“Jack, Get Off Your Hobby Horse” NO!

Yesterday, under a “headline” that read:

NOTICE TO ALL FACEBOOK “FRIENDS” WHO ARE OKAY WITH THE PRACTICE OF HOMOSEXUALITY

I wrote:

Whether you profess to be a follower of Christ or not; be aware that I do not hate homosexuals, transgender et al; nor do I hate rapists or those who kick dogs. BUT I will not be silent or restrained regarding posting about the sin of homosexual BEHAVIOR (as opposed to temptation – which is never sin). You are free to unfollow; delete; or comment in a way that is polite, non-patronizing, etc. The issue is not going away…and this is MY wall and I will use it as I see fit. You may disagree, you may shake your head, but you will be polite or you will be deleted. This includes not only comments to me but also comments to others who comment. Thank you for your expected cooperation.

Today, from a respected friend who used to direct a Bible quiz ministry, I received this question:

Jack, why is this so important to you? Of all the sin and injustices in the world, why is this the one thing you keep calling attention to?

I recognize that not all facebook or blog posts appear in everyone’s feed; nor does everyone read everything written by an individual.

But I’ve answered that question many times; so I’m going to do so now in a lengthy post so I can keep it easily accessible and thus I can post it whenever anyone asks.

  • First, for over ten years I’ve been saying the primary questions professing Christians need to ask are: (1) Is the Bible the Word of God? Not “Does the Bible contain the Word of God, but is the Bible the Word of God?  (2) Is there a place called hell where nonChristians spend eternity? (3) Is homosexual behavior sin?
  • It is obvious (to me) that if you say “yes” to the first question; the other two questions are not really necessary.
  • But the reality is that many who say they are Christians proclaim universalism and/or annihilationism; and many say the homosexual behavior is okay. (and, yes, usually…not always…but usually the two go hand-in-hand; in other words if one denies (2) or (3) they usually deny both.
  • So, without making a defense or apologetic here, let me be clear: (1) I believe the last verse in Matthew 25 is true; (2) all the passages that refer to homosexuality as sin are true.
  • As my friend writes, of course there are many other “sin(s) and injustices in the world” that are, by the way, often addressed by me. So why dwell on this issue?
  • Is homosexual behavior “worse” than gluttony, gossip, pride etc. Yes. Because all sexual sin is viewed as sin against the body that the Lord has redeemed (1 Corinthians 6). Which is why if you hear me preach/teach/answer questions on the issue you will hear me say, “Yes, homosexual behavior is sin, just as is premarital sex, extramarital sex, sex with a dog.”
  • But no one, to my knowledge, is being sued for being an adulterer; no one is being sued for sleeping around as a single person.
  • But people…to include ministers…are being sued and otherwise attacked for refusing to cave in to cultural “norms” by holding on to Biblical convictions.
  • A simple current example: In the Missouri prison system (as in all that I know), inmates can marry. Lots of paperwork, lots of hoops, but it can be done. At this point, if Steve wants to marry Tom, the state will allow that, but the state will not force the institutional chaplain to officiate. That chaplain can recruit a chaplain from another prison who feels free to officiate such a wedding. But for how long will this continue? When will Missouri mandate that an institutional chaplain must officiate a “gay” wedding? When will the prison system mandate that chaplains (full time or volunteer) may not refer to homosexual activity as sin? And what will we who hold to such convictions do at that time? That’s for another post.
  • We’ve not had it happen (yet), bu what happens when, at the camp Midland runs, biological male Steve shows up but demands to be called Stevie and be placed into a girls cabin? Obviously (I hope) we will not do that…what happens if he/she/it sues?

So I will keep pointing out that homosexual activity (as opposed to temptation) is sin. I will take the flack as I’m called too focused, homophobic, etc.

And I will be clear…though not all will hear…that I don’t “hate” homosexuals.

By the way, in my bc days I did far too many horrible things; but I never engaged, nor wanted to engage, in homosexual activity, to include the four years I was locked up.

I’m often asked why so many professing Christians are okay with homosexuality?

My opinion? Years ago it was pretty easy to declare that homosexuality was sin because no one knew (or knew that they knew) any homosexuals.

Now virtually everyone has a relative or close friend who is out of the closet.

Thus it is no longer academic.

And thus those whose “conviction” was not, in fact a conviction,” rather than lose a friend, be called judgmental, or have to consider that their gay friend may be enroute to hell (if they still believe in that quaint concept); they are okay…or silent…about the sin.

Another Hager theory, borne out by observation…certainly not in all cases, but in many of which I am aware…professing Christians who are or have engaged in extramarital or premarital sex – or struggle with pornography…are okay with homosexuality…consciously or unconsciously because “hey, if gay is cool; then my sin isn’t really sin!”

And, by the way, this is not academic to me. I have several friends, to include former coworkers in ministry, who are out of the closet. I have a daughter who is currently living a gay lifestyle (Note…I did not type I have a “gay” daughter…there is a difference).

Nothing will change my love for her. But, God enabling, nothing will cause me to waffle on the Word of God for the sake of family peace.

To be clear…I, personally, am grieved by the horrendous amount of money that was expended in the “fight” against gay marriage. Why should I care what the state does? The USofA is not now nor ever has been a “Christian nation.” How many missionaries were underserved, how many went hungry, how many other causes suffered because too many Christians were trying to fight spiritual warfare with mans weapons?

I don’t like it, but I understand homosexuals have rights.

And as long as their rights do not trample mine, all is cool.

But I will never officiate a gay wedding. I will never serve with a ministry or church that is okay with homosexuality.

There are not many mountains upon which I will die. This is one.

So rant, unfollow, shake your head, hate…whatever. It’s cool.

And, just in case I’ve missed offending anyone, I’ll close with this…everytime I hear of another well known speaker, denomination, friend caving into this issue, this is the first thing that pops into my aging brain:

 

I wonder if those guys who chopped the Bible up into chapters and verses had any clue of the potential negative aspect of that project?

cut-and-paste1Obviously their efforts make it easier for us to find stuff (Bible quizzing would be rather difficult with chapter/verse structure, for instance).

But it also eases the opportunity to yank things out of context (Phil 4.13 and Matt 6.33 for examples)

But methinks the most dangerous and destructive example is found in what we designate Ephesians 2.8-10.

As a reminder…here is 2.8,9:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Wondrous truth! Glorious verses!

And they are all about God, His working, His “part” if you will.

Then comes verse 10:

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Oops! Now it’s about me…my responsibility to cooperate and activate what God has given me.

It’s that offensive, to many, word:  w o r k s

People who have been converted out of “works-based-salvation” churchs (Catholicism, various “protestant” churches) appear paranoid about linking works to salvation in any way.

But…grace works.

And that’s still not us, because “it is God who is at work within you both to desire to do and to do His good pleasure.”

Or, to put it another way (since are are to “examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith”):

“No fruit, no shoot, no root.”

 

>Could be most important 3 minutes and 28 seconds of your life:

>http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1433501295&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrYes, I realize some people have “issues” with Mark Driscoll (is it not amazing how much more we expect of other people than we expect of ourselves?)…but this 3 minutes plus video is a crisp, clean, complete presentation of the gospel…refresh yourself with it, examine yourself by it, and share it with others:

>Christian Faith ‘Born in Violence’

>“The cross is practical, it is God moving in love to meet violent men and women, facing violence and suffering for us.  Your faith was born in violence.  The Christian is not scared when the whole world is shaking.  Your faith was born on Calvary.  It can stand anything.  It is an all-weather faith.

Don’t imagine you can only be a Christian when everything is smooth.  Christians shine better when everything is just the opposite.  Your faith was born in blood and sweat in the loneliness of Calvary.  You can stand any test.”

Bishop Festo Kivengere, 
When God Moves in Revival, An outstanding African speaks to American Christians

>Who Killed the Son of God?

>Good Friday 2011 is a vague memory..but we dare not forget the Cross…and if God is sovereign (and He is), you can not argue this insight (though it’s trendy to try to water this truth down with human “christianized” psychology):


“The most important question of the twenty-first century is: Why did Jesus Christ suffer so much? But we will never see this importance if we fail to go behind the human cause. The ultimate answer tohttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=158134788X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr the question, Who crucified Jesus? is: God did. It is a staggering thought. Jesus was his Son. And the suffering was unsurpassed. But the whole message of the Bible leads to this conclusion.”
— John Piper

>The -ations of the Cross

>Good stuff to contemplate this Easter morning from JARED WILSON

No, not the stations. The -ations.

Mediation — There is a gulf between us and God, held in tension by his justified wrath owed to us for our sin. At the cross, the sinless Christ does the work of mediation both necessary and ordinarily impossible.

Condemnation — The mediator must accept the place of the guilty in order to exchange his innocence. Therefore he goes to the cross willingly, because it is the foreordained place of condemnation where we all belong. He becomes the substitute condemned and takes on the condemnation.

Propitiation — A blood debt is owed, legally speaking, because without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins. But we cannot make this payment because we have no currency with which to do so. We are morally bankrupt, every last one of us. So at the cross, Christ makes this payment with the riches of himself, supplying his life to take the debt upon himself and thereby satisfying the law’s demands. God’s wrath is thereby appeased.

Imputation — By propitiating the debt of sin, he takes it off of the condemned onto himself as he becomes the condemned on the cross, but in doing that, he conveys his innocence to those actually guilty. He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. His righteousness is imputed to us; this means that we are counted righteous despite our sin.

Expiation — But Jesus doesn’t stop there. With his life given sacrificially on the cross, he doesn’t just take on our debt, he eradicates it completely. He takes it upon himself like the scapegoat to carry our sins into the void. Another way to say this is that Jesus’ work on the cross doesn’t just reckon us righteous, it actually makes us righteous.

Sanctification
— An ongoing work of the Spirit, to be sure, but thanks to Christ’s expiating work on the cross, we are also declared sanctified on the cross, which is to say, cleansed by his blood. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Justification — Nearly all of Christ’s crosswork put together merits what we receive through faith: right standing before God. Because of the cross, we for whom there was no justification are now justified.

Reconciliation
— And since we are justified before God, we are reconciled to him. The gulf is bridged, the wrath appeased, the debt canceled and cast into the void, the soul cleansed. Christ’s wide-open arms at the cross reveal to us the means of the Father embracing his once-lost children. Through the cross, Christ reconciles us to God. (Colossians 1:20)

Nations
— Who is Christ’s crosswork for, exactly? (1 John 2:2)