Pastors who cannot preach the simple message of the transforming power of the Gospel to free homosexuals from their sin, ought to resign from the pulpit before causing further damage.
Here is the truth:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor. 6:9-11
“There is NO love in being kind, and gentle, and welcoming, and “affirming”, or “standing with them”, (whatever that might mean), if you DO NOT preach the Gospel plain and simple. It is the opposite of love; it is cruel and wrong and unbiblical.”
Those were my words in response to “rumfordrev”, a pastor who left comments on my blog post Eastern Nazarene College Rejects The Bible, Moves Towards Affirmation of Homosexuality. He responded in defense of chaplain Corey McPherson, who in April 2012 preached a message to the Eastern Nazarene College students titled “Homosexuality: What Does God Think?” Listen to the entire message if you will and judge for yourself, especially those of you who have an investment in either your children, or youth from your church who are attending, or thinking of attending a Nazarene college. I had characterized Dr. McPherson as one who “speaks more like a confused college student, rather than a spiritual leader who is supposed to give biblical guidance to the students.” His unapologetic boasting of having shared communion and worship service with a homosexual pastor and his congregation is one of the many disturbing things I found in his message.
In his defense of Corey McPherson, (see comments at my blog) you will not find a clear defense of biblical teaching on this subject from rumfordrev, and that illustrates one of the problems in the Church of the Nazarene today. Certainly, there are still pastors and chaplains who, without wavering and making excuses or condemning the church for its faults, will articulate what God clearly teaches about sin, whether it is homosexuality, or any other sin. Yet today I find more and more examples of a kind of compromise, sometimes very subtle, that is trying to make some kind of distinction in defining homosexuality, and raising this sin to a special position that it does not warrant.
Many of us are seeing a trend in the Church of the Nazarene of a movement towards “affirmation” and acceptance of homosexuality as “okay” and normal. I think it is just a matter of time, and perhaps some might be in for a shock after General Assembly. Some of the previous examples of this trend were Point Loma Nazarene University and the gay student chaplain situation, in which he was allowed to continue in that position for a while; and the off campus gay support group hosted by the local Nazarene church in San Diego. Then we have had compromise by Trevecca Nazarene University, allowing a radical homosexual group to come onto its campus for “dialogue.” At Southern Nazarene University, the leadership’s bad judgment allowed a student newspaper to promote the “new view” of homosexuality; one quote said that “Christian circles are too quick to call homosexuality a sin, without ever having talked to someone who identifies as gay.” Eastern Nazarene College leadership recently approved a new support group for GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, and questioning student), as reported at my blog post of April 9.
Rumfordrev pointed out a quote from Dr. McPherson as indicative of a Christ-like approach, but he failed to address the serious problems with much of what was said, including the issue of having communion with a homosexual pastor, or worshipping with a gay affirming congregation, and he did not affirm agreement with my biblical answer to his question. What does this mean? I’m not sure, but for someone to suggest to me that I made personal attacks without being specific about it, and yet not agree clearly with me about the sinfulness of having communion with a homosexual “Christian”, and who himself stated “I am not responding to whether one can or can not be homosexual and Christian at the same time”, that leaves me asking: why would you not respond?
Affirming The Gay Lifestyle: What Does That Mean?
As examples of what Dr. McPherson said in his message, which I am working on transcribing, here are some disturbing quotes:
“You can’t help but put on a whole new perspective when someone you love is gay. I was gradually coming to the point where I was affirming the gay and lesbian lifestyle. By affirming I mean encouraging him and I mean believing that an active gay lifestyle in a committed monogamous relationship is acceptable by God.”
“Many of you already know the passages of Scripture that address or seem to address the issue of homosexuality. They are used as weapons to attack and abuse others even if the passage is quoted in the right text, it is done so in a manner that is demeaning and abusive. So I would not look to these texts, in fact I will not quote them at all.”
I would say to Dr. McPherson that first of all, if one of my children declared someday that they were gay, that the only perspective I would have is that of a grieving dad who was just told by their child that they were rejecting God and were living a life of what they wish to do, and not what God wants them to do. That’s all. Our perspective in any other way should never change. God’s word is applicable to all, whether they are related to you or not. What your responsibility would be is to lovingly tell that loved one that they are in sin, and are headed towards eternity in hell without God for rebelling against him.
Secondly, his failure to properly give the biblical teaching on homosexuality, without any ambiguity to those who were listening, was unfair to them, and wrong. Too many pastors now are talking about sexual orientation as a separate issue from homosexual acts. I was astounded when I heard this sermon by Rev. Rick Power of College Church in Olathe, KS, when he said the following (my emphasis in bold):
“as a community that is called to reflect the grace and forgiveness and hospitality of our Savior, we must thoughtfully and carefully respond to the questions of homosexuality, and sexual purity, and divorce. To say that marriage is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman …. doesn’t mean that we are slamming our doors or closing our hearts to gay and lesbian people. Not at all. We have learned that for the vast majority of individuals sexual orientation is not a choice, and it cannot be changed. If this is true then homosexual orientation in itself is not sinful. It may be a sign of the brokenness and fallenness of our world, but if it does not involve personal choice, it is not in itself sinful, and we have to make this distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual acts.”
Is this thinking coming out of the seminaries now? Are these ideas being driven by the emergent church crowd, of which many like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and others openly approve gay marriage, and believe now that you can be homosexual and remain Christian? What is the fascination with a kind of coddling of those who identify with this particular sin, but not with those who are involved in other types of sin? Where is the direct and clear, bold preaching that homosexuals can be freed from the bondage of their sin? Instead, we see pastors stating that they “affirm” them, and “stand with them”, but to what end? Is it to get more bodies into the church, and show everyone how “caring” you are?
I shudder to think that perhaps next month, the General Assembly might elect one, maybe even two, new General Superintendents who also believe in this unbiblical approach to dealing with homosexual sin. If so, the spiraling downwards of the Church of the Nazarene will continue at an even faster pace than I thought would happen. And the words of Rev. Power from his sermon makes me wonder: how many of his congregation that day were nodding their heads in approval, instead of standing up and objecting to his unbiblical view on homosexual sin? That should be of concern as well.
Not All Are Compromising
I remind you of the pastors in Rhode Island who stood up against gay “marriage” and publicly signed a petition expressing the biblical view that condemns such things. Not all evangelical pastors were on this list, and I wonder was it because they never saw the petition, or because they did not want to be identified as one who is against the radical political correctness of the day? Sadly, gay “marriage” has been foisted upon Rhode Islanders, with much thanks to some legislators who caved in at the last minute.
And there is Pastor John Lindell of James River Assembly in Missouri, another example of those ministers of Christ who refuse to water down the Gospel, and who do it in a loving way, in spite of accusations by the radicals and the compromising “pastors” who objected to his biblical views. Can you believe pastors objecting to a biblical assessment of homosexuality? That’s exactly how he was treated, and I will report on this further. In the meantime, his story can be read here, and the full context of his speech can be read here.
(On Wednesday, I will also post a response to the “sexual orientation” question, written by John Henderson, which addresses this fallacy being propagated by what seems to be a growing number of pastors).