Showing posts with label same sex marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label same sex marriage. Show all posts

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Responding Biblically To The LGBT Agenda

Posted by Christine Pack

A recent Christian conference entitled "The Bible and Homosexuality" addressed the LGBT agenda, including how Christians should respond to the issue of homosexuality in today's culture. This conference was held at Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, OH, July of 2015. I can't recommend this series enough. The sessions include:
(1) Refuting 5 Myths About Homosexuality
(2) Why Is Homosexuality Wrong?
(3) Scripture, Shellfish and Homosexual Sin
(4) Addressing The Heart of Same Sex Attraction
(5) The Future of the Church and Homosexuality


■ Former transgender (now born again Christian) gives testimony (Diamond Dee)

■ Bruce Jenner Believes A Lie - James White discusses Bruce Jenner's decision to have surgery on himself in an attempt to turn himself into a woman. Bruce Jenner, a former Olympic athlete, is now famous for something else: being the "face" of today's wildly popular transgender movement. "Transgender," you see, is the sanitized, media-friendly term for the surgical procedures that a person willingly chooses to go through in an attempt to change gender. Dr. White rightly points out that this process is really self mutilation. In short, Bruce Jenner is believing a lie. This program is sad to listen to, but my prayer is that those struggling with sexual orientation will first of all read what the Bible has to say about sin, and read about God's holy nature, and then will repent and believe on Christ's atoning sacrifice. When this happens, a person is given a new heart ❤→ and new desires, to the great praise and glory of a merciful God who saves, and transforms, lost sinners. (Dr James White, Alpha and Omega Ministries)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Cor 5:17)
■ James White On Same-Sex Marriage and the LGBT Agenda - This link is to another interview with Dr James White. This interview, which kicked off the (rebooted) Iron Sharpens Iron show, is a sobering look at same-sex marriage, the current climate and the relentless push by the LGBT to normalize all gender issues. Show host Chris Arnzen and Dr White also get into other general discussion about the LGBT agenda and how Christians should respond to it, and how we should also start thinking about the future. (Chris Arnzen with Dr James White, Iron Sharpens Iron)

■ Gay Christianity Refuted - Here is a link to a 2-part show by Dr. James White which addresses the claims made by an attractive and articulate homosexual young man named Matthew Vines. For those who don't know who he is, Vines claims to be both unrepentantly homosexual and Christian. (Dr James White, Alpha and Omega Ministries)

■ A Believing Response To Matthew Vines' 40 Questions - This is James White's kind and thoroughly biblical response to an article entitled 40 Questions For Christians Who Oppose Marriage Equality, by Matthew Vines. Vines is a professing Christian who is unrepentantly homosexual who believes that he can harmonize his homosexual lifestyle with Christianity. (Dr James White, Alpha and Omega Ministries)

■  Which Way, Evangelicals? There is Nowhere to Hide and New OSHA Regulations Christians Need To Be Aware Of (Dr Al Mohler)

■ How to Survive A Cultural Crisis - This is a great article for retraining our thinking to be more biblical, and contains the following points: (1) Understand that persecution is normal for Christians, and (2) Eschew utopianism and too much of a trust in Christian activism. And if there's anyone who is aware of the dangers of trusting too heavily in Christian activism, it is Mark Dever, located as he is, in our nation's capitol. (Mark Dever, Capitol Hill Baptist Church)

■ Responding To The Homosexualizing of America (Ray Comfort, Living Waters)

■ Answering the Tough Questions Asked by Homosexuals (Dr Michael Brown)

■ How Should A Christian Live In A Culture Given Over To A Depraved Mind? (Sola Sisters)

True Christians Don't Hate Homosexuals (Adam4d)

■ Does The Bible Approve of Homosexuality? (Answers In Genesis)

■ How Can Homosexuality Be Wrong If It Doesn't Harm Anyone? (The Gospel Coalition)

■ Interview with Christian Bakery Owners Who Were Sued For Not Making a Wedding Cake For a Same Sex Marriage (The Church Boys)

■  A Christian Response When Homosexuals Throw Leviticus at You (Junction City)

■ TransNorway - Sexualizing Children / Training Children To Reject The Genders They Were Born With [WARNING: Graphic images and explicit language]

 Former Homosexuals / Transgenders Find Forgiveness, Deliverance From Former Lifestyle 

Former Lesbian Activist Professor Finds God, Leaves Her Former Lifestyle (Rosaria Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert)

■ Former Transsexual Walt Heyer Warns Bruce Jenner That Regret Is Coming (Breitbart)

■ Jesus Christ Saved Me From 27 Years of Homosexuality (David Upton, I'll Be Honest blog)

■ Transgender Realizes He Made A Mistake, Gives His Testimony

 Scientific Evidence That There Is No "Gay Gene" 

Excerpt from the article: Are Homosexual People Really Born Gay?
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”  – Joseph Goebbels........Since the early 1970s, homosexual people have increasingly claimed that they were “born gay” and that, therefore, they could not change even if they wanted to. In the gay community itself more than 90% of gays now believe genes are a significant factor in their orientation—a ten-fold increase in fifty years (1). By repeating this claim over and over again for decades now, they have managed to win over a large percentage of heterosexual “believers” to their cause, without any substantial basis in fact to validate the claim that they were “born that way.” 
The Latest In Scientific Research: There Is Not Gay Gene

Eight Major Identical Twin Studies Prove Homosexuality Is Not Genetic

The Genetics of Same Sex Attraction

Homosexuals Are Not Born That Way

 Documentation of the Depravity / Hopelessness of the Homosexual Lifestyle 
[WARNING: Graphic images and explicit language] 

The Medical Consequences of the Homosexual Lifestyle (DC Clothesline)

■ The Transgender Con? Many “Transgender” People Regret Switch - This link is to an article that exposes the high suicide rate among transgenders, a topic which is rarely mentioned in the liberal media, but is nonetheless true. (The New American)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Strong Warning About the IF: Gathering Conferences

Posted by Christine Pack

The very popular IF: Gathering franchise is a Christian women's conference that teaches to solid out crowds across the nation. The speakers are often very gifted in speaking, and very artfully share about their "messy" lives and their Christian walks ("transparent" and "messy" and "broken" are terms that are used over and over). The Feb 2015 conference was held in Austin, TX, and featured Jen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp, Christine Caine, Lauren Chandler, and others. The IF: Gatherings feature several women that we have actively warned about in the past:
Christine Caine
Ann Voskamp
But there's a new kid in town. Her name is Jen Hatmaker, and she is taking the evangelical world by storm, at least among Christian women. consider the following:
Ann Voskamp's Facebook wall has 292,000 followers 
Christine Caine's Facebook has almost 375,000 followers
➤But Jen Hatmaker's Facebook account clocks in at a very respectable 340,000 followers

 Jenn Hatmaker's Article on Same Sex Marriage 

Who is Jen Hatmaker? I've just started looking at her myself, but already, I'm seeing typical emergent double-speak for "I reject the authority of God's word and bend with the culture." But don't take my word for it. Read Hatmaker's recent article on the homosexuality/same-sex marriage issue for yourself - "World Vision, Gay Marriage, and a Different Way Through"

Here we are again, stumbling through another ancillary brawl regarding gay marriage. If you missed it yesterday, Rich Stearns, CEO of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization "dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice," announced a policy change to allow employees in same-sex marriages to be eligible for employment. 
(T)he Christian community is not going to reach consensus on gay marriage. Every article, regardless of its position for or against, is the same. The support arguments; same. The rebuttals; same. The circular thinking; same. The responses are fully predictable, the language identical, the interpretations immovable, and after all the energy expended, we discover we are at the same impasse. 
This is a fact: Thousands of churches and millions of Christ-followers faithfully read the Scriptures and with thoughtful and academic work come to different conclusions on homosexuality (and countless others). Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation. There never has been. Historically, Christian theology has always been contextually bound and often inconsistent with itself; an inconvenient truth we prefer to selectively explain. 
But regardless of theological bullying, there has never been "one way" to interpret scripture. There has never been "one way" to be a biblical church. Even the early church leaders had severe and lasting disagreements about the nature of God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Salvation, Faith, Works, etc. 
Consensus is impossible here. So we go to the next level: how do we deal with explosive issues like gay marriage without destroying people, specifically involving this World Vision announcement?
 Our Response to the Above Comments Made by Hatmaker 

Hatmaker is trying to have it both ways.
- She claims (wrongly) that the Bible hasn't spoken clearly and authoritatively on the issue of homosexuality (Mar 2014 blog post); but then 
- She says she personally affirms the traditional (biblical) view of marriage (Apr 2014 blog post).
Jen Hatmaker:
"(T)he Christian community is not going to reach consensus on gay marriage." (Mar 2014 blogpost)
I beg to differ. There are not different positions on homosexuality, as far as Christians are considered: there is one position. The Christian community, the true, Bible-believing Christian community, HAS reached consensus on gay marriage, and that is that it is an abomination in God's eyes.

God is the One who created marriage, so He is the One who gets to define what marriage is. It is not cultures and the shifting whims of new generations who come along who get to determine what marriage is. It's already been defined for us by God.

 Other Issues of Concern 

Consider also Jenn Hatmaker's unabashed admiration for the Roman Catholic Pope.

Here are our Facebook posts discussing Jenn Hatmaker:

Discussion re: IF: Gathering and Hatmaker 2/15/15

Discussion re: Hatmaker and Homosexuality 2/16/15

More discussion re: Hatmaker and Homosexuality 2/21/15

 Additional Resources 

Responding Biblically to the Homosexual Agenda (Pastor Don Green, Truth Community Church)

Rosaria Butterfield: Homosexuality and the Christian Faith (Butterfield is a former lesbian)

Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts: A Christianized Version of "Sexytime" with Ghosts?

Romantic Panentheism: A review of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts (Bob DeWaay)

A Commentary on Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts (Marcia Montenegro)

Ann Voskamp: Mystical Estrogen (Fighting For The Faith)

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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

World Vision President Richard Stearns: "We don't proselytize."

Posted by Christine Pack

In a 2007, Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, was interviewed and gave this response to one of the questions:
Question: Are you trying to end poverty or evangelize Christianity? 
Richard Stearns: As a Christian organization, we are motivated by our commitment to Christ to love our neighbors and care for the less fortunate. That's why we do what we do. We don't proselytize. We do not force our religious beliefs on anyone, and we don't discriminate in our delivery of aid in any way. If the people we serve want to know why we are there, we tell them. St. Francis once said: "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." Love put into action is a compelling and attractive worldview.
(Online source: Ten [or so] Questions With Richard Stearns)
This response given by Stearns, about World Vision workers not proselytizing (evangelizing) the lost they serve (and also stated on the World Vision website under the "Our Approach" section), further gives evidence that World Vision, while claiming to be Christian organization, is a relief organization almost entirely void of any Christian distinctives.

We recently noted in several articles that World Vision has the appearance of being more of a relief organization than a Christian one, in that on their website, their humanitarian efforts are greatly emphasized, while the gospel is given short shrift. Yes, Jesus and the gospel get brief, albeit vague, cameos, but the overall tenor of the World Vision website is that of a relief organization. And now in tandem with Richard Stearns' statement that workers with World Vision "don't proselytize," I have to wonder if Richard Stearns thinks that doing good deeds alone ARE the gospel. His usage of the misquoted "preach the gospel, use words if necessary" mantra seems to support the idea that Stearns does not understand that the gospel is a distinctive message that cannot be conveyed through good deeds, but must be conveyed through words.

So is that how World Vision operates while in the field and in countries hostile to the gospel? Do those who work ion behalf of World Vision let their good deeds do the talking?  Do they deny Jesus before men by not speaking the gospel message in order to continue to do their humanitarian work? Do they think that the good deeds they are doing are a substitute for preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified? That somehow the message of the person and work of Jesus Christ will be mysteriously conveyed through giving aid? How would giving aid transmit the information of Jesus that is so vital to understanding who He is rightly in order for lost sinners to be brought into a saving faith? How, for instance, do good deeds convey the following?
- Jesus as the God-man, who has existed eternally as God, in conjunction with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (John 1:1-4)
- Jesus, who incarnated as a man, being born as an infant to a virgin woman through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)
- Jesus, who lived a perfect life, never sinning in thought, word or deed, and thus fulfilling all moral laws (Matthew 5:17-18, Galatians 3:10, 13)
- Jesus, who, out of great mercy and lovingkindness for sinners, offered up his perfect life as an acceptable ransom to propitiate the righteous wrath of a holy and just God against sin (Galatians 1:4)
- Jesus, the sinless One who would have never died (because the wages of sin are death - Romans 6:23), and yet who willingly gave up his life as an atonement for sinners by allowing himself to be crucified on a Cross, where He suffered and died (Romans 5:10)
- Jesus, who was gloriously resurrected by God 3 days after his death, this resurrection being proof that Jesus' sinless life was an acceptable sacrifice (payment) to a high and holy God on behalf of those sinners who, upon hearing this account, repent of their sins and believe on Jesus's atonement made for them (Acts 2:24, Acts 17:31, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1Corinthians 15:12-23)
- Jesus, who is the righteous ruler of this world, and who commands all people everywhere to repent and believe on Him for the forgiveness of their sins, sins which will condemn them on Judgment Day and earn them eternal hell if they reject his offer of salvation (Revelation 19, Romans 10:11, Matthew 4:17)
Not to be crass, but that message is not automatically conveyed through the provision of clean drinking water. Those in desperate circumstances in third world countries have a need that is deeper even than their physical needs: they have a spiritual need. Yes, they need fresh water and sustenance to live, but more than that, they need salvation and the forgiveness of sins. They need living water. They need a Savior. They need Christ:
"A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give me a drink.' (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?' (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.'" (John 4:7-10)
"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:37-38)
"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price." (Revelation 22:17)
The gospel is a distinct message that must be communicated and explained through words: it does not happen mysteriously or in some kind of gnostic way. It must be spoken and proclaimed:
"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" (Mark 16:15)
"Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'" (Luke 24:45-47)
"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:16-20)
Richard Stearns,
President of World Vision
Here's the bottom line: Good deeds that are not undergirded by the gospel proclamation are just relief work. They merely make people more comfortable on their way to hell.

I have had general concerns about Christian relief organizations for almost as long as I have been a Christian (more than 10 years now). But my concerns almost always fell on deaf ears, and I couldn't figure out why. My question was always, are they preaching Christ? or just handing out water? Because if they're coming into villages as a "Christian" organization and only handing out water bottles (or food or blankets or medicine or whatever), and not sharing the way of salvation with these lost people, then it really would be better for the Church at large if they just stopped identifying themselves as Christian. The way of salvation isn't mysteriously transmitted when good deeds are done. It has to be spoken. And the waters are muddied when organizations claiming the name of Christ don't speak that message. Let me put it this way: Eternity will be a very long time for the children who have been ministered to with food and water by World Vision to wonder why this organization did not share the way of salvation with them.

For those wishing to ask questions of the leadership at World Vision or express concerns, you can call World Vision at these numbers:
(888) 511-6548 or (253) 815-1000
Or, you may email World Vision at this address:

photo credit: timgrable via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

World Vision Affirms Same Sex Marriage (Sola Sisters)

World Vision: Whose Battle Is It? (Stand Up For The Truth)

World Vision To Hire "Gay Christians In Same Sex Marriages" (Apprising Ministries)

On World Vision and the Gospel (Dr. Russell D. Moore)

Franklin Graham's Statement on World Vision (Billy Graham Organization)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Will the Visible Church Soon Accept LEGAL Same Sex Marriages, in the Same Way that World Vision Has? [UPDATED]

Posted by Christine Pack

(UPDATE: About a day after their announcement that they would begin hiring professing Christians in same sex marriages, World Vision made a statement reversing this new policy change, calling it a "mistake." While I am glad for this reversal, my prediction is that World Vision will eventually reverse this reversal, only they will do it quietly next time, without any kind of grand public statement. I think they learned their lesson, especially after immediately being called out by Franklin Graham and Dr. Albert Mohler, and others. Our Facebook wall was also flooded with comments from readers expressing that they could no longer in good conscience partner with World Vision. So sadly, the lesson I think World Vision learned was not to have greater fidelity to God's word, but to "manage" their liberalism more covertly. I could be wrong about how this plays out, but time will tell. I think that liberal churches and organizations [and yes, I'm counting World Vision among them] are just biding their time until such time as same sex marriage is legal in all states. At that point, I predict they will be straight up same sex marriage affirming, and will feign shock and dismay that "certain" Christians [and we know who they are, right?] still refuse to affirm homosexuality as lawful and good in God's eyes. The law is the law, right? I can just hear it now. Be prepared for World Vision to go all Romans 13 on us at that time, it's coming.)
"(T)he board has modified our Employee Standards of Conduct to allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision." (in-house letter to World Vision staff)
After we recently published an article about the fact that World Vision has decided that going forward they will hire professing Christians who are in "legal same-sex marriage(s)" (while at the same time confusingly claiming they're not endorsing same sex marriage via an in-house letter to their staff), we got to thinking about what the real issue is here. Could it be that the visible church of today is slowly apostasizing, and yet assuaging its collective conscience with the salve of legality? After all, as the United States rushes headlong into legalizing same sex unions (17 states so far, and counting), it seems it will only be a matter of time before same sex couples can get married in every state in America. So the real question for Christians today is this: do you understand how this battle will likely play itself out? Fines and jail sentences and increasing persecution will in all likelihood be coming to Christians who refuse to participate in same sex unions, whether that is a Christian baker choosing not to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple, a photographer choosing not to book same sex weddings, or a pastor of a church refusing to perform a legal (but biblically sinful) wedding ceremony between a same sex couple. Are you prepared for this battle, my friends? Because it's coming to your door very soon. And the hinge that's swinging this door will be that these unions will be 100% legal, though still condemned in God's eyes. Are you ready?

Monday, March 24, 2014

World Vision Affirms Same Sex Marriage [UPDATED]

Posted by Christine Pack

(UPDATE: About a day after their announcement that they would begin hiring professing Christians in same sex marriages, World Vision made a statement reversing this new policy change, calling it a "mistake." While I am glad for this reversal, my prediction is that World Vision will eventually reverse this reversal, only they will do it quietly next time, without any kind of grand public statement. I think they learned their lesson, especially after immediately being called out by Franklin Graham and Dr. Albert Mohler, and others. Our Facebook wall was also flooded with comments from readers expressing that they could no longer in good conscience partner with World Vision. So sadly, the lesson I think World Vision learned was not to have greater fidelity to God's word, but to "manage" their liberalism more covertly. I could be wrong about how this plays out, but time will tell. I think that liberal churches and organizations [and yes, I'm counting World Vision among them] are just biding their time until such time as same sex marriage is legal in all states. At that point, I predict they will be straight up same sex marriage affirming, and will feign shock and dismay that "certain" Christians [and we know who they are, right?] still refuse to affirm homosexuality as lawful and good in God's eyes. The law is the law, right? I can just hear it now. Be prepared for World Vision to go all Romans 13 on us at that time, it's coming.)

Richard Stearns, U.S. President of World Vision, announced today that the organization would reverse its previous policy of requiring their employees to abide by marriage as defined in God's word as one man and one woman, and would begin hiring professing Christians who were in legal same-sex unions. From the article:
World Vision's American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman. 
Stearns asserts that the "very narrow policy change" should be viewed by others as "symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity." He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians.
(Online Source: World Vision: Why We're Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages)
At the same time, World Vision claims to be distinctively Christian. From their website:
We are Christian: We acknowledge one God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ, the love, mercy and grace of God are made known to us and all people. From this overflowing abundance of God’s love, we find our call to ministry........We bear witness to the redemption offered only through faith in Jesus Christ. The staff we engage are equipped by belief and practice to bear this witness. (online source)
Sorry, but World Vision can't have it both ways. If World Vision is going to reject the authority of God's word, it would be better for Christianity if, going forward, they would simply proceed purely as a relief organization, and not as an organization claiming any Christian distinctives. After all, for true believers, Scripture is our guideline in all matters of faith and practice. And the Bible is not unclear on what it says about unrepentant homosexuality, so it's not a matter of interpretation, but one of obedience. World Vision simply can't claim to be a Christian organization, but then deny the Bible in practice where it speaks clearly and authoritative on matters, as it does on unrepentant homosexuality.

 Bending To the Culture 

Caving on the same sex marriage issue is a very "cultural" stand for World Vision to take. By explicitly making a public statement that they will, from now on, be hiring into their organization homosexuals who profess to be gay, then they are accepting, as valid, a profession of Christian faith from practicing, unrepentant homosexuals. And again, by doing so, World Vision is rejecting the authority of the Bible, which condemns unrepentant homosexual sin (along with all other unrepentant sins).

 Administering ONLY Relief to The Needy Will Merely Make Them Comfortable on Their Way To Hell 

Richard Stearns stated in his interview with Christianity Today that:
"...when Christ left, he gave us the Great Commission [to make disciples] and the Great Commandment [to love others as ourselves], and we're trying to do just that."
But is this accurate? Is this how World Vision operates? Are they seeking to preach the gospel message to the lost, that there is a holy God who made them and to whom they are beholden, and who commands all people everywhere to repent and believe on Christ's atoning death for forgiveness and reconciliation? If so, I could not find any evidence on the World Vision website of the gospel message being a part of the World Vision ministry.
"World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice." (online source)
Unless I missed something, from looking at the World Vision website, it seems apparent to me that World Vision sees their primary focus as being one of bringing relief to the needy. Nowhere on the site did I find a statement attesting to the  desire to bring lost sinners into a saving relationship with their Creator, who made them and who has a righteous claim on their lives. And while there is nothing at all wrong with ministering to the poor and needy, and a whole lot good with doing so, Christians need to remember that ONLY doing benevolent acts for the disenfranchised is not the same thing as preaching the gospel to them. While growing up in a very liberal mainline denomination, one thing I heard often was this quote (often wrongly ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi):
 "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." 
This quote makes me cringe today. The gospel cannot somehow be mysteriously conveyed by kindness or good works. The gospel is a distinct message, communicated with words. Of course, kindness can and should enhance the message of the gospel, but the gospel is a MESSAGE. It's a message comprised of actual words which convey the truth of our Savior, Jesus the God-man, who lived a perfect life that He offered up as an atonement for the sins of wretched, sinful man. Kind actions cannot convey that message.
"For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Going into third world countries with medicine and blankets, and digging wells, and building infrastructure are good, benevolent and loving things to do. But such actions are not a SUBSTITUTE for speaking the actual gospel message. Thus, if an organization claims to be Christian, but does not proclaim Jesus Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins, then they really ought to rethink their mission statement. I contend that if Richard Stearns and World Vision are only ministering to the physical needs of those in need, and not their greatest need, their spiritual need, then they really ought not to identify themselves as a Christian organization. It only muddies the waters for the rest of us who don't mind taking heat from the world for giving the gospel that offends and for taking stands that aren't popular, such as the hotly raging same-sex marriage issue.

Let me close with this exhortation: To my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please don't be under any illusions that if you give $$$ to World Vision that you will be participating in the unadulterated gospel message going forth into the world. Jesus did not turn a blind eye to sin (homosexual or otherwise), nor did He bend to cultural trends.

 Additional Resources 

On World Vision and the Gospel

Pointing To Disaster — The Flawed Moral Vision of World Vision 

Franklin Graham's Statement on World Vision

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rob Bell Endorses Same Sex Marriage

Posted by Christine Pack

Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised has reported on a recent Q&A with author and NOOMA video producer Rob Bell, which Bell stated:
‎"I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs -- I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are."
Hmmmm, perhaps this statement by Bell will prompt a few churches to go through their libraries and do a little spring cleaning, and maybe toss out all those NOOMA videos and Rob Bell books? Just a thought.......

Read Erin Benziger's entire article here. 

 Additional Resources 

An Interview About Rob Bell's Book "Love Wins"

Rob Bell on Hell

What Rob Bell's Theology of Hell Looks Like In The Real World

Love Wins? A Critique of Rob Bell's New Book

Rob Bell Answers His Critics....But Don't Be Fooled

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

To Starbucks or Not to Starbucks, That Is The Question

Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was recently challenged by a shareholder in the company who questioned the company's endorsement of a state bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Schultz reportedly told the shareholder that he was free to sell his Starbucks shares and invest elsewhere. (Article: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s Grande Support for Gay Marriage) The ensuing brouhaha had many Christians up in arms, calling for a boycott of Starbucks coffee, and lighting up social media with conversations about this dastardly deed. And yet, at the risk of inflaming many of my Christian friends who often exercise their American right to choose to boycott a company that makes this or that anti-Christian statement, here is just some food for thought:

Should we as Christians expect lost people to act in any other way than lost people generally do?

That is to say, should we expect lost people to not have animosity toward Christians? Can we look at history, perhaps, to help us get our bearings on this? The fact is that the world in which the very first Christians found themselves was a world that was incredibly hostile to biblical Christianity, and filled with wickedness and depravity, including rampant homosexuality. And yet, I feel certain that the Christians of that time interacted in the business world. And I do not see Scriptures exhorting Christians to not buy from this or that leather craftsman or olive purveyor, based on that person's presumably anti-Christian views.

And also, lest we forget, the Bible makes it clear that the world will have animosity toward both us and God's Word:
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing...." (1 Corinthians 1:18a)
"You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)
This is certainly an issue worth thinking about, praying about, and asking the Lord for wisdom about (James 1:5). Because here's the deal: the world around us has changed. I'm sorry, but it really and truly has. Same-sex marriage, in all likelihood, will soon be legitimized in this country. I'm not happy about that, and I'm certainly not happy about my children growing up in a country in which homosexuals can marry, but how should we Christians now navigate this strange world in which we find ourselves? We have a number of options, but these two come quickly to mind:

Option 1 -We can boycott any secular company that does not promote Christian values. We can stop shopping at Target because they won't say "Merry Christmas," we can stop eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream because they support same sex marriage, we can cross J.C. Penney's off the list because they had a lesbian spokesperson, we can boycott Home Depot because they participated in a gay pride parade, etc., etc. But if we are going to go down that road, we really ought to cash it all in, and buy a farm somewhere and live as an isolationist because very, very, very few corporations cater exclusively to true biblical Christians.

Option 2 - We can, by God's grace and with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, move graciously through this dark and dying world, interacting lovingly with lost sinners, and sharing the hope that is in Christ with those around us.
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world...." (Philippians 2:14-15)
I'm not saying definitively how, exactly, all Christians should respond to these changes coming in the world around us. Merely that we ought to think long, hard and prayerfully about how we should each navigate this unfamiliar terrain. I am reminded of a recent Christianity Today article in which a former lesbian recounts her story of writing an article, as a practicing lesbian, that was aimed at attacking Christianity. Predictably, she received heaps of support letters and also heaps of hate mail. But she received one letter from a pastor that was neither. This letter led to what she has referred to as her "Train Wreck Conversion," that is, it led to her turning her back on her former lifestyle and becoming a born again Christian. In her own words, she lost "everything but the dog." But what she gained was forgiveness, redemption and eternal life. Perhaps we can learn from this pastor's kindness and graciousness in how he reached out to this woman, and shared truth with her in a way that had eternal consequences.

photo credit: Nick Humphries via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

Interview with Former Lesbian (Rosaria Champagne Butterfield)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Andy Stanley Thinks President Obama Should Be Known as "Pastor In Chief?"

Posted by Christine Pack

From the Washington Examiner (1/21/13):
"President Obama’s recent response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., convinced the pastor who preached at this morning’s pre-inaugural church service that the president has the cleric’s touch.......Obama should be called 'Pastor in Chief,' said Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., after he 'thanked POTUS for work after Newtown shooting tragedy when he spoke to mourners.'"
My friends, are these the words of a biblical pastor? Please bear in mind that Andy Stanley, Atlanta megachurch pastor and son of Pastor Charles Stanley, is heaping praise upon the same President who said in yesterday's Inaugural Address:
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well." (Source)
Stanley is, unfortunately, giving the appearance of being bound to numbers and political access rather than fidelity to Scripture. But then again, perhaps gay-affirming President Obama and Andy Stanley have more in common than meets the eye at first glance. After all, Stanley is the same pastor who appeared to give tentatively gay-affirming signals over a recent conflict that he openly addressed in a sermon and which played out at his church. (The conflict in question involved a woman, her ex-husband, her ex-husband's male lover, and the male lover's wife. Yes, really.)

One wonders how this will all play out. In Atlanta where I am, Andy Stanley is considered to be solid, biblical and conservative. Perhaps stories such as these will open the eyes of the faithful remnant.

 Additional Resources 

Problems At Andy Stanley's North Point Church?

Is This Andy Stanley's Gay Affirming Shot Across the Bow?

Is The Megachurch the New Liberalism? (Chris Rosebrough's Fighting For the Faith radio show)

Homosexuality, Megachurches and Andy Stanley (Apprising)

Pastor Andy Stanley Responds to Questions Over Homosexuality Stance (Christian Post)

Andy Stanley Avoids Gay Issue in Last Sermon of Controversial 8-Part Series (Christian Post)

The Need for Elders Who Guard Their Flocks (Criticial Issues Commentary, Bob DeWaay)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wretched: Paul Washer and Chick-Fil-A

Posted by Christine Pack

We Americans have a tendency to think it's going to be all noble and Joan of Arc-ish for us, marching bravely and grandly for The Cause, but it's not going to play out that way. It's going to play out with us being spat upon and mocked and reviled all the way, and this Chick-Fil-A skirmish should be a wake-up call for all Christians. Are we prepared for that kind of persecution? Settle it in your heart today, now, where your heart allegiance lies: is it with God? or with the world, and being loved by the world?

 Additional Resources 

Chick-Fil-A Takes One For The Team

Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Takes One For The Team

Posted by Christine Pack

Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A and son of Chick-Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, was recently under fire for taking a strong public stance against same sex marriage. Said Cathy in several interviews:
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that...we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles." (online source)
"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about." (online source)
I've always had somewhat mixed feelings about Chick-Fil-A because I have generally perceived them to be more culturally Christian and moralistic than authentically Christian. But the answer that Dan Cathy gave in "that" interview was the biblical answer (God defines marriage, not man), as opposed to the watered-down, and Godless, moralistic answer (same sex marriage is bad for the culture, children, etc.), and it made me want to stand up and cheer (and eat a chicken sandwich, too).
Slightly off topic, but I've often contemplated the idea that there probably are some true, born again believers who just are very culturally Christian in their appearance, and I've therefore wondered what would happen for those true believers if they were really pressed on a biblical issue, and there was no way out: what would they say? what would they do? Well, Dan Cathy surprised me by actually giving the biblical answer, not the moralistic answer. I was so surprised and encouraged by what he said that I probably went a little overboard, with posting CFA posters to my wall this past couple of weeks, such as this.....

and this........

and this........

and this.......

So I'm hoping that all this controversy will be eye-opening for Dan Cathy, whom I've always perceived to be somewhat "culturally Christian" (no more Confucius, please, CFA), and encourage him to do the hard thing, the culturally unacceptable thing, and continue to take the biblical stance on all things going forward. Now......who's craving some waffle fries?

  Additional Resources  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is This Andy Stanley's Gay Affirming Shot Across the Bow?

Posted by Christine Pack

Andy Stanley explaining (with graphics prepared ahead of time) why one of the men in an unrepentant homosexual relationship needs to finalize his divorce before he can serve at Northpoint. The blue figures represent the homosexual couple, the red figure represents the abandoned wife.

In the 18th century, a seafaring military action known as a "shot across the bow" began to come into common usage. This was a term used to describe a shot fired by one ship across the bow of an opposing ship to signal future confrontations.  The shot was not meant to actually make contact, it was merely a warning signal that there were future confrontations to come from the firing ship.

It appears that North Point megachurch pastor Andy Stanley has recently fired his own "shot across the bow" of Evangelicalism on the issue of homosexuality with his sermon series Christian. In part 5 of this series, Stanley gave a message ("When Gracie Met Truthie") in which he described a situation at his church where a woman, her ex-husband and her ex-husband's male lover were in a conflict. The strangest part of this story is that the issue with which Stanley took exception was the fact that the ex-husband's male lover was not yet divorced from HIS wife, and yet was serving in leadership at North Point. Presumably, the man's adultery was the issue, but not, apparently, his unrepentantly homosexual lifestyle. From the article:
"(Andy) Stanley told the two men that they could not serve on the host team so long as the one man was still married. He later told of the former wife’s decision not to live in bitterness, and of her initiative to bring the whole new family structure to a Christmas service. This included the woman, her daughter, her former husband, his gay partner, and his daughter. Stanley celebrated this new 'modern family' as an expression of forgiveness." (online source)
The obvious questions have to be asked: Is it even possible to frame up the scenario presented by Stanley (in which 2 - count them, 2 - marriages were blown sky high) in a way that makes sense unless a clear call for repentance is given? And yet, according to the Christian Post's article on the final sermon of this series, Stanley completely sidestepped the issue of homosexuality in this series.

Incidentally, this account of the wife, the ex-husband, the ex-husband's male lover, etc., etc. was presented very winsomely by Andy Stanley with accompanying graphics. This was no off-the-cuff account that just spontaneously occurred to Andy Stanley in the middle of a sermon. The above graphic was obviously prepared well in advance of this sermon. Does anyone else smell an agenda? Is open homosexuality going to be the Next Big Thing in Evangelicalism? And is this Andy Stanley's shot across the bow to signal that he is moving in the direction of openly accepting unrepentant homosexual relationships? We'll all have to stay tuned to find out.......

 Additional Resources 

Andy Stanley Removes Shame From Homosexual Sin (Entreating Favor)

Problems at Andy Stanley's North Point Church? (Sola Sisters)

North Point Student Ministry Volunteer Application (North Point online source)

 Is The Megachurch The New Liberalism? (Dr. Al Mohler)

Andy Stanley Confounds The Church About Homosexuality (Stand Up For The Truth)

The Matthew Vines Video - And A Response (Stand Up For The Truth)

Is The Megachurch the New Liberalism? (Chris Rosebrough's Fighting For the Faith radio show)

Homosexuality, Megachurches and Andy Stanley (Apprising)

Pastor Andy Stanley Responds to Questions Over Homosexuality Stance (Christian Post)

Andy Stanley Avoids Gay Issue in Last Sermon of Controversial 8-Part Series (Christian Post)

The Need for Elders Who Guard Their Flocks (Criticial Issues Commentary, Bob DeWaay)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Archie Comics Introduces Gay Character "Kevin Keller"

Posted by Christine Pack

There's a new kid on the block in Riverdale, the fictitious home of the lovable characters of the Archie Comics.  His name is Kevin Keller and he's the comic strip series' first openly gay character.

From the official press release:
"Kevin will appear in September's VERONICA #202, in a story called "Isn't it Bromantic?" Kevin Keller is the new hunk in town and Veronica just has to have him. After Kevin defeats Jughead in a burger eating contest at Pop's Chocklit Shoppe, she desperately latches onto him. Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Kevin desperately attempts to let Veronica down easy and her flirtations only become increasingly persistent."
Jon Goldwater, co-CEO of Archie Comics, released the following statement about this new character:
"The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books."
I often hear people questioning if God will soon judge America.  Well, a plain reading of Romans 1 reveals that we are already under God's judgment and wrath.  In this chapter, there is first a suppression of truth, then a disdainful arrogance that neither acknowledges nor praises God, then comes worship of the creation rather than the Creator, and after that a sexual revolution, followed by a homosexual revolution. Have we not had God removed from classrooms, football fields, lunch meetings, courtrooms, etc.?  And how about Earth Day, with its strident pleadings to "go green" and "live sustainably?"  (Imagine if the reverse of this were true, and the Creator was worshiped instead of the creation, with the same level of media intensity given to pastors and Christian leaders pleading for God to be glorified and lifted up. Hard to imagine a reversal so profound, isn't it?) As for a sexual revolution, we've had that, beginning in the 1960s and followed by, yes, a homosexual revolution that continues today. So no, these aren't indicators that judgment is coming, as some people think; they are indicators that judgment is already here.

photo credit: Joelk75 via photo pin cc