Homosexuality, Salvation

Throwback Thursday ~ God Loves Gays

Originally published May 8, 2015god loves gays

Last week, as I was mindlessly flipping through Facebook, this picture caught my eye. It was attached to a news article about the Supreme Court’s hearing on same sex “marriage”. I was already at my saturation point with the reporting on the day’s events, but this picture just reached out and grabbed my heart.

“God loves gays,” the young man’s sign says. Rarely, perhaps never, has a statement been so beautifully true and so painfully false all at the same time.

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7-8

It’s true. God does love gays. He doesn’t love them because He sees what they might someday become after leaving the lifestyle behind. He doesn’t love them because they’re great “fixer upper” projects. He doesn’t love them because He feels sorry for them. He just loves them. Right where they are. Not after they get cleaned up. Now.


 God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Have you ever really thought about the implications of that statement?

God loves the homosexual man while he is sodomizing his partner.

God loves the gang banger while he is pulling the trigger of his gun.

God loves the prostitute while she is servicing her client.

God loves the child molester while he is violating that precious little one.

God loves the atheist soldier in a godless country while he is torturing Christians.

In the deepest, blackest night of our sin, God loves each and every one of us. Only a profoundly, unfathomably good and kind God could, or would, do such a thing.

But the story doesn’t end there.

You see, as unbelievable as it is that God could love someone so drenched in evil, He takes things a step further. God’s love motivated Him to act.


while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Rescue. Redemption. Salvation. However you want to put it, God personally came down and sacrificed Himself so that even the most wretched sinner would have a way out. No more enslavement to evil. No more being pawns of the devil in his never-ending quest for revenge against the King. No more separation from God, now, or in eternity.

God drove a cross-shaped stake into the ground at Calvary and said, “No more.”

God does love gays. And murderers. And child rapists. And hookers. And even prideful, rebellious, good little Sunday School girls like me. But not like this young man’s sign implies. He thinks God shows love by approving of his homosexuality. But an all-powerful God who would say He loves sinners and yet leave them to rot in their sin without lifting a finger to help them isn’t loving. Isn’t all-powerful. Isn’t God.

God does love you, my young friend. You simply have no idea how much.

Gospel, Homosexuality, Salvation, Sin, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Cancer: A Love Story

Originally published April 7, 2013cancer love story

Cancer.

The dreadfulness of the word hung heavy in the air between Jana and her friend Denise.

“The doctor says it’s terminal,” Denise choked, “I’m so confused. I don’t know what to do.”

Jana’s heart broke as she envisioned the difficult emotional road ahead for Denise and watched the tears streaming down her face.

“I’d do anything to take that pain away,” thought Jana. “Anything.

For days after they parted, Jana’s thoughts were consumed with how she could help Denise accept and feel better about her condition. By the weekend, when they met for coffee, Jana was ready.

“Denise,” she began, “I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and I think I know why you’re so uncomfortable with having cancer.”

“Oh? Why?” asked Denise.

“Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be fighting against the idea of having cancer. It’s a completely natural biological event. In fact, you were probably born genetically predisposed to cancer. It’s part of who you are. Accept it and embrace it as something that makes you unique and wonderful!”

Denise seemed skeptical, but Jana plunged ahead.Girlfriends Enjoy A Conversation

“You’re also worried about what other people will think of you. Maybe they’ll think you’re weak and try to help you with things that you’d rather do for yourself.”

“But maybe I’ll need some help,” Denise suggested quietly.

“Nonsense!” Jana retorted, “Having cancer doesn’t make you different from anybody else. It’s exactly the same as not having cancer. What we need to do is show that to the world. Maybe we should have a rally for cancer equality!”

“Jana, that’s great and all,” Denise whispered somberly, “but I’m going to die. That makes all the stuff you’re talking about seem a lot less important.”

Jana seems like a very loving and kind person, but does the “help” she was offering Denise seem…well…helpful?

What if I told you that during this entire scenario, Jana personally knew a doctor who had a proven cure for Denise’s type of cancer, and was giving it away, yet Jana never told Denise? How loving and kind does Jana seem now?

Now read back through this story and substitute “homosexuality” for “cancer”.

We live in a culture that tells Christians that we are to “love” our homosexual friends and loved ones by embracing homosexuality as good and natural. We even hear people who claim to be Christians saying this. But is this how the Bible defines love? Is this how Jesus loved people?

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:10-11

Think back over the encounters Jesus had with people, from the woman at the well, to Zaccheus, to Nicodemus, to the woman caught in adultery, to the rich young ruler, to anybody else Jesus ever interacted with.

Did Jesus ever “love” someone by telling him it was OK to stay in his sin?

No, He didn’t.

Jesus loved sinners by calling them to repentance, forgiveness, and a new life in Christ.

Why? Because it isn’t love to help the slave to embrace his chains. It’s love to set him free.

Christ loved us by going to the cross and becoming the propitiation –satisfying God’s wrath—for our sins. He laid down His life for our freedom.

And, Christian, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. We must lay down our opinions, our politics, our ideas of what we’d like the Bible to say, maybe even our actual lives, in order to help people know freedom in Christ. We have the cure for their spiritual cancer—the gospel—and it is not “love” to knowingly misdiagnose them or keep that cure from them.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

blurry-sky-cross
But as important as it is to rescue the perishing, there’s an even greater issue at stake here for those of us who claim the name of Christ.

For our sin, our Savior endured wrongful conviction, ridicule, mockery, and bullying.

For our sin, our Savior was slapped, punched, spit on, had His beard yanked out, and thorns and brambles mashed into His skull.

For our sin, our Savior had the skin flayed off His back, buttocks, and legs, whipped nearly to death until He was a bloody mess.

For our sin, our Savior, beaten, bloody, and broken of body, hoisted a heavy, splintery cross onto His shoulders and carried it through town and up the hill to His execution.

One nail.

Two nails.

Three nails.

For your sin. For my sin. For our neighbors’ sin.

How dare you, or I, or anyone spit in the face of our bleeding, dying Savior by saying that the sin that put Him on the cross is OK?

How dare we?

How can any of us claim to love Christ while celebrating the nails, the spear, the crown of thorns?

By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 2:5b-6

Jesus walked the way of leading people to repentance from sin and to the beauty, the freedom of a glorious new life through faith in Himself. Will we, who say we abide in Him, love Jesus and our homosexual neighbor enough to walk in the same way in which He walked?

Mostloving

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Nabeel, Spiritual Leadership, Essential Oils…)

 

Today’s edition of The Mailbag is a tad different in format. Usually, I answer one reader’s question in a long form article. Today, I’m addressing various questions from several readers in a “short answer” format.

Just a reminder- I changed my comments/e-mail/messages policy a few months ago, so I’m not responding individually to most e-mails and messages. Here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Have you heard of Nabeel Qureshi? What do you think of his teaching and ministry?

I know little about Nabeel except that he was saved out of Islam and now has a ministry that centers on evangelizing Muslims. I’ve never listened to him speak or read any of his books, so I can’t comment one way or the other on the doctrinal specifics he teaches.

However, he is not someone I’d recommend anyone follow. Tragically, Nabeel was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago, and shortly thereafter decided that the thing to do would be to head to Bethel “Church” in Redding, California to have them pray over him for supernatural healing. If you’re not familiar with Bethel, or its leader, Bill Johnson, you may wonder why that’s problematic.

It’s problematic because Bethel is basically ground zero for the New Apostolic Reformation heresy- the most dangerous and destructive heresy attacking the church at large today. Dozens of Christians familiar with NAR false doctrine urged Nabeel on social media not to go to Bethel, and Nabeel blew them off, went anyway, and came back downplaying Bethel’s false teaching as minor, inconsequential differences in theology.

Nabeel also apparently believes in extra-biblical revelation as evidenced by this July 2017 Facebook post:

Cancer is a horrid, painful ordeal. I sympathize with Nabeel’s suffering and have prayed for him. But as our Lord so beautifully demonstrated at His temptation in the wilderness and on the cross, even the worst kind of suffering is not an excuse to compromise Scripture or disobey God.

Popular False Teachers (Bethel/Bill Johnson)
What is the New Apostolic Reformation?


Do you have any resources you’d recommend for women who are married to men who aren’t leading spiritually?

I know it can be really frustrating and painful when you desperately want your husband to be the spiritual leader of your home and he either can’t (because he’s not saved) or he won’t (due to spiritual immaturity, fear, disobedience, etc.)

I’m sure there are books and resources out there that at least touch on this topic, but I don’t read a lot of materials about marriage, so I’m not familiar enough with any to recommend them. (Perhaps someone reading this might like to make a suggestion in the comments? Doctrinally sound authors only, please.) Grace to You’s resources and store and Ligonier’s learn and store are always a good place to look for solid books and resources.

There are a few things I would recommend aside from marriage books, however:

♦ Pray for your husband, and be prepared that you may be in it for the long haul. If he’s not saved, pray for his salvation. If he’s saved but disobedient in this area, pray for his obedience, and ask God to show you how to encourage and help (not nag) him along the way. Ask God to increase your love, understanding, and compassion for your husband.

♦ If your husband is saved and willing to lead but feels inadequate, see if you can find him some help – a Christian men’s group, an older gentleman in your church who’d be willing to disciple him, some counseling sessions with the pastor – if he’s open to the idea of you helping or suggesting in this way. Be careful not to be pushy or bossy about these things or harp on him about attending.

♦ Be faithful to your personal Bible study time. First of all, you need it. Second of all, it sets a good example for your husband.

♦ Any time your husband makes the slightest step toward godly spiritual leadership, encourage him and affirm his leading. That sounds easy right now, but, at least early on, part of that is going to include you submitting to some decisions he makes that you don’t agree with. As long as those decisions aren’t unbiblical, grit your teeth and submit, because…

♦ The Bible says your behavior can have a tremendous impact on your husband. Take some time to study 1 Peter 3:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 7 (especially verses 12-16). These passages both deal with wives who have unbelieving or disobedient husbands, and how our behavior can either encourage them toward godliness or become a stumbling block to them.


Is it dangerous to be involved in yoga even though I don’t practice the meditation part of it? I just like the stretches and exercise I get from it. What are your thoughts?

“Dangerous” isn’t the word I’d choose. “Disobedient” is a better fit. Here are my thoughts (remember, the search bar is your friend):

Should Christians do yoga?


What’s your take on this essential oils craze so many Christian women seem to be into?

There are a lot of different facets to this question:

♦ Some companies who make and sell essential oils and some people who use them do so in conjunction with beliefs in chakras, energies, auras, and all that New Age movement jazz. (Sola Sisters and Christian Answers for the New Age have more in depth information on those issues.) No Christian should be dabbling around in occultic beliefs and practices.

♦ The oils themselves are spiritually “inert,” so picking up a bottle at the store is not a sin (though you might want to do a little research on the store and/or company that makes the oil to make sure you’re not financing beliefs you don’t want to support).

♦ There are multi-level marketing (MLM) businesses that sell essential oils in the same way people sell Tupperware or Pampered Chef. If that is the business you have chosen, make sure you’re not selling for a company that subscribes to the New Age stuff I mentioned above, don’t annoy your friends, and don’t make a practice of doing business at church. If you have a friend who MLM’s non-New Agey essential oils and you want to buy some, that’s absolutely fine, biblically speaking.

♦ If essential oils work on your minor ailments and that’s what you want to use instead of over the counter medications, there’s no Scriptural problem with that. Just be a good steward of the body and health God gave you and make sure you get proper medical attention for symptoms and illnesses that require it.


I read your article, Should Christians Attend Homosexual “Weddings”? and wanted to know, should Christians attend the wedding of a Christian and an unsaved person? What about the wedding of two unsaved (heterosexual) people?

I would advise Christians not to attend the wedding of a professing believer to an unbeliever due to Scripture’s admonition against this in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. As with a homosexual “wedding,” Christians should not be supporting, participating in, or giving the appearance of supporting, sin, and a believer marrying someone he or she knows is an unbeliever is sin.

There is no biblical prohibition against an unsaved man and an unsaved woman getting married, so unless there are other grounds on which you cannot support the union (for example- you know he abuses her or you know she’s been cheating on him during the engagement), you would not be supporting, participating in, or appearing to support sin by attending the wedding of two unsaved heterosexual people. (May I suggest a couple’s Bible or Bible study book as a wedding gift?)


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Homosexuality, Mailbag

Throwback Thursday ~ The Mailbag: Should Christians Attend Homosexual “Weddings”?

Originally published August 15, 2016

mailbag

 

“Should a Christian attend the wedding of a homosexual friend or loved one?”

Matt Moore, a Christian who was saved out of the homosexual lifestyle, does a beautiful job in this article of answering this question by first examining the two reasons Christians typically give for attending such weddings.

I would echo his responses to both of those reasons and agree with his answer that, no, Christians should not attend homosexual weddings. Attending a wedding implies that a person is in favor of the union, and no matter how much we love the person, Christ calls us to love Him more and not participate in or give approval to sin.

Speaking of lost people who approve of the sin of others, Romans 1:32 says:

“Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

If it is an abomination to God for sinners to give approval to the sins of others, how much more abominable is it in His sight for Christians to give approval to the sins of others?

I love this quote from Matt’s article:

“Yes, God is love. Yes, God is merciful and gracious. But God’s love, mercy and grace are saturated in holiness and that is why his Son was mutilated on a Roman cross for our sins. God hates sin. If we want our lives to show unbelievers the true character of our loving and holy God, we must be people who set ourselves apart from the evils of this world. And a gay marriage ceremony is a celebratory glorification of blatant evil. A Christian abstaining from a loved one’s ceremony would give witness to the holiness of God – a characteristic of His which most are failing to believe still exists.”

Additional Resources:

Should I attend the wedding of a gay friend or family member? by Denny Burk

Should Christians Attend Gay Weddings? Does It Matter Whether They’re Religious or Secular? by Randy Alcorn and Kevin DeYoung


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Should Christians Participate in Boycotts?

I’m taking a few days off. Please enjoy this selected article.

This article was originally published on September 19, 2014 as part of my In Case You Were Wondering series, which was the “beta version” of The Mailbag (our regular Monday feature). 

Boycott

Should Christians boycott businesses or charities that financially support abortion, homosexual marriage, or other unbiblical things?

This question has gotten a lot of attention lately because of the ice bucket challenge and the ALS charity that funds embryonic stem cell research. I think whether or not to boycott a business or charity is something every Christian needs to decide for herself based on Scripture and her own conscience. Some good Scriptures to study to help with your decision are 1 Corinthians 8 and 10:23ff, and Romans 14:5-12.

Since there’s no one right answer to this question, I’d like to just share with you how I have come to handle it in my life, in case it might be helpful.

I used to do boycotts (I was on an e-mail list that was basically a constant call to boycott this or that business), but it got to the point where there were so many companies and subsidiaries of those companies that donate here and there to unacceptable causes that it was impossible to track all of them down and keep up with them all. Since I would have felt like a hypocrite for boycotting one company but not another, I amended my “policy” on boycotting:

1. I don’t boycott places where I get necessities for my family–phone company, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. If there were a very big public splash about one of these places supporting something unacceptable and I had another option, I might reconsider a boycott.

2. If there’s an alternative to a “boycottable” business, I take it. For example, I would not donate to Komen because they support Planned Parenthood, but I might donate to another cancer/breast cancer charity that doesn’t.

3. If it’s not a necessity and there’s no alternative, I probably wouldn’t donate/buy/shop there. For example, within the last 5 years, Starbucks has, among other very publicized pro-homosexuality actions, filed a brief against DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and worked to support legislation in Washington state to legalize same sex “marriage.” Starbucks isn’t a necessity, and if there weren’t an alternative coffee place in my area, I would just do without. (Full disclosure- Starbucks is expensive and several miles from my house. My coffee maker is cheap and only several yards from my bed. So, I don’t go to Starbucks, but it’s because I’m broke and lazy, not because I’m boycotting.)

My way isn’t the perfect way, and there’s probably still some hypocrisy in it that I can’t see or reconcile, but it works for me.

For further reading:
Should Christians boycott companies that support anti-Christian policies? from Got Questions
Should Christians Boycott Boycotting? from The Gospel Coalition

Do you boycott any businesses for certain reasons?
How did you arrive at your decision to boycott?