Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flaming Homos: The Conversation Gets Heated

Still incensed over my biblical treatment of the sin of homosexuality, more critics crawled out of the woodwork. Rather than attack the message of the Bible itself these folks changed it up a bit. They trained their guns on me. They didn’t like the message so they assaulted the messenger.

I don’t typically dignify ad hominem argumentation with full blog entries, but such tactics are so commonplace nowadays that I think all of us can relate. Anyone who dares make and then defend the biblical case against the sin of homosexuality is immediately demonized and marginalized. And let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned character assassination!


And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). We’ve been warned, friends.

As usual my detractors’—or should I say accusers’--words appear bold and italicized. May God add His blessing to your reading.

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"I find your lack of humility, respect and charity a stain on the name of Jesus."
Many folks feel the same. They eschew and despise all moral certainty and religious conflict. However, church history, in a sense, is the study of theological debate and discourse. (Even the Lukan-Acts community was at times engaged in theological controversy.) It has been my personal experience and the experience of better men past and present, that to state a belief and then forcefully defend that stated belief, is to leave oneself vulnerable to the charge of pride and arrogance.

To state one's belief and then to defend that belief as being actually true [what Francis Schaeffer called "true Truth"]; to say to one's detractor: "My belief is True and yours is false," is often seen as disrespectful and uncharitable. In a culture deeply committed to philosophical pluralism and moral relativism--I don't see how the would-be apologist can avoid such charges.

That being said, I would never attempt to argue for my own humility. (That would be a little on the counter-productive side!) I believe my pride and arrogance to be just as sinful and at about the same level as yours. Pride is evil.

C.S. Lewis writes of pride: "It is the complete anti-God state of mind." And yet pride can smuggle itself right into the very center of our religious life. One can even pride himself on his own humility! What better or more ubiquitous evidence is there for the total depravity of man than PRIDE?

I am very much aware of the pride in my life, and how utterly ridiculous it is. I am also cognizant of the fact that in defending biblical truth my rhetoric can sometimes get the better of me. Many times, even in theological debate, ego raises its ugly head.

However, while I may sin in my defense of scripture, I do not believe the defense of scripture--or of any Truth--in and of itself is prideful or arrogant. But rather, even our "best works" are thoroughly tainted by sin. God help us!

Thus, it is not prideful or arrogant to believe God's word is the standard in all matters of faith and conduct, and to state and defend that belief. Quite the contrary.

Nor is it a show of humility to say "I don't know" when the Bible is quite clear on the issue at hand [whatever the issue may be]. I am not at all impressed with the "humility" of those who do not take stands [most of them moral] on what the Bible clearly teaches. It is a false and sinful "humility" to substitute one's own judgment for God's.

"Your self-examination is far too superficial...”
Indeed. I don't see how it could be otherwise. Isn't your self-examination far too superficial (c.f. Jer 17:9)? May God deliver us from all of our self-righteousness!

“Bigotry, rather than true exegesis, leads to you rejecting out of hand what you do not want to hear."
And there it is! I believe, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination…. God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful” ” (Lev 18:22; Rom 1:26-27), condemns homosexuality—not because the text is clear—but because I’m a BIGOT! I wonder what a non-bigoted, “true exegesis” of these passages would look like?

“You do not love your brother how can you be living in the light?"
Well...I believe I do love my brother ("love" of course, being defined by scripture). And yet, my love for my brother is imperfect. Would you say your love for the brethren is imperfect? Because we do not and cannot love perfectly, brotherly love cannot be the basis for our living in the light. No, brotherly love is the effect, not the cause; the fruit not the root.

I live in the light of Christ by grace alone, through faith alone, because of the active and passive obedience of Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

The Law, even if spoken with a smile and warm fuzzy feelings, CANNOT save us. "Be good. Love people," is LAW, not Gospel. Only the GOSPEL--what God has done for us in the Person and work of His Son--saves sinners.

“You do not care...being ‘right’ TRUMPS all! - lol -"
"Not caring" about others' feelings or opinions is certainly a symptom of pride. And of course, caring more for the feelings/opinions of men than for the Truth of God is also a sure symptom of pride—or perhaps pusillanimity. Those who would enjoy the smile of God must often endure the frowns of men. So what is the proper balance?

Rather than "being right trumps all," which is a pride issue to be sure, let us consider: How important is Truth? How important is correct belief? Does it really matter what we believe--so long as we're sincere? Is any Truth worthy of debate? When or at what point does debate become unworthy of Truth? These are crucial questions for me.

"'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore submit to God" (James 4:7).

I pray God will give us grace to humble ourselves so that we will submit to His Lordship, to His word, in every area of our lives in both our actions and attitudes.


11 comments:

  1. Dear Steve,

    my response here is: Again you've missed the point. I am not, as it happens, pro-Gay. I AM pro-Righteousness and Holiness. You were neither righteous nor holy in your attacks on your brothers, and I tried to draw your attention to this. You seem, however, to be programmed not to listen, and your presuppositions may have led you to wrench my critique out of its context and apply them here in your blog to a totally different biblical context than the one I was alluding to (first letter of John).

    I want to question your need to defend yourself by mis-publishing my critique of you. Is this how you do it all the time?

    All best,

    David

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  2. My previous blogs on the subject are available for all to see. I do not accept your contention that I am attacking my "brothers." (The most virulent critic is NOT in any biblical sense a believer in Jesus Christ and is therefore not my brother. Nevertheless, I did not attack his person. He pushed me and I pushed back. We were attacking and defending ideals, not individuals.)

    I have presented a biblical case for the sin of homosexuality and I have defended my case against certain detractors, nothing more nothing less.

    None of your words have been altered, David. Your meanings have not been misconstrued. Obviously, I did not quote you exhaustively but this is my blog featuring my writing, not yours. If you wish to see the totality of your remarks published then start your own blog.

    As I asked you before: Have you NEVER read the Bible or the writings of godly men in debate?? It is in no way "unholy" or "unrighteous" to present and defend Truth, to assault non biblical worldviews; with all the courage, wit, force, and intellect one can muster. It doesn't mean one has no "love."

    Read the prophets. Read the words of Jesus. Read the Apostles. Read the men of church history earnestly contending for the faith. I can honestly imagine YOU taking it upon yourself to censure all of them!

    You've been taken out of context? Really? Please demonstrate how “Bigotry, rather than true exegesis, leads to you rejecting out of hand what you do not want to hear," has been "wrenched out of its context." The fact is you determined to combat my message by assassinating my character.

    David, I accurately recorded your accusations and I accurately recorded my repsonses. The proper context of your remarks can be adequately perceived by the complete responses I provide. Please present one statement of yours or mine which has been "mis-published." (By the way, not all of the accusations are yours.)

    You ask: "Is this how you do it all the time?"

    Nice loaded question! I'll answer your question with one of my own. Have you always been a racist, David? (Loaded questions are pointless...but they can be great fun.)

    You accuse me of lacking humility, respect, and charity. You claim I am a stain on Jesus Christ. You say my self examination is superficial. You claim my "bigotry" prevents me from correctly interpreting scripture. You claim I do not love my brother.

    These accusations all come from you! Where have I attacked your character, David? There is no "context" in which your unwarranted and vile invectives can be appropriately applied to the presentation and defense of my case for a biblical understanding of homosexuality.

    Try to be a little more thick skinned. (After all, you clearly have no problem "throwing elbows" yourself.) And if you don't like how your words sound when repeated...then choose them more carefully.

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    Replies
    1. I am underwhelmed by all the above self-deceit, Steve, I have to say. I'll pray that God may give you the grace of clear repentance and more insight into priorities.

      All best,

      David

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    2. Thank you for praying for me. May God give all of us the grace of repentance and biblical priorities.

      Thank you again for your prayers, David.

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    3. So will you please look again at your quotations and where the originals occur as well as the conclusions to which you have leapt.

      Your quotations are inaccurate, and your claims as to their meaning are invalid. They and your presumption that you can dismiss criticisms so blithely in florid language indicate very poor methodology. Since you have linked this blog to a Facebook open group you cannot plead rights of ownership and ignore my objections to the way you have selectively misquoted. You say "The proper context of your remarks can be adequately perceived by the complete responses I provide". Not so. They were not accurate quotations. How does it honour God so to mislead your blog readers?. It is your ego, Steve, not the truth which you say you defend which is the matter that I raised. Christians do not honour the Lord by sinning in the way by which they think they defend him. There are remarks for which, and brothers to whom you ought to apologise. Even those who are not Christians. They still bear the image of God, however fallen and unredeemed and you should honour them with courtesy and humility. Anything less poisons your soul. These things should be obvious to you.

      As for me, I did not intend to appear to be crawling out of any woodwork, nor to be a liberal nor any other label apart from faithful biblical Christian. My desire is to see Christ glorified in his Church including his theologians, of which I am happy to be one. Your patronising and condescending remarks to me about getting a thicker skin are things I have shrugged off since the 1970s. If I have really offended you by the way I have tried to challenge you, I am glad to apologise. A period of soul searching (with a spiritual friend if need be) may be helpful for both of us.

      All best,

      David

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    4. We are disagreed, David. You are not misquoted. You cannot present a single quote of yours which I've altered in any way. Your words and meanings here are the same as your words and meanings there. [As are mine.] Your accusations and my responses are entirely accurate. My blog readers have in no way been "misled."

      As I said to you before: There is no context in which your words may be properly applied to my presentation and biblical defense of the sin of homosexuality. Thus, I believe your invectives to be nothing more than calumnies. (Obviously, you disagree!)

      I'm not wasting any more time speaking of my ego or pride. (See my blog above.)

      You write: "If I have really offended you by the way I have tried to challenge you, I am glad to apologise."

      There's no need to apologize. I am not offended by your accusations. As I said before, when a person forcefully presents biblical truth and forcefully defends that truth; it is offensive to many people. I expect these things.

      YOU are the one offended, David, not me. You find my words and demeanor to be prideful, bigoted, and generally offensive...a stain on Jesus Christ. These are your thoughts and feelings. Guys like me offend guys like you all the time.

      (I believe your accusations are false and unwarranted...but I'm not offended. I profoundly disagree with you, but I'm not angry or upset or offended towards you. I hold nothing in my heart against you.)

      You conclude: "A period of soul searching (with a spiritual friend if need be) may be helpful for both of us."

      I don't see how it could be otherwise. Biblical soul searching and fellowship are always beneficial.

      This is my last response to you, David. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      "The Lord bless you and keep you."

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    5. You often say "This is my last response" - a useful ploy for closing your eyes to what you call "guys like you" say. This NEED of yours to have the final say. So you know who I am? Someone who dares to challenge your integrity and who sees your disingenuousness?

      I regret that you are unwilling to get real.
      I will continue to pray that the Lord Jesus will break through your disingenuousness, and bless you and keep you.

      All best,

      David

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  3. Dr Griffin,

    Thank you for standing firm on the Word, and for your courage against these attacks. None of them are justified as you point out. When they cannot win the point, they have only the last recourse - personal attacks. I am glad you did not let them get away with this.

    I too am amazed at the lengths to which people will to go protect the sins they like (or to protect those they like who commit these sins.) The local Methodist church I attended until recently has a delegate to the conference who is in favor of allowing homosexuality in the pulpit. His defense was that we're not to judge but to extend grace. Oh, but we did judge their actions: we would declare them as not-sins, the opposite of the scriptures. And surely we can extend grace to repentant sinners. Those who insist we provide grace to allow them to continue in sin are missing the definition.

    Always intriguing discussions, thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rick, for reading and standing with me! Your words of encouragement are much appreciated.

      What would the Wesley brothers do with such Methodist churches?? I think we know the answer to that one! (The same thing Luther would do with some so-called "Lutheran" churches.)

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  4. Great work Steve. Your experience is unfortunately the norm. People have been brainwashed by the culture of political correctness which doesn't allow for value judgments. If one this is right, then its opposite is wrong. But we're no longer allowed to say that. It is sad, disheartening and infuriating that in the one place (the Church) where truth should reign, people are drunk with the spirit of the age and would rather offend God than man.

    Reading your post reminded me of an old Steve Taylor song from 1983, entitled "What Ever Happened To Sin?" A stanza of said song reads:

    I heard the Reverend say
    "Gay is probably normal in the Good Lord's sight
    What's to be debated?
    Jesus never stated what's right"
    I'm no theology nut, but
    The Reverend may be a little confused
    For if the Lord don't care
    And he chooses to ignore-ah
    Tell it to the people
    Of Sodom and Gomorrah (woah)

    Call it just an alternate lifestyle, huh?
    Morality lies within
    Consciences are restin'
    Please repeat the question again
    Whatever happened to sin?

    I can't imagine ANY Christian label letting these lyrics slide today.

    More power to you,
    Andy

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Andy. And you are so correct regarding "political correctness." There are 2 things the sodomite agenda absolutely cannot tolerate: Free thinking and free speaking.

      Steve Taylor! That takes me back a ways. You're undoubtedly right...no Christian label would dare produce such a song today. How sad it that?

      Blessings, brother!

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