He Still Stands, Waiting…

Why would anyone be involved in a work which results in a regular torrent of abuse, hatred and even death threats? Not for the fun of it, or for the money; that’s for sure. Sadly it seems to go with the territory. When you dare to proclaim truth in the public arena, all sorts of folks are going to get real angry at you.

And they certainly let you know about it. Want proof? Well I have plenty of it for you. In the early days when the hate mail poured in I just trashed it right away. I sure did not want the rest of my family to see this sick, perverted and diabolical stuff. And I am not too keen on seeing it either.

But a few years ago I decided it might be of use to collect all this venomous material – not because I am a glutton for punishment, but because it may one day come in handy. You see, the other side loves to go on and on about the virtues of tolerance and acceptance and diversity.

But the stark truth is, these guys tend to be the most intolerant, hate-filled people on the planet. And I have their comments to prove it. So in an ever-expanding document of fine print I have all their words of tolerance and diversity stored up. It is quickly becoming one of my bigger documents!

While I am a normal human being and am not thrilled with all this abuse and hatred, I have come to expect it and accept it in a way. I realise that so many of these folks are deep down really quite unhappy and messed up, and they are lashing out as a way to cope.

So they pour contempt on me and my God, and exalt in their rebellion and defiance. But I too once scoffed at God, mocked him, ignored him, and disdained him. And I treated his followers the same way. Yet God was extremely patient with me, and tremendously merciful. He graciously allowed me to shake my fist at him for so many years.

But I finally came to my senses. Like the prodigal son, I thought I had total freedom. But I was simply captive to my sin and selfishness. Indeed, it was the same way the prodigal son was “free”: he had the whole pigsty to himself. When he snapped out of his illusion, however, he came home to find his father waiting for him with open arms.

In fact, the father ran to the wayward son, embraced him, and threw a big party for him (see Luke 15:11-32). That is how father God welcomed me home, and all who come back to him through his son Jesus Christ. I tell my story of being a prodigal here: billmuehlenberg.com/2012/06/27/coming-home-my-testimony-part-1/

So I know that God waited patiently for me, and he is doing the same for all my many critics. And I must do the same. So I often pray for these folks who send in their hate mail. The hope is many of these folks will one day come to see the love and grace of God, and recognise how bad the pigsty really is.

One fellow who has a similar story to me – we were even converted to Christianity at just about the same time – is Michael L. Brown. He too gets plenty of hate mail and death threats because he too is willing to proclaim truth in the public arena.

He tells an interesting story of a neat experience he has just had. I will let him tell the story in his own words, but I encourage you to read both articles of his which I link to below.

Last week, one of the pastors of my home congregation was informed by the police that there would be a gay protest outside of our church service on Sunday morning. A local gay website carried this announcement: “We will meet just before Service begins, and protest as they gather, we will have a silent protest as service is going and let them have it as they leave for the day. Remember we will be peaceful and respectful, something they don’t understand. We are going to STAND TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY to show that our love is stronger than their hate.”

In response, I wrote on my blog: “On behalf of FIRE Church, I want to extend to you the warmest welcome and let you know that we are thrilled that you are here with us on Sunday. We have been praying for you for a long time!” Interestingly, the blog entry, which ran about 325 words, received more hits than any of my previous entries. What made it so attractive?

Scott Volk, the pastor who received the heads-up from the police, posted a gracious invitation to the protesters on the same gay website that announced the event, letting them know they would be welcomed warmly. “In all our years here,” he wrote, “we’ve only desired to reach out with love to everyone in the local community here whether they are labeled as gay or straight. Hopefully, you’ll see that love demonstrated on Sunday as you protest.”

When Sunday morning came, about ten protesters showed up, and they were greeted with water, snacks, and genuine Christian love. Within a few minutes of dialog, they left, telling us we were too nice and loving to deserve a protest. When I posted an announcement on my Facebook page with this update, it received more “Likes” than any other post in memory. What prompted such a positive response?

On Monday, the organizer of the protest called into my radio show to apologize publicly for the protest, explaining that their “anger . . . was aimed [in] the wrong direction.” He continued, “Once we got there Sunday morning we were greeted with absolutely perfect love. I mean, it was fantastic.”

He accepted my invitation to meet him for dinner in the near future, not for the purpose of having a theological argument (I assured him that was not my intent) but to discuss how we could live side by side in the same city with such profound differences dividing us.

He concludes: Without a doubt, when we are convinced of the rightness of an issue, as people with strong biblical beliefs, we will take a stand, regardless of cost or consequence. (I know there are cowards and hypocrites among us, but there are plenty of committed Christians who are willing to stand up for what is right, even when it means swimming against the tide and going against the grain.) And there’s no question that some of us are drawn to conflict and controversy. But for the most part, we would rather be friends than fighters, ambassadors of reconciliation rather than culture warriors. The events of this past week underscore that clearly.

And he concludes his other article with these words: When the Lord called me to get involved with homosexual issues eight years ago, He said to me, “Reach out and resist,” meaning, “reach out” to the people with compassion and “resist” the activist agenda with courage. Is it possible to do both? By God’s grace, the answer is yes, and in the end, love never fails.

So if we keep on speaking the truth in love, we will have such an impact. Sure, not everyone will lay down their arms and embrace the gospel, but some may eventually. And that is why Michael, I and others keep doing what we do. We are not all that keen on the abuse and controversy, but we are very keen on sharing truth and seeing people set free by the wonderful gospel of Christ.

Thus if you are one of those who sometimes – or often – come to my site, leaving rather ugly and vicious comments, be forewarned: I am praying for you and God is still graciously waiting for you. And Jesus is still standing there, with his extended arms revealing his nail-scarred hands.

He will also run to you, embrace you, and throw a big party for you if you see your need of him. If you tire of your fist-shaking at God, your reliance on your own human reason and ability to make it through life, your own ego and pride, and have had enough, then he is still there, waiting. If you repent of your sins, and agree with him that the pigsty really does stink, then you too can find a completely new life in Christ.

And you will never regret it if you do.

townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2012/08/30/christians_would_rather_be_friends_than_fighters
www.charismanews.com/opinion/34055-the-gay-protest-that-encountered-the-love-of-god

[1435 words]

28 Replies to “He Still Stands, Waiting…”

  1. Thanks Bill for this. I think both Michael Brown and Scott Volk have got it right. They are to be commended. I remember once after I had made a speech which was probably confrontational since in those days it was the only way I knew I received a letter from a homosexual who wrote in part: “Jesus loves me so why don’t you?” It certainly made me think. I won’t spoil the story by telling what I wrote in reply but what would you say?
    John Bradford

  2. Great Article Bill,

    Great testimony too. Perhaps Homosexuals have a point, that we are often intolerant if we don’t love them – but I know in my personal case you don’t have to be homosexual for me to have a problem with loving you. I think corporately, God still has a thing or two to teach us about his unconditional love.

    Blessings,
    Ben Mathewson, UK

  3. Thanks guys

    It is about speaking the truth in love – something hard to do but something we must try. Getting the biblical balance right is crucial. Biblical love is not sentimental sap, but willing the highest good for the other person. So to love a person – at the bare minimum – means telling him the truth. Loving a drug addict means speaking truth to him, and hoping he is set free from his deadly addiction for example. But I speak to this elsewhere:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/03/23/truth-and-love/
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/07/12/love-and-truth-again/

    And from my perspective, for every Christian who may be too harsh or combative, we have a dozen wimpy believers who will never speak up, never confront, and never stand up for biblical righteousness. So as I say, getting the balance right is something we all must work at.

    As Michael said, we must “Reach out and resist” – not a bad balance it seems to me.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  4. We don’t hate you Bill, we just think you’re a conceited, narcissistic, ill-educated, ill-informed, sadistic, inadequate wet.
    That’s not hatred, that’s pity.
    Francis Lewis

  5. Thanks Francis

    We’ll chalk that up as another example of your side’s tolerance, acceptance and diversity then shall we?

    But while your remark is par for the course, we will keep praying for you guys. People who have said much worse have had their lives miraculously turned round, so there is hope for everyone actually. Indeed, if my life can be turned around then I know anyone’s can.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  6. Sorry to be, in Francis Lewis’s words, a “conceited, sadistic, inadequate wet”, but don’t people “exult in their rebellion and defiance”? That is, they exult in their own, but exalt that of others.
    Michael Watts

  7. Hello Bill
    I am on leave from a deployment to a country in the Middle East. Internet access there is somewhat uncertain, so I would just like to say that on my temporary return, catching up on your articles is a real joy. Please keep up the fantastic work. As (I think) Churchill said, a man is measured by his enemies – you have certainly been measured and not found wanting. The mouthpieces of Moloch cannot refute your arguments. The irony in people named after two of the greatest saints in Christendom (St Francis and St Louis) trying to rebuke you is only a sign of your effectiveness. Please keep up your efforts.
    Dion Ryan

  8. God’s Word always has served us well:

    If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, (Provers 25:21)

    Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:19-20)

    Monica Craver

  9. Most people aren’t interested in your fictional deity, Bill. That’s the simple truth. You can pray all you like, it’s not going to make a jot of difference to the real world.

    You receive what you perceive to be abusive comments (no doubt you’ll perceive this one in the same way) because you write with such utter disdain for anyone and everyone who doesn’t embrace your worldview, engaging in name-calling that you claim to find so hurtful when directed at you. Atheists are always “self-centred”, “arrogant” etc. Gay people are always “fascists”, “intolerant”. Your language is dehumanising. You could learn a lot from Michael.

    Your idea that you are privy to some extraordinary truth that is denied gay people, atheists, Muslims etc. is arrogant in the extreme.

    Of the few people I’ve spoken to who’ve actually heard of you, most think if you as a raving nutter or old crank rather than a figure of hate.

    Holly Hancock

  10. Thanks Holly

    Yes I know that is how your side “argues”: simply resort to name-calling and mud-slinging instead of engaging in evidence and fact. But as I said, that’s OK, because I was once in the same boat. I too felt like you did years ago. But fortunately the love of God was greater than my pride and ego, and he wooed me back to himself. We can keep praying that you and others find the same life-transforming encounter with your creator and redeemer.

    And in the meantime I most certainly will do all I can to resist the agenda of the radicals who have declared war on my faith, my freedom and my family. Those folks are without question extremely intolerant and acting as true fascists, but fortunately they are only a small minority within the small minority of all homosexuals. So spare us your patent falsehood that I see all homosexuals this way. The good news is that most simply want to be left alone and do their thing without bothering others. That is fine by me. But I have every right in the world to be concerned about the militant activists who want to strip away all my rights and force me to bow to their agenda. That indeed is intolerance of the highest order and ugly fascism, and that indeed is something I will oppose to my last breath.

    “Reach out and resist” as Michael rightly says. BTW, you should read his book one day – a real eye-opener. Truth has a habit of doing that.

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/05/16/a-review-of-a-queer-thing-happened-to-america-by-michael-l-brown/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  11. Francis Lewis @ 31.8.12. Francis, in calling Bill a narcissist, you probably know that it means someone who loves themself above all others, so that they can’t consider anyone above their own rights, desires and wants… ego-focussed, selfish, mean, cheap and nasty… all things that I was and am to a lesser degree before I asked Jesus to have a go at my life because of the mess I had made of it. It’s a struggle and I relapse often, such is my opinionated self and the anger that I am still trying to deal with for various reasons that I won’t go into here. I pray that you would let Jesus has a go at convincing you to do the same someday.
    Russell Guy

  12. Hi Bill, what a fantastic and timely article. Yes they are defenceless against your prayers. It reminds me about a recent request for a meeting from a gay activist Chad St James editor of ‘Same Same’ with Wendy Francis from ACL. Whats surprising is how intolerant some of those who support the gay political movement where of Chad even requesting a meeting and just talking to Wendy. It is obvious Wendy has shown nothing but love truth and grace towards the gay community.
    http://www.samesame.com.au/features/8830/Coffee-with-Wendy-Francis.htm
    Denise Sims

  13. Hi Bill, great story. What I can’t fathom is the likes of Francis and Holly. They so obviously find offense at the truth and yet visit your site to read the truth and then complain about it and insult you. Personally I have to question a persons’ intelligence when confronted with actions like that. Both of them don’t seem to believe that God exists so I wonder what their “plan B” is. On behalf of those who do know that he lives, and rejoice in that fact, keep telling it like it is and God’s blessing to you and yours.
    Mark Harrison

  14. All this is true, but gays, like anyone else, must respect the values of their hosts. To come into a church building and starting disrupting, is not only bad manners, it is probably against the law – except the the law enforcement officers would never dare lay a hand on a gay man.

    People are allowed into my home, but if they abuse my hospitality I am well within my rights to have them ejected, no matter who or what they are. We have to remind them that they are just like everyone else and therefore have no special privileges – at the moment!

    David Skinner, UK

  15. Bill, I am sorry, I had to chuckle at Francis calling you uneducated. What is it, 200 books a year at least and your articles show that your intellect has successfully digested the content of those which you review very well.

    I wonder what an educated person in Francis’s view looks like. Maybe the less read the better? In this upside down world, you never know.

    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  16. I appreciate your work very much Bill, and I found this report on a church’s response to a ‘gay’ protest very refreshing, and the outcome very encouraging. As for Holly and Francis, they may not hate you, but I do think they have tried to be hurtful. A pity, and I would hope they realize that is not your aim, but rather to be helpful.
    Alec Witham

  17. Just keep writing Bill. Even the haters may actually decide to read your articles before commenting and actually absorb some truth, which in turn may one day set them free, should they allow it.

    Mario Del Giudice

  18. Thanks Bill for this article. Its contents are very important.

    As one who has been involved in sharing the gospel, I have friends who at different times have sought to share with gays and lesbians. One thing is really clear, in order to connect with these people, it seems best not to be seen as having a strong political agenda against things like gay marriage. This also applies in seeking to share the gospel with Muslims. If one starts with the Christian desire to resist Islamic influence within the nation, it is likely we have lost the opportunity to share the gospel with such a (individual) Muslim. Such lines of conversation tend to close down communications.

    Your own calling Bill appears to be focused more as a watchman on the wall. It is a calling which can be perceived, as more political in nature. Hence, your ability to share the gospel with gay and lesbian people is likely to be more limited. I myself do not have any special calling to gays and lesbians, so you are likely to be sharing the gospel more than I am to gays and lesbians.

    Your ministry has also been concerned to teach biblical truth and to help people resist false assumptions about the nature of God and His law. This ministry is an urgent one. We must continue to warn the church about the danger of compromising with sin and resist the subtle heresy of antinomianism. God has not changed; neither has His moral law. We dare not condone what He hates.

    But the experience of Michael Brown and his story is very encouraging. In particular, the word which Brown says he received from God, namely, to “reach out and resist” presents as to be a wonderful example to us. It’s a reminder that we need to make use of the different parts of the body. The various parts have different functions. ‘If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?’ Perhaps we should pray that the Lord would raise up some people to show and extraordinary levels of love to the gay and lesbian people, and yet with out compromising the our message about the nature of God.

    It is impossible to connect to share the gospel with anyone without first making a point of connection and moving to enter into a conversation. The priorities of such action are very different from the process of seeking to resist the politics of such things as gay marriage. While these are not irreconcilable, what is good about Michael Brown’s is that it reminds us that the Lord’s heart is towards gays; as much as any who are lost.

    We are indeed called to love gays in a similar way. I remember somewhere C.S. Lewis had said that to wish the damnation of anyone is a mortal sin, and that we must act in such a way that we should prefer to endanger our own lives rather than to be consumed by such hatred.

    Cheers
    Chris McNicol

  19. Thanks Chris

    I seek to address this tension here:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/12/06/christianity-society-and-false-dilemmas/

    “The truth is, we are to both reach individuals and also work for godly legislation – at the same time. We are to do both, not just pick one or the other. So why do some believers insist on forcing us to choose between the two when the Bible never calls us to?”

    As Michael says, “reach out and resist”.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  20. Chris McNicol has made some valid points, Bill. But you appear not to have read what he is saying. I think the discussion turns on how you interpret the expression “reach out and resist”.
    Are these two activities mutually exclusive? Michael Brown apparently thinks not and you agree. But Chris McNicol seems to be interpreting these words differently. And I tend to agree with him since I didn’t have the benefit of Chris’ input at the time I made my first comment.
    If you are a political commentator you can go in full bore against same sex marriage as you should. You can even write a book critical of the homosexual movement as you have. But you can’t then expect to have a ministry to homosexuals or indeed to even have a dialogue with them. Can you?
    But Pastors in particular have a much more difficult road to hoe. For them the challenge is to” reach out and resist”. And to do that effectively surely does require God’s grace.
    John Bradford

  21. Thanks John

    I did read what he is saying. And I don’t disagree with Chris. I was just pointing out (if you in fact read the article that I linked to) that we may well be called to do both simultaneously. Indeed, Michael is every bit as concerned about public policy issues as I am, and has also written a book on homosexuality – even bigger than mine, and is receiving plenty of hate and abuse as a result. So we must do both – seek to protect our freedoms on a public policy level (be it threat of radical Islam or militant homosexualism or whatever), while showing love for the various individuals. I have been saying this for years now. It may be hard to always achieve, but we are called to try.

    So I am not sure why you keep coming to criticise me here along these lines. You were once fighting for these issues in government. Does that mean you hated individuals at the same time? it is a foolish false dilemma to be holding I would have thought.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  22. Well Bill I don’t want to discourage you in what you are doing and I’m sorry if I am being critical. I am really just trying to understand how best we achieve our goals in this cultural war. The answer to your question is that I personally found it difficult to achieve the balance you believe is possible. I should say that don’t believe I ever” hated” anyone even if I disagreed with them violently.
    But I learned a lot of lessons along the way. And one of them was that if I spoke out strongly about somebody’s lifestyle or beliefs I could hardly expect to turn around and befriend that same person. Even in an environment where people sometimes think you can say what you like about a political opponent in the Parliament and then have a drink with him (or her) in the bar afterwards. I tried not to offend people but I often failed.
    I don’t think this is a” foolish dilemma” at all, Bill. It’s a very real one faced by Pastors and Christian leaders who as I said really do need God’s grace to handle.
    John Bradford

  23. Thanks John

    But Jesus and the disciples constantly “spoke out strongly about somebody’s lifestyle or beliefs” as you put it. If they had no problem doing this, why do you? Some people repented and believed and some did not. I still fail to see why you are creating an unnecessary dilemma here. Sure some people will be turned off by what we have to say – and it does not matter how nice or loving or gracious we try to be. Jesus was all that and more, and he still offended people constantly. I really don’t think we can do better than Jesus here – if he divided crowds, got people upset, and offended many, why do we think we won’t? But I discuss this elsewhere: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2012/08/30/so-have-you-offended-anyone-yet/

    But yes we always do need God’s grace in all our dealings with others. (And I take it you still haven’t read the other article I link to above. As I say there, it will never be easy – nothing worthwhile in life is ever easy – but it can be done: reaching ourt and resisting at the same time.)

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  24. This is a tricky one as whatever you say, homosexuals will usually filter it through their massive rejection that controls every aspect of their life.

    You can say something quite benign or innocuous and their rejection will put quite a different interpretation on the words said or written. This then is translated into “you hate me” which is quite untrue.

    Because their life is based on a lie (God made me this way or I was born gay) they tend to accept lies as the truth and they will create lies to protect themselves from further emotional damage. This is known as a defensive detachment.

    The combination of rejection and defensive detachment means a very volatile emotional state of mind that is why you see so much anger in the homosexual community.

    It is not a coincidence that there is more violence in homosexual relationships than in heterosexual ones and more suicide.

    Trying to connect with such a disordered emotional being is fraught with problems, but it can be done but don’t expect a cushy ride.

    Roger Marks

  25. This is a follow up comment for John Bradford.

    Bill I want to thank you for bringing this report of Michael Brown. To start, I simply wanted to point out that John, you and I are in agreement about the positive nature of this report.

    Your strong comments made me do a rethink. I affirm what you say about false dilemmas. In fact, as a result of your comments, I decided to try and move to find someway forward regarding sharing of the gospel with homosexuals. (One thought, in relation to this, I will share below.) Also, having looked at John’s background, I would confidently say that: yourself, John and I are all committed to resisting these things politically; not that I am equal to you or John in this, but I am committed.

    What I have to say here may have wisdom. Please consider. I thought to make another distinction. (I don’t think it is a false dilemma.) The distinction is with regard to the difference of opinion between yourself and John (and I’m in there somewhere too). I wish to draw your attention to the experience of Romans chapter 7 and Romans chapter 8, and make a metaphorical connection to our discussion. Bill your strong affirmation reminds me Romans 8 v 2. But when we look around and view so much of the church on these issues, John and I, I think, were speaking out of a Romans 7 position; our experience of the church which is painful and displays so many short comings. While I would affirm, what you say, to be morally true, and I affirm with you that not only are such false distinctions illogical, but also unbiblical, I would also join with you, in your many lamentations, and affirm that the experience of the church in Australia is way below what it ought to be. John, I think, was speaking from this Romans 7 position.

    Let’s return to Michael Brown’s story. It is such a wonderful report. My prayer is:
    ‘God do it again! Please do it again here in Australia Lord!’
    There was something special, and of the Holy Spirit, in this report. I think this is reflected in the number of comments you and Michael Brown received. I recall 2 Corinthians chapter 8 v 1 – 7. Paul speaks of this event as something special which the Holy Spirit was involved in. This report yours, I believe, is of a similar character for the church in this hour. There was a wonderful flow of God’s grace. Something of a higher water mark was achieved. We need more experiences like this here brother! Hence my prayer.

    Blessings,
    Chris McNicol

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