Monday, June 19, 2006

Editorial on Homosexual Bishops

Over the weekend, I saw an editorial about the current dispute in the Anglican Church over whether the church can ordain homosexual bishops, or at least whether they should keep talking about whether or not they should ordain homosexual bishops. The editorial urged that the church completely drop the dispute. It claimed that modern people have all sorts of problems that the church needs to deal with, and that the homosexual bishop issue is merely a distraction. The editorialist opined that no one cares about who their bishop is and that this makes absolutely no difference. The editorial claimed that church unity is more important than wedge issues that splinter the church.

I must say, I found this editorial amazing and unbelievable. How can truth not be important? How can a serious sin be acceptable for bishops to openly and actively participate in without confession or repentance? How can this be a course of action that does not make any difference? I am afraid that this editorial shows just how much many people in our world really are affected by modernism and its extension, post-modernism.

The only logical reason why you would think that the debate over ordaining homosexual bishops does not matter is if you do not believe there is any such thing as sin or objective truth. Or if you think that if there is sin, you also think it isn’t really important. Certainly that is the modern mindset. As Francis Schaeffer said, people are interested in personal peace and affluence. Discussing the s word (sin) makes them feel uncomfortable and not at peace. Hence, they would rather have none of it. Unity, love and peace are all O.K. to talk about because they don’t make them feel uncomfortable. Sin—whether it’s adultery or sex before marriage or business fraud or tax evasion or racial bigotry, or homosexuality—those things make people uncomfortable and they would rather not hear about it. Many churches today have decided to become so “seeker sensitive” that they oblige by avoiding talking about anything that makes their congregants uncomfortable. But in leaving out the whole counsel of God and in leaving out the Word of God, we effectively deprive people of sanctification. As Jesus said in His high priestly prayer, we are sanctified by the Word of God and God’s Word is true.

If we substitute the standards of our community or sub-culture for God’s Word, we effectively substitute a lie for the truth, and an idol for God. This may sound harsh, but if you actually read what Jesus said in the Gospels, He usually wasn’t very worried about making people feel comfortable. He was concerned about making people realize just how sinful they were and just how much they actually needed God. Only when we accept God on His terms can we really experience what He wants to do for us. Trying to come to God on our own terms is, in part, the very essence of sin—and because God is holy, sin separates us from Him. Certainly the biggest problem that many people have with the Gospel is that God wants people to come to Him on His terms. They don’t understand why Christ would have to die for their sins. But God expects us to accept the burden of dealing with Him according to His rules instead of ours. I suspect this may be part of the actual meaning of “taking up your cross” daily and following Jesus: we have to accept Jesus on His terms even when they seem socially shameful or embarrassing. By this I am not saying that Christians should justify rude, tactless or anti-social conduct. Those things can be sins too. What I am saying is that we need to start teaching people what the Bible really says and what it’s implications really are for life, rather than seeking to mold the Gospel message to our modern and post-modern culture. The forgiveness of sin we have in Christ can only come to us if we first agree with God about sin and our need for his atonement for our sins. Calling sin acceptable, especially calling an open lifestyle of sin acceptable for a church leader, is not loving. It is rejecting the very love God offers and that we share with others.

3 comments:

Will said...

This is right on: “As Jesus said in His high priestly prayer, we are sanctified by the Word of God and God’s Word is true… If we substitute the standards of our community or sub-culture for God’s Word, we effectively substitute a lie for the truth, and an idol for God.”

We are in a battle of Truth vs. Lie. Christ Himself gave the reason for His birth: “In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). If we do not love the truth, we do not love Christ. To reject truth we must also reject God.

So what is truth? You are right on again when you say:
The only logical reason why you would think that the debate over ordaining homosexual bishops does not matter is if you do not believe there is any such thing as sin or objective truth. Or if you think that if there is sin, you also think it isn’t really important.

I contend that this man who thinks sin “isn’t really important” does not believe in sin at all. If you asked such a man “what is sin?” he would have a hard time answering it.

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family defines worldview as this: God is or God isn’t (it’s that simple). And Dr. Chris Leland adds, “If God isn’t, who is left? Man.” (http://invinciman.blogspot.com/2006/06/worldview-defined.html)

Dean McConnell said...

Will,
Thanks for the comment.

Vance Esler said...

Those interested in this topic may wish to check out an excellent article by Dennis Prager:
Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality