LTRP Note: Cecil Andrews of Take Heed wrote this article six years ago – perhaps it is more relevant today than when it was first written.*
by Cecil Andrews
Take Heed Ministries
When you go into any modern ‘Christian’ bookstore it will be virtually impossible not to be confronted at some point by books written by Philip Yancey. He is without doubt one of the best selling ‘Christian’ authors of this age and some of his best known works include ‘What’s So amazing About Grace’, ‘Where Is God When It Hurts’ and ‘Soul Survivor’. In March 2002 he was the Banquet Speaker at the Christian Booksellers Convention held in Doncaster.
As a freelance ‘Christian’ writer he serves as ‘Editor at Large’ for the pseudo-evangelical publication ‘Christianity Today’. His writings have [rightly] attracted criticism and controversy from ‘conservative’ Christians despite a claim by Yancey in an article published on 21 September 2002 by Alf McCreary [Religious affairs correspondent of the Belfast Telegraph] that ‘My calling is not to be successful but to be faithful to God’.
One of the areas where his ‘faithfulness to God’ has been challenged has been in how he views homosexuality and lesbianism and its compatibility with the professed Christianity of those who pursue such life-styles. In relation to his book ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace’ I have on file some comments made about it by two Christians.
One report was sent to me by an ‘ordinary’ Christian lady called Mona and in it Mona wrote ‘This writer [Yancey] gives a long, involved portion of his book reasoning in favour of homosexuality based on his strong friendship with this “Christian” [Mel White] who left his wife to resume a homosexual lifestyle which he could not resist. At the same time Christian “hate” attitudes are reviled, and while these may not be endorsed, neither is there justification for what God calls an abomination, nor is there any Biblical injunction to “pour grace on it” [homosexuality]’.
Mona told of how Yancey accompanied his ‘gay Christian’ friend Mel White on the ‘gay’ march in Washington in March 1987 and how Yancey ‘relates the shocking behaviour of Christian protesters at the march, but commends the “gay Christian” response – “Jesus Loves Us”’.
In the other report written by Pastor Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel, Pastor Gilley wrote ‘Yancey has a fundamental flaw that runs throughout all of his writings – he doesn’t always draw his thoughts and principles from Scripture…this serious flaw of not basing his concepts squarely upon the Scriptures eventually leads Yancey astray. Yancey does not know the difference between tolerance and arrogance; between grace and license; between boldness and harshness. By Yancey’s definitions John the Baptist and Elijah would be men of “ungrace” but God did not seem to think so…Certainly Jesus loved and spent time with prostitutes, but He did so to call them to repentance, not to accept their way of living. Yancey’s method of dealing with a homosexual, who is also a church leader, may seem like “grace” to him, it may seem like what Jesus would do, but it is clearly out of sync with the teachings and examples of Scripture’.
In recent days I was sent the transcript of an interview with Philip Yancey that is posted on the website of a ‘ministry’ called ‘WHOSOEVER’ [http://www.whosoever.org/index.shtml]. ‘WHOSOEVER’ is subtitled ‘An online magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and transgender Christians’.
From the ‘What We Believe’ section of the website much can be learned of how this ‘Ministry’ views the teaching, authority and relevance of the Word of God and as you read some extracts of their statement [with my own comments added] perhaps, like me, you will be reminded of how Peter warned of people who being “unlearned and unstable, wrest [twist] as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” [2 Peter 3:16]. Click here to continue reading.
* (note: Punctuation in this article is correct according to UK grammatical standards and has been left as in the original article. In the U.S., a period or a comma always go inside a single or double quotation mark.)