Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pastor Craig Gross: Another Sympathetic Tone for Homosexual Sin


The Christian Post reports: 
Pastor Craig Gross of XXXchurch advises Christians to look beyond the "black and white rhetoric" about homosexuality and focus on the people most affected by the church's stance on surrounding issues instead.
In a recent blog post, Gross noted that while the church and companies like World Vision state their views on homosexuality, the ones who end up negatively affected are individuals caught in the gray area of the subject.
"I've said this before, but it needs to be said over and over: be quick to listen and slow to speak. Most people and companies issuing statements and talking about a definitive black and white God have never sat and listened to the people and lives on the other end of their statements," wrote Gross, also referencing World Vision's reversed decision on hiring same-sex married couples. "…You have to blow past the black-and-white rhetoric of the establishment and get down in the grey dirt with the outcasts. You know. What Jesus did."

Here we go again. We have another young, hip, wise-beyond-his-years pastor informing the Church about how wrong it has been on a basic teaching of Scripture. For starters, Gross engages in the worse sort of rhetoric before he even has the opportunity to employ that word to attack those that hold to a biblical view of sex. He uses the phrase "black and white" in its modern pejorative sense. But Gross knows that using the phrase "black and white" immediately places those who disagree with him in a very particular sort of light. It is not unintentional. He has a plan. You see, the Bible's teaching on sex is black and white. Second, Gross employs the word rhetoric in its modern pejorative sense, which is really unfortunate. That is, it is unfortunate that the word rhetoric has fallen on hard times. From the very start Gross is employing rhetoric of his own to paint his detractors in the worse possible light. Heaven forbid he should just make an argument and let the prudent judge it.

Gross does not employ reason in his argument. Rather, he is a master of persuasion, recognizing that arguments are won and lost on the emotions of our modern, western, non-critically thinking culture. Gross wants us to ignore God, ignore truth, ignore the sin, and focus on the pain and the struggle of the individual. The implication is that God is not a black and white God. In fact, Gross admits that there are very few things that he is black and white on himself. Now, this raises the question as to what those things are and more importantly, what is the basis for how Gross arrives at his black and white stance on those issues? Why is it that we can be black and white on some things and not others? And who says we can be black and white on some things and not others? Gross is so passionate about God not being black and white about things that he has started a website called "grey God." The site can be accessed here.

What God says matters. Otherwise, He wouldn't say it. It is an incredulous person that purports that God speaks but what He says is really not of significance. Worse still is the clergy that is foolish enough to contend that God actually has not really spoken at all. If what God says matters, then what God says about human sexuality matters. Now, I want to turn your attention to the biblically inept and logically absurd statements that Gross makes.

At the very beginning of his blog post he says, "I recently wrote a piece for Relevant talking about how Christians need to follow a Grey God instead of a Black or White God." Any student of logic will quickly realize the absurdity bound up in such a silly proposition. Then Gross goes on the say, in the same article nonetheless, "Let me say this clearly, Christians: we don’t need more statements and stances." What is wrong with this picture? First, at the very beginning of his article Gross took a new stance and made a new statement about the kind of stance Christians should take toward God. Moreover, this statement is self-refuting in that it is a statement against making statements and a stance against taking stances. It is obviously not something that has been well thought out at all.

In his argument about business and Christians taking a stand on the issue of homosexuality, Gross is again a walking contradiction. He is not asking Christians to not take a stand. He is actually, unwittingly asking them to take a stand. And it is a stand that is contrary to Scripture. I agree wholeheartedly that we must be sensitive to those that struggle with sin. After all, we all struggle with sin. Every last one of us. I must confess that I am a bit fuzzy on why we keep singling out homosexual sin. Oh, wait, I just remembered. It is because homosexuals are asking us not to help them with their sin by helping them overcome it. Most of them are asking us to help them with their sin by eliminating it as a sin. Other sins are not asking this of us for the most part. You see, the adulterers lobby has never approached the church and lobbied her to remove adultery from her list of sinful vices. Oh wait there is no adulterers lobby. Interesting.

As for Gross' advice around Christians needing to follow a grey god as opposed to a black and white God, my response is really quite simple: “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. “You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth."[1] The God of Christian theism is One God. Christians do not pick and choose the kind of God that God is. Our God said to Moses, "I am that I am." I do not know which god Gross is talking about when he talks about a grey god. But I am absolutely certain that it is not the God of historic orthodox Christianity.


 




[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Dt 6:13–15.

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