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One of Many HUGE Challenges the Church Faces

I have intended to write about this ever since I talked to a friend on Monday afternoon. I have been outraged ever since.

Now, before I get into this today, I want to make it clear that my intent is NOT to bash anyone or any group of sinners. The truth is that I believe the church should be open to all as a redemptive society. We ought to share the love of Christ with folks with partiality or judgment or approval of their lifestyle.

No sin is worse than another, even though we tend to make distinctions.

This is especially true with gays and lesbians.

Significantly enough, mores in our culture are changing rapidly. Yesterday, as I spent some time in the office at church, I received the most recent copy of
Facts and Trends, Fall 2015. On page 8, the magazine contains the results from a recent Gallop poll delineating what most Americans consider morally wrong and what most Americans consider morally right. The title of the article is, “What’s morally wrong? Americans’ list grows shorter.” Interesting.

I won’t take the time in the blog this morning but I am going to try to scan the article and put it up on our church’s website.

On the “Considered Morally Acceptable By a Majority” list is “Gay or Lesbian relations.” In 2001, 40% of Americans considered this lifestyle to be acceptable. In 2015, the percentage grew to 63%.

This is the culture in which we live. Now, again, how must the church respond? Again, I affirm that we must share the gospel in the love of Christ, realizing that all of us need Jesus, no matter what category of sinner we are. This is something I feel very strongly about. If sinners cannot go to a church and be in a position to hear the truth, especially as they come into contact with believers, then where can they go?

Okay, so this is one side of the coin, but the other side is, in the preaching and teaching ministry of the church, and in a culture in which more and more people find the gay and lesbian lifestyle acceptable, we must uphold God’s standard of relationships.

I cannot tell you how often I have listened to folks who were living the gay and lesbian lifestyle as they wept and cried and as they shared the heartbreak and emptiness they experienced.

It is like any sin (and again, I’m not differentiating here). Any deviance from God’s path ends up in calamity and heartbreak.

Having said ALL of this, I talked to a friend who recently accepted a staff position in a church in Denver. (I’m not going to share his name or that of the church; I received permission from him to tell this story). It wasn’t too many days into the start of his work that he discovered that a couple, living the homosexual lifestyle, was actually teaching a children’s Sunday school class in the church!

This same-sex couple had the same last name, and their children shared it as well.

And here is the kicker: the pastor along with key leaders in the church knew about this, but in all likelihood, the church as a whole did not. My friend was shocked. He confronted the pastor, who replied, “Well, we were short on teachers. We just asked them to serve.” And he was unwilling to address this situation.

Are you kidding? It is one thing to be open to folks whose lifestyle contradicts the standards of God’s Word—that is everyone and all sins—to attend a church, but it is quite another thing to place these folks in LEADERSHIP positions in the church.

Of course, this whole situation forced my friend to make a decision himself. Of course. But how sad and tragic!

Please understand the point of this blog today: I am expressing outrage not at sinners. Sinners apart from God’s grace will sin. That is what all of us did before we got saved and now as new creations in Jesus, we can live according to God’s standards, not because we are better than anyone else but solely because of His grace

No, I am outraged at a church that decided, out of convenience, to capitulate to culture instead of standing on the truth.

I don’t know of any church that is not constantly in need of workers and teachers, but there is a line …

We need to be careful that our need to staff programs does not trump the Word of God. It doesn’t “work” anyway. Right? We reach a lost world not by trying to be like it, but by committing ourselves fully to God who in holiness makes us radically different from the world.

This type of outrage came from God out of the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah who railed against the false shepherds and false prophets of his day: “"I did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, But they prophesied…. Thus will each of you say to his neighbor and to his brother, 'What has the LORD answered?' or, 'What has the LORD spoken?' For you will no longer remember the oracle of the LORD, because every man's own word will become the oracle, and you have perverted the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God” (Jeremiah
23:21, 35-36 NASB). Read this whole chapter when you get a chance. You will see the outrage and broken heart of Almighty God.

Lord, even as I write this, I confess the sin of putting people in leadership positions that should not have been there. I pray for my friend. I pray for this church. I pray for the Church—all of us. In this culture with its twisted values and perspectives, help us now, more than every to uphold God’s standards in the love of Christ. Amen.
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