Jonathan Rauch Is Wrong About Genuine Evangelicalism

 

This article was written in response to an article by Jonathan Rauch in The Daily News. I submitted it to The Daily News as a rebuttal but, alas, they did not need it. Here it is anyway! You can read Rauch’s article here. (Jonathan Rauch is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.)

 

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Jonathan Rauch’s Op-Ed in the Daily News, “The Last Gay-Marriage Holdouts,” demonstrates many of the misunderstandings, assumptions, and wrong opinions that float to the top when people discuss evangelicals and homosexuality.

First of all, Rauch misses the nuance involved when he refers to those “young people who disagree with their elders who disproportionately [prioritize] anti-gay rhetoric and doctrine.” The “disproportion” he refers to has to do with those in the church who ask, “Why do you focus only on the sin of homosexuality and not the sin of lying, etc.?” The issue here is that, when addressing those who support homosexuality—either inside or outside of the church—we are not dealing with people who admit that homosexuality is a sin. We are, instead, dealing with those who say it is normal. So when people try to make this distinction they are invariably comparing apples to oranges. The church does speak out against lying and adultery and hatred and all manner of sins. But the Supreme Court did not meet recently in order to say that lying is a basic human right or that murder is protected by the fourteenth amendment. To those who agree that homosexuality is sin, we can talk about where it ranks among sin. But to those who want to compromise the Bible and normalize homosexuality, the traditional evangelicals cannot help but speak out.

Second, these days a distinction must be made between what is passing for evangelicalism in the media and traditional evangelicalism. Traditional evangelicals are not worried or concerned about becoming “cultural strangers in their own land.” Genuine, Bible-believing Christians have never made cultural acceptance their number one goal. Going forward, anyone wanting to be intellectually honest will need to observe the distinction between the new liberal evangelicals, and those genuine, traditional evangelicals who still hold to the authority of Scripture.

Third, Rauch claims that all evangelical congregations include openly gay members. This is simply not true. For one thing, I assume that this is simply a sloppy use of the word “member.” Show me the evangelical church that has openly gay members—people accepted into membership with full knowledge that they were practicing homosexuals—and I will show you a church that is not evangelical.

Next, to compare Jesus’ interaction and approach to the woman at the well who was living in adultery (John 4) and the current debate over the acceptance of homosexuality and, further, to connect it with the concept of inclusiveness, is simply bad hermeneutics.  Jesus did not offer inclusion to the woman at the well! He confronted her sin and invited her to come clean. When the church takes this approach to homosexuality it is referred to as homophobic!

The next subtle assumption comes with the question, “Why would God create gay people for a life without sexual intimacy and loving companionship?” The traditional evangelical answer? He didn’t. He didn’t create people gay. They were not born that way. Nevertheless, in order for those with same-sex attraction to be in right standing before God they will have to renounce homosexuality conceptually and in practice, daily crucify same-sex desire, and may very well have to live their lives as ones chosen by God to be single. People throughout history have been able to live without sexual intimacy for reasons not as lofty as a right standing before God. And to assume that sex must be a part of a fulfilled life is to sell humanity short.

What is happening in evangelicalism is a purification process. Those young “evangelical” pastors who are suffering from the pains of “cognitive dissonance” and the agonizing conflict between “head and heart” on this issue are simply not evangelicals. Not because traditional evangelicals  don’t care about those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. Many of us do; all of us should. But allowing sympathy to trump truth is to take a fools path. Americans need to learn again that just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that he or she hates you. That type of thinking represents an arrested emotional development.

Finally, Rauch is right about one thing: American evangelicalism is on a collision course with itself. When it is over, true evangelicals will continue to stand behind the Bible. The rest can join those American Catholics, mainline Protestants, Mormons, and the Pope whom Rauch indicates all support homosexuality.

 

 

 

Rainbow White House: Still A Rogue White House Or Is This Who We Are?

rainbow whitehouse

The picture that went viral (in this case think ‘disease’) of the White House splashed in the colors of the rainbow forces us to answer the following question: Can we look at the results of Obama’s time in office as the natural outcome of someone breaking into the White House control room, locking himself in, and messing with all the knobs until the adults come to stop him, or is this who we are now?

Had this recent event happened five years ago we might have suggested stronger locks on the White House doors. But America gave Obama a second term. Does that mean that this is who we are then? It certainly means that this is who we are officially. And to the extent that we can say that Americans are unable or unwilling to overturn the laws that have separated us from God, then I think we have to begin to reconcile ourselves to the reality that this is who we are.

Consider these questions:

Did America officially expel prayer from her classrooms?

Has she officially, for forty five years, upheld the “rights” of women to have abortions?

Has America embraced evolution in its classrooms, media, and entertainment industry, making it its default view of the origins of the universe?

Has America officially legalized, embraced, accepted, and celebrated homosexuality?

The answer to all of these questions is, “Yes!” And this says nothing of our materialism, our lust and wantonness, and our religious pluralism. It also says nothing of our present stance towards Israel.

There are two simple yet profound spiritual principles at work in America. The first is simply this: if you sow to the Spirit, you reap life everlasting. If you sow to the flesh, you reap corruption.

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Galatians 6:7-8, NIV (1984 Edition)

This holds true for nations too!

The second is when you choose not to retain the knowledge of God in your heart, God releases you to become reprobate in your thinking and thus your behavior.

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32, NIV (1984 Edition)

The bottom line is this: We have invited God to leave our schools, celebrated the deaths of millions of babies through abortion, accommodated and promoted atheism by embracing evolution, and now the homosexual juggernaut has achieved “normal” status by decree of the Supreme Court. Genuine Bible-believing Christians know that individuals nor nations can so eloquently reject God and not reap terrible consequences.

Poor America! She had so much light and now is entering into just as much darkness!

 

 

 

 

Irrelevant Comments About the Bible’s Irrelevance

More and more I am hearing references made to the Bible’s age and irrelevancy. When asked by Oprah Winfrey when the Church was going to get it that homosexuality is normal, Rob Bell told her, “We’re moments away.  . . . I think the culture is already there. And the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense…” [1] Miley Cyrus made an offhand reference to the Bible’s irrelevancy in reference to the Indiana religious freedoms legislation. [2]

The problem with this sentiment is that it puts our perception of the Bible’s cultural relevancy front and center rather than the source of the Bible’s authority. The Bible is either the Word of God or it isn’t. If it was the Word of God two thousand years ago it does not cease to be simply because we long to express unchecked our Bohemian, hedonistic passions! More proof that we have never gotten past the important Enlightenment era questions of authority and revelation.

City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons | Fox News

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_The_Christian_Martyrs'_Last_Prayer_-_Walters_37113Can this really be true? It all makes sense if you consider the path our nation is walking down. We have allowed freedom to be defined as “everything acceptable.” Everything except moral restraint and Christianity.

It is not surprising to see that this attempt at infringement on free speech is being made under the guise of a non-discrimination ordinance, particularly in the area of defending homosexuality. Homosexuality is the juggernaut of American liberalism.

The tide continues to turn against genuine Christianity. Jesus described the times that are quickly approaching when He warned in Luke 21:

10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.

Not in America, right?

 

 

 

City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons | Fox News.

Clinics Who Don’t Perform Enough Abortions Are Chided

plannedparenthood108If this article is on the up and up, it brings to light one of the most shameful human atrocities of our times! Quotas for abortions? I can imagine how that from the warped minds of selfish Americans would spring the triumph of choice over responsibility, but at least some liberals at least have mouthed regret over abortion while kicking the decision back to the states and ultimately the individual. But quotas and concern, even threats of punishment to clinics not performing enough abortions? Almost 57,000,000 children have been aborted in America since Roe V. Wade!

 

Planned Parenthood Awards Clinic for Exceeding Abortion Quota – Christian News Blog.

Minister Ousted is Reinstated: More Compartmentalization

Here’s another example of Christians (so-called) trying to find solutions through compromise and compartmentalization. Somehow, it seems better to the United Methodists if they will put Schaefer in a liberal district of the United Methodist Church. So, as long as the people he is serving agree with him it’s ok?

 Isaiah 1:2-6

2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken:  “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me.  3 The ox knows his master,  the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know,  my people do not understand.”  4  Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers,  children given to corruption!  They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel  and turned their backs on him.   5  Why should you be beaten anymore?  Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted.  6  From the sole of your foot to the top of your head  there is no soundness— only wounds and welts  and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil.

 

See also: Failing the Smell Test . . .

Oh great! Kirsten Powers gets saved just in time to help the gay Christian Movement!

Kirsten Powers, Fox News analyst and newly saved former agnostic/atheist has weighed in on the gay Christian issue (you can read about her conversion here).

Citing Michael Vines’ God and the Gay Christian, and James Brownson’s Bible, Gender, Sexuality, she thinks maybe the church should ask itself if God really intends for the church to reject homosexuality, and thus, gay Christianity.

Don’t get me wrong: I am happy that Ms. Powers has found Jesus, if indeed she has. But before Bible believing, traditional evangelical Christians go too far in their endorsement of her, they should realize that Ms. Powers is not an evangelical. Not if her article is any indication.

Her article shows no wrestling with the issue, not does it consider the traditional evangelical opinion. Instead, she offers up the usual gay Christian talking points saying,

“The Church has done this before on slavery, the solar system and divorce.”

Really? Have you studied this Ms. Powers? There is simply no meaningful parallel to be found in a comparison of the church’s stand on the four issues of slavery, the solar system, divorce, and homosexuality. Perhaps it is your liberal, Episcopalian roots that are guiding you in this case.

Powers simply takes Vines and Brownson at face value with their claims to a “high view” of Scripture. Funny, in the past a high view of Scripture, at least among evangelicals, meant that you believed it meant what it said.

Powers opens her article with a reference to,

“the emergence of conservative Christians who say orthodox believers can support life-long, monogamous gay relationships without undermining their commitment to biblical authority.”

Conservative Christians don’t support gay relationships in any form. If they did they, by definition, would not be conservative.

As I said before, I am glad for Powers’ salvation. But she is unqualified to speak for the church or to speak into this issue. You can read Powers’ article here:

Kirsten Powers: Christianity’s new look on gays.

You can also read here on Gay Christian Logic (surely the oxymorons abound in that title)!

Read about other so-called evangelicals that have failed the smell test recently.

The So-Called “Third Way”

Oh brother! There are times when the logic on display in some of the articles and books I read simply can’t be ignored for its eloquent subjectivism. Consider this quote from pastor/theologian Greg Boyd on the gay Christian issue:

The “gay-issue” that many of us are wrestling with these days is usually presented as an either-or issue. Christians must either accept that homosexual activity is a sin that bars people from the kingdom and the church, which is where most evangelical churches stand today. Or they must accept that there’s absolutely nothing sinful about homosexual activity, at least in a covenantal context, and that it is therefore perfectly okay with God, which his where many liberal churches today have gone.

So, then by definition, the “third way” is to accept that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin but to go ahead and endorse and affirm homosexuals because we do not want to hurt their feelings by rejecting their preferences.

Boyd falls into the same error in his article as do many others when he tries to discuss adultery in the same context as homosexuality, including the “all sins are equal” argument. The problem is that no one is advocating that adultery is ok, but people are advocating that homosexuality is ok as long as it is practiced by people who love each other!

The “peace at any cost” theology will always lead to error because world peace and human comfort are not God’s highest priorities. You can build a church based on a watered-down gospel of error but all you get is an errant, watered-down church!

Homosexuality and the Church: Finding a “Third Way” – ReKnew.

Colorado Baker Ordered to Make Same-Sex Wedding Cakes – Christian News Blog

So, would a same-sex baker be forced to make a cake for a Westboro Baptist “God hates fags” afterglow party or a person adamantly opposed to homosexuality? Would a black baker be ordered to make a cake for a KKK rally? Would a Christian baker be forced to make a cake for a porn-producing company? If so, would they have to conform to some sexually graphic request for the cake’s decoration? Would an American baker be forced to provide a cake for a radical Islamic rally against America? Would an Islamic baker be forced to provide a cake celebrating the American Bible Society? Would an Islamic baker be forced to provide a cake depicting a pig for a Messianic Jew who is celebrating his freedom to eat pork?

The answer is “no” and “yes.” “No”  if we are being rational, understanding, fair and sane in our decision making. “Yes” if the person wanting the cake in any one of these scenarios is gay!

Colorado Baker Ordered to Make Same-Sex Wedding Cakes – Christian News Blog.

WORLD | Repeated exposure | Andrée Seu Peterson | June 14, 2014

Excellent article (WORLD | Repeated exposure | Andrée Seu Peterson | June 14, 2014) drawing attention to the process that America is prey to.

30   I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;  31   thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. 32   I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: 33   A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 34   and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Pr 24:30–34