I am now finally getting through some of my e-mail, and a few of you had passed on some great links while I was away. Here is one: “Protest disrupts bishop’s sermon.” The link is to a BBC article about a protester (whose name I do not know — let’s call him long-haired biker dude) who stands up during a sermon presented by openly homosexual Anglican Bishop Gene Robinson.
I’m not all for church members standing up and shouting during a sermon, but I would be lying if I said anything other than that my sympathies lie with long-haired biker dude. Anyone who knows me or my church knows our stand on counterfeit Christianities, and the Anglican Church fits the bill just as much as any of the many others. And, I could understand if Mr. Robinson were publicly struggling against the temptations of homosexuality — it is hard not to spend time in this world and not pick up some sort of sinful baggage, and I can respect someone who is engaged in a fight. But the issue with Mr. Robinson which is embroiling the Anglican tradition is nothing of the sort. It is their growing acceptance of unrepentant, active homosexuals into the clergy. Mr. Robinson seems to think that it is the lack of tolerance of his fellow Anglicans that is the problem and not his unapologetic sexual choices.
In particular, there are a few lines in the BBC article (among many) that really get my goat. Apparently referring to the sermon, the article quotes Mr. Robinson as saying, “This discussion of homosexuality we are having in the Church is not so significant because of what it says about homosexuality, but of what it says about God.”
I agree, except that I find that what Mr. Robinson and those who are carrying his banner are saying about God is horrific — that He can hold us to no standards, or that His standards are at the whim of societal acceptance. Given that He is God and we’re not, isn’t it possible that His standards might differ from ours? At least a little? And if so, whose standards matter most — all the more for those who claim to be doing His work?
Next one — Mr. Robinson, again: “When someone stands up and says homosexuality is an abomination, does that make you want to get to know God?”
OK… That one almost made my head explode. What if the “someone” standing up is God, Himself? If God’s purpose was just to go around hoping to get people interested in knowing Him, he would be like the whiny kid in high school that did and said whatever it took to be popular. When someone stands up and says murder is sin (or lying, or stealing, etc.), does that make you want to get to know God? When someone stands up and says that God will bring all of us into judgment, does that make you want to get to know God? When someone says that comments like these are not relevant in any way, does that make you want to know God?
If someone recoils from God because He says that homosexuality is an abomination, then at least they are recoiling based on a right perception of God. We could understandably respond, “When someone tells you that God does not care if you’re a practicing homosexual or not, does that make you want to get to know God?” Because if it does, good luck — the “God” you will be getting to know isn’t God. Because whether or not we are practicing and embracing sin does matter to God.
Finally, another winner from Mr. Robinson: “I think God wants us to be bold, I think God wants us to take risks, I don’t think God wants us to be afraid.”
Nice words, horribly misapplied for deceptive purposes — powerful in their emotive strength, but vague enough that Hitler could have said them right before marching into Poland.
Mr. Robinson, I think God wants us to seek holiness. And by “holiness” I mean what He defines to be holy. If you want to be bold and take risks without fear in your search for holiness, have at it! Just don’t try to convince us that the path you have taken so far reflects a worthwhile template for the rest of us to follow.
Ezekiel prophesied of priests in Israel like Mr. Robinson: “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26). Those listening to Mr. Robinson’s sermon were hearing merely one instance of the fulfillment of that prophecy.
You can’t tell us that God’s Word says He is a God of love and then tell us to ignore the rest of what God’s Word says. And it says that Mr. Robinson’s choice of lifestyle is sin and is to be repented of. Because not only is the Almighty a God of love who commands us to love, He also thankfully tells us how to love.
If I ever begin saying such twisted words in front of a congregation that has entrusted me to bring them the truth of God, I pray He will send me my own long-haired biker dude.