Tag Archives: homosexuality

Covenantal Anesthesia

Today, we prevent unwanted pregnancies not by abstinence but contraception. No discipline; no problem. Do whatever feels good. Promises made in the dark remain unkept in an age where words and actions are disconnected and often in complete opposition.

Today, we avert the consequences of other ungodly acts such as homosexuality through medicine and contraceptive methods. Lying and litigation are acceptable means by which to achieve objectives. These aren’t God’s ways or representative of His love, which equates to justice and mercy. His speech results in action; He has always done what He says He will do. This was the posture of the early Church: speech-action that mirrored their faith and produced good works accordingly. Their speech and actions were indistinguishable.

Second-century Christian and Church leader Justin notes this of his contemporary Christians: “… community doesn’t consider people true Christians if they simply quote Christ’s teachings but don’t live them.” (Justin, 1 Apol. 16.8 by Alan Kreider, The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, 15). He also lists the saying of Jesus under four categories: sexual ethics, actionable/charitable love, patience, and truth-telling. (ibid.) Many early Church leaders reported that the Christians lived among the non-Christians in community eating, drinking, and working beside them. However, their charity, honesty, and purity as well as patience under trials and hardships set them apart and made an impact that attracted those around the Christians to desire to learn of God’s kingdom and join the faith. Not so today in a world of watered-down preaching full of funny stories and anecdotes framed by entertaining music, coffee, and donuts; no so in a world where churches become the most expensive light-killing lampshades on the planet by hiding and entertaining consumers.

Today, the Western Church looks mostly like the world: same behaviors and worldviews; similar lack of patience, unrepentance, unforgiveness, divorce statistics, selfish driving habits, litigation, financial irresponsibility, and so-on. Why? In my experience as a minister, researcher, and writer, a driving factor is the lack of choice where a covenant with God is concerned.

Removing the consequences of immorality, lying, etc. through contraception, litigation, and ungodly laws can lure us into believing that the lack of consequences imply acceptance. Similarly, and in my experience, Western Christians are lured into believing that God exists to serve them and that prosperity is the goal because covenant and consequences have often been removed in the Church. Churchgoers are anesthetized by receiving a half-baked gospel where, if anything, a silent and personal ‘sinner’s prayer can save them without reciprocation. They are told there’s nothing they have to do – Jesus did it all! No self-discipline, no charity, no sacrifice, no two-way marriage-like covenantal response. No consequence for the pleasure-seeking individual uninterested in communal care who practices behavior antithetical to God’s ways. No accountability. No ongoing spiritual formation or discipleship (Barna, The State of the Church, 2016, for instance: https://www.barna.com/research/state-church-2016/). What to do?

There can be a fix – a positive change that once again draws others to our faith. Turn off the anethsiea of a covenantless gospel; stop entertaining and teach. Hold Christians accountable for ungodly behavior and gently train through discipleship. Move out of the church buildings and live out faith among others in our communities whether at work, play, or dwelling so that they may see our good works, patience, and purity and wonder just as the ancients did.

Blessings,

rb

http://www.ronbraley.com

http://www.findingdiscipleship.org

Christian Nation? Really??

Amazingly, I still hear people refer to our country as a “Christian nation”.

To be known as a “Christian nation”, most of our citizens must be followers of Jesus. Note my use of the word follower. This implies action from faith, not just belief itself. Those who only believe join the ranks of the demons God created hell for (James 2:19 and Matthew 25:41).

So, are we a nation of followers of Jesus? No! Statistics show the majority of people in America believe in some higher power or a God. That makes us a nation of believers . . . in something. But, are we followers?

Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll obey His commands to treat our heavenly father appropriately and fellow man charitably, and tell others of the good news of Salvation and disciple them (Matthew 22:36-40, 25:31-46, and 28:19-20). This is action out of faith and outward-bound as opposed to the trend of inward-bound prosperity gospels, blessings for hire, emotion mistaken for the Spirit, and entertainment mistaken for worship prevalent in our western Christian culture. Following implies we look away from ourselves and act as God would act, condone what He condones, and hate what He hates. Is this the case in America?

Our nation promotes abortion, homosexuality, and excessive entitlements – all of which contradict God’s ways.  Leadership reflects the morality of those that those who elected them. So, let’s consider what they condone. Exit polls taken after the 2012 election (http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/race/president) showed this of voters supporting the winning party:

–          They are 62% of those who never attend religious services.

–          They are 67% of those who support legal abortion. There should be no doubt as to how God feels about murder – especially when don out of convenience.

–          They are 73% of those who support legalizing same-sex marriage, and 76% of that group admit to being homosexual. This behavior is in direct opposition to God’s intent and one of the specific behaviors He actually says He ‘hates’ through the use of the word abomination (Leviticus 18:22). It’s also one practice that will earn a one-way ticket to God’s judgment and hell (1Corinthians 6:9-10 and Revelation 21:8). Please note that there are other behaviors we can practice (i.e. murder, theft, other sexual immoralities, etc.) that will also earn God’s wrath.

We’re also painfully aware of the increase in taxes and national debt to support an alarming amount of entitlements. Although we could also discuss the moral and legal aspects of taking money from some people to hand to others, Scripture tells us that those who can but choose to not work shouldn’t eat (2Thessalonians 3:10).

So, because I doubt a nation could be identified by its minority, it’s safe to say we’re absolutely NOT a Christian nation. For the moral minority that actually follows our Christ: your rest is coming – persevere! Peace and blessings to you!  rb

Tolerating the Detestable?

Want to know what God finds disgusting? Just look for the use of abomination in the Old Testament and you’ll find a short list made up mostly of sexual immorality to include homosexuality.

Yes, God finds sexual acts between members of the same sex very disgusting (cf. Leviticus 18:22). It’s easy to understand why: God created man and woman to become physical and emotional mates. We’re made differently and fit together well in both realms. Engaging in sexual acts with another member of the same sex is in direct contradiction to God’s desire for us and is pure rebellion that won’t go unpunished if continued. Just look at what happened to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah in roughly the 19th century BC ( Genesis 19:4-5 and 24-25)!

I realize this behavior is very acceptable today (even by the Christian culture) but tolerance doesn’t change God’s view of it. We find homosexuality not only in the world around us but within the Church itself. This is despicable and something that must be reversed if we expect God’s blessing and salvation. Ever hear the phrase, “Love the sinner and hate the sin.”? Please remember that true love – agape love – is actionable. In the case of rebellious and unacceptable behavior within the Church, that action must be to tell the offender that they’re acting contrary to God’s ways and that consequences await them if they continue. And homosexuality is definitely rebellious (sinful) activity that will keep the offender out of God’s kingdom and invoke His end-days wrath.

In fact, Paul discussed this with prospective Christians in Rome (Romans 1:26-27) and Thessalonica (1Thessalonians 4:3), and with Timothy (1Timothy 1:9-10). There was a common theme: those practicing homosexuality will not see the kingdom of God but will suffer wrath at the last-days judgment.

Paul also wasted no words in telling an assembly of Jesus’ followers (the Church in Corinth) to remove someone involved in sexual immorality (1Corinthians 5:1-13). Why? Because immoral behavior is contrary to God’s ways. If someone is practicing immorality, their presence can corrupt the rest of the group in the same way that a single rotten apple can spoil an entire barrel full or bad yeast can spoil an entire batch of dough.

So, homosexuality is disgusting to God and a behavior that will guarantee His wrath at the end of our world. There’s no other way to put it, nor should it be justified in any way. If you’re practicing this abhorrent behavior, admit to the wrongdoing and stop before it’s too late! If you’re a church leader, then don’t tolerate this behavior in your congregation!

Is there anything offensive to God that you tolerate in your life or within the assembly of Jesus’ followers?