Archive for the ‘homosexuality’ Category

And that is what some of you were…

September 13, 2008

I was saddened to hear of another high profile Christian figure in the US come out as being a homosexual. I was more sad to hear of his rationale for his behaviour. Ray Boltz writes, “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.” It is a sad distortion of the Christian message and one seems to be gaining greater popular credence.

1. The Bible treats homosexuality as a sin and warns us that we cannot blame God for our sinfulness- James 1:13

2. Boltz has divorced his wife. Clearly his divorcing of his wife to pursue other sexual behaviour doesn’t register on Boltz moral scale as being a sin.

3. Where does the ‘God made me this way’ defence end? Can we therefore justify every behaviour- infanticide, incest, etc on the grounds that God made me this way?

4. Boltz ignores the basic Christan teaching that how we are is not a sign of God’s goodness to us but of how sin has corrupted God’s good gifts including our sexuality. Sin must have no place in Boltz’ s theology.

5. Boltz distorts the gospel as so many do today. He takes the line that God accepts us just as we are. This is often a partial truth and distortion. God meets us where we are in the sense that no amount of self-righteousness can make us acceptable in His sight. Sin creates a level playing field for us all in the sight of God. Yet whilst God in that sense meets us where we are  He does not leave us there. The heart of the gospel is that God changes us. He deals with our legal guilt but He also breaks the power of sin in our lives and sets us free from the sin that enslaves us.

Paul writing in 1 Corinthians of the sins (including homosexuality) that had enslaved the Christians there does not say ‘but hey this is the way God made you!’ Instead he writes, ‘And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’ (6:11)

Sadly it seems that Boltz never really has grasped the essence of the gospel and is now using it as an excuse for his sin. I am not hopeful that given this distortion he will come to repentance unless God opens his eyes and changes his heart.

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Old Rocker goes off his rocker!

September 5, 2008

For a long time Sir Cliff Richard has lived out his Christian faith in the eye of the public. As a pop star and entertainer he has lived his life with integrity under the media spotlight which is no little achievement in Britain. Whilst he has used his fame to winsomely commend the Christian faith. This makes it all the more sad to hear of his recent commendation of same sex blessings. According to a report in today’s Times Cliff says ‘I think the Church must come round and see people as they are now…Gone are the days when we assumed loving relationships would be solely between men and women.’

His comments highlight a number of issues.

  1. We once again see the danger of figures in the public eye who become spokesmen for Christianity simply because they are in the public eye. Cliff is a hugely influential figure and this will make his comments all the more damaging.
  2. We again see the danger of allowing cultural norms to determine morality. Here Cliff simply repeats what is going on in our culture rather than challenging it.
  3. Cliff somewhat misses the point in his comments. Christians have long recognised that people can have deep, loving relationships with people of the same sex. The issue is not friendship or companionship it is a sexual relationship.
  4. Cliff makes no mention of the Bible as the authority for his comments. His authority has become his opinion which he sadly seems to think carries weight because of his public profile.

I do hope that in the days to come those who have spiritual influence in Cliff’s life will gently restore him and show him the folly of the stance that he has taken.

You can read the article here- timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4675929.ece

Evangelicals at the Crossroads- and Losing their Way?(Part 2)

May 25, 2007

Following up on an earlier post (Evangelicals at the Crossroads- and Losing their Way?) I raised a concern that Evangelicals were being defined in terms of their political causes rather than the gospel they proclaim. I wonder how far this has occurred because western Evangelicals have lost their eternal focus? Have Evangelicals in the western world become more interested in making a mark in this life than in making preparations for the next?

When Paul addressed the issue of homosexuality his concerns were directed not towards the wider culture but towards the church. The Bible’s condemnation of infanticide in the OT is directed towards the people of God. Nor is there a developed ecological perspective in the NT since this world is passing. These issues were not related to the wider culture but addressed in terms of God’s people preparing for God’s reward.

The fact that such issues are now identified in the wider culture as as key issues defining evangelicalism raises a big question in my mind. Have western Evangelicals taken their eyes off the eternal prize?Evangelicals ought to have a voice in the public square. But if that voice offers nothing distinctive. If its agenda does not take us beyond the common agenda of public affairs. Then the question is raised as to exactly what perspective Evangelicals are offering.

In the contemporary obsession with relevance are Evangelicals doing nothing more than baptising the popular cultural agenda without offering a distinctive perspective? One which is rooted not in this passing world but in heaven where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father and from where He will return to deliver His people?

Evangelicals at the Crossroads- and losing their way?

May 23, 2007

According to the Washington Post Evangelicals now find themselves at a crossroads with the death of Jerry Falwell who was a unifying figure in Evangelicalism. Falwell represented the now aged generation of Evangelical leaders who dominated in movement in the 80’s and 90’s. In the place of this generation of leaders a new generation of leaders are emerging with a new agenda such as global warming and AIDS in Africa. Classic homegrown issues such as abortion and homosexuality (a third of American evangelicals under 30 support same-sex marriage!) are now slipping down the agenda.

There are I think at least two concerns regarding this portrait of evangelicalism. First of all it is of concern that Evangelicalism is being defined both by itself and those outside the movement by the political causes it espouses rather than the gospel it preaches. Secondly, whilst AIDS in Africa and global warming are important issues the shift of the agenda raises the question of who is setting Evangelicalism’s agenda. It sounds as if it is now the world that is setting the church’s agenda. Furthermore the Evangelical movement’s distancing of itself from its traditional cultural agenda suggests that Evangelicals are now afraid of giving offence. Again it looks like they are giving in to an agenda set by the culture.

It was DL Moody an American Evangelical of another generation who once remarked, ‘The place for the boat is in the water, God help the boat when the water gets into it.’

Rowan Williams Exegetical Soft-Shoe Shuffle

May 15, 2007

I once read that Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, had a problem being understood. The problem was that his thought is so profound that it confuses those of us with lesser intellects.
I’ve just read his comments made to Toronto theological students regarding Paul’s comments on homosexuality in Romans 1. It seems that according to Williams, the apostle Paul has the same communication problem. What seems plain in Romans 1 to the ordinary reader is in fact just plain confusing. Seemingly when Paul writes about men being filled withshameful lust’, ‘committing indecent acts with one another’ and being guilty of ‘perversion’ he was not condemning homosexuality. He is according to Williams not making a primary point about homosexuality but about self-righteousness. Instead he was urging Christians not to judge one another. At the same time Williams agrees that Paul and his readers regarded homosexuality as immoral and being so on the same basis as idolatry.
Williams argument that homosexuality is not condemned and condemned at the same time is just too profound for me! I think I’ll stick with Paul who wrote, ‘I did not come to you with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed the wisdom of God.’ Unless of course I’ve misunderstood this as well.