Friday, November 02, 2007

ATTENTION: Pastors and Elders!

A must read letter addressed to Pastors and Elders! Thanks to Gay Christian Movement Watch!

Dear Pastors and Elders,

Many Christians are confused, discouraged, and even more troubling, seduced by the relentless assaults on biblical truth waged by the culture of homosexuality that tirelessly pursues its goal of total cultural acceptance by infiltrating our churches, schools, families, and the media. This confusion, discouragement, and seduction are exacerbated by the relative silence of the church. The church must end its silence, and begin the difficult work of helping adults and children understand both the scriptural and secular arguments used to normalize homosexuality. The stubborn rebellious assaults on Scripture include the “homosexualized” revision of the stories of David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as the wholesale dismissal of St. Paul’s indictment of homosexuality.

Christianity is corrupted by the pursuit of personal fulfillment, radical autonomy, and the realization of earthly ambitions. The flock no longer sees itself as fundamentally distinct from the surrounding culture. Some erroneously assume that the presence and potential discomfort of unbelievers in the Church should circumscribe or determine what is taught. They erroneously believe that hard truths serve as an obstacle to salvation. But retreat from expositions of sin does not make conversion more likely. Quite the contrary, many of us come to the cross via a painful recognition of our own dark sin.

Too many believers, spiritual leaders, and teachers are unprepared to fight the type of spiritual, intellectual, and socio-political battles that two thousand years of our predecessors in the Church accepted as their inescapable duty. Only a relatively small army of dedicated believers have been holding the fort while the rest of us decide whether or not to fight. We are on the sidelines, imprisoned, first, by our own material and social preoccupations, and second, by the daily and weekly maintenance of the house of God itself. But neither of these is our highest calling in a desperately confused and dying world. As satanic ideas about sexuality perpetuate, we must arm ourselves for battle where the Enemy is attacking.

On the subject of homosexuality, our young people face diabolical attempts at indoctrination in high school, in college, and in the mass media. Adults and children encounter a daily barrage of images and messages that promote the idea that homosexuality is good, right, and “cool,” and that opposition to that view constitutes cruelty and injustice. They see and hear those messages in television shows, films, plays, books, magazines, advertisements, the news, music, and from their friends and teachers. Tragically the response from their churches is largely a deafening silence. The Church cannot continue to treat this danger as a minor issue. We must do some serious thinking and study in order to address competently the specious and malignant arguments permeating society.

Believers, including pastors and elders, ignore at great peril the command: “Be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Acceptance and practice of homosexual and bisexual behavior, and support for civil unions and same-sex “marriage” are growing rapidly among young people, even Christians. If young Christians come to view Scripture as untrustworthy on sexual matters, they will find it untrustworthy on other matters as well. The Barna Research group has published a study indicating that young Christians are falling away from Christ in huge numbers at college. The dangers are real, imminent, and closer to home than many older Christians realize.

We must be willing and determined to address these grave moral and spiritual deceptions without hint of concession to the world. The temptation to soften biblical truth on culturally controversial matters is powerful even within “Bible-believing” churches today. But as God’s messengers, yielding to this temptation is not our right. Can censoring of God’s Word or even soft-pedaling to accommodate anyone be seen at any point in the recorded words of Christ? In the words of Moses or Jeremiah? Isaiah? Hosea? Habakkuk? John the Baptist? Any of the Reformers? In the revival evangelists whose warnings set free a spiritual fire in this country? If anyone comes to Christ on their own terms, they have not come to Christ, but to an idol made in their own image.

Christ saw into the soul and identified exactly which obstacle prevented a person from finding salvation. Think of his words to the rich young ruler, and to the Pharisees, scribes and lawyers. The hard truths were the ones He placed as the obstacle between them and the Kingdom of Heaven. Many went away or hated Him. If pastors have lost sight of this, they have lost sight of Christ.

In the face of this sweeping spiritual and cultural assault, where, if not the church, do our pastors think their followers will be taught truth? And who, if not the church, will equip them with an understanding of the revisionist “pro-gay” scriptural arguments as well as the substance of and flaws in the secular arguments? Who, if not the church, will provide both teens and adults with answers so that they will be able to engage intelligently and compassionately with the culture, and so that they themselves are not deceived by seductive lies?

Hear the prescient words of Martin Luther:If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

We must stand tall in the face of the enemies of the Eternal Living God. We must seek the approval of a just and holy God, not the approval of a fallen and rebellious world at war with God. The powers of darkness lose something that matters when we obey Christ and renounce the spirits of fear, apathy, and conformity. To retreat from speaking the truth about homosexuality boldly and to fail to prepare Christians for cultural engagement while the pernicious lie that God loves homosexuality consumes the minds and hearts of our youth is a grievous, unconscionable abdication of responsibility.

It is God’s will that His shepherds disciple and train ordinary members of His body to be mighty warriors, bringing truth to the world outside the church. There is no greater honor than to be used as little David was, to stand before the giant and proclaim the incorruptible holiness and omnipotence of God, to defend His little ones, and let fly the stones He has commanded us to pick up from the stream and place in our bag for the moment of battle.

Listed below are some of the secular arguments used to normalize homosexuality which pastoral staff and elders should understand and for which they need to provide answers to the body of Christ. Teaching could be provided through sermons, Sunday school classes, evening or weekend seminars, or small groups. Certainly, a pastor or youth group leader ought not to preach or teach on homosexuality continually, but to do virtually nothing in the face of such persistent and persuasive attacks on the biblical understanding of homosexuality portends tragedy in all its forms: psychological, emotional, physical, relational, and most important, spiritual. Timidity on the part of leadership weakens the church and renders it complicit, albeit unintentionally, with our cultural degradation.

At different times in history, the enemy chooses different scriptural truths to attack with ferocity, and the church must respond accordingly. During the middle part of the 20th Century, Martin Luther King Jr., following in the footsteps of his namesake, confessed Christ boldly as the church faced, not an assault on sexuality, but an assault on the inherent dignity and equality of all men. But the truths he spoke in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” resonate today as we face yet another assault on truth:

I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. . . . too many . . . have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows. . . . I have looked at the South’s beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious-education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: “What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? . . .

I have heard many ministers say: “Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.” And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, non-biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

In deep disappointment, I have wept over the laxity of the church. . . . I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide, and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Par from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.

I have no illusions; this work is difficult. But God is on His throne and calls us to carry His Cross: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

In Christ alone,


Dani said...

Hi Mark - How's it going?
This is a great letter - hopefully more of today's Christian leaders will read it and start preaching the Truth in God's Word once and for all.

Be Blessed & Stay in Touch!

nanc said...

too many pastors are in fear of losing a portion of their congregations when they speak the naked truth.

i was scolded by a church elder a couple of years ago for giving those who wanted them at church, the bumper sticker that says "marriage = one man, one woman" - he said it would keep gay people away.

so from then on out - rather than back my vehicle into its spot at church, i pulled straight in so the whole world could see my bumper sticker.

there is a place for those who change the Word of the Lord. by His Own Mouth!

great letter.

Mark said...

Hi Dani! Hi Nanc!

I'll never understand it. They desire a full church and yet could careless if the folks have have been saved.