Thursday, January 10, 2013

Who's Obsessed with Homosexuality?

Until today, the stage was set for an inaugural celebration that epitomized the very kind of tolerance and inclusion that President Obama prides himself in seeking to build.  But today, with the seemingly forced withdrawal of an evangelical pastor from the inauguration platform, "liberalism" in America was revealed for what it really is:  a far-left Fundamentalism that is far more obsessed with sex than anyone on the far right.

Two days ago, the picture was quite different.  Not only was the inaugural platform to be a display of diverse political and theological opinion, but also a testimony to the good that can be done when those of differing opinions work together.  CNN, quoting a White House official on its religion blog, stated that Atlanta Pastor Louie Giglio was chosen to offer a public prayer "because he's a powerful voice for ending human trafficking and global sex slavery."  Through the Passion movement, Giglio has led young evangelical Christians across American to aggressively combat the evils of human trafficking worldwide, and address a host of other social justice issues.

But upon hearing of the President's selection, a few in the far-left media went to work to "dig up dirt" on this evangelical pastor.  What they discovered was a sermon 10 years old in which Giglio says about homosexuality what the church as a whole has been saying about it for 2000 years.  As a result, Giglio withdrew his name.  As my friend Marty Duren well-said, "Apparently, his brave efforts to eliminate slavery worldwide weren't pro-gay enough."

Let me say that again.  What Louie Giglio believes about homosexuality is the same thing that the Christian church--the WHOLE Christian church until recent years--has believed about it.  And for this, he is now excluded from the party on inauguration day.  The Presidential Inaugural Committee said this about the issue:

“We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.“

Actually, this statement should have ended with "inclusion and acceptance of all Americans except those who hold to the historical position of the Christian church where sexual ethics are concerned."  So much for inclusion and tolerance!

What's interesting is how the good folks at Think Progress had to dig . . .and dig . . .and dig, and go back nearly 15 years to find a message from Pastor Giglio on homosexuality.That the man has preached nearly 800 sermons since this one should be evidence enough that he has no particular axe to grind on this issue.  In fact, if anyone betrays their obsession with homosexuality in all of this, its Think Progress.  Yet, if you were to ask Louie Giglio where he stands on the issue today, you would discover something many liberals find shocking: They haven't changed, because his views aren't determined by the shifting winds of culture, but instead by the Scriptures.  Put in syllogistic terms:

Premise 1. Without repentance from sin and faith in Jesus, no one can inherit the Kingdom of God
Premise 2. Giving in to any sort of sexual sin outside of heterosexual marriage, including homosexual activity, is sin according to the clear teaching of the Bible
Conclusion: No one who refuses to repent from homosexual behavior will inherit the Kingdom of God.

The shocked reaction of so many progressives to this line of reasoning would make one who is totally ignorant of the history of Western Civilization to think that the church suddenly decided to invent this idea.  But the facts and history are quite simple.  For the past two milennia, and until the last two decades, every single stream of Christianity--Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox--spoke in uniformity to this issue, and has taught that sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is a sin. That's not bigoted.  Its called being a follower of Jesus. The "shock" expressed at this by some liberals would be hilarious, if the ramifications weren't so tragic.

Which brings me back to the subject of obsession.  Giglio spoke well to this in his public statement:

Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.

He's right, by the way.  Evangelical Christians as a whole aren't interested in focusing exclusively on the homosexual issue.  Our message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In this situation, no one is more obsessed with sexual orientation than the far-left Fundamentalists, who bring this issue front and center every single time it can be exploited.

Don't be fooled by the far-left media.  Evangelical Christians aren't "anti-gay."  Anyone who takes Scripture seriously loves all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.  The difference is that we love them enough to tell them what we believe their Creator thinks.  Since when is love defined by me being more interested in whether you like me than it is in my genuine concern for your own well-being?

I am sure that this incident will spark more controversial discussion about an issue that has long been settled in the Christian canon.  Some who even call themselves "Christian" will perform hermaneutical acrobatics in order to try and make the point that "this isn't really what Scripture teaches."  But at the end of the age, when all other man-made ideas and philosophies are burned up, the Word of the Lord stands forever, unchanged. Believing it doesn't make someone a bigot.

To my far-left friends I can only say this:  We Christians aren't the ones obsessed with sexuality.  Obsession is evidenced in digging up years and years of sermons in order to find something someone said about sexuality.  To put it simply, its not us, its you.   We have another, far better obsession.  His name is Jesus.  And we aren't interested in changing what He says about your obsession.  But we are interested in offering Him--as He is--to you.

7 comments:

Dathan Ellis said...

I think the real issue here is not the far-left attacking Christians, but that we threw stones at them first. We Christians have been condemning and judging people to hell for being gay. For centuries, Christians have been doing this and nothing has changed. Pastor Giglio did it because he thought he was doing the right thing much like all the other Christian leaders. Now, the world and the media is firing back. They won't take the hate anymore. I don't blame them.

The 2 premises you explained are the best examples of how Christians view anyone who sins. But, who doesn't sin?? Who doesn't sin from one minute to the next? If you're not a man sleeping with another man, then you're certainly not eating only healthy foods, not praying without ceasing, or just using your spiritual gifts like God told you to. If you're failing at following these other things, then when will you repent of your ways and start doing it right?? Why in the world are Christians who know better than anyone that no one is perfect at following God's commands, still trying to force others to do the same? When will we get the log out of our own eye?? No one is perfect and no one deserves what Jesus already did for us.

The other problem is Christians do not believe Jesus nailed all sin to the cross. Christians only believe their sin was forgiven because of their faith, but this is not what Jesus did. He forgave all sin on the cross. All of us were up there. Not just for the believer, but also the unbeliever. If Christians would have faith for once and actually believe what Jesus did, then maybe we wouldn't condemn others of their personal sins and struggles.

There are 2 people that accuse and judge people as certain sinners going to hell - Satan and Christians. I say, avoid them both.

Robert Stamey said...

Superb article! One thing that comes to my mind...how can any preacher of the Word of God make much of the "narrow way" and not warn of the "broad way," as Jesus did in Matthew 7:13-14? A preacher of the Word of God and not speak of the sin of homosexuality for 15+ years while our country has been bombarded with that issue like crazy for the last 4 years!? Unbelievable!

. said...

Dathan,

Though there are many points in your post with which I could take issue, the primary thing that sticks out is this: you are still very clear in calling homosexuality a sin, which is precisely the reason Giglio was effectively dis-invited. Anyone who heard the message referenced, and who was intellectually honest, could never ascribe "hate" to its content.

I agree with you that the church's response to this issue has, at a few prominent moments in its history, been less than desirable, and that our understanding of how to speak compassionately to it has evolved slowly. But what Think Progress objects to is the very thing you still do, which is to call homosexuality a sin. You may think that by simply being nice you will escape the same ire, and you would be mistaken. Until you remove the verbiage of "sin" from your vocabulary when speaking of homosexual behavior, you too will be demonized by this group. And the minute you remove "sin" in order to placate the masses, you choose to turn against what God has clearly stated.

. said...

Robert, I'm not going to conjecture reasons as to Giglio's preaching content and schedule. I will simply say that I've always known him to be a faithful proclaimer of the Gospel, and I think now is the time to stand with a brother, not insinuate unfaithfulness because he didn't yell quite as loudly as you would like him to on a particular subject.

Robert Stamey said...

Joel, No need to "yell louder" is insinuated in my comment. My point: "Celebrity preachers" need to take their lumps with the rest of us who seek to be faithful to "preach the Word" and not "tickle ears" for numbers sake. He's not beyond being held accountable for what he teaches - or doesn't teach! No doubt God is humbling him...as He does me from time to time...but who can deny that any Bible teacher is unwise to choose what they are going to highlight, and skip doctrines that will not be attractive to the masses...that's indefensible! People need to hear the tough, as well as, the sweet words of Scripture - even if it costs them dearly! I hope and pray he learns and comes out of this much better than before.

Jacob Hunter said...

Robert,
I listen to Louie on a fairly regular basis and have heard him proclaim the biblical view of marriage loud and clear at least once in the last year alone. Like he says it has not been his focus, but that does not mean he does not preach it. I think that is the point of the article. Where is our focus? Christ or sin? Savior or sinner? So many people are trying to make this something it is not. And just another side note, he is not ashamed to preach about many, many other sins or even Hell. May we all look to God’s word for guidance on issues such as these: James 3, John 13:35.

Robert Stamey said...

Jacob Hunter, I suppose time will tell...
Robert