Thursday, May 9, 2013
John Paulk (The Ex Gay that Never Was) and David Loveless (The Love that Never Was)
The state of the contemporary Church is nothing short of morbid. After decades and even centuries of shifts into feeble convictions about the most basic doctrines and praxis of clear Scriptural teachings, what remains hardly resembles anything remotely close to the ancient version of first-century Mediterranean Christianity. In addition, American Christianity in particular has become such a corrupt and perverse form of the Jesus movement, that one would be hard pressed to make the case for even the weakest connection between the historic form, with its roots in ancient Palestine, and what the overwhelming majority of American Churches call Christianity. It would be a far too kind to describe the condition of what men call Christianity, as nefarious. What passes for Christianity today, to be blunt is in fact an abhorrent abomination. Enter John Paulk and David Loveless.
John Paulk was the poster boy for the “Ex-Gay” movement for years now. He had supposedly given up his gay lifestyle for a conservative Christian one. He has announced that he and his wife will be divorcing and that he has been lying all these years. He has returned to the gay lifestyle, if indeed he ever left it to begin with. Critics of Biblical Christianity will use this event as a means by which to pepper the Church with criticism regarding its insistence that gay sex is an act of human will, and that it can be rejected, and that any Christian with gay temptations can reject those urges and channel them in a godly direction. My criticism with how we approach this subject is the form of our argument. We point to men like Paulk to make our point. And when they let us down, it looks like we are clearly wrong. We are not wrong. Our argument is wrong. The form of our argument is poor. We are using “proofs” that are not sound proofs. Why do we continue to allow ungodly men to set the standards and shape the criteria for rational argumentation? These arguments are mystifying in the least. We need nothing MORE and nothing LESS than Scripture to argue against the gay lifestyle. Why would we think we would ever need anything else? We are seduced into this way of thinking and for those who buy the product, they are left with a lot of explaining to do. If you pointed to Paulk as proof, well, I think you are getting what you deserve. My hope is that you will learn to make better arguments for why sinful behavior is sinful in the future.
Also appearing in the Christian Post is a story about David Loveless. Mr. Loveless has resigned as pastor of the Discovery Church in Orlando, Florida after admitting to an extra-marital affair. Usually, my initial response to a situation like this is compassion and grace. But that is reserved for someone who has been taken off guard by a sin that has sprung up and caught them. Think about David’s sin with Bathsheba. However, this does not describe Mr. Loveless’ behavior. Apparently, Mr. Loveless has confessed to an affair that has been carried on for years. I have no idea how it could be possible for one to carry on such sin for so long. I can imagine a short period of failure, but the conscience would certainly provoke one to repentance sooner than later. But to engage in such a practice for years defies comprehension.
No doubt, people will continue to point to the behavior of men like Paulk and Loveless to criticize Biblical Christianity. They will paint all Christians who have repented of same-sex behavior with the same brush as Paulk. That is, they will refuse to believe it. Sexual desire is a very powerful desire. Those who experience it and give in to it may find it impossible to believe that others could resist those urges. They will simply call these Christians liars and point to Paulk as proof. Paulk proves nothing in affirmation of biblical Christianity or in its denial. His behavior and Loveless’ behavior are irrelevant to the truth claims of Christian theism. We are not called to defend the behavior of people who profess Christianity. We are not even called to defend what we see in the visible, and mostly pseudo-Church.
Our message remains steadfast, immoveable, and unabated. God stands in judgment of sinful humanity. In an amazing act of grace, He sent His Son to bear His wrath for those whom He would call to Himself for His glory according to the purpose of His eternal plan. We must never lose sight of this truth. Our arguments around these social issues must always center on Scripture. Scripture is our authority for all we believe about how things really are, for how we know this to be true, and for how we order our lives. The minute we lean on experiences, like Paulk, they will surely let us down.
We pray for Paulk and Loveless, that God would grant both men repentance if He has not already. But we cannot, in the name of love and grace, excuse the behavior or soften the seriousness of the wicked each man has done. We must hold forth the high standard of truth, respect the reputation of the Church, and defend the honor of Christ by vehemently condemning these behaviors without hesitation while at the same time acknowledging our own sinful tendencies and seeking to restore two fallen sinners, realizing that but for grace, there we all go!