A great article a friend posted on Facebook that I wanted to share here.
Thomas Brooks’ book Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices talks about various ways the Christian is dissuaded from the life Christ wants him or her to live. One such idea is to present God as made up entirely of mercy, to the exclusion of other things which can be said about him.
One way the Christian can fight the urge of our time to view God this way is to consider that the people of God who have gone before didn’t consider God’s mercy as an excuse to sin. The psalmist wrote,
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.
4 I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.
–Psalm 26:3-5, ESV
In light of my previous post about an abusive church environment, at least one person has rightly pointed out that no one forced me to stay as long as I did. One of the reasons I stayed as long as I did was that there was work to do for the sake of the Gospel…and most of the work, I did alongside the very people who didn’t particularly want me there. But they, and I, wanted to see the Gospel go forth. They and I are creatures of inconsistency, and I have at least as many idols as most people–but probably more. Continue reading
From the time I was a small child, I’ve worn a uniform. Not a school uniform, not a uniform on a sports team. Ok, so I *did* wear a physical uniform all ten (yes, ten) years of marching band–four in high school for Hazelwood East HS in St. Louis and six during my undergrad at Missouri State (formerly Southwest Missouri State).
The uniform I’ve worn is that of a conservative Christian. It’s not as nice-looking as it once was. It’s worn in the knees and I think the shirt is a bit tattered. It’s still recognizable, though. I made it well past the age of 21 before I got drunk or kissed anyone. (I have yet to do both at the same time.)
I’ve never dated.
I made it well past 25 before I even *tried* to smoke. (I don’t care for it…except for hookah. Hookah is amazing.)
I’ve carried a Bible to school since the fourth grade and to church since I was too young to recall.
And I’ve believed that God, through the words of Scripture, has the final say on what I do with my body in my spare time. I’ve spent a great deal of time on telling others through this blog about the good news of Christ and the importance of repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Christ.
However, for some, this is not enough.
This morning, an Australian pastor I follow on Twitter asked me two questions about homosexuality because he’s going to be talking about it to his congregation. So I dashed off this email prior to hitting the gym this morning.
1. As a Christian who has same-sex attraction, what are some of your challenges that you face in your daily life?
Because of my orientation, I develop crushes on guys. This should be no surprise, since guys have crushes on and are attracted to girls all the time…and girls, the same with guys. Two things happen: internally, it’s hard to escape condemnation, especially when the guys I’m attracted to are godly men and that’s one of the reasons I like them in the first place. Externally, it’s difficult to be open about just the reality of the crush situation because I fear that it will push away men in my life who will fear that I’ll crush on them at some point, instead of trusting that I can sort it out in community and with God’s help in my sanctification.
I’ve been bullied by other Christians in a couple of ways. Once, I was slandered by a fellow church-member who thought that by telling the world on my mother’s facebook wall that I was a homosexual and that I’d lied to the elders in order to teach Sunday School and lead worship on Sunday mornings that somehow he’d scored a victory for the truth. The reality was that the elders had known I was gay but celibate and had allowed me to serve and lead because of my repentance. But since I’m not “out” everywhere on Facebook to all of my friends, it was hurtful. The man never did apologize and the elders didn’t take action. I left that church, of course.
What should pastors do to keep their noses clean…or, as we say in the Christian world, themselves pure? Randy Alcorn has an article which has been highly distributed over the years which I would like to comment on.
In 1989, the book Sins of the Body was published in The Leadership Library, edited by Terry Muck. It featured articles written by a wide variety of Christian authors. The article which shares the same name as this blog post, was written by Randy Alcorn. Christianity Today has the article available on its website here. Recently, some folks asked me what I thought of Randy Alcorn. It’s been a significant amount of time since I’ve read a book by him, but I wanted to sketch out the apprehension I have for Alcorn using this article as a foil.
My operating assumption is that Randy Alcorn doesn’t understand law and gospel properly and therefore gives rather toxic advice. Alcorn offers himself as the example instead of Christ and in doing so, contributes to the problem.
The words of the title still echo in my ears. I’d been called to my previous pastor’s office over the contents of my December 1st blog post, simply because a couple of people had forwarded the post to him. These individuals hadn’t understood fully what I meant in my post and were not, according to my pastor, seeking to accuse me of any sin.
In Paul’s letter to Titus, Paul lays out some protocol for those in Titus’ pastoral care. In verses 1 & 2 of chapter 3, Paul exhorts Titus to “remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” As an evangelical who edges closer to confessional Christianity each passing day, I affirm the authority of Scripture to determine faith and practice. So let’s look at the context in which this exhortation is given.