Pastor Gabe Hughes recently posted an item on Twitter that resulted in a temporary (I hope) suspension from the platform. Here’s a screenshot of his “offensive” Tweet:
The WWUTT account posted the screenshot to inform Gabe’s followers of the ban. Many comments ensued to express support for Gabe and disgust at Twitter’s censorship. Of course, I agree with those comments, and pray that they will encourage him. Obviously he wrote it to highlight the spiritual pandemic that has infected Western culture for the last several decades — a pandemic that even mature Christians ignore. Kudos to Gabe for risking his Twitter account in order to speak truth!
One comment, however, accused Pastor Gabe of violating (or deliberately ignoring) Twitter’s Terms of Service. Her accusation intrigued me, particularly since I sometimes post tweets standing against most of those sins. I wondered how much freedom Twitter gives Christians to express Biblical points of view. Her response didn’t exactly surprise me (given her profile), but it reminded me that people who defend LBGTQ tenets don’t always use good logic in their argumentation.
Consider this screenshot that she sent to me:
It took me a while to analyze her presentation of Twitter’s hate conduct policy. As she evidently wanted, I concentrated on this words within the red circle instead of looking at the entire context. At face value, the policy certainly does appear to indict Gabe. He clearly equated homosexuality with sin, and the LBGTQ community traditionally interprets this equation as attacking who they are rather than what they do. Therefore, calling out homosexuality and transgenderism as sinful behaviors comes across to them as an an assault on who they are.
Looking a little more carefully, however, I noticed that the section she circled applies to display names and profile bios. So maybe we ought to take a look at Gabe’s name and profile to see whether or not either of those violates Twitter’s Terms of Service.
Well, I must be blind, because I can’t find a single thing in either his display name or his profile that indicates hatred toward the LBGTQ community. He quotes a comforting Bible verse and makes it clear that he’s a husband first, a dad second and a pastor last, from which I infer his dedication to his marriage and family. Yes, his profile picture shows his heterosexual “orientation,” which I suppose some people could use to conclude that he repudiates other forms of sexual expression, but it’s quite a stretch to misconstrue his photo as a polemic against the LBGTQ community.
Nope, neither his display name nor his profile violates Twitter’s Terms of Service.
What about the first clause of Twitter’s hate conduct policy? Did Gabe Hughes violate that? Even the woman accusing him of hate speech didn’t attempt to argue from that section. Oh, she later complained that he called people in that group a pandemic, though anyone reading his tweet could plainly see that he applied his comment to a lot of other sins infesting 21st Century society. He never suggested violence against any of the people who participate in the sins he listed. He merely observed the pandemic nature of those sins.
During our discussion, she asserted that the Bible limits its condemnation of homosexuality to instances of rape, prostitution and incest. As respectfully as I could, I asked her to show me where Scripture makes those distinctions, explaining that, in my 50 years of reading the Bible, I’ve never seen any of those qualifiers. I wasn’t trying to win an argument — I wanted to get her into the Word for herself. At this writing, I haven’t heard anything more from her, but I’m praying that she will investigate God’s Word and come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So why am I telling you ladies about the encounter? Because it reminds me to think carefully when people come against us with emotionally charged accusations. They count on their appeal to emotions to in turn play on our emotions. After all, who wants to call people who experience homosexual desires a pandemic? Yet such appeals to emotion usually derails Biblical thinking, causing us to either compromise God’s Word or retreat from the conversation in shame.
We must therefore understand what their tactics are. Essentially, these conversations are spiritual warfare — not against people themselves, but against ungodly ideologies. The apostle Paul outlined the true nature of the battle:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. ~~2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NASB95)
When Christians boldly confront sins, unrepentant people will often react emotionally before they will think critically. They will look for ways to shame us, thinking that doing so deflects attention away from their own guilt. Although it’s frustrating when such things happen, this sort of public shaming must be expected.
The apostle Peter acknowledged this fact, and he comforted Christians who suffered such verbal abuse.
3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. ~~1 Peter 4:3-6 (NASB95)
We don’t need to soothe guilty feelings. On the contrary, God calls us to proclaim that Jesus died to atone for their sins so that the Holy Spirit would enable them to live in righteousness. Not everyone will believe our message, of course. And that’s between them and God. We only have the responsibility to speak the truth reasonably, keeping Scripture as our authority. Pastor Gabe did this. May his example inspire us to do the same.Follow my blog with Bloglovin