Ignorance, as the saying goes, is indeed bliss…until you realize that you are ignorant. Then it is embarrassing. And sometimes horrifying.
I know what I’m talking about, having experienced the shameful realization that what I’d been teaching for years under the banner of “incontestable biblical truth” was dead wrong. People trusted me, and I misled them on matters of eternal importance. Worse, some of that misleading teaching is still in print, scattered in places where I can’t possibly recover it, like hidden land mines buried during a war that is long over. (How thankful I am that cassette tapes have become an outmoded technology, effectively silencing thousands of my old sermons.)
In my previous e-teaching in this series, I promised that I’d share with you the story of the biggest spiritual event in my life, besides being born again. I’ve told this story hundreds of times around the world since it happened. It is my tenth confession.
I was in the midst of my third church-planting pastorate, which began in 1991. In just a few years, the congregation had grown from five people (my wife, myself, and our three children) to close to 300 people (if you counted pregnant women twice, which I did). We’d rented public school space for several years and then purchased acreage on which we erected a church building. The sanctuary could seat 400 people. We borrowed $800,000 from the bank, and that, along with our savings, got us Sunday School rooms, wall-to-wall carpeting, air conditioning, offices, and a paved parking lot.
A young mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, age 5 and Ryan, age 4. As they sat at the kitchen table waiting, the boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.
Their mother, seeing an opportunity for a moral lesson, reminded them, “If Jesus was sitting at our table, He would say, ‘Mom, please let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.'”
This month I’d like to continue to examine Matthew Vines’ novel interpretation of the six biblical texts that traditionally have been used to prove God’s disapproval of homosexuality. If you haven’t read last month’s e-teaching, I suggest you read that first. A professing Christian and author of the new book God and the Gay Christian, Matthew Vines boldly declares on his website that homosexuality is not a sin, and he “proves it from the Bible.”
Note: This e-teaching is for adults only.
I did not intend for this series on homosexuality to continue beyond three months, but in light of current events, as well as the feedback I’ve received, there seems to be a need to proceed further. You may have heard that World Vision, the world’s largest Christian humanitarian organization, last month announced a change in its employment policy, allowing the hiring of homosexuals who are legally married and “committed Christians.” Days later, World Vision’s board reversed their position, obviously due to donor displeasure. The issue is not only dividing professing Christians, but also dominating world headlines due to anti-homosexual developments in Russia and Uganda.
The response to last month’s e-teaching, A Homosexual You Will Love, like the response to the previous month’s, I Love Homosexuals, and I’m Frustrated, was plentiful. Many folks shared their stories and insights. Many wrote to compassionately tell me that they were praying for “Jean Claude,” whose poignant story I shared in that e-teaching.
I also received a number of responses from good folks who cited first-hand examples of homosexual orientation that could not be attributed to any environmental cause (suggesting a biological cause). Others wrote who believe that homosexuality is the result of demonic oppression or possession, and that it can be cured by exorcism (although none cited any supportive Bible passages or personal success stories of delivering homosexuals through exorcism). A few wrote expressing blanket condemnations upon all homosexuals. And finally, some wrote to affirm that my amateur attempt to diagnose the roots of Jean Claude’s same-sex attraction wasn’t too far off track.
If you didn’t read last month’s e-teaching titled I Love Homosexuals, and I’m Frustrated, you missed what has proven to be, based on the feedback, one of my most popular e-teachings ever. I was encouraged by the sheer volume of positive feedback, and I was blessed by how many Christians expressed genuine love for the homosexual community. (I only received one strongly critical response, predictably from a professing Christian.)
This month I want to share one particular email response that I received, in hopes that it might contribute to further understanding between homosexuals (and their advocates), and those who, like me, believe that God condemns homosexuality (along with a host of other sins of which just about everyone has been guilty) but that He also offers forgiveness and freedom through Jesus Christ.
As I’m writing this, the two-week suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson by A&E over remarks he made that were offensive to homosexuals is making headlines. The incident has ignited a nationwide debate regarding homosexuality, and naturally, lots of people are taking sides and expressing their opinions.
With this article, I hope to make a small contribution to the understanding of folks on both sides of the issue, whom I will refer to, for simplicity’s sake, as homosexuals and their dissenters. (I realize, of course, that there is a variance of opinions on both sides, but I intend to stick with the fundamental differences.)
As I endeavor this month to address some final questions that have followed April’s e-teaching titled, Five Modern Myths About Jesus’ Conversation with the Rich Young Ruler, I suspect that some readers will be surprised by my answers. Did Jesus expect the rich ruler to liquidate business capital? Is it wrong to save or invest money? How much should we give? What did Jesus mean when He said that no one can be His disciple who does not give up all his own possessions (Luke 14:33)? If you have not read my initial and subsequent articles in this series, it would be best if you did. As always, your feedback is appreciated. — David
Last month, we began to explore the degree of dispossession that Jesus expected of the rich ruler if he was to inherit eternal life. This is of interest to us, as I have shown that Jesus’ words to the rich ruler have undeniable application to every one of us, rather than uniquely to him, as is often thought.
We’ve been giving away free copies of my little book Forever Rich for some months now, but at the end of this e-teaching, we’ve got a free offer for a much more significant book that I wrote on stewardship some years ago titled, Through the Needle’s Eye, and subtitled, An Impossible Journey Made Possible by God. It covers everything that the Bible has to say about stewardship, from Genesis to Revelation. I hope you’ll take advantage of our free offer. — David
This e-teaching is another follow-up to April’s e-teaching titled, Five Modern Myths about Jesus’ Conversation with the Rich Young Ruler. I would strongly encourage you not to read this e-teaching unless you’ve first read that one, otherwise you will likely be confused. In that e-teaching, I presented compelling biblical evidence that Jesus’ words to the rich ruler have application to all of us, contrary to what so many professing Christians think. I made a very strong case, and I wish that I could persuade every professing Christian in the world to read that e-teaching and the two that followed (The True Grace of God and All Christians Believe “Works” are Essential for Salvation), because neglecting the poor, according to Jesus, is a barricade to eternal life. If you are shocked by that statement, then I beg you to read Five Modern Myths about Jesus’ Conversation with the Rich Young Ruler.