flat rejection of the written word is found in neither prophet, apostle, nor God Incarnate.

FOURTH: Johnson is a Roman Catholic, presumably in good standing. You know, member of The One True Church® that is always trying to claim absolute unbroken unity, as opposed to Christians with our 45 bazillion denominations? Think about it.

And what of "the first pope," the apostle Peter, expressly ranking the written, prophetic word of God over even the best and most amazing stories (2 Peter 1:16-21)?

IN CONCLUSION
You can't read the Gospels without seeing Jesus at war with human tradition. His hearers were amazed by that very point: Jesus has not been moved from the text by profound human stories, but has instead returned directly to it, in all its naked power and authority (Matthew 7:29; Mark 1:22; 7:1-8).

And so now, two thousands years later, it bowls me over that so many of the Jews I read and hear are still in exactly the same place as the Jews of Jesus' day: chained to tradition, fenced off from the Word.

But if that is stunning, it simply kills me to see human tradition imposed again and again in the name of Jesus! For what is Dr. Johnson doing if not crushing the Word under human tradition? The only difference is that the Jews' tradition is old, and Johnson's is new, amorphous, still a-borning, chaotic, and imbued only with his authority.

(On second thought — is it really that new? Is it the next step in spiritual evolution? Or does it not go right back to the Garden, and echo the voice of him who also flatly contradicted the transcendent, objective, binding word of God, and who promised instead, "You shall be as God — let your story be the rule and the law!"?)

This returns me to why I became a Christian: I'm just not that smart, wise, nor good. I'm not fit to be my own Lord. "You shall be as God" is a lie. That's a foundational realization for my conversion and, I dare say, any genuine conversion. (That's my "profound story," by the way.)

Luke Timothy Johnson's position does not give any evidence of that realization. The twin foundational truths of "There is a God, and I'm not Him" are nowhere to be seen.

Goodness, if only someone had sometime publicly made the point that, "despite the liberal use of traditional phraseology modern liberalism not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions."

But of course someone did: J. Gresham Machen, over 80 years ago, in Christianity and Liberalism (p. 7). Machen was right then; he's right now. Did Johnson never read that story?

And so in Johnsonian liberalism the locus of authority is removed from the text of Scripture, and moved to Dr. Johnson, to you, to me. Anywhere except the Word. The word of God is strictly horizontal. It is found in Johnson's (and our) discernment of the right subtexts of the right human authorities.

Practically, if not formally, Dr. Johnson thinks he's God.

But he's not.

God is.

Final word: if some emergent leaders are wolves in sheep's clothing, what are people who expressly reject the word of God in favor of their own thoughts, feelings, experiences, "profound stories"?

Wolves in wolves' clothing — but with this difference: these wolves say, "No no no, this is how sheep really should look!"

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost (1 Timothy 1:15). But there's Dr. Johnson, saying, "No no no, that's not sin, and you don't need saving from it!"

Me, I'll take God's word on what sin is, what I need, what all of us need.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Dan Phillips's signature

132 comments:

DJP said...

Think of this as my gift to the Triablogue brothers, who now have the right to tease back about post-length.

Daryl said...

The big question I have is this...

Why bother calling yourself a Christian (much less a minister)at all?
Why don't these folks just have the nerve to start up their own religion? At least Joseph Smith had the imagination to pull that off (the protests of his more current followers notwithstanding).

Perhaps we're closer to a more overt, all out war on the Church than we think, after all, with statements like the ones Mr. Woodruff is making, can the claim that Bible-believing folks are not Christians at all, be far behind?

donsands said...

Very well done. Thanks for exposing this wolf. Well, he's already exposed as a "wolf in wolves clothing", but you know what I mean.

Satan is an angel of light, and very cunning, and he is bold, and stands right in Scriptures face with a boldness that I've never seen before. Amazing.

I'd rather tackle this man who says sin isn't sin, because Scripture is wrong, then a Brian McLaren who speaks in illusions and circles.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Dan, thank you for a dynamite post. This "feelings based" hermeneutic infects everything today, even political discourse. I'm right if I FEEL I'm right. When you get to that point, there is NO REASONING possible. You cannot use logic or text, because those have no persuasive authority anymore. And, by golly, they needn't have, because we've been taught the world revolves around us.

Also, thanks for giving me a new phrase, "merciful bunions."

And for quoting Scrooge.

DJP said...

Daryl, I'm with you. Except the Mormons are saying today, "You're Christians? Great! So are we!" Have to give a bit of an edge to the JW's on that, at least from my last exposures. You say you're a Christian, and they'll more up-front say, "Um, not if you believe in the Trinity, and salvation by grace alone, and...."

I think this is part of it, Daryl: in totalitarian sects, you are that thing from birth to death. It is inconceivable to you that you could ever leave the sect.

This is itself inconceivable to us who were not raised in any particular religious tradition — unless having no tradition is a tradition. What we are as adults, we are (presumably) because we were convinced of its truth. Not because someone else signed us up when we were babies.

So we just can't understand someone saying, "Yes, I am an absolutely committed adherent of ___, which teaches ABCD -- but I don't believe ABCD at all; I believe boof gank wop zed!"

I think that's at least part of it.

DJP said...

< grin > Thanks for catching it, Johnny. One of my favorite (and most oft-used) lines from THE BEST VERSION of that tale.

Tom Chantry said...

No American League and no National League? Sacrilege!

DJP said...

Knew I'd touch a nerve there.

Everyday Mommy said...

Dan:

This is truly one of the most frightening posts you've ever written. Brilliantly reasoned and thorough, your examination of Mr. Johnson's argument is a terrifying and revealing look into the spirit of this age.

I liken his approach to the death of poor Terri Schiavo. Her merciless death was a line that the world had been aching to cross and it set a precedent for all such cases to follow.

Mr. Johnson's unabashed statement may have done the same.

Dave Marriott said...

He's a wolf alright. Sad thing is, he'd probably feel comfortable in Pagitt's church.

Jerry said...

"National League nor American League"

Horrors!

Don't you know that the DH is of the Devil?

Macksfield said...

At what point do edumacated folks become smarter than the creator of the universe? I don't know.

There must be some line they cross, and a decision is made to construe an obvious principle, to congregate around either their impetus or some other personal declaration.

I agree Dr. Johnson has declared himself to be the final authority on scripture and by the way, I'm not good with it.

Trinian said...

Hath God said...?

The Doulos said...

I think Johnson's key phrase here is "blind adherence to Scripture." What he seems to mean is adhering to Scripture's clear teachings, as he himself points out, while at the same time turning a blind eye to other sources of revelation. In other words, viewing Scripture as less than sufficient, and as he goes on to say, less than authoritative. Any step down this path is a fast pass to heresy.

Interesting that an RC would bring in another "authority" other than the Tradition of the Church. I wonder if his RC friends will call him on this.

DJP said...

I didn't focus on them in tihs post, but there are a number of times in the article where he acknowledges concern for "the teaching authority of the church," and so forth. But then of course he trashes it as well as Scripture, in favor of his new instant-tradition.

Daryl said...

Well, in cases like the EC, it takes about 5 minutes to establish a tradition, so who's to say that his tradition can't trump the traditional tradition?

Guess the magesterium better get hoppin' on that infallible list of infallible traditions...

DJP said...

Oops. Maybe it's time to play the "You're-not-RC-so-you-can't-possibly-understand" card.

SolaMeanie said...

The thought that came to my mind when reading this post was the scene from Revelation describing men during the last days. They didn't repent at God's righteous judgment, even when they knew they were experiencing God's personal, righteous, retributive justice. They shook their fists at Him instead.

The secular version of this scene is the old T-shirt depicting an eagle swooping down on a mouse. The mouse is giving the eagle an obscene gesture, and the caption reads "Defiance."

Somehow I have a hunch that people who end up in the Lake of Fire won't be feeling too terribly defiant.

Daryl said...

Dan,

Or maybe the you-call-stuff-I-like-bad-so-you're-not-loving-like-Jesus-is card.

(although admittedly that's a fairly unwieldy word...)

Mike Riccardi said...

None of this should surprise us. This is the logical end of the rejection Sola Scriptura. If Scripture's not the sole authority, who's left to fill that role? Just me and my experiences and my stories. Ughh... makes me want to vomit.

Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also. - 2 Timothy 3:8-9

Libbie said...

Dan, you've posted right to the heart of my current *insert mad screaming frustration emoticon here*.

It comes to something when the wolves in sheep's clothing cast off the sheep disguise and the rest of the flock just says "Wow, where can I get one of those cool wolf costumes?"

Daryl said...

"...the rest of the flock just says "Wow, where can I get one of those cool wolf costumes?"

Great line Libbie, that pretty well sums it up.

DJP said...

Yes, Libbie, well (and sadly) put, as usual.

But sheep are supposed to be sheep. Part of the problem is that shepherds are afraid to be shepherds. I know we here don't always do it right; well, I think Phil and Frank just about always do, but I know I don't. Yet I have learned that it really doesn't matter how nicely or fairly you say it, you get flack if you go against the grain, if you speak against the fad du jour.

Now, my livelihood doesn't depend on my popularity on this (or any other) blog. It is harder for a pastor.

Yet that's the job, that's the calling. If he fails to sound the alarm about wolves, he's failing in the very heart of his calling.

HAVING SAID THAT, I don't for a moment let the sheep off the hook. These sheep ARE equally commanded to continue in His Word (John 8:31-32), and to fight hard for the faith (Jude 1ff.). They have a responsibility. When they whine and moan at leaders who are trying faithfully to sound the alarm, THEY are EQUALLY failing at THEIR calling.

Mike Riccardi said...

...and, in many cases, showing themselves not to be sheep at all, but goats.

DJP said...

Mm; someone has posted this over at FreeRepublic. With all the adamantly RC posters there, could get... interesting.

Stefan said...

"Merciful bunions"; "[neither] cephalopod nor houseware appliance": there are some choice phrases in this one!

Dan, you made a good point a few comments back: the sense of entitlement and liberty that can arise in non-first-generation adherents of a religion. In Jewish and Mennonite communities, for example, ethnicity often trumps belief (and the Mennonites are credobaptists to boot). And of course, in liberal mainline churches, we see the same thing: folks grew up in nominally Christian households, went to nominally Christian seminaries, and work in nominally Christian churches, agencies, etc; so as ones born into "Christianity," they have somehow earned the right to reject the teachings of Scripture and their ancestors, and believe what they want.

CalvDispy said...

So who gets it worse? The undisguised wolf or the wolf with the wooly covering?

Mesa Mike said...

That's great!
"A wolf in wolf's clothing."

Trying to convince us that what looks like a wolf is really a sheep in wolf's clothing...

donsands said...

"The undisguised wolf or the wolf with the wooly covering?"

I think it's the "wooly bully", I mean "wooly covered" wolf.

For instance: Joyce Meyers plays the wooly game to a degree, but a Kenneth Copeland, is proud to say, "I blab it and I grab it!".

Seems those who are up front with there twisting of the Word shall receive a lesser condemnation.

Michael said...

Dan, thanks for bringing this to light and the well written response.

I have to say, this is very disappointing to read and am hoping against hope that perhaps he's under the influence of a controlled substance (ha-ha).

I've enjoyed LTJ's takedown of the Jesus Seminar over the years and can hardly believe he said these things.

S.J. Walker said...

Scrooge quote?

I'm a dumb country boy, Somebody hepl me out on that one please.

DJP said...

Donsands...I think it's the "wooly bully", I mean "wooly covered" wolf

"Wooly bully"! Sticklebats! I could have stayed with the recent song-title theme! Dang!

Stefan said...

"Sticklebats"? Wow, that's right up there with "merciful bunions"!

DJP said...

When it flows, it flows.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Dear DJP,

I've actually read this article before by Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson. I thought it was terribly hooey when I first read it. But I enjoy your absolutely first-rate exposure of his specious sophistry more!!!

I just skipped all the comments to write to you that I'm giving you a standing ovation for this superlative post.

Well Done!

DJP said...

Walker, here's your answer.

DJP said...

Oh, and Libbie?

Get back to blogging.

You leave a hole.

debese said...

Excellent Post! "Me, I'll take God's word on what sin is, what I need, what all of us need."

That's a money quote if there ever was one.

S.J. Walker said...

Ahah. And I usually catch quotes like that. Even carry on conversations (non-emerg*** type)with them.

I'm losing my edge.

Thanks. And, Scrooge aside, great post. A family member of mine (Luke)is not RC, but has used the same arguments regarding this issue.

If he doesn't specifically say "I reject that" as Johnson was tragically honest about, he does simply say, "well, I interpret all the passages that say homosexuality is sin differently than you". And voila! It is not sin anymore. That was easy.

"I interpret the bill of rights differently so I can cuss and talk about raping my mother but you better not talk about Christ and stamp on my free speech!"

"I interpret the Ten Commandments differently than you do so I can kill your cousin with a chainsaw."

Different issues; same problem. Most of us want to be little gods. And that isn't enough for the rest, they want to be God Himself. What little monsters we are.

"The devil can cite Scripture for his own purpose.
A goodly apple, rotten at the core
is like a villain with a smiling cheek.
Oh, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!"
(Shakespeare I know, but even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then)

Chris said...

Amen. I'd call it an ironometer, with the stress on the "nom," myself.

chris said...

You call it an "irony-meter," I call it "my brain, which aches from the quantity and quality of irony heaped upon it." Yours is pithier.

Also, I had no idea who this Luke Timothy Johnson fellow was. I have to agree with you that his candour is refreshing, but his theology (can it even be called that?) reeks to Heaven. And yes, that pun was intended.

So many stories... I wonder if he's got the time to sort through them all to find the "useful ones." I bet his first criterion is, "Does not fall in line with a belief in Scripture."

DJP, fine work. Truly excellent.

chris said...

Whoa... two chris(es) with a lower "c"... spooky. I'll be ChrisH (and am the second, longer comment)

DJP said...

Both of you dissing my Irony-meter.

Now THAT'S ironical!

RememberPolycarp said...

Excellent post! What evil days these are indeed...as in the days of Noah! Interesting that you decided to write on this character and his twisted view of scripture today, as there is presently a 2-part article posted at the slime--I mean the ooze--website on the same lie (not that anyone really wants to spend very much time there).

Daryl: Yes, exactly. Why don't they just have the nerve/honesty/ "authenticity" to call themselves what they are...like Joe Smith as you mention. I've noticed something similar for some time now, especially among the ECer's, which is the fact that unlike the old- fashioned approach to going prodigal, whereby such a one departs from Truth knowingly and rebelliously (for a time), finds himself in the utter depravity of his sin (eating slop with the pigs),comes to his senses, repents, hopes in the depths of his heart to be a mere servant at His father's house instead of where he's found himself, and returns with a humbled heart. Of course, the sovereign grace of our Lord runs to such a repentent sinner with open arms and gives him His very best--completely restoring fellowship with the father. That's always been the route. However, today it seems that liberal rebels under some odd variant of a once-Christian banner have reexamined the "raw deal" they think they'll get out of the scenario just described. They have decided to "have their cake and eat it too" insomuch as they say: "hey, why should we go anywhere? Why don't we just become prodigals blatently WITHIN our churches and gather those who feel the same way around us? Why should we lose our self-esteem by carrying that outdated label? We are Christians after all--we're our own, 'evolved,' 'progressive' and 'new kind' of christians who 'view things differently'. We need to 'enlighten' those stodgy old gatekeppers in our congregations with the gospel of inclusive tolerance"

When this happens--as it is happening everywhere--there is no returning for the prodigal or the apostate because of the simple fact that they haven't gone anywhere...physically that is!

Gilbert said...

Mmm. You know, if this spiritual manure could be transformed physically into it's equivalence, farmers across the country wouldn't have to buy any fertilizer for a year.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

One thing I've noticed recently is that the wolves are not disguising themselves at all these days. Gives you a (very sad) idea of the state of Christianity in this orb which is coming of it's wheels, so to speak. Beware, these links go to some theologically horrid sites to new documentaries and movies coming out:

http://www.humanityascending.com/index.html

And from the new movie, "The Moses Code":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuOr6EQrnCY

Brother Slawson said...

I think his name fits quite well with his theology.

When seeking truth, sometimes the answer can be found in Luke...
...sometimes you need to turn to Timothy... and sometimes... yes.... sometimes... we can just ask Johnson.

kelly jack said...

The Wolves have come out of the closet and have a parade permit.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Can someone be an "active" homosexual and be a heaven-going Christian too?

I don't think it's relevant whether the homosexual Christian is in monogamous same-sex union/marriage or not. This person engages in same-sex activity.

Further, let's say that this homosexual Christian doesn't believe that his/her same-sex behavior is a sin. Or if s/he thinks it is a sin per Scripture, they think they'll be forgiven anyways (maybe they believe it's genetically inherited and God will make allowances).

What say the TeamPyro crowd? Will this active homosexual Christian be going to Heaven?

Me? I honestly don't know. It just seems so weird to me. I'm almost certain that mainline liberal Christians and postmodern Emerging Christians would say "Yes", but I'd like to get the reasoned thoughts of the TeamPyro crowd.

Theophilus said...

(Cue vomiting emoticon.)
You could have had Total Depravity as one of the tags.

This is odd timing. Just in the last 2 weeks:
I blogged on "spectator's interest in Scripture". (Contrasting Eve's v. Jesus' response to temptation, view of scripture) and plan to explain 'Sola Scriptura' in next cell group. Piper and Ravi Zacharias both currently have pieces exalting authority of Divine Writ.

Now you post this guy. Blech. I'm going to have to gargle with a dose of Spurgeon.

How's THAT for contrast?

TUAD:

To have active, ongoing, willful continuance in the homosexual lifestyle seems to be the crux of your question. The wording of the question rules out repentance, or trying to overcome sin.

I would seriously wonder if the person had ever had a genuine conversion. (Reference Matt 7:13-29; I Jn 3:3-10, esp verses 6&9)

Theophilus said...

Peter Kreeft came to Ottawa last year, and I caught his address. While I'm not advocating everything he said wholesale, he made an interesting point:

The greatest threats to Faith, Reason, Innocence, Common Sense, and Metaphysical sanity are not those who are attacking from the "outside".

They are attacked by the very people who ought to be defending them:

Faith is attacked by theologians. Reason is attacked by Scientism (pseudo-science). Innocence is attacked by sociologists. Commonsense is opposed by "pragmatic realism". Metaphysical sanity is undermined by Ideologies (ie: anti-biblical worldviews).

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

To have active, ongoing, willful continuance in the homosexual lifestyle seems to be the crux of your question. The wording of the question rules out repentance, or trying to overcome sin.

Yes Theophilus, you've captured the crux of the question. You are also correct that the phrasing of the question rules out repentance or trying to overcome same-sex sin, and even whether they think same-sex behavior should be considered a sin at all.

I would seriously wonder if the person had ever had a genuine conversion.

That is tantamount to saying that the person is not even a Christian to begin with. Which is tantamount to saying that the person will not be spending eternity with God in Heaven. If you were to voice that to a mainline liberal Christian or to the homosexual Christian himself/herself, you would probably be subjected to some unpleasantries.

Libbie said...

TUAD, better that than leave the poor fool deluded and complacently lost. I speak as one who wishes people had spoken plainly to me a lot more than they actually did.

wenxian said...

Nice post dan,

Again spot on with the analysis. This post makes me wonder how come millions of RC see to be so blind - that they can't see scripture for what it is. If they say that we are blind for following explicit commands, let me say that they are the REAL blind people here for ignoring an explicit command.

I dunno if this sounds good but i think that Christians are defined not by birth nor their status - they are defined by their obedience to the explicit plain commands of God, that are self evident?

I think its a question of pride here. They've sinned and refuse to admit it was sin - for if they did so, they only prove the protestants correct. This would further mean that the RC was wrong from the start. It goes without saying they refuse to admit their sins as sins.

So they rather wallow in the sin of their wrong - akin to them living in the darkness and fearing the light of the [real] truth, for it will expose their nakeness and ugliness.

Sighz. the things man do for pride.

wenxian said...

TUAD,

[Further, let's say that this homosexual Christian doesn't believe that his/her same-sex behavior is a sin. Or if s/he thinks it is a sin per Scripture, they think they'll be forgiven anyways (maybe they believe it's genetically inherited and God will make allowances).

What say the TeamPyro crowd? Will this active homosexual Christian be going to Heaven?]

I can't speak for teampyro but i would like to comment.

For me the answer is no.

Reason: the person was blinded his own sins. Homosexuality is a sin like any other - it needs to be repented of.

If God purposed that the person would die still blind to his sin, its akin to the person dying blind to the reality of God's gospel.

Its like a person worshiping the Lord but he can't repent of his idols and he worships them too. See homosexuality as an idol here.

Teampyro, what do you all think?

donsands said...

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not DECEIVED: neither fornicators, nor idolters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [catamite], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals], ... shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. 6:9

These are practicing sinners, those who are unrighteous in mind, soul, and deed, and yet call themselves Christians. They are not the righteous sinners, who have been justified and set apart by the Triune God.

Daryl said...

Wenxian,

I really want to agree with you and with Donsands (whom I've learned to respect mightily around here). But my follow-up question is this...

Do we not all have some sin that we won't leave behind? Some sin that we prefer not to struggle against?

Thoughts?

DJP said...

Wenxian, what Don said, plus: 1 John 2:4-6, 29; 3:4-9, 24; 5:2-3

There is a difference between (A) not knowing something is a sin; (B) knowing something is a sin and struggling against it, with victories and failures; (C) knowing something is a sin and openly embracing, defending, and pursuing it.

The Scripture does not extend comfort and assurance to those in category C.

Which is, in part, what this post and this post were about.

Daryl said...

Dan,

That's what I thought. Thanks.

Stefan said...

I guess the main question for me would be, is the person genuinely repentant in his heart and trying to conform himself to God's standards, even if he slips up and fails (and then repents)? Then is he not in the same category as all of us, even David or Peter?

And other behaviour would fall into the same category. For example, a man who divorces his wife for unscriptural reasons and doesn't reconcile or (worse yet) marries another woman or (even worse) lives together with another woman. Each step is more grievous than the last; then again, if he even got to the point of the third step (living together with a woman other than his wife), suddenly had a piercing conviction of his wrong behaviour, repented, and attempted to set things right...then he'd be acting according to God's precepts. (Of course, if he decided to leave his wife, thinking, "I'll repent later," that'd be a different kettle of fish! ;) )

Stefan said...

Now I see that Dan answered at the same time, and more succinctly (and with prooftexts). Ah, well.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

There is a difference between (A) not knowing something is a sin; (B) knowing something is a sin and struggling against it, with victories and failures; (C) knowing something is a sin and openly embracing, defending, and pursuing it.

The Scripture does not extend comfort and assurance to those in category C.


DJP, what if there's a fourth category? It's created by liberal/postmodern Christians. It's claiming that one is uncertain whether same-sex behavior is sin per Scripture (or they use some trajectory hermeneutic) and because of their epistemological claim to uncertainty, they then openly embracing, defending, and pursuing same-sex behavior?

Matt said...

"Luke Timothy Johnson" isn't a clever pen-name for Phil Johnson, is it?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I wrote previously: "DJP, what if there's a fourth category? It's created by liberal/postmodern Christians. It's claiming that one is uncertain whether same-sex behavior is sin per Scripture (or they use some trajectory hermeneutic) and because of their epistemological claim to uncertainty, they then openly embrace, defend (on grounds of uncertainty), and pursue same-sex behavior."

Therefore, they then claim that they would fall within your category A. (A) Not knowing something is a sin.

So they are then pleased to learn that Scripture does extend comfort and assurance to those in category A ... for which they place themselves in.

What say thee TeamPyro maniacs? Are there folks like that? Does it fly?

Mike Riccardi said...

It's never just "not knowing," though. Scripture is so crystal clear on homosexuality being a sin, and that the practice of sin without repentance shows that you're not saved by grace, being conformed to the image of Christ. Don posted 1 Cor 6:9-11. It's as clear as it's going to get.

So if someone's claiming they don't know or aren't sure, not only are they -- hypothetically -- practicing a lifestyle of homosexuality, but they're also dismissing one or all of the following: the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, or perspicuity of the Scripture. Also not a mark of God's people. God's people love His Word.

Obviously there are gonna be folks who think they're OK when they're really not. They're "not knowing" excuse is told that it's no excuse, and that what matters is being known. See Matthew 7:21-23.

Daryl said...

It's probably also worth noting that no one is going to hell because they won't repent of that one sin they like.
Unrepentance bleeds into every facet of life I think, so the "not knowing" about one sin would become a moot point anyways.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Daryl: "It's probably also worth noting that no one is going to hell because they won't repent of that one sin they like."

Daryl, I do think baptized GLBT Christians (active, ongoing, willful continuance in the homosexual lifestyle) and their sympathizers would strongly agree with you on that point.

Unrepentance bleeds into every facet of life I think, so the "not knowing" about one sin would become a moot point anyways.

Hmmmmmm...

Strong Tower said...

Those were the days my friend: Thoughtless, automatic, convenient.

Stefan said...

TUAD:

The thing is that some camps will say that all passages in Scripture that appear to be crystal-clear regarding homosexual behaviour, are actually describing specific activities from the ancient Near East...so they might put themselves under category (A), although it seems like they're really putting themselves into category (C) and twisting Scripture to suit their purposes.

On the other hand, there are some born again Christians who have a homosexual orientation, who nevertheless claim that those passages are clear and unambiguous and choose celibacy, therefore putting themselves into Dan's category (B).

At any rate, God calls believers out of every nation and every walk of life; in this day and age especially, we must be sure to be uncompromising on all forms of sin in both ourselves and others, but be merciful to all who put their trust in God and strive to live by His precepts, so that all those lost sheep whom God calls—no matter what the circumstances out of which He calls them—feel like welcome brothers and sisters in the sheepfold.

Rabbit said...

"There is a wide-spread 'gullibility' among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded man." (JC Ryle)

Homosexuality is a sin (clearly delineated in Scripture). So are self-indulgence, adultery, and lying. Thing is, the world wants us to believe that those things aren't the result of willfully seeking our own way; they're genetic or part of our "temperament." A character trait beyond our control, to be pitied perhaps or treated with medication or a good shrink, but even that is "condemning" and "intolerant." Best of all, according to the worldly, is to tolerate everything and condemn nothing, because we all have these uncontrollable character traits and shouldn't we all just sigh and link arms and accept one another as we are?

But all of it - ALL of it - must be brought to the foot of the cross so that the God of peace Himself may sanctify us entirely. Not just the parts we want sanctified while we cling to the sins we particularly enjoy. But we sinful creatures are able to come up with all sorts of reasons why this one particular sin (which feels so good when I indulge it) shouldn't need to be nailed to the cross.

Theophilus said...

I would point out that Jesus didn't ever let His disciples hide behind ignorance. He taught them (correct me if I mis-state this, guys):

Failure to understand is not a lapse in reasoning, (intellectual failure), but a symptom of a hardened heart, or unbelief, (ie: moral failure).

Ignorance is not "ignorance" in the way we commonly use it today. It is the evidence of the corrupt will rebelling against the holiness of God, our conscience, and the Law.

Stefan said...

Rabbit: Amen.

Theophilus: Makes sense. Perhaps we could call it wilful ignorance.

wenxian said...

Daryl,

[It's probably also worth noting that no one is going to hell because they won't repent of that one sin they like.]

I hope its true, but i think there might be some problems. correct me if i am wrong

At the end, we are saved by God's grace alone. Because God alone sets the limits of the grace for things not explicitly defined by the bible, we cannot be 100% sure that one pet sin might be bad enough to do us in. (i assume that the person who entertains this pet sin knows in his conscience it is something wrong but also knows it ain't 'explicit' in the bible)

Because maybe us just entertaining that one sin actually is indicative that we weren't really saved and we have been living in a false sense of security.

And because we cannot demand how grace is going to be given to us, we may have to accept whather verdict God gives. Perhaps there is no last chance - after all, grace is God's prerogative.

But rest assured that if you do your best to act (inclusive of finding out the truth) in the interests of following God, you will be forgiven even if you do sin.

But homosexuality, in the context of this post, is not something that is poorly defined. It is spoken of, always negatively and is considered wicked (gen19:6, Leviticus etc etc etc). Of course, it leaves them no room to wiggle if they actively and happily pursue such a homophilic life.

Daryl said...

Perhaps we've gotten the question backwards.
Donsands often reminds us that it's not so much whether or not you can be Christian and not believe in the Trinity (wait, this applies) but whether God will faithfully convict his people to believe it.
Same goes on the gay issue. It's not so much whether or not you can be Christian whilst gay, but whether or not God would allow his people to carry on, unconvicted, of that sin.

Strong Tower said...

There will be no excuses, Jesus doesn't allow them:

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

The word idle is argos, free from labour, at leisure, non-producing, dead in otherwords-

If the word does not produce life, it produces death. There is no neutrality. Therefore, we are said to be justified by the words we speak, because, Christ has given us his word, and his word is the word of life. So then, in everthing we are held accountable, thus it is written "do not go beyond what is written" for what a man builds with will be brought into judgement in that Day, whether it be gold...hay...

Watch your heart, your word, for out of it flows the issue of life...

And I agree, Jesus said that they did not hear him because they hated him...which tells us that they knew what he was saying, but it found no place in their heart= the table of the Lord is despicable. It is the same reason that people do not come to the wedding feast though they are invited, they simply find it not to their taste, too much like manna...

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I would seriously wonder if the person had ever had a genuine conversion. (Theophilus)

Let me approach this another way. Let's take a step back.

What are the benefits, if any, of questioning the salvation of a baptized GLBT Christian who has an active, ongoing, willful continuance in the homosexual lifestyle?

Scenario. Suppose you meet such a person and you're informed that this person is an active GLBT Christian. What is the Christ-like loving thing to do since you regard this person as your neighbor and you want to love this neighbor? Should you voice your questions and concerns about his/her salvation and whether he/she is genuinely a Christian? Or should you be quiet and let the moment pass, perhaps hoping and praying that someone else who has a "better" relationship would say something?

Perhaps the best thing is to not say anything at all. What say thee?

donsands said...

" It is the same reason that people do not come to the wedding feast though they are invited, they simply find it not to their taste,"

What about the one who came, but wasn't dressed correctly?

Strong Tower said...

Does it matter seeing that we cannot know the estate of the individual? We might doubt it but, we cannot say. What then, if one confesses to be a brother, we still are bound to preach the Gospel and that includes the law and the means of grace. In otherwords, our heart should be for their salvation, always, regardless of the facts. For even we are being saved, our salvation being worked in us as we breath. Not that we can be lost, but that, God works our sanctification by the same means: faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Remember, it is our faith that works repentance and the love which makes us to turn to him that we may be clean.

Who is not at first recalcitrant? Then let the word work, for his word which goes forth from his mouth does not return to him void.

Strong Tower said...

You mean the one who really didn't care who the groom was, and only had his sights on filling his belly? I think he still thinks the Lord's table disgusting, but is willing to eat what ever he finds, sort of like a pig who could careless who his master is as long as his belly gets filled.

But, yeah... there is always exception, or so it seems...

Strong Tower said...

Oh, and by the way, did that guest have a ticket? I mean, isn't the import that he snucked in (Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?) Which being interpreted is, "Your name's not on the list, can I see your invition, mmm, BOYS! Bounce him!"

Daryl said...

"What are the benefits, if any, of questioning the salvation of a baptized GLBT Christian who has an active, ongoing, willful continuance in the homosexual lifestyle?"

I'd say the benefits are huge, eternally huge. Although I've never been in the situation, at some point the question must be raised, as as to save their soul from hell.

I'd suggest (as has been mentioned) that we're not talking about some obscure, unclear Scripture here. Surely, were they truly saved, they would see the issue and begin the struggle against sin. Perhaps, if they only believe (wrongly) themselves to be saved, the question may be the gospel that reaches their soul, brings regeneration and creates saving faith in them.

Either way, surely ignoring it would be wrong.

donsands said...

"as long as his belly gets filled."

The Scripture doesn't say as much, but you could be right.

I just thought it strange that this one person who was invited, and was at the feast, and when the king saw him, he was speechless, and not dress appropriately. And he was thrown out after being tied up.

The others who rejected the invitation were killed, and their city burned to the ground.

Of course our Lord is speaking to the rulers of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem herself.

But that one guy baffles me. Oh well.

Sorry for the bunny trail.

Strong Tower said...

"But rest assured that if you do your best to act (inclusive of finding out the truth) in the interests of following God, you will be forgiven even if you do sin."

Wenxian- I just saw this, sorry-

We are not forgiven on the basis of what we do, we are judge on that basis. We are forgiven on the basis of what Christ did...

Daryl said...

Strong Tower,

Good catch there, however...we (believers)are judged on the basis of Christ's imputed righteousness. Otherwise there will be no "Well done thou good and faithful servant" for anyone, ever.

donsands said...

" .. God will faithfully convict his people to believe it."

Yep.

The new creation in Christ has left old things behind. Though the remnant of sin causes our flesh to be weak, even extremely weak at times, our spirit is willing. And He is faithful, even when we are not, because He cannot deny Himself.

Strong Tower said...

I would never say ignore it. In fact, that one calls himself a brother necessitates that we take affirmative corrective action. How we do that may need to be considered...

Jude and elsewhere instruct us that it is of utmost urgency. People get burned standing in the fire. Love would dictate that we rescue them even against their will... That at times gets very ugly and costly...

The parable of the sheep is interesting... I wonder at times if Christ isn't saying to us, that we might have to abandon the relationship with the 99, for the sake of the one. Often the attitude of the congregation is against what is right. But, if my brother is lost, no matter the depravity, the 99 who are not, do not need me...

Daryl said...

Strong Tower,

...careful there...the parable of the lost sheep is about Christ...not you (except in the role of the lost sheep).

We need the church and the church needs us.

Daryl said...

Strong Tower,

I'm not trying to chase you around...really :)

Strong Tower said...

Don I found your rabbit:

‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

This is a reference to purgatory ;)

Strong Tower said...

daryl-

I wasn't say that- of course it is, however, the application can be to us also

as he was sent so he also sends us, and in the matter of a brother who goes astray, which one of you would not leave the 99 to seek the one? What I am saying is that one might need to go against the tide of opinion. In which case the relationships are going to change. In some cases to the exclusion of the searcher by the 99...

I was not meaning to rest it from its context, unless I can ;)

Daryl said...

Strong Tower,

Weeelll...I won't go so far as to say that I'd use that Scripture like that...but I can't disagree with your conclusion...

(How's that for waffling...:) )

donsands said...

"This is a reference to purgatory"

I'll remember that and light a few candles to offer some indulgences.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Daryl: "I'd say the benefits are huge, eternally huge. Although I've never been in the situation, at some point the question must be raised, as as to save their soul from hell."

Daryl, let's say that one day you are placed in that situation. And you raise the question nicely, realizing that the benefits are huge and the costs are huge.

Let's say the active GLBT Christian takes unprovoked offense at you questioning his/her salvation. Or offense at you questioning whether they can continue in their same-sex behavior and yet still be able to claim that they are followers of Christ.

People gather around, other Christians and non-Christians. They see two Christians quarreling. You hear name-calling directed at you. "Fundamentalist" "Pharisee" "Harsh" "Mean-Spirited" "Divisive" "Judgmental" "Fred Phelps-type" "Homophobe" etc...

You become alarmed. You wanted to do the right thing in the right way. You spoke winsomely and with grace. You were gentle in your voice and in your non-verbal gestures. Yet there is rising anger, hostility towards you for being the one who is sewing discord among people and among Christians.

You feel anxiety. You had no intent of being divisive, and yet division is occuring. You stop and reconsider. You have unresolved sin in your life. You would readily stipulate that you have logs in your eye. Indeed, maybe you are being judgmental and Pharasaic! You decide that it's time to make peace and ratchet down the tension. So you say:

"I believe Scripture is clear that same-sex behavior is sin. I feel that it's my Christian duty to inform you and/or remind you of the Bible's clear instructions. However, I cannot judge whether my active GLBT neighbor here is really a Christian or not. That's not for me to judge. I'm sorry for any disturbance that I might have unintentionally caused."

You feel good about yourself. You stood up for God's Word and the name-calling has ceased. People go away thinking that it's perfectly within the realm of possibility that an active GLBT Christian will enjoy eternity with God in Heaven.

Would the TeamPyro crowd all join in and say, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant"?

Will God say, "Well done, they good and faithful servant"?

Strong Tower said...

daryl-

I am sure if I looked real hard I could find better, but I am lazy

I trust we haven't strayed too far from Master Philips' postage'...I could feel his anger...

Johnson claims the name, he needs to be held to account. I vote public flogging, burning would add to global warming...

The real damage is what this reveals. That we are weak, (not Dan he's got a sword). Where are the voices of clarity? This does damage, within and without. It erects barriers. Barriers that do not come down easily. Takes dynOmyte at times, and creates a big mess...even hatred, God forbid...(Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.)Hate is good, in the right place and the right time...

I am with you, we would be so much better off if they started their own religion. I am sure the enemy doesn't care about the rules of engagement, though.

Daryl said...

TUAD,

I'm not sure I see your point. I mean I do, but I don't see it in relation to what I said.

I'm onside with the idea that, peace-be-hanged, at some point the point must be made, winsomely, yes, but clearly made.
I don't think the log/eye thing really applies here (could be wrong), any more than it applies to a preacher on Sunday morning.

As for the gathering crowd, were they, and the "GLBT Christian" on the same side, well, I rest my case. Nicely but firmly I'd have to reassert the Scriptural teaching that "those who practice such things shall not inherit eternal life."

In the hypothetical discussion you wrote, I'd drop the "I believe" and start with "Scripture teaches" and then stop short of the "however, I cannot judge..." bit.

I suppose I just answered my first question on this topic, didn't I?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Daryl,

I was just wondering about real-life application. It's one thing to blog. But it's an entirely different thing to actually be involved in a real-life situation. I think it's good to pre-emptively consider what one would do if such a situation were to occur so that one would be already semi-prepared.

I think both my hypotheticals have some reasonable basis to them. I think we would all agree that there are active GLBT Christians who believe they are Christ-followers and who also believe they will enjoy eternal life with Christ.

And this other scenario of questioning an active GLBT's salvation or genuine conversion will also likely cause unpleasant tension. Thus giving rise to the thought of NOT saying anything.

Daryl said...

True enough. It's a good excercise, I agree.

Webster Groves, Missouri said...

Could have sworn the guy was an Episcopalian.

Mesa Mike said...

Luke I know, And Timothy I know. But, who is this Johnson guy?

Mike Riccardi said...

Does anyone else's ears go up when they read "GLBT Christian"? TUAD, I think in your situation about others hearing an argument "between Christians" is moot, because it's not really an argument between Christians.

The benefit of confronting a GLBT person about their sin with the truth of Scripture is the same benefit of confronting any other unbeliever about their sin. The truth is proclaimed, accomplishes the purpose God has for it, and does not return to Him void. It either heaps further judgment and condemnation on the head of the unbeliever, so that God is proved a just judge (Rom 3:3), or it penetrates the heart, converts the soul and exercises the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1:16).

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Dear Mike Riccardi,

I'm not trying to make your ears go up by the phrase "GLBT Christian". What I would like to obtain, if possible, is clarity. As I've asked before on a previous comment, can a person be both an active GLBT'er (doesn't think it's sin or is uncertain whether it's sin. And thus continues on in his/her same-sex behavior) AND a heaven-going Christian?

So far, the answer seems to be "Maybe".

Pax.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Can an active GLBT'er also be heaven-going Christian?

I've just finished googling answers on the internet. There's no consensus. Some say "Yes". Others say "No."

I should have expected that. I think I'll err on the side of caution. When appropriate timing and venue and the relationship is solid and authentic, I'll ask the GLBT Christian friend to take another deep look at Scripture and conform his/her behavior to God's Word.

If they say "no", and they also say that they are fellow heirs to Kingdom of God, then at least I know that I tried. What else you gonna do besides pray?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Sidebar: I've also encountered Christians who believe that Christians can support abortion.

I'm running into arguments that a Christian can also be an active GLBT'er. And logically, that a Christian can also support same-sex marriage.

And I'm running into arguments that a Christian can also support abortion legislatively.

I don't see it. But there are those within the Church who do say that.

Strong Tower said...

TUAD-

I think it more proper to say is it Christian to believe one can hold beliefs contrary to Scripture. To that the answer is yes. It is also proper to say that to hold beliefs contrary to Scripture is not Christian.

This is where I part company with those who say that there are essentials and non-essentials, when in reality the whole of Scripture is essential. It is truth immovable. It is important then not to confuse categories. I asked this question at my blog: What does a person need to believe to be saved? Answer: nuttin. But, if it is read: What does a person who is saved believe, the answers must have absoluteness about them, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord..." Not that we must know everything that can be known, or elucidate all that can be known about any thing that is known. So, when I look into the mirror dimly, I may not see everything clearly, but what I do see I do see. Paul was afraid of what had happened to the Galatians. He knew absolutely what he had taught. They appeared saved. His apprehension was that his work was in vain. Undaunted though, he worked again to see that Christ was formed in them. Even he, the great apostle did not have discernment on everything, nor every one. There were however, things that he knew, absolutely, which excluded men from union with Christ. It was those very issues that he held in question, and grieved the possibility that the Galatians had not been saved. But, also queried, "...who has bewitched you? From Timothy we can gather and from Peter's apostolic screw-ups, that it is very much possible that a believer may be captured by the enemy, be it temptations of the flesh, the world, or the devil, to do the will of the devil. Our task then is to turn over the tables, once, twice if necessary, and if that doesn't work, tear down the whole "damned" temple.

Often in the Scripture we see the disciples stumble over who is Lord, what is the resurrection. Their hardness of heart does not move the rock of truth, however. He is calm, and at rest. And we see that at another point that which was unbelief became belief when they were given eyes to see. And, he was still at rest.

So the proper view is not if a person believes this about something, but what they know about such a thing is truth about it. When we've dealt with the liberals and mergers at P&P, the thing that they screw up is that they want to say they know X because of Y, but when Z is shown because of Y, they reject it. Not because it is not there, though they will argue that also, but because they are in sin. Nicodemus asked, how can this be? Jesus replied, "You are a teacher!" On the one hand, the wisdom of the world says it knows spiritual truth, but then show them their face in the mirror of Truth and they respond, how can this be, surely I am not that man.

Our only hope, and their's also is to take them so deep that they despair of their ability to hold their breath. Once they drown under the crushing weight of the word of God they will repent, if God grants them mercy. But, if you take this road, as you have indicated. Be ready. For the rich man has many friends, but the poor man; everyone hates him, Proverbs: Proverbs 14:20; 19:4; 19:7 cf. Matthew 26:31; 2 Timothy 3:12

Theophilus said...

TUAD:
I appreciate your candor on this topic, and I will try to answer in a way that honors both Christ, and you.

Some considerations:
1) re: ...questioning an active GLBT's salvation or genuine conversion ... unpleasant tension. Thus giving rise to the thought of NOT saying anything.
Contrast to Gal 5:11 --Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

2) further to above... if said friend were an alcoholic, and you wanted to set up an intervention, would you really care what the reaction of the others was? Or would you do it anyway, knowing that both the alcoholic, and his drinking buddies would object.

If the highest Good in life is the
"Kingdom of God, and His righteousness", and love motivates us to do good to each other, what greater good can be done than to give him a correct view of God and his Word? Is ANY other consideration is a legitimate objection?

2) There have been adequate verses to support holiness/sanctification as the evidence (not cause) of salvation to not belabor it.

3) Attide is important. NT has many exhortations to proclaim & correct/restore, but to do so with humility, and motivated by love. The person is entangled in sin, and blinded to it, but he is still made in the image of God.

Theophilus said...

Two further comments.

1) my wife worked (briefly) with an unabashedly homosexual man. (He moon-lighted as a 'pole-dancer')

After working with her for a week or so, and it came up that she was a believer. You're Christian!?! he asked, astonished. She answered yes.
His answer rocked her on her heels:
...but -- you're nice to me.

She also has a cousin in Florida: He used to attend Church, regularly. Nice enough guy. He now has a guy he's been dating for quite a long time. (Also a nice enough guy.)

We visited another relative, and we were, in a large group, gathered for Thanksgiving dinner.

I believe she balanced it well. She, and I, enjoyed a family gathering, and got to know everyone. (Including the "boyfriend".) At an opportune moment, she took her cousin aside and explained her love for him, and her concern for his eternal well-being. You know everything you need to know, she said. I would not be showing love for you if I pretended you were right with God. You know all you need to know about the cross. I hope you will get right with Him.
I want what's best for you.
Both of you.

What was said in Ezekiel? (ch 33)
"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.

If the stakes are so high and we shrink back from speaking, I can think of only two reasons we (myself included) hesitate:

(1) preservation of self
or
(2) unbelief.

wenxian said...

Strong Tower,

I agree with what you said. I never meant that we by any means earn our salvation. I am sorry if my statements was imprecise.

I affirm once agfain that our salvation is totally unearned and we can do nothing to earn it. Christ paid for them alone in full and its his prerogative to give to whomever he pleases.

wenxian said...

TUAD,

I agree with theophilus. I hope you'll understand that there is nothing higher than an accurate representation of God and his righteousness.

Christians don't exist in this world to be loved by the world. We exist to glorify God and enjoy him forever. If it means hating the world and being scolded/ spokem bad of, we accept it happily in the name of Christ.

Unless you think that God is so small that we need to pander to the world to 'save' them.

In contrary, our God is so great that he can save (the person you are talking to) as long as he wants it! Even if at that time the person who we are preaching to hates us to the core because we spoke the truth in love (assuming we try our very best to be gentle). This hate stems not from our behaviour, but because they hate God and when their sins are exposed, they hate God even more.

Stefan said...

I think that between his answer and examples (speaking the truth in love—which is a cliché, but the examples are not clichéd at all), Theophilus pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

TUAD:
I appreciate your candor on this topic, and I will try to answer in a way that honors both Christ, and you.


Dear Theophilus et al,

Thank you very much for your kindness. You most certainly have accomplished your intent of honoring Christ and me. May I do the same.

For the sake of further clarity and understanding on my part, I want to distinguish between two things so that they are not inadvertently conflated.

(One) Voicing loving concern with truth-in-love.

(Two) Presupposing that one cannot be an active GLBT'er and a heaven-going Christian at the same time. (all the way until the GLBT Christian's death).

I want to distinguish between the two because #1 occurs only because you've presupposed and assumed #2.

And #2 was my question that I've pressed upon the TeamPyro maniacs.

So if I understand you all correctly, is it safe for me to infer that you all believe that an active GLBT'er professing to be Christian will NOT be spending eternity in Heaven?

I think Wenxian, Don Sands, Mike Riccardi have all said that an active GLBT Christian will be eternally separated.

Theophilus, I really appreciate you recounting the story of wife's loving message to her gay cousin. May I extend it gently for a hypothetical that really illustrates what I'm trying to discern?

Wife: "I would not be showing love for you if I pretended you were right with God."

GLBT Cousin: "Thanks for your kind love. Please know that I am a baptized Christian. I am a follower and disciple of Christ. I go to church. It's a mainline Church. Our pastor is a graduate of an Ivy-league Divinity School. Our pastor and a group of us GLBT'ers have studied the so-called "clobber passages" and our in-depth biblical study shows that same-sex behavior is not a sin today in God's eyes. God created me this way; science has shown that it's biologically inherited. Plus I'm in a monogamous relationship and my long-time boyfriend is a believer too. We worship together. In addition, our progressive church has gay and lesbian pastors. We all love Jesus.

So thank you for taking me aside and expressing your concern. My eternal destiny is with God in Heaven and He loves me for who he made me to be.

I'm a Christian who's going to Heaven. Don't you agree?"

Wife: ".........."

Theophilus et al, what say thee?

Stefan said...

TUAD:

Okay. Before I became a Christian, and even as little as a year ago—when I was still an undiscerning new believer—I had a laissez faire attitude towards the question of sexual orientation, same-sex marriage, etc. I understood that conservative evangelicals have a more black-and-white view of it than I did at the time, and while I wasn't yet fully comfortable with that view, I accepted that Scripture is actually pretty unambiguous on these questions.

God works in strange ways. I came to salvation after hearing a sermon on Romans chapter 11—not a "top ten" passage of Scripture—in which Paul relates the way in which non-believing Jews have a rightful place within the church upon rebirth in the Holy Spirit (to paraphrase). I was convicted that I could no longer "pick and choose" what I liked out of Scripture, because if I was going to hold up a relatively obscure passage as the means to my salvation, how could I then go and wilfully ignore other parts of Scripture that I didn't agree with? I was compelled to accept and stand upon the whole counsel of God, the easy parts and the difficult parts.

As a result, I now have a much more conservative (and Scriptural) view of these things. There is no question in my mind that, as unpalatable and uncomfortable as some truths in Scripture may seem, we don't have the luxury of trying to ignore or reinterpret them to suit contemporary worldly standards. BUT that doesn't remove my compassion for people with same-sex orientation, or my realization that confronting them in a combative, fire-and-brimstone manner will only make things worse. So I would take an approach much like Theophilus' wife (for which I thank him for the example).

By the way, there is another believer at our church, a young woman about my age, who has a number of gay friends from before she was saved. Even though she still hangs out with them, she has had no compunctions about relating her transformed, Scriptural view with them, but in a way that doesn't estrange them or make them think she's "crossed over to the dark side" (you know what I mean). She's preserved her friendship with them, and has kept the way open for them to receive the Gospel when the Holy Spirit so moves them.

Stefan said...

So in practical response to your hypothetical person who goes to a liberal church, has a gay or lesbian minister, is in a monogamous homosexual relationship, etc., the most effective thing might be to refer them to material—and there's a lot of it out there—that points out scholarly inconsistencies and disingenuousness in reinterpreting the passages that relate to homosexuality.

Stefan said...

...But homosexuality is no more nor less an issue than many other similar ones: Christians who choose to live together out of wedlock, or have intimate relations out of wedlock; spouses who divorce for unscriptural reasons; adultery; and so on—not to mention pride, envy, anger, other forms of lust, covetousness, neglect, idolatry, and so on. In all these cases, we must be honest and sober-minded in steering fellow believers onto the right path, always keeping in mind (and stressing) that we too are sinners, saved solely by the grace of God.

Anyhow, here's a good jumping-off point: Monergism's page on homosexuality.

S.J. Walker said...

well handled Stefan. Well handled all.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Stefan et al,

Let me provide additional clarification on why the question of whether an active GLBT'er can also be a genuine, heaven-destined Christian at the same time.

Making this discernment helps determine the relational conversation. If I think he's a Christian, then my exhortations are about living a more biblically faithful sexual life. But if I don't think he'a Christian despite his proclamation that he is a Christian, then the dialogue is significantly altered. A sense of heightened concern and urgency is felt.

But suppose you think my question is irrelevant. You say that it doesn't matter. You say you should still voice to him/her that same-sex behavior is sin according to Scripture. Fine.

Then suppose that the GLBT friend/relative graciously thanks you for your rebuke and says that Jesus loves them and they will be spending eternity in Heaven no matter what. What then?

Stefan recommends giving the GLBT Christian books, articles, audios, videos etc....

I like that idea. And I've done it.

The thing is, they also have lots of resources that say that it's perfectly within God's blessing to be an actively gay child of His!

My tentative thoughts, subject to change: I'll treat my GLBT Christian acquaintance/friend/relative as if they're not genuine Christians. I will speak the truth-in-love to them. I do not know with omniscient certainty whether they will be in Heaven with Christ or not, but I will err on the side of caution, and lovingly warn them to internally and externally comply with Scripture's prohibitions against same-sex behavior.

If both Scripture and I get rejected, then I'm fully prepared for that. All you can do then is keep the relationship and continually pray for him/her.

Anything else that you would subtract, add, and/or modify to what I've said I would do (and have done)?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Suppose the active GLBT Christian was your son or your daughter or a very close nephew or niece.

Do you treat them and love them as fellow Christians.... or not?

This actually was Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson's concerns since it was his daughter coming out as a lesbian that prompted him to write what he did about experience.

Stefan said...

The only thing I'd add is this: It may be that they're truly born again, but that this area of their life has not yet been brought under sanctification—but that it will be in the future.

And if they insist that they're right and you're wrong, even after all you've done, what more can you then do? Just pray for the Holy Spirit to convict them and bring them to the foot of the Cross (as Rabbit put it), and by the grace of God, overcome their sin nature as we all must strive to do, in all our personal struggles with persistent, besetting sins.

Strong Tower said...

I think Jude serves as a helpful reminder. The admonitions refer us back to those who left their first estate.

They are those who difile themselves, who are filthy dreamers, perverting doctrine, and their actions follow.

Jude completes his anology of fire and brimestone, to include those "believers" who are being burned.

Sadly, even believers fall into these categories-

Some we treat with kit gloves, others with gauntlets-

The attitude of Scripture against sin does not change. Whether it is believer or not.

While it is impossible for us to believe that a person might continue living in a mode of rejection of correction, at least to the point of grieving, it is possible.

Let's quickly review who will not be in heaven: the covetous, idolaters, gossips, liars-

Feel the squeeze? Try this one. Everytime you see something that you want, simply because its "cool", Scripture calls it covetous. You would think that Paul would have listed the "great" sins, rather than covetous. But, they all proceed from that one. Self-centered desire. And if you look closely at self-centered desire you will see it is to be a lover of self, and guess what, that is same sex love.

So, first we must hate even the garment stained with sin. Which means with the same mearsure we judge we must also judge ourselves thereby. This by no means provides excuse. We must treat all sin as sin, and lay it all open to the same judgement.

Now, not all sin is remediated by the same means. As Jude looks to some with mercy, others we violently snatch away from the flames. Matthew 18, and our own executioner status, requires of us to use various means to accomplish this. That wisdom though, is not so black and white. To James then. Let us ask for wisdom and treat all as under wrath for sin including ourselves knowing that to the believer it is discipline as sons, but to the rebellious it is condemnation. For the same word that speaks to the homosexual speaks to us as self-lovers. Applying the word as it comes to discipline is not easy. And complicating this is the fact that we do not have consistency across the broad spectrum we know as the church to support us.

It is clear that a person who is actively supporting GLBT realities is guilty of fornications, of mind if not of body, teaching and upholding doctrine contrary, if not engaged in the same. In either case the Word of God speaks directly to that issue. We are to have nothing to do with them. But, since that is the truth about the world, and since we have been given the ministry of reconcilliation, we must hold out hope that they will be granted repentance. Our assumption must be that they are not saved in the sense, that it is the Word of God which works faith in us all. The word of God expects us to treat them as such as are in need of faith (Jude says some are in doubt). At the same time we do not know. Just as Paul could not be sure, even with the confession of the Galatians, contradiction brought all into doubt. How could one be saved and hold these doctrines. How could one be save and doubt? Because these things are clear, that no one who is an homosexual, or affeminate will inherit eternal life, but neither will the unbelieving. So at the same time neither will gossips inherit eternal life. To contradict the truth cannot bring assurance, therefore, either for the person concerned for himself, or for those concerned about him. We must act then in hope that God will grant them mercy leading to repentance and that unto eternal life.

Strong Tower said...

TUAD-

I just read your comments. As you will note in my last one. The one thing we cannot have, is assurance that they are save, precisely because they reject the clear, no question about it, admonitions of the word. Contrast this to Paul's concern over circumcision where there might be some technicalities in understanding the nuances of the law. There is not such thing when it comes to sexuality. It is clear. Then how much more should we doubt their salvation?

Mike Riccardi said...

I agree. You've got to lead with prayer.

But as a matter of practicality. After they say that they've got their resources and their pastor says it's OK because he's stood up under the clobber passages, if you think it wise to continue, the next step is to get hermeneutical.

Call into question the pastor's authority for saying such things. We can all agree that the Bible teaches it's a sin; we're just trying to argue that it's not a sin anymore. So by what authority do we do that? What authority has a pastor to say, "No, that doesn't apply anymore, but unfortunately the Holy Spirit didn't know about footnotes."

I would say to the person that there's no sound exegetical method or hermeneutical approach that allows me to decide what Scripture says when I don't like it. Science is not a valid hermeneutic. Experience is not a valid hermeneutic. Our stories are certainly not valid hermeneutics. I'd simply say, "God has given us His authoritative declaration on this. What authority do you have or does your pastor have to say God doesn't mean what He says?"

The answer is none. Will you get that answer? If they're being saved, yes. More than likely, you'll get scoffing, called overly conservative, and maybe even a Pharisee.

But we need to understand our position. We have to be willing to be branded a Pharisee for the sake of the truth. We're an aroma of death to those who are perishing. Why? Because that same truth that is an aroma of life to those being saved -- the truth that reminds them that heaven is waiting for us, and God's there -- that same truth is reminding the unbelieving that hell is waiting for them, and God's not there.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Thanks Stefan et al,

There really is nothing more than you can do. Other than to keep the relationship and continue praying.

But let's discuss another related idea. One related to undershepherds and leadership and the church.

Suppose we have a number of pastors, priests, reverends, rectors, bishops, elders, deacons, seminary professors, theologians, and authors who proclaim that active GLBT Christians are perfectly good and okay.

What then?

People have cast aspersions towards Fundamentalists for practicing excessive separation.

Would you separate from a Christian leader, or a church, or a denomination that proclaimed that active GLBT behavior is not to be regarded as sin?

If you were to practice separation from this leadership, why? If you didn't separate from this leadership, why?

Don't you want to be Christ-like loving and believe that an active GLBT person can be a Christian too? And if the elders that you are called to submit to and obey deem (hypothetically) that active GLBT'ers are Christians too, then why separate and cause grief to the local body of believers that you're a member of?

Strong Tower said...

And, I think that is the subject of Dan's post. How dare they call themselves ministers of God. You see, we have the right to call a spade a spade, to withstand the Peter's of the church face to face. How much more so wolves and not just Peter's who have gone astray?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

But we need to understand our position. We have to be willing to be branded a Pharisee for the sake of the truth. We're an aroma of death to those who are perishing. Why? Because that same truth that is an aroma of life to those being saved -- the truth that reminds them that heaven is waiting for us, and God's there -- that same truth is reminding the unbelieving that hell is waiting for them, and God's not there.

We have to be willing to be branded a Pharisee for the sake of the truth.

We have to be willing to be branded a Pharisee for the sake of the truth.

We have to be willing to be branded a Pharisee for the sake of the truth.

You right Mike Riccardi. That is our cross to bear.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

How dare they call themselves ministers of God. ... How much more so wolves and not just Peter's who have gone astray?

Strong Tower, my friend, it grieves me to agree with you. I believe that a theological and ecclesiastical civil war will be waged (or arguably has been and is continuing to be waged). It's just intensifying.

To a fallen and lost world, what do they see and what do they know when they see a civil war between Christians?

They hear the words "heresy" and "apostasy" on one side. On the other side they hear "Pharasaic", "Divisive", "Judgmental", "Legalism", "Heresy hunter", etc....

Those who don't know Christ will remember this verse from Jesus: " This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

And they will say that these civil-warring Christians don't love one another. And therefore, the Christian faith is not for me.

Eg., someone might think that DJP's post critiquing LTJ is another case of unloving civil war between Christians.

P.S. This Adversary that we contend against is relentless! For not only have the "orthodox" angered the theo-liberals and the postmodern Emergers, but they have potentially alienated the Lost that they are trying to reach with the message of the Gospel!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

One more question to my already long list of questions! Please forgive me!

Recap:
(1) Can an active GLBT'er be a heaven-destined Christian?

(2) What do you say, how do you say it, and should you say anything at all to a GLBT Christian?

(3) Do you separate from Christian leadership who say that active GLBT'ers can be and are Christians? With the proviso that you've already tried to reason with them over some period of time in a loving way.

So here's my last question. Say some Christian leader is "orthodox" in every way, except one. S/he believes and teaches that an active GLBT'er can be a genuinely saved Christian. This leader/teacher is a faithful heterosexual.

Q: Is this leader/teacher a genuine Christian? S/he only teaches false doctrine on just this one point.

Recap. Some people have said that an active GLBT'er cannot be a genuine Christian even if they proclaim that they are Christian.

Okay. I don't know, but I can't argue against that claim. Next, are leaders who teach that active GLBT'ers are Christians, are these teaching pastors genuine Christians?

P.S. Another scenario. Or what if you know or have pastors who won't say one way or the other whether they believe Scripture declares same-sex behavior is a sin. These pastors want peace and unity. These pastors knowingly permit active GLBTers to worship in the church and become members in good standing. What say thee about these "silent" pastors?

Stefan said...

Hoo-boy, too many questions for me! I just want to clarify my last comment. I wrote:

It may be that they're truly born again, but that this area of their life has not yet been brought under sanctification—but that it will be in the future.

I'm not saying that's necessarily generally the case—I don't really know. But it is within the realm of possibility that in some cases, they have been saved and the Holy Spirit is convicting them on this, but that there is so much other stuff in their lives that had to be brought under the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit before they could move on to the big stuff.

But if they went on this way and never repented, then I'd have to say that they were never truly born again in the first place, since they never felt any conviction—or willingly suppressed it—over their rejection of the clear meaning of Scripture.

And again, likewise, if a Christian left his wife for another woman and never repented until the day he died, I wouldn't hold out high hopes of seeing him on the other side either, despite the fact that many churches are becoming increasingly lax on the subject of divorce.

Stefan said...

...And so, in practical terms, I'd treat both kinds of people as somewhere between an unsaved non-believer and a self-described believer who's in Hebrews 10 territory (which I guess would make them an unsaved non-believer, if we extrapolate from the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints). So there would still be hope of redemption and eternal life for them, and the offer of the Gospel would still stand, if only they would entrust themselves to Jesus Christ, receive Him as their Lord and Saviour, and allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify them.

Strong Tower said...

TUAD- Is that you're grieved to agree with me, or is it that what you agree with causes you to grieve.

I agree, we have angered both, because we have not been clear enough about what the truth is.

The Devil is wiley, but we are not ignorant of his devises, his most potent and most often used is the mishandling of Scripture. A half truth is still a lie, and he is the master deceiver.

Strong Tower said...

"Is this leader/teacher a genuine Christian? S/he only teaches false doctrine on just this one point."

I think the same thing applied to Peter, as applied to the Galatians in General. Remember that these were men sent from James, from Jerusalem, who were again denying the Lord Jesus Christ. How did they slip- Paul's approach is to withstand Peter to his face. That sounds familiar, resist the Devil and he will flee from you. I think there in is the answer: They went out from us because they were not of us...have not the Spirit, are none of his.

Those in the pulpit are held to the highest accounting. They are public and when they speak in public in the name of the Lord they become subject to the judgement of the Word publically. If they reject what is true, we can only surmise that they have gone out from us.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Goodness Gracious! I think I've arrived at an answer for myself amongst all this dialogue!

I roughly asked before: "Would you leave a church if your pastor or team of pastor/elders said that active GLBT'ers are genuine Christians? And suppose the teaching office of the church deems and announces that the GLBT Christians within the church can continue to be active in their same-sex behavior and be church members in good standing since they are baptized Christians.

Personally, I would leave that Church. I believe that is false teaching. Now am I leaving because of the false teaching from the pulpit? Or am I leaving because of the on-going active sin from the GLBT Christian members who actually think they are not sinning and thus in good standing with the Lord?

I'm not sure. But I do know that the Word of God is being disobeyed and I can't remain in a church like that.

Also, I think there are a lot of "silent" pastors out there on this issue, and on the issue of abortion.

Stefan said...

And above all, we're talking about practical questions that apply to real human beings. So whatever we do, we need to stand on the truth while still acting with love and compassion, confessing that we too are sinners, saved solely by the grace of God who so loved the world, that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ, who "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

"He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Through His atoning death and resurrection, "if [we] confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in [our] hearts that God raised him from the dead," our sins will be covered, we who are undeserving sinners will be counted righteous before a holy God, and we "will be saved."

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Byroniac said...

Excellent article!