CultureWatch

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

The Apostle Paul Apologises For Insensitive Remarks On Sexuality

Feb 1, 2020

Yet more church leaders telling God to drop dead:

Press Release, Rome, 30 January 62 AD, from the Apostle Paul and his colleagues

We as the disciples of Christ, alongside the apostles in Jerusalem, apologise and take responsibility for releasing statements recently which we acknowledge have jeopardised trust. We are very sorry and recognise the division and hurt this has caused.

Specifically, we apologise for all the damage that was caused when we said things such as: the sexually immoral, adulterers, and homosexuals will not enter the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11); sexual immorality, impurity, and sensuality are works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19); and, abstaining from sexual immorality is the will of God (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

With hindsight we now see that we were being intolerant and judgmental in those and similar remarks, and we apologise for them. We were wrong to make such hurtful remarks about human sexuality. We have caused so much pain to so many by being so wedded to words that we now understand are simply human in origin, and not divine.

And we now realise (thanks to all your feedback), that we were quite wrong to take literally the words of Jesus as well when he spoke of human sexuality in the context of one man and one woman marriage (Matthew 19:3-6). We know now that he was quite mistaken in his views, and we are certain that he too would recant from such fundamentalist and archaic views if he were now here with us.

We will be taking back all those harsh and unloving statements, and we will strive from now on to show real acceptance, inclusion and diversity. To any adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, polygamists and anyone else who may have been offended, we offer our sincerest apologies, and promise to never do it again. Our aim from this day forward will be to only build bridges, and not to be narrow-minded bigots and Bible-bashers.

Um, as far as I can tell, Paul never said any of that. But sadly, some contemporary Christian leaders have said exactly those things – or very close to it. Let me explain. Just recently a rather surprising statement on biblical sexual morality was released in the UK.

Called “Civil Partnerships–for same sex and opposite sex couples. A pastoral statement from the House of Bishops of the Church of England,” it was a pretty good overview of what Scripture teaches about human sexuality. It offers 35 succinct paragraphs, and its concluding one says this:

With opposite sex civil partnerships, and with those for same sex couples, the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics remains unchanged. For Christians, marriage–that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows –remains the proper context for sexual activity. In its approach to civil partnerships the Church seeks to uphold that standard, to affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships and to minister sensitively and pastorally to those Christians who conscientiously decide to order their lives differently.

You can read the entire document here: www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/Civil%20Partnerships%20-%20Pastoral%20Guidance%202019%20%282%29.pdf

But as we should have expected, this did not last very long. Indeed, all the usual suspects made a massive stink: homosexual activists, secular lefties, and liberal churchmen. As a result of this backlash, just a week after the pastoral statement was released, we had this from the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Justin Welby, and the Anglican Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu:

Statement from Archbishop Justin and Archbishop Sentamu following the College of Bishops Meeting

30/01/2020

We as Archbishops, alongside the bishops of the Church of England, apologise and take responsibility for releasing a statement last week which we acknowledge has jeopardised trust. We are very sorry and recognise the division and hurt this has caused.

At our meeting of the College of Bishops of the Church of England this week we continued our commitment to the Living in Love and Faith project which is about questions of human identity, sexuality and marriage. This process is intended to help us all to build bridges that will enable the difficult conversations that are necessary as, together, we discern the way forward for the Church of England. www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/statement-archbishop-justin-and-archbishop-sentamu-following-college-bishops

Oh, good grief. This is what they are in effect telling us: ‘Yes folks, we are so very sorry: so many homosexuals and adulterers and others who were so very happily living in sin were upset and offended by that pastoral statement, and we must apologise for that. We are sorry that those old fogies actually quoted the Bible and believed the Bible. They are such disgusting dinosaurs. We want nothing to do with them and we apologise. Please feel free to live any way you like. We think that is just peachy.’

Not everyone was happy with this irresponsible compromise and unbiblical nonsense. Consider the words of Andrea Williams:

Andrea Williams, lay General Synod member in the Church of England and chief executive of Christian Concern comments on yesterday’s statement from Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu:

It amazes me that I continue to be surprised by the Church of England. This week it is astonishing that the Archbishops have issued an apology for the pastoral statement issued by the House of Bishops last week. The pastoral statement merely reiterated church teaching that marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman and that sexual intercourse is reserved for marriage.

An apology should only be made when you have done something wrong. This apology does not regret anything that was said in the pastoral statement. It is therefore a non-apology. Of course, there are people who disagree with church teaching; there always have been. This is no reason for the Archbishops to apologise for church teaching.

We are left with the appearance that the Archbishops are sorry for the offence caused by proclaiming the doctrine of marriage! This is a ridiculous position for them to be in.

Marriage is a beautiful gift of God for the benefit of society and for the raising of families. It is the bishops’ job to discipline clergy who deliberately and openly promote and practise sex outside marriage. To instead apologise for jeopardising trust and the ‘hurt’ this caused is to fail to give broken people the liberating hope they need – found only in Jesus and his truth.

Marriage is not something to be apologised for, it is something to be celebrated and upheld by our Bishops. It is tragic that the Archbishops are apologising for clearly stating the doctrine of marriage. They should be clear and unashamed about what marriage is and how it is the best foundation for a vibrant and flourishing society. Marriage is good for men, women and children and exactly what the House of Bishops should be championing. christianconcern.com/ccpressreleases/andrea-williams-responds-to-archbishops-apology-for-marriage-statement/

Michael Brown in the US said similar things: “Rather than apologizing for standing with God and His Word, Church leaders should have reaffirmed their position in the face of protest. Unity without truth will not stand. Neither will unity without morality. Neither will unity without the blessing of God. Church of England, which will it be?” www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/when-the-church-of-england-apologizes-for-speaking-against-extra-marital-sex

Compromise, carnality and worldliness are now running riot in most of our churches. The very Bible that these frauds and apostates no longer believe in of course repeatedly warns against these very things. By way of concluding, a few quotes from A. W. Tozer are most fitting here:

“The church and the world have become so intertwined that it is hard to tell one from the other. The world has so affected the church’s moral standards that Christians say they believe in Christ and yet have never bothered to change their moral attitudes and standards at all.”

“Almost everything the Church is doing these days has been suggested to her by the world.”

“The church goes along with everything and stands against nothing – until she is convinced that it is the safe and popular thing to do; then she passes her courageous resolutions and issues her world-shaking manifestos – all in accord with the world’s newest venture – whatever it may be.”

“Modern Christians are too tolerant, too nice, too anxious to be popular and too quick to make excuses for sin in its many forms. God’s people should be willing to stand for God.”

“There was a day when the world followed the Church. She took the initiative; she was aggressive. But it has changed now, and we are down on our knees imitating the world. The Church is like a poor old withered hag, rather than the beautiful, full-blooded bride of the Lamb we are intended to be. That we should stand by the world’s highway and stretch our withered hand for a dime from the world is a disgrace.”

 [1450 words]

22 Responses to The Apostle Paul Apologises For Insensitive Remarks On Sexuality

  • Mar_8:38 Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
    (MKJV)

  • I can’t improve on Mr. Zimmerman’s words. Some folk are “a little too blind to see.”

  • It sounds like the sheep and the goats, being it an individual or a whole denomination. Get rid of the bilge and filth as quickly as possible.

  • Whenever non-Christians take offence with any biblical teaching, I have placated them by quoting 1Corinthians 5:12 ‘What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?’ and explain that this teaching is only for those who have made the choice to become followers of Jesus. If they are not followers of Jesus, then they need not take any offence. Our primary duty as Christians, is to lead others to Christ first. Once a heart has been opened to respond to the gospel message, then the Holy Spirit will work on their hearts, through the hearing of the truth in church and in a bible fellowship group, and then they will slowly be convicted of the sins that do line up with God’s word. It’s none of our business to proclaim all the sins that will damn non-Christians, UNTIL they become believers, and then we need to gently point out that a true follower of Jesus cannot continue in these sinful ways.

  • Thanks Lucy. I hear what you are saying but you may need to think a bit more clearly here – and a bit more biblically. There are far more passages on these matters than just the one that you quote, and the biblical/theological evidence for a rather different view can be offered in various ways:

    -When the Old Testament prophets judged and rebuked pagan nations for their sins, they rebuked the same sins and even used the same language that they did when judging and rebuking God’s own people Israel.
    -It most certainly IS our business to point out the sins of non-believers. We find this often in Scripture. What do you think Paul was doing in places like Romans 1:18-32 for example? There we see that it is Paul’s “business to proclaim all the sins that will damn non-Christians”.
    -It is wrong to say that a non-Christian has no moral claims upon him, or no knowledge of such moral claims. Paul n Romans 2:1-16 talks about how the law of God is written on the hearts of non-believers, and how their conscience condemns them already.
    -Try telling any judge in any court of law that when a non-Christian breaks the law (murder, theft, lying, etc – which are all also sins by the way), that he has to just let the guy go free because we can’t expect non-Christians to be able to know and do what is right.
    -Try telling social reformers like Wilberforce that he was wrong to tell non-Christians that slavery was wrong, because they are not Christians and therefore we can’t speak to them about their sins.
    -We simply can NOT preach the good news of the gospel to people until we first preach to them the bad news of the gospel. And that is that they are sinners headed to a lost eternity. So the preaching of sin to non-believers is an integral part of how we reach them for Christ.

    So yes, we point folks to Christ, and when they are saved, they get the Holy Spirit dwelling within to help them live a holy and godly life. But nowhere does Scripture tell us that nonbelievers are not morally aware and morally accountable, and that they will not be judged for what they do. As such, if I am talking to a non-Christian and she tells me she is about to have an abortion, I will definitely call that out. Whether or not I call it a sin, I WILL say it is wrong, knowing that the law of God is written in her heart. So I have every reason to call out that which is evil.

    But I speak to the specific passage you mention in much more detail here, so please have a read: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/03/24/difficult-bible-passages-1-corinthians-512-13/

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  • The Australian denomination which “united” 3 denominations in the 1970s, is about to “disunite” over the issue of Same-Sex “Marriage”. (SSM)
    Archbishop Davies of Sydney told those who didn’t agree with Biblical standards of marriage that they were free to leave.
    My Baptist denomination are currently grappling with it, as a few congregations are attempting to redefine the Biblical standards of marriage, but my local congregation are holding firm.

  • The Anglican Church is largely spiritually dead. When the blind (so called “leaders”), lead the blind, both of them will fall into the ditch. If anyone has an issue with God’s Word, he has an issue with God – It’s Author. It is because his conscience has been pierced by the Holy Spirit, and he is very, very uncomfortable in his sin. Here I stand, I can do no other. God help us. The Judge is at the doors. If judgement should begin at the House of God, where shall the ungodly or the unrighteousness appear?

  • When I read the news articles I just thought , “What? Has every body been taking crazy pills?” When scripture speaks, we must speak and The Bible says heaps about sexual immorality and it’s consequences. We cannot remain silent. If you loose half of your congregation because you dare to speak the truth, then they weren’t really with you in the first place. Scripture says a lot about not hurting people, but I believe it says so much more about speaking the truth. The refusal of some to tell the truth especially about sexuality brings greater hurt because all they are doing is shepherding people into hell.

  • This was an excellent article that provoked many thoughtful comments, each respectfully and enlightening building on the preceding comments. Although there is the appearance of conflict among them, I suspect that each of the commenters has a lot in common with each other. Many (most?) of the authors of these comments would have made effective lawyers, and I DON’T mean that disparagingly.

  • Thanks Bill for bringing these heresies to mind. We who are Anglicans are deeply displeased and disgusted with A/B Welby and his team of Bishops for professing biblical truth re marriage and then apologising for having upset the gay minority and declaring , seemingly, that it wasn’t truth after all. Such wickedness pleases man but not God.

    Tozer – one of my favourite authors – always hit the nail on the head and in fact, in the late 1980’s , the then A/B of Canterbury was visiting Australia and said at that time that the the church had lost its way and must now follow the world.! I was deeply shocked then but it was living proof of that which Tozer had warned decades before.
    Andrea Williams is a faithful spokeswoman for the Anglican church, in the U.K., daring to set the record straight, as is former A/B of Sydney ,Glen Davies in Australia.
    Jesus’ final instructions to the disciples was to go into all the world to preach the gospel and heal the sick. That was His purpose in coming – not for the well but the sick – the sinners – . which we all were until washed and sanctified . We present day disciples are meant to do the same – teaching the truth in love . It is not love to say nothing and let sinners go to hell.

  • Regarding Mr Tozer’s words it must depend on what the word “church” means. I believe there are faithful churches, but certainly we are all undermined by the UK state church hierarchy. It seems odd that the archbishops seem to have been taken by surprise on this occasion.

  • How soon till sermons and all other writings have to first go through a ‘diversity ‘ committee to ensure nothing offensive is present before it can be preached or issued??? Why run it by Jesus when you can run it by the sinners.

    Well Anthony too many pastors are given to mammon so they don’t want to lose half the congregation. Especially the big donars! Mammon is the downfall of many a Christian leader, writer,and businessman.

  • This is one big spiritual war being fought. There are martyrs and many more there will be. Evil has infiltrated most human organisations. UK’s the example may see the start of this global recognition.
    Bill, you have highlighted this war in a powerful way here. Inspired.
    Prayer is always required. Be comforted- “I am the way the truth and the light.”

  • Yes Ron this is the biggest spiritual war we have ever seen. Too bad most christians aren’t taught spiritual warfare! Not only how to do it but how to endure it. It often spills over into the physical word and we must endure. If the Apostle’s could hold up – even to death – so can we but with out being taught warfare we cannot stand up to it and will falter. too many peaceniks have gotten us trained to flee the battle rather than engage and take the battle to the enemy. ‘make peace with satan and everything will work out’ ‘give eace a chance’ ‘all you need is love’ we have become neutered! The faith that changed the world is so scared of the world that it won’t even try and change ONE persons opinion. ONE person ONE sinner gets his panties in a bunch and we cower in fear and do whatever is DEMANDED of of just so that they will call off their dogs. these are the mighty followers of the son of God?? Jesus would be very right to tell these people “be gone I never knew ye ye who work iniquity!”.

  • Bill, I totally understand that the 1 Corinthians passage concerns not letting sin go unchecked within the church. It is imperative that congregation leaders discipline those that are living sinful lifestyles and/or promoting false teaching on moral issues. I agree that it is also necessary for those Christians who have gifts in public speaking ministries, such as yourself, to speak out. My comments came more from a ‘friendship evangelism’ stance, where personal relationships are forming, and, after reading your linked article, I think you would agree, we need to tread carefully with what we say, and the timing of when we say it. I have done the wagging finger scenario and the bull-at-a-gate charge, and from experience, have learnt that without a gentle approach to our personal relationship, no-one is going to listen to anything else I have to say, especially about Jesus.

  • Thanks again Lucy. Sure, the ideal is to have a relationship established with a person and then speak about sin, share Jesus and so on. It is always nice if you can chat with friends over a cuppa, and so on. But as I just told an audience an hour ago, while that is the ideal, it is not always possible – or desirable. When you see a child about to be hit by a car, you don’t try to establish a neat friendship first – you warn, you act, and you do all you can at once to prevent any harm befalling her. Jesus and the disciples regularly talked and preached to complete strangers, warning them about their sin and the need to flee the wrath of God. And with my kazillions of social media friends, I have some sort of close relationship with only a tiny fraction of them. I share truth anyway, because they need to hear it, whether we are good buddies or not! So there is more than one way to share truth, and just because you may not have good results in this regard does not mean no one else will. But thanks again.

  • A Chinese scientist has been jailed for experiments of gene editing using human and monkey genes.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-50944461

  • It amazed me that those Church leaders always forgot that they not serve the Church of England only but ultimately they must serve God-Jesus Christ to whom they all are subordonated. The Church of England is only an ephemere institution here on Earth,but God is eternal. And yes ,they all will stand in front of Him and all will give an account of their life and more important of their flock life. What they will do then?Because the judgement what is upon them will be eternal?!

  • I can’t quote the Bible Bill but I understand that Jesus once said on the road something like “move on from the ignorant as there are others in need”.
    And it does take a fair amount of ignorance to be of the belief that “God got sexuality so wrong but he is all that is right.”
    Actually that’s a stupendous amount of ignorance.

    Anyway Bill here is a big shout for all my besties getting ready for the Sydney mardi gra :

    Make A####### Great Again

    Pray instead.

    Thanks Bill and God Bless.

  • The pink beatitudes
    Blessed are the proud, those who put themselves first, for those who are not frightened to be themselves, who do not put filters on their self- esteem, self importance and narcissism , for they will be rewarded with the highest Ofsted awards and academic achievement.

    Blessed are those who flaunt their depravity in Gay Pride Parades for they will be comforted by all manner of perversions, filth and drugs

    Blessed are the lustful, envious, covetous and predatory for they will be given the keys to our nurseries, schools, communities, churches, homes and cities.

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for wickedness for they will be showered with all manner of honours by the Queen and elevated to the most important positions of power and influence.

    Blessed are the merciless for they will become our judges, politicians, law makers , Chief Police Inspectors and head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

    Blessed are the impure in heart and idolatrous for they will one day meet face to face with their father, the man of lawlessness and the prince of darkness.

    Blessed are the divisive for they will rule and be called the commissioners of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    Blessed are those whose who are made to feel guilt and shame for the consequences of their fornications for they will be able to claim be victims of homophobia and demand pink therapy and expensive drugs to counter their sexually transmitted diseases and depression.
    David Kinner UK

  • What shall we say, then? Are Stonewall’s Sexual Orientation regulations sinning against Lucifer? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sinning against him was had it not been for Stonewall and London Gay Pride telling me to wallow in filth. For I would not have known how awful abstinence, self control, purity and chastity really were if the law had not said, “Thou shallt covet, lust and tell lies.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of self -denial and self- sacrifice possible. For apart from the Stonewellian law, sinning against Lucifer was dead to me. Once I was alive apart from Pink law; but when the commandment came, sinning against Lucifer sprang to life. I experienced those pangs of conscience, tokens of disquiet, those starts in my sleep, those horrible forebodings, and inward hunger. I became suicidal, depressive, drug addicted and self -destructive. — I found that the very commandment that was intended to make me alive to Satan, actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment killed my lustful desires. So then, Pink Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and good.
    Did that which is good, Pink law , then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is sexually pure, chaste and all that which we who worship Satan loath, to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might be seen to be utterly sinful. We know that Pink law is supernatural; but I am still under the power of another spirit, sold as a slave to my old Christian conscience I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that pink law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself, the desire to do the will of Satan, does not dwell in me, that is, in my old Christian nature. For I have the desire to do what is lustful, covetous, lewd and God hating , but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the immorality and fornication I want to do, but the purity I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is Christian sin living in me that does it.
    So I find this law at work: Although I want to do evil , Christian values are right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in Satan’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to Stonewall , who delivers me through Lucifer our Lord!
    David Skinner UK

  • I must give some credit to a British Muslim father who is doing his best and risking jail to protect his children from gender identity nonsense. He has far more gumption and loyalty to his religion and values than these British Christian leaders.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/textbased/news/text-7961301/Muslim-father-prosecuted-keeping-son-school-months-amid-furious-row-gender-equality.html

    That said, this being Islam means there will likely be ‘other’ consequences down the road.

Leave a Reply