As a Christian man, I struggle with sin; “Struggle” being the key word. The apostle Paul spoke of the ongoing battle that is a part of every Christian’s life. We can draw comfort from his words, knowing that our experience is not unusual— that we are not failing as Christians because we are engaged in a fight.
I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:21-23 NASB)
This struggle can sometimes wreak havoc in us mentally, spiritually, and even physically. As a help, we should “lean on” one another. As a man, I find it helpful to talk about my latest sins and temptations with other Christian men. In fact, the bible tells us we should do so in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.“
In “confessing,” however, it would be oxymoronic to boast of sin or temptations to sin. John MacArthur tells us, “Confession is two things. The word in the Greek is ὁμολογέω (homologeo), to say the same thing. It’s agreeing with God that you sinned, and it’s turning from it. It isn’t asking to be forgiven. It is saying, ‘God, I’ve sinned. I thank You for already forgiving me, and I turn from it.'”
“Pastor Andy Stanley has declared that local congregations should be the ‘safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.'”
What does he mean by “safe”? Safe from what? I am unaware of any Christian churches causing physical harm to their homosexual youth. However, I do believe Pastor Stanley is at risk of causing them the worst possible spiritual harm. He goes on with his vision for churches:
“We just need to decide, regardless of what you think about this topic— no more students are going to feel like they have to leave the local church because they’re same-sex attracted or because they’re gay. That ends with us.”
Is that because they are not going to be told that homosexuality is a sin? It certainly sounds as though Pastor Stanley is making the same error as many “seeker-sensitive” churches: trying to be attractive to people at the expense of the true Gospel.
Imagine a pastor saying something similar about thieves, “Our church should be the safest place to talk about anything, including stealing. No more thieves are going to feel like they have to leave our church because they’re shoplifters or because they’re robbers. That ends with us.”
Such a thought is absurd, but absurdity is what we’re dealing with in removing shame from sin. Shame is a good thing, if such shame is about that which offends God. Paul said while admonishing the Corinthians in his first letter, chapter 15 verse 34, “Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.“
The prophet Isaiah spoke of those who had no shame about their sin in Isaiah 3:9, “The expression of their faces bears witness against them, And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.“
When Simon Peter was confronted with the divinity of Christ in Luke 5:8, he felt none other than shame about his own sinfulness, “But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
The Christian Post article continues:
“During his remarks, Stanley also introduced a plan for churches to ‘take a break’ from the culture wars for a year and change the nation through internal example.
‘If all the Christians for just one year… would quit looking at porn… would quit smoking weed, would quit having premarital sex, would quit committing adultery, would pay their taxes and every church just foster one kid; in one year our nation would feel different,’ said Stanley.”
Any so-called Christian living in unrepentant sin should rightly have their salvation called into question. The problem is, I don’t know of any Christian that unrepentantly views pornography… or smokes marijuana… or has extra-marital sex. I don’t hear them boast of how they want to continue in their sin and still be considered Christians. Homosexual “Christians”, on the other hand, demand to not only be accepted, but applauded and celebrated in their sin.
Pastor Andy Stanley does not call homosexuality a sin. Now, it seems, he feels compelled to call other churches to stop preaching the whole counsel of God. He’s bought the lie that shame is always and everywhere something to be avoided. Again, Godly shame is always a good thing. It is the vilification of shame that should be, well, shameful.
“Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done?
They were not even ashamed at all;
They did not even know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time that I punish them,
They shall be cast down,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 6:15)