Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Nine’s Conference: Too Hot to Handle

I was reading the Christian Post recently when I came across the following article: “Christian Leaders Urge Church to Love Gays, All People as Jesus Commanded.” The article recaps “The Nine’s Conference.” Apparently, the theme of this conference was “Too Hot to Handle.” Christian “leaders” gathered to talk about issues that they think Christian pastors and leaders shy away from because they are simply too hot to handle. Of course, one of those issues is homosexuality. Now I may not be the most informed man in the world, and in fact, I may be less informed than most, but from what I see, homosexuality has been discussed, debated, confronted, accepted, repudiated, condemned, praised, and a plethora of other verbs, but the one thing it has not been is ignored. One of the conference themes focused on how the church should love gays yet one more time. The suggestion is that the church has not loved gays and it is high time we start. I cannot help but question the assumption. We read the headlines of the numerous articles telling us that we should love gays. We even read the arguments for why we should love gays. Nonetheless, there are two very serious components missing from this conversation. One, who says the church does not love gays? What does not loving gays look like? How has the church not loved gays? The second question is related to the first: what does it look like when the church loves a gay couple? Is it the duty of the church to make the gay couple feel comfortable in the Christian community? Is that really the issue? Is it being comfortable in the Christian community or is it something else? I believe it is something else. I think the homosexual couple wants to be comfortable with their homosexuality in the Christian community.

I know first-hand what happens when you refuse to accept the gay lifestyle as normal, as on par with heterosexual relationships. Moreover, the measures to which these so called leaders want the Christian community go are not in keeping with the very idea of Christian community to begin with. Here is a question: do unbelievers belong in the Christian community, worshipping, participating, conversing, etc.? While unbelievers may attend a worship service or visit a Bible study, let us not kid ourselves into thinking that they should feel included in the Christian group when they do not know Christ and hold to values that are fundamentally antithetical to Christianity. It is this kind of thinking that fills our churches with unbelievers who hate God, deny Scripture, and create one controversy and scandal after another.

I lost a number of relationships with unbelievers because of the issue of homosexuality alone. I insisted on having the freedom to believe that this type of sexual behavior was ungodly as well as unnatural. While I never treated any person who practices homosexuality differently than I do any other person, they don’t seem to be able to handle the fact that I hold the views I do about their lifestyle. In other words, they are uncomfortable being around someone who thinks they behave in ungodly and abnormal ways. Now, to be fair, I cannot fault anyone for being uncomfortable in that situation. The question is how to address it, how to manage it. Should the believer send the signal to the homosexual couple that he is cool with their choice even though he disagrees with it? Should she go along with the idea that same-sex relations are just as natural as opposite sex relations? I suggest that the believer is not able to engage in such behavior. They must share the truth of God’s word with any and all comers. They cannot mislead people for the sake of their own comfort. As crude as it may seem, would these Christian leaders suggest that we go out of our way to make swingers or bestiality participants comfortable in the Christian community? What about doctors who practice abortion day in and day out? When was the last time we read an article that argued that the Christian community should love abortionists and do more to bridge the gap between our values and their values?

Homosexuality is a popular “hot-topic” among hot-topics. Perhaps that is why it garnered the attention of these speakers. The irony is in the conclusions of the conference speakers. The “hot-topic” idea suggests that the conclusion will be the minority position and will be unpopular and controversial. However, the conclusion of this group on the subject of homosexuality is very congruent with the desires of a godless culture that continues to pressure the Christian group to accept it’s rebellious and godless values or else. In other words, the final position of the group seems to take the “hot” right out of “hot-topic.” The message of repentance is not directed at the homosexual as was the case when Paul dealt with the subject some 2,000 years ago. Today, the message is directed to the church. Concern has shifted from revealed truth to the comfort of the ungodly. The homosexual should feel comfortable in the Christian community and the Christian community should repent for being, well the Christian community. Hint, Christian community is by definition, exclusive. Otherwise, it is indistinguishable from any other community. The critical thinker will inevitably ask the questions: should unregenerate people be comfortable in a community whose values are fundamentally opposed to their own? What does it look like not to love the ungodly? What does it look like to love the ungodly? I suggest that loving the ungodly begins with sharing the gospel of repentance, just like John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, John, and Paul did.

Homosexuals are those who reject God's design for sex and repudiate His sacred word on the matter. The homosexual's view on sex has been associated in Scripture with divine justice. Writers have described this unnatural behavior as God sending these individuals a strong delusion. Paul says that because these individuals perverted the knowledge of God to the degree they have, God has given them over to the lusts of their hearts and given them over to degrading passions. This is not a conversation within the Christian community. It is a conversation between the Christian community and the unregenerate. These leaders want homosexual couples to comfortable in the Christian community, in the worship service where holy people worship a holy God. I will close with a question and then a statement. Question: could a homosexual couple EVER hear the the public reading of Romans chapter one without becoming uncomfortable?

The most unloving thing you could ever do to an unbeliever is make them comfortable in their sin.


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