CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Caring Enough To Offend

Feb 22, 2010

Back in 1973 an important book by David Augsburger appeared entitled Caring Enough to Confront. It was a powerful reminder to believers that we have an obligation to confront one another in order to become all we are meant to be in Christ.

Real love, Augsburger argued, will not sit by and allow relationships to go off the rails. If you really love your brother, if you really care about him, you will challenge him when necessary. It is a clear sign of a lack of love, and indifference, if we do not confront one another in love.

I wish to take this one step further. If I had the time, I would write an entire book on this, and I would have this as my title: Caring Enough to Offend. I would extend my discussion not just to fellow believers, but to those who do not yet know Christ as well.

You see, the same principle applies to the lost as it does to the saved. To love the unbeliever means loving him enough to confront him. If a non-Christian friend is heading to a lost eternity, the most loving thing you can do is talk to him about this, and explain to him the truth of the gospel. And guess what? He may well find that to be offensive.

Indeed, it happens all the time. Non-believers are always taking offence at what Christians say. Now at this point let me be quite careful and clear: I of course am not suggesting that we should deliberately be offensive. We are to be loving, gracious and respectful as we share the good news with others.

But even if we are as winsome and courteous as possible, people are still going to get offended. The Bible makes this absolutely clear. Indeed, consider the most loving, the most kind, and the most considerate person on earth: Jesus Christ.

The truth is, people were offended by him all the time. They took offence at what he said, they took offence at what he did, they took offence at his claims about himself, they took offence at his exclusive message, and so on. Indeed, we read so often in the gospels about how his words divided people: some readily embraced him and his teachings while others strongly rejected both.

Paul of course could speak about the offence of the gospel and the offence of the cross. The Christian message is inherently offensive to the non-believer. So too is biblical morality. Simply seeking to live in the light of God’s requirements will get other people angry.

Non-believers (and sadly, some believers), will be offended when we suggest that there are moral absolutes which we are all accountable to. They will take offence when we suggest that not every lifestyle and behaviour is right, proper or acceptable. Those living in sin will be offended by our righteous living.

Jesus made this crystal clear in John 3:19-20 when he said this: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

Thus we can expect to cause offence, simply by being Christians and by sharing the gospel of Christ. But genuine Christians will not let this deter them. They will love and care enough for their lost friends to be willing to tell them the gospel, even if it offends them.

If we really love others, we will warn them of their destructive behaviours and lifestyles. Indeed, we must care enough about them to confront them. An obvious area that comes to mind in this regard is the contentious issue of homosexuality.

Sadly far too many Christians have fallen for the deception that the most loving thing we can do is just leave homosexuals alone and let them pursue their harmful lifestyle. We have even allowed ourselves to be conned into thinking that perhaps their homosexuality is somehow God’s gift to them.

Instead of loving them enough to challenge them about their dead-end and sinful lifestyle, we tend to make excuses for them. But whenever we seek to justify sin and make excuses for the sinner, we surely do not love them. Jesus never played games with sinners, and neither should we.

Let me finish this piece with a wonderful testimony I recently read by a former homosexual. He entitled his story, “Thank You For Offending Me”. What a great title! He speaks of friends and family members who loved him enough to confront him and tell him the truth. He says this:

“Let me just say a hearty ‘THANK YOU’ to my wife, and my parents and family, and my friends, who cared enough about me to offend me! I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I consider the ramifications in my life had the people in my world bought into the lie that to love me was to affirm my homosexuality. When I left my wife to pursue homosexuality, she boldly told me that she knew God could work in me and in our marriage and that she would not pursue divorce. She protected her interests but always professed her love for me and her desire to work through this together.

“My parents (and other family members) told me that what I was doing was wrong. They found Exodus, got materials, and tried to get me to talk to a counselor. They also called frequently to check on me, sent me money when I needed it, came to see me on my birthday, and flew me home for holidays. My friends drove hours to talk to me about what I was doing, and told me what they believed. They flew from other towns to take me to dinner and tried to convince me to get help and to turn from what I was doing. They also sent me cards and letters full of love and affirmation of our friendship.

“And each of them offended me. Each of them made me angry. I viewed them as bigoted, and unenlightened, and ignorant, and prejudiced, and hateful. If they truly loved me, I told them, they would accept my homosexuality and affirm me in the lifestyle I was living. I ignored their calls and I viewed them with skepticism. I did my best to sever my relationships with those who were offending me. But they would not let me go. They did not coddle me, but they refused to give up on me.”

His thoughts about Jesus are quite interesting as well. Referring to the book by Jeff Konrad, another former homosexual, You Don’t Have to be Gay, he says, “that book showed me more than the sentimental, saccharine love of Jesus that gay theology had sold me. It showed me the powerful love of the risen Savior.”

He concludes with these moving words, “Today my marriage is restored and has grown beyond my imagination. I have three beautiful children and am living out the call on my life to vocational ministry. Healing has happened in my family relationships, and I am closer to that cadre of friends than ever before. As I listen to people debate the ‘gay’ issue and talk of affirmation and inclusivity of homosexuality, I wonder where I would be today had Stephanie accepted my claim that I had always been gay and would always be gay and pursued divorce like I wanted her to do. I wonder where I would be if my parents had joined PFLAG [Parent and Friends of Lesbians and Gays] and supported me in my quest to live homosexually.

“I wonder where I would be if my friends had encouraged me to divorce Stephanie and had rallied around me in my homosexuality. I wonder where I would be if my pastors and spiritual shepherds had encouraged me to accept the very thing I needed to lay before the cross of Christ. I shudder at the thought. I know it must have killed them to think of losing me, but they loved me enough to take that risk. THANK YOU, dear friends, for your offense to me. At the time, the Truth you shared was the aroma of death to me (II Cor. 2:15) but today it is the sweet fragrance of LIFE.”

Just as this man needed to be “offended” by the truth before he could be set free, so too do so many others. Yet how many believers are just too fearful of confrontation, and cringe at any form of controversy? They just want to live a quiet and peaceful life and not rock any boats, regardless of how many of those boats may be carrying large numbers of people bound in chains heading for a lost eternity.

Failure to speak out – whether due to fear, or political correctness, or not wanting to cause offence, or wanting to appear ‘tolerant’ – can often be the most unloving and un-Christlike thing we can do. We are told in Scripture to speak the truth in love. If you love someone, you will tell them the truth of where they are at, and not leave them unchallenged as they destroy themselves and others. What sort of love is that to remain silent in these sorts of situations?

It is clearly time that we love and care about others enough to be willing to offend, if need be.

The powerful and moving testimony of Mike Goeke can be found in the excellent book edited by Lisa Nolland, Chris Sugden and Sarah Finch: God, Gays and the Church (The Latimer Trust, 2008). It can also be found at this site:

www.oneby1.org/testimony-offended.cfm

[1625 words]

19 Responses to Caring Enough To Offend

  • Bill, you have shown that confrontation in His dear name is tough – but used by God. A patient told of an affair with X, a first-class athlete, in highest spiritual office. She had suffered miscarriages from their alliance and faced gynae surgery. ‘Please tell him it is all so evil.’ I prayed with her. His elder refused on ‘cardiac’ grounds to take part. I wrestled but God’s Spirit urged me to go. His anger boiled over. Would he throw me out? Possible. He refused prayer in his fury. Later the Lord blessed his ministry in another nation.
    Harrold Steward

  • Mike Goeke’s story is interesting – it is in many ways the opposite of mine. I’d always known I was different to most girls, and in my teens it became even more apparent when my friends started dating. I simply had no interest in the opposite sex and my first instances of strong feelings were directed towards females. It was an unusual predicament to be in, as at that time I was generally a strongly conservative Christian which led to feelings of self-loathing because I thought homosexuality was wrong. I also lived in a perpetual state of fear. I feared that my friends and family would learn of my orientation and disown me and think less of me.

    When I met my first girlfriend I knew I could no longer lie to my friends, loved-ones or myself. Coming out to my parents was perhaps the most terrifying moment of my life. I feared the worst, but my mother simply put her arms around me, gave me a huge hug and said: “I know”. My friends were equally accepting and were keen to meet my girlfriend.

    Since then, my life has been a happy and fulfilling one. My partner of the last six years is the love of my life. When she looks at me, I feel like we are the only people on God’s earth and I feel a love in my heart that I know could never be wrong. Living openly and honestly is light years ahead of the dark world of deceit and fear that I occupied before.

    Anyway, just thought I’d share.

    Heather Bates

  • Thanks Heather

    I appreciate you candour here. Your confession explains a lot of things. All these years you were coming to this site feigning to be some sort of biblical Christian, yet continually pushing decidedly unbiblical ideologies and agendas. Thus it is refreshing that you have finally decided to be a bit up front with us here.

    You are certainly right about one thing: you and Mike have opposite stories. Mike has moved from death to life, from darkness to light, from deception to truth, from bondage to freedom, and from self-centredness to Christ-centeredness, while you unfortunately seem to be moving in the other direction.

    And sadly it seems from what you have said here that whereas you once were aware of biblical truth on this issue, you have decided to reject it altogether, all because it ‘feels good’. Undoubtedly those who have an unhealthy and abnormal attraction to children, or to groups, or to animals, would all claim, as you do, “I feel a love in my heart that I know could never be wrong”.

    Since when is right and wrong, truth and falsehood, determined by mere feelings? And while open sin may seem better than concealed sin, there is a third far-superior option: living the way God intended for us, with sins forgiven and a life transformed. That is what we all need: cleansing, forgiveness and newness of life. That is available to every one of us, if we want it.

    However, it seems that the truth you once knew you have decided to jettison – at least for the time being. Thus I cannot say much more here except to note that I will continue to pray for you especially now that I have much more clarity as to where you are actually coming from. Thanks for writing in.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • How often we remain silent so as not to offend. Let’s remember though we offend our Lord if we do not have the courage to defend him here on earth. If we acknowledge our Lord here on earth in our daily activities he also will acknowledge us before the Father. We need boldness and complete trust in Jesus not our own opinions. Thank you Bill for your boldness, care, and love for the people.
    In Jesus Name,
    Kerry Etherington

  • Great article. I met my (now) wife for the first three years ago at work. We both cared for disabled persons. Each Friday we were stuck in the car together for 3 hours. She increasingly trusted me and told me more things about her personal life as we got to know each other as friends. She revealed to me that she had a ‘friends with benefits’ sexual relationship with her ex boyfriend while she was pursuing a new relationship with someone else. I confronted her on the issue, highlighting how disrespectful and damaging that behavior was to both her and the two men she was seeing. I got kind of angry at how unloving she was towards people she claimed to care about. She ended her affairs promtly and I kept witnessing to her about Jesus, Hell, The Bible and Salvation. She became a Christian about 10 months later and my wife about 18 months later.
    I have always said to myself and others, if you are not deeply heartbroken and confront sin in your ‘loved ones’ lives, you have no compelling evidence that you love them at all.
    Joshua Ferrara

  • Hi Bill
    I have been looking at your articles for the last several months and I want you to know they have been very helpful. God has given you a journalistic ability and you are using it. Also you have a love of the truth as it is in Jesus and revealed in Scripture. You also understand grace. You would also agree I’m sure that you are not always right but are willing to change if convinced of your error. Keep up the good work
    Wilfred Parmenter

  • Thanks Wilfred for your kind words.

    Yes I will be the first to admit that I can and do get things wrong. So keep me in prayer that I stay on the straight and narrow.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thank you for this article, Bill. It’s very challenging.
    Tasman Walker

  • To earlier commenter Heather…

    I haven’t followed your commenting history as has Bill, so I’m replying in ignorance of that. I trust you keep returning here because in one way or another it is a positive and helpful experience for you to dialogue with others as you are doing.

    As I read your comment I had a few immediate responses. Reflecting Bill, I have to call into question the Biblical legitimacy of a same-sex relationship. I’m sure I cannot add anything to that point which you don’t need reminding of.

    But at the same time I had some thoughts of my own.

    Firstly, I have had enough homosexually-oriented “Christian” friends to know just how profound their wrestlings have been and how deeply ingrained that “orientation” can be. Speaking as someone who thinks it is not God’s design, I am disturbed and taken aback at how hard it can be for people with every desire to honour God to find the kind of healing that re-orients them to the opposite sex. Sure, there are some who wander into homosexuality because it’s “worth a try” but I’m talking about people who deeply desire God’s best but are conflicted to the core by feelings and desires they seem unable to change. So that’s a challenge for the church… and a blog comment is not the place to unpack that further.

    But I think it’s important to make the point that whether or not your expression of love is in the context of a same-sex relationship, it’s something you and I are driven to express to another because God created us that way. It is less than reasonable to fail to acknowledge and affirm the love you have found… even in a same-sex relationship which I see as flawed in all its sexual expressions. You love because God created you that way. That’s a good thing!

    That said, the heart is not to be trusted — plenty of scriptures warn us of that. And I encourage you to be very wise in your discernment viz. the difference between a good and God-given capacity to find deep affection and meaning from an intimate relationship, and the satanic and “fleshy” corruptions that are always trying to dirty it up. I put to you that all is not pure in your current situation. It will take a lot of courage on your part to work through that but if you are “born again” of the Spirit, he will reveal the truth.

    Accordingly, I see no reason to isolate homosexual sin as anything more wicked than heterosexual sin. These sorts of sexual sins are very (most) destructive, however and Paul, especially, makes that point.

    Lastly, to the question of honesty. I am offended, upset and deeply frustrated at how difficult most people who are “stuck” in something that the Bible calls sinful find it to “fess up” about it. The reason is clear: so-called Christians who are judgmental sods who, of all people, should understand the insidiousness of sin.

    So I’m grieved to hear how hard it was for you to “accept” what you were feeling. I don’t mean acceptance as in “embracing” but as in giving yourself permission to speak honestly to yourself about what was going on, even if you didn’t like it. The truth should never be something to fear or refuse to accept.

    I remember a friend… a “recovering gay”, who was only permitted to take on a youth pastor’s position if he first stood in front of the congregation and declared his “total healing” from homosexuality. In making that declaration he effectively bound himself to a lie, which eventually brought him undone. Why was the church so stupid? Because in fear they wanted to protect their kids, even if honesty was a casualty.

    In sum… I want to both affirm the love you are experiencing — as someone created in the image of God — while at the same time challenging you to not jettison the scriptures which affirm the truth of God’s design for us. What you’ve got right now is some of the “real stuff” (of love, that is) along with corruption that is leading you into sin. There is no other biblical way of looking at it, I submit.

    Alister Cameron

  • I appreciate you candour here. Your confession explains a lot of things. All these years you were coming to this site feigning to be some sort of biblical Christian…

    I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m not a biblical literalist. I’m still a Christian – it’s just that I lean to the more liberal side of things like millions of other Christians around the world.

    Mike has moved from death to life, from darkness to light, from deception to truth, from bondage to freedom, and from self-centredness to Christ-centeredness, while you unfortunately seem to be moving in the other direction.

    Not at all. As I explained, my life improved dramatically when I stopped trying to hide my true self. I have a wonderful partner, family and friends. I have Jesus in my heart. It would be wrong to ask for more than that.

    And sadly it seems from what you have said here that whereas you once were aware of biblical truth on this issue, you have decided to reject it altogether, all because it ‘feels good’.

    Not because ‘it feels good’, but because is makes sense. It is who I am.

    Undoubtedly those who have an unhealthy and abnormal attraction to children, or to groups, or to animals, would all claim, as you do…

    You do understand the difference between a relationship between two adults and a relationship between an adult and a child or animal, don’t you?

    And while open sin may seem better than concealed sin, there is a third far-superior option: living the way God intended for us, with sins forgiven and a life transformed.

    I am living the way God intended me to live. I am who I am.

    Thus I cannot say much more here except to note that I will continue to pray for you…

    I’ll pray for you too Bill. I pray one day you will adopt a more Christ-like view of the world, embrace open-mindedness and practice acceptance.

    Heather Bates

  • Thanks Heather

    It is clear from your response (and previous comments) that your heart and mind are closed on this matter, so there is little that I or anyone else can say at this point. However, since truth is important, and because other readers may wish to see a response, I will offer a few thoughts here. First some general truths from God’s word which need to be enunciated here:

    Jesus said many things about those who would claim to be his disciples:
    Matt 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
    Luke 6:46 Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
    Luke 11:28 Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it.
    John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
    John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

    Various NT writers also said much about such matters:
    1 Cor 6:9-11 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.
    Eph 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
    Titus 3:3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
    James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
    1 John 2:3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.

    As to your comment, there are a number of biblical passages which can be summoned which clearly refute your position, even though you obviously once knew them but have decided to reject them in order to justify your lifestyle. But let me mention some nonetheless as I interact with your objections.

    We are not buying your furphy about ‘literalism’. The issue is whether we will allow the revealed word of God to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, or whether we tell God to get lost and decide for ourselves what is true and false, right and wrong. And I must call your bluff about you being a mere ‘liberal’ Christian. In the light of the passages I just mentioned (among many others), there is no such thing. Either God is Lord who demands our obedience or he is not. Either we are true disciples of Jesus and obey his word, or we are not. It does no good pretending to be a Christian when we deny the clear teachings of Scripture here.

    With all due respect, speaking of having Jesus in your heart is all too glib here, especially in light of the above passages. To live in wilful, unrepented of sin, and claim that Jesus is somehow happily residing in us, is a contradiction in terms. It makes a mockery of everything Jesus said and did. Repentance and turning away from sin are always the conditions which Jesus demands of those who would follow him:

    “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26).

    And it is imperative that we know for sure if we are in fact in the faith. The Bible asks us time and time again to make sure we are really true disciples. As Paul says in 2 Cor. 13:5 for example, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” There is nothing more important than making sure we are not deceiving ourselves about our true spiritual condition.

    Sorry, but sin always seems to “make sense”. The Bible warns repeatedly about the deceitfulness of sin. It also warns about the “pleasures” of sin. And of course a robber, paedophile or arsonist can also claim “It is who I am”. In a fallen world we have all sorts of ungodly inclinations which must be resisted and overcome. They are not to be indulged in and catered to.

    God never intended anyone to live a life of sinful rebellion against him, so please do not pretend that he did. As I said, we are all fallen, so we all have sinful and selfish predispositions and orientations. Indeed, we are orientated to sin, full stop. “It is who I am.” That is exactly why Jesus came, to defeat Satan and destroy our sinful orientation, and to set us free to love him as he designed us to be. He designed us male and female, and the only sexual behaviour permitted in Scripture is that of heterosexual marriage. All other forms of human sexuality are clearly declared to be sinful and not at all in the will of God.

    And sorry, but I would never want what you seek for me: to be ‘open-minded’ about sin, to refuse God and his laws for us, to ‘accept’ that which God hates, to approve of that which he calls sin and is deserving of his righteous judgment.

    You simply want me to become the very thing God, through Isaiah, so forcefully warned against: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Is. 5:20). And you want me to be this way so I will no longer challenge your lifestyle and your deliberate distortion of God’s word. That I will never do. I believe that God and his truth are paramount here, and our human rebellion should never be excused or justified. We need to repent of our wilful defiance against God and let him call the shots. And when we do that, tremendous freedom and victory can be found in Christ.

    Indeed, it is amazing what happens when we stop playing games and allow God to be God. Fortunately many people, such as Mike, have decided that they should stop lying to themselves and pretending that they and their feelings are the centre of the universe. Their lives have been gloriously transformed. That is the hope for everyone who is willing to renounce their sinful selfish lifestyles and follow the one who died for us.

    In sum, it is amazing how you talk exactly like the many atheists I deal with here on a regular basis. Just like them, you demand the right to determine what is right and wrong, what is true and false. You call all the shots and insist that no one else gets in the way – not even God. God and his word have no place in this process, and if they do, it is only to seek to rubber stamp a rebellious lifestyle. That is a very scary place to be in indeed.

    Yet I will continue to pray for you. Just as Mike and countless others have allowed Jesus to soften their hearts and turn their life around, so he can do that for you. But only if you first agree with him as to your true condition, and your need of change. At the end of the day this is totally up to you and no one else.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, Thank you for your reply to Heather. As Christians we know that “only the truth will set you free” and you have stated the truth very clearly.
    Sadly today many Christians cave in on issues like homosexuality and accept that it is their choice to live that way. We cannot argue against the Bible and we are reminded that we have to pick up our cross daily if we want to be followers of Christ.
    Homosexuality is not genetic nor inherited. It is a lifestyle choice caused by many factors. In a sense it is an abusive lifestyle as it is not natural.
    It is important that we keep Heather in our prayers. Love the sinner but not the sin.
    Madge Fahy

  • It is clear from your response (and previous comments) that your heart and mind are closed on this matter, so there is little that I or anyone else can say at this point.

    Not at all. I’m always open to evidence and logic, but unfortunately none has been forthcoming so far. I guess it just going to take more than a couple of blog comments and scripture references to make me turn my back on the love of my life. By all means continue to try, but you’ll need to be much more convincing.

    In sum, it is amazing how you talk exactly like the many atheists I deal with here on a regular basis. Just like them, you demand the right to determine what is right and wrong, what is true and false.

    Not at all. We simply disagree on what God decrees as right and wrong and true and false. You rely heavily on scripture, I rely more heavily on the moral intuition God gifted me with.

    Yet I will continue to pray for you. Just as Mike and countless others have allowed Jesus to soften their hearts and turn their life around, so he can do that for you. But only if you first agree with him as to your true condition, and your need of change.

    Why would I want to turn my life around? Things have only gotten better since I came to terms with who I truly am. I don’t need to change. I’m not perfect of course (nobody is), but to turn away from the most amazing woman to enter my life would be crazy!

    Heather Bates

  • Madge:

    In a sense it is an abusive lifestyle as it is not natural.

    The relationship I have with my partner is one full of love. It’s a relationship of trust, support and devotion. My partner completes me. With her by my side, life’s challenges seem insignificant. There is nothing more natural than that, and it could be no further from “abusive”.

    Heather Bates

  • Heather’s response:

    You do understand the difference between a relationship between two adults and a relationship between an adult and a child or animal, don’t you?

    to Bill’s comment:

    Undoubtedly those who have an unhealthy and abnormal attraction to children, or to groups, or to animals, would all claim, as you do…

    misses the point of Bill’s argument. Of course we all recognise the difference between a “relationship between two adults and a relationship between an adult and a child or animal”, but this has noting to do with Bill’s point which was simply that if we allow our feelings to determine what is right and wrong then anything and everything becomes permissible.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Dear Bill, Thank you for your very clear thoughts on the evil of homosexuality and your firm but gentle replies to Heather who has obviously grown weary of struggling with this very real temptation in her life. It is an old story. We humans find it easier to give in to temptation but we are too dishonest to admit our weakness so we seek to justify our sin. As we are in Lent it is a good time to contemplate on the fact that our Lord did not please Himself as Heather has decided to do. If He had there would be no hope for any of us. Our dear Lord was fully human as well as Divine and would have found it easier not to have died on the Cross for love of us. A more excruciatingly painful, humiliating death cannot be imagined. To be scourged like a dog, mocked and crowned with thorns and left to hang for what must have been three endless hours must have been horrible. I suggest Heather watches Mel Gibson’s great work ‘The Passion’ because even though he has blotted his copy book since he has left the world a vivid and realistic portrayal of what Christ’s Passion must have been like. As vivid and realistic as we are going to get in our so called ‘civilised’ society. No one deserved such a cruel death never mind someone who had led a good and blameless life but public crucifixions were a common punishment for criminals. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ was so full of dread about what was in store for Him that he sweated blood and asked His Father to take the ‘cup’ from him if it was His will. This reveals to us His true humanity as human nature does not welcome pain and suffering either mental or physical for its own sake.He knew He had to go through it for love of us and so He chose the
    Patricia Halligan

  • Thanks Heather

    Sadly, all I can say is each new comment of your gets more bizarre, more flimsy, and more indicative of your complete and utter rejection of Christianity. I need to say very little really, given how you are doing all the work for me in cementing my case. Unfortunately, every time you open your mouth you simply condemn yourself even further.

    Readers can decide whether or not I have been utilising evidence and logic in my arguments.

    And you once again so very effectively make my case for me. You actually confirm what we all knew: you have elevated your own personal subjective feelings to the ultimate source of what is right and wrong, while reducing the Bible to a mere set of passing suggestions. It is exactly as we have said all along. You and your own feelings are the sole arbiter of what is true and right, while God and his revealed Word are simply to be dismissed when they do not fit into your worldview or when they clearly and unequivocally condemn your behaviour. You have, in other words, kicked God off the throne and put yourself there in his place.

    And yet you have the gall to claim to be a Christian. You have effectively outed yourself quite decisively from biblical Christianity, and you have powerfully demonstrated to us the very thing God condemns time and again in the book of Judges: “And they did what was right in their own eyes”.

    And finally, we all can appreciate your blinding example of evidence and logic here: ‘I feel good about this relationship, so that makes it right.’ In your eyes all my arguments and citations of Scripture count as nothing, but your own subjective personal feelings somehow count as everything. Once again, the readers can all decide for themselves who is in fact using rational argument and evidence, and who is simply promoting subjective experience as the only basis for right and wrong, truth and error.

    And of course you impeccable logic here can so well be applied to other sexual lifestyles: The polyamorist can equally say, ‘to turn away from the most amazing women to enter my life would be crazy!’ The bisexual can equally say, ‘to turn away from the most amazing woman and man to enter my life would be crazy!’ Those into incest can equally say, ‘to turn away from the most amazing daughter to enter my life would be crazy!’ Those into bestiality can equally say, ‘to turn away from the most amazing animal to enter my life would be crazy!’ And they would all be 100% correct based on your ‘logic’.

    People who think like an unbeliever, talk like an unbeliever, and act like an unbeliever are very likely to be an unbeliever. I don’t mind dealing with unbelievers at all on this and other issues. But what is of great concern is those who are deceiving themselves into thinking they are believers when they clearly are not. I would greatly fear to stand before the creator and judge of the universe one day in such a condition.

    Yet the wonderful news is Jesus continues to wait for us with his outstretched, nail-scarred hands, eager to offer forgiveness and newness of life if we agree with him about our condition, confess our sins and repent. It seems you see no need of this whatsoever at the moment. But hopefully one day you might, so to that end I will keep praying.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Another great article Bill, this indeed is the balance of the message the Bible declares. It would seem today unfortunately that the ‘I think’ and the I feel’ far surpasses the ‘It is written’. I think this scripture sums up the heart of God and our necessity to confront:

    Rom 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

    Dorian Ballard

  • Dear Bill

    thanks for your firm and gentle response in how you write your articles and response to people in this forum.

    As Jesus said to the woman at the well “go and sin no more”. Repentance is the only right response to God’s grace, as opposed to that of Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady (With a little bit of luck, when temptation comes along I’ll give right in).

    Hamish Blair

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