Sunday, March 9, 2008

Politically incorrectly and probably offensive...

Here in California, there is a petition going around that, if enough people sign it, will put on the ballot come Novenber an amendment that if passed, would ensure that marriage in California is defined as only being between a man and a woman. This is not an anti-gay measure, nor will it cost taxpayers any additional money. It is simply asking voters to vote on whether we should keep marriage defined in this way. At our church a few weeks ago, we held a Marriage Rally for all the churches in the bay area to introduce this amendment and pass out petitions. Sadly, hardly any of the local churches participated. A friend of mine who belongs to a different church grabbed a handful of petitions to take to their church, but when they asked if they could solicit signatures in front of the church, they were flatly denied by the elders of the church. Their excuse? They don't want to offend homosexual members of the congregation. Excuse me?
This is the kind of thing in the church that drives me NUTS. They used scriptures that spoke about reconciliation and that we are all sinners. My friend asked my opinion and here is a copy of the note I sent to them.

First of all their use of 1 Cor 6:9-11 is interesting. Yes, we were all sinners, still are, but what does God's Word say about how we come to be saved in Christ? Isn't it by coming to the realization that we are sinners in need of a Savior? In 2 Cor 7:9-11 Paul declares that Godly sorrow leads to Repentence which leads to Salvation. But how can you have Godly sorrow leading to repentence if you don't know that you're living a sinful lifestyle? Also they used 2 Cor 5:18-19 about our ministry of reconciliation. I couldn't agree more! But how do we reconcile people to Christ? By making them aware that they are sinners! Otherwise if all they hear is how much God loves them (all well and good) and they even go forward and say a prayer to "receive Jesus", but they haven't realized their own depravity and repented, they still aren't saved.

I realize they want to get the unsaved to come to church. But my question to your pastor would be where does he draw the line in not offending someone? If a gay person comes in for the service but he never hears that homosexuality is an abomination to God, what good does it do? Or for that matter, if there are several couples living with one another in the congregation and they never hear a sermon on the sin of fornification, how does that help them? We are told to preach the entire Gospel, not a softened watered-down version that only speaks of God's love and His salvation. Yes, those things are extremely important and are at the center of our faith, but you cannnot mention what Jesus did on the cross without mentioning what put Him there.

Even Paul told one congregation (I think it was also in Corinthians) to toss out of the church one man who was being sexually immoral. If you look at both Jesus and Paul's ministries, they never minced words about sin for fear of "offending" someone. Never. In fact, quite the opposite.
In Galatians 5:11, Paul says, "If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended." In Romans 9:33, He says As it is written: “ Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Jesus is supposed to be an offense! And he certainly didn't worry about offending anyone. The gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. Why don't we just preach the entire gospel and then trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in people's hearts. Do we arrogantly think that the Holy Spirit needs our help to get people in the door of our churches or does He need our help to save them? No. We are only told to preach the gospel in love.

In my opinion, if the church as a corporate body won't take a stand against the encroaching culture, then who will? God will hold us accountable for what we do not only individually, but also as His bride.

End of note: Let me just say in closing that God loves all sinners: homosexuals, fornicators, liars, murderers, gossipers, etc. . . He died for every one of us. There is not a day goes by that I don't commit some sin. I'm no better than anyone else, but the best way to share the love of Christ is to tell people the truth. You might just offend them right into heaven.

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