July 3, 2011

Crush Depth

I have a few thoughts after listening to Al Mohler speak about homosexuality at a recent Bible conference with notable pastors in the US. He spoke on how Christians broach or approach this issue nowadays and about the sin of homosexuality itself. So, this post is bound to inflame many on both sides of the argument and I guess it probably should. If the flames are caustic or divisive enough, they will be deleted and I will ban the individual(s) posting the abuse (please keep that in mind before you post). Truthfully, this is not being written with the intent to agitate or be polemic but the very nature of this topic has become so intensely polarizing and is being handled so poorly by the both the liberal and conservative church that it needs to be addressed before communication shuts down completely. It has already gotten to that point in many quarters. Mention homosexuality in a negative manner or call it sin and you are condemned of hate speech. Hello? I am addressing the sin itself not going after the individual. Just like I address the issues of alcoholism for the alcoholic. Am I a hater for trying to get the alcoholic to stop destroying himself/herself? Why then do we have a set of double-standards for other types of sin? Some turn a blinder eye to certain types of sin (adultery comes to mind first). Some tend to demonize the ones they personally don't like (homosexuality) or attack the ones they find more abhorrent than others (when God views them all as sin). No single type of sin should be singled-out as more unacceptable than another, they are all offense to God. Paul's list in 1 Corinthians 6 was comprehensive and it is properly interpreted as viewing all the sins as equally unrighteous and makes the perpetrator unworthy of entering the Kingdom whether they be a thief, drunk, swindler, homosexual, adulterer, etc.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ~ “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Regardless, we now have ever tightening restrictions of the speech of others when it comes to homosexuality because the civil authorities and the media in general have taken it on themselves to pass flawed laws and have not bothered to make a distinction between the sin and the sinner. This has caused many to retreat into silence for fear of being persecuted or arrested on spurious charges of being "hateful" that stem from manufactured laws designed to silence a certain group of people (mainly Christians and others of conviction). The reality is that these laws will not stop the spread of true maliciousness, much of it outside of Christian circles.

The liberal theology folks are inviting homosexual leadership into their church so quickly they are practically tripping over themselves to open the door to let them in. On the flip side of the coin we conservative theology folks are often tripping over ourselves running in the other direction. If we are not running or avoiding it, then we are just not handling situations well when they arise because of a proclivity for hasty exits from these types of conversations.

We has evangelical Christians do not address issues like homosexuality and adultery the way we should. We (myself included) address it similar to the way we are attacked with it by the militant and aggressive homosexual and adulterous (or sexually ambivalent) crowd or their media advocates. We reject it outright in disgust because of its divergence or repulsiveness in comparison to the way we think. What's worse is we often tiptoe around it. We need to address it head-on as sin, just as a caretaker addresses the open sores of the diseased. Is it nasty or hard to stomach for those not afflicted? Yes. Should we frown, wince, look with disgust or contempt to others in their presence if they offend our sensibilities? No. No and NO! Our face betrays what’s in our hearts. I do not remember reading anywhere that a person like Dr. Phil Brand grimaced or flinched in disgust when dealing with lepers, should we do any different with people lost in their sin no matter how repulsive it is? Where is our sympathy to help others in these situations? Are we treating these people in a manner which we ourselves would want to be treated if we were dealing with an entrenched sin? Are we behaving in a Christian manner when we condemn after looking away in antipathy? 

"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

An entrenched sin. Something we have all fought at one time or another. A sin that clung so tenaciously it was like a parasite in or on its host. A sin that we had even come to accept in our own lives because we couldn't shake it off and due to the fact society had begun to accept it…like adultery, adulteress thoughts?

Come to think of it, what sin does society really disapprove of anymore?

Society and mankind in general accept many if not all sins due to the tolerant and pluralistic outlook and the sinful nature of man. Because Christians do not tolerate and should not tolerate any sin, this makes them the sworn enemy of the pluralist society. It is the very reason the only thing the pluralists don’t tolerate is Christians.

How to deal with sins like homosexuality...hmmm. This is one place I believe we should suppress outright or open disgust and contempt (if we feel it) and treat sinful people as the sick people that they are. Sick with an infectious disease called sin...and we should do so with care. If they become militant ...then we are justified in a more insistent approach if only to defend ourselves. Homosexuality is not just any sin it is a sin that people "sink" to, it goes into an entrenched position like an enemy digging in for a prolonged battle of attrition. You hear it all the time, “I battled with this for years before I finally came to accept that I was gay and stopped fighting my guilty conscience. My conscience was a curse and an annoyance, when I learned to ignore it things became easier" (seared conscience anyone?). When you get to that point you are drowning in your sin you will need to expend a lot more effort to reach the surface to reach the norm or place where you are morally neutral. This usually requires an act of God.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18

Having given in to the sin allowing it to become entrenched and eventually not even acknowledging it is another sin they are committing…here we see the compounding nature of sin and the compounding nature of God's wrath being build up against the sinner. Piling up on the individual as they sink under the burden or get pulled down because of the weight that is tied to them like a ballast.

God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…”Romans 1:24

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-27

We then see the floundering and flailing to try to determine which way is up in an effort to determine what is normal. When this is done en masse and is encouraged or condoned by entire swathes of society the entire society falls victim to a flawed mindset in a form of mass indoctrination. Then laws are subsequently passed to accept it thereby the entire society becomes infected with the counterfeit thought-process and becomes debased and confused in their thinking. At least it would appear that everyone accepts it…except those that base their beliefs and thoughts in a system of moral absolutes outside the debased culture. People that do not allow for vague ambiguities and pluralistic acceptance of anything at the moral or morality level. Belief and thought systems like Christianity.

"...And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." Romans 1:28-32

Sometimes these folks sink so far in their sin that they no longer can see light and are in total darkness. They are not even sure which way to swim to get back to the light and the truth that will sustain life (eternal). So they swim in vain in countless wrong directions further expanding on or exacerbating the sin accounted against them by a holy God. In many of these cases we need to dive down to them to show them the way back to the Light otherwise they will continue to head away from it working in the wrong directions.

That leads to my second thought on this subject…

Homosexuality is one of the base level indicators or deepest common indicator of society that has gone reprobate as outlined in Romans 1. When this type of depravity is practiced openly in public and allowed by so-called “advanced societies” what you are really seeing is the fall of that given society. It shows confused thought and an inability to know right from wrong. A society that allows it and is actively participating in it without objecting to it has then become morally ambivalent which invariably spells the downfall of said society. If they do not care about others sexuality which has a far reaching social affect why would they care about things such as morally correct social or religious leadership. If everything in a pluralistic society is just as acceptable as the next why would it matter who you had in these leadership roles? The Bible clearly says otherwise but hardly anyone even reads the Bible anymore let alone lends credence to it. And according to our pluralistic and tolerant society, the Bible, those who read and believe in it are the last bastion of things this type of society should be tolerant of due to our intolerant past. Our past riddled with oppression, subjugation and manipulation that we do not have a good explanation for. We are then not to be listened to because (1) we are usually viewed as hypocrites and sometimes we are and (2) we do not often practice what we preach. We apply the rules to others but not ourselves.

As for sin like homosexuality and other signs of a society on a downward dive we see compounding of sin...therefore curses for disobedience. This compounding is similar to the crush depth in water. The more sin accumulates and ties up the person the more they sink into the darkness away from the light that can shine in on and expose our sin for others and ourselves to see. As the person sinks deeper the outside pressure increases until they are crushed by the weight of the sin on them, and pushing into them from the outside. There is nearly no way to resurface to get air, no way to free them/ourselves, no way to survive. We exhale from the pressure only to inhale and take in more sin. We give up the ghost. Only God can remove that sin holding us at crush depth.

Regardless, the sin will be judged. When a holy God can look upon sin no longer He judges it since He is perfectly just and must eventually level His gavel. He will not ignore the sin. Without Jesus and the cutting loose of our sin we sink ever deeper. Unable to resurface into the light by our own efforts we drowned and are crushed from the effects of it. If any sinner is to survive at this depth of depravity they must die to self to be able to slip their “skin” and leave the old self behind with the sin in the dark abyss that we sank to in our reprobate and spiritually dead condition. When we resurface…IF we resurface we are new creations in Christ. It is a rebirth from the water. A baptism if you will.

We see this in the Bible and then we see it in empires outside the Bible. The pattern of decline is always the same. Moral decay erodes the underpinnings of society. Bad decisions are made in a weighting effect until the country can morally no longer hold its head above water. Then it begins to sink. It sinks so slow no one initially notices it. It sinks so low it no longer has its bearings and no longer knows which way to swim to save itself thereby destroying itself as it usually dives deeper to its death. The root of all this depravity and sin started when we began turning our back on God. I leave it to the reader to decide when that actually began. I won’t speculate when it started other than to say it is clear that we know the tree by its fruit and the American tree is producing so seriously questionable fruit, much of it clearly rotten. I will even go as far as to say that the debt and frivolous spending that gotten us into the horrid financial situation we are now seeing is just another symptom of the underlying spiritual malady that has infected this country and continues to act as a ballast dragging us all down.

Case in Point: America's best days are probably behind her. Unless we actively change our direct with the help of God I believe our fierce independent nature will be part of our downfall. Independence from England and other oppressors is fine. Independence from God is not. We have leaders that are leading the sheep off of the cliff both religious and secular. I believe the sexual immorality issues and the debt issues we are facing are intertwined together. They are both sin and both appear to me products of an inability to restrain ourselves from excessive behavior. We are now just as guilty for not saying anything to defend the Biblical view as those are guilty that actively participate in the sin we condemn as Christians. For some people the sin is a sin of participation as in the case of those we accuse. Our sin as Evangelical Christians in this situation is either a sin of apathy, ambivalence, frigid enmity and disgust or perhaps even a sin of omission in some cases. Either way we as Christians are not completely innocent in this unfolding judgment. We may not be complicit in the committing of the obvious glaring sin that flaunts itself in God's face but we are certainly not innocent either. If we are not innocent we are also in danger of being hypocritical. I really do not want to be there. Logs in eyes are not very becoming. We do indeed need to be clever in our approach to addressing these specific types of sin.

The truth is that sins such as homosexuality like pedophilia and bestiality were actually considered psychologically aberrant behavior until the printing of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) Starting in 1973 the tide started to shift when the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. I suppose that it is not ironic that this was shortly after the sexual revolution of the 60's, gay rights movement and episodes like the Stonewall Riots that pretty much opened the door to the "anything goes" sexuality of the 1970's onward. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975. Up until DSM-III, homosexuality was considered and had always been considered a sexual disorder. In our quickly changing politically correct (and morally deadened culture) homosexuality has been removed from the most recent revision to accommodate an amorphous sexualized culture that does not even recognize or acknowledge the word "sin". In an effort to appease an ever-increasingly vocal minority of activists and lobbies that have used isolated cases of rogue, mentally disturbed individuals perpetrating violence, books have now been changed, history is being revised and now laws are being tightened to place restrictions on the majority. This isn't because those perpetrating the acts want freedom to not be persecuted so much as it is because they do not even want you seeing the behavior as alternative or aberrant. Nor do they want you to talk about it in a negative manner. I guess in the end this scenario can be applied to all sins that have now been accepted by a morally debased society. The only difference is that there is actually legislation afoot to change your behavior and restrict your speech. Do not be fooled, the unconstitutional nature of Separation of Church and State only works one way when it comes to the right of Christians. In a country were the judicial system is mostly of a deconstuctionist bend, Church is not allowed into the State but the state will intrude upon the Church, laws be damned. I only chose to address this topic because it is now at the forefront of our minds and consciences right now in the USA and it has genuinely become one of the defining issue of our culture, our time and the current state of our churches.

Sadly, had we stayed close to God and obeyed the Bible these current issues wouldn’t even have been on the docket. I imagine it will only be a matter of time until things like pedophilia are also removed from a future revisions of diagnostic manuals like perhaps DSM-IX, as the acceptance of sex with children becomes culturally acceptable no matter how abhorrent the thought of it is. People that scoff at this notion need ask themselves only one question. What is to stop it in a culture where apathy reigns, politicians can be bought for a vote and the Bible is being marginalized? Those that do not think it is possible for a culture to sink to this level need only do a little history and research the words catamite, eromenos,or erastes. Even as we speak there are currently efforts afoot to normalize pedophilia as quoted in a article from LifeSiteNews.com. According to the sponsoring organizations point of view it is as follows:
"Co-founder and chair of the B4U-ACT board, Russell Dick, a licensed social worker with 38 years of experience working with people who are attracted to minors said, “People with this attraction struggle to lead lives consistent with society’s rules. If we want them to succeed, we need to give them a reasonable level of support by providing them with welcoming, informed, and empathetic mental health services. The current revision of the DSM hinders that goal.”
The goal here according the a press release from B4U-ACT is not to help these people with sexual disorders but to water down the diagnostic description and to loosen the definition of pedophilia so that it is not even a disorder. Word games people. Its a game of semantics...if you change the words you change the meaning of the law. When words fail to have true meanings, laws based in words have no validity. People that are attracted to minors and act on said attraction are not (by moral law) within a moral society's "rules" now are they? They only way they ever would be within "societies rules" is if they loosen society's rules or moral restrictions. That is why this petition to change the DSM by claiming it inaccurate and misleading. As some would have you believe the current DSM-IV is even "hateful" to pedophiles even though it diagnoses and tells the truth about these predators. They have a severe mental disorder-it is called sin. It is the same thing that got homosexuality removed from the latest version of DSM-IV. The real irony here is what I have just written. By me having stated these truths that concur with the Bible I am now in many people's eyes making hateful and terroristic statements for defending the Bibles position and defending what any morally anchored person would also believe. Child predators are just that - predators and mentally disturbed. But according the worldly standards...not for long. I have no doubt that a society that has rejected God (America, and most of western society) will have no problems redefining norms and eventually passing a laws to make our children potential victims. It is just a matter of time. Do not be fooled. God is not mocked. Sin is still sin and man can ignore God and His laws all it wants. The day of the Lord will come and all will answer. When He comes to judge me I want Him to know I did all I could as a watchman and a shepherd to keep the wolves at bay. I will speak the truth as it has been spoken since the days of the Law, the prophets and Jesus.

Not all…but many of us in the Church are doing a bad job.

I guess in the end there is no news and nothing new here just a continued march towards irrelevance and obscurity as a majority of our once beautiful nation turns its back on and walks away from Jesus Christ. A nation that is clearly under judgement.


Anonymous said...

Sin removes us from the presence and enjoyment of God. The smallest sin separates you from God by infinity. This is because God is infinitely Holy -- so all sin is the same in EFFECT, but all sin is not the same in kind or degree. Sin's character varies as deep as our fallenness and as wide as the differences between all citizens of humanity. All sin is, ultimately, against God, but sexual sin is against one's own body.

I do not see homosexuality as "special" sin entitled to special status but homosexuality has a kind of unique repugnance in that it mars the image of God intended in the creation of male and female. It was not good that man was alone. The creation of woman completed the imago dei. Man becoming one with man is an abomination and those who practice this sin suffer greatly in so many ways. And we suffer because deep down we know this act violates the purposes for which we are created.

I think the most loving thing we can do with homosexuals and others who are in the bondage of sin is to speak the gospel clearly. Effectiveness will only come when this gospel is delivered with loving gratitude for the grace of God, in confidence that homosexuality is a sin for which Christ atoned on the cross. -Julia Gwin

Andy Pierson said...

The Gospel communicated clearly and concisely. Yes. I agree totally.

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