LTRP Note: While the United States races toward being a country that fully embraces “gay” marriage, we know that some of the blame lies with the “new spirituality” Christian figures, who have, either directly or indirectly, promoted the view that the homosexual lifestyle is not sinful. Below is an e-mail we received yesterday after Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage. Below the e-mail is an article by Roger Oakland addressing sexuality in the “new” reformation.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
What a tremendously sad day this is—the day that our country has been put to global shame by having our first president every come out in full favor, not just of legal rights for homosexuals, but full blown marriage. I said to my husband that I never expected Obama to come this far out of the closet on this issue until (or unless) he was reelected, to which my husband replied sadly that they must’ve taken some kind of poll that reassured him that it would get more votes than it would lose. I was told once, by a woman that had a doctorate in anthropology, that, while homosexuality has been in existence from “day one,” never in history has there been a nation that has legally allowed the marriage of homosexuals. She also told me that whenever a past nation has allowed homosexuality to become an excepted norm that country has been destroyed within a generation. We who care about what our children are exposed to and brainwashed in, not to mention what our Father in heaven thinks of all this, should be in mourning tonight. You can say, “Well, the president is just one man….” No, if the pastors and ministers had been speaking forth God’s word on this the way they should’ve been for the past 40 years, we would never have elected a man that could take this stand. He is only the outcome of non-resistance.
Romans 1:24-26a…..“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchange the truth of god for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.”
“Sexuality in the New Reformation”
by Roger Oakland
It may seem out of place to include a section on sexuality in [Faith Undone] on the postmodern reformation. However, one aspect of the topic cannot be ignored, and it has become an earmark in the emerging church—that aspect is related to homosexuality.
In this section, I am merely going to present certain statements made by those in the emerging church for the purpose of showing you this paradigm shift in attitude toward sexuality. How you interpret these statements is up to you, but it is my prayer you will look at them through the eyes of Scripture. One thing is for sure, after reading this section, I think you will agree that emerging spirituality is attempting to redefine how Christians view and think about sexuality. I begin first with the Word of God:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
One example of this new reformation mindset on sexuality can be found in Dan Kimball’s book, They Like Jesus but Not the Church. Kimball devotes an entire chapter (called “The Church is Homophobic”) to homosexuality and says that Christians need to reinterpret what we thought the Bible says about homosexuality. He states:
Because this is such a huge issue in our culture, and because all of the tension and discussion on this issue is over what the Bible says about it, we can no longer just regurgitate what we have been taught about homosexuality.… We cannot do that any longer … We must approach the Bible with humility, prayer, and sensitivity, taking into consideration the original meaning of Greek and Hebrew words and looking into the historical contexts in which passages were written.… we can no longer with integrity merely quote a few isolated verses and say “case closed.”1
Quite honestly, and some people might get mad at me for saying this, I sometimes wish this [homosexuality] weren’t a sin issue, because I have met gay people who are the most kind, loving, solid, and supportive people I have ever met. As I talk to them and hear their stories and get to know them, I come to understand that their sexual orientation isn’t something they can just turn off. Homosexual attraction is not something people simply choose to have, as is quite often erroneously taught from many pulpits.2
Kimball does not stand alone within the ranks of the emerging church in his permissive, accepting view of homosexuality. Someone else in this camp is Jay Bakker, son of Jim Bakker of the former PTL Club. In an interview with Radar magazine, Bakker says, “I felt like God spoke to my heart and said ‘[homosexuality] is not a sin’”3 (brackets in original). On Bakker’s website, he upholds this view.4 And in a December 15th, 2006, interview with Larry King, the following conversation took place:
KING: Would you say that you’re part of the liberal sect of Christianity?
JAY BAKKER: Well, I definitely say I’m a little bit more liberal than probably most, yes.
KING: You, for example, in your church would you marry gays?
JAY BAKKER: If the laws passed, yes.
KING: You favor there being a law, though?
JAY BAKKER: Yes, I do.5
Brian McLaren expressed his views (or lack of them) over the subject and stated:
Most of the emerging leaders I know share my agony over this question [on homosexuality].… Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.” … Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements.6
One pastor who runs a ministry that helps homosexuals leave the lifestyle, can help us see the extent of these changing attitudes toward homosexuality. He explains:
They call themselves new-evangelicals. Philip Yancey devoted a whole chapter to homosexuality in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace? He thinks we need to extend grace to people who can’t change their homosexuality.… Tony Campolo thinks people who can’t change their homosexuality should live in celibate homosexual partnerships. His wife thinks gays should just get married to each other. Lewis Smedes agrees with Richard Foster. They all seem to agree there are some gay people who cannot change their homosexuality, are not able to live celibately and therefore exceptions should be made for them.7
The pastor, an ex-homosexual, disputes those in the church who publicly embrace homosexuality, and he believes there is an answer to these postmodern views. He states:
Since when are Richard Foster, Philip Yancey, Tony Campolo and Lewis Smedes experts on the changeability of homosexuality? … I have lived this issue for most of my 42 years. For seventeen years I’ve helped hundreds, maybe thousands, of people come out of homosexuality. I’ve never seen two healings alike. And I’ve never seen someone who by the grace of God could not be healed. Now that’s what’s so amazing about grace! It empowers us to live a moral and transformed life in Christ.8
In 2004, Philip Yancey (author and editor for Christianity Today) accepted an interview with Candace Chellew-Hodge for Whosoever, “an online magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered Christians.” When Chellew-Hodge asked Yancey about his views on gays and lesbians in the church, Yancey answered:
When it gets to particular matters of policy, like ordaining gay and lesbian ministers, I’m confused, like a lot of people. There are a few—not many, but a few—passages of Scripture that give me pause. Frankly, I don’t know the answer to those questions.9
My question to Yancey and other proclaiming Christian leaders is why don’t you know the answer? The Bible is clear on this matter. We may not always understand but part of being a Christian is accepting God’s Word and trusting that it is truly just that. Yancey may not be an emergent leader, but his beliefs certainly fit with emerging spirituality. The following statement he makes shows he shares a similar disregard for biblical doctrine:
Perhaps our day calls for a new kind of ecumenical movement: not of doctrine, nor even of religious unity, but one that builds on what Jews, Christians, and Muslims hold in common.… Indeed, Jews, Christians, and Muslims have much in common.10
(excerpt from Faith Undone, chapter 12)
The “Kingdom of God” in the Emerging Church: A Theology of Despair and Hopelessness
1. Dan Kimball, They Like Jesus but Not the Church, op. cit., p. 137.
2. Ibid., p. 138.
3. Interview with Jay Bakker, “Empire of the Son” (Radar, http://radaronline.com/features/2006/12/empire _of_the _son _par t_ iii.php).
4. Bakker’s website: http://www.revolutionnyc.com/links.htm.
5. Interview by Larry King with Jay Bakker; see transcript: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0612/15/lkl.01.html.
6. Brian McLaren, “Leader’s Insight: No Cowardly Flip-Flop: How should pastors respond to “the Homosexual Question”? (Christianity Today, January 23, 2006.
7. Mario Bergner, “Conversations with Jason about Homosexuality” (Redeemed Lives News, Spring/Summer 2001, http://www.redeemedlives.org).
9. Interview by Candace Chellew-Hodge with Philip Yancey, “Amazed by Grace” (Whosoever online magazine, http://www.whosoever.org/v8i6/yancey.shtml).
10. Philip Yancey, “Hope for Abraham’s Sons” (Christianity Today, November 1, 2004).
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