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The Other Worldview
Commentators in major national newspapers in Scotland are aghast. A 100-member youth choir from a Southern Baptist church in Plano, Texas gave a free concert at a shopping center in Edinburgh. The journalists compared this event to Nazi or ISIS propaganda. One asserted: “as a nation we should be stating clearly: bigots are not welcome here.” Scotland is the land of John Knox, the great Scotts reformer (1513–72), and of the young, deeply spiritual Robert Murray McCheyne (1813–43) who declared: “The Christian is a person who makes it easy for others to believe in God.” Now Scotland is a land where preaching the Gospel is compared to noxious Nazism.
The reason for such vitriol? The Plano church follows biblical teaching on sexual ethics, marriage and abortion. Its stated mission is “to glorify God by introducing Jesus Christ as Lord to as many people as possible and to develop them in Christian living using the most effective means to impact the world, making an eternal difference in this generation.” The social commentators feel this mission must be suppressed if Western society is to progress.
According to the Pew Research Center, Newsweek and The Economist, Christians are the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.
Though we can hardly imagine it, the same rejection and persecution taking place in Islam-dominated countries is appearing in “Christendom.” Hate-filled terms like Nazism or ISIS are employed to preserve the West from “hate-filled” Gospel preaching and biblical teaching on sexuality.
Ironically, the caricature of a select group and the refusal to engage in intelligent discussion was exactly how the Nazis functioned in a sophisticated Western culture some seventy-three years ago. Without serious debate as to the supposed genetic inferiority of the Jews, a whole process of culturally intimidating events led to the most heinous crime of modern times. Last year, while visiting family members who live and work in Berlin, we took a tour of the nearby Wannsee House, a beautiful guest house on the edge of a large lake. This manor home was the site of a famous breakfast meeting of fifteen high-ranking SS leaders. In just an hour and a half, over German sausage and cheese, the Wannsee Conference created the “Final Solution,” a plan to murder all European Jews. The only way this could be done was to believe the lie that Jews were subhuman, even though scores of Jews were already Nobel Prize winners!
I don’t want to be sensationalist, but human evil continually raises its ugly head, as it just did in Scotland.
In the US, the University of Cincinnati requires faculty and staff applicants to pledge their commitment to “diversity and inclusion”; otherwise applicants will not get jobs. To receive tenure at Virginia Tech you must show proof of fully endorsing “diversity and inclusion.” The National Parent Teachers Association at its 2016 Annual Convention in Orlando supported “legislation that specifically recognizes LGBTQ as a protected group.” In coming days any class-room teacher who affirms biblical teaching about gender may well be charged with discrimination under federal and state laws.
The opposition to Christianity takes a troubling turn with the not-so veiled threat of progressive Harvard Professor Mark Tushnet: “The culture wars are over; they [the Christians] lost, we won….taking a hard line is better than trying to accommodate the losers.” There will be, he warns, no accommodations or exceptions.
The cultural noose is tightening. As Pew Research just noted: “The U.S. has long been a Christian-majority nation, but major social changes may be making at least one segment of Christians—evangelicals—feel like America is becoming a more difficult place for them to live.” [Pew Research Center: Religion and Public Life, July 14, 2016]. The reason is that Evangelicals refuse to conform to this world and boldly hold to Scripture. Though we must seek the protection of our civil rights, the Apostle Peter’s words are an important reminder:
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Pet. 4:12–14).Read More
Who has a right to speak out about homosexuality after the Orlando Gay Bar massacre, and what should be said? It is tempting for Christians who hold to the biblical condemnation of homosexuality to go silent, but is that right?
One group that does not hesitate is ISIS, which from the beginning has openly claimed responsibility, describing the gunman as one of its heroic fighters. Various Islamic spokesmen, like Fahad Qureshi, admitted in 2013 that the desire to see homosexuals killed was a belief held even by “moderate” Muslims. Just weeks before Orlando, Muslim cleric Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar, during a sermon at an Orlando-area mosque, called for gays to be executed “out of compassion.” In the same vein, the front page of an Islamic Turkish newspaper (with links to the country’s President Erdoğan) justifies the killing, calling those who died in the Orlando mass shooting “perverts” and “deviants.”
Others who speak out are homosexual activists, believing that this slaughter provides the occasion to encourage the rightful spread of homosexual practice. Author Karl Soehnlein, when hearing that the murderer’s anger was provoked by seeing two men kissing in “an expression of love,” has vowed to “flood the world with images of men kissing…fight back with love.” President Obama, avoiding any open accusations of Islam, implies that the real problem is how we think about LGBT practice. He exhorts the nation: “We need the strength and courage to change our attitudes toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.”
Inevitably, biblical Christians are singled out as promoting violence via “violent” speech. Describing Tony Perkins of Family Research Council as “an anti-gay hate group leader,” a group called “Faithful America” is seeking to get him barred from speaking on national television. The left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center long ago designated FRC as a hate group. Time Magazine employed a “homosexual Christian” to affirm “What Christians Must Do in the Wake of Orlando,” blaming Christians for causing “deep, lasting pain in LGBT people’s lives,” asserting that “Unless you’ve long been a vocal advocate for LGBT people, you’ve likely contributed to that suffering—intentionally or not.” The article implies that anything but acceptance creates a climate of mass killing. Liberals within the church agree. Florida Catholic Bishop Robert Lynch blames the church for playing a part in the massacre. “Sadly, it is religion, including our own,” he says, “that targets, mostly verbally, and often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people.” This weak explanation in no way accounts for the violence of Isis.
Clearly, Christians must pause to ask if their speech expresses hatred. Alas, there are “Christians” who, like radical Muslims, exult in the slaughter. The pastor of Verity Baptist Church, Sacramento, CA, Roger Jimenez, praises the massacre, claiming to be upset that the gunman did not finish the job! He states in hateful terms: “As Christians we shouldn’t be mourning the deaths of these fifty sodomites because the Bible teaches that these sodomites are all, every single one of them, a predator.”
Indeed, the heartless bloodshed in Orlando is a reminder to Christians that our response must be a combination of love and truth, involving both the human situation and the being of God.
The Christian calling is to make known the good news that God loves sinners for whom Jesus paid the ultimate price. Inasmuch as we are all sinners, we may not define anyone as beyond the reach of God’s mercy.
But we must first and foremost speak the truth about this loving God. This will be the theological message of our conference in October 7–8, 2016, in Escondido, CA, “Two Loves: A Biblical Response to ‘Gay Christianity,’” to which, dear reader, you are invited. Alas, many do not understand that the normalization of homosexuality undermines the person of God who, as Creator, made human beings male and female to reflect his Trinitarian image (Gen. 1:27). For God’s honor and for true human flourishing, this truth must be maintained.
Christians may not play the part of God, who alone is the ultimate judge. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord” (Heb. 10:30). In pleading to God for Sodom, Abraham says what all believers must affirm: “Shall not the judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Gen. 18:25). In the New Testament the church is never given authority to impose civil physical justice on the culture, a role given explicitly to the duly-appointed magistrate (Rom. 13:1–4). Spiritual excommunication of church members is the only response to blatant, unrepentant sin—of believers.
Christians must warn of the final judgment, which no one escapes. Yet we also have a humble, marvelous truth to announce from the rooftops: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Tim 1:15).
REVIEW OF Rachel Lu, “The LGBT Movement Will Self-Destruct,” The Federalist (May 31, 2016)
Rachel Lu begins her controversial thesis by describing the innocuous rise and fall of “inventive spelling,” which proposed liberating options like “girl,” “gurl” and “grrrrl.” This is hardly reason to think that the supremacy of pan-sexuality will disappear as speedily. While many “normal folks” will warm to her prediction that “Within my lifetime, the LGBT movement will die,” her shallow analysis makes her prediction seriously misleading and deceptive.
For Lu, the present bizarre LGBT gender practice is simply one of the “foolish idea[s]” growing out of the Sixties sexual revolution. Other than that, she leaves the phenomenon virtually unexplained.
Because Lu does not go to the heart of sexual perversity, she fails to measure its power. The rise of unrestrained sexual expression must eventually be seen in the light of the parallel rise of religious paganism in the modern world. For an accurate perspective, we need to go to the heart of things. In Romans 1, Paul defines “ground zero” of human existence: only two ways of being a human—we either worship God the Creator or we worship creation. The very starting point of faith, what Paul calls “the truth,” is recognition of the Creator and of the contingent nature of the creation. This is the truth upon which all human existence depends, including human sexual existence. He explicitly argues (vv. 26–28) that the rejection of God as Creator ultimately explains sexual deviancy.
His logic is flawless. The physical exchange (overturning foundational natural sexuality in favor of perverse sexuality) is understood in light of two preceding and parallel exchanges:
- the exchange of the theological “truth” of God as Creator, for “the lie” (v. 25), which makes nature god, and
- the exchange of spiritual worship (v. 23) of God the Creator for worship of idols
Thus, dishonoring God in idolatry (1:21) is exhibited by dishonoring our bodies in dishonorable passions (1:26).
Ms. Lu makes a number of valid points as to why sexual perversity will go away. She predicts: “Eventually, Nature Comes Roaring Back.” In other words, the practice of anything-goes-sex is “too incoherent and too inimical to real human good.”
She also appeals to pragmatism. “Society’s wealthier and better-educated tend to reject life patterns quickly when it becomes clear they beget widespread misery and dysfunction.” Unfortunately many “gays” are “wealthy and better educated.”
She points to the lack of scientific studies establishing the normativity of LGTB sexuality, demonstrating the value of unrestrained sex, so “when the wheels start coming off completely, it’s worth remembering that a wheel-less vehicle is no longer able to drive.”
These points are generally well-taken. A society constructed against the pattern laid down by the Creator will eventually implode. But we have no reason to think that this implosion will occur in Ms. Lu’s life-time, because the rebellion is spiritually profound.
Her solutions you could place in the naively “all we need to do” category. “We must protect our own children from this culture, especially from the blight of pornography and a hyper-sexualized media.” However this liberated sexuality controls the media and, increasingly, the education system, and no one seems able to control pornography. Her proposals, therefore, lack practical effectiveness.
She calls on present traditional culture to “build and preserve communities in which morally important truths can be instilled at least in our own offspring.” She gives no basis for morals, however, nor reasons why existing communities should be any more successful at instilling morals in the future than they are now.
Her final solution is to “engage our compatriots in civil discourse concerning the body, sex, marriage, and parenting.” But how can we define a legitimate and convincing “civil discourse” that gets to the heart of the issue, when we live in a multicultural public square where every opinion is valid, and where incivility, especially among the LGBT people, is now the norm? So the deep problem goes unaddressed. Alas, no discourse that fails to take account of the spiritual can succeed.
I pray that Ms. Lu is correct and that health-denying idolatry will eventually implode because civilization must reproduce and can only do it according to God’s design. The solution must nonetheless include an awareness of the great depth of our rebellion against God the Creator. A cultural implosion will not be like the end of “inventive spelling.” The “wheels coming off” will bring enormous cultural devastation, as God gives our culture over to the consequences of its deep rebellion. Hopefully that disaster will eventually lead to repentance, to spiritual revival in a new search for the deeply religious basis for human dignity and to a turning back to God by trusting in and obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.Read More
An oxymoron combines two notions that don’t belong together. They are often humorous, as in “open secret” or “paid volunteer.” Oxys in Greek means “sharp” and moron means “dull,” so you can see how the name was coined. “Gay Christianity” is an oxymoron, and not in the least humorous! This growing movement in contemporary evangelicalism mixes two contradictory elements in a dangerous theological oxymoron. To show why this is true, we need to define both elements—“Gay” and “Christianity.”
Christianity: We must begin with the definition of Christianity by its original founders. The Apostle Paul describes the truth as worship of God the Creator, and the lie as the worship of Nature (Romans 1:25). He is connecting with The Old Testament. Nehemiah says of God: “You have made heaven…and the hosts of heaven worship you (Neh 9:6). This takes us back to Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Pagans worshiped the hosts of heaven (Nature), but in the Bible, the hosts of heaven worship the Lord. Christianity seeks to follow Psalm 57:5 by exalting God above the heavens, in order that his “glory be over all the earth!” The basic truth of existence is that the Creator and his creation are distinct.
All fallen human beings, including homosexuals, need to hear the compassion and empathy expressed in the gospel. However, the biblical message cannot be reduced to mere sentimentality. It reveals the just nature of God the Creator and the fallen nature of every human being. Jesus is the revelation of that just God. As the second person of the Trinity, he is Judge and Creator but also Redeemer who, through his death on the Cross, extends God’s love to sinners.
Gay: The dictionary defines “gay” as “relating to, or exhibiting sexual desire or behavior directed toward a person or persons of one’s own sex.” Unlike Christianity, which derives from revealed, holy Scripture, gayness has its roots in pagan religion, which has practiced homosexuality throughout the millennia. Paganism not only worships nature, refusing the Creator; it also refuses the binaries and distinctions that God has placed in creation, such as male and female. For a generation, “Gay Christians” have argued that the Bible embraces homosexuality as a valid expression of human love. A recent scholarly study entitled Unchanging Witness challenges that thesis. It argues that the Judeo-Christian tradition, from the Old Testament world to Rabbinic Judaism, to the Greco-Roman world of the New Testament and on through the whole of Christian history, has never believed the Bible to give moral legitimacy to homosexuality.
Homosexuality poses a colossal threat to Christian living. Radical legal scholar Mark Tushnet, Professor at Harvard Law School argues that
the culture wars are over; they (traditionalists) lost, we won…. [O]pponents of the moral revolution are to be treated with scorn, contempt, and worse, like Japan and Germany, owing unconditional surrender.
Such an attitude certainly threatens “Christian” free speech. In addition, the new bathroom laws demolish public decency standards by embracing individual “exposure rights” for generalized “nonconsensual nudity” (typical of past pagan societies). Such extreme, nonsensical standards are part of a massive moral brainwashing of the next generation, accomplished through “progressive” educational programs, such as President Obama’s recent diktat regulating gender-free school bathrooms.
Our October 7–9 conference, The Two Loves: A Biblical Responses to “Gay Christianity” will feature two leading experts in the field: Dr. Rosaria Butterfield (via Skype) and Dr. Michael Brown. The conference will not focus on the important issues of rights and free speech in our increasingly pagan culture. Nor will it deal specifically with the much-needed pastoral care for individual homosexuals. We seek rather to identify the pagan cosmology of Oneist nature-worship behind “gayness” and to analyze the conflict such a position has with the Twoist biblical cosmology of a world full of distinctions created by God. Without standing in judgment over homosexuals, we must preserve the essence of the Christian message, namely purity, holiness and the radical transformation made possible by the Twoist Gospel. Those powerful, positive elements will be utterly lost if pagan-inspired “Gay Christianity” becomes a defining element of Christian thinking and practice.
Paganism, in rejecting the binary and “joining the opposites” eliminates the fundamental character of biblical truth expressed in created distinctions between God and the creation, male and female, right and wrong, good and evil. Thus, “Gay Christianity” is indeed an oxymoron.
In his mercy, however, God can clear our sinful thinking and transform our hopelessness into joy. Our conference will feature several testimonies of those who have been rescued from their Oneist confusion. The air has cleared for them, as we pray it will also clear for our culture.
What has been for millennia a self-evident truth has become within a year or so unthinkable prejudice. The principled experts of the twentieth century, Ringo Starr and Bruce Springsteen, have quickly jumped into the moral crusade of ethical outrage, amazed that the state of North Carolina would refuse to allow grown men to use the ladies’ restrooms.
An employee of a Catholic university (Loyola Marymount) committed cultural blasphemy by stating that there are only two genders (a view entirely compatible with Catholicism). The university, however, has suspended her and is currently investigating her for a “hate crime.”
It gets more manifestly insane. Students at my alma mater, Cardiff University, and in other UK schools, are demanding the installation of women’s sanitary bins in male toilets “for men who menstruate.” This is logical lunacy. The inevitable demand for urinals in women’s restrooms will surely follow. This demand actually affirms the opposite of what these progressives claim, forcing them to admit that women pretending to be men still need sanitary bins, because they menstruate, and men don’t. Human sexuality is defined by an objective biological binary trait—either “XY” or “XX” chromosomes. But by using the term “gender” to mean not one’s biological sex but one’s sense of being male or female, moral outrage can find full expression. Laws that can put you in jail are no longer based on objective biology but on subjective, changeable feelings.
What is the deep motivation for this bizarre state of affairs?
This “faith” in feelings, which disregards biological objectivity, is both mental insanity and spiritual rebellion. While we’ve never needed bathroom humor, presently we do need some serious bathroom theology!
Clear-headed theology reveals what is happening in our Left-leaning, progressive world. We are witnessing the reappearance of an old heresy, Gnosticism. The Gnostics rejected the flesh and embraced the spirit. For them, the physical, created world was an evil thing, made by Satan. They believed the spirit revealed the true “god within,” as do many today, in search of their “higher selves.” Interestingly, the ancient Gnostics also rejected creational sexuality and sought the higher form of “androgyny,” the experience of being both male and female—which is the same rejection of the male/female gender binary that we observe today.
Here are a few examples:
- Oberlin College, founded by two Presbyterian ministers, is now committed to “finding a space that…defies the binary in our society…that you were assigned.”
- all five of Scotland’s main political parties have pledged to push for a “non-binary gender legal recognition…in all areas of life.”
- the goal of yoga, according to a serious practitioner, is to create “… direct awareness of the unity of everything, to break through the usual false binaries within which we tend to live.”
One of the “false binaries” that Hindu thinking eliminates is that between the Creator and the creature, serving a deeply religious goal. This suppression exhibits, as we say at truthXchange, the conflict between the only two worldviews, Oneism and Twoism. We now observe a growing worldview by which people, especially young people, are taught to reject differences and distinctions.
Recently a deliberately set-up video showed US college students so brainwashed that they refused to counter the outlandish claims of a 5”9’ white man to be a 6”4’ Asian woman! Their insane response was: “How can I judge what is true for you?”
Clearly, the rejection of any objective binary is not limited to sexuality. It is also a new theory of education. One education expert said:
One of the key strategies to unsettle and trouble entrenched ways of [children’s] thinking is to blur all kinds of boundaries—the clean categorical identity boundaries that support binary thinking as well as the boundaries between academic fields. This is why I think it is so useful to deploy a binary-busting, Queer perspective across a range of disciplinary contexts.
The seeds of Eastern mysticism sown in the West a generation ago are bearing copious fruit. The legendary Buddhist spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, influential among UN leaders, declared: “We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.
Separateness is not an illusion, in two senses. In a positive sense, we are separate (distinct) from the Creator as his creatures, made in his image, males different from females. In a negative sense, we are separated from God by our sin. In the cross of his Son, Jesus, we can know forgiveness and personal reconciliation with the Creator and, through this, rediscover the sanity of the objective distinctions God placed in the creation for our good and his glory.