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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Andy Stanley Still Sending Mixed Messages on Marriage/Sexuality

Last year, when the Kansas House of Representatives passed their version of a religious liberty bill, Pastor Andy Stanley was quoted as saying that he found it “offensive that Christians would leverage faith to support the Kansas law.” He added, “Serving people we don't see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn't see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn't want to sell its products to a gay couple, it's their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.”

In response to him and others at the time, I penned "There's Nothing Wrong in Kansas (but is there something wrong with Andy Stanley?)." It seems that Pastor Stanley is still struggling with the idea of how the church should deal with all things homosexual. As the Christian Post notes, speaking at a church leadership conference in California this past Friday, Pastor Stanley declared that local congregations should be the "safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction."

He added, "We just need to decide from now on in our churches when a Middle School kid comes out to his small group leader or a high school young lady comes out to her parents...regardless of what you think about this topic — no more students are going to feel like they have to leave the local church because they're same-sex attracted or because they're gay. That ends with us."

Of course, he's absolutely correct. Churches should be the "safest place on the planet for gay youth." I wonder though: does pastor Stanley have the same inclinations towards prostitutes or those who struggle with pedophilia (whose numbers are very similar to those with same-sex attractions). Shouldn't the church be a welcoming environment for those as well? (As the old saying goes, the church is a not a sanctuary for saints, but a hospital for sinners.) Of course, the answer to that depends somewhat upon the attitude of the attendee. Are they seeking the church in order to get help with their sin (or "struggles," or however it is they identify the pain they're in), or are they demanding that the church redefine sin?

"The church is mean to homosexuals" is a common straw-man tossed about by the secular left and other homosexual apologists. However, the pastor of one of the largest evangelical churches in the U.S. should know better than to borrow talking points from today's liberals. How long is the church at large going to be smeared by the words and actions of a few (i.e. the Westboro Baptist crowd)?

The vast majority of evangelicals take the same "hate the sin, love the sinner" approach to homosexuality that we are to take with all sin. However, this is not enough for today's left and their homosexual agenda. They are determined to eliminate homosexuality from the list of sins. 

If you doubt me on this, take note. Barely two weeks ago, no-less than an Op-Ed columnist, Frank Bruni, at The New York Times declared that Christians who see homosexual acts as sinful are making "a choice" to engage in "bigotry." Bruni boldly concluded that "homosexuality and Christianity don't have to be in conflict in any church anywhere." Right, they don't have to be in conflict, as long as we accept the liberal definitions of sin and Christianity. 

I don't think that Andy Stanley is of this mind on Christianity and sin (at least I sure hope not!); however, he must surely be aware that this mindset is prevalent within modern liberalism, and therefore he should more carefully weigh his words when speaking on these grave matters. 

Pastor Stanley also wants churches to "take a break" for a year from the culture wars. (I prefer "moral wars.") In NO WAY should this be the case! Does anyone think those pushing the homosexual agenda are going to take a year off?! Yes, within the church (and Christianity in general) there seems to be an inordinate amount of attention given to issues like abortion, marriage, and homosexuality. However, this isn't the result of the church suddenly deciding that these issues are a special class of sin. It is due to the fact that abortion, homosexuality, and the like have a massive political/cultural machine behind them that seeks legitimacy along with total and complete acceptance--whether by force, deception, or other nefarious means--for these behaviors. (See above.)

Along with dominating the mainstream media, the liberals behind this machine own a political party (Democrats). With these massive cultural hammers, liberals have sought to pound traditional Christianity, along with other like-minded people, into submission when it comes to most anything in the sexual realm. In other words, it is liberals who have sought this fight, not Christian conservatives. Thus, without apology, abortion, marriage, homosexuality, and the like, deserve the attention well-meaning Christians give them.

I'll say it again: Marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity--older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

10 comments:

  1. Great thoughts. It's so frustrating that many churches are caving on this issue. If ever the church should stand up for the truth, it is now.

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  2. Yeah, I expect this from the mainline denominations (Episcopalian, Presbyterian, etc.), but certainly not the evangelical church. And yes, if ever there was time to stand up for marriage, it is now!

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  3. Great article. First time I've been to your site. I was reading an article on another site and a commenter had a link. Will have to "add" you to my reading list of sites.

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  4. Thanks! Awesome! Be sure and check out my column archives on the left side of the page.

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  5. [BS] "Along with dominating the mainstream media, the liberals behind this machine own a political party (Democrats). With these massive cultural hammers, liberals have sought to pound traditional Christianity, along with other like-minded people, into submission...[/BS]

    [Satire] So Trevor, if we had (actually) pounded you into submission, then surely by now you would be divorced from your wife and remarried in a 3-way to Richard Simmons and a big, hairy Arab guy. Right? [/Satire]

    So anyway, allow me to be the first to toast your "submission".

    Aside from that, is the converse also true that Christian conservatives and right wing neocons who support Israel own the republican party?

    My opinion: If there is any pounding going on here, it's the persistent pounding of theological masturbation.

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  6. "if we had..."


    Kiev?!--I didn't think you considered yourself a liberal!

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  7. It's safe to say I'm relatively more liberal than you. I see the world in shades of grey rather than black and white. Politically speaking, there is no red America and no blue America, instead, I see a generally purple America. I'm part liberal, part libertarian, and part mild conservative. One thing I am pretty sure I'm not is whatever you are. But since you just delineated how pastor Charles Stanley and his son Andy Stanley are not like you either, I see that I have some good company..:-)

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  8. When asked about their success, great salesman frequently say it's all in the presentation. Considering that concept, I'll mention that Bob Dylan once said "sometimes less is more."

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  9. Sharma Greg CarterMay 15, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Great article. The "cultural hammers," may not pound strong faithful Christ followers into submission, but the toll it takes on the weaker members of the Christian faith and those people that are nonbelievers can be seen in the rampant immorality that is destroying lives. Having spent time working in inner-city ministry and congregational ministry, I have seen the effecst of our "cultural norms," on people. If abortion, sexual immorality, and the legalization of recreational marijuana (just to skim the surface) are seen as life choices that should be accepted as "normal," then America is simply going the way of other cultures in the history of the world that have chosen the way of sin and rebellion against God. Just as the first century Christians had the responsibility of speaking the truth in the public square, regardless of persecution and the cultural norms of that day, Christians today must speak boldly in the face cultural pressures.

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  10. Thanks Sharma! Yes, as the recent Pew polling (which has been much discussed, and which I may soon address) reveals, the "weaker" members of the faith seem to be turning from the faith in significant numbers (this especially the case with their children). If nothing else, as the "cultural norms" become more and more hostile to Christianity, the opportunities for boldness are becoming easier. :) (Really, how hard is it to stand for one of the oldest truths in human history?!!!)

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