12 - PROBING THE TRUE CHARACTER OF CHRISTIAN LOVE
More feedback to Marriage Reality:
“I worry that you are so tanked up on self-righteous rage that you may be missing the exciting spiritual reawakening that is happening all around you…”
“Any prophet with half a sense of the gospel of Jesus Christ could fill a book with the United Church's problems - I think that would be true of ANY church in North America. But one of the tests of a true prophet is that they love those to whom they prophesy. You could be right as right can be - and yet without love, your words will fall flat. You could speak with words of humanity and even of the angels, but without love, you're just making noise.”
“You call yourself Christian, yet you HATE that which you fear. You call yourself Scriptural, yet your evangelical sense of Scripture is rooted in Old Testament Texts untouched by the Gospel of Christ - following the Leviticus code - I mean really? Think about Christ's actions and responses around the Leviticus Code! Clearly you are not studied or learned in the Scriptures. I believe that I am an evangelical believer but when we take the bible literally and only recognize a judgmental God that will not listen to the scientific findings on sexuality God's healing love that was shared by Jesus in an inclusive way. I am appalled. The gospels were written fifty plus years after his death. They had not studied quantum physics nor did they live in a social system where people were treated with equal justice. Please read Marcus Borg and other scholars that bring light to your prejudice and narrow mindedness.”
“As many others in our denomination, I respect your right to hold whatever theological perspective you wish. I admire your dedication and zeal. It puts me in mind of St. Paul…I gave my life over to Jesus Christ when I was fourteen. I am now fifty. I have followed the path which God has laid before me faithfully. It has not been an easy road and has been filled with hard awakenings. Yet I know, that I love my Lord and ‘the truth’ as much as you do. I am as full of zeal for this truth as you are. Yet, my theology around same-sex marriages is entirely different than your own. You will never convince me that what you believe is closer to God’s truth than my own belief. Again, our church respects your rights, why can you not respect mine? I love you, as God’s child. Why can you not love me in the same accepting, inclusive way? I will agree with you on this one point. If you can not accept the theology laid down in the United Church, then why not leave? I know that there are many denominations that would welcome your theology with open arms. You may feel that you love this church and don’t want to abandon it, or feel you need to act as God’s appointed in attempting to save this church. My only comment to you can be that many of us feel that this church has been the vehicle by which God’s saving grace has touched our lives. I know that through this church, I have grown in faith, wisdom, and spirit. I now am closer to God than I have ever felt before, and I personally believe I am standing closer to God when I stand in solidarity with same-sex couples who wish to stand before the church and God and feel blessed. If you find this offensive to God’s word, then leave. But don’t go away mad. Go, knowing that you go loved and respected for who you are as God’s child and with all the prayers we can pray blessing your journey with God.” - a UCC minister.
Praise God for these comments and the opportunity to respectfully engage these views. At the outset, the author of Marriage Reality is not a member of the UCC, and therefore, not faced with the individual decision to choose from one of three options: (1) embrace pro-gay theology and zealously evangelize such doctrine as God’s revealed truth; (2) hold to orthodox beliefs and continue the status quo witness within the UCC; or (3) separate from the apostate denomination. Obviously, Marriage Reality purports to show that option (2) is no longer a credible witness and that professed Christians in the UCC must choose between embracing pro-gay theology and separation. The separation witness is a more worthy statement for Christ than the liberalized testimony in the feedback above, which implies God is indifferent to either orthodoxy or unorthodoxy. This huge theological difference over the view of homosexuality in God’s Law does not fall into the “minor dispute” category described in Romans 14, where Paul states: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” Either we choose to discriminate against the homosexual or we decide to discriminate against the Word of God. There is a certain irrationality in the statements: “As many others in our denomination, I respect your right to hold whatever theological perspective you wish” or “If you find this offensive to God’s word, then leave. But don’t go away mad. Go, knowing that you go loved and respected for who you are as God’s child and with all the prayers we can pray blessing your journey with God.” These words say to me that any theological belief will do and God will always respect and love me. The theology one holds affects his faith. Can Christ be divided? Was Christ ever indifferent? Is the Holy Spirit of two minds?
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus declares: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” “Everything” does not mean anything, nor does it imply that 95 per cent of the UCC membership can proclaim homosexual relations as sanctified by God, while the remainder holds that Christ is delivering homosexuals from unwanted lifestyles, as ex-gay and ex-lesbian Christians testify. Moreover, according to Paul, there is only one true doctrine and set of beliefs that save, all others are false spiritual paths: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. [They undiscerningly tolerate these deceivers in their midst - NIV Study Bible]…And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4, 12-15). Both the evangelical and the liberal cannot be right on such a pivotal matter as homosexuality. This struggle over the moral rights and wrongs regarding human sexuality cannot be detached from the greater issue of worldviews. Did God create man and woman as captured in the heterosexist worldview or is God indifferent to sexual orientations as proposed in the homosexist worldview?
A member of the United Church gave the following feedback to Marriage Reality: “He [Jesus Christ] ministered to the poor, the criminals, the sick - all of those that society rejected and that precisely was his strength and appeal. It is my contention, then, that any doctrine that rejects people instead of including them springs from misguided or mistaken interpretation in the writing or re-writing of the original Word from God. Further and perhaps more importantly, I find it difficult to believe that we are going to end that tradition [of unconditional inclusivity] now…I understand that you believe that the men who wrote the Chapters and Verses were informed by a higher power and therefore they were incapable of mistakes or omissions. I simply believe otherwise.” What causes such divergence in Christian beliefs? Citing a different example then the one above, what is behind the tenets of Dr. Spong, a self-labeled Christian in exile, who also refutes the creedal statements of traditional Christianity? Is the light of Jesus Christ a spectrum of revelation from which we can pick or choose to create our own self-centered worldview? Indifference, inclusiveness and non-judgmentalism at one end; original sin, the Law, damnation and salvation at the other. In his letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul speaks of those who cannot see the true Christ: “The god of this age [devil] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
When contemporary theologians declare they know better then Paul, Matthew, Mark etc. (even after giving the transcribers of Scripture opportunity for some error, which is not an evangelical tenet) the spiritual basis for postmodern revisionism still remains elusive. There are contemporary spiritual relationships with Christ (our kind) and then there are apostolic relationships (like Peter’s personal discipleship or Paul’s encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus). Can self-labeled Christian revisionists credibly claim a higher spiritual calling and walk with God than Paul? Than the disciples? Than the Old Testament prophets? After reading many of Dr. Spong’s writings, which are mostly directed at dismantling Christianity, one is stymied to find the rational or spiritual basis for his convictions. He witnesses at length to trying to achieve a positive experiential relationship with God, without “luck.” Consequently, he concludes current Christianity is a sham and prayer is a futile waste of time. He denies the witness of Christians recorded over two millenniums and the witness of a huge portion of today’s population, on the basis that he has never established or experienced a personal relationship with God. He cannot witness to a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Christians do not delete and modify Scripture as they wish. Biblical Christianity is an intricate God-inspired worldview, which cannot be unraveled. The last paragraph on the last page in the Bible declares this caution: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
Praise God, some have judged the motives behind Marriage Reality as unloving and hateful. This gives the chance to defend once again the evangelical position and second, to point a finger back at the many theological fence sitters, who hold to a compromised view, a double-sided view or an entirely ambiguous position on same-sex marriage and homosexuality in general. They nonetheless disparage this messenger, but not the message. Actually, the UCC members’ comments above have been more polite than others. Some have implied that one could only go to this length of study and writing as if possessed by some anger demon directed toward the homosexual, the UCC or both. Fortunately, Jesus Christ will be the final judge of our actions and the spirit of our heart. The Law states to first love Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37-38). Only after this, and because of Christ’s love, one can love his neighbor as himself (22:39). Many accusers tote a social gospel that places “love thy neighbor” (however you wish to define that love) over the loving act of obedience to Christ. They deny the Law and demote, reimage or otherwise deny the truth of Jesus Christ. Pro-gay Christians think they are showing love to their homosexual neighbors by welcoming them to remain in a false reality before God (Romans 1:24-28). But what does this social gospel say to the waver (the child who doesn’t know his orientation and could go either way), or to those trapped in a cycle of promiscuous multipartnerism, or to the lesbian or gay who wants out of the homosexual lifestyle? Evangelicals believe the testimony of ex-gays and ex-lesbians who witness that it was their recognition of the Law and their acceptance of the lordship and grace of Jesus Christ that redeemed them. To date no one has replied to the question: Do you believe the ex-gay witness - yes or no? One can sit on the fence thinking this homosexuality issue is either too minor (a mere disputable matter) or too complex (we can never know for sure) to declare a firm and clear position. One can do nothing. One can keep the status quo. One can preach a compromised Gospel.
Another email to Marriage Reality reads: “And if Jesus were to come upon you stoning a gay person because you believe they are evil, then MY JESUS would stop you and protect that individual. You are wrong to criticize, judge and cause hatred of a minority, and your words are dangerous to members of our society who only want to be able to choose their own life path. I am certain you will be entirely unable/unwilling to see the damage your words cause, but there…at least it's been said.” Christian revelation is not a human projection or a smorgasbord of self-selected life paradigms. And it is discouraging to listen to self-proclaimed Christians contend that the Holy Spirit did not have all the facts when the Scriptures (Old and New) captured God’s pronouncement on the homosexual condition. Revelation is a gift from God and the key component of this - His Word, the Holy Bible - does not allow one to claim whatever "Jesus traits" suits him/her best (i.e. the "MY JESUS" phenomenon). In the Second Letter to Timothy, Paul charges: "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. For a time will come when men [and women] will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (4:2-4).
To the not infrequent accusation of hate mongering, here is a typical testimony of an ex-lesbian: “It was six years before the Holy Spirit began convicting me, slowly, gently at first, then more and more powerfully until I could live with myself no longer. I went to my minister and confessed the whole thing…The Lord gave me a Scripture at the time. It was Revelation 21:5, ‘Behold I make all things new.’ He continues to renew our lives daily, and therefore I recognize in this other person a ‘new creature in Christ Jesus.’ Praise God!…God wants the best for us. Let’s not settle for second best.” Which theology is the unloving travesty: (1) To hold up, as the orthodox do, a Holy Spirit who may convict homosexuals of their sinful acts along with a Saviour who has the power to free them from their homosexuality or (2) to proclaim, as gay and pro-gay Christians do, that the Holy Spirit would never convict homosexuals over their orientation and the Saviour is indifferent to orientation? The later theological position requires a lobotomy of Scripture and is designed for comforting the satisfied homosexual condition but offers no hope to the person desperate to be free of his/her homosexual condition. One such person writes: “I was deceived for a number of years into believing that there was nothing I could do to change my sexual orientation…I tried counseling, but was simply told to stop fighting the homosexual feelings and accept who I was. I became trapped in the compulsion of cruising, going to gay bars, and getting involved in a number of empty relationships…The greatest freedom came when I discovered that I could move away from the addiction of homosexual behavior, and began to see myself differently.”
Accusations of hatred have no place in this discussion. Accusers speak of God’s all inclusive unconditional love for humankind as if God should be characterized by indifference. Homosexual Andrew Holleran also contests this remake of Christianity. He writes: “The attempt of gay men to merge their Catholicism with homosexuality has always seemed to me touching but doomed…Don’t even try, I thought, as I walked past, on the way from the gym to the bath (my new church), you’re just kidding yourselves. There can be no commerce between, no conflation of, these two things. Fellatio has nothing to do with Holy Communion. Better to frankly admit that you have changed gods, and are now worshipping Priapus, not Christ.” Is Andrew Holleran full of hatred towards homosexuals? Don’t cry "hatred" at the orthodox because they refuse to reimage Christ. UCC theology attempts to justify Joseph Sonnabend’s infamous dictum: "The rectum is a sexual organ, and it deserves the respect a penis gets and a vagina gets." Don’t cry "hatred" at the orthodox because they refuse to reimage Christ to allow bisexuals to have sanctified sexual relations with two partners. And don’t cry "hatred" at the orthodox because they refuse to reimage Christ to allow experimental or premarital sexual relations to discover one’s orientation.
The person asserting “if Jesus were to come upon you stoning a gay person because you believe they are evil, then MY JESUS would stop you and protect that individual,” misses the full context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus would stop the stoner and judge him for his uncompassionate and pious hypocrisy - being “lost” to Christ’s Lordship does not make one evil, just lost (unfound, unsaved). Movements and ideologies that refute the tenets of Christianity, call for a reimaged Christ, or call for the destruction of the Church, can be labeled as evil spirited. But in the Christian worldview, adherents don’t seek out the sinner in order to label them evil, cast judgment and execute punishment. The goal is to witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ and His truth and path to righteousness and a life better conformed to God’s will. All Christians were once lost and were, in all justice, due punishment (indeed stoning and damnation). Christians drastically weaken their public witness and their reverence of Christ, not to mention compassion for their neighbors (hetero or homosexual), when they overlook the reality of their own sinful state at the time of their redemption by grace. The discovery of two homosexuals in intimacy does not make them evil any more than we were before committing ourselves to Christ; but in His eyes we were, and the two hypothetical homosexuals are, sinners. Loving Christians should witness to these intimate homosexuals, saying that their actions fall short of God’s intended design and purpose for their lives. If they want deliverance from their lifestyle, Jesus Christ can give them the strength to do so. The questions Christians need to be asking are "What would Jesus do if He came across two gay men expressing their homosexuality?" "Would it make any difference if they were married?" Much of the Marriage Reality feedback raises the accusation of judgmentalism. To these accusers, "Why is it when someone defends the orthodox interpretation of Scripture (before evangelicals no less) it is judged as judgmental, but when the United Church lobbies public school teachers’ unions to implement gay-affirming programs in our children’s schools or lobbies parliamentarians to redefine marriage for society’s “unequivocal” benefit, the denomination’s action is only seen as ‘loving’ inclusiveness?"
Sleep through this year if you must and into 2006, but Marriage Reality holds to orthodoxy and draws wisdom from the contemporary advice of Anita Bryant: “Neutrality is our worst enemy. Two major mistakes can be made during a lifetime. One is to make the wrong decision and the other is to make no decision. Some wish to be neither fish nor fowl. They just float along with the tide. To take sides means to have enemies and friends. To not take sides means a lack of respect from all sides. Neutrality is not in the vocabulary of a Christian. You are for everything God is. You are against everything He declares displeasure with in His Word.”
On the topic of prophecy, it is evident from the Old Testament that the intended audience often did not listen to prophetic warnings or follow visionary remedial advice. At what point did Hosea and the northern kingdom both know he was a prophet? Perhaps mutual recognition of Hosea’s anointing required his preaching of repentance, Israel’s failure to listen, his prophecy, a Syrian invasion and hindsight to put the complete picture together. This said, a calling to defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of pro-gay theology is not prophesy, it is traditional witness. The great thing about a true calling is you just do what you are burdened to do. Hosea weathered 38 years of preaching to the close-minded. Marriage Reality’s message - the status quo witness of evangelicals within and outside the UCC is simply not good enough and will only ensure that our state continues with its adoption of a homosexist unbiblical worldview. But this call to separation is common sense. A timely separation of Christendom from all churches adhering to “pro-gay theology” is a sound first step in a turnaround act of obedience to solicit God’s intervening grace. Since our God is sovereign and same-sex marriage goes against His Law, He may want something from His Canadian Church before He will respond favorably. The conclusion - He wants our reaffirmed obedience to the Law and our repentance from association with abject liberalism. If Canadian Christendom can not muster the will to separate from the witness of pro-gay theology, God will leave us to bear the consequences of living in the false reality of a homosexist state. Christ deserves our obedience, regardless of the state’s worldview. Indeed, a future under a secular-humanist state must ultimately propel our orthodox obedience or bring broader acceptance of liberal apostasy. So let us get on with preserving and spreading orthodoxy: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear…We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong we are like the dead” (Isaiah 59:1,2,9-10).
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 These articles in Marriage Reality are derivatives of a calling taken-up in 2000 to study homosexuality in response to my daughter’s attendance at a gay-affirming guest speaker presentation at her public school. After four years of research and writing, Pivot of Civilization or Rivet of Life? Conflicting Worldviews and Same-Sex Marriage was published in March 2004. The burden then and now is a defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. See the book Introduction at www.trafford.com/robots/03-2278.html for a better explanation of how this “calling” came about.
 Jerry R. Kirk, The Homosexual Crisis in the Maineline Church (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1978), p.27.
 Mark, Jordan, The silence of Sodom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p.248.
 Gabriel Rotello, Sexual Ecology: Aids and the Destiny of Gay Men (New York: Dutton, 1997, pp.101 and 102.
 Anita Bryant, The Anita Bryant Story (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977), p.39.