Friday, November 28, 2014
Once upon a time in Greek mythology, there was a hunter. This hunter was from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia. Boeotia was a region in ancient Greece whose largest city was Thebes. As was the case with most ancient regions, Boeotia was accustomed to war, to chaos, and to upheaval. It was from this region that legend claims the most beautiful man in all the world came. This man’s father was the god Cephissus and his mother was a water nymph (female spirit) named Liriope. This man was also a very proud man. In fact, he was so proud that he disdained those who loved him. This man’s pride was so vain that he was visited by goddess Nemesis who was the goddess of divine retribution. Nemesis was responsible for judging those who crossed the line of arrogance before the gods. Nemesis’ strategy was to lead the most beautiful son of Cephissus to a pool where he would notice his own reflection on the water. The most beautiful son of a god and goddess caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection upon the pool and was smitten with his own beauty. In fact, he was so smitten he could not leave the pool. Eventually he would drown in his own beauty. His admiration for his own self would end up destroying him. The man’s name was Narcissus.
The problem with narcissism is that you are so busy paying attention to your own self that you do not realize what is happening around you. Moreover, you also do not realize the consequences that your own infatuation of yourself are creating for yourself. American society has become a pestiferous bastion of narcissism. We reek of it. The stench of American narcissism is easily detected throughout society.
Let’s begin with the recent issue in Ferguson, MO. I was not there when Michael Brown was shot by officer Wilson. I cannot say what really happened. However, I can say that the American justice system, albeit not perfect, dispenses justice better than any other system on the planet. If you doubt that observation, I invite you to go try out someone else’s system and see for yourself.
The issue in Ferguson is that the people claiming to want justice prove themselves to be liars when they engage in unjust actions, law-breaking actions in order to demonstrate they want justice. Justice has a very simple definition: it is the quality of being fair, equal, impartial balance. The Grand Jury heard every piece of evidence available. We have not. The criminals we call protestors (those engaged in destructive practices) were not present and have not heard the evidence. Many of them that have heard the evidence choose willingly not to believe it because they don’t want to believe it. They want something else.
What is the Ferguson protest really about then? The Ferguson issue is the product of a narcissistic society. Our society is a society of individuals in love with themselves. Rather than place the order of a civilized society above their own personal desires, they are ready to bring the entire system down on it’s head, all in the name of pseudo-justice. It is a narcissistic mindset to want it, and to want it right now, and to demand it even if it means that other innocent people have to suffer because you want your justice meted out your way on your timeline. In other words, justice isn’t justice unless I say it’s justice. That is really what this comes down to.
Another area where we see narcissism expressed in American society is in the homosexuality movement. This movement makes up things like gay genes or whatever pseudo-science they can get their hands on to claim that everyone should view their lifestyle as normal. Against science they claim scientific support. The medical facts of this unhealthy lifestyle are summarily dismissed, ignored and swept aside. The promiscuity is kept out of sight, protecting them from moral judgment. In addition, they have even claimed that the Christian Scriptures do not condemn their version of homosexuality. Thousands of years of tradition and custom, along with innumerable pages of scholarly commentary are dismissed with the simple wink and wave of the hand. Why? The reason is really quite simple: it is what they want. And they will have what they want regardless of whomever else has to suffer in order to get it. Like the violent criminal protestors in Ferguson, they want what they want and no one will get in their way to keep them from getting it. It reminds me of a 2 year-old child throwing a temper tantrum over the candy bar they demand. Except these not are small children and we aren’t talking about chewing gum. These are full-grown, dangerous adults who will deny religious liberty in the one case, and burn your home in the other.
There are many other areas where narcissism expresses itself in American society. But I think the racial (or non-racial) issues in Ferguson, MO and the Homosexual movement suffice in pointing out the consequences of a generation of Americans who simply do not know how to react to not having things go their way. The 2 year-old has now grown into an adult. Seemingly, these are adults without any sense whatsoever that they have neighbors who are human too and who also have wishes, desires and rights. They do not seem to understand that the business owner has the right to remain in business even though some didn’t like the most recent court decision. They do not seem to respect the fact that Christianity has the inherent right to it’s beliefs about homosexuality without those rights being taken away from that community.
How are Christians to think and react to the narcissism confronting us in American society and other societies like Canada, France, Britain, and the world? First, we must always guard our own heart because narcissism is the fruit of sin. Sin breeds narcissism. We become narcissistic in small ways in our home, our work, and even in Church thinking selfishly that we should always get our way. What we want is really what matters most. Narcissism is actually the antithesis of dying to self in order to serve God and others. Let each one of us place the needs of our brother above our own self. If we do that much we defeat narcissism and insulate ourselves in the power of God’s word. Additionally, we must recognize that the societies we live in are autonomous, godless societies with no interest in God. Man has become his own idol and the more we progress through the history of God’s program, the more obvious that fact becomes. Still, God has reserved to Himself a remnant, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a chosen generation that we should show forth the praises of His glorious name in all the earth. John Piper is right when he says that God’s glory should be our greatest satisfaction.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
The concept of shame is dealt with throughout Scripture. In fact, when one looks at the NASB95, they will notice that the word appears 130 times in 120 verses. The psychological concept of shame is often confused with, and even used interchangeably with the concept of guilt. But according to Psychology Today, they are not the same. Guilt is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense a person has committed. Shame, on the other hand, is the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, etc.
In the Mediterranean world, the concepts of honor and shame have historically played very significant roles in how the communities relate within themselves and with other communities or groups. Seneca, a first-century Roman statesman and philosopher, wrote: “The one firm conviction from which we move to the proof of other points is this: that which is honorable is held dear for no other reason than because it is honorable.” The deontological approach to ethics is hard to miss in statements like this one. The focus of ancient people on honor and dishonor or shame means that they were particularly oriented toward the approval and disapproval of others The difference between modern western cultures and the Mediterranean cultures is remarkable. The notion of shame remains in every culture because of the image of God indelibly stamped on the conscious of man. But fallen man has reacted to and managed that condition in diverse ways. I am concerned with what I observe in western culture, and in American culture in particular. Moreover, I am far more concerned with the lack of attention the Church dedicates to the idea of sin and shame and how sin is talked about these days from the pulpit and in the Sunday school class. We simply don't want anyone to feel bad..about anything...anything at all or so it seems.
In his warning of coming judgment, Zephaniah writes, Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame. (Zeph. 2:1) What is interesting about this passage is that Zephaniah uses the construction lō niksāp which carries the sense of shamelessness here. The idea seems to be that the behavior of the nation is one of unethical shamelessness, which is itself contrary to the values of the holy and the sacred. The consequence of this condition is divine wrath. In fact, change is urged before the "burning wrath of the Lord comes upon you." Now, there is a concept we don't talk about any longer: the burning wrath of God. Is it any wonder that modern liberal theology has rejected the God of the OT and attempted to look at Christ as the corrector of a very bad projection of Jehovah?
The God of the OT is Christ. The burning wrath of God mentioned in texts like this one is an accurate description of the God that is, not the God that was, or perhaps according to some wishful thinking scholars, the God that never really was. I cannot help but wonder how far this sort of thinking has progressed in the minds of pastors, elders, teachers, and others in the Christian Church of today.
Contrary to the idea that the God of the OT is a very poor projection of the God that Christ represented, the writer of the Hebrews reminds his audience: "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire." (Heb. 12:28-29) Our sacrifice is to take on the nature of reverence and awe and not the sort of frivolity we see in liberalism, in contemporary evangelicalism, and more specifically, in the hip attitude of pop-Christianity that is reflected in the mega-church, rock star pastor model. In this model, God is supposedly just like my earthly daddy who lets me get away with anything and everything and spoils me to no end. Now, if ever there was a projection of god who is not, it is that one.
Paul writes to the Church at Philippi, For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. (Phil. 3:18-19) Paul describes the ungodly in almost unmentionable terms. He says that these people are enemies of the cross and that their glory is in their shame. That is a profound and remarkable description. To say that your most prized possession, that which you have or are is actually in your shame. What sort of people would actually place the most prized and lofty goal within the sphere of shame? It is the unbeliever that does this in a variety of ways. You may ask, how it is the unbeliever could be guilty of such decadence.
American culture, and much of the Church with it, has all but removed the notion of shame. The psychological nonsense of self-esteem has fought and won the battle of making sure we all feel good about ourselves in a vacuum. In other words, the worse thing in the world that we could every do is feel bad about ourselves for any reason whatsoever. The greatest sin is to judge someone else's actions. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Everyone gets a trophy just for trying or even pretending to try, or better yet, just for showing up. This thinking has served to destroy the very concept of shame and as produced a culture that is rapidly descending into moral chaos.
The stigma of a number of things has been purged from American culture and even the Church all for the sake of self-esteem. In the Church it is called grace or the love of God. Either way, the behavior and the results are the same. As the world goes, so goes the Church because, well, in modern American Culture, for the most part, the Church is the World and the World is the Church. You could here the Church saying "I and the World are one." How does this impact the Church?
I think a few examples for how this lack of shame impacts the Church will suffice. Let's begin with the view of divorce within the Church. Divorce used to carry a stigma with it. To be sure, some of that stigma was grounded in hypocritical legalism. Nevertheless, divorce used to be a very serious issue in the culture and in the Church. The Church used to hold that divorce was prohibited except in cases of unrepentant adultery. And if you ignored this teaching, you could very well find yourself in an excommunication session. Today, even conservative churches sit by in silence and worse, find ways to justify the divorces of their friends. I know of one church where an illicit divorce occurred and nothing was done because certain power contributors threatened to split the congregation. Of course the pastor, more interested in his small kingdom, was more than willing to compromise the biblical teaching on the subject. This is a common occurrence in the Christian community and it is shameful.
Whatever happened to drunks and whores? In American culture, we call it alcoholism and well, sexual liberation. Alcoholism is a disease and whores have become extinct. And this is all because we don't want to feel shame about our behavior. And of course we don't want to feel any shame is because we are supposed to feel good about ourselves just for the sake of feeling good about ourselves.
The most recent purging of shame comes by way of the homosexual movement. This movement has gone from being acknowledge as a disgusting act of morally perverse sex to something that even the president of the United States praises and the entire culture celebrates and it has done so in record time. The homosexual, in the name of financial protection at first, advocated for legal status alongside married folks. We knew then as we surely know now that this was not the real issue. The gay agenda seeks to force the entire culture to celebrate what is actually classified by Scripture as moral decadence. What is worse is that this movement is attempting to destroy the very fabric of the Christian faith by forcing it's way into the Christian community. It is a sad state of affairs when Christians have to continually qualify their comments against gay sex by affirming their love for the homosexual and by saying silly things like, "I have friends that are gay so I am not homophobic or anything like that." And then they go on to speak against the idea of gay sex or gay marriage while going out of their way to overemphasize God's love for the homosexual. I direct to a very enlightening and power sermon by Voddie Baucham right here. In addition, Janet Mefferd recently interviewed Voddie here. The former is a sermon and the latter is a fantastic interview.
I am not advocating a Westboro Baptist Church approach to this subject. There is a difference between outright hatred and direct, godly rebuke, as well as a message that is so toned down it fails to correct or confront anything. The safest thing for the Christian to do is insist on treating these sins the way Scripture treats them. Illicit divorce in the Church must result in rebuke and if necessary excommunication. Alcoholics are not sick, they are drunks in need of repentance and redemption. Sexually liberated women are whores without discipline in need of Christ. They stand before God as corrupt offenders, not misunderstood victims of the product of their culture. They are the product of their own wicked heart and the fall. Homosexuals engage in unnatural and perverse sex. It is not love. They are the most promiscuous group of people the world knows. Their sexual acts are so reprehensible for the most part that we cannot even talk about the things they do to one another. All these groups are adamant that they be viewed differently. They are shameless in their sin, enemies of the Christ they claim to love, and love only themselves.
The message of the Church has to be biblically faithful and accurate. It is THAT message and that message alone that brings hope and has the power to change lives. We must confront the sinner with their sin, for what it is, and describe their sin and their condition to them the way God describes it. They are not good people trying to find their way. They are not seekers trying to discover meaning and purpose in life. They are enemies of the cross of Christ. They are not neutral concerning the divine commandments, the divine law, the divine revelation of God in Scripture. They hate God and all that He stands for. Because of this, we must confront them with the same message of repentance that Jesus confronted the unbeliever with! Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” Gen. 3:1
This is no doubt a very familiar text to most Christians. And yet, I am curious how many Christians have actually participated in a thorough exegetical study of this event. From what I can tell, we may be spending a disproportionate amount of time defending the historicity of this account while neglecting it’s theological significance altogether. The challenge for the pastor, the teacher, and the apologist is that we must do both. We must defend the historical accuracy of the temptation and fall of man while at the same time emphasizing it’s theological and practical implications.
My purpose in referencing this text is to demonstrate that there is a strong relationship between this historical event some 6,000 years ago or so and what I see taking place in the Church, well, since it’s inception really, and especially in contemporary times. But there is a difference that I shall come back to toward the end of my remarks. The goal of this post is to prick your thinking about those who cut against the basic teachings of the Christian community. I am not talking about teachings that could be more ambiguous, such as eschatological issues or specific texts that may be more or less difficult to interpret. My focus is on those clear teachings of Scripture and how the consequences of the fall in the Garden tend to impact how we handle those teachings and why. Additionally, I don’t only want to point out how some handle those teachings but how the rest of the community responds versus how it ought to respond.
When we think about autonomy we should think about the capacity of a person or a system to make it’s own decisions about its actions. We think about a system that operates independent from external forces or authority. We think about the idea of independence. Now, I write this blog within an American context. Nothing is more valued and prized in American culture than the idea of independence. Every American has been baptized into the ideology of independence. It is the greatest goal of every American. This ideology happens to fit perfectly with the theological issue with which I am dealing in this post: the human quest for autonomy. I could take a philosophical angle for those readers who are more interested in apologetics or I could take a purely theological angle and point out the more practical issues confronting us in the Church. I have decided to do the latter.
The temptation in the garden of our first parents was a temptation to think and act autonomously. It must be pointed out that the very beginning of autonomous thinking starts with interpretation. It is an issue of hermeneutics from the very start. Satan began immediately by asking the question: has God said? The Christian in modern times is confronted with two very clear attacks against God from this perspective. Either the Word of God is denied outright by subjugation to human standards of justification or it is re-purposed with the tools of secular philosophy, science, logic, language, and psychology. In both cases, man has reinterpreted his situation in a way that elevates him to the place of prominence. Protagoras lives on, but it was the snake and not Protagoras that invented this philosophy.
Jesus Christ said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24) But the serpent’s promise stands in glaring contradiction to the words of Jesus: “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5) On the one had man has the serpent promising unconditional autonomy and on the other hand we have Jesus, God of very God, demanding unconditional surrender. Logically speaking, you can’t have it both ways. Either we surrender everything we are at the feet of Christ or we buy the lie of the serpent’s promise that we do just fine without God. As a result, we have invented such ideas of evolution as set over against creation, the belief that we can know things either rationally or empirically or critically without any reliance on revelation, and finally, we have even convinced ourselves that we can establish the necessity of objective morality to avoid the chaos that serves as an ever present threat in the world. But these things are not the focus of this blog today. My focus is on the goings-on in the Church and how this very same infectious autonomous thinking is impacting or threatening to impact the body of Christ.
For example, the view that Scripture is not fully inspired and inerrant is the product of autonomous thinking. It places man in the position of being the judge and jury of “this says the Lord.” Rather than submitting to God’s word, God’s word is submitting to autonomous human reason and man sits in judgment over God’s word as opposed to taking up his intellectual cross and following Christ.
The view that the God of the OT is corrected by the revelation of God in the NT through the person of Jesus Christ is a product of autonomous human reason, not rigorous scholarship. The basis for this work is grounded in philosophical objections regarding how the OT describes God because it offends and contradicts our humanistic projections of how and what we want God to be. Rather than accept God’s revelation of Himself, we reject it in preference for our own idea of God.
Christians also express autonomy when they reject much of the reformed teachings that came out of the reformation, but which also have their ground in Scripture. When we reject divine sovereignty and election, it is usually on the basis that such a God does not comport with the sort of God we think exists. The question that every Christian has to ask is if the God that exists in their mind is actually the same God that is revealed in Scripture. And this question must be asked within the humble context of recognizing the presence of sin in the form of autonomous desires to corrupt and twist God’s revelation of Himself so that we can be satisfied with the God we think is there.
The lack of support in the Church to adhere to and display the Christian ethic as laid down in the biblical text is another expression of human autonomy. There are churches that sit by silent when they encounter couples shacking up together but who also want to become members of the community. And I know of cases where churches, evangelical churches have split over elders refusing to allow such people to become members. I also know of numerous churches that entirely ignore the process of excommunication over such serious sins as illicit divorce, adultery, and other sexual sins. These are expressions of human autonomy.
One of the most obvious expressions of human autonomy attempting to gain a foothold in the Church is gay theology. The homosexual has a very strong desire, not only to be, tolerated, but actually accepted, approved, and even celebrated. The notion that the homosexual movement simply wanted to be tolerated is a myth. The movement wants to be celebrated by every facet of society and is not willing to leave any group standing that does not go along with it’s agenda. In their attempt to gain approval from the Church, they engage in some of the most outrageous, absurd, and even pernicious treatment of Scripture. They are driven by an autonomous desire to do their own thing their own way without regard for thousands of years of scholarship. The homosexual movement has adopted a hermeneutic that is overtly biased, clearly anachronistic, and thoroughly eisegetical at bottom. The agenda is to preserve autonomy in sexual behavior.
The sin of our first parents and of their progeny was and is autonomy. The desire for autonomy has led to the infectious condition of total depravity. While the Christian has been born again, the fact remains that we still have the sinful nature to deal with. This reality ought to make us more humble. We must see in ourselves what we can clearly see in our first parents in the garden. Even in their unfallen condition, the temptation to autonomous living was a reality with which they had to deal. And if they had to deal with it in their unfallen state, how much more must we be on our guard for it in the state in which we find ourselves.
We must respond by doing precisely what Jesus demanded. Jesus demanded nothing less than complete, entire submission to God’s Word in how we reason, in how we do philosophy, in how we live our lives, our values, in how we work, in how we relate to one another as husbands, wives, parents, sons, daughters, elders, teachers, pastors, employees, employers, and fellow believers in Christ. There is no domain in which Christ is not LORD over our lives. He controls what we think, say, and do. An unwillingness to submit to Christ in all things is an unwillingness to submit to Him in anything.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Recently, the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission met in Nashville TN. I was not at the meetings and therefore can only comment on the reports and quotes that are subsequently being published by those who were there. I must confess that I am not just disappointed by many of the statements that were made, but I want to bring it up a level and ask why such a conference, or dicussion or event if you will, was necessary in the first place. Why should the Church spend time, money, and resoures discussing an issue that has been forever settled (and that without ambiguity) with men who have been busy doing everything they can to completely destroy the very gospel we are supposed to love and are sworn to uphold? Let's establish this truth before we even get into the discussion. And "this truth" is the fact that not every question is morally neutral. Some questions are by nature out of bounds. The proof that I shall offer is located in Romans 9:19. The forbidden question is, "Why does God find fault if no one can resist His decretive will?" Paul informs us that this is a forbidden question because it calls into question the very right of God to carry out his purpose. In other words, the question challenges God's sovereignty. Some questions are simply not permitted. But we are not dealing here with questions are we? No, we are not. We are dealing with men like Matthew Vines who do not have questions.
The "gay-christian" movement does not have questions. One article put it this way when it comes to the disagreement between Southern Baptists and Homosexuals: "No concessions were made, but leaders on both sides expressed surprise at how the two agreed to coexist. Put another way: The old emphasis on “Love the sinner, hate the sin” has become more a version of simply “Love all sinners. Ask questions later.” If you think that those in the "gay-christian" movement are sincere people with sincere questions about the Christian teaching on the subject of gay sex, you are either incredibly naive or woefully deluded. Matthew Vines has written a book on the subject that supposedly answers all the questions anyone ever had and he has set out, all by himself and his massive experience of oh, 25 years living or so to reverse thousands of years of Jewish and Christian sholarship.
“I do want to apologize to the gay and lesbian community on behalf of my community and me for not standing up against abuse and discrimination directed towards you. That was wrong and we need your forgiveness,” said North Carolina megachurch pastor J.D. Greear, drawing applause. Statements like this are just incredibly silly. Apparently, Mr. Greear thinks that his gesture will effect gays enough to make them more open to the gospel and perhaps more likely to repent. Or, perhaps Mr. Greear does not have a biblical view of gay sex? One thing is certain, we can't tell based off statements like this where he stands on the issue of gay sex. It is a red herring statement that seeks avoid the hard issue in the room. What is that issue? What does the Church do with "gay-christians?"
Greear statement may sound pious, and charitible. At a minimum, Mr. Greear's comment has nothing to do with the supposed question facing the committee. Greear went on to say, “We have to love our gay neighbor more than our position on sexual morality.” This is one of the most disturbing statements coming out of the conference. First of all, the Christian position on sexual morality is a position on divine truth. It is a position on the authority of Scripture. It is a position indelibly related to the gospel. It is a position touching of the very nature of the very God Who Himself has redeemed us by the blood of His Son. Mr. Greear seems to think this is a political issue and his theological ignorance and inability to reason from A to B is nothing short of scandelous. Gay sex is revealed in Scripture to be an abomination before God as well as a violation of nature. To use this kind of language with people who are insistent on stubbornly rejecting the revelation of divine Scripture cannt help but reduce and downgrade the vile nature of sexual behavior that even led to the supernatural destruction of cities at the hand of God Himself.
"Even the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., the veteran culture warrior and president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., seemed to have a change in tune, if not an outright change of heart." I cannot judge anything that Dr. Mohler said, but clearly the reporter observed something noticeably different about Mohler's disposition toward homosexuality. That is even more disturbing than Mr. Greear's comments because I would expect a mega-church pastor like Greear to make remarks just like that. Mohler is quoted as saying, “Early in this controversy, I felt it quite necessary, in order to make clear the gospel, to deny anything like a sexual orientation,” Mohler told the crowd. “I repent of that.” To call this sexual orientation is to lend crediblity to the gay argument and to bolster their agenda, not to mention, it does not serve to encouarge those Christians who are still courageous enough to stand firm against the movement. Sexual orientation is nothing more than a sophisticated way of referencing homosexuals who have perverted and unnatural sexual urges.
Christian ministers should not be in the business of dressing up sin so that our language is less offensive to the offender. Our interest is to accurately describe sin to be precisely what it is, not to soften it up or make it more sophisticated. Are some people born with the unnatural sexual urge of homosexuality? Maybe. I am not a scientist. As a theologian I say the question is irrevelant. It doesn't really matter. That fact does not change the fact that homosexual sex is described is an abomination and a perversion of nature by Scripture. And Scripture's definition and description of homosexual sex is really all that matters. This is why Mohler's comments are so very disappointing and disturbing.
Justin Lee's tweet is the most revealing and very likely reflects the strategy of most of the gay attendees at the conference: Justin Lee Tweet - Frustrated LGBT people at home, please know that I am at #ERLC2014 having as many conversations as I can to bring nuance behind the scenes. 4:05 PM - 27 Oct 2014
Lee's tweet indicates that he had a strategy for attending this conference as is likely the case with most gays. The homosexual does not enter these discussions with pure interests of searching for truth. The homosexual is not interested in the truth because Scripture defines them as natural born enemies of God. They will pervert the truth of God everywhere they come into contact with it. That is what the unregenerate do. Lee was there to influence people, as many as possible, to support the "gay-christian" idea. That was his purpose for being there. That was Matthew Vines purpose for being at the conference.
The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them."
Would Paul have invited us to have a conversation on this topic? Do we think any one of the apostles would have been open to a conference that brought together Christians and false believers? Is it okay for us to extend such hospitality to people whose passion, whose number one focus is to change the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ top to bottom by perverting and corrupting the gospel and Christian doctrine and including in the Church a form of sexual behavior that has been recognized by centuries through divine revelation to be an abomination and that, without ambiguity? Paul called them savage wolves. Would a shepherd ever invite savage wolves in among the flock for a discussion about their diet?
John wrote, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds." Homosexual sex is not an issue that is open for discussion. Homosexual marriage is not an issue that is open for discussion. The Church's only response to these quibblers is found in Matt. 18:15-18. They are to be rebuked openly, sharply, and continuously until they repent. They are not part of the Christian community and have no business participating in a discussion that should be between Christians.