Post #1 - Thought a lot since yesterday and the drama surrounding marriage. There is a storm coming (actually, already is here). There is going to be a battle between who will have "civil rights" when this is done. That is because the Bible has always held homosexual activity to be sin - and will not change regardless of how people voted on Prop 8 in California vote or what the Supreme Court decides. Therefore if homosexuality is considered a civil right, then the Biblical view of homosexuality will be deemed illegal - in free speech rights - in the hiring of church personnel - and eventually in what is taught legally in churches. Those who think this is extreme need to remember that when abortion was first argued in the early 1970's wise people said it would one day be available up to the moment of birth and for things like sex selection - and they were considered extreme.
After a comment from a friend in my hometown about how my children would react if they were homosexuals - and that they probably would not come to me - but suffer shame and misery silently - this post was made.
Post #2 - Just to let you know, although it was not homosexuality, I've had times with my children where they were walking in some pretty serious sin (from a biblical standpoint). Rather than wait for them to come to me - my sweet wife and I lovingly, yet firmly and boldly approached them. We did so making sure or several things . . . First, that they knew we had sinned in the past (my past involved actually hating Christians and Christianity - and a great deal of sexual immorality). Second, we assured them that although we were crushed and disappointed with their current choices - we would NEVER stop loving them. We assured them that there was nothing they would ever do that would make us reject them as persons - or as our children. Our problem was with choices they were making outside of God's will. Third - we took the time to sit down with them and share the Scriptures - specifically what they were doing that was outside of God's will. We did so unapologetically and with boldness (our confidence arising from God's Word - not from any pseudo-religious standing we thought we might have as parents or me as a pastor). Afterward, we assured them of two things - we would continue to side with God's Word on the moral issue - and second that we loved them very much.
Post #3 - My original post was about the political ramifications of the current debate. I have known several people who chose a homosexual lifestyle - have loved them - shared with them - and continue to affirm my love for them personally. God does not approve of their homosexuality - even as He did not approve of my fornication before I came to Christ (and He wouldn't approve of it now either!)
There are consequences for a nation when they choose to codify a sinful choice as legal. BUT - as a pastor and disciple of Jesus Christ - my responsibility is to love the person who is sinning, tell them the truth, and let them know that as a fellow sinner - I found grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. God gave it to me when I responded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (Who used Scripture to show me my sin) in repentance from my heterosexual immorality (as well as breaking His Law multitudes of times in ways that blew my mind). They can receive the same grace from God as well. The one thing they will have to do, though, is see their choice (homosexuality is a choice - not a DNA driven lifestyle) as sin and be willing to respond in repentance as they turn from it, and faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to pay for their sin and be right with God.
Post #4 - Still thinking about the homosexual marriage debate . . . As Biblical Christians we have an interesting number of roles to live out in regard to these days.
First and foremost we have our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That we walk out loving and knowing Him - and do so with humility - always grasping that He first loved us and drew us to Himself due to His immeasurable mercy and grace.
Second, we have a dual responsibility to our world which means we will walk a fine line in regard to how the world works. The first of these dual responsibilities is to proclaim the gospel of God's grace in Jesus Christ! That means that we cannot allow the political or social discourse to become so toxic that we are rejected because of our political beliefs alone. The first offense in our lives needs to be the offense of the cross and the gospel. If people are offended with us - it is because we love them enough to tell them of their condition - their true condition of falling short of the glory of God. Here is where we have to be careful that our political discourse does not make it seem like certain sins are "more sinful" that others. Sin is sin - and it all separates us from God - and requires of us repentance and faith in Jesus Christ to be forgiven and to receive Christ's righteousness as a gift so we can stand before God. In regard to sin - I am no different than the homosexual - for we both have sinned against God and we both need pure, unadulterated grace that only comes in the gospel. This ALWAYS has to be our first message to the world.
BUT, we also have a second role that comes into focus in times like these - and that is a prophetic one. Especially in a democratic republic like ours - we play a part in our governing process. Therefore when our nation begins to turn from its godly heritage (which is has been going on for probably 60-70 years now - I am not one to say that this is the big issue - we've made choices for many years now - racism and inequality for blacks from the end of the Civil War until the Civil Rights movement of the early 1960's, the free love movement of the 1960's which popularized heterosexual immorality i.e. sex outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage, abortion in the 1970's, the love of money in the 80's and 90's, and now homosexuality from the 80's to the present) - again, when our nation turns from its godly heritage and wants to codify as law what God calls sin, it is our responsibility to prophetically speak God's Word to our society - not that we predict the future or write new Scripture (which is unscriptural) - but we speak the morality that is in the Bible - boldly and unapologetically to our society. We lovingly, yet strongly state where we are going - and where it will lead. We do so hopefully knowing that it is most likely the case that we will be rejected - mocked - and called any number of names. Yet we do this for God's glory - and for love of the people in the world - and never for any kind of vindictiveness. We remember where WE came from - and that we needed grace and truth to come to Christ too.
Finally - we do this for God's glory - knowing that Jesus made it clear that His Kingdom is not of this world. There is a strong possiblity that we will be misrepresented, cursed, spoken evil of - and maybe even arrested and put to death eventually for our stand with God's Word - and with the gospel of Jesus Christ. If I remember rightly - our Founder and Savior was cursed, mocked, arrested and eventually crucified for speaking the truth (wonder what week that happened in history? - oh, yeah, this week!)
Just one last admonition for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Hold fast to the Word of God - to the testimony of Jesus Christ - to the gospel of God's salvation - and when you do have to speak prophetically to the culture - SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE! Tough to do - I know - but when we do have to speak prophetically to our culture and our government - we do not want to do so in such a way that will disqualify us from sharing the more important message of the gospel later! (Yeah - just looked at the length of this - and I am a preacher - HA! - and a long-winded one at that!) Love all of you - and especially those I have the honor of ministering to weekly at Calvary Chapel of Jonesboro!