Brad wrote this post 2 1/2 years ago and I think it deserves a boost.
Brad, my husband, asked to post on my blog. Since he has something worthwhile to say and he managed to organize it into sentences, I agreed. Lela
It’s rare that Lela allows me to grab the microphone from her. She worries about having a Taylor Swift-Kanya West moment without Beyonce around to protect her, but if I give her convincing material, she agrees to post it. Brad
A while back, we (Lela and I) watched a PBS special on “welcoming and affirming” evangelical churches across America. I don’t know how big this movement really is. I don’t know many evangelicals who agree with it and this is PBS, which has strong anti-Christian political biases. If we don’t have a lot of these churches cropping up in the oh-so-very libertarian state of Alaska, I tend to think the story focused on the three churches in America that are actually doing this, but I could be wrong. Lela says the Internet might beg otherwise, but then maybe the churches that are not “welcoming and affirming” just aren’t advertising that … sort of like our church fails to publicize that we don’t serve alcohol during the service.
The basic story on Erbe’s program was about how loving these “welcoming and affirming” churches were, how God would not judge people for loving someone/anyone and that the church is completely wrong about what the Bible says about homosexuality. The destruction of Sodom had nothing to do with the men of Sodom wanting to have sex with the angels God sent to Lot (Genesis 19). God was angry for the city’s lack of hospitality. Pay no attention to Lot’s offering his virgin daughters to these men and them rejecting the girls because they’d rather have the unwilling angels. No, that’s not evidence of mass homosexuality and the desire for gang rape! That’s just not being friendly.
You get my point?
Someone in the Erbe broadcast said “it was all in the interpretation” whether you think the Bible condemns or accepts homosexual sex. Which got me thinking about Bill Clinton’s “it depends on what your definition of is is.”
Clinton, who claims to be a Southern Baptist, wanted the world in general to pass over his sin of lying by stressing the tense of the word. He was not currently having sex with Monica Lewinsky, so he didn’t lie to the press when asked if he was having sex with Monica Lewinski. Of course, he had had sex with Monica Lewinski – in the past. His rhetorical game worked. He got away with it as far as the press and his supporters are concerned.
Of course, he had a much deeper problem with the catholic (small c intentional) evangelical church of which he claims to be a member. Christians still see him as a sinner and, worse, we see him as an unrepentant sinner. You see, we’re all sinners. You, me, Bill Clinton, and Pope Francis – we’re all sinners. Yes, the pope is a sinner! And so am I!
My particularly favorite sin is alcoholism. I come by that naturally. My father, most of his brothers, his father and his grandfather were alcoholics. Irish Catholic, don’t you know? It’s what we do. On my mother’s side, every one of her husbands, several of her brothers, her father and grandfather were all alcoholics. I’ve personally had trouble controlling my drinking since I was 16. And, I’m an ass when I drink. I do stupid, dangerous, unloving and unChristlike things when I drink, which is why I usually don’t.
When I don’t, I am repentant for my sin. I just wrote that above paragraph. That is repentance. I admitted my sin, I called it what it was, I acknowledged its wrongness. And then, more important than anything else in repentance, I try not to do it anymore. I didn’t say I have never done it since salvation. I said I try not to do it anymore.
That’s my sin and repentance as opposed to Bill Clinton who justified his adultery and his lying about it and is probably doing both again and will justify both again if need be. Until he comes before God and then his excuses won’t do him any good.
What separates me from Bill is my dependence on God. I’m not superman. I am a sinner, but I don’t rely on rhetorical tricks to justify my mistakes. Instead, I continually turn to the “I Am” Who tells me there is “no longer any condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the Spirit. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1. My sin has been set aside and God will not hold it against me … not because of anything that I have done, but because Jesus died on the cross for all of us who accept Him as Savior and Lord.
We all like the idea of a Savior, but most of us don’t like the idea of a Lord. That means submitting to an Authority greater than ourselves and most humans don’t like that idea. I don’t like that idea. And when I dislike it the most is when I’m drinking. One is the symptom of the other, though I’m not sure in what order. When I am embracing my sin is when I am relying on the “I is” … me, fleshly man with feet of clay. I will justify my behavior – I come from a long line of folk who like to drink and Christian morality gets in the way of my good time – but it doesn’t change that I am violating a covenant I made with God. Jesus saved my soul, and I (in continuation of Romans 8) acknowledge my debt to Him by living according to the Spirit and not the flesh.
Which is why I wouldn’t and couldn’t be a member of a “welcoming and affirming” church. It’s not that I think God hates homosexuals. I think He feels about gays the same way He felt about me when I was drinking. Drinking wine is not a sin. No, it is not! Jesus turned water into wine and it was GOOD! The best wine at the wedding!
Drinking wine the way I drink wine is a sin! It was destructive to my body, mind and relationships. God still loved me enough to die for me on the cross and eventually I accepted that love, but in order for me to fully live in that love, I had to give up my favorite sin, because the way I drink doesn’t show God in a good light and is destructive of His temple in my body.
Sadly … when I was drinking, I didn’t know that. I couldn’t see the harm it was doing to me and I definitely wouldn’t to acknowledge the harm it was doing to my relationship with Jesus. And, I think that may be the sad plight of the “welcoming and affirming” movement. They think the problem is that the church is against them when the real problem is that God loves them so much that He wants them to give up something that He knows is harming them … and they can’t see that.
Thank God, literally, for putting Lela and other Christian friends in my life to point me away from sin, even when I didn’t want to give it up.
Thank God we don’t hold church in bars!
Which is kind of what I think a “welcoming and affirming” church is. If an alcoholic’s utopia is church held in a bar and the drinks are free, wouldn’t a homosexual’s utopia be a welcoming and affirming church that denies key portions of Scripture?