EvangelicaLGBTQ

When a liberal church goes pro-gay, we yawn. When an Assemblies of God congregation announces it’s “gay affirming”, we wake up.

Hopefully.

Last Sunday Rev. Dan Matlock, lead pastor of Eikon Church in Kyle, Texas, informed his congregation from the pulpit that Eikon was now “a fully inclusive church for the LGBTQ community … that means they can serve in any and every capacity in the church from a greeter in the parking lot to a pastor on staff. ” (Click here for the full sermon)

Since Eikon has been affiliated with the Assemblies of God, a denomination whose position on marriage and sexuality is clearly orthodox, this announcement puts Eikon squarely at odds with the Assemblies. In response, the AG has acted quickly and definitively on this (see HERE) and the Eikon Church is no longer affiliated with the Assemblies.

So the line of evangelical dominoes falling into gay affirmation is getting longer. Dr. Tony Campolo. Jen Hatmaker. Ethicist David Gushee. A mega-church in Seattle. A Vineyard Fellowship congregation. A Dallas-area Baptist church. For each publicized example, there are others reconsidering their position, quietly shifting. We’ll be hearing from them soon.

That’s bleak news, and cursing the darkness won’t help. But before lighting that proverbial candle, let’s consider why the darkness is gaining so
much ground.

After all, Eikon Church, like Campolo, Hatmaker, or the Vineyard pastor who went rogue, didn’t go from zero to sixty in three seconds. There was a process. So if we’re concerned about this pro-gay drift among evangelicals, we’d best get a handle on the process behind the drift, because what we understand, we can better prevent.

Unity with Impunity

Part of the process involves a reclassifying of homosexuality from a primary issue to one that’s secondary, non-essential, not worth dividing over. Unity, then, trumps disagreement over this secondary issue, allowing people to practice or affirm same-sex relations with impunity.

There are, of course, issues we shouldn’t divide over. Somebody’s right about the rapture; we’re not going to split up over that. Ditto for the question of dunking or sprinkling when we baptize, wine or juice at communion, eternal security versus “don’t be so sure.” On secondary issues, we gracefully agree to disagree.

Pastor Matlock classified homosexuality as one such issue, concluding, in his Sunday sermon, that when we disagree on such things we “pursue unity over uniformity.”

Well, sure, provided the thing we disagree on is secondary. But even a casual glance at scripture shows sexual sin is a primary doctrinal and moral issue, calling for clear positions and, when needed, church discipline.

23 out of the 27 books of the New Testament specifically name and condemn fornication, adultery, prostitution, incest, homosexuality, or lust. The first church discipline on record, in fact, was a response to sexual sin (I Corinthians 5) and Paul forbade the Corinthians to associate with any believer practicing it. (I Corinthians 5:11)

Clearly, then, we can’t just “agree to disagree” on homosexuality within the church. If it constitutes a sexual sin, and if sexual sin is a primary issue, then getting right trumps getting along. (See HERE for an explanation of the pro-gay interpretation of the Bible.)

St. Paul would have had little patience with those who’d argue, “But we’ll lose people if we take a stand on this!” To him, the purity of the church, not its numbers, took precedence (I Corinthians 5:6-7) and truth overrode popularity. (Galatians 1:10) Allowing unaddressed sin for the sake of getting along creates unity with impunity, a tolerance we find sometimes in churches, but never in scripture.

Rewarding Importunity

The door-pounding woman Jesus commended for her importunity (Luke 18:1-8) is an example pro-gay advocates emulate and conservatives tend to ignore. Indeed, if Orthodox believers had half the determination LGBTQ activists model, this controversy might not even exist.

On this point, it’s revealing to look at the references Eikon Church lists on its Resource Page , one of which is the Reformation Project, a gay advocacy group whose stated goal is to “guide and support churches to reform their teachings and policies to fully affirm LGBTQ Christians.”

To achieve this, the organization has developed a program for “Cohorts” who commit to investing 12-15 hours weekly for three months (in addition to travel time for a three day conference) during which they receive online and in person training, engage in fundraising efforts, make media appearances, then serve as active leaders in their local group for at least one year after their three month training period.

All for the sake of revising the church’s position on homosexuality.

Look at their efforts to revise our understanding of marriage and sexuality. Now look at the effort level among conservative Christians to preserve our understanding of marriage and sexuality. Start by asking how many conservative churches or denominations train their people to defend the traditional view on LGBTQ issues.

Or encourage their people to defend it.

Or even talk to their people about it.

Crickets, huh? One of our greatest scandals may be the lack of resource available to believers, and the number of Christian leaders reticent to even address the subject to their congregations.

Meanwhile, gay advocacy groups, Hollywood, the public school system, the therapeutic industry, the news media, and gay affirming churches are all too eager to promote their views to those same congregations. (And, let’s not forget, to their kids.)

All of which happens while too many Evangelical leaders, commissioned as stewards of truth, continue to wring their hands over whether or not they should mention that truth.

Others know how important it is. Do we? Their importunity is clearly being rewarded, while our silence, as the AIDS activists used to say, equals death.

Compromised Immunity

The horror of AIDS is not the syndrome itself, but the diseases it makes a person susceptible to. When the immune system is healthy, those diseases have no effect. But when immunity is compromised, diseases that would normally be warded off are allowed to invade the body, with
tragic consequences.

When Christians are Biblically literate, well grounded in sound doctrine, then errors and heresies have little effect. But when believers aren’t sure what to believe, or when they believe the wrong things, or if they remain ignorant of the right things, then they become susceptible to errors and heresies that would otherwise be warded off.

Biblical discernment, sprung from a working knowledge of the Bible and the ability to “rightly divide the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15) is our immune system against error. When believers are not well grounded, when churches are not encouraging and facilitating serious Bible study, when youth groups are more about entertainment than discipleship, and when sermons are more anecdotal than doctrinal, then we shouldn’t be surprised when serious errors invade the Body, with tragic consequences.

Waiting for the Light

People are, in these uncertain times, hungry for certainty. If we are hesitant to speak about controversial but critical issues with Biblically-based certainty, then those holding an un-Biblical view with great certainty will win them over. Confidence counts. If truth tellers won’t tell the truth, error tellers will surely tell their own, thereby winning the war.

And make no mistake about it, this is war; a war over the future definition of marriage and family within the church, a war over the way believers determine and practice truth, a war over truth itself. The Body of Christ is the territory that will be conquered or defended, leaving Evangelicals with a sobering reminder of what the late Dr. Walter Martin noted: “People who walk around in the middle of a war acting if there was no war are called casualties!”

It remains to be seen whether we will be stewards or casualties, whether Evangelical will eventually morph into EvangelicaLGBTQ, and whether the Church will maintain Her role as the light of the world, or abdicate it, thereby allowing the world to assume its coveted role as the light of the Church.

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Comments

sarah greenfield | Feb 12, 2020

Please read

Ilovedina | Feb 12, 2020

Well said Joe!

William E | Feb 12, 2020

I would assume that churches who deviate from biblical truth and not teaching the Bible verse by verse and cover to cover from the pulpit. Teach the Word and sheep will be healthy. Entertain them and they will be spoiled children demanding their way.

Jean & Barry | Feb 13, 2020

thanks Joe.

Giuseppe Pippo Zappalà | Feb 13, 2020

That's it Brother Joe. These are evident consequences of neglecting the Word of God... "Listening to stories" created for our own convenience and lust. May the Lord give us wisdom and love to reach those who're living in lie.

Troy S | Feb 13, 2020

Well spoken on this issue. Thank you for affirming the churches who stand behind Biblical doctrine. I have heard you speak live three times in person. Thank you for your compassion for us who left this life behind. I am so grateful that my church brothers and sisters have been supportive in my journey.

Ann Lorraine* | Feb 13, 2020

"our immune system against error"; How urgently this word is needed. God's strength to you, Joe, to continue the battle no matter what. Your crown awaits you.

Paul Weidig | Feb 14, 2020

Stop calling homosexuality a sin. It is no more a sin than heterosexuality or even bisexuality. They are all states, conditions or orientations., NOT practices. Homosexual PRACTICE is a sin, NOT the state. Conflating the condition with the practice is sloppy thinking at best and homophobia at worst,

Debra Brewer | Feb 14, 2020

SIN IS SIN that is it period so this is a way to deal with the specific sin, if you are a woman having sex with anyone and are not married it is a sin, same sex marriage sex is a sin, gossip over eating or drinking is a sin. the bible doesnt change, we love everyone but twisting the bible and its words doesnt change GOD

Cheryl Mason | Feb 14, 2020

The Bible calls homosexuality a sin. The Bible is truth and what I believe.

David Arthur | Feb 15, 2020

Homosexuality is not the opposite of heterosexuality. Don't be deceived. The opposite of homosexuality is Redeemed! Sanctified! Freed From The Bondage of Sin! I spent 30+ years trapped in that deception and guess what????? I was always seeking Love, Joy, Happiness and Hope. Those things are truly not available in the lgbt world. I was an advocate for the lgbt community when I was in it, and now I like to believe myself an advocate for the lgbt community still as I can offer them Hope of Freedom and all that they are seeking in this old world and in this old flesh, but is only available to them in one place, in JESUS The CHRIST! Amen!!

Larry Herrin | Feb 18, 2020

Those who don’t believe in God’s Word - that which is presented in the Bible- should quit calling themselves “Christians.” It undermines Jesus Christ who is the Word.

KTremba | Feb 18, 2020

Yes, it is a sign of the times and the former title of your book, Joe: A Strong Delusion is happening now in our Evangelical Churches. I’ve seen it first hand and challenged the pastors year by year. But they have ignored me and instead brought in those like the Reformation Project. In the case of First Orlando (Baptist) Church they brought in Bill Henson with Lead Them Home and have trained the staff and now the youth. They only allowed me back to serve as director of Exchange Ministries if I agreed with Bill’s LGBTQ advocacy teaching. I agreed to loving the gay community that he teaches, but he refuses to teach about repentance and healing. I told the pastors that much of what he teaches is not Biblical or truly loving, but they keep bringing him back and paying him very well. I, in turn, was let go as director after nine months by a board that agreed with the stance of these pastors and are easing Exchange into a ministry for Gay Christians. It’s sobering. How do we keep sharing our testimony of turning away and transformation? It will be with sacrifice - “by the blood of the Lamb” God bless your life and all you have done and are doing for the Kingdom. Pray for me as I seek to do His will in these last days.

Nancy Demary | Feb 19, 2020

Thank you, Joe, for this clear admonition to us. Your points are clear and those who love the Truth (God's Word) can agree with.
We have love for all people, whatever the sin they choose, yet we cannot endorse and affirm sin. That would demonstate that we love ourselves more... the fear of man, self-promotion, etc. Some do not understand this and for those the Holy Spirit can only open their eyes.
Additionally, we as a church are filled with compromised Christians struggling with sexual sin and this makes it hard for such a one to stand upon the Truth, when their own heart is divided by sin.
Thank you for writing this with a heart of love for people to be set free from idolatry. There must be churches that remain so when repentance comes to a soul, they will fing a haven of rest from falsehood. We must seak the Truth in love as Paul instructs us (Ephesians 4:11-19).

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Ron Magno | Feb 22, 2020

For me, the struggle we face as believers is not simply how to convince the LGBT community that homosexual lifestyle or practice is wrong or sin, but how to behave, act and talk like Jesus when we are around them (which takes a lot of Bible, especially books of gospel study). To say that “we agree to disagree” is a matter of firmly standing on what we believe the Bible says, yet at the same time be able to convince ourselves that we genuinely love and respect them, even if we don’t understand exactly what they are going through personally.

Dennis Riley | Mar 9, 2020

Hope this article is useful, Dave. Dennis Riley

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