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SOME BRIEF NOTES ON CONTENDING WITHOUT BEING CONTENTIOUS

by Holly Sprenger Garcia  

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

 We have contending and we can be contentious… Two different things. We contend for the faith, or we are accusatory and can be contentious. Let’s sharpen iron with GOD’S WORD, not our feelings, experiences, beliefs, our even our word… Let’s wait on our Master, and let our heart be right with Him. Search our hearts Lord. (Psalm 139:23-24)

■A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike;Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand.As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; So he who waits on his master will be honored. As in water face reflects face, So a man’s heart reveals the man. Prov 27:15-19

 ■MOLD ME MAKE ME LORD: Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. PR 31:25-26 

This goes BOTH ways, for not only the one contending for the faith, but for those Christians who oppose them, we need to remind ourselves of many passages. Frequently I see people come in to accuse those contending. They ask if you have prayed for them, they say, “they do not want to run out to lynch someone”, or “they don’t want to be condemning” (we should not condemn but speak the Word and hold up all to the light) or “judge not lest be judged”, “or have you used Matthew 18”, or cries of unity, or the funny one that I see frequently is, “You are so judgmental”… The irony escapes them.

■So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER,  AND NEED TO STOP DESPISING OTHER’S GIFTS,  ALONG WITH REALIZING THAT SOME DO NOT HAVE THE SAME UNDERSTANDING. SLOW TO SPEAK…

■FALSE UNITY: WHAT IS UNITY? It says, all these things are to equip us, edify the body, till we come to a unity of THE FAITH and of THE KNOWLEDGE of the Son of God….WHY? That we should no longer be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.

SO, WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

Speak the truth in love, WHY?

■So that we may GROW UP in all things INTO HIM….

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:13-16

■“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16

We have to watch out for how we reveal the truth, how we handle ourselves, and being careful of our speech. For those in the body who oppose those who are exposing a false teacher, and you disagree, you are only doing others harm by claiming they are “a brother” or “a sister” without ALSO having done your FULL proving.

■Attacking others for “TRASHING” a brother, or INSISTING they are a brother, is just as unhelpful as insisting someone is false or a wolf without laying out the case and discussing it.

■Never addressing or listening to the concerns of ecumenism, or associations, or lack of God’s Word in the forefront, etc. is not productive, and I cannot possibly see how it can be honoring to Him.

■Both sides of a discussion on false teaching should always maintain sound speech and a lack of characterization of the other side. We do not have the perception of Jesus to call someone a viper, so let’s proceed carefully.

Otherwise, I believe the Word shows we should stay silent from making absolute statements on both sides, UNLESS we have spent enough time to PROVE ALL THINGS – by His Word. If someone won’t hear you (not agree necessarily – (but hear you out) without getting angry, running off, accusing, or ignoring, then you may have to remember the patience we’re admonished to have with all men. We can be wrong, but another believer will generally hear us out, so that they can admonish us/reason with His Word with gentleness and patience. By the Way, Matthew 18 applies to a sin done to one person in private, then you keep it private, it has NOTHING to do with false doctrine. Nor should we rush out to apply it to someone we disagree with. We see things we may or may not like, but this doesn’t mean we should name names.

■But I believe we do have our marching orders in the verses below.

WE ARE ALL CALLED TO REVEAL THE TRUTH WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT.

So for those of you who feel discomfort when this happens, (you’re favorite teacher/pastor being mentioned), please understand how hard it is for the one who is speaking the truth. Certainly hold them accountable for how they do it, but don’t rush in to accuse them of a witch hunt, and/or pepper them with questions without having had the decency to do your own homework, with the info they already provided.

AND WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO WITHDRAW FROM THOSE WE SEE IN THIS PASSAGE BELOW:

■If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. I Tim 6:3-5

WE ARE TO KNOW AND BE IN THE MEAT OF HIS WORD SO WE CAN DISCERN BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL:

We are to take heed to the doctrine for a reason:

■Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. I Tim 4:16

■For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb 5:13-14

DO NOT EVEN GREET THOSE WHO DO NOT BRING HIS DOCTRINE:

■Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 1:9-11

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 O.K., This is where I’d like to address the people who hang out with the Rick Warren’s of this world, or call Mitt Romney a Christian, or quote Henri Nouwen, or Ken Blanchard, Dallas Willard, link to others pages or products for sale, etc. The Pastors who go to conventions with them or call them brother. The people on FB who put them on their page. I understand completely some will be unknowing, but once you know, you better not compromise the truth of God’s Word, it’s not yours to compromise. So, if you pass along their info, “receive them”, “greet them”, then what?

■YOU ARE SHARING IN THEIR EVIL DEEDS.

I’d also like to address those who defend them as just authors, or fiction (i.e. the Shack) or say they are not pastors, teachers, etc. Please note most of these verses say, WHOEVER, or ANYONE, etc. and does not differentiate that they should not be STOPPED, MARKED, AVOIDED, NAMED, except that there was greater condemnation for the Pharisees or stricter judgment for teachers. And by the way, if YOU are taking teaching, reading an author’s books, sharing them on FB, thereby recommending their speech, YOU are also sharing in their evil deeds. We need to try so hard to be careful, we can all make mistakes, but don’t turn around a snap if someone points it out to you, but be quick to listen, go take some quiet time in prayer and His Word to look for yourself.

■ALL ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO THESE PASSAGES BY GOD’S WORD. DON’T EXCUSE THOSE WHO ARE PROPAGATING FALSE DOCTRINE AS NOT BEING “DISCERNING”. WHAT DO WE SEE FROM THE SCRIPTURES I’VE SHARED SO FAR, AND ALSO BELOW AS OUR RESPONSIBILITY? (See if I have missed some)

1.Know His Word.

2.Use His Word, not yours.

3.Be in the MEAT of His Word.

4.Take Heed to His Word.

5.Correct with His Word.

6.Don’t associate with those who will not CONSENT with sound words, withdraw.

7.Get and use wisdom and kindness when you speak.

8.Be slow to speak, and quick to listen. Don’t be quick to wrath.

9.Not associate with those who don’t consent to sound words.

10.Have no fellowship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, Reveal the truth.

11.Find out what is acceptable to the Lord.

12.Expose those deeds.

13.Prove or test all things and Hold fast to that which is good.

14.Test the Spirits (Because there are MANY false Prophets)

15.Mark and avoid those who bring that divisive false doctrine.

16.Name Names.

1.Eph 5:10, 11, Heb 5:14, Rom 16:17-18, I John 4:1, I Thess 5:21

I’d also like to address the people who defend them as just being “undiscerning” or “deceived”. Go ahead and pray for them, but we cannot excuse as acceptable behavior.

These teachers/pastors/authors are not just being undiscerning (see Rom 1:31), they are being disobedient to God’s Word and we are NOT even to keep COMPANY with them. (2 Thess 3:14) They also are “sharing in their evil deeds” (2 John 1:9-11). Do we want to defend a “deceived” or “undiscerning” person, who is not in the meat of God’s Word, who do not obey His Word; who call themselves a Christian writer, apologist, speaker, teacher, pastor and then listen or share their writings or teachings?

■But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, DECEIVING and being DECEIVED. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. 2 Tim 3:13-14

WHY ARE WE ALL CALLED TO DO THIS? SO WE CAN CUT OFF THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD OTHERS ASTRAY TO THEIR DEATHS….

■But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light*. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Cor 11:12-15

* Angel of light, we need to remind ourselves, ministers of righteousness is what they will look like.

ECUMENICAL?

SPIRITUAL FORMATION?

DABBLING IN “CHRISTIAN” YOGA?

GOING TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

VISITING YOUR FRIEND’S MOSQUE?

TAKING PART IN REIKI HEALING, ETC.?

What does His Word instruct?

1) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 2 Cor 6:14-16

2) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor 6:16-18

■RENOUNCE AND EXPOSE: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Eph 5:8-11

I AM GUILTY OF FORGETTING THIS, HELP ME LORD

■Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in ALL THINGS showing yourself to be a PATTERN OF GOOD WORKS; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, SOUND SPEECH that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Titus 2:6-8

WHO WE DO AND DO NOT BREAK FELLOWSHIP WITH. HOW SHOULD WE ADMONISH THEM?

BELOW ARE BIBLICAL EXAMPLES AND PATTERNS FOR THOSE WHO ARE TEACHING OTHERWISE TO SOUND DOCTRINE, AND DOES NOT CONSENT TO WHOLESOME WORDS, OR DOES NOT OBEY THESE EPISTLES…

■WE WITHDRAW,

■WE DON’T KEEP COMPANY WITH THEM.

■WE MARK AND AVOID.

BUT LET’S BE VERY CAREFUL IT IS ABOUT SOUND DOCTRINE AND NOT NON-ESSENTIALS OR PRIDE, BUT DO KEEP IN MIND, IT IS GOD’S WORD THAT IS ESSENTIAL. Let’s also only offend in Christ and not in ourselves.

1.But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thess 3:13-15

2.If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. I Tim 6:3-5

3.But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 2 Thess 3:6

IS IT O.K. TO DISMISS BAD TEACHING OR KEEPING BAD COMPANY WITH THE COMMENT, “NOT EVERYONE IS DISCERNING?” WHAT DOES HIS WORD SAY BELOW?

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, UNDISCERNING, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are DESERVING OF DEATH, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Rom 1:28-32

Sounds pretty serious to me . . . and I have been there, there is not knowing, but we do need to test the spirits, and search the Scriptures to see if these things are so.  ESPECIALLY if we are recommending or taking teaching from one who may be teaching great error.

  • But solid food belongs to those who are of full agethat is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  Heb 5:14 

WE DON’T JUDGE WHETHER SOMEONE IS OR IS NOT A BELIEVER

(We can surmise, but we should speak to the fruits of bad doctrine)

This passage also gives us good advice of judging what a man speaks.  Is he/she REALLY speaking the Word of God?

  • He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 
  • A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt 12:30, 33-37

 

WE KNOW FALSE PROPHETS AND RAVENING WOLVES BY THEIR FRUIT’S….

RECENTLY I HEARD A WELL-KNOWN PREACHER, USING THE PASSAGE IN MATT 24, CHANGING IT TO SINGULAR, TO KNOW WHETHER SOMEONE WAS A BELIEVER OR NOT… BE CAREFUL… TAKE HEED….lest we fall… We can examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith, but we judge nothing before it’s time with a professing believer’s justification.  We certainly CAN and SHOULD judge unsound doctrine, associations (within the church) and behavior. (I Cor 5 & 6)

 

THIS PASSAGE SPEAKS TO FALSE PROPHETS (NOT NECESSARILY FRUIT INSPECTING OF OTHER BELIEVERS YOU SAW HAVING A BEER OR WHATEVER ELSE YOU MIGHT PERSONALLY LOOK DOWN ON) I am speaking to those who say definitively that people aren’t saved, I don’t believe we can be sure, and I know we can surmise they may in trouble based on lack of fruit of the Spirit or love for the brethren – but Jesus DID say Judge with a righteous judgment and not according to the appearance – the only place to find righteous judgment I know of, is from His Word, not mine): 

  • “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.  Matt 7:15-21
    • They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: Titus 1:16-2:1
    • But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Pet 2:1-3

(Not really even pointing to the obvious guys/women who are wearing Armani suits, or driving Bentley’s, or have 10,000 square foot mansions, or compounds, planes, or $23,000 gold toilet seats, but reminding us all that they are among us, and secretlybring in these destructive heresies.  And MANY will follow their deceptive ways, and most people don’t think they will be deceived, or led astray.  Who is it that is being misled if there are MANY DECEIVERS?)

■This comment was from me to a well-known ministry who was hooking up with Chuck Pierce of the NAR movement. “Please consider the fact that many will follow their destructive ways because you invited them to the occasion.”

But I’d like to admonish each and every one of us, we ARE to prove all things and hold FAST to that which is good. (I Thess 5:21), we ARE to be Bereans and SEARCH the scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11), we ARE to approach Him with humility and with a teachable attitude… (I Pet 5) May we all remember that.

I remember last year, someone from a Bible study had overheard me speaking of the  danger of  being involved with (yoga), she said, “Oh brother, I am too spiritually mature to be deceived”… I said no more, I was just saddened, I walked with her, and said if she ever wanted to know more, I’d freely share. But she has never asked, and to this day defends the practice. I pray the Lord protects her, and I pray she considers that MANY WILL FOLLOW THEIR DESTRUCTIVE WAYS…

And will it be because one of us haven’t done our proving? Or maybe we’d rather not have a disagreement or deal with the unpleasantness, but think of the alternative….MANY will follow their destructive ways…

EVERYONE… ALL BELIEVERS… ARE CALLED TO DO THIS:

■Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Rom 16:17-20

Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:104-105

IN THE END, WE NEED TO REMEMBER WHERE WE CAME FROM AND THE MANNER OF HOW TO RECOVER SOME FROM THE SNARE OF THE ENEMY. (And that should be our goal, not to be right, but to do right).

■Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:1-7

USE THE WORD TO JUDGE BY. THAT IS WHERE YOU WILL FIND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT.

Copyright 2012 Holly Sprenger Garcia

(This note may be shared in its entirety by anyone who chooses to use it for the glory of God. It is not for mocking nor to take it apart to either prove their own view, or to dishonor the Lord. It is free, none my work to be sold by another. These are some of the reasons why this is copyrighted – for those who agree with the reasons, please do share!). Also, I am always open to pointing out where I am wrong (I will be wrong), but please just do it with His Word 🙂

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CrossWise

[See also: Part I, The Christ Anointing and the Antichrist Spirit, Part II, Part IIIb and Part IV (Conclusion).]

Cosmic humanism forms the basis of the New Age Movement and related religious expressions, particularly Eastern mysticism.  It says that man is evolving toward a state of higher consciousness that will result in the attainment of godhood…

…Many have…adopted a form of cosmic humanism, believing that they are capable of achieving the same anointing of Christhood that Jesus had.  Their beliefs are predicated upon a new Gnosticism which appears so very Christian as to deceive even the elect if possible.  Through close examination, however, they are found in an error so serious that it threatens the stability of the churches in which these people fellowship and, in some cases hold positions of leadership. 

– Albert James Dager, Vengeance Is Ours85

Occultists…

View original post 3,671 more words

Joe Quatrone, Jr.

failureDo not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows (Galatians 6:7).

Very few things motivate us to give God our undivided attention like being faced with the negative consequences of our decisions. Regardless of our guilt, we find the courage (or nerve) to turn to God for help and oftentimes a miracle. We make promises to Him as if this would change His mind about our situation. Suddenly, we’re concerned for the welfare of others. We look for whatever leverage we can find to get God to do something on our behalf.

Many of us experience tension because we live daily with the painful consequences of sin. Mistakenly, we thought, hoped, or were told that once we accepted Christ, God would miraculously erase our consequences. With the daily evidence He has not taken away our consequences, some of us conclude we have not…

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Answering the Gay Christian Position

Article ID: DG238

By: Joe Dallas

This article first appeared in the Effective Evangelism column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 23, number 1 (2000). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org

Twenty-two years ago I craved justification for my homosexuality. I had decided I was gay, and I felt utterly incapable of changing my sexual desires. Instead of conforming my actions to biblical standards, I chose to adjust biblical standards to accommodate my actions. My subsequent six-year involvement as a staff member of the pro-homosexual Metropolitan Community Church became the fruit of that compromise and remains a source of deep regret to this day.

During my tenure as a self-professed “gay Christian,” I was often confronted by believers who argued the standard passages on homo­sexuality. Like anyone steeped in propaganda, however, I knew which Scripture passages would be thrown at me (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; all of which clearly condemn homosexuality) and could recite the pro-gay interpretation of each, leaving my Christian opponent and me at a stalemate.1 The problem, of course, was that we were debating my revised view of the Bible without addressing the state of heart and mind that had led me to that revision in the first place.

Clearly there’s a place for arguing doctrine. When biblical integrity is discarded (as it surely is when pro-gay theology is adopted), then a stand for truth is mandated. Crucial to that stand, however — and often missing in our discussions with those in the pro-homosexual religious movement — is a willingness to include, then go beyond, a point/counterpoint approach to the biblical references to homosexuality. “Going beyond,” in this case, means asking questions of a broader, more penetrating nature.

When our friends who call themselves gay Christians insist that God approves of their orientation and behavior, we do well to chal­lenge the interpretation of Scripture they claim supports their position. When that debate con­cludes, however, they will often fall back on two general arguments by which they accept, and even celebrate, their homo­sexuality. The first is based on the seeming immutability of their sexual orientation; the second is their sense of God’s presence in their lives while they are openly and actively homo­sexual. Two questions come to mind as we consider these arguments.

Is there a divine intent for sexual expression, and, if there is, how do we determine what it is? When Troy Perry, homosexual activist and founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, writes about his sexual awakenings, he describes an encounter he had with another man. Although married (his wife, in fact, was in the adjoining room during Perry’s tryst), he explains his rationale for committing homosexual adultery: “Eventually, I came to realize that what we were doing seemed right for me” (emphasis added).2 While admitting it did not constitute love, he nonetheless refers to the episode as “a marvelous education.”3 Consistent with this subjective approach to ethics, Perry’s first sermon to his newly formed church was titled, “Be True to You.”4

Should the authenticity of our sexual desires be the criteria by which we judge their rightness? If so, one wonders whether pedo­philia, incest, or sadomasochism might not also be legitimized so long as they “seem right” to an individual.

The pro-gay apologist might indignantly argue that same-sex contact between consenting adults is a far cry from the horror of pedophilia or incest; yet that response evades the broader issue: Are we to conform our sexuality to a revealed intent or to our own deeply ingrained preferences? If we claim to be Bible-believing Christians (which most in the gay religious movement identify them­selves as), yet draw our moral conclusions not from Scripture but from our own passions, then a glaring contradiction exists and cries out for correction.

“But,” the gay apologist counters, “how could God condemn something I’ve tried so hard to overcome and even asked Him to remove?” Mel White, gay author and former ghostwriter to a stellar list of Christian leaders, argues this point in his autobiography Stranger at the Gate (Simon and Schuster). Movingly, he recounts years of prayer, psychotherapy, and shock treatment geared toward obliterating his homosexual desires. When all efforts to remove the temptation toward sex with other men failed, he determined by concession that, since his prayers to be relieved of homosexual feelings went unanswered, those feelings were therefore God ordained.

His testimony echoes that of hundreds of religious homosexuals who assume that un­wanted temptations that are not completely removed through prayer must therefore be feelings that cannot be removed at all; subse­quently, what cannot be removed at all must be, by its very immutability, legitimate. (E.g., “I prayed for God to remove my temptations, but some of them remained. Therefore, God must expect me to yield to them.”)

In contrast, Francis Schaeffer provides a better approach to the frustration of deeply ingrained temptations: “So I must ask, very gently: How much thought does (our identi­fication with Christ) provoke? Is it not true that our prayers for ourselves are almost entirely aimed at getting rid of the negative at any cost rather than praying that the negatives be faced in the proper attitude?”5

Regarding sexual temptation, Schaeffer is more specific: “Here in the midst of life there is to be a strong choice, by the grace of God. It is not a matter of waiting until we no longer have strong sexual desires, but rather — we are to understand what Jesus means when He talks about denying ourselves that which is not rightfully ours.”6

Placing the concept of being true to myself above self-denial, I (and I fear many like me in the gay church) decided homosexuality was natural because it came naturally to me. Having predetermined the rightness of it, I read that determination into the Bible rather than submitting that deter­mination to the Bible’s authority.

That is the crux of the problem. If there is a divine intent for our sexuality — and, indeed, there is — then we do well to face what it is, not what we wish it to be. To do less is to set ourselves up for a lethal combination of heresy and tragedy.

Does God’s presence in our lives indicate His approval of our lifestyle? “I feel God’s presence in my life,” you’re likely to hear from someone aligned with the gay religious movement. “And at my church, people are born again, and God’s Spirit is manifest. How could that be if He disapproves of homosexuality?”

I can testify firsthand to the power of this line of reasoning. If, upon my first visit to a pro-gay congregation, I had encountered a Roman orgy in progress, it would have been easy to dismiss the very notion of “gay Christianity.” At the Metropolitan Community Church, however, I witnessed traditional hymns, sermons that were theologically conservative, and even an occasional altar call. Isn’t this evidence, I thought, that God sanctions homosexuality?

A cursory look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church refutes this erroneous thinking. The Corinthians were carnal and full of divisions (1 Cor. 3:3-4), an incestuous relationship existed openly among them (1 Cor. 5:1-5), and drunkenness occurred during their communion celebrations (1 Cor. 11:21); yet God was present in their lives. At the very least, as born-again believers, they had the Spirit of God within them, however grieved the Holy Spirit may have been with their behavior.

Could God’s presence be construed to indicate His approval of their behavior? Hardly. Likewise, though our friends in pro-gay churches claim ongoing fellowship with Christ, their foundation is experiential, in contrast to the surer foundation Christ commended when warning against claiming a knowledge of Him apart from obedience to Him (Matt. 7:24-27).

All of this makes our encounters with those claiming to be gay and Christian reminiscent of an encounter between Jesus and a rich young ruler (Mark 10:17–23). Christ loved the young man and was acutely aware of the spiritual hunger posed in his question, “Good Master, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Like our friends or loved ones in pro-gay churches, this young ruler obeyed many of the commandments, but something in his life — his riches, which he deemed invaluable — was holding him back. When Jesus put His finger on this one area, the ruler walked away, unwilling to relinquish and obey.

There, Mark’s account of the conversation ends; but who knows? Someday, perhaps years later, this same man may have reexamined the contrast between earthly and eternal wealth. Maybe Christ’s way of speaking truth — gently but firmly — never left his memory. Perhaps — just perhaps — he finally yielded what seemed so important, only to find a hundredfold more when his life was conformed to Christ’s word, then transformed by it.

I know it’s possible. The sound Bible teaching I received as a young Christian haunted me, pursuing me even in the midst of indescribable rebellion. It would not be ignored; truth finally conquered convenience when I realized I’d been kidding myself into believing what I wanted to believe, rather than what I truly believed.

As we address the issue of obedience and truth with our friends caught in the deception of pro-gay theology (and other self-serving theologies), we prayerfully hope they, too, may find the truer blessing of a yielded life.

NOTES

1. For a fuller treatment of the pro-gay interpretation of Scripture, see Joe Dallas, A Strong Delusion (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996).

2. Troy Perry, Don’t Be Afraid Anymore (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990), 20.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid., 38.

5. Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1971), 26-27.

6. Ibid., 27.

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? 6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6 NASB)

My wife and I attempted to eat at our local Chick-Fil-A here in Olathe, Kansas this evening in support of Dan Cathy in light of the completely biased or one-sided coverage of his interview statements as a Baptist in a Baptist publication about religious and theological issues. It seems…

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