CultureWatch

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

Pink Apostates

Jul 14, 2018

There IS such a thing as apostasy, and there ARE such things as apostates. When folks deny key biblical truths and effectively call the Lord Jesus Christ a liar, they have become apostates. One way in which apostasy rears its ugly head so often of late is over the whole matter of homosexuality.

The Bible is perfectly clear on its teachings about the sin of homosexuality, and it is perfectly clear on God’s intentions for human sexuality: one man, one woman in marriage – only. When we deny these fundamental truths we are claiming we can do better than God, and we also claim that the Bible is not the authoritative Word of God.

That sounds like apostasy to me: deliberately moving away from Christian truth once upheld and affirmed. Let me offer two clear examples of this rainbow apostasy which have just occurred. The first is from the UK. Many Christians know and love John and Charles Wesley, and the ministry they had three hundred years ago.

In many respects the Methodist Church that came out of their ministry is today a far cry from what it was back then. Like so many denominations it has in good measure been taken over by theological liberals. Yes, true biblical Christians can still be found in Methodist churches, but in many of them the glory of the Lord has departed.

Consider this news item: the oldest Methodist building in the world, “the New Room,” which was built way back in 1739, is now going to be used for celebrating what the Bible calls an abomination. As Christian Concern in the UK says:

Tomorrow morning, a group called Christians At Bristol Pride will hold a ‘Service of Celebration’ with the sole intention of affirming LGBT+ lifestyles for Christians and then attending Pride Bristol. The LGBT+ group has secured the use of The New Room in John Wesley’s original chapel, the oldest Methodist building in the world. This is despite Wesley’s own views on homosexuality, and the stated position of the Methodist Church on human sexuality.

Oh dear. How the mighty have fallen. Of course the rot had already set in years ago. Back in 1993 for example an annual Methodist conference, held in Derby, looked at issues of human sexuality. The sixth and final resolution passed then said this:

Conference recognises, affirms and celebrates the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men in the church. Conference calls on the Methodist people to begin a pilgrimage of faith to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality.

However, talk about mixed messages. Its fourth resolution said this:

The Conference reaffirms the traditional teaching of the Church on human sexuality; namely chastity for all outside marriage and fidelity within it. The Conference directs that this affirmation is made clear to all candidates for ministry, office and membership, and having established this, affirm that the existing procedures of our church are adequate to deal with all such cases.

Um, how can you affirm the biblical position on marriage yet pretend homosexuality is just peachy, and allow the ‘ministry’ of homosexuals? John Wesley had said this about homosexuality while commenting on Romans 1:27: “Receiving the just recompense of their error – Their idolatry being punished with that unnatural lust, which was as horrible a dishonour to the body, as their idolatry was to God.”

Christian Concern also mentions that there will be a protest being held there:

In response, there will be a witness from Pastor Dia Moodley of Spirit of Life Church, Bristol, and a rally for truth taking place at 9.30am tomorrow, Sat 14th July, outside John Wesley’s chapel at: The New Room, 36 The Horsefair, Bristol, BS1 3JE. If you can, please join their witness and rally to show your support for the biblical view of human sexuality, and highlight the need for the Methodist church to hold to its own core teachings on human sexuality.

And the head of Christian Concern, Andrea Williams, said this:

The heritage of sound biblical teaching on human sexuality that was faithfully proclaimed by Christian men like John Wesley should be upheld by the church, not torn down. Methodism is dear to my heart, and I find it very sad to see buildings intended for the proclamation of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ being used to celebrate a sexual lifestyle that He condemned.

No doubt John Wesley would be spinning in his grave over all this. And things are no better in Australia. The Uniting Church has also gone down the path of pink apostasy. The UCA was created in 1977 when most of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches merged.

The UCA has also been heavily infected with theological liberalism, and homosexuality has been affirmed by many. Now their national assembly has just voted overwhelmingly to include homosexual weddings in their churches. As one report puts it:

The Uniting Church in Australia’s (UCA) National Assembly has voted to allow same sex couples to marry in the church. The vote means the church will provide a choice of marriage services. A new marriage rite will be written for “two persons” to marry, and will sit alongside the UCA’s existing marriage service for men and women. This is often described as a “Two integrities” solution which attempts to allow two beliefs about marriage to co-exist in the one church structure.

Meeting in Box Hill, Melbourne, the 265-member Assembly which is the peak decision making body for the church, has debated the issue for several days this week moving into closed session a number of times. The final vote in favour of change was overwhelming.

As with the Methodists, we have a number of similarities:
-the rot has been setting in for many years
-many in the denomination have been happy to replace biblical authority with the trendy opinions of men
-some churches have caved big time while others have sought to stand firm

Some faithful Christians in the UCA have decided to stay and fight, while others have already left, forming breakaway churches that remain true to Scripture. I have written elsewhere about these options in the UCA, and whether a full biblical restoration of it is now possible: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/05/05/wisdom-biblical-truth-and-apostasy/

But both these cases of apostasy are just part of a much bigger theological and moral drift. And plenty of other Christian leaders, churches and denominations have also been involved in this sort of apostasy. So what we have here are simply two more recent examples of the death of the church in so many parts of the West.

Those who choose to stay and fight need our prayers. And those who say ‘enough is enough’ and leave also deserve our prayers. These are very dark days indeed for the church. And the issue of homosexuality is one of the leading litmus tests as to whether a church will remain faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or whether they will simply jump in bed with the world and its immoral, amoral and unbiblical agendas.

What C. S. Lewis said in a letter back in 1953 is most fitting here:

I feel that very grave dangers hang over us. This results from the apostasy of the great part of Europe from the Christian faith. Hence a worse state than the one we were in before we received the Faith. For no one returns from Christianity to the same state he was in before Christianity but into a worse state: the difference between a pagan and an apostate is the difference between an unmarried woman and an adulteress. For faith perfects nature but faith lost corrupts nature.

www.christianconcern.com/our-issues/freedom/john-wesleys-original-chapel-hosts-service-celebrating-gay-pride
www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/the-methodist-church/views-of-the-church/human-sexuality-including-gay-and-lesbian-issues/
www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/uniting-church-to-hold-same-sex-marriage/

[1290 words]

30 Responses to Pink Apostates

  • The rot is the teaching and acceptance of evolution.

  • If the UCA vote was close there may be some purpose in staying and fighting but if the reports are correct and the vote was overwhelming then people get out of there as quick as you can. Property rights for your church simply are not worth being attached to this level of wickedness. This is blatant heresy and yes a very strong indication of apostasy and will contaminate all who choose to remain there just as Jesus and the Apostles warned people about the effects of leaven. (Mat 16:12, 1 Cor 5:6)

    The quote: ‘This is often described as a “Two integrities” solution which attempts to allow two beliefs about marriage to co-exist in the one church structure.’ Says it all really. There simply are not “two integrities” – it even comes up as a spelling error. Only the author of lies himself would claim such a obviously false idea. You either have integrity or you do not and clearly the UCA has chosen to not have integrity with God which, as you say Bill, is a very clear indication of apostasy. Integrity means being one – an integrated whole, just as a married couple is meant to be one (and a homosexual couple cannot be) and if you are not integrated with God – as one with God – then you are apostate. If you are saying that God did not say what is recorded in the scriptures then you are either denying the scriptures or denying God or, most probably, both and given that Jesus and the Apostles reiterated and confirmed what God told Moses then it seems very plain indeed that these people are both denying God and the scriptures. Without quick repentance their own words will condemn them as non-believers just as Jesus said and multitudes of others have warned

  • Thanks Bill for another very informative article.
    If a Church stands for nothing, they fall for everything.
    Matthew 7:23 is a warning to those practicing lawlessness.
    Kind regards, Kyle

  • This event in the UK happens very close to me—-embarrassingly I cannot attend, having learned of it for the first time only very late last night….but I can pray for a successful outcome and that many will realise the awful damage that is being done. People still don’t get it, do they? Here’s Britain, struggling under a ton-weight of Islam and other perverse ideologies and they still don’t grasp the fact that they must turn back to God to improve our situation.

  • Further in the UK:
    “Christian doctor fired for saying people cannot ‘choose their gender’ reveals he spoke out because he ‘could not live with himself if he didn’t and claims colleagues are too frightened to back him up.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5952625/Christian-doctor-fired-saying-people-choose-gender-reveals-speak-out.html

  • G’day Bill,

    It was a difficult decision, back in 1977 to vote to remain true to Scripture and the Westminster Confession, but to break fellowship with those in the Presbyterian Church who wanted to go Uniting. We were accused of not obeying the prayer of Jesus in John 17:

    20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.

    About that time John Stott pointed out that that Jesus’ prayer that they be one is that the disciples and those who believe in Jesus through them (i.e. us) be one; that we be take up and be one with the apostles’ testimony. That was an insightful understanding for me. It isn’t a prayer for organisational unity but theological unity.

    Certainly the direction that the Uniting Church has taken, and this decision, vindicates that difficult stand 40 years ago. May more faithful people in the Uniting Church now become one with a church that is one with the apostles’ testimony.

    Andrew Campbell
    Stanborough

  • Well done again Bill,
    My wife and I attended a uniting church for a few years but the mental strain of trying to divide the UCA false teaching from Biblical truth every Sunday became too much.
    We left. Gordon uniting church just up the road is getting more ridiculous by the hour. Sadly it doesn’t matter how intelligent a person is, anyone can be deceived when the word of God is not adored and obeyed,
    God bless you, .Phil

  • The great falling away continues….Are we on the narrow path following Christ or the wide following the worldly things that are against Christ? For me, I know my church’s stance, which is Biblical, but our pastor has chosen not to ruffle the flock by using his pulpit. That seems to be contagious here in the states. Read your Bibles, stay in the Word and don’t rely on man….

  • Another supremely bad day for the Uniting Church in Australia.

    The Primitive Methodist — UCA is my background, and I was ordained just before the Union in 1977. I have left the UCA twice now. The first time was over baptism and the second time was when the Assembly decided that Parishes could make their own choice (or not) to accept a lesbian or gay person as a minister.

    I know the heart, the heartache and the confusion of so many of these people.

    In spite of it all there are many people of integrity still within the UCA and this is quite apart from the ACC “Confessing Congregations” who hold fast to biblical orthodoxy. I was talking today with a 90+yo who said that she had seriously considered leaving the UCA today, but has so far decided to stay. Her congregation is not left or wrongly radical, but continues to worship as they have for years, and most hardly know of the machinations of the Assembly or of the Synods, or of the issues that are raging about them.

    I encouraged her that her congregation should decide, as a set policy, that there will not be any SS marriages celebrated in their properties even if their minister (currently between ministers) wanted to.

    The ACC are having a major meeting in September when some of the details of their response will be hammered out, if not settled beforehand.

    Re. The two integrities;
    “Whatever is not of faith is sin”.
    The context of this, is how our behaviour matches our beliefs.
    It is a sin to act in a way that you believe is wrong.
    Is is a sin to violate your conscience.
    That does not mean that doing what you believe to be right, is right, is proper, is holy, or acceptable to God.
    One can be “sincerely wrong”.
    Our conscience needs to be informed of the truth,
    – then it needs to be transformed by the truth.

    Some more will leave the UCA now, some will stay, believing that it is God’s will to stay; (for a variety of reasons), some will still hope for a restoration.
    Personally, it is still a fraught decision.
    I can easily agree that it is better to be clear and unencumbered by the issues of the day.
    It is better to fight from an un-compromized position, where we can get help and support.
    But leaving all those who have stayed in, to the devices of men and the enemy and slow cooking, is not good.
    You have to be very convinced about what God wants you to do, and how to do it.

    We will be visiting one of out UCA “old haunts” in a months time.
    I will make sure the issue is raised, and encourage them to be clear at this time about these things.

  • Our God is a holy God and outside of time as we experience it. C.S. Lewis expressed that God sees all of history as a continuum, so that when we sin our sin puts Jesus on the cross.
    To celebrate sin, therefore, is shocking and deeply sad from every perspective.
    Rebellious human beings do not want to submit to God and His instructions to His creation, which are for our well-being and protection.
    Embracing what God forbids and declaring it to be good, does away with the need to acknowledge sin, removing from people’s minds the need to be rescued from the consequences of sin.
    Jesus’ words: “Not all who call me Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven” are sobering indeed.

  • The Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland voted recently to sever ties to the Church of Scotland over its acceptance of homosexuality and the result:

    various voices on the media stating how cruel they are, to Queens University academics contemplating casting the Presbyterian theological college adrift ……My mum even told me how a Presbyterian ministers wife was disgusted with them for doing so…. funny I thought the disgust should be towards accommodating such nonsense and rebellion against God.

    They are vicious when challenged …. read the BBC / belfast telegraph to get up to speed on this!

  • Friends who stayed with us for the time and prayed although no vote now have to deal with this. We need to keep praying for them. However they will need to be aware that they will possibly come under attack if they refuse to have Ssm in their church.
    Katherine Fishley

  • There are some for whom leaving UCA is not an option. Small town, or no town, no other church close by, or the local church has remained unanimously true, limited transport options, old age and more. Their cry “help us” cannot be ignored. They may be a minority, but for those of us who do have an option, do we leave them to their own devices? Maybe, but today the problem is this one here. Tomorrow it will be that one there. You cannot always move away to a safe place.

  • I sometime wondered what these passages meant and was told that “once a Christian always a Christian”, that Jesus Christ will never let us go. We can never lose our salvation. But now I think these passages sound a loud and clear warning.

    2 Peter 2 20 ff:
    For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

    Hebrews 6.: 4ff:
    For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

  • I suggest it is really a good time to understand the times, like the men of Issachar (1 Chr 12) ‘who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do’. In those days of King Saul reigning there was an increasing support of the anointed king – David. Our King calls us out to join His band and serve Him, And for today not get bound up with endless arguments with those who say they know the truth but want to be tossed about by waves and winds of doctrines and polity with two positions hinging on keeping your conscience right. Staying in with a group that broadly denies God’s word as inspired and inerrant seems to me like expecting the world to preach the gospel. Hard as it may be to leave behind buildings and ministries and people who seem to have good intentions people need to be clear on what doctrines are sub-Christian or non-Christian or actually opposing to Christianity. Marriage is for a man and women. End of debate. For some in a particular church or region to deny what I would view as essentials of the Christian faith might require an attitude of enormous forbearance and perseverance. The reason is that the church is bigger than an individual minister or local body of believers. But for an entire denomination I think whatever we like about the local leaders and Church surely God will do what He did with Saul and Israel as a nation. That was to remove the Spirit and leave people to their own devices.

  • What can we do about this? How do we make our voices heard about obedience to the Holy Scriptures? The UCA Assembly was very successful in closing down debate about marriage as many Assembly delegates were stifled unless they agreed with the permissive direction of the leadership.
    What a “messy Church” the Lord is beholding.

  • There are degrees of responsibility and therefore culpability in the church.
    The Uniting Church has just again faced this challenge and has basically failed.

    I am not including those, still within the UCA, that have long been clear about their objection to, and rejection of, the long march away from scriptural Christianity, including SSM.

    Those who have failed, again, are those who agree that there may indeed be two views that are acceptable, that are legitimate, before God and in the light of scripture. These may not agree at all, with the view that SSM is biblical, but still give room for that view to be held by others, and also give recognition to their leadership in the UCA.

    It was this morning reading from Matt 23 “woe to you, teachers of the law.. Pharisees.. hypocrites.. blind guides.”. etc. , that I was angered again by what has happened.
    The duplicitous nature of the leadership is sickening. Their “Lord” is pleasing the people, their creed is “peace at all costs” and the second is like unto it “don’t rock the boat”.

    Can’t they see that while they disagree with SSM, by making room for those that advocate SSM they are really agreeing with them??

  • Britain is returning to the Barbarism from which it had emerged nearly two thousand years ago. There had been periods of backsliding in our history, but nothing on this scale of moral and spiritual collapse.
    In book 11, chapter 13 of his “Historia Ecclesiastica”, Bede describes how , 627 AD, the kingdom of Northumbria was converted from Druidism to the faith of Roman Catholic Church. The Pope had sent Paulinus to King Edwin to persuade him to leave the pagan religion of Druidism and embrace Jesus Christ.
    In the account, it speaks of Coifi, the Druid, High priest’s readiness to abandon his religion and then it says,
    “Another of the king’s chief men, approving of his words and exhortations, presently added: “The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison of that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the room wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad. The sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant. If, therefore, this new doctrine contains something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed.” The other elders and king’s counsellors, by divine inspiration, spoke to the same effect. [1]
    As we know Christianity had come to Britain long before, with Roman soldiers. The earliest image of Jesus Christ, found in Britain dates from around 350 AD, being found on a floor mosaic in a villa at Hinton St Mary [2].
    So it seems unbelievable that Britain has returned once more to the paganism from which it had been rescued, so long, long ago.
    [3]
    [1] https://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2014/10/st-paulinus-and-sparrow.html
    [2] https://i.pinimg.com/originals/17/c6/26/17c62687c701e0efb08d6f22c63c54d2.jpg

    [3]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb-Mr4SgEkw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKgTNCuCHUM
    http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/employment/police-officers-practising-witchcraft-allowed-set-pagan-police-association
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRD0o6hiAlo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbj7zrr2kK8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BihXkIXqCRY&t=289s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W11MvD6vKY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG0yCfFxNj8

  • Great article Bill. Thank you. I think the term “theological liberal” is Orwellian double speak. A better term would be “theological heretic”.

  • Thanks again Bill for a message of truth and grace. We who are affiliated with the ACC (Assembly of Confessing Congregations) in the UCA appreciate prayers and council from the Body of Christ. A friend of mine referred me to the “Pastoral letter from the President on “Marriage and same-gender relationships” The use of spiritual language is sickening, eg: “I want to acknowledge the ministry and struggle of LGBTIQ people in the Uniting Church over many years.” So political activism against Gods Word is “ Ministry”. It ends with the benediction: “Grace and peace to you all as we continue to witness to Gods abundant grace, the liberating hope of Christ and the wondrous movement of the Holy Spirit in our beloved church.”
    I’m not surprised by this but I needed my friends urging to read this stuff from the UCA President and be shocked.

  • A very clear article Bill and hi to Bruce Knowling! I think that we know each other. I was ordained in the then Methodist Church in W.A. in 1973. I left the U.C. in 1988 in order to fulfil a renewing ministry but left the door open for a possible return. When the U.C. Assembly in 2003 voted to allow the ordination of homosexuals, I believed that the door was probably closed forever. The latest decision about forming a liturgy to marry homosexuals is therefore not surprising.
    I still have some good friends who prayerfully are remaining in the U.C. This is sometimes their only choice, especially in small country towns where the only other churches are Anglican and R.C.
    I believe that if a referendum was held on the issue, then 70-80 % of U.C. members would vote against it. Many of these fine Christians know the Word clearly but haven’t the debating skills to match the liberals in the courts of the church.

  • Thanks for this valuable document highlighting the cancer affecting our Christian assemblies.
    The first step in this whole saga was to hijack the word marriage. Once this was achieved, the dominoes fell.
    Truth is truth. Western materialistic societies are awash with ungodliness.
    Your blog keeps us focused and connected. Thanks Bill.

  • Not the Church that Jesus said he would build!

  • Thanks for the article Bill. Can’t say I was surprised by the recent apostasy of the Uniting Church sadly. It seems to me that the devil has had a field day in and outside the Church ever since the sexual revolution and it just spins on and on into newer manifestations. SSM and supposed inclusion of sexual behaviours such as LGBTIQ inclusion into the Church. I mean what will be next. We need to pray against the wiles of the devil in the sexual realm. And this is not to even mention Pornography. Sexual immorality is such a danger to those in and outside the Church. May the Church push back against the devils schemes in this area, on our knees and ever watchful. Submitting to his good word on human sexuality.

  • As a minister seconded to a UCA congregation from outside, I am torn for a people who hunger for the Word of God. I am also blessed to see growth when Scripture is opened.
    As an ACC, congregation, we do not believe that the decision of Assembly was legal. In fact the Basis of Union is very clear in giving the power of determination to the Members at a Congregation level. A cloistered group of godless people, are trying to foist an illegal ruling on a Church that is hungering for the Word of God.

  • Just checking back and saw the “hello” from Graham Lawn.
    I’m sorry but your name only ring vague bells for me.
    Being two years ahead of me at College our paths didn’t cross that much.
    Anyway, may God bless you heaps my brother.
    It is good to see evidence of at least a few from those messy theological days keeping true to the faith.
    So many bible believing ministers have left the UCA and the congregations are much more vulnerable to the rubbish. We were able to leave but for some of them it is much more difficult.

  • Thanks for this great article Bill. We belong to a UC congregation that is evangelical and very upset by the change. I want to support our Minister but feel so ashamed to tell anyone that I am at the Uniting Church now. They have discarded biblical teaching like yesterday’s fish and chip wrappers. I agree with Peter Jensen who recently commented that the UCA has in effect created a new religion now. The ‘two truths’ the Assembly has endorsed sounds like the triumph of postmodernism. The emperor with no clothes! Please continue to prayerfully support those of us evangelicals who need to decide whether to stay or find a new home within the wider Church.

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