Throwback Thursday: Distinctively Loving

Originally published September 21, 2015:

Rainbow Heart

When, pray tell, did liberal culture determine that standing for Biblical values, particularly (but not exclusively) in relation to homosexuality, constitutes hate? The very people that demand love and tolerance from Christians show the least tolerance toward those who view their lifestyle as sinful.

And yes, I realize that people claim homosexuality as an identity rather than a behavior. I even sympathize with their conviction that homosexuality is “who” they are. In most cases, such people have genuinely felt different from their same sex peers early in childhood, and sometime during puberty they sexualize this feeling. Therefore, they understandably conclude that they were “born gay.”

Admittedly, I present an over-simplification of the situation, but not as much of an over-simplification as many might have us believe. I only mean to say that I reject the notion that anyone consciously decides to experience same sex attraction.

Yet I also make a distinction between a person and their behavior. For example, I struggle with the sins of anger, greed and, selfishness, all of which I’ve exhibited  since early childhood. Scripture condemns these behaviors, even though I have reason to say, “That’s just who I am.” In obedience to the Lord, I repent of those thoughts, attitudes and behaviors, separating them from my identity. Similarly, I believe homosexual thoughts, attitudes and behavior don’t obligate a person to declare homosexuality as intrinsic to his identity.

Postmodern  culture demands that I make no such distinction. When I say that the Bible uniformly condemns homosexuality just as it condemns my ingrained sins of anger, greed and selfishness, people accuse me of bigotry and hatred. I resign myself to the reality that they characterize Biblical Christians in such terms, but I believe they make a mistake in so doing. Furthermore, I believe they err by judging Christians as haters.

The prevailing sentiment of postmodern society insists that we love people only by agreeing with their behavior. Love, according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, never requires a capitulation to sin.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~~1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Love requires Christians to extend kindness with an attitude of humility, but it also does not allow us to celebrate sin. My husband responds to my outbursts of anger with patience, for example, but he never condones them and he expects me to repent of anger. He wants me to repent precisely because he loves me enough to encourage me to obey Christ.

I don’t mind if liberal culture calls me to address people with kindness and patience. But I do have a hard time when they decide that I’m unloving simply because I believe that God’s Word prohibits homosexuality. Such an assessment shows an incomplete understanding of love.

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Flashback Friday: He Said, “Look Mommy — I’m Wearing A Dress!”

Originally published March 29, 2017:

glory-cloud

A few days ago, someone told  me that her three-year-old godson met his mother when she came to pick him up from preschool, greeting her with the words, “Look Mommy — I’m wearing a dress!” Horrified, his mother asked him why he was in a dress. He pointed to his teachers and claimed, “Them gave it to me!”

“Oh no,” the teachers argued, “we gave him a choice. We want our children to use costumes to express themselves.”

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When Innocence Is Taken From Children

Little Girl Welcoming Advanced Mask

Do you remember the days when children thought God looked down from heaven, saw who the married ladies were, and put babies in their tummies? Except for Mary, of course — Jesus was special because His real Daddy was God, not Joseph.

Until I was 12, I quite contentedly believed that scenario. When my dad died, I understood that God wouldn’t  give Mom any more babies because she was a widow. And, despite having two gay relatives, I knew nothing about homosexuality until I was 18.

Looking back, I’m thankful to have been a child in such an innocent era. It breaks my heart that children today can’t have the innocence that guarded my childhood.

As early as the mid-1970s, things changed. I remember sitting in the neighborhood park during my college years, waiting for my sister to retrieve me. A boy no older than nine approached me, obviously curious about my Read More »

Why I Started #TellUsBeth On Twitter, And How You Can Help

Dear Beth Moore

It’s been just over six months since Susan Heck, Michelle Lesley, Elizabeth Prata, Amy Spreeman and I published the Open Letter To Beth Moore asking her to clarify her position on homosexuality. Aside from some ambiguous Tweets and an admission that she softened her wording in the Kindle version of one of her books, she has never directly answered any of the questions we posed.

It’s odd hearing crickets at this time of year.

Beth doesn’t owe me, as an individual, an answer. She doesn’t owe Susan, Michelle, Elizabeth or Amy, as individuals, answers. I would even say that she doesn’t owe each of the 500+ women who signed the letter answers. Not as individuals.

However! Recently I reread Michelle Lesley’s post, The Mailbag: Questions about the Open Letter To Beth Moore. One point in particular made me think Read More »

How Should We Witness To Homosexuals?

Gay Evangelism

I remember a presentation Frank Worthen gave on homosexuality and ex-gay ministry back in the early 1980s. More accurately, I remember his reply when someone asked how she should witness to  homosexuals. He said that their primary need was the Gospel, not deliverance from homosexuality.

“If they don’t know the Lord, they’re going to hell anyway — what does it matter whether they’re gay or straight?”

Frank had a way with words.

I thought back to his answer during a recent episode of The Dividing Line this weekend. In that episode, James White responded to criticisms against Read More »

Yes, Jesus Ate With Sinners — But Do You Understand Why?

Rainbow HeartThe argument goes that,  since Jesus ate with people that the Pharisees regarded as sinners, He accepted them as they were. As a result, He would embrace those whom conservative Christians supposedly reject today. In particular, He would champion members of the LBGTQ community, and shame on conservative Christians for calling their sexual orientation sinful!

Christians who believe that homosexuality and transgenderism require repentance constantly hear that we should follow Jesus rather than following Bible verses that condemn homosexuality and transgenderism. Jesus, they remind us, hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes, giving us an example to follow. When we dare to speak out against sexual sin — especially those sins under the LBGTQ umbrella — we face enormous censure for evidently failing to be Christlike.

But maybe we ought to look at an instance of Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors. In this episode, Jesus has just called Levi (also known as Matthew) to follow Him. Luke 5:28 plainly says, please notice, that Read More »

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 Read More »

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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