Wisdom beyond the homosexuality debate

Rosaria Butterfield has written an insightful article about understanding homosexuality through the lens of a Christian worldview, but the beauty of her article is that it goes far beyond dealing with questions about homosexuality alone and focuses on the way that the ideas of others can shape our views about theology and set the direction for our life choices. Her article was prompted by a recent student protest at Wheaton College after she was invited to come and share her testimony. In response to this protest, Rosaria set aside time afterwards to meet with those who had protested against her to hear their concerns and discuss their issues. In her article she states that “This may seem a quirky observation, but I know too well the world these students inhabit. I recall its contours and crevices, risks and perils, reading lists and hermeneutical allegiances. You see, I’m culpable. The blood is on my hands. The world of LGBTQ activism on college campuses is the world that I helped create. I was unfaltering in fidelity: the umbrella of equality stretching to embrace my lesbian identity, and the world that emerged from it held salvific potential. I bet my life on it, and I lost.” Rosaria exemplifies how we can truly reach out in love and grace when we are met with opposition without compromising that which we know to be true. While the issue that prompted her article is homosexuality, it is only one of a myriad of issues facing the church today where a similar loving but firm response is needed from the church.

 

You Are What—and How—You Read by Rosaria Butterfield

Seeing a woman: a call to godliness

male-female-equalityNate Pyle’s article “Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and son”  offers a lot of good advice, and there is much to glean from what he has said, but I think that Nate’s response falls short of being truly biblical. Yes, as Nate reminds us, men are absolutely responsible for their own sins and cannot blame their sinful choices on the women around them no matter what women do or do not do, wear or do not wear, etc… Men blaming women for their sinful choices began in the garden of Eden (Ge. 3:12) and sadly continues to this very day. Nate, very appropriately, address this poor excuse for a man’s choice to sin. Yes, godly men need to see women as a whole person created and loved by God rather than objectifying them and Nate’s advice on maintaining eye contact is one good way for men to remember this. However, one of the lies being told to our culture today is that that the way a woman dresses should not be a temptation to sin and unfortunately the church today has too frequently bought into this lie. When women dress immodestly, it really can be a source of temptation for the men around her (something we all intuitively know) and sometimes the right answer for a man is not to stay in the presence of that temptation and maintain eye contact, the right answer is to flee (1 Co. 6:18, Pr. 5, etc…). We should not expect women, who have not made a commitment to follow Christ, to dress or act in ways that honor God. Godly men should be prepared to face temptation and know when to stand strong in its presence and when to flee. However, we really should expect women, who are followers of Christ, to dress and act in ways that brings honor to him (1 Ti.2:9-10) and the church has failed our women when we refuse to discuss this topic.

Additionally, Nate tells us that we should “Encourage [a woman’s] confidence.  But don’t do all this because she is weaker.  That’s the biggest bunch of crap out there.  Women are not weaker than men. They are not the weaker sex. They are the other sex” (emphasis his). While it is true that the idea that “women are the weaker sex” has far too often been overplayed, there is truth to this statement (1 Pe. 3:7) that we should not ignore. It is not “the biggest bunch of crap out there.” It is biblical! Being the weaker sex does not mean that women have any greater propensity to sin than do men nor does it mean they are inferior, these are lies that has been perpetuated far too often throughout history. It does mean that women are typically physically and emotionally weaker (a politically incorrect idea, I know) and men do have a responsibility to be protective of the women around them (both physically and emotionally) because that is the role God has given men. Unfortunately, our culture (even in the Church) has bought into the lie that equality and sameness are identical ideas, they are not. In striving for sameness, women have lost the place of dignity and honor they deserve and once had in generations past. While the feminist movement brought about many corrections that were desperately needed, it has also taken away many things away that women of our generation deserve and desperately need today. In the church, we need to remember to call our men to be godly men and our women to be godly women even when the call to godliness is counter to the culture around us; our standard is God’s word. Neither sex is responsible for the sins of the opposite sex but both sexes have a responsibility to love, honor, and build up the whole body of Christ.

American arrested for preaching homosexuality is sin

“I was asked if I believe homosexuality is a sin. I was asked what portion of the Bible I was reading. I was asked that if a homosexual was hungry and walked up to me, would I give them something to eat.”

arrestedTony Miano, a retired deputy sheriff from Los Angeles County, Calif., was arrested in London, England, earlier this week for preaching on abstaining from sexual immorality, both heterosexual and homosexual, in downtown Wimbledon. He was found to be in violation of Public Order Act Section 5, for “using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult,” Miano said in a YouTube video posted on Wednesday.

Preaching from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, Miano spoke about sexual sins for 25 minutes before being cut off by Metropolitan Police officers who said that although preaching in itself is not an offense, the specific part of the Bible he was preaching from was interpreted as homophobic by the woman who called to complain.

Miano told police officers that he doesn’t hate homosexuals, and then reiterated that he was preaching about all forms of sexual immorality – lust, fornication and addiction to pornography. He said that he “loves homosexuals enough to bring them the truth of the Gospel.”

Read the rest of the article here

A full transcript of the police interview can be found here

 

The Sex lives of unmarried Evangelicals

This is the subject of a short article recently posted on Christianity Today’s website. The article begins by stating that it was the statistic that was shouted around the church: 80 percent of unmarried evangelicals have had sex. “Christians are having premarital sex and abortions as much (or more) than non-Christians,” said Relevant (a magazine marketed to 20-somthing evangelicals). “Chastity is not the norm.” But a more recent survey said most unmarried evangelicals have never been sexually active. Who’s right?

 Which do you believe?

Time and time again, I have seen similar discrepancies in statistics presented from studies about the Christian faith. Almost always the very different results can be tied to just one factor, did they categorize the results only by self-identification or did they take into account whether the beliefs and actions of the survey participant were consistent with the faith they claimed?

Questions that often make very significant statistical differences are:

  • Do they attend church regularly?
  • Do they read their bible regularly?
  • Do they pray regularly?
  • Do they believe the bible to be God’s true words?
  • Are their personal beliefs about their faith consistent with the beliefs of the faith community to which they have identified?

Scripture is clear that faith in Christ is about much, much more than claiming a belief in Christ; it is about entering into a dynamic vibrant relationship with the living Lord. And that is something that goes far beyond self-identification, and it something that must affect every area of our lives. The book of James says “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (Jam 2:17-20 NIV)” and “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.(Jam 1:23-25 NIV)

So why are the results of these two surveys so different? One of the surveys presented in the Christianity Today article accounted for regular bible reading and regular church attendance and the other did not. Together these surveys demonstrate the truth of James words; true faith really does change the heart. So next time you hear about a survey that proves: “Christians have premarital sex more than…,” “Christians divorce more than…,” “Christians have more abortions than…,” etc… remember that the authors of those studies probably have defined “Christian” a whole lot differently than you would. Mark Twain once said, “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics” and there is a lot of wisdom in this statement. Statistics can sometimes be very helpful but only when we truly understand what those statistic represent; without the details, statistics are meaningless.

The original Christianity Today article can be found here.