In the wake of the Supreme Court’s gay “pseudo-marriage” ruling at the end of last month, it’s been nice to see Christians speaking out against the legalization of what God condemns. This historic ruling, unlike anything I’ve seen in my lifetime, has galvanized those on both sides of the issue. There is absolutely no room for “middle-ground.” You either support what I call “pseudo-marriage,” or you stand against it. But I have heard some Christians calling for the rest of us to be quiet on the issue. They say things like, “you won’t win anyone to Christ with talk like that.” To them I say, as Christians, we are called to respond to the society in which we live.
Matthew 28:19-20 [ESV] “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
As John MacArthur said of that passage:
If we were saved for fellowship then we would be taken to Heaven where fellowship is perfect. If we were saved for praise and worship we would be taken to Heaven where praise and worship is unhindered and perfect. If we were saved for the sake of teaching and training and knowledge and wisdom we should be taken to Heaven where knowledge is perfect. The reason we are left here is in order that we might make disciples of all the nations. That is our God-given priority as a church.
In other words, if you are saved, the reason you are still here is to spread the Gospel that bought you. We are to fellowship with other believers. We are to worship. We are to learn more of God and undergo a lifelong process of sanctification. But our main purpose is to share the Gospel with a lost and sinful world, in the hope that others would come to repentance and faith in Christ. This is not hateful. In fact, to NOT share the truth of the Gospel is the real hate.
The first part of proclaiming the good news is explaining the bad news. Why would anyone care about having their sins forgiven if they don’t even realize that they are sinning? Further, why would they care about how to get to Heaven if they don’t understand that they’re on the path to Hell? Hoping for their repentance should be the Christian motivation in calling out all forms of sin– whether it be adultery, pornography, alcoholism, greed, idolatry, or homosexuality. The world in which we live now sees calling out sin as “hate speech.” Still, it is our duty to proclaim the Gospel–the WHOLE Gospel–to a lost world. To not hold up the mirror of God’s Word and show them their sinfulness is the true “hate speech.”
This spreading of the Gospel is every Christian’s responsibility. It’s not just the job of a pastor or evangelist. So then, what do we have them for? Why do I need a pastor if it’s MY duty to spread the Gospel?
Ephesians 4:11-12 [ESV] “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”
There we have it. It’s a pastor’s job to equip the rest of us. We need to be taught, encouraged, exhorted, and prayed for as we go forth in sharing the good news of Christ. Part of the teaching they do should equip us to respond to our current society. They should talk about what the bible says about marriage. What does it say about human life and how does that relate to abortion? Talk about violence and how the Bible says God hates it. Talk about all these and more from a biblical perspective, so that we may give an answer to the world for the hope that is within us.
1 Peter 3:15 [ESV] “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
In light of this, I find it disappointing that many “celebrity” preachers and teachers have either not taken a stand on the gay pseudo-marriage issue, or they seem to be leaning toward the world’s side. I fear that, as Wilberforce said above, they are too afraid of causing offense to risk losing congregants (or viewers or readers). To name some:
- Joel Osteen – this article makes it clear that speaking out on gay pseudo-marriage just isn’t his thing
- Beth Moore – has been asked about her position repeatedly on social media, yet she remains silent
— TapatioAmericano (@missionarymel) July 2, 2015
Editor’s Note: It has been brought to our attention that Mrs. Moore wrote a piece on July 6th addressing how to move forward after the Supreme Court decision. Sadly, nowhere does she confirm homosexuality as sin. Instead, she says, “What’s not going to serve us well in this era is arrogance. We have to be willing to stare ourselves in the mirror and ask an honest question: does anybody out there in the unbelieving world want what I have? If we have the love and hope of Jesus and the joy of those who know they are forgiven and the security of those who know they are loved unconditionally, and the certainty of those who know where they are headed when this life is over, the answer to that question will be yes. If we’re grossly self-righteous and condemning and lack humility and gentleness and grace and genuine love, we can’t blame their resistance on being put off by Jesus. They’ll be put off by us.” In other words, if we talk to homosexuals about their sin, they won’t want Jesus.)
- Rick Warren – Who knows? In 2008, he made this video in support of California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state. Then, in 2009, he said he “never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.” In 2013, he did this interview with Piers Morgan, where he had more of an issue with grammar than sin, stating, “I’m more against the redefinition of the term ‘marriage’ than anything else.” I haven’t been able to find anything new out of him since the Supreme Court’s decision was announced.
And finally, Perry Noble – in his latest blog post, he shirks his pastoral duty to equip his flock in spreading the Gospel, much as he did back in 2009 when he called them “jackasses” for wanting to go deeper into the study of God’s word.
At the start of his article, Noble takes this verse from the Old Testament completely out of context.
2 Chronicles 7:14 [ESV] “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.“
Noble says, “It is from this verse I believe the Christian community can clearly see how we should deal with the recent Supreme Court decision,” and, “This verse shows us, step by step, how the current situation should be handled.”
No, we can’t, and it doesn’t. In this verse, God is speaking to Solomon, regarding ancient Israel. It does not apply to Christians today. Not everything in the bible is about YOU. That said, we can learn some things from this verse, but not what Noble thinks. God does desire that we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from wickedness. But this says it best:
“What we cannot do is take a promise out of context, claim it for ourselves when it was never given to us, and assume that if we do these things God is bound and obligated to spiritually renew America. While we should continue to pray for our nation and seek God’s mercy and grace, the continued prosperity of our nation is dependent on exactly that: God’s mercy and grace, not a promise He has made us. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a magic formula for spiritual revival.”
From there, Noble comes up with this odd imagery of a “judgement seat” and a “mercy seat.” He says:
“In the Scripture it’s quite clear that God and God alone is the One who sits on the judgment seat. However, even a casual glance at the state of Christianity in America proves there are many Christians who have climbed into the judgment seat and have consistently pointed their fingers at sinners who are not living the way they should be…
And then there is the mercy seat, the place where people sit and understand we are all sinners saved by the grace of God, for the glory of God and are to be used for the purposes of God.”
God is the One who judges, and indeed has already judged. Am I sitting in the “judgement seat” by proclaiming what He has said in His Word? Can I no longer tell others that sin is sin? I am reminded of the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, in John chapter 4. In speaking with her, Christ did offer her eternal life. But He did it in concert with confronting her with her sin. He both pronounced the sinfulness of her lifestyle and offered her mercy. Should we not do the same? Noble continues:
“One of the things that has always been confusing to me is why in the world anyone would be surprised when someone who does not know Christ acts in a way that demonstrates they do not know Christ?”
Oh, I’m not surprised by it. But neither will I be silent or complicit in their sin. A bit later, Noble tosses in this tidbit:
“Only in the Church can a person who is dealing with obesity condemn a person who wrestles with homosexuality.”
Sorry to burst your bubble of pride there, Mr. Noble, but obesity isn’t a sin. Overeating is NOT gluttony. From Fred Butler:
“There are a couple of Proverbs mentioning ‘gluttons.’ Proverbs 28:7 is the most relevant for our discussion and it reads, ‘Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, But a companion of gluttons shames his father.’ Notice that a discerning son is said to be one who ‘keeps the law.’ Simply put, he loves and fears the Lord. However, the son who is ‘a companion of gluttons’ is the son who shames his father. It’s implied he doesn’t keep the law, nor does he fear God. The verses following contrast a good son with the ones who extort from the poor, who despises God’s law, and intentionally leads righteous people astray.”
I would also like to point out that equating homosexuality with other sins is wrong. At this point in history, homosexuality is different from other sins. Regarding the list of sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, from a Desiring God article, “It’s not the only sin mentioned, but it is different from all the rest, at least right now. At this moment in history, contrary to the other sins listed here, homosexuality is celebrated by our larger society with pioneering excitement. It’s seen as a good thing, as the new hallmark of progress.”
Noble does say some good things in his post. It’s not completely rotten. I can get on board with this:
“…let me clearly say that being humble does not mean we cannot have an opinion, it does not mean we cannot stand for truth, but it does mean that we take our stand on the foundation of compassion rather than condemnation.”
But then Noble proceeds to condemn us “judgement seat” Christians because we’re not engaging the culture quite like he thinks we should:
“There are too many people IN THE CHURCH enslaved by greed, addicted to porn and hooked on prescription drugs for us to sit in judgment of people who don’t even know Christ.
Before we make an attempt at cleaning up the world we need to clean up our own house and our own lives.”
Right. So if we get EVERYONE in the church living a COMPLETELY sanctified life, then can we please confront the world with its sin? I praise God that Christians of the past did NOT clean up their own houses and lives entirely before making “an attempt at cleaning up the world.”
- I would wage that William Wilberforce still had a fair amount of sin in his local church as he worked to abolish the slave trade in Great Britain.
- Should Dietrich Bonhoeffer have cleaned up his own house a bit more before taking a stand against Hitler and speaking out against the persecution of the Jews?
- Modern-day Christians who plead with women outside of abortion clinics not to kill their unborn babies probably have some sin in their churches, even in their own lives.
Don’t let me misrepresent Perry Noble here. He says he is not supportive of gay pseudo-marriage. He says he is against it, but he calls the rest of us to task for speaking the truth in love to a lost and dying world. He concludes, in part, with this:
“I’ve said it all through this article, and I will say it again– healing in the U.S. begins when Christians step out of the judgment seat and into the mercy seat.”
That’s a false dichotomy. We should tell the world of the judgement that God has already pronounced. And we should also tell them of the forgiveness that is available if they will but repent and put their faith in Christ. That is the reason– the only reason– they we are still on this planet.
In conclusion, on the issue of gay pseudo-marriage, Perry Noble, and a lot of other Christian leaders, are taking the easy way out. They claim to be against it, yet they will not meaningfully engage the opposition, nor will they equip their flocks to do so.
This is to the peril of the Church.