The Church’s Great Divide
Imagine you are a Christian pastor or counsellor, and a Christian guy who is heavily into adultery comes to you for advice and counsel. He actually thinks what he is doing is OK, but he wants your opinion on the matter. So what do you tell him? What if your response went something like this:
Well you know, we are all human, and no one is perfect. I don’t want to be judgmental here because we all have our issues we are struggling with. The truth is, Jesus did not speak to this issue very much, but he did talk so much about love and grace and acceptance. Plus you were likely born this way, and this is God’s gift to you.
The church has been too judgmental and condemning about such things in the past, and I want to model the inclusiveness and unlimited love of Jesus. I have stopped judging people, and just want to be open, tolerant and show the grace of God here.
If anything, I stand against all those Pharisees who would judge you and condemn you for what you are doing. That is not the spirit of Christ that I know of. He was about accepting everyone and being a friend of sinners. So my advice to you is to just ignore the critics and simply realise that God loves you just the way you are.
We are under grace, not law, and you are doing your best, and that is all we can ask. This is the 21st Century after all, and we have evolved and moved on from the lifeless Puritanism of the past. God is doing a new thing, and we must go with the times. We must embrace change and move forward, and not live in the repressive past.
Now hopefully anyone who calls himself a follower of Jesus Christ would be utterly appalled at such “advice” and would say that this pastor or counsellor is no true Christian at all, but is clearly a false shepherd, a hireling, doing the enemy’s business.
And they would be perfectly right in such an assessment. Yet I have news for you: if we simply make one change to the above scenario, we will discover this sort of advice and counsel is being given all the time by church leaders. Simply swap the word adultery for homosexuality.
Countless pastors, church leaders and counsellors are saying this very thing about homosexuality, and leading far too many people astray. Instead of proclaiming clear biblical truth on this matter, they have simply surrendered to the surrounding pagan culture, and have pushed a worldly agenda of sin, compromise and carnality.
As such, this has become the dividing issue of our times. I am not alone in saying this. Other Christian leaders are fully aware of how this is the number one issue which will make or break the church. Al Mohler has just penned a piece on this entitled “Homosexuality as Dividing Line – The Inescapable Issue” which is well worth quoting from.
He rightly says that on this issue, “there is no third way”. He writes:
A church or denomination will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them. In short order, every single congregation in America will face the same decision — do we affirm same-sex relationships or not? Those who suggest that there is some way around this “binary” choice are fooling themselves and confusing the church. Consider this — the only way to construct a “third way” is to suggest that one can allow for the affirmation of homosexuality without affirming it. That simply does not work. To allow the affirmation is to affirm.
There is no third way, and there has never been a third way on a question of this magnitude and consequence. In this sad case it was the issue of homosexuality that defined the dividing line, but there have been many necessary dividing lines before….
Division is always painful, but on a clear question of biblical truth, division is sometimes the only act that faithfulness to Scripture will allow. This is one of those moments, and homosexuality and same-sex marriage now loom as the great dividing line that will tear some denominations apart and lead others to define the terms of their convictional cooperation….
The issue is now inescapable for every congregation, every denomination, every seminary, and every Christian organization. The question will be asked and some answer will be given. When the question is asked, any answer that is not completely consistent with the church’s historical understanding of sexual morality and the full affirmation of biblical authority will mean a full embrace of same-sex behaviors and same-sex relationships. There is no third way, and there never was.
Yes quite right. We either agree with God and his Word on this, or we say that both are wrong, and go and do our own thing. But if we insist upon that latter path, then we prove by our attitudes and actions that we are none of his. We prove that we have shaken our fist in defiance at almighty God.
That is not a position any follower of Christ can ever embrace.
9 Replies to “The Church’s Great Divide”
Even Jesus did not dare to challenge God and did assert or give testimony to his word as truth. To do otherwise would, in my view, be challenging God as the one who knows and his word is not only right but truth. Jesus (as we refer to him and who was born named Emanuel – meaning God is with us), simply said, I give testimony to the truth – who’s truth? Gods word is the truth referred to by Jesus and Pilate asked: is your truth the same as mine? Jesus did not answer but I bet he was thinking: there is but one truth and that is every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. God condemns homosexuality not because he simply does not like it but the creator of all things warns us of the consequences of such activity that has come to be know as “same sex” which the generations recognise as homosexuality. I refer to Leviticus 20:13 where God spoke to Moses and sated: “If a man also lie with mankind as he would with a woman, they both commit and abomination”. So what is an abomination? To my understanding, it is a vile disgusting act. So why is an act an abomination when partaken by same sex and not opposite sex? For those who are not at speed, the section at Leviticus makes it clear in that “if a man also lie with mankind as he would with a woman”. A mystery? No, not all in that God blesses the act of intimacy between a man and a woman (other than adultery) but condemns intimacy by same sex. As such, those would be preachers who administer same sex as anyway acceptable are a classic case of “the blind leading the blind”!!
Some good news; the senate recommends the foreign ‘same-sex marriage’ bill not be passed .
Yes it is good news. For those not familiar with it, this is the Greens’ ‘Recognition of foreign same-sex marriages Bill’ that Jenny Stokes and I recently gave testimony to at a Senate Committee hearing. Their one recommendation: “The committee recommends that the Bill not be passed.”
My report on our time before the committee is found here:
Well may you say that homosexuality is the dividing line, but what will it be next; Same Sex marriage?
I would assert that the dividing line are the orthodox teachings of evangelical Christianity. Any one who is born again and has been grounded and settled in the faith once delivered to the saints should be able to point out the following: (not necessary to be a pastor)
1. The rule of right living for all mankind is the moral law as summarised in the ten commandments. Refer to Shorter catechism questions 2 and 3.
2. There is the issue of Repentance unto Life, besides the turning away from sin there is also the need for an active pursuit of obedience to the moral law. Refer to Shorter Catechism 87. Unless ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.
3. It is unfortunate that there are preachers that warn against legalism, implying that obedience to the moral law is optional.
I have experienced this division in a congregation I belonged to for eleven years. Two women sat in the pews leaning into one another. While one could not object to homosexuals coming to listen at church these two we’re making a point by their behaviour. Then they were going to communion. I spoke to the pastor but because he did nothing I suggested to one of them that she should not attend communion because the scriptures condemned her behaviour. Her response was oh I know all the Bible texts – I am sure God is happy with me.
On hearing about my daring to speak in such a way to one of these women the two pastors rushed around to their home. One was obviously angry with me. The other said oh they are harmless but male homosexuality really repulsed me. The next Sunday one of the women came down from communion with a pleased look on her face.
What this all meant that I as a long term member of the congregation felt on the outer.
It is true – in a congregation a stand will have to be taken hopefully upholding the scriptures unlike in my case.
Hello Anne Marie, what a difficult position to be in. It was right that you first spoke to your Pastor, well done. I am sure it wasn’t easy for you. Were there no elders that would have assisted you?
I’m afraid that the truth must be spoken, gently and humbly, but spoken none-the-less.
It is sad to leave a group of people that you love but sometimes there is no choice as sitting under poor leadership is detrimental. It may come to you having to shake the dust from your feet and moving on.Should you do this, and it will take courage, then may I suggest that you first ensure that you write to the Pastor and the board (deacons, elders etc) of your reasons for leaving?
Too often I have heard complete denial of why people have ceased to attend a church and unless there is a written record such denials are easy to make.
Pray first and seek the advice of a mature Christian who loves Christ and the word; meet with leadership, taking a support person with you, then make your decision and put it in writing.
If you follow the guidelines of scripture on how to settle disputes you will not go wrong. God bless you and grant you his peace as you stand in his truth.
Bisexual, Camille Paglia’s underpinning religious considerations for her “alternative approach” to sexuality in her essay “No Law in the Arena” are openly drawn from Classical Graeco-Roman paganism… Aleister Crowley, that notable Neo-Pagan and occultist extraordinaire saw his ventures into bisexual sex as an important part of his pursuit of magick and ancient pagan mysteries.
It seems to me that, for some followers of alternative sexuality, there is an overt connection to a very anti-Christian spirituality. There is doubtless sufficient evidence to mount a case for there being a supernatural dimension to the pursuit of “alternative” sexual practices.
Our church made the decision to leave the Uniting Church 17 years ago. We have never looked back. We have never been sorry we did so. We knew in God that we could not stay under such leadership and beliefs. That said, it was painful to leave the church my husband’s family had been in for generations and for me, most of my life. We felt such pain that our church would do such a thing. As pastors, my husband and I did not know what would happen, how many would come with us and so on. Apart from perhaps a few, our whole church came with us. And we know, we know, how faithful a God that we have. SO faithful. We have been so blessed. The goodness of God is overwhelming and we have just celebrated the 25th anniversary of our church. The church needs to stand up and be counted! Thank you for your article, Bill. Excellent. You nailed it.
This is an issue that clearly shows which side of the line a church is on. If they are out of line with the Bible on this one, then they are likely to be out of line a number of areas.
Well put Bill.