Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Really Bad Arguments and Some Hypocrisy in Modern American Evangelical Thought

Over the past couple of weeks, I have witnessed extremely poor judgment, hypocritical decision-making, and outright stupidity coming from those who should know better. It is coming from Christian leaders, some of whom I know personally and respect. It seems to me that we have simply parked any and all discernment preferring instead adopt the infamous herd mentality. These arguments and behaviors I have read about range from Christian leaders exposing young children to anti-abortion clinic protests exposing them to the vile pictures of dead babies ripped apart cloaked in the idea that they are teaching their children mercy and justice and showing then what it is like to stand up for the helpless. The Kim Davis story continues to rumble down the tracks gathering bad argument after bad argument as it goes with Mike Huckabee being the most recent one to weigh in on the matter and come to Kim's defense. Then we witness Tullian Tchividjian's moral failure, his resignation, his application for divorce, and within two weeks, his hiring by Willow Creek Church to be their new director of ministry development. And then we discover that R.C. Sproul Jr. gave his email address to Ashley Madison in a moment of weakness. I think any man understands sexual temptation and weakness. It is bit more difficult to understand a website that, if I am correct, caters to the sexual escapades of only people who are married. The sad fact is there will likely be more to come. Indeed, it has been a difficult few weeks. What should we do? What should the churches response be to these things? What should leaders and teachers do to help fellow believers think and speak correctly about these matters?

  • For starters, stop lumping Kim Davis into the Christian community. If the reports about her "Christian experience" are correct, she is involved in a heretical sect. Apostolic Pentecostalism has a variety of false doctrines, not the least of which is the outright denial of the Trinity. Just because Kim Davis chose the right side of the gay marriage issue, that does not mean she is a true believer. Pastors and teachers need to STOP teaching us that it ok to rally together around issues...like homosexuality, abortion, religious freedom, etc. The Church rallies around the truth, and Jesus Christ is the truth, His Word is the Truth. The unifying principle of Christianity is the Christ we know and nothing more.

  • I wish we could oppose abortion without exposing young children to such obscene imagery. I wish we would be more discerning to be careful not to allow the methods we use to distract from the message we bring. I wish abortion protesters would stop blaming abortion on the rest of us. Stop judging your brother sinfully by accusing him of being complacent because he does not oppose abortion the way YOU think he should. Stop judging pastors who don't preach against abortion as often or how YOU think they should.

  • I wish the Church would do the right thing when it comes to men like Tchividjian. He and his wife cheated on each other, refuse to forgive each other, are petitioning for a divorce, and somehow, in the middle of all this, he is deemed fit to lead ministry development at Willow Creek Church. What does the world see when they see this? For starters, these matters ought to be kept private. How can we allow divorce within our own community to reign as freely as we have, all the while arguing against gay marriage because it violates God's law? Well, divorce for any reason violates God's law and the Church has tolerated it with little more than a wink. The issue here is that some of us hate homosexual sin more than we do the sin of illicit divorce and so we elevate it to a place of higher importance. The truth is that this points out serious hypocrisy in our thinking and we must work hard to correct it. It is embarrassing and shameful that we should ignore God's design for marriage where divorce is concerned WITHIN our own communities and then wag our fingers at the world because they want to ignore God's design for marriage differently. The situation as I see it is absurdly hypocritical.

  • Finally, godly men visiting adultery sites. While this story is upsetting and disturbing, it is also one that demonstrates what justice, mercy, and grace look like. R.C. Sproul Jr. was fired by his father's own ministry. Sproul Jr. had a moment of weakness. We are all sinners. We all have moments of weakness. I would NEVER point my finger at Sproul Jr. I love and respect him. Should we consider the fact that he lost his wife? Yes we should. Should we consider that he is a sinner just like the rest of us? We most certainly should. Sproul Jr. made no excuses. He took full responsibility. He lost his post. He is being shamed for all of us to see which I think is unbiblical. It should have remained private. Did he confess that he had sinned to anyone else? A fellow disciple or accountability partner? We don't know. Would he have ever confessed? Only God knows. But God has a way of bring his discipline to bear on each of us and so it is with Sproul Jr. He is a good man with a lot to offer and I pray that after a period of counsel, prayer, and healing, he is fully restored to serve the body. For he is indeed a strong servant with a lot to offer the body of Christ.

By now it should be obvious to us that the Church is infected with worldliness. Our passions rest in places other than the gospel. The gospel is often used as a device used for political expediency. We want particular practices to end or to begin or to continue. And we pour nearly all our energies into making sure our desires are realized. We want homosexual marriage to once again be illegal. We want the murder of innocent babies to cease. We insist that American Christians retain their religious freedoms so that they can avoid persecution which is unlike their fellow Christians across the globe and precisely contrary to what the New Testament says about what we should expect when it comes to this issue. Preach Christ! Condemn godless living but do it within the context of the gospel, not Americanism. Condemn the murdering of innocent babies but not in the context of making abortion illegal. Do it within the context that it is something God hates. God hates hands that shed innocent blood. Repent and believe the gospel. Homosexual marriage is not a concept Christians can accept. We must oppose it in our teachings, our thinking, and in our personal conversations. But we do so within the context of the gospel, not within the context of making it illegal again or using our Christianity as an excuse to engage in civil disobedience.

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