A Word about Donald Trump (You’re Not Gonna Like It!)

It’s time that a few things were said about Donald Trump and the next President of the United States.

trump election article

First, let me clarify a few things:

I am writing to Evangelicals—that’s the group I belong to and understand the most.

Second, I am aware of all of the things that are distasteful to Christians about Donald Trump. I get it: he’s rude, arrogant, his language is bad, and he’s not Christian by our definition. Some would say he is racist, but these days everyone gets labeled racist, and I am not willing to allow a wall and protection against Muslim terrorists to be equated with racism. But, hey, I get it.

With these qualifications in mind, let’s get on with what needs to be said.

My Biggest Concern

My biggest concern is that Donald Trump is going to split the party. I don’t think that means what it used to in a party that is already divided in at least three ways. Nevertheless, there is the real threat that he will form his own party, siphon off conservatives from the herd, and a la Ross Perot, the democrats get their man (or woman in this case). But, even if Trump does not go independent and intentionally split the party, at the rate we are going, because of the sensibilities of various groups who simply cannot imagine themselves pulling the lever for Trump, the party is likely to split itself on principle.

Now, as I said above: I get it. Trump is not a holy man. Here’s my thing though, as it stands right now, I am not prepared to label “holy” anyone  in the current race for the White House. That’s not as judgmental as it sounds. I don’t think American Evangelical Christians do a very good job of discerning the “holy” candidates from the unholy ones. Sure, we are good at recognizing adultery and abortion and same-sex support, and believe, I care about those things. But after that, we get upset at language, etc. Goodness, in our own churches we quibble over the most trivial things and divide ourselves over personality issues! Let me say this: If we think we are going to elect a candidate who is somehow going to legislate Christianity from the Oval Office, or that America’s spiritual problems could even be solved in this way, we have proven we have learned nothing. Between two equally qualified candidates for president, would I choose a Christian over an atheist? Yes, because I believe spirituality and morality matters. Is it possible, hypothetically speaking, that there could be an atheist qualified to be a good president or a Christian completely unqualified to be president, or vise versa? Absolutely!

But let’s get down to what we are after and what we can reasonably expect in 21st century American politics. Personally, I think that, in the past, when we Christians thought we had “found our man,” we were kidding ourselves (with the exception of Ronald Reagan, although even he was more in line with the morality of Christianity like a Lincoln more than he was any kind of overtly genuine evangelical, which I do not believe he was). Going forward, I think we are naive to think that anyone in the field of candidates is a “shoe in” to become our evangelical hero in the White House, and those who we may be convinced have a genuine faith will not likely be able to be effective.  Like it or not, America is not open to an overtly evangelical Christian in the White House. But now, on the brink of a split party because of our Christian principles, we may help America to elect a socialist or, more likely, the heir to the Clinton dynasty.

The Pendulum

Here’s another of my big concerns. We live in a country that was foolish enough to elect Barak Obama not to one but two terms in office! That reality comes with its own reprisals! But, from a conservative standpoint, Mr. Obama has all but destroyed America (some may not like that language but that is how Christian conservatives, particularly evangelicals, feel). He has taken the country in the wrong direction and drastically so. Is Donald Trump drastic in his own right? Yes! But it may take someone conservatively drastic just to offset the damage done over the last eight years! I personally think that anyone less drastic than Trump will likely not make a dent in Washington or have a hope of pointing America back in the right direction.

Final Note

For those afraid or embarrassed to support Donald Trump, be careful that you are not intimidated or influenced by a sophisticated media that knows how to throw its voice and sound like it cares about morality. For those who have disagreements with Trump on principle, let me ask you a question: would you rather have Trump or Clinton? Because I believe that’s what it will come down to. In that scenario, I would choose Trump, but I don’t trust America to do so. Welcome to the White House, Madame President!

Paths to an Acceptance of “Gay” Christianity

Here are some of the most prominent ways people find to support “Gay” Christianity with the Bible.

1) Re-translate the text.

See the following website for a treatment of the word physikos in Romans 1 where the writer claims that Paul is actually talking about people operating opposite to the way they were born. Thus, persons not born gay but engaging in homosexual activity are violating God’s law, suggesting to the writer that a gay person in relationship with another gay person is what God intends. All of this because the author claims that the word lying beneath “nature” or “natural” has been mis-translated.

http://www.thegodarticle.com/7/post/2011/10/clobbering-biblical-gay-bashing.html

http://queeringthechurch.com/2010/03/02/clobber-texts-a-new-reading-of-leviticus/

[The above links are now dead or have been reworked. Nevertheless, the website https://queerchurch.wordpress.com/ is still there.]

2) Re-interpret the text.

See James V. Brownson’s book, Bible, Gender, Sexuality, where the author reinterprets the texts by recovering the underlying “moral logic” of the text.

 

3) Apply the text differently in light of modern culture, particularly the view that “loving, monogamous, same-sex” relationship were not in view.

 

https://www.gaychristian.net/justins_view.php

http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence/leviticus.html

http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript/

 

4) Agree with the text but dismiss it for the sake of modern sensibilities.

The Phyllis Tickle interview with Andrew Marin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOQQPC_SsEs&list=FLcqHu8ilKp75pBGfY-UxaAQ&index=11

“the Church itself is gonna have to come to grips with the fact that we have changed over the years, we have evolved, the law. We now admit divorce. Our Lord does not speak much about sexuality, but He’s very clear about divorce. It’s the only thing He’s really clear about. [As concerns sexuality?] And we have managed because out of compassion, and I certainly am for that change, out of compassion and out of common sense and out of a recognition that our times and ways of being are different from those. We have managed to get around the divorce issue and now even ordain divorced clergy, and that kind of thing. The same thing is going to happen with the gay issue. It’s in process.”

 

5) Marginalize the text as non-essential

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson/2014/03/i-dont-blame-world-vision-i-blame-homophobia-and-hate/

“Evangelicals have a hate problem when it comes to homosexuality. Period. I know that’s extreme language. But it’s true. We can disagree over an issue and still find common ground in aiding the very poor and disenfranchised. We can work side-by-side in the work of Christ and not agree on every single marginal issue. And homosexuality, as it relates to the Bible’s message and meaning, is marginal. There are 31,000 verses. Only around 8 or 9 can really be said to have anything to do with homosexuality. (None are actually about homosexuality — monogamous, committed relations — as we understand it.) That’s around 0.026% of Scripture. And yet that fraction of Scripture has become central to the public identity of evangelicalism. They have placed homophobia at the center of the Gospel”.

 

6) Lessen the importance of the texts by emphasizing love, poverty, acceptance.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson/2014/03/i-dont-blame-world-vision-i-blame-homophobia-and-hate/

“The way evangelicals treat LGBTQ+ people is wrong. It is extreme. It is sinful. It is hateful. And it is absolutely terrifying. In the past 24 hours, we just witnessed the extent evangelicals will go to keep LGBTQ+ people marginalized, to keep an organization from the simple thing of recognizing their already legal marriages. They will starve children. They will deprive impoverished communities of aid and help. So, no, I don’t blame World Vision. Its leaders did exactly what everyone urged them to do — both on the left and the right.They thought of how it would affect the children. Rather, I blame the far-right evangelicals who held World Vision hostage to their homophobic agenda. These evangelicals held a gun to the head of World Vision. They forced an organization to choose between aiding hungry children and offering a small step towards equality for gay and lesbian people who work for them. And no matter what World Vision chose, these evangelicals were always going to pull the trigger on one of the hostages.”

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson/2014/03/i-dont-blame-world-vision-i-blame-homophobia-and-hate/#ixzz3Iab25EDQ

 

7) Re-direct attention from the texts by focusing on what Jesus did not say.

“Hello, Scott.

I follow your distinction between pre-marital sex and adultery: in adultery, the partners are betraying their spouses and children. But- when two women love each other, there are no victims like that. I would say that therefore, because there are no victims, the sin is less- or nonexistent. I am delighted that my church lobbied the UK government to allow church weddings for gay people, and the Government will allow that for any denomination which opts in. Many churches will.

Jesus said that if a man look at a woman with lust in his heart, he had already committed adultery. He did not say the same if a man look at a man.” https://ccithink.com/2013/03/31/why-the-focus-on-homosexuality-abortion-evolution-arent-all-sins-the-same-in-gods-eyes-part-1/

 

8) Placate the text by compartmentalizing between principle and practice.

See the video featuring Justin Lee, president and founder of the Gay Christian Network

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/gays-and-christianity/3299076052001

[This link was dead a few weeks ago. The same sentiments are easy to validated through his writings.]

 

9) Maintaining a neutral position

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/death-of-evangelicalism/

Benjamin Corey wrote:

“We always knew that the sides against same sex marriage and the sides for same sex marriage would never see eye-to-eye (fine, there’s room for both of us), but what we saw yesterday went one step further: it was declared that Evangelicals are not allowed to take a neutral position on the issue. That’s the keyNo more neutrality allowed. It was declared that hiring a married homosexual shall now be considered as equally egregious to officiating the wedding yourself.”

 

 

Former Baptist Bishop Becomes Pastor of ‘Inclusive’ Church after Marriage to Gay Partner – Christian News Blog

Here’s more “great” logic from another “pastor gone gay,” and a new twist on Luke 7:1-10!

According to Carrie Dedrick in a ChristianHeadlines.com article, Allyson D. Nelson Abrams (who was a bishop of a Baptist church and now is a bishop in a gay Metropolitan church) says:

“the Bible allows same-sex relationships according to Luke 7:1-10 and its reference to the love a man has for his servant.
‘I progressed in my theology and came to the point where I would love whichever came to me. I wasn’t just open to (a specific) gender, I was open to love in whatever way the Lord would bless me,” Abrams said. “People have the right to interpret scripture whatever way they please. I respect difference of opinions.'”

 

Wow! The Roman Centurian values his servant, and “bishop” Abrams says that means same-sex relationships are ok and we should just love whoever comes to us regardless of gender, and, for her finale, “People have a right to interpret scripture whatever way they please.”

 

Former Baptist Bishop Becomes Pastor of ‘Inclusive’ Church after Marriage to Gay Partner – 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.

Another Christian Artist “Comes Out,” Promotes Gay Christianity

I’ll admit that I have never heard of Jennifer Knapp until today. Apparently she was a fairly successful Christian artist who took a seven year hiatus, recently returning with a secular album. Oh, and she’s gay.

You can read the Christianity Today interview with Knapp for yourself. I read it. She has the proper gay Christian talking points in her arsenal. When asked about her thoughts concerning what Scripture says on the topic of homosexuality, she answered:

Knapp: The Bible has literally saved my life. I find myself between a rock and a hard place—between the conservative evangelical who uses what most people refer to as the “clobber verses” to refer to this loving relationship as an abomination, while they’re eating shellfish and wearing clothes of five different fabrics, and various other Scriptures we could argue about. I’m not capable of getting into the theological argument as to whether or not we should or shouldn’t allow homosexuals within our church. There’s a spirit that overrides that for me, and what I’ve been gravitating to in Christ and why I became a Christian in the first place.

Knapp, who admits that she is “not capable of getting into the theological argument” concerning homosexuals being allowed in the church, refers to “clobber verse” and Levitical law about shellfish and clothing made of multiple fabrics. She’s able to refute the church’s interpretation of Levitical law. She is also able to imply hypocrisy on the part of Christians who do not affirm gays. But not capable of a theological discussion on the topic!

To trivialize the dire importance of the church’s stance on homosexuality by references to shellfish and multiple fabrics betrays less than a full grasp of the situation and confirms that indeed Knapp is not capable of leading the theological conversation. And yet, she is surely making a theological, doctrinal statement.

Jennifer Knapp Comes Out | Christianity Today.

The Juggernaut: The Progression of Homosexuality from Minority Status to Cultural Juggernaut

By Scott Fowler

It seems to me that President Obama played a key role in moving gay rights to its Juggernaut status when, on January 21, 2013, in his second inaugural address, he said the following,

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall….Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law— for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.1

With those sentiments, he officially elevated gay rights (Stonewall)2 to the level of a civil right, on par with women’s suffrage (Seneca Falls) and the fight for racial equality (Selma).  From that time, homosexuality has been “a massive inexorable force, crushing everything in its path,”3 namely the institution of marriage and the authority of the Bible.

In February of that same year, 278 companies filed an amicus brief in support of the woman whose challenge of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, was to be considered by the Supreme Court later that year.4  In March, Bill Clinton expressed his regret over having signed the bill into law.5  Obama had already expressed his “evolution” on the subject in a 2012 ABC interview with Robin Roberts, indicating he no longer supported DOMA and that he was influenced by his conversations with friends and staff who were in “incredibly committed, monogamous relationships—same-sex relationships—who are raising kids together.” 6 A steady stream of public figures also stepped forward to declare their “love for love” and homosexuality.7 But perhaps Nicole Wallace (presumably a conservative operative who worked for Bush and advised the McCain/Palin campaign, but who also came out in favor of same-sex marriage in February 2013), captured the essence of the moment best when she said:

“If you are running for office and trying to court the vote of anyone under forty, you oppose marriage equality at your political peril.”8

On June 26, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, declaring it unconstitutional, paving the way for the Federal Government to acknowledge same-sex marriages.

Juggernaut.

The April 8, 2013 issue of Time Magazine recorded that as of that date nine states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage.9 At present that number has risen to seventeen states with seven more in the hopper, ready to fall upon appeals.10 Chronicling the surprising and rapid rise of support for same-sex marriage, David Von Drehle opined,

With stunning speed, a concept dismissed even by most gay-rights leaders just 20 years ago is now embraced by half or more of all Americans. . . . Exit polls in November showed that 83% of voters believe that same-sex marriage will be legal nationwide in the next five to 10 years. . . . Like a dam that springs a little leak that turns into a trickle and then bursts into a flood, the wall of public opinion is crumbling.11

Juggernaut.

The Inaugural itself was marked by a rejection of a well-known minister when the invitation to Lou Giglio was rescinded because of a twenty year old sermon he preached against homosexuality.12 The Inaugural Committee wanted someone inclusive, accepting of all Americans, and celebrating diversity. 13 In a letter to his church (which no longer seems to be available except through various articles that reported the incident), Giglio said,

“Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda a focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.”14

And just like, Giglio was out, Luis Leon, an inclusive Episcopalian was in, and those who trumpet inclusion had excluded a potentially diverse and dissenting voice.

Juggernaut.

In the ten months since SCOTUS struck down DOMA, what began as the fight for same-sex marriage has evolved into a full-scale discussion in the evangelical church about gay Christianity, an oxymoron to be sure. But not everybody thinks so.

Those who have found it meaningful to be identified as evangelicals are being divided by the issue of homosexuality. The discussion began to round the corner between the subject of same-sex marriage and that of gay Christianity when World Vision decided and then un-decided to hire people involved in same-sex marriages. Since then, there has been daily evidence that the Juggernaut is dividing evangelicals (see Failing the Smell Test).

While many on both sides still couch the debate in terms of same-sex marriage, it is actually a question about the Bible’s authority and its ability to speak to contemporary cultural challenges. It is about gay Christianity. Dr. Albert Mohler captured the urgency of this historical crossroads when he wrote,

Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question. 15

Mohler is right. He wrote those words in response to a book by Matthew Vines entitled, God and the Gay Christian. In it, Vines concludes that

“It isn’t gay Christians who are sinning against God by entering into monogamous, loving relationships. It is the church that is sinning against them by rejecting their intimate relationships.”16

Ah! The familiar sound of the Juggernaut as it tramples over nature, history, Scripture, and the Church!

 

Dr. Scott Fowler is the founder of the Christ and Culture Initiative.

Footnotes

1 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/21/inaugural-address-president-barack-obama

2 Stonewall is a Greenwich Village gay bar in Manhattan where it is said “gay pride” began.

3 The definition of Juggernaut.

4 http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2013/0227/Gay-marriage-why-corporations-are-coming-out-against-DOMA

5 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/us/politics/bill-clintons-decision-and-regret-on-defense-of-marriage-act.html?pagewanted=all

6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQGMTPab9GQ&feature=player_embedded

7 http://gokicker.com/2013/03/26/same-sex-marriage-where-things-stand/#!GJ80e. See also David Von Drehle, “How Gay Marriage Won: The Gay and Lesbian Community Has Gone from Stonewall to the Altar in Two Generations,” Time Magazine, April 8, 2013, 18, 22.

8 Ibid., Tweeted by Andrea Mitchell.

9 Von Drehle, “How Gay Marriage Won: The Gay And Lesbian Community Has Gone From Stonewall To The Altar In Two Generations,” Time Magazine, April 8, 2013, 16.

10 http://gaymarriage.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004857 see also http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/church-of-christ-sues-in-pursuit-of-same-sex-marriage.html. North Carolina becomes the first state where a pro same-sex church sues the government because it is denying them their religious rights to marry same-sex couples!

11 Von Drehle, How Gay Marriage Won,” 18.

12 http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/10/giglio-bows-out-of-inauguration-over-sermon-on-gays/

13 Ibid. See also, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/15/luis-leon-benediction-obama-inauguration-louie-giglio_n_2468824.html

14 Ibid., see also http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/louie-giglio-anti-gay-obama-inauguration_n_2448796.html.

15 R. Albert Mohler, God and the Gay Christian, (Louisville, SBTS Press, 2014).

16 Matthew Vines, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships, (New York: Convergent Books, 2014), 162.

 

What to do when the house is on fire . . .

This little note is for all of those who get tired of hearing about the whole gay Christian, same-sex marriage issue. If you are one of those who is asking, “Why do we have to talk about this all the time?” let me ask you a question: If you walked out of your house on your way to dinner and you looked over and saw your next door neighbor’s house engulfed in flames, what would you do? Would you continue on to dinner? Would you call the fire department and then continue on to dinner, irritated at the interruption? Or would you call the fire department and immediately move into crisis management mode?

Obviously a four-alarm fire at the house next door is a threat to the family who lives in that house, but it is also a threat to your house and your family. Right now, the evangelical church is being threatened not by a four-alarm fire at the house next door, but a four-alarm fire in the living room! The fire is in our house! The legalization of same-sex marriage in America has proven to be a juggernaut that has immersed evangelicalism in a doctrinal, theological, social debate of historical proportions. Daily the lines of division are being clarified. The line of demarcation threatens to run straight through our jobs, our churches, and our families. It isn’t adultery, or lying, or thievery, or tax evasion, or pornography, or gambling that is dividing evangelicalism! It’s the debate over whether or not one can live righteously as a Christian and affirm and embrace a homosexual lifestyle! The question is, “Can you be a Christian and be gay?” Answer that and the other questions will solve themselves.