There is nothing like politics to expose sin. First, politicians who run for office are mercilessly vetted (as they should be, of course). Their opponents and the media search for any dirt they can find, and skeletons are dragged, kicking and screaming, out of closets for the world to see.
Beyond that, candidates boast about themselves and rail against their opponents, competing, it seems, for who can take the lowest ground. Not only is their pride exposed, but also their hypocrisy, as they violate the simple moral principle of “let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” and “why do you point out the speck in another’s eye when you have a log hanging out of your eye?” They often seem like rats who point their fingers at other rats and call them rats.
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 November’s e-Teaching, I made the case that all nonprofits and charities incur inevitable expenses for fundraising and administration. That was true when Paul raised funds for poor saints in Jerusalem (a fact I elaborated on in my last e-teaching), and it has been true every time funds have been raised ever since. Even in the case of an all-volunteer organization, there are still expenses incurred for fundraising and administration, expenses that are often paid by the volunteers themselves.
So let us admit it: It costs money to inform potential donors of needs, and it costs money to use donated funds properly in order to meet the needs for which they were given.
It has now been almost 36 years that I’ve been serving in vocational ministry. Along the journey, I’ve learned not just a few lessons. How I wish I could have known 36 years ago what I know now! I would have done so many things differently.
Thankfully, one thing I’ve learned is that God is in the redemption business. He can use even our mistakes to produce something good. Perhaps this series of e-teachings will serve that purpose to some degree, if I can help others—who have begun their journey more recently than me—to avoid the mistakes I’ve made.
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.)