“Oh, THAT Chestnut!” Gay Christian Logic

I believe the day has past when the answer to homosexuality was simply read them the “clobber” texts (the seven or so Scripture passages that condemn homosexuality). It’s not that the Bible does not have power. It does. The problem is that the so-called gay Christian community completely reinterprets those passages in a way that supports their lifestyles.

So, if a simple reading of the Biblical texts is not working, what are we to do? That’s a great question. I will let you know when I have a definitive answer. In the meantime, my conviction is that the battle for our culture (and not simply where it concerns homosexuality) is being waged on philosophical, academic grounds. Accordingly, I have for some time now been cataloging the logic on display in the many, many books, articles, and videos available from those who are pro-gay, pro-abortion, pro-evolution, etc.

With that in mind, I want to share some of the underpinning gay Christian  “moral logic” (as James V. Brownson, author of Bible, Gender, Sexuality, is fond of referring to) that I have encountered in recent weeks.

Ancient Means Sinful, Contemporary Means Righteous

This particular chestnut of wisdom says that the Bible, where it condemns same-sex activity, is not talking about loving, monogamous, committed same-sex relationships like we see in our world today. This has become a defeater belief (click here for an excerpt from D. A. Carson’s book, The Intolerance of Tolerance, where he defines what a defeater belief is). Essentially, a defeater belief is one that, when believed, rules out any belief to the contrary. If A is true, then B can’t possibly be true. Therefore, since I believe A, I can discount B altogether. The gay Christians can therefore dismiss any assertion that the Bible is against homosexuality by claiming that it is only speaking of unhealthy same-sex activity, i.e., temple prostitution, etc. No matter what may be said about the Biblical texts that prohibit and condemn homosexuality, the final salvo fired is, “That passage is not addressing loving, monogamous, committed same-sex relationships.”

Good Tree/Good Fruit

Based on the Jesus’ “good tree/good fruit, bad tree/bad fruit” teaching, Dan O. Via writes in Homosexuality and the Bible, “If the heart is loving, the acts that flow from it cannot be evil….The inner nature of a homosexual relationship does qualify the acts (Quoted by Brownson in Bible, Gender, Sexuality).” Matthew Vines, currently a rising star in defending homosexuality and gay Christianity, explains,

Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. . . . Good teachings, according to Jesus, have good consequences. . . . Good teachings, even when they are very difficult, are not destructive to human dignity. They don’t lead to emotional and spiritual devastation, and to the loss of self-esteem and self-worth. But those have been the consequences for gay people of the traditional teaching on homosexuality. It has not borne good fruit in their lives, and it’s caused them incalculable pain and suffering. If we’re taking Jesus seriously that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, then that should cause us to question whether the traditional teaching is correct (From a manuscript of Vine’s video sermon).

As they love to say here in New York, “You can’t make this stuff up!” If your self-esteem and self-worth are founded on a sexual orientation that is forbidden by Scripture what do you suppose will happen if someone comes by and informs you of that? So, if I help someone commit suicide, or if I commit adultery, or pederasty for that matter (look it up), I am not sinning as long as I am loving in my heart towards that person. Amazing that we have not yet seen fire and brimstone falling in America!

The Exchange

I don’t care what anybody says, this next one is very creative! In Romans 1:26-27, Paul says,

Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.

The key word is exchanged. According to gay Christian logic, Paul was talking about heterosexuals engaging in same-sex activity, which violated their God-given nature or orientations. However, gay persons are “naturally” attracted to people of the same-sex, thus not violating their natures or orientations when they engage in same-sex behavior.

One must accept the premise that homosexuals were born that way for this to make sense, which I don’t. If they were not born that way, then they have indeed “exchanged” the normal for the abnormal whether they were conscious of the choice to do so or not. The onus is upon any of us: when we realize we are out of the way before God it is up to us to present ourselves to Him and allow Him to dictate how we will live and how we are to proceed.

The “Jesus never said it!” Approach

A transgender person made this statement in a comment on one of my blog entries, Why the Focus on Homosexuality . . . 

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.

The utter nonsense of such a statement should be obvious. If we took this statement as true, we would have to assume that Jesus’ was saying that it is not OK for a man to lust after a woman but it is OK for a man to lust after another man!

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

Failing the Smell Test: Evangelical Christian Publisher Endorsing Gay Christianity?

Here comes more of what we are going to see a whole lot of: Christian ministries, organizations, publishers, and business leaders trying to thread the needle of compartmentalization between what they say they believe and what they are actually practicing or willing to endorse. In the last three weeks, there have been three notable instances demonstrating the struggle that is coming and which, in fact, is already here.

 

World Vision

First it was the World Vision fiasco when the decision was made to hire same-sex couples for the U.S. World Vision staff (See the Christianity Today article). Though the decision was reversed, it revealed some startling logic from its president, Richard Stearns. After “the World Vision board had prayed for years about how to handle the issue” of “recognizing same-sex relationships,”  World Vision decides to look the other way and hire same-sex couples saying, “We have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue,”  as though that was a good thing. Not only does such logic fail to realize that by making the choice to hire same-sex couples, World Vision was siding with particular churches, but it also demonstrated World Vision’s willingness to check its spiritual and theological integrity at the door for the sake of the operation of its mission. 

 

Chic Fil A and Dan Cathy

Then, it was Dan Cathy who, in the midst of a campaign to promote his new food line and push his business ventures into the gay-rights holy ground of New York, who told USA Today,

All of us become more wise as time goes by . . . .We sincerely care about all people. . . . I’m going to leave it to politicians 
and others to discuss social issues.

Once again, the idea that it is a noble gesture to “pass the buck” and defer to “politicians and others” to decide what is right and wrong. I’m not saying that a person has to take his beliefs and create a media storm as Cathy did when he publicly stated that he supported the traditional biblical view of marriage. But now, though his views have not changed, he seems to have retreated for the sake of “customer service.”

 

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Finally, WORLD magazine reports online that,

Convergent Books, a publishing imprint under the same corporate umbrella and leadership as the evangelical WaterBrook 
Multnomah Publishing Group, is scheduled to release God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines next Tuesday. Vines, a 
24-year-old former Harvard student, attempts to refute biblical passages that declare homosexuality a sin (Can a divided 
publishing house stand?).

Waterbrook Multnomah publishes such authors as John Piper, David Jeremiah, Kay Arthur, and David Platt. Steven Cobb heads up both Waterbrook Multnomah and Convergent. In fact, according to The Christian Post, the two publishers or imprints are virtually the same: same leader (Cobb), same staff, same everything. Just a different name. The CP also reports from an inside source that

Multnomah is now consciously trying to hide from NRB [National Religious Broadcasters] and its members the fact that it is putting out this new project. Insiders are reporting threats should they release any such information outside the company… 

Essentially, Steve Cobb is asking traditional evangelicals to ignore the fact that he is also willing to publish titles that are pro-gay Christianity. More compartmentalization. It is hard to imagine that someone in a board room did not at one point say, “Wow! There’s a whole new market with gay Christianity! Evangelicals aren’t going to like it if we publish gay Christian material but there is too much money at stake if we don’t. So, let’s publish the material under a different name. Maybe no one will notice.” We noticed!

 

Yet Another Example: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Last year, I expressed concern to the Thomas Nelson Publishing company my concerns about an author they endorse, Rachel Held Evans. (Not that they had published a pro-gay Christian book, but that an author they publish also endorses gay Christianity, and by implication, Thomas Nelson.) Just visit Evans’ website and soon you will realize that she is a liberal Christian trying to reform traditional evangelicalism. In part I wrote,

I have always held Thomas Nelson in high regard, assuming it to be a trustworthy publisher upholding evangelical beliefs and values, I am greatly disturbed that you have chosen to stand with an author who openly supports gay Christianity, the Gay community, and by association at least, same sex marriage. . . . The issue is not about the church’s need to lovingly embrace those who are struggling and need the love of God. The issue is that she accepts gay Christianity on its own terms and thereby the whole “Christian LGBT” agenda and perspective. She directs her audience to the Gay Christian Network and others who support the gay “Christian” lifestyle. Am I to assume, by association, that Thomas Nelson also supports the same? 

A rep. from Thomas Nelson replied, in part,

The personal opinions and political views expressed by an author are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect that of the company. Thomas Nelson publishes products written from a Christian worldview, and we respect our author’s right to express their personal opinion. We cannot comment on anything concerning Ms. Evans other than the book that she has published through us.

In other words, We only want to be responsible for what we publish. If one of our authors stands against traditional Christian values, we kindly ask you to forget that while you are reading her books that we publish. 

 

Failing The Smell Test

Back when Bill Clinton was elected the first time, he astutely realized that if he would focus on the economy (“It’s the economy, stupid!”), Americans would look the other way and ignore his Jennifer Flowers discretion if they thought it would help their pocketbooks. He was right. Then, after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he was able to stay in office, even though he was impeached by the House. Is this where the country began to get comfortable with compartmentalizing personal indiscretions as long as publicly the job gets done? Maybe. But when did the Church get comfortable with turning a blind eye to a person’s character or beliefs just so long as they don’t sin around us? It’s like saying to someone who is accusing a man for beating his children, “Hey, he’s never beaten his children around me so it’s none of my business.” Whether it is raising money for the needy, selling chicken , or selling books, it seems that some of the leaders and influencers looked up to by traditional evangelicals are willing to suspend or table their convictions for the sake of business.

Rachel Held Evans: Staying or Going?

By Scott Fowler

Here is a little window into the mind and logic of Rachel Held Evans. Who is she? Well, she is described by herself and others as evangelical, but she does not fit into that category as it is traditionally understood.

Here’s how Dr. Joel McDurmon, from The American Vision, assesses Evans’ situation:

Now this is close to discovering her true identity. She has realized she doesn’t belong at the evangelical table.

That’s good. It was far too long in coming, but better late than never.

But her reasoning has still not quite reached the level of good therapy. So let me dialogue with her for a minute:

RHE: For many years, I felt that part of my call as a writer and blogger of faith was to be a different sort of evangelical, to advocate for things like gender equality, respect for LGBT people. . . .

JM: Rachel, that’s not “a different sort of evangelical.” That’s “a liberal.”

Doesn’t that just clear up so much?

She recognizes that “The response to World Vision revealed some major fault lines in the Church.” Yeah, they are fault lines that have been there for over a hundred years. Rachel just woke up and realized she’s standing on the wrong side of the line for what she’s been calling herself.

Now she finds herself standing in the “wilderness” and thinking she’s starting afresh. Rachel, you’ve been in the liberal wilderness the whole time.

Now she thinks she’ll start a new ministry, friendly to all people—a great big love tent with no labels and no divisions “where everyone is welcome.”

The problem is, and always has been, RHE wants the church on her liberal terms, suppressing the voices of conservative values, squashing God’s law in many places, and yet advancing the old liberal line of “diversity” and “tolerance.” It is anything but tolerant of those she disagrees with.

You see, when the conservative evangelical world bends RHE’s liberal way, she calls it “community”:

I want this community to be a place where the churched and un-churched, Republicans and Democrats, American citizens and people from around the world, can come together to dream big dreams for the future.

When it doesn’t bend that way, however—for example, like World Vision’s recent decision—she cries, pouts, and stomps out of the room in her own little Exodus.

Problem is, this is no real Exodus. She’s been wandering in that wilderness bearing the name of the chosen, but she rebels against Moses and promises to stay in the desert.

Not to be unkind, but someone is going to have to leave evangelicalism. Why? Because the truth matters. Doctrine matters. Theology matters. And they are not negotiable for the sake of some “hyper-enlightened, swaying-for-world-peace” approach to Christianity in which the Bible is subject to our approval and God is pressed into our image.

Read two articles by Rachel Held Evans that show her stance on the World Vision flap and her style of evangelicalism.

What Now?

On needing some time…(or, Oh evangelicalism, why can’t I quit you?!).

 

Perhaps World Vision Should Ask Evangelicals: “Who Did You Think We Were?”

By Scott Fowler

John Mayer, the popular guitar player and singer, has a song called “Who Did You Think I Was?” Part of the lyrics go like this:

Every mornin when the day begins

I make up my mind but change it back again

I’m a shifter of the shape I’m in

Who did you think I was?

This article asks this question of World Vision and its leadership.

In his article, How World Vision Can Regain Trust, Dr. Michael Brown’s perspective is right on. We must accept World Vision’s statement of repentance. I also think his list of questions for President Stearns are essential to answer moving forward. But there is something else we should ask of ourselves: What is World Vision? Does it claim to be evangelical? Who did we think they were before all of this happened? Were we accurate? I am fully aware that there are genuine evangelicals working in the midst of World Vision but are they in the minority? I personally never assumed World Vision was evangelical. Yet we find that evangelicals are holding World Vision to an evangelical standard. Who did we think they were?

I have read World Vision’s statement expressing its core values. It is a laudable expression of Christian faith and compassion. But we have made certain assumptions. We have assumed that we define Christianity the same. We have assumed that we share the same definition of sin. Do we?

While I agree with Dr. Brown that we should accept World Vision’s statement of repentance, I believe it is fair to ask of Wolrd Vision and its leadership, “Are you repenting of causing displeasure to your evangelical supporters or are you repenting that you slipped into a compromised view of homosexuality? How is it possible that after praying for years about this issue you can make such a decision only to reverse it just two days later? When you made the initial decision to hire same-sex couples was it because you decided that homosexuality was normative? Yes, you said you were deferring to the authority of the local churches, but it seems that you deferred to the authority of local churches that accept same-sex marriage and embrace gay Christianity! Did you decide that it just didn’t matter in the face of doing good deeds unto humanity? If so, isn’t that the definition of a social gospel?

After reading Mr. Stearns’ interview with Sarah Pulliam Baily in the Huffington Post given after the reversal, I have concerns that cause me again to ask, “What do we think World Vision is?” In response to the question:

Did anyone come out in the time between the announced decision and the reversal? In other words, are there any employees in same-sex marriages currently?”

Mr. Stearns answered, “

As far as we know, we don’t have any World Vision U.S. employees involved in a same-sex marriage. With a population of 1,100 employees, I’m sure we have people with a same-sex orientation on our staff. But I think it’s important to say that we respect the privacy of our employees. We don’t ask about sexual orientation in the interview or in hiring because we do welcome people regardless of their sexual orientation if they can affirm the Apostle’s Creed and the statement of faith, and if they can abide by our conduct policy. The conduct policy applies to heterosexuals and homosexuals. We’re not trying to exclude someone because they have a same-sex orientation, but we do have a conduct standard that governs all employees.

So, World Vision has no problem with gay Christianity.

When asked,

What kind of church do you attend, and has that informed your personal view on same-sex marriage?

Stearns answered,

“It’s a Presbyterian Church (USA) in the Seattle area, but I don’t want to drag them into this. I’m not telling people where I stand on same-sex marriage because I don’t think it’s relevant.

Even the Huffington Post recognizes that a person’s church affiliation affects one’s opinions and that those opinions affect one’s decisions!

When asked about his opinion concerning the emphasis evangelicals put on sexual morality, Stearn, in part, said,

“But we all have to admit that issues like this distract us and take up more time than they should or than they ought to. We’re trying to call people to our mission and let’s come together and change the world. I wrote a whole book called “Unfinished” that’s about the kingdom mission that was given to Christ is unfinished 2,000 years later, and we need to finish the job, working across differences. That’s not saying we shouldn’t violate core principles of our faith in various faith communities, but we have to come together to finish this kingdom mission.”

As far as I can see from World Vision’s statement of their core values, their mission is to relieve human suffering among the poorest of the poor. Who doesn’t applaud that? But that is not the kingdom mission! The mission is to go into all the world, preach the gospel, teach people to obey Jesus commands, baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to make disciples. In the process of fulfilling that great commission, yes we meet human need, regardless of our success at converting those in need. BUT, we can’t compromise the biblical truth and principles of the spiritual mission for the sake of completing the social aspect of the mission.

Some will say this article is mean-spirited. It is not meant to be. But we must answer the most fundamental questions concerning where we stand on gay Christianity. If we don’t, the same thing that happened to World Vision is going to happen to churches and ministries all across America. Genuine evangelicals must consider their endorsements and ask themselves, “Who did we think they were?”

It’s not about same-sex marriage! It’s about gay Christianity!

By Scott Fowler

It is time to re-frame the discussion going on in evangelical Christianity concerning homosexuality. For a very long time now we have allowed the discussion to be couched in terms of same-sex marriage. But the elephant in the room is gay Christianity! The reason true evangelicals can’t support a ministry willing to hire same-sex couples is that we can’t support gay Christianity! It is as simple as that! It’s not about hate. It’s not about politics. It’s not that we don’t care about hungry children. It’s about the fact that biblical Christianity does not endorse same-sex attraction, same-sex relationships or for that matter, celibate homosexuals who embrace homosexuality as normative and God created! Genuine Christianity cannot embrace homosexuality. And we cannot support a ministry that operates in Jesus’ name but rejects His commandments.

Two Typical Responses

The responses to the forgoing statements will be predictable. From inside the church will come those who say, “We support Christians who have committed adultery or who have been guilty of lying and stealing! Why do we single out the sin of homosexuality?” Anyone with this response simply isn’t paying attention to the flow of logic and reason. First of all, this response is an apple to my statement about oranges. Gays and lesbians are not showing up at our churches and asking us to accept them in the midst of their sin of homosexuality. If they were we would embrace them (don’t judge all Christians by the few who would not embrace repentant homosexuals). On the contrary, gays and lesbians are showing up to our churches and saying, “Accept our lifestyle as godly.” (By the way, we don’t embrace adulterers and thieves, we embrace people who have fallen into those sins and we call them to repentance!)

Others from inside and outside the gay community will ask, “How can you reject gay Christians simply because they have a different interpretation of Scripture and a different theology?” There are some issues where Christians can differ and remain in fellowship with one another: predictions about the Rapture, whether or not it’s ok to drink, sprinkling or immersion, even speaking in tongues. But no serious Christian would suggest that a community of Christians embracing open sex among their families should be accepted into fellowship! We would point out the error of their ways and if they did not repent we would distance ourselves from them and expose them because adultery and promiscuous sexual activity are sins! So, how can we embrace homosexuality as simply a different theology when we believe it is a sin before God? We can’t! We can preach and teach the truth. We can share with the gay community the error of their ways. But if they do not agree and cannot repent, we cannot embrace them and fellowship with them as Christians.

Rights and Double Standards

A gay person can certainly reject my perspective on this matter and embrace homosexuality and even proceed to embrace Christianity as well. Likewise, I have the right to reject homosexuality as a lifestyle and walk according to my convictions. But this is not good enough for the gay community because it demands that all people accept them as normal. Biblical Christianity simply cannot do this!

Here’s an example…

Typical evangelical churches are being asked to accept gay Christianity in the same way we would ask a Baptist Christian to fellowship with a Pentecostal: put away your non-essential differences and rally around your profession of Christ or around your desire to feed children. We can’t do it. Our differences are essential! But do you imagine for one minute that a congregation of gay Christians would hire a pastor for their staff who rejects homosexuality as normative? No way! Because they too believe that acceptance of homosexuality is essential!

Gays can be gay. They can marry where it’s legal (coming to a state near year if it hasn’t already arrived). They can form unofficial marital bonds if they like. They can live together. They can promote whatever they want to promote. It’s America. But I am free to stand by my convictions and preach and teach biblical truth exactly as I see it. The reason this is increasingly hard for the culture and the gay community in particular to accept is that homosexuality has been elevated to the level of a civil right.

The Impasse and the Hate Card

Finally, we are at a fundamental, immovable, insurmountable impasse. Okay, that happens. But it is childish for the gay community to continually characterize Christians as haters and murderers simply because we disagree. Disagreement is not hate. It is not murder. And I have to wonder what kind of arrested emotional development identifies disagreement in such a way?

Genuine Christians will love people regardless of their sins or even their wrong beliefs and views, but we cannot compromise  our convictions.

World Vision’s “Lose-Lose-Lose” Situation

By Scott Fowler

As any who are following the story have already heard by now, World Vision reversed its decision to hire same-sex married couples. Unfortunately, this situation is a lose-lose-lose situation.

The first loss came when the initial decision was made. According to an Associated Press article report (Major Evangelical Charity To Hire Married Gay Christians), Richard Stearns, President of World Vision indicated that “the World Vision board had prayed for years about how to handle the issue as Christian denominations took different stands on recognizing same-sex relationships.” Initial response to World Vision’s decision from traditional evangelicals was sadness, disappointment, dismay, even rebuke. It’s decision to hire same-sex married couples in order to avoid division thereby shirking its responsibility to stand behind its own statement of faith in some attempt to remain neutral by deferring to the authority of local churches all while claiming that it was not compromising but holding true to Scripture was a ludicrous attempt at a balancing act that was doomed to fail. And fail it did, setting up the second loss.

The second loss came two days later when the decision that came after years of prayer was reversed and labeled a mistake. Okay. It’s a tough spot to be in for World Vision. By their own admission they “failed to seek enough counsel” from their own Christian partners (World Vision Reverses Gay Marriage Decision). It is possible to become myopic when we allow ourselves to become too isolated. It happens. But the problem now is that we are left to surmise that if the leadership at World Vision had felt no negative feedback it would have stood by its decision to hire married same-sex couples. The current leadership at World Vision is capable of making this kind of decision when left to its own counsel. So, even though their decision has been reversed and a sincere apology has been given, it seems that we now know where the leadership of World Vision really stands on the issue. This is a demonstration of its biblical hermeneutic.

The third loss is felt by true evangelicalism as a whole. It is just one more prominent ministry that has demonstrated that it does not understand the full seriousness of the battle that is engulfing evangelicalism and the believing Church. One by one ministries, leaders, politicians, and families are succumbing to the pressure of the culture and their own subjective experiences to compromise in their beliefs causing the Church’s cultured despisers to question just how deep our convictions go.

 

World Vision: Unable to Identify the Slippery Slope

And the hits just keep on coming! World Vision, a ministry that I would have considered to be more of a mainline, social gospel relief agency than any genuine evangelistic outreach, has decided to hire “Christians in same-sex marriages.” (Click on this link for the article Major Evangelical Charity to Hire Married Gay Christians – NBC News.com) Why? Because they are trying to

“prevent this divisive issue from tearing World Vision apart and potentially crippling our ability to accomplish our vital kingdom mission of living and serving the poorest of the poor in the name of Christ.”

Two very interesting pieces of logic come with this report: First, the motivation for this move is to keep World Vision from being torn apart so that it can keep doing what it is doing in the name of Christ. Once again, a subjective need or concern (which amounts to a financial issue) trumps integrity. I would suggest that what we do in the name of Christ cannot be separated from what we choose to ignore. I would also suggest that World Vision is hiring same-sex Christians (a term that is actually an oxymoron) in the name of Christ.

Second, Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, tries to thread the needle by saying they are not endorsing same-sex marriage “but we have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue.” So, following this logic, you can do whatever you want or abstain from operating with integrity just so long as you are not a local church. I suppose pro-abortion Christians are ok as well.

But, finally, a word of encouragement comes! Stearns assures us that World Vision is “not sliding down some slippery slope of compromise, nor are we diminishing the authority of Scripture in our work. . . . We are the same World Vision you have always believed in.” Whew! Thank goodness! In reality, this is yet another attempt to demonstrate how we can try to claim allegiance to Scripture while at the same time not following its instruction.