Saturday, May 16, 2009

You've Got Every Right to Be Angry With Us ...

I've been really impressed recently with church leaders who have the courage to stand up and apologise to people who have been wronged throughout history. One such leader was Fini de Gersigny at "Glory and Grace 2009" - I had tears running down my face as he apologised to women for the way that men have mis-treated them. That act of Fini's kind of prompted me post; "Speak Tenderly to My Bride". I may tentatively be a "complimentarian" but I am increasingly becoming a proponent of the fact that men have got no right whatsoever expecting wives to submit to them until they are loving them as Christ loved the church.

Today I want to address men and women with a homosexual orientation everywhere. You've been on my heart for ages. Two recent events in the media brought this subject to a head for me. You may have seen them and read them and "tutted" or shook your head. Hear me out - here they are for those who have missed them;


Essentially here's what happened. Mr and Mrs Bull run a Christian guesthouse in Cornwall and have a policy that only married couples may share a double room. Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy (who are civil partners - and therefore legally married - whatever Christians may think of gay marriage) arrived having booked in for a weekend. Mr and Mrs Bull seemed to think that Martyn Hall would be arriving with his wife and when it became clear it was two men, they were refused entry. They are suing under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 Act and the Christian couple are defending themselves saying that the Equality Act infringes their religious rights as Christians.

So the lines of battle are drawn again. The homosexual community are angry with the Bull's who say; "I have had people clearly involved in affairs and under-age people who have tried to book in here for sex, and I have refused them the same as I refused these gentlemen because I won’t be a party to anything which is an affront to my faith under my roof". The Christian community is angry with the homosexual community who they feel are further trying to darken the name of religion.


Sandown Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast in Northern Ireland are under fire from the Advertising Standards Authority. Apparantly they produced leaflets entitled "The Word of God Against Sodomy" and encouraged their members to attend the Gay Mardi Gras in Belfast and protest. I haven't been able to read the document in question but those who complained to the A.S.A felt that the church was using homophobic language suggesting homosexuals are "perverted".

The Rev David McIlveen justified himself and his church saying; "We take great exception to the council's conclusion that the advertisement implied that homosexual people were perverted and an abomination. The council clearly fails to appreciate that it was the act of sodomy in which our opposition was directed." His defence seemed to be centred around the fact that the biblical texts used (Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1) have existed for centuries.


So again the lines of battle have been drawn - the church is angry because the A.S.A upheld the complaints against their "offensive" advertisement and the homosexual community is angry because yet again religion has spoken out against their lifestyle. Who's got it right here? The church would say they do. But as Terry Virgo says; "There are no points for getting it right". The gay community would say they've got it right and they are just trying to live their lives. Why are the church interfering?

The issue to my mind is this: God said as surely as He lives - ALL the earth WILL be filled with the glory of the Lord. Therefore as commendable as it is to send missionaries to the farthest reaches of the earth, if no one is prepared to go to the gay community and take the love and passion of God to them - then we are failing in the Great Commission and not going to every part of the earth.

I got an email shortly after I shared my story from a gay guy within SGM who like me kept his struggles a secret because of fear. He felt that only gay Christians have the right to speak to the gay community because only they understand. I'm not sure I quite agree - the power of the Gospel by the Holy Spirit can come through anyone set free by grace. But I saw his point. It's quite hard to listen to someone like Al Mohler tell me what I should and should not do when he is happily married and presumably shares his bed every night. I on the other hand sleep alone and feel so utterly lonely sometimes.

So this is what I wanted to say to gay men and women everywhere;

1. You've got every right to be angry with us because we've made out that we're better than you (even if we say we're not).

2. You've got every right to be angry with us because we've made out your sins are worse than others (mainly ours).

3. You've got every right to be angry with us because we've not told you the full truth and glory and wonder of what Jesus Christ accomplished at the Cross.

4. You've got every right to be angry with us because we've made out that you must get saved and commit to a life of miserable celibacy and all you've got to look forward to is heaven when you die.

5. You've got every right to be angry with us because we've told you the only thing that matters is that you become "straight" if you get saved - not that the only thing that matters is you building a relationship of intimacy and love with the One that loved you so much He died for you.

6. You've got every right to be angry with us because we haven't come out to you and told you this message. We've sat behind passages in Leviticus and Romans and pointed the finger from afar - because we're afraid of what we don't know.

7. You've got every right to be angry with us because we've behaved utterly un-Christlike in our attitudes to you. We've stood at the side of gay Mardi Gras marches tutting or worse screaming "Sodom and Gomorrah!" while Jesus Christ would be walking and marching with you dispensing signs and wonders and miracles - healing you of AIDS or any other disorder that you may be suffering with.

There are many other things I could say - and could expand on each of the points above. But I hope it conveys my heart. Until we start owning up to our mistakes and where we have allowed prejudice and biogtry to cloud "what Jesus would do" - then we're never truly going to see the lost coming in. No matter how missional we may be. And I should point out that my friend Ursula and I discussed how the gay community is just one of many the church has problems accepting. What about prostitutes? What about pagans and witches? What about paedophiles?

Jesus went and sat in the homes and ate and fellowshipped with such people in Israel (tax collectors and prostitutes were a Jewish equivalent). What are we doing? I think people such as Dave Bish and others who work with students have an utterly key role in reaching and taking the Gospel to those who need it before they leave university and get swallowed up into normal working life. I can't help but wonder what would happen if there was a revival among the gay community. Where would they go? What churches would lovingly welcome them and accept them with open arms?

Something's got to CHANGE!

By the way - as always all comments are allowed and welcome - but comments from legalists that even smack of homophobia will be deleted. You've had your say - for 2000 years. It's grace's turn!

14 comments:

dave bish said...

Thanks for the challenge.

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

The Jesus way of grace and truth is costly.But in the end it is the only way.

Jorge Pradas arrived at the Paris church I was later involved in,to be met by a pastor known to have 2 wives...or 2 partners.

Everyone wondered how this "apostle" of God would handle it. What would he say?
Jorge said nothing....just..."we'll see what happens after the meeting".

That evening they had a meeting.(around late 70s)..he talked on Praise and worship and the Presence of God. The Presence of God came.
They never saw the pastor again. I guess he made his choice.
But no word of legalism ever passed Jorge's lips.

lydia joy said...

Excellent Dan! You are so right to speak up in this way!! I was deeply affected by what Fini shared too, imagine if this was every leader saying this to all kinds of people who have been overlooked by the supposed 'church'...............It IS grace's turn!! Speak up!!! I know they want to hear............

Ursula Kuba said...

Dan!!!

It amazes me how many people were so affected by what Fini said...it reminds me of how fortunate it was. I loved what he said, but he is a dad to me, and I knew his heart already. I had felt this release already. I'm so glad he did it.

I'm so proud of you with this post....I've been waiting for it! SO SO SO SO SO SO true! and you have walked this. Dan...this is amazing! So amazing! Oh wow! Jesus bring the gay community HOME!!!!! Raise up churches with a heart for this community Lord. And the prostitutes. And the paedophiles. And the drug addicts. Those that come and shoot up in meetings. And the witches and new agers. Let them come in Lord and experience the TRUE power of the living God!

Peter Day said...

In my message last night at Lansdowne on 2 Cor 5 (ambassadors for Christ), there is that amazing verse that the has been so massacred by false teaching, 2 Cor 5v19: "God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them."

Teachers have tried to pretend that "the world" doesn't really mean the world. But what else can it mean?

So this verse is saying that God, as a result of the cross, God is not counting anyone's sins against them!!! Including the gay community, witches, prostitutes, terrorists, adulterers... whatever.

The only difference between believers and everyone else, is - faith. Your sin and my sin is not keeping us out of heaven, by faith we have received the reality of what has been done on the cross: God is not counting our sins against us.

In meditating on this verse, this phrase hit me: "As a result of the cross, no-one is kept out of heaven by their sin, but by their unbelief."The church seems to have a problem with homosexuality, as if it is somehow worse than any other sin. So this sin is attacked and preached against and campaigned against.

And yet, it is not homosexuality that is keeping people out of heaven, but unbelief. So it is not the calling of the church to proclaim woe and judgement on those with homosexual orientation, but rather to speak in love in order to kindle faith - because faith connects with the finished work of Jesus and the fact that God is not counting their sins against them.

And faith opens the way into a new world of intimacy and extravagant pleasure and joy in knowing Jesus, the lover of our souls.

Anonymous said...

Surely the message to homosexual people is this and only this; repent.

Ursula Kuba said...

Anonymous, the message Jesus is sending to homosexual people is this and only this:

I love you! I died for you and took every sin upon Myself. I love you and I long for you. I bring You freedom from shame and guilt and control and addiction. In Me you will find freedom. Come freely.

They need to repent no more than anyone else, they need to simply accept Christ, His free gift...and His unconditional love.

Peter...I quoted you today...that was AMAZING!

Ursula Kuba said...

I wanted to add...

The church really needs to get a clue. I wonder how shocked some of the world is going to be when they see who their neighbours are going to be in heaven....

Peter Day said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Ursula. I'm still learning lots about grace, and sometimes I think I'm getting too radical. But the more I look into grace, I'm with Rob Rufus - I'm not radical enough!!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

this should encourage Anonymous.Actually some Christians may get to heaven too!but it may be a close run thing!

lydia joy said...

YES PETE!!

God reconciled the WHOLE WORLD! Not only is He not counting men's sins, acts against them - but Jesus took all the actual sins, AND the sinful nature, the adamic nature upon himself at the cross, plunged it all into hell, so when He died, ALL died and when He rose ALL rose with him in newness of life, free from the penalty of sin, forgiven from sin, perfect in God's eyes, free from their old nature and given a whole entirely brand new life within them - HIS!!!

Anyone can live in this newness of life that Jesus purchased - Anyone!! The way to live in this newness of life, is to believe in Jesus and what He accomplished for them! This is not a faith of our own, but a gift from God - He gives us His faith. We simply choose to believe Him and we can live in the benefits of this great salvation, never seperated from God ever again!!!

Isn't this GOOD NEWS!!!! Surely this is the message for the homosexual community, and the message for the WHOLE WORLD!! Our being reconciled is WAY better than we know!!!

janelle said...

I completely see what you are saying, Dan. Oftentimes we become single issue Christians...such as homosexuality and abortion. I think the temptation comes to do that because the effects of these particular sins are so insidious. Yet, if we aren't offering the reality of the Gospel along with a call for repentance than the Gospel has no meaning. The Gospel isn't just repentance and that's it. If it was than we are in trouble!

At the same time, I think another tendency is to only offer acceptance and love. We certainly must do that, but we also have to emphasize repentance. Faith without repentance does NOT bring about salvation. And not just repentance for specific sins but for EVERY sin, including homosexuality. And anger. And lying. And so on...

Jamie said...

DAN!! What a WONDERFUL post!!!

I was blessed recently to share GRACE with my homosexual niece, her partner, and gay guy best friend. It was such a God thing! To be able to love UNCONDITIONALLY because God isn't counting sins AGAINST them! (OR US!)

As to repentance, a changing of one's mind about our need for a savior is certainly what brings us to the conclusion of BELIEF but it is simply that BELIEF that is required. We do not keep ourselves; He keeps us. We do not initially love; we respond to His great love.

Why is it the tendency of religion to focus on our flesh instead of our NEW NATURE?? Not much finished in a Finished Work that depends on us, is there??

GRACE, GRACE, GRACE...

Brogan Duncan said...

YOU ARE AN OFFICIAL LEGEND IN MY BOOKS! (not that you werent!)

was busy surfing through your blog and came across your post "You have every right to be angry with us..." HAhAhAha. i could scream! it was FLIPPING FANTASTIC!

when the Fizzies were in Durban they also said sorry for how the Church had treated women. immediatey the entire room filled with the sound of sobbing and tissues were sent to almost every women in the conference hall!
BUT MY WORD, to have the guts to appologise to the gay community and say that THEY have every right to be angry with the Church set my heart ablaze! (oh and the loneliness part-so hear you. welcome to my boat)

GRACE IS HERE
KEEP IT UP YOU ROCKSTAR YOU