“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:

 

War is Declared

The following comment is part of a very long thread discussing a controversial issue.joint-special-forces-team-1800

The issue is not important to this post.

Some professing Christians were “for” the issue; others “against.”

Some were tame, clear, and kind; others were rude, even crude, and harsh.

But (so far) one comment blared off the page as I read.

Here it is, and the writer is referring to Christians (though he may not have a clue what a Christian truly is):

“You are religious fundamentalists no different at the core than any religious extremists that cause death and should, in kind, be quarantined, or removed from society. “

The person who wrote that is male, white, and about 25 years old.

If you stand on the Word and agree that some actions are sinful (regardless of what society/culture says) he wants to lock you up…or be “removed from society.”

If you think he is a lone wolf and there are not others who think exactly like him; it may be a good idea to remove your head from the sand.

It is war.

Are you suited up (Eph 6)?

Rocketman Rambling…

Rsight

I have always been a fan of Elton John’s music.elton-john-t

Thus I did watch “Rocketman.” I enjoyed the movie, loved the music, and felt the producer/writer handled both John’s slide into addiction and his homosexuality with dramatic expertise and tact.

The Russian powers-that-be apparently did not; as they heavily redacted the movie and any scenes dealing with John’s sexuality.

Elton then tweeted, “I am proud to live in a part of the world where our governments have evolved to recognise the universal human right to love whoever we want.”

I ask you to keep in mind that, yes, because I am a follower of Christ and strive to adhere to His Word, I am convinced homosexual behavior is sin (as is extramarital sex; premarital sex, sex-with-a-dog). I also grieve at the millions of dollars that were, in my mind, wasted fighting the legalization of same-sex marriage. I’ll never understand why missionaries suffered, others died of hunger, and so many other needs went unmet while professing Christians spent so much money fighting spiritual battles with man’s tools.

At any rate, I find a couple phrases in Elton’s statement informative.

“…our governments have evolved…” Interesting choice of words. Evolved from believing in truth to believing in “truth as you see it,” or, worse, “there is no truth.”

“….the universal human right to love whoever we want.”

Here it gets murky because too many American Christians confuse their kingdoms.

Sure, I pledge allegiance to the US, often gritting my teeth. But that is far below my allegiance to the King of Kings.

America is not now nor ever has been a “Christian” nation (whatever that is). Sure, we used to generally subscribe to “judeo-christian ethics” etc…but America has never had a Christian majority in governmental power (nor should it).

So “rights” get a bit murky. As a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, I have no rights. I am bought with a price. I am no longer my own.

This would be true were I Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese or any other category.

As an American citizen I recognize a core value is freedom. Freedom to worship as I please, if at all.

I am in the camp that concurs government can not legislate morality; primarily because “morality” is a fluid word defined differently by different people.

So I type again that Christians have no rights. Non-Christians have the “right” and “freedom” (under the hand of God’s sovereignty) choose sin (I know, I know, they are slaves of sin, held captive by sin, can’t help but sin {just as we Christians all were}).

And Scripture is clear (though the professing church isn’t) of the destiny of all who pursue their “rights.”

So I pray often for Elton. For Ellen. For abortion supporters and abortionists.

Yes….they are cosmic rebels against our holy God.

Just like I was…

Why Pride?

Yes, I recognize some of you will be triggered just by the headline.

Too bad.

The dictionary defines “pride” in two primary ways:

  1. a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
  2. confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.
    “the bridge was lit up in rainbow colors, symbolic of LGBT pride”

Okay, the first definition can’t apply, because what do LGBTetc have “from one’s own achievements.” They maintain that they were “born that way.” So what’s to achieve?

So I guess definition #2 is why this particular group of “socially marginalized” people celebrate Gay Pride Month?

By the way, where’d the GPM come from? Glad you asked:

Two presidents of the United States have officially declared a pride month. First, President Bill Clinton declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 1999 and 2000. Then from 2009 to 2016, each year he was in office, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month

So the United States has Veterans Day. We celebrate Martin Luther King Day.  We bang it up on Independence Day.

The LGBTetc folks get a month?

Thirty days to celebrate pride? Pride in what? Being what you (according to you) were made?

Perhaps it is pride in the fact that some of these folks can picket and sue businesses that, for religious reasons, can not in good conscience cater to their “needs”?

As in all things, the press focuses on the bad stuff that happens in the “Pride Parades.” Perhaps there has been a parade of gays somewhere that wasn’t at least in parts obscene, and the press didn’t cover it. Perhaps.

Of course I’ll hear the theory that it commemorates the triumph of the gay spirit over things like the Stonewall Riots.

Let me be clear…as a human, American, and an unashamed Christian; I declare it is totally wrong to harass or harm a person of the gay etc persuasion.

Let me upset some friends by typing I have no problem with homosexual marriage. It’s a piece of government paper…period. I still shake my head at how many people starved, how many missionaries had to return home, and more negative things that happened because Christians poured so much money and effort into fighting gay marriage. Why?

Doesn’t make any sense to me.

Just like Gay Pride Month makes no sense.

But…since we have it, I think I’ll start working on a Child of the Sixties, alcoholic, Nam Vet, Ex-convict Day. I don’t even need a month. A day will suffice.

Because, after all, when I got off the freedom bird at Travis Air Force Base on July 9, 1969 the first round-eyed  (oops, that’s probably a no-no) girl I saw – a gorgeous, stereotypical blonde California chick (hey, might as well go for it) was screaming at me, “How many babies did you kill in Vietnam?”

So my feelings were hurt. My identity was falsely challenged. I didn’t feel safe.

So aren’t I a victim too?

Or…maybe…I should just get over it?

Butterfield on the “Nashville Statement”

If you are unfamiliar with “The Nashville Statement” you may READ IT HERE.

You are probably familiar with Rosario Butterfield? If not, she tells a bit of her story in the article below explaining why she signed the Statement. It has what would seem to be obvious truth (but, sadly, is not in todays “evangelical” climate) and I believe makes some incredibly vital points. Read it:

“Great battles in theology faced by the church over the centuries have been caused by the introduction of unbiblical categories about the nature of people and the nature of God, and the imprecise language that emerges from this.  Are we justified by faith or are we justified by faith alone?  Does the Bible contain the word of God or is the Bible the word of God?  Should we refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings because marriage is a creation-mandated institution and not a social privilege that can be re-packaged as the world whims?  Or should we bake two cakes because sexual orientation as a category of personhood erases sexual sin without the blood of Christ?

The issue is not primarily homosexuality; it’s Scripture.

The issue is not primarily gay marriage; it’s whether “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The issue is not whether people are good-intentioned and sincere in desiring things that God forbids.

The issue is whether we all bear the sin of Adam, inheriting an unchosen moral deformity, an energy of opposition to God, a rebellion that bequeaths to us a sin nature that we cannot erase on our own terms and by our own hands.

The issue is whether Jesus rose from the grave, is alive today, and whether His blood and love and resurrection makes any wit of difference in how you fight the original sin that distorts you, the actual sin that distracts you, and the indwelling sin that manipulates you.

The issue is whether you can trust the Bible to tell you who you are, who God is, and which way is up.

Twenty years ago, I lived as a lesbian.  I delighted in my lover, our home on one of the Finger Lakes, our Golden Retrievers, and our careers.  When Christ claimed me for His own, I did not stop feeling like a lesbian.  I did not fall out of love with women.  I was not converted out of homosexuality.  I was converted out of unbelief.

Conversion to Christ did not initially change my sexual attraction for women.  What conversion did change immediately was my heart and mind.  My mind was on fire for the Bible and I could not read enough of it or enough about it.  The gospel gave me a light that was ruinous.  It ruined me for the life I had loved.  The Lord’s light illumined my sin through the law and illumined my hope through Jesus and the gospel.  The gospel destroyed me before the Lord built me back up.  In saying “yes” to Jesus and “no” to the desires of my flesh, I learned that the only way to peace with my God was through the Cross—the one that Jesus died on and the one that I was called, with the help of Jesus, to carry.

In this crucible I wondered how this could be so.  How could that which I loved be sin?  How could I hate my sin without hating myself?  How could I both hate my sin and feel drawn into it simultaneously?

I learned that sin does not lose its character as sin because I loved it.  I learned that my homosexuality was a logical consequence of the fall of man, the thumbprint of original sin on some of us.  It is true that some of us are born this way.  It is also true that we are all  born in sin, in one way or another.  We can hate our sin without hating ourselves because we who have committed our lives to Christ stand in his righteousness and not our own.  Our real identity is not in the sin we battle but in the savior we embrace.

Christ’s salvation is definitive and decisive.  Christ rescues his people, growing us in union with Christ, establishing us in God’s family, the church, and setting us apart to bear the image of God in knowledge (of God’s word), holiness (in God’s justification of his people), and righteousness (through sanctification, also called growth in Christ).

We gain more than we lose when we pick up our cross and follow Jesus.  But pick up our cross we must.  And for many of us, our cross demands forsaking the sexual sin that calls us by name.

We live now in a world that has no use for the God of the Bible, for Jesus, the savior of His people and of the world.  The terms are shifting quickly.  Calling people like me to forsake sexual sin is no longer considered a first step toward walking with Jesus in liberty and in new life.  Today, some influential people who claim to know Christ no longer believe that God hates sin.  Sin is in the eyes of the beholder, they say.

Just a few years ago, these people blamed sin on the devil, saying “the devil made me do it.”    Now these same people—some of them leaders in the church—blame sin on the Holy Spirit, declaring that He is blessing what the Bible condemns.  In a few short years, blame shifting has morphed into  blasphemy.  And this blasphemy is coming from people who claim to have Christ’s salvation and from the pulpits and blogs that they wield.

When blasphemy comes from the church, the Bible gives us ways to understand how prophets become lions and wolves.   First Peter 5:8 issues the warning for today’s church climate:  “Be sober-minded.  Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  Matthew 7:15 shows us what to do:  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruits.”  Christian fruit grows you in holiness, like Christ.  Christian fruit grows you in grace—which is bought by the blood of Christ, the ransom price for my sin and yours.  Grace leads you to love and desire the moral law of God, and not to despise it.  Christian fruit has no measure but the word of God.

I signed the Nashville Statement because I stand with Biblical orthodoxy, which is inseparable from God’s creation mandate and definition of gendered personhood found in Genesis 1:27:  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female, he created them”.  The soul is God’s fingerprint on humanity, but the gendered body—essentially and ontologically male or female—will also, for the believer in Jesus Christ,  be glorified and resurrected in the New Jerusalem.

I signed the Nashville Statement because my conscience compels me so, because the promises of liberty on the world’s terms are false and deceptive, and because many who currently claim to have Christ’s forgiveness and salvation must be called to account for leading good people astray with false promises and filthy lies.

I signed the Nashville Statement because the wolves are prowling, and the lions are roaring, and because they are bold and proud of their heresy, and because you must be warned.

By God through the merit and power of Jesus Christ, here I stand.”

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