Throwback Thursday: How Not To Subdue Pink Elephants

Originally posted November 1, 2017:

Pink Elephant

Funny how growing in the Lord and getting Biblical teaching changes the way one views things. A little over twenty years ago I left my position as correspondence counselor for an ex-gay ministry, largely because of my personal circumstances. Sure, a few things about the ministry bothered me a bit, but for the most part I believed in what they did. I accepted no criticism of them from any quarter.

To be clear, I still believe homosexuality violates God’s intent for sexuality. Those who engage in it, even if their engagement never extends beyond fantasy, stand guilty of sin. Furthermore I still believe homosexuality can, like every other sin, be forgiven and forsaken through the blood of Jesus Christ.

 And such were some of you. 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. ~~1 Corinthians 6:11 (ESV)

Over the passage of twenty years, however, I’ve come to question the wisdom of building an entire ministry around one specific sin rather than around the Lord. When people meet together, and especially when they live together in a residential program, should we really be surprised when they fall back into the very sin that they’re seeking to escape?

A friend once counseled me, when I was single and struggling with desires for marriage, that simply telling myself not to think about marriage would invariably backfire. “It’s like trying not to think about pink elephants,” she said. “The harder you try not to think about pink elephants, the more you think about them.” She was right. Try not to think about pink elephants, and see what happens.

The answer to controlling my fantasies wasn’t in thinking about how sinful my fantasies were. Nor was it in gathering with other single women and talking about the struggles to control our desires for marriage. We thought praying together and asking the Lord for psychological insight into the root causes for our desires would eventually free us from our bondage to romantic fantasies.

We ignored a simple principle from Scripture.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.~~Galatians 5:16-17 (ESV)

Walking by the Spirit means nothing other than filling our minds with God’s Word and ordering our lives in conformity with His teaching. It does require discipline, yes, and admittedly self-denial causes emotional pain. But the more we delight in the Lord, the less we want things that offend Him. Walking by the Spirit isn’t easy,  but it is certainly simple.

The Bible never advises us to surround ourselves with people who struggle with the same sin we do. Instead, it encourages us to look to Christ with a commitment to glorify Him.  In so doing, we really do experience victory over whatever pink elephants we battle.

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So She’s Almost Admitted It — What Do We Do Now?

Rainbow and CrossA week ago, Beth Moore made a comment during her TBN program, Staying Afloat on the Fellow Ship — Part 4, that subtly offers a clue that she leans toward the idea of homosexual attractions being morally neutral unless they result in sexual activity. I don’t choose to put the actual video in this article (lest it distract you from my main point), but you can watch it here, beginning at the 15.27 mark.

Elizabeth Prata wrote an excellent analysis of the clip in her essay yesterday, which I will also feature on this week’s Saturday Sampler.  Elizabeth decoded Moore’s handy Social Justice buzz words to help clarify that Moore indeed Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: Transforming America

Originally published on July 3, 2017:

Pray For AmericaOur country has recently passed the second anniversary of the Obergefell decision legalizing same sex marriage. Truthfully, even though I knew that the decision would have disastrous ramifications for Bible-believing Christians, I hadn’t expected those ramifications to appear so quickly. Thankfully, religious liberties haven’t completely disappeared yet, but most of us feel the pressure to affirm homosexuality as a good thing. Popular evangelical celebrities like Jen Hatmaker haven even declared boldly that God considers same sex marriages to be holy.

But, while the growing pressure to enthusiastically embrace the LBGTQ most assuredly endangers those of us who stand firmly on Scripture’s pattern for human sexuality, I don’t   believe it profits us to spend a lot of time and effort trying to reclaim America as a Christian nation. I am, frankly, increasingly doubtful that it ever truly was one.

Rather, it seems more appropriate for believers to understand that our primary citizenship is in heaven, making us aliens in terms of this world. If we are to be shocked that western culture now approves of homosexuality, perhaps we should be shocked that it took this long for such a shift to happen. After all, the world is simply acting like the rebellious world it is.

I’m by no means suggesting that Christians acquiesce to LBGTQ ideology, so please don’t misinterpret me as saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” That posture may make people like Jen Hatmaker feel good about themselves, but true Christians will hold fast to God’s standards. We’ll remember the words our Lord Himself spoke:

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ ~~John 15:18-25 (ESV)

For a while, for reasons I don’t at all comprehend, western society tolerated Biblical Christianity (or at least a semblance of it) for the past 500 years. Perhaps we’ve gotten used to being socially acceptable,  therefore forgetting that we can’t expect the world to line up with godly values. Jesus never promised that we could transform America into a land that honors Him. Instead, the Obergefell decision should transform Christians into a people who understand that this world is not our home.

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An Open Letter To Beth Moore

Dear Beth Moore

Below is a letter asking Beth Moore to clarify her position on homosexuality. Although I am not the author of this letter, I have signed it. Please post this on any and all social media platforms you use, and (if you have a blog) consider reblogging it. My fellow signers and I appreciate your help in bringing this important question to Mrs. Moore’s attention. Thank you.

Dear Mrs. Moore,

Hello – we hope this finds you doing well.

We as female Bible teachers ourselves write this letter to you in hopes of receiving clarification of your views on an important issue: homosexuality.

In the last few years, particularly since 2016, you have been very vocal in your opposition to misogyny and racism. Anytime a story with so much of a whiff of these issues comes to the forefront you are very quick to speak out. The actions of the Covington kids, for example, you said “is so utterly antichrist it reeks of the vomit of hell” in a January 19, 2019 tweet; a tweet you deleted, without apology to the kids, once the full video was shown that portrayed a very different reality than what initial reporting suggested.

It is this Johnny-on-the-spot readiness to engage issues related to misogyny and racism that makes your virtual silence on the issue of homosexuality so puzzling.

To your credit, in your book To Live is Christ: The Life and Ministry of Paul, you wrote, “I met a young man who had experienced freedom from the bondage of homosexuality” (pg. 119). This book was first published in 1997 and then republished in 2008 but it seems since then you have said very little if anything publicly about this issue.

Another factor prompting our open letter to you is the very public mutual affection and admiration between you, Jen Hatmaker and Jonathan Merritt.

Jen Hatmaker and you regularly exchange affirming posts of one another on social media. In just one recent example, Hatmaker on September 17, 2018 wrote “Beth Moore will enjoy my respect and devotion forever. She is worthy of being a mentor to an entire generation. And friends, I wish you knew how deeply and profoundly she has loved me these last two years” (Source). In an interview two years before this post, October of 2016, Jen Hatmaker said she was a “left-leaning moderate,” came out as fully supportive of homosexual marriage (saying it can be “holy”) and said practicing homosexuals can be part of the regenerate body of Christ (Source). It was then that LifeWay decided to pull all of her books from its shelves.

More recently, on April 9, 2019, Jonathan Merritt tweeted, “I no longer believe @BethMooreLPM is a human. I think she is an angelic being having a human experience.” (Source). Jonathan Merritt has admitted to having at least one homosexual encounter about a decade ago (Source). Today, by his own admission he rejects biblical inerrancy, says a “liberal Protestant” would be an accurate description of him, and says his sexual orientation he no longer views as “broken” (Source). In a crass response to Dr. Owen Strachan tweeting, rightly so, that there should never be an occasion in which men “cuddle” with one another, Merritt on May 1, 2019 tweeted in response, “C’mon, Owen. You can be my little spoon” (Source). Merritt also openly affirms that “queer” and LGBTQ people are included in God’s Kingdom and it is a “carrot of false promises” that the Gospel can make such people straight (Source, Source). He supports “Drag Queen Story Time” in which drag queens read stories to young children in public libraries (Source 27:40 mark). He even appears to doubt the exclusivity of Christ (Source).

Both Jen Hatmaker and Jonathan Merritt are known for their belief that practicing homosexuals can be Christians. Given that this is such a deeply held conviction that both share and this conviction (wrong though it is) has cost them both in their standing amongst theologically conservative evangelicals, and that they both praise you so highly, it raises the natural question as to where you stand on this issue.

Given his beliefs, Merritt publicly saying that he believes you to be “an angelic being having a human experience” strongly suggests that his high praise of you is, at least partially, rooted in your views on this issue that you have shared with him privately. It seems most unlikely that he would be praising you so highly if you had told him that as a homosexual man he will perish for all of eternity unless he repents. It likewise seems unlikely that Hatmaker (a married, straight woman) would praise you so highly if you told her that her affirmation of homosexuality and homosexual marriage is sinful and that she must repent.

When all of this is coupled with your total silence on homosexuality (in stark contrast to your very vocal stance on gender/racial/abuse issues) it naturally raises the question as to what your beliefs on it truly are.

With these factors in mind, and knowing that millions of people follow your teachings, we would like to ask you:

  1. Do you believe homosexuality is inherently sinful?
  2. Do you believe that the practice of the homosexual lifestyle is compatible with holy Christian living?
  3. Do you believe a person who dies as a practicing homosexual but professes to be a Christian will inherit eternal life?
  4. Do you believe same sex attraction is, in and of itself, an inherently sinful, unnatural, and disordered desire that must be mortified?
  5. Why have you been so silent on this subject in light of your desire to “teach the word of God?”

We ask these questions to you out of genuine concern. As Bible teachers, all of us are held to a very high standard and will give an account for how we handle God’s word.  As you know, homosexuality is widely discussed and debated amongst evangelicals and society at large.

Many families are affected by this issue. The most loving thing obedient Christians can do for them is to clearly communicate God’s truth. We look forward to your clarification on these pressing issues. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Susan Heck

http://www.withthemaster.com/

Debbie Lynne Kespert

http://www.headstickdeb.com/

Michelle Lesley

http://www.michellelesley.com/

Martha Peace

http://marthapeacetew.blogspot.com/

Elizabeth Prata

http://www.the-end-time.org/

Amy Spreeman

https://bereanresearch.org/ https://naomistable.com/

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Pride, Arrogance And The Seduction Of Western Culture

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Approaching the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Americans unabashedly celebrate Gay Pride Month. Boston has Rainbow flags everywhere; somehow I doubt its display is very different from most major cities. The way that Western culture champions the LBGTQ movement now makes it hard to believe that homosexuality was illegal just 50 years ago.

Although I don’t believe homosexuality should still incur criminal penalties, I do grieve that even professing Christians now embrace it. Bowing to public pressure, even evangelicals have begun compromising their convictions that the Word of God condemns all forms of sexual deviation. After all, merely saying that Continue reading

Heterosexuals Can Sin Sexually Too: How LBGTQIA Issues Have Made Us Forget Basic Sexual Morals

HibiscusAl Mohler reported on last Thursday’s edition of The Briefing that two characters on a popular PBS children’s program (Arthur) entered into a same sex marriage. All too obviously,  the writers developed this storyline for the purpose of normalizing homosexuality. Of course this news troubles me, just as it should trouble you. But it also made me think about our culture’s rapid deterioration.

I entered my teenage years in the mid 1960s. When I was 14 or 15, a neighborhood girl that I used to play with suddenly moved away from her parents’ home. Her parents had tried to Continue reading

The Followers Of Rachel Held Evans Need Compassion And Truth

Untitled-1For a short while in the late 1980s, I participated in an AIDS ministry. I remember my friend Bob Winter (who began the ministry in response to his own battle with AIDS) teaching us that it’s easy to be right and yet be very wrong. In other words, we can present truth, but in a manner that rides roughshod over the feelings of hurting people.

I’ve been thinking about Bob’s remark today as I’ve thought about the followers of Rachel Held Evans. These people have indeed been deceived by her liberal approach to Christianity — particularly her rejection of Scripture’s authority. They need Continue reading