There is so much going on in the world the last few days it makes it tough to know what to discuss: From the Supreme Court trial of Hobby Lobby to the change in World Vision’s hiring policy and several things in between. The only good part is we get to exercise our biblical world view thinking caps as we try and process what is going on.
This is something we must do as Christians. What we think in private as we lead and teach our families; we will soon be required to make a stand on publically in light of rising world opposition. The agenda of the world is not tolerance of their pagan views. It is government sponsored approval and celebration of their pagan views, with threats of government punishment for any that don’t approve and celebrate. The intolerance of tolerance.
In the news:
World Vision, one of America’s largest Christian charities, is now open to hiring gays and lesbians. The Christian humanitarian organization explained that it will no longer prohibit its more than 1,100 American employees from homosexual activity, provided same-sex intercourse happens in the context of a legal marriage.
Stop right there. You see, right off the bat the “Christian” organization has changed the God given definition of what marriage is. Go here for a refresher by Ray Ortlund (http://goo.gl/QLnNJ1). Marriage is a gospel issue (see Eph. 5). That is the ultimate reason why clarity about its definition matters.
It goes on:
For Stearns [the president] and World Vision, the issue of homosexuality is something good Christians disagree on. He says: “Denominations disagree on many, many things: on divorce and remarriage, modes of baptism, women in leadership roles in the church, beliefs on evolution, etc.,” he said. “So our practice has always been to defer to the authority and autonomy of local churches and denominational bodies on matters of doctrine that go beyond the Apostles’ Creed and our statement of faith.
The craziness of the world’s way of thinking has infected the leadership of World Vision. Their authority comes not from “thus saith the Lord”, but from local church and denominational tradition; the traditions of men. Again he says:
“Same-sex marriage has only been a huge issue in the church in the last decade or so. There used to be much more unity among churches on this issue, and that’s changed.”
He is exactly right. For the first 1900 years of the New Testament church there was unity around the Biblical definition of marriage and the Biblical definition of sin and the Biblical idea that those that practice sin and call it good will not inherit the kingdom of God. I would venture to say that in the last decade the “huge issue in the church” is not because the Bible has changed on this issue but because the hearts of the people have changed.
Unlike the differences concerning the mode of baptism, there is no long historical record of the church debating whether men can marry men. In fact, there is no record of the church debating anything of the sort until the last forty or fifty years. And more to the point, there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that getting the mode of baptism wrong puts your eternal soul in jeopardy, when there are plenty of verses to suggest that living in unrepentant sexual sin will do just that (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 5-7).
The bottom line to me becomes: World Vision has decided that to be a practicing homosexual and a practicing Christian is no contradiction in terms. They believe what the Bible calls an abomination is not a big deal, not a serious issue like adultery, not a life threatening concern like malnutrition, not something that the Bible addresses clearly or warns against urgently.
Kevin DeYoung says it well:
Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead (Acts 17:31; Rev. 19:11-21). Those who repent of their sins and believe in Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30) and those who overcome (Rev. 21:7) will live forever in eternal bliss with God in his holy heaven (Rev. 21:1-27) through the atoning work of Christ on the cross (Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:1-21; Cor. 5:21). Those who are not born again (John 3:5), do not believe in Christ (John 3:18), and continue to make practice of sinning (1 John 3:4-10) will face eternal punishment and the just wrath of God in hell (John 3:36; 5:29). Among those who will face the second death in the lake that burns with fire are the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, the murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars (Rev. 21:8), and among the sins included in the category of sexual immorality is unrepentant sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 5-7).
I realize a paragraph like this has become highly controversial, even offensive, and perhaps someday criminal. But the question for the Christian is whether the Bible teaches it. If the Bible does not teach these things, or if we no longer have the courage to believe them, let us say so openly and make the case why the whole history of the Christian church has been so wrong for so long. But if the Bible does teach the paragraph above, how can we be casual about such a serious matter or think that Jesus would be so indifferent to the celebration of the same?
The camel of compromise will poke its nose into the tent little by little. Where will it end? The good news of the gospel is that the sin of exchanging natural relations for those that are contrary to nature, like every other sin, can be forgiven, and that homosexual offenders, like every other kind of sinner, of which I am profoundly one, can receive grace, mercy, and peace in the name of Jesus Christ and be justified, sanctified and glorified by the power of God.