Thursday, April 24, 2014

Et tu, Jars of Clay?

Posted by Christine Pack
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
It used to be that professing Christians, even the more liberal ones, knew that unrepentant sin was not okay. But no longer. In today's finger-in-the-air, blow-with-the-trends evangelicalism, it seems that those who call themselves "Christian" today must be stopped at the gate for a definition-of-terms check. Affirms Jesus as the Son of God? Check. The substitutionary atonement as payment for sins? Check. Jesus raised from the dead as proof of his satisfactory work? Check. Gives a pass on homosexual sin in the name of ultra-tolerant love? Not so fast, buster.

Which brings me to my subject for today. The lead singer of one of my all time favorite Christian singing groups, Jars of Clay, recently began tweeting out his support for same sex marriage, and then expressed dismay that other Christians would challenge him on this, while claiming that the Bible has nothing to say on the matter of morality.

I can't say I'm completely surprised at this stance taken by Dan Haseltine. Not to be unkind, but CCM artists are hardly known for their strong doctrinal positions. However, Jars of Clay released a hymns album (Redemption Songs) back in 2005 that really ministered to me one summer early in my Christian walk. The reworked hymns contained beautiful doctrinal treatises on God's holiness, the seriousness of sin, and man's wretchedness and inability to save himself that really helped ground me as a new believer struggling in a mainstream evangelicalism that had just begun to go squishy and liberal. Maybe Dan Haseltine needs to go back to that wonderful hymns CD the group did, and listen to some of the theology that they so beautifully set to music, and remember that (1) unrepentant sin is serious to God and (2) that God clearly spells out for us in Scripture what is sinful, and yes, unrepentant homosexual sin is on the list.

I'm not saying that homosexual sin is specifically named in any of the hymns done by Jars of Clay (it's not), but true Christians who know the Word of God know that the Bible teaches clearly and unambiguously that unrepentant homosexual sin is wrong in God's eyes. That's not to say that a person might not struggle with homosexual urges....they can and surely do, in the same way that someone else might struggle with pride or anger or covetousness. But to attempt to normalize that sin, and shaming those who won't? No, no, no. For shame, Dan Haseltine. I'm calling you, as your sister in Christ, to repentance. I pray that God will grant you Godly sorrow over your public comments on this issue.

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From the beautiful hymn Hiding Place, originally composed by John Hyatt Brewer (1856-1931), and recorded by Jars of Clay on their Redemption Songs CD. Surely a plain reading of this hymn reveals God as the giver of moral standards, as well as man's inability to save himself through his own ideas of truth or his own attempts at righteous works:
Hiding Place
You know the vileness of my heart
So prone to act the rebel's part
And when You veil Your lovely face
How can I find a hiding place 
How unstable is my heart
Sometimes I take the tempter's part
And slight the tokens of Thy grace
And seem to want no hiding place 
But when Thy spirit shines within
Makes me feel the plague of sin
And how I long to see Thy face
'Tis then I want a hiding place 
Lord Jesus, shine and then I can
Feel sweetness in salvation's plan
And as a sinner plead for grace
Christ, the sinner's hiding place.

 Additional Resources 

The Folly of Same Sex Theology

Dan Haseltine Responds to Media Frenzy Over His Support for Same-Sex Marriage

A Biblical Response to Matthew Vines ("God and the Gay Christian") by Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries

Jars of Clay Lead Says of Christian Upbringing: I'm Not That Way Now."