Christianity in Today's America
Recently I read a masterful article in The Christian Post by Dr. Albert Mohler, who is nothing short of a modern-day prophet. In the article, Dr. Mohler warns, “The urgency to reach people with the Gospel can, if the church is not faithful and watchful, tempt us to subvert the Gospel by redefining its terms.”
Specifically, Dr. Mohler drew attention to how some evangelical megachurches appear to be softening their positions on homosexuality. He calls on evangelical leaders to steer clear of the sinking sand of celebrating homosexuality—a quicksand that the mainline churches, I believe, have fallen into. Many evangelicals today need to take a hard look at what happened to their mainline forebears.
Having once served as a priest in the Episcopal Church, having warned my denomination’s leadership against sinking sand, having walked out before the denomination enveloped me, I offer my plea to my friends in some of these churches.
I am hearing the same language I heard 25 years ago: “We must love without passing judgment,” they say. “We need to accept people regardless of their moral practices.”
But my concern goes far beyond those misleading statements. The questions that no one seems to ask in the midst of this muddled thinking are: Why is the homosexual lobby adamant that their practice should not only be accepted, but celebrated, especially by Christian leaders? When they know full well what scripture says? Why does the homosexual lobby feel that it’s not enough for the church to love and care for them as individuals?
Recently, I was discussing that with a man who is gay, a man whom I care deeply about. His argument was, “If you truly love me, you must accept me into membership.”
He agreed that his lifestyle was against the clear Word of God; he even agreed that it was against God’s created order. Nonetheless, he wanted me to “get on” with accepting that this is a new day and that a new model is needed. Never mind that I would have to compromise the Word of God.
Sadly, many believers today are thoroughly confused. With respected church leaders sending them mixed signals, no wonder they don’t know what to believe anymore.
I am very sympathetic to their confusion. Christian leaders will pay a hefty price for leading their flocks astray. But believers with genuine concerns must ask a deeper question: Is the Bible still authoritative over me today?
Once you start there, then other questions arise. Why is homosexuality singled out for acceptance in mainline and now evangelical churches? Why don’t we also accept the sin of adultery? Why don’t we accept the man, his wife, and his mistress into membership? Or why don’t we accept a host of other heterosexual but habitually immoral lifestyles?
The answer is less complicated than we may think. If we look at the history of the homosexual movement, we will get the answer very quickly.
From its inception, the homosexual lobby worked tirelessly to make society accept their lifestyle. They had a well-conceived strategy that adopted the long view of history rather seeking immediate results.
First they managed to persuade the American Psychological Association to drop homosexuality as a “deviant” behavior—meaning the behavior could now be viewed as normal.
Then they targeted the theologically wobbly denominations like the Episcopal Church. Instead of addressing whether their sexual practices were a deviation from God’s design in creation, the lobby framed the argument around whether or not believers were “narrow-minded haters.”
Churches such as the Episcopal Church, followed by others, fell victim to that argument. As a result, they abandoned the Bible as their only compass. Bishops, such as Bishop John Shelby Spong, have written popular books and articles declaring that the Bible is filled with myths and is no more inspired than Shakespeare’s writing.
That wrong-headed teaching set the stage for where we are today. With the biblical foundation giving way to man’s whims, the homosexual lobby saw their chance and they took it. They knew the EpiscopalChurch was just the first step in pushing their argument from church to church.
As is always the case, the Word of God has to be undermined, or “reinterpreted” in light of modern culture, before any sin can be celebrated and not repented of. After all, who wants to reject anyone? Certainly no one in the church of Jesus Christ, where love is the measure of all things.
As for me, I cannot and will not reject anyone. I am commanded by my Savior to love even those who choose to establish themselves as my enemy.
But although I love them enough to appeal for their repentance so they can be restored in fellowship with God, they trample this type of love underfoot. They say, “You cannot accept me without accepting, approving, and even celebrating my sin.”
If we want to please the Lord, and if we believe that obeying His Word is a matter of life and death, then we must not fall for that trap.
Like our Christian forbearers, we must ask: Do we obey God or Caesar? Do we sell our birthright in exchange for acceptance by those who reject the authority of God? Do we abandon our convictions (at our immeasurable cost) for the approval of society?
The deliberate and definitive answer to those questions must always be: God’s Word must be obeyed over the trends of culture and the perceived need to give Christianity a “good” image.
If anyone insists that we must accept their argument or else be called names, the answer is found in Matthew 5:11: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”
We must stand on the solid rock of Jesus Christ and not the sinking sand of the world. For those who are faithful to the Word of God, we can say with Martin Luther, “Here we stand. We can do no other.”