The Sovereignty of God in the Affairs of Men

At the time of this writing (7 January 2021), Joe Biden has finally been certified by the Congress of the United States to be the 46th President of the United States. Pontificators, podcasters, and arm chair quarterbacks on both sides of the political aisle are already busy telling us what happened and how it happened, and I expect they will undoubtedly be gracing us with their opinions for some time to come. Regardless of the outcome, however, we as Christians have another aspect to consider – the role God plays in this, or for that matter, any other election, at any level of civil government.

Who was responsible for the final outcome? The Christians among us will wonder about God’s role in the whole affair. Did God just sit back and watch, or did he have a more decisive role in the drama that was the 2020 election? While it’s safe to assume that almost all Christians will say they believe in the sovereignty of God, but what exactly do we mean? More importantly, what does the Bible tells about God’s sovereignty? Let’s take a closer look.

At a high level, we are told in the Psalms that God does whatever He pleases:

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19).

“But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3).

“For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps (Psalm 135:5-6).

But does God become involved in the specific affairs of men? Let’s peer into the pages of scripture.

In the Old Testament we have the prophet Daniel, after God revealed to him Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation, offering praise to God:

“Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:19-21; 23)

Not only did God use the proud and arrogant Nebuchadnezzar to chasten the Israelites, He also brought the pagan King to his knees, turning him into a grass eating ‘beast’ for seven years, until he would acknowledge God as sovereign.

“At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”” (Daniel 4:34,35)

There are many other examples of God’s sovereignty in the OT. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel, God controlled the fate of His chosen people, using pagan nations to accomplish His purposes. God used Egypt to for the preservation and growth of the nation Israel for 400 years before they inherited the promised land. God displayed his power and greatness through the hard-hearted Pharaoh. He used surrounding nations to chastise Israel when the nation fell into sin and disobedience. Then he used other pagan nations to destroy the chastisers of His people.

God used Assyria and Babylon to lead the Jews into captivity. The King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, was even called God’s “servant” (Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6; 43:10). The sacking of Judah and Jerusalem was no accident of history; it was no mere fate. It was the outworking of the plan and purpose of the sovereign God of Israel to achieve His purposes, to fulfill His promises and prophecies

If we peek into the New Testament, we have this startling declaration by the Apostle Peter that speaks to God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility concerning the crucifixion of Christ:

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:22-23)

Fast forward 2,000 years to the world of the 20th and 21st centuries. Ours is a time of chaos and change. The USSR completely dissolved before our eyes. The Berlin Wall has been torn down. Civil war rages across the globe, and thousands of innocent lives are being sacrificed as we look on, helplessly it would seem. Christians seem to be shaken when a certain political party goes to unimaginable lengths to try and get elected to the highest office in the land. In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, some so-called ‘experts’ seem to be running the show as government officials worldwide, at all levels, take control of businesses and citizens to degrees hitherto unheard-of except where socialism/communism rules. IS God sovereign in this mess?

If the answer to that question is “yes”, it must mean that God is sovereign over the decisions of the President of the United States, over the laws passed by Congress, and even over the decisions reached by the Supreme Court. God is even sovereign over the Internal Revenue Service.

God is sovereign over kings and kingdoms. If this is true, then we need to believe that every king, every person in a position of political power, is there by divine appointment (see Romans 13:1-2). This means that we owe such authorities our respect, our obedience, and our taxes, unless any of these specifically require us to disobey God (Romans 13:1-7). It means that the laws, decisions, and decrees they make—even those which punish or persecute the saints—have a divine purpose. We may be required to disobey government, like Daniel and his three friends, but only when obeying that government would require us to disobey God. In the chaos and wickedness of our day, let us not lose sight of the fact that God is sovereign in history, sovereign even over pagan powers, and yes, even sovereign over the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.

Regardless of the outcome, however, we as Christians have another aspect to consider – the role God plays in this, or for that matter, any other election, at any level of civil government.

“I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘Except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves become a reproach and byword down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate circumstance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest. “ – Benjamin Franklin

Full quote is on the Christian Military Fellowship website at:

https://www.cmfhq.org/Info/Articles#135327-crisis-at-the-constitutional

_________________

Portions of the above were adapted from Let Me See Thy Glory – A Study in the Attributes of God by Bob Deffinbaugh,

The Gospel and Politics–John MacArthur

This is an excellent treatment of this critical subject! – Dan C. It’s length, but worth a good read!

The Gospel and Politics

by John MacArthur

For us, as Christians in the United States, it’s easy to get caught up in all the political fervor. It can even be tempting to think that legislation is the key to solving the moral problems that plague American society. But is that a right perspective? John MacArthur addresses this important issue and underscores a biblical response.

There was a time (in the days of our Puritan forefathers), when almost every soul in America acknowledged the Ten Commandments as the cornerstone of ethics and morality. Today most Americans can’t even name three of the Ten.

There was also a time (not so long ago) when Americans universally disapproved of homosexuality, adultery, and divorce; they believed sexual promiscuity is absolutely wrong; they regarded obscene language as inappropriate; they saw abortion as unthinkable; and they held public officials to high moral and ethical standards. Nowadays, most of the behavior society once deemed immoral is defended as an inalienable civil right.

How times and the culture have changed! The strong Christian influence and scriptural standards that shaped Western culture and American society through the end of the nineteenth century have given way to practical atheism and moral relativism. The few vestiges of Christianity in our culture are at best weak and compromising, and to an increasingly pagan society they are cultic and bizarre.

In less than fifty years’ time, our nation’s political leaders, legislative bodies, and courts have adopted a distinctly anti-Christian attitude and agenda. The country has swept away the Christian worldview and its principles in the name of equal rights, political correctness, tolerance, and strict separation of church and state. Gross immorality—including homosexuality, abortion, pornography, and other evils—has been sanctioned not only by society in general but in effect by the government as well. A portion of our tax dollars are now used to fund programs and government agencies that actively engage in blatant advocacy of various immoral practices.

What are Christians to do about it?

Many think this is a political problem that will not be solved without a political strategy. During the past twenty-five years, well-meaning Christians have founded a number of evangelical activist organizations and sunk millions of dollars into them in an effort to use the apparatus of politics—lobbying, legislation, demonstration, and boycott—to counteract the moral decline of American culture. They pour their energy and other resources into efforts to drum up a “Christian” political movement that will fight back against the prevailing anti-Christian culture.

But is that a proper perspective? I believe not. America’s moral decline is a spiritual problem, not a political one, and its solution is the gospel, not partisan politics.

LESSONS FROM HISTORY

This is a lesson evangelicals ought to know from church history. Whenever the church has focused on evangelism and preaching the gospel, her influence has increased. When she has sought power by political, cultural, or military activism, she has damaged or spoiled her testimony.

The Crusades during the Middle Ages were waged for the purpose of regaining Christian control of the Holy Lands. Few believers today would argue that those efforts were fruitful. Even when the crusaders enjoyed military success, the church grew spiritually weaker and more worldly. Other religious wars and campaigns tinged with political motivation (such as the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, Cromwell’s revolution in England, and other skirmishes during the Reformation era) are all viewed with disapproval, or at best curiosity, by Christians today. And rightly so. The military and political ambitions of some of the Reformers turned out to be a weakness, and ultimately an impediment to the Reformation. On the other hand, the strength of the Reformation, and its enduring legacy, was derived from the fact that Reformation theology shone a bright spotlight on the way of salvation and brought clarity to the gospel.

Throughout Protestant history, those segments of the visible church that have turned their attention to social and political issues have also compromised sound doctrine and quickly declined in influence. Early modernists, for example, explicitly argued that social work and moral reform were more important than doctrinal precision, and their movement soon abandoned any semblance of Christianity whatsoever.

Today’s evangelical political activists seem to be unaware of how much their methodology parallels that of liberal Christians at the start of the twentieth century. Like those misguided idealists, contemporary evangelicals have become enamored with temporal issues at the expense of eternal values. Evangelical activists in essence are simply preaching a politically conservative version of the old social gospel, emphasizing social and cultural concerns above spiritual ones.

That kind of thinking fosters the view that government is either our ally (if it supports our special agenda) or our enemy (if it remains opposed or unresponsive to our voice). The political strategy becomes the focus of everything, as if the spiritual fortunes of God’s people rise or fall depending on who is in office. But the truth is that no human government can ultimately do anything either to advance or to thwart God’s kingdom. And the worst, most despotic worldly government in the end cannot halt the power of the Holy Spirit or the spread of God’s Word.

To gain a thoroughly biblical and Christian perspective on political involvement, we should take to heart the words of the British theologian Robert L. Ottley, delivered at Oxford University more than one hundred years ago:

The Old Testament may be studied. . .as an instructor in social righteousness. It exhibits the moral government of God as attested in his dealings with nations rather than with individuals; and it was their consciousness of the action and presence of God in history that made the prophets preachers, not merely to their countrymen, but to the world at large. . . .There is indeed significance in the fact that in spite of their ardent zeal for social reform they did not as a rule take part in political life or demand political reforms. They desired. . .not better institutions but better men. (Aspects of the Old Testament. The Bampton Lectures, 1897 [London: Longmans, 1898], 430-31)

LESSONS FROM SCRIPTURE

My point is not that Christians should remain totally uninvolved in politics or civic activities and causes. They ought to express their political beliefs in the voting booth, and it is appropriate to support legitimate measures designed to correct a glaring social or political wrong. Complete noninvolvement would be contrary to what God’s Word says about doing good in society: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10; cf. Titus 3:1-2). It would also display a lack of gratitude for whatever amount of religious freedom the government allows us to enjoy. Furthermore, such pious apathy toward government and politics would reveal a lack of appreciation for the many appropriate legal remedies believers in democracies have for maintaining or improving the civil order. A certain amount of healthy and balanced concern with current trends in government and the community is acceptable, as long as we realize that that interest is not vital to our spiritual growth, our righteous testimony, or the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. Above all, the believer’s political involvement should never displace the priority of preaching and teaching the gospel.

There is certainly no prohibition on believers being directly involved in government as civil servants, as some notable examples in the Old and New Testaments illustrate. Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon are two excellent models of servants God used in top governmental positions to further His kingdom. The centurion’s servant (Matt. 8:5-13), Zaccheus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10), and Cornelius the centurion (Acts 10) all continued in public service even after they experienced the healing or saving power of Christ. (As far as we know, the Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus also remained in office after he was converted [Acts 13:4-12].)

The issue again is one of priority. The greatest temporal good we can accomplish through political involvement cannot compare to what the Lord can accomplish through us in the eternal work of His kingdom. Just as God called ancient Israel (Ex. 19:6), He has called the church to be a kingdom of priests, not a kingdom of political activists. The apostle Peter instructs us, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

Jesus, as we would expect, perfectly maintained His Father’s perspective on these matters even though He lived in a society that was every bit as pagan and corrupt as today’s culture. In many ways it was much worse than any of us in Western nations has ever faced. Cruel tyrants and dictators ruled throughout the region, the institution of slavery was firmly entrenched—everything was the antithesis of democracy. King Herod, the Idumean vassal of Rome who ruled Samaria and Judea, epitomized the godless kind of autocratic rule: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men [concerning the whereabouts of the baby Jesus], was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under” (Matt. 2:16).

Few of us have experienced the sort of economic and legal oppression that the Romans applied to the Jews of Jesus’ day. Tax rates were exorbitant and additional government-sanctioned abuses by the tax collectors exacerbated the financial burden on the people. The Jews in Palestine were afforded almost no civil rights and were treated as an underprivileged minority that could not make an appeal against legal injustices. As a result, some Jews were in constant outward rebellion against Rome.

Fanatical nationalists, known as Zealots, ignored their tax obligations and violently opposed the government. They believed that even recognizing a Gentile ruler was wrong (see Deuteronomy 17:15, “You may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother”). Many Zealots became assassins, performing acts of terrorism and violence against both the Romans and other Jews whom they viewed as traitors.

It is also true that the Roman social system was built on slavery. The reality of serious abuses of slaves is part of the historical record. Yet neither Jesus nor any of the apostles attempted to abolish slavery. Instead, they commanded slaves to be obedient and used slavery as a metaphor for believers who were to submit to their Lord and Master.

Jesus’ earthly ministry took place right in the midst of that difficult social and political atmosphere. Many of His followers, including the Twelve, to varying degrees expected Him to free them from Rome’s oppressive rule. But our Lord did not come as a political deliverer or social reformer. He never issued a call for such changes, even by peaceful means. Unlike many late twentieth-century evangelicals, Jesus did not rally supporters to some grandiose attempt to “capture the culture” for biblical morality or greater political and religious freedoms.

Christ, however, was not devoid of care and concern for the daily pain and hardships people endured in their personal lives. The Gospels record His great empathy and compassion for sinners. He applied those attitudes in a tangible, practical way by healing thousands of people of every kind of disease and affliction, often at great personal sacrifice to Himself.

Still, as beneficial and appreciated as His ministry to others’ physical needs was, it was not Jesus’ first priority. His divine calling was to speak to the hearts and souls of individual men and women. He proclaimed the good news of redemption that could reconcile them to the Father and grant them eternal life. That message far surpasses any agenda for political, social, or economic reform that can preoccupy us. Christ did not come to promote some new social agenda or establish a new moral order. He did come to establish a new spiritual order, the body of believers from throughout the ages that constitutes His church. He did not come to earth to make the old creation moral through social and governmental reform, but to make new creatures holy through the saving power of the gospel and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. And our Lord and Savior has commanded us to continue His ministry, with His supreme priorities in view, with the goal that we might advance His kingdom: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

In the truest sense, the moral, social, and political state of a people is irrelevant to the advance of the gospel. Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36).

THE REAL BATTLE

We can’t protect or expand the cause of Christ by human political and social activism, no matter how great or sincere the efforts. Ours is a spiritual battle waged against worldly ideologies and dogmas arrayed against God, and we achieve victory over them only with the weapon of Scripture. The apostle Paul writes: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

We must reject all that is ungodly and false and never compromise God’s standards of righteousness. We can do that in part by desiring the improvement of society’s moral standards and by approving of measures that would conform government more toward righteousness. We do grieve over the rampant indecency, vulgarity, lack of courtesy and respect for others, deceitfulness, self-indulgent materialism, and violence that is corroding society. But in our efforts to support what is good and wholesome, reject what is evil and corrupt, and make a profoundly positive impact on our culture, we must use God’s methods and maintain scriptural priorities.

God is not calling us to wage a culture war that would seek to transform our countries into “Christian nations.” To devote all, or even most, of our time, energy, money, and strategy to putting a façade of morality on the world or over our governmental and political institutions is to badly misunderstand our roles as Christians in a spiritually lost world.

God has above all else called the church to bring sinful people to salvation through Jesus Christ. Even as the apostle Paul described his mission to unbelievers, so it is the primary task of all Christians to reach out to the lost “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me [Christ]” (Acts 26:18; cf. Ex. 19:6; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9). If we do not evangelize the lost and make disciples of new converts, nothing else we do for people—no matter how beneficial it seems—is of any eternal consequence. Whether a person is an atheist or a theist, a criminal or a model citizen, sexually promiscuous and perverse or strictly moral and virtuous, a greedy materialist or a gracious philanthropist—if he does not have a saving relationship to Christ, he is going to hell. It makes no difference if an unsaved person is for or against abortion, a political liberal or a conservative, a prostitute or a police officer, he will spend eternity apart from God unless he repents and believes the gospel.

When the church takes a stance that emphasizes political activism and social moralizing, it always diverts energy and resources away from evangelization. Such an antagonistic position toward the established secular culture invariably leads believers to feel hostile not only to unsaved government leaders with whom they disagree, but also antagonistic toward the unsaved residents of that culture—neighbors and fellow citizens they ought to love, pray for, and share the gospel with. To me it is unthinkable that we become enemies of the very people we seek to win to Christ, our potential brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Author John Seel pens words that apply in principle to Christians everywhere and summarize well the believer’s perspective on political involvement:

A politicized faith not only blurs our priorities, but weakens our loyalties. Our primary citizenship is not on earth but in heaven. … Though few evangelicals would deny this truth in theory, the language of our spiritual citizenship frequently gets wrapped in the red, white and blue. Rather than acting as resident aliens of a heavenly kingdom, too often we sound [and act] like resident apologists for a Christian America. … Unless we reject the false reliance on the illusion of Christian America, evangelicalism will continue to distort the gospel and thwart a genuine biblical identity…..

American evangelicalism is now covered by layers and layers of historically shaped attitudes that obscure our original biblical core. (The Evangelical Pulpit [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993], 106-7)

By means of faithful preaching and godly living, believers are to be the conscience of whatever nation they reside in. You can confront the culture not with the political and social activism of man’s wisdom, but with the spiritual power of God’s Word. Using temporal methods to promote legislative and judicial change, and resorting to external efforts of lobbying and intimidation to achieve some sort of “Christian morality” in society is not our calling—and has no eternal value. Only the gospel rescues sinners from sin, death, and hell.

HT: Pulpit Magazine

A Biblical Analysis of the Black Lives Matter Organization by Eric Davis

Courtesy of The Cripplegate

BLM

It’s a phrase that has been heard often in these recent days of sorrow and unrest. Black lives matter. No decent person can disagree. Certainly not Christians. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, David Dorn, Breann Leath, David Patrick Underwood. We could add more. Their lives mattered. Like every person ever born, they have all been created in the image of God. We all have God’s stamp on us. When life is lost, we are to weep with those who weep.

Black Lives Matter is an organization that began in 2013, and has been growing ever since. However, there is a difference between the fact that black lives matter and the organization, Black Lives Matter (BLM). BLM is an organization with a belief system; an ideology; some might argue it parallels a religion. It describes itself as an “ideological and political intervention” and is largely rooted in black feminist theology, black liberation theology, and critical race theory. With a 3000-word doctrinal statement, the organization is more than an idea. Among other things, BLM has a desire for racial equality and the end of police brutality. Those are good things which all of us should desire. Micah 6:8 expresses it well: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

As it concerns Christians, we must ask the question: how does the BLM doctrine line up with the Christian’s source of faith and practice; the Bible? The purpose of this article is to answer that question.

First, what this article is not saying. This article is not asserting that everyone who ascribes to the BLM movement ascribes to its doctrinal statement. Some may not be aware of BLM’s finer points of doctrine. Nor does this article claim that those who hold to the fact that black lives matter simultaneously hold to the BLM doctrine. Rather, the purpose is to compare the stated beliefs of the BLM organization with God’s word. 

BLM teaching will be compared with Scripture in seven categories.

Salvation

BLM’s ideology is largely fueled by Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. Permeated with standpoint epistemology, CRT/I is a growing ideology akin to a religion. Most religions and ideologies present a “gospel,” or a way of salvation-rescue from a perceived problem. In short, CRT/I, whether explicitly or implicitly, teaches that salvation is needed from inherent racism and privilege innate to the original sin of whiteness. In other words, a swath of humanity is congenitally depraved due to whiteness. Salvation for this population, therefore, is mostly impossible. Like biblical Christianity, CRT/I holds to a standard of righteousness that is unattainable (e.g. “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Matt. 5:48). Unlike Christianity, CRT/I provides no grace by which righteousness may be imputed by faith (c.f. Rom. 3:21-26). One cannot be objectively declared righteous from whiteness.

Like biblical Christianity, CRT/I holds that those with original sin must experience a change of nature to escape their depraved condition (e.g. “we were by nature children of wrath,” Eph. 2:3). Unlike biblical Christianity, CRT/I provides no ability for a supernatural, new birth out of one’s inherent, natural predicament (cf. John 3:3, 2 Cor. 5:17). You cannot be objectively reborn out of whiteness or privilege.

Like biblical Christianity, CRT/I holds to an individual’s inherent uncleanness due to the stain of original sin (cf. Jer. 2:22, Isa. 64:6). Unlike biblical Christianity, however, CRT/I provides no impeccable substitute or method by which the stain of original sin can be permanently cleansed (cf. Heb. 9:22). You cannot be cleansed by the stain of whiteness.

Like biblical Christianity, CRT/I holds to an individual’s dominion under a sinful, guilty family and race (e.g. “In Adam all die,” 1 Cor. 15:22). Unlike biblical Christianity, CRT/I provides no ability to be transferred out of that guilty family and adopted into a righteous one (cf. Eph. 1:5, Gal. 4:6-7). You cannot be adopted out of whiteness.

Unlike biblical Christianity, therefore, BLM provides no objective, historical basis of hope for eternal life in a sinless, sorrowless, deathless world. BLM offers no grace of justification, no mercy of redemption, no power for regeneration, and no hope of eternal life. On the contrary, its system is one that places crushing guilt on individuals, while featuring, ironically, a built-in ideology of partiality and prejudice. There is no salvation in the BLM movement.

Parenting & Family

BLM is confessionally opposed to the nuclear family structure. On the family, they state the following:

We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

This is part of the growing movement which rejects God’s good design of loving male headship in the home. Scripture teaches that God’s plan for the home is a man and woman united under the monogamous covenant of marriage. The first family God created was that very thing (Gen. 2:18-24, Mark 10:6-9). As head of the home, a husband is commanded by God to love his wife sacrificially; as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph. 5:25). God’s high calling for wives is to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord, as the church does to Christ (Eph. 5:22-24). To oppose God’s orderly, caring nuclear family structure is to oppose God’s best for children and the human race. To reject God’s design for the family is an attack on God. And rejecting God’s design for the family will not be without consequences.

Studies have demonstrated that homes without a father often put a child at risk for adverse outcomes. For example, children living in female headed families with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6 percent, over 4 times the rate in married-couple families. As BLM states that it fights for “poor Black people,” it would do well to reverse its view of the family in that fight. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.” Another study demonstrated that fatherless homes had significantly fewer externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems than children living with at least one non-biological parent. Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide. Studies also have shown that the absence of a father renders youth more likely to commit crime and engage in early sexual activity. Not all children raised in fatherless homes will experience these adverse outcomes. God is gracious in such circumstances. However, to oppose his design for the family is an attack on God and rejection of his common grace for children and society.

Human sexuality

BLM teaches the following on human sexuality:

We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

Cisgender refers to one’s gender which corresponds to God-given, anatomy. By working to “dismantle cisgender privilege,” BLM opposes God’s created design of biologically based gender. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). Gender was invented, created, and assigned by God. To oppose the idea of biological gender is to oppose God.

BLM teaches further:

We foster a queeraffirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

“Heteronormative” sexuality in the context of marriage is God’s beautiful design and gift to the human race (Gen. 2:24, Heb. 13:4). Homosexuality opposes God’s design for human sexuality, and therefore is sin against him (Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:27, 1 Cor. 6:9). To “foster a queer-affirming” lifestyle opposes God’s purpose and plan for sexuality.

Reconciliation & Forgiveness

BLM demands reparations in five ways. Here are a few:

We demand reparations for past and continuing harms. The government, responsible corporations and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on Black people — from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance — must repair the harm done. This includes:

Reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people (including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people) to lifetime education including: free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities, technical education (technology, trade and agricultural), educational support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student loans, and support for lifetime learning programs.

Reparations for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized capitalism in the form of corporate and government reparations…

An exhaustive discussion of the issue of reparations is beyond the scope of this article. Many have recognized that the problems with reparations are innumerable.

First, how and to whom will reparations be distributed justly and in proportion to alleged injustices? Will those who lived through the days prior to the Civil Rights movement receive more than those who did not? Will someone with a black mother and white father receive less? What about those with a half-black father and white mother? What about recent immigrants from Burkina Faso or the Ivory Coast? What about those whose parents were from Vanuatu or Madagascar? What about immigrants who have violated United States law from Africa, but later receive legalization? What about black criminals? Will they receive reparations and how much? What about wealthy individuals like Lebron James and Lil Wayne? And what about individuals who did not contribute to alleged injustices? How will it be justly determined who owes what?

Second, Scripture requires reparations for specific biblical infractions committed by an individual against another (Lev. 6:5, Num. 5:8). In these cases, a stolen item, and the value thereof, is tangible and therefore can be objectively determined and recompensed. Doing so in reparations will be quite difficult, if not impossible, for alleged injustices.

Third, the New Testament did not require reparation for God’s people, or any people. History records that the first century Roman Empire, under which Christianity existed, systematically extracted excessive taxes from citizens (cf. Luke 3:12-13). Though God is a God of perfect justice, he does not require the Roman Empire to make reparations for doing so. Nor does he command Christians to protest or lobby for reparations. In fact, Christians under a system with far more injustices, partiality, and corruption than modern-day America were commanded to “submit to governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1), “pay taxes” (Rom. 13:6-7), live a quiet and prayerful life towards civil authorities (1 Tim. 2:1-2), avoid seeking vengeance while trusting God for justice (Rom. 12:17-21), and even honor the emperor (1 Pet. 2:17).

Government & Civil Authorities

Regarding government and civil authorities, BLM teaches:

We are Abolitionist: We believe that prisons, police and all other institutions that inflict violence on Black people must be abolished and replaced by institutions that value and affirm the flourishing of Black lives.

Defunding the police has become a signature motto of BLM. In a June 5th tweet, BLM wrote, “Black Lives Matter means defund the police. @emilymbadger say it with us.” In a response, they said, “#defundpolice is a demand full stop.”

Scripture does not justify eradication of law enforcement on the grounds of flawed law enforcement for at least three reasons.

First, the most loving and just individual in history, the Lord Jesus Christ, was the recipient of colossal injustice at the hands of law enforcement. He was the object of the most unjust and corrupt arrest, trial, and execution in world history. Prior to his crucifixion, Jesus was the object of extraordinary police brutality. False witnesses were used to convict him (Matt. 26:60). After his arrest, he was stripped naked, humiliated, mocked, spit on, punched, beaten, and scourged by an angry mob of law enforcement (Matt. 26:47, 27:27-31). Then, they paraded him carrying his own cross before a jeering mob, during which he collapsed in the street from his injuries (Matt. 27:32). Finally, they laid him on the cross, nailed him to it, and raised it for all to see (Matt. 27:35). There, law enforcement and other officials continued to mock him as he suffered the most horrific and humiliating of deaths (Matt. 27:41, Luke 26:36). Despite these never-to-be-matched injustices and police brutalities, Jesus commanded submission, paying of taxes, and prayer on behalf of the very government that murdered him (Mark 12:17, Rom. 13:1-6, 1 Tim. 2:1-2, 1 Pet. 2:17). Does this mean the Bible is ok with wrongs committed by civil authorities? Not at all (Luke 3:14). Jesus commands the highest level of love and justice towards one another (Matt. 22:37-39, Phil. 2:3-5).

How will needed police reform occur then? Through things like additional training, prayer, gospel preaching, regenerate hearts, peaceful activism and legislation, and building relationships with civil authorities, while recognizing that this is not heaven (Gen. 3:18-19). God will make right all wrongs. For all who trust in the Person, death, and resurrection of the biblical Jesus, they can count on it (Rev. 21:3-4). Until then, this world groans, and so do we.

Second, Jesus’ followers also suffered frequent unjust treatment at the hands of law enforcement (e.g. Acts 4:3, 4:21, 5:18, 5:41, 7:58-60, 8:1-3, 9:1-2, 12:1-5, 13:50, 14:19, 16:22-25, 16:37, 18:17, 19:29, 21:29-32, 22:25, 24:27, 26:31, 28:16; 2 Tim. 4:6; Heb. 13:23; 2 Pet. 1:14; Rev. 2:10, etc.). Police brutality was a common thing for them. Thousands more examples could be cited from the late first century into the fourth century, the Protestant Reformation, and up to the present day. Christians were used as human candles, thrown to wild beasts for sport in the Roman coliseums, tortured, burned, drowned, and subjected to other despicable atrocities. Even so, and knowing all of this, God recognizes the legitimacy of government and law enforcement (Rom. 13:1-6). Christians are commanded, not to overthrow it, but pray for it, submit to it, and be respectful (Rom. 13:1-6, 1 Tim. 2:1-2, Titus 3:1-2, 1 Pet. 2:17). Flawed law enforcement is never the grounds for no law enforcement. The reason we can embrace this is because we understand that God is sovereign and, by faith in Christ, we will one day live under the perfect, loving, just rule of Jesus Christ.

Third, albeit flawed, law enforcement is ordained by God for the protection of humanity. All humans are flawed (Jer. 17:9), thus flaws will surface in law enforcement. For that reason, they must work to continually improve practices and procedures. Even so, God decrees the existence of law enforcement for the greater good of society (Rom. 13:3-5). Without it would be disastrous.

Defunding the police is not a new idea. In modern times, it seems to have originated with the Black Panthers in the late 60s and early 70s. But the need for improved police training and community relations does not merit dismantling of police altogether. Doing so would backfire in catastrophic ways (cf. Eccles. 8:10). The book of Judges is a terrifying case study of what happens in a society without law enforcement (cf. Judg. 17:6, 21:25). The injustices occurring now will multiply by disastrous magnitudes should police be defunded.

Value of Human Life

Pro-abortion BLM says:

We deserve and thus we demand reproductive justice that gives us autonomy over our bodies and our identities while ensuring that our children and families are supported, safe, and able to thrive.

Unborn babies are unquestionably living human beings. They are valuable creations of God, made in his image (Gen. 1:26-27). Abortion is the unjustified ending of a baby’s life. Therefore, abortion constitutes the sin of murder (Ex. 20:13).

In 2018, Planned Parenthood performed 345,672 abortions. Given that about one-third of those patients are black women, Planned Parenthood alone aborts about 100,000 babies per year.

According to the 2010 US Census, 79 percent of the Planned Parenthood surgical abortion facilities are placed within walking distance of communities largely comprised of minority groups.

One source says:

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, there have been over 15.5 million abortions performed on African Americans. These 15.5 million Black lives lost to abortion outnumber the deaths of Black people due to AIDS, violent crimes, accidents, cancer, and heart disease combined.

In 2019, 235 black people were killed by police (compared to 370 whites). Even if every one of those was unjust, the unjust killing of black people by abortion would be 425 times higher than deaths by police. So, to be consistent, where should BLM direct their advocacy for black lives?

BLM teaches, “We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter,” and, “In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others.”

However, by supporting abortion, BLM cannot be said to have an unqualified position on the value of black lives. In no way can the organization “desire freedom or justice” for all black individuals. By failing to oppose abortion, they deny justice and freedom to the most defenseless, helpless, and innocent of the black community. A catastrophic inconsistency exists in the fact that BLM protests the tragic death of George Floyd, for example, but gives a pass to the deaths of some 100,000 black babies each year. The greatest atrocities; the greatest violence against blacks is not by the police, but abortion clinics. Despite the name, “Black Lives Matter,” the organization is hard-pressed to affirm in an unqualified manner that black lives matter. If they are going to defund an institution which is most harmful to blacks, it is abortion clinics which must be defunded.

Unity

As observed from BLM’s teachings, it appears that they seek unity around their own, self-developed doctrine. The aforementioned principles seem to be that around which the organization seeks unity.

The Lord Jesus offers a superior, more gracious unity, however. His death on the cross unequivocally tears down disunity between sinners and God and sinners with one another, regardless of melanin content:

Ephesians 2:11–16 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

During the first century, great ethnic-social hostility existed between the Gentiles and Israelites. But the gospel completely dismantled that. What a glorious, loving work of unity that the darker-skinned Person of Christ has performed for all ethnicities through his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus already has reconciled all who put faith in him. How then, could finite man outdo a reconciliation by human efforts what Christ, infinite God, has accomplished? Let us not seek to resurrect barriers which Christ has already destroyed.

Conclusion

God requires love for all people since all are made in the image of God and in need of the substitutionary atoning work of Jesus Christ (Gal. 5:14). Regardless of one’s differing views, Christians are commanded to love others, including those in movements which disagree with Scripture. However, to love every person does not mean affirming the practices of every person. In fact, it is unloving to affirm the sin of others (cf. Gal. 6:1-3). Scripture teaches that those who fail to embrace the Person and work of the biblical Christ remain at enmity with God and face eternal consequences (John 3:36, 2 Thess. 1:7-9, Rev. 20:11-15). Love means we say something.

BLM opposes God’s teaching on salvation, parenting and family, human sexuality, reconciliation and forgiveness, government and civil authorities, the value of human life, and unity. Therefore, though Christians must love those in the organization, they cannot embrace the Black Lives Matter Movement. This is an ideology (and perhaps a religious movement) which clashes at critical points with God’s word.

Though BLM’s concept of justice, equity, and reconciliation is flawed, God’s people resonate with their desire for those things. However, BLM will not achieve those things through its doctrine and practice. Instead, we point the BLM movement towards the loving, sovereign, compassionate God of justice; the God of the Bible.

God will flawlessly deal with all injustices in history (Rom. 12:19). However, he will also see to the injustice in our own hearts and lives (Rom. 6:23). God’s moral standard is far higher than ours: he demands perfect holiness even down to the level of our motivations and thoughts (Matt. 5:21-48). On God’s criteria, therefore, it’s clear: we all have sinned and fallen short of his glory (Rom. 3:23). We all stand condemned before the Judge of all the earth (Rom. 3:10-20). But the happy news is that God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to be punished in our place for our injustices, inward and outward (Isa. 53:4-6, 1 Pet. 2:24). Incredibly, God offers complete forgiveness towards us (Eph. 1:7). He does so justly, by transferring the penalty for our sins to the sinless Person of Christ, when he died on the cross (Rom. 3:21-26). For all who bow the knee in faith to Christ, God justly declares us, the unjust, just, on the basis of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection (Rom. 3:25-26, 2 Cor. 5:21, Eph. 2:8-9, 1 Pet. 3:18). All who do will be reconciled to God and spend eternity in the blissful, joyful heaven. In that place, all injustice, violence, and death will be forever eradicated (Rev. 21:3-4). The peace, justice, and life that BLM seeks doesn’t compare to that which God promises through Christ.

Francis Chan Defends His Friendship With False Teachers

March 17, 2019, Pastor Gabe Hughes,. Junction City Kansas

(Dan’s Note: This might be the best commentary I have read concerning Francis Chan’s situation)

Yesterday, Francis Chan responded to the harsh accusations that he has been aligning with heretics. A recent article published at The Cripplegate was entitled Farewell Francis. The author Jordan Standridge warned that Chan “is sharing the stage with false teachers who will spend eternity in Hell (Gal. 1:6-9).” He pleaded for Chan to repent and “come back to your first love!”

Chan has been on a steady decline over the last few years. Preaching with Mike Bickle at the International House of Prayer may have been a head-scratcher, but it wasn’t enough to denounce Chan as developing an alliance with the enemy. Maybe Chan didn’t know that Bickle claimed to have gone to heaven and had a personal audience with Jesus. Maybe Chan didn’t know Bickle teaches that we bring about Christ’s return through prayer (according to what Jesus personally told him). Maybe Chan didn’t know that Bickle has claimed there will be new apostles preaching things you will not be able to find in the Bible, and they will be superior to the biblical apostles.

But since his appearances at IHOP, Chan has ventured into other strange territory, like preaching at Bethel Church in Redding, CA—known for manipulative gags such as pouring gold dust in the ventilation system and calling it a glory cloud from God. Teachers from Bethel under pastor Bill Johnson also claim to have face-to-face conversations with not only Jesus but God the Father, whom the Bible says no one can see and live (Exodus 33:20, John 1:18, 1 John 4:12).

Everything came to a head last month when Chan preached at a conference in Orlando known as The Send, featuring some of the worst teachers out there—Benny Hinn, Heidi Baker, Todd White, and Bill Johnson to name a few. Following The Send, pictures started emerging of Chan being buddies with these charlatans. He embraced them as brothers and praised them for being bold men and women of God. This has prompted many, including myself, to warn people to stay away from Francis Chan. He is no longer trustworthy.

Questions have been raised for a few years regarding Chan’s associations, but Chan has remained silent. Finally he responded this weekend in a blog entitled A Response to Some Concerns by Francis Chan. I won’t post the entire thing word for word—you can read it for yourself by clicking the link. I will highlight some critical points, and then my response will follow.

Chan wrote:

From what I hear from friends and critics (I stay away from social media, etc), there have been a lot of conclusions drawn from my decision to speak at The Send conference as well as other venues. Some people have questioned my willingness to take pictures with anyone who asks for a picture with me. So I thought it might be helpful to explain some of my theological beliefs which have come under scrutiny as of late, as well as some of my practices/decisions. I realize there are many questions, but let me at least clarify a few things.

What do you believe regarding the “Prosperity Gospel”?

My understanding of that term is that it refers to teachings which imply that if you follow Jesus, He will make you healthy and wealthy. It is often used to attract people to make a decision to follow Jesus so that they can spend the rest of their lives in health and prosperity. I believe this is a dangerous teaching for several reasons. First and foremost (in my opinion) is that it contradicts the teachings and example of Christ and the apostles. Jesus taught His disciples “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). It was not a call to come and prosper but rather the opposite—a call to come and suffer.

Chan goes on in his repudiation of the prosperity gospel. I am not in disagreement with him here. Prosperity theology is a lie from the pit of hell. It’s precisely because of Chan’s views regarding health-and-wealth teaching that he has become a hypocrite in his ministry partnerships. He preaches with the worst of the worst among prosperity charlatans. Teachers like Hinn, Johnson, White, and Heidi Baker preach exactly the false gospel Chan condemns!

In a video of a Bethel Church service from March 25 of last year, Bill Johnson is seen leading his church in an absurd prayer which he called “a decree and confession.” Before praying aloud together, Johnson said, “I want your faith to be recognizable in your volume. No small task.” He then led the congregation to recite the following, the audience practically yelling it as they proclaimed:

As we receive today’s offering, we are believing the Lord for jobs and better jobs, raises and bonuses, benefits and sales and commissions, favorable settlements, estates and inheritances, interests and income, rebates and returns, checks in the mail, gifts and surprises, finding money, debts paid off, expenses decrease, blessing and increase. Thank you, Lord, for meeting all of my financial needs that I may have more than enough to give into the kingdom of God and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

Bethel Church teaches you have the power to speak things into existence, especially your health and your wealth. By praying such a prayer, they are taught that they will have all of their professions.

Do not be fooled by Bethel’s intention to “promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Bill Johnson preaches a false gospel. He thinks the gospel is miraculous healing and has taught heretical things about God. Astonishingly, Chan has said, “Prosperity preachers often promise greater wealth if their listeners will give more to their ministries. This is never promised in Scriptures. We can never hold God to something that He has not promised.” Yet that’s exactly what Johnson was doing in that prayer!

What would it take for Chan to recognize Bethel Church actively advances the thing he condemns? Yet he has preached that if you criticize Bill Johnson, you are taking a sledgehammer to the house of God, and you will have to answer for that before God. He referenced 1 Corinthians 3:17 which says, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” My friends, Bill Johnson’s “gospel” is anything but holy. Chan is defending these guys and making people fear calling them out. That’s deceptive, whether or not the intention of his heart is to deceive.

Chan’s blog continues:

Why do you sometimes accept speaking engagements in places that tolerate theology that is different from yours?

I speak at events almost every week of the year. Often times, it’s more than one event a week. I don’t really enjoy it—I hate the travel, but try not to complain about it. Despite the toll it can take on myself and the family, it is always an honor to preach the Word. I believe it is my calling. Some question my choice to speak so often, but my best discernment and the discernment of the elders of our church is that it is still a part of my calling in this season.

I am asked to speak at approximately 500 events a year. I decline approximately 90% of the requests. It’s a difficult thing to do. Often times, I decline because other speakers will be at the event who believe almost exactly what I believe. My reasoning is that it may be a waste of Kingdom resources for all of us to be there, speaking largely to people who already agree with us. It seems more effective to speak where there is less Bible teaching. It has not been my practice to ask who will share the platform with me and to research the other speakers. While some may be dear friends, there are many that I know little about. This current experience has caused me to consider exercising more caution and to develop a team to help me research. That being said, I speak in many places where I am not in alignment theologically. I actually believe that is where I can be most effective, as long as they give me freedom to address anything I believe the Lord wants me to address.

I recognize, now more than ever, that sometimes my participation can give the impression that I align with every other speaker at the event. I’m not sure what to do about that other than to tell you that I don’t. Unless the elders of my church direct me differently, I will continue to be found preaching in venues with those I disagree. I will preach in just about any kind of setting if I’m given freedom to preach from any passage of scripture. The elders and I are trying to come up with more safeguards for future events to hopefully prevent misunderstandings. Pray for us.

From what it sounds like, Chan is going to be developing a team to help him decide whom he should preach with and whom he shouldn’t. I appreciate that, and it will be interesting to see where this goes. Will there be change? Will Chan realize he’s been teaching with liars and apologize? Or will Chan use this group he’s assembling to validate his alignment with false teachers? Time will tell.

That aside, how is Chan’s reasoning regarding where he preaches biblical? He gave numerous biblical references in his condemnation of the prosperity gospel—he gave no biblical references with regard to which speaking invitations he accepts. He says, “Often times, I decline because other speakers will be at the event who believe almost exactly what I believe.” Does Chan think there is little to no value in preachers gathering together in doctrinal unity? Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Isn’t it a better witness for laypeople to see teachers in one accord and not in discord?
Now, even at events like the Shepherds Conference or the Ligonier Conference, both held in just the last couple weeks, not every teacher is doctrinally aligned at every point. Some preachers are Baptists and some are Presbyterians—there’s doctrinal disagreement right there. But those preachers rejoice in that while they may disagree on secondary issues, they are exactly the same on their love for the true gospel. They love word of God and pursue Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

When Francis Chan preached at The Send, he aligned with heretics. There may have been no true gospel presented except what Chan preached. But Chan was not there in a Matthew 23 moment calling out sons of hell that produce more sons of hell. He called Todd White “a bold, bold man of God.” Todd White is a con-artist and self-professed faith healer who said his father in the faith was Kenneth Copeland. Chan did nothing to discredit these charlatans. Rather, before the audience at The Send, Chan made them appear more credible.

Romans 16:17-18 says, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

The Apostle John warned, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (2 John 1:9-11).

There’s simply no excuse for Chan’s ignorance. If Chan is so busy that he cannot do even a little bit of research, then he needs to say no to some of his speaking engagements and free up time to “test everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). This is his responsibility. It’s on him, especially as a teacher. For the Spirit of God says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Seriously, how does Chan not know who Benny Hinn is? He needs a team of people to tell him Hinn is a charlatan? If Chan simply watched the documentary American Gospel, he would receive so much insight into the false gospel these “friends” of his have preached and the damage they are causing. Chan knows the documentary exists. He was interviewed for it because of his outspokenness against the prosperity gospel. However, he was dropped from the final cut because the director of the film recognized the inconsistency in Chan’s witness.

In his blog response, Chan continues:

Why did it take so long for you to write a response?

Early in my ministry, I had a professor warn, “Don’t spend your time defending yourself. Let God defend you and those closest to you defend you. You can spend your whole life dispelling rumors.” I have followed that advice for the past 30 years. I hope this response doesn’t sound like a person who is trying to save his reputation just for the sake of saving his reputation. My hope was to bring clarity to those who might trust my life and preaching and assume that my being in a picture or on a stage with someone means that I align with them. In regards to pictures, I live a very strange life. Most people take pictures with their friends and family. I end up taking thousands of pictures with complete strangers who ask to take pictures with me. I have struggled over the years with whether it is wrong to sign books or take pictures with people. I would be perfectly happy to never take another picture or sign another book. It just feels rude and discouraging to say no. My intention was never to show allegiance with those who request selfies.

First of all, I can appreciate not wasting your time defending yourself against critics. I don’t. Dozens of videos have been made denouncing what I’ve preached. I’ve never responded to a single one of them. A pair of former members of my congregation once wrote a 9,000-word diatribe against me and posted it on Facebook. They lied about me in just about every way they could. But I did not type a single word in response—to them or anyone else (until just now, I suppose).

But this is not a trifle criticism over some idle comment Chan made. This is Chan aligning with heretics on a digression that keeps getting worse and worse. I have made several public appeals for anyone close to Chan to reach out to him and alert this brother to what he’s doing. He just doesn’t get it, and he still doesn’t get it.

The criticism regarding Chan’s associations has never been about selfies—not even in the last few weeks since images and comments have emerged following The Send. He’s not merely taking selfies. He’s heaping adulation and praise onto ministers of Satan. He’s standing shoulder to shoulder with them and calling them friends and brothers and men of God. Through pictures we’re seeing with our eyes what we’ve been hearing with our ears. It’s alarming! I’m not trying to spread rumors and gossip. I want Chan to repent!

This is serious—deadly serious. James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Chan recognizes that the prosperity gospel is worldly, yet he calls those who teach it his friends. I pray the Lord will open his eyes to whom he is playing with.

Chan concludes:

Another reason I took so long to write this response is because I read Paul’s defense of his ministry. He was able to do it out of love for people and the furtherance of the gospel. I needed a little extra time to make sure I wasn’t responding out of anger, pride, hurt, or cynicism- things that I have been guilty of. I think my heart is in a good place now, and I am writing because I believe I have a calling to proclaim the gospel and preach unpopular truths in a crooked generation. Though some are trying to deter people from my ministry altogether, I believe God has given me a calling to teach His Word. I plan on teaching faithfully until I die. I hope you take this in the spirit in which it was written.

One final thought—We should all be careful to guard against false teaching of any kind. In the process of refuting false teachers, however, we can unintentionally falsely accuse good teachers. That might be equally harmful to His Kingdom. God desires unity in His body, so it is no small crime to bring division into the church.

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” Titus 3:10

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Jesus deeply longed for unity amongst His children. This should not come at the expense of truth. There are times when the truth will divide. Let’s all humbly beg for wisdom from the Holy Spirit to know how to love our brothers without compromising truth. As we diligently confront false teaching, let’s show equal fervency in defending those who are truly our brothers and equal zeal in confronting those who unnecessarily divide the body.

Truly, it is weird to read Chan call for unity when he said in the same blog that he tries to preach in places where he is not in unity with other preachers. Maybe Chan needs to offer a definition of what he thinks biblical unity is supposed to look like. The guy abandoned his church instead of shepherding them as a pastor should, so I have my doubts about his understanding of unity or even his role of a pastor. Titus 1:9 says that a pastor “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also rebuke those who contradict it.”

But Chan didn’t rebuke anyone in his blog except those who have been rebuking. Exactly who are the “good teachers” Chan thinks we are accusing of being false? He refuses to name names. He’s still putting himself between the wolves and those trying to warn the flock. He’s being deceptive even if his intention is to tell the truth. Until he can be more discerning, we have to dismiss Chan as lacking credibility. He will lead others into believing the false prosperity gospel even while he condemns it. People will be confused about what the prosperity gospel is and isn’t when they see him aligning himself with those who preach it.

We cannot force unity. It cannot be manufactured by human will. We must be obedient to the truth, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom (Colossians 3:16), according to the full counsel of God. God will provide the growth. Chan made a reference to 1 Corinthians 3:17. Here’s what that passage says in verses 18-23:

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present are the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

Lauren Daigle and the State of Contemporary Christian Music

A little over a month ago Christian Daigle , award winning Christian singer (on secular and Christian charts) appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show and sang one of her songs from the album “Look Up Child”. She was bashed for even appearing on the show. My question was whether or not a clear presentation of the gospel was anywhere to be found. My assumption was ‘probably not’, given that her host was crazy about her.

What I did do is download all of the lyrics to all of the songs on the “Look Up Child’ album. And gather some statistics using several key words, which could at least tell me if a clear gospel message was present in any of her songs. Here are the numbers for the 11 songs from the album:

  • The word “sin” appears 1 time – “O’er us sin no more hath dominion” in a line from the song “Turn Your Eyes on Jesus” she did NOT even write. but was written in 1922 by Helen Lemmel  Like many others Ms. Daigle just re-styled it and called it her own.
  • “God” appears 1 time in one song.
  • “Jesus” appears in “Turn your eyes on Jesus” (she didn’t write it)
  • “Savior” 3 times
  • “Lord” 1 time
  • “You/your” as reference to God/Jesus 40+ times
  • “Saved” is used 1 time (You saved me, but no mention of from what

Sadly, the above lyrics reflect the tenor of a LOT of today’s so-called worship music. One article expressed the state of things rather well. It was called “32 Lyrics From Lauren Daigle’s ‘Look Up Child’ That Will Put You Squarely In Your Feels”.

These days ‘worship’ is all about our ‘feels’. Whether it’s the lyrics and presentation (Lauren has a tremendous voice!), the rock style music with loud whining chords and pounding drums (that actually drown out the lyrics, or the concert atmosphere, it’s all about the ’feels’.And when the lyrics can be understood, they seem to lack any clear presentation of a solid gospel message, very little actual theology with much of it really BAD theology (God’s love is ‘reckless’?).

The saddest part of all, is the sheer number of professing ‘Christ followers’ who have absolutely no issues with Ms. Daigle or the myriad of other CCM artists just like her. Must be the ‘feels’.

So much for my little rant. There’s nothing personal directed at any particular CCM artist, it just is what it is.

Heavy sigh…………

Dan C.

Farewell, Willow Creek: Where the “Regular” Churches Can Go From Here by Jonathan Aigner

The previous article I posted about WIllow Creek was published in CT Magazine. You can read it here. This article was published at Patheos.com and it takes a different approach to the events at WIllow Creek. I don’t regularly visit Patheos.com, but I found this article quite interesting and I can appreciate much of what the author discusses.

Farewell, Willow Creek: Where the “Regular” Churches Can Go From Here

by Jonathan Aigner

It looks like the beginning of the end at Willow Creek. They aren’t saying that, but I feel like that’s what’s happening.

If so, good riddance.

And you can take the megachurch movement you spawned with you.

I’m sorry if I sound bitter. I’m not, really. More relieved than anything else. Saddened for the stories of abuse, gaslighting, and hero worship. Grieved by the commoditization of human hearts and souls, the theological void, and the liturgical collapse. But relieved that this sad chapter in American religious history is rattling to an end.

Stanley Hauerwas said that the church growth movement was “the death gurgle of a church that had lost its way.”

Well, one of the biggest players is dying a quick death.

It was bound to happen anyway, regardless of the specific failures of Bill Hybels and the inept, buffoonish response of the Willow Creek board.

See, the rest of us are tired. We’re tired of having to compete with the downtown destination or suburban center house of entertainment that calls itself a church. We don’t have the energy, we don’t have the resources, we don’t have the desire, but we’ve felt like we’ve had to conform. Because you were growing, and we were shrinking! We felt like we had to do something drastic.

Paranoia struck so deep in our hearts and souls that, in desperation, we cried out for your bag of tricks. So we signed up for your silly, overpriced conferences. We copied the happy, clappy dreck you dared to call worship. We tried to find a charismatic leader like yours. We tried to be a mini-Willow in our own neck of the woods. We gave up ourselves: our message, our mission, our liturgy, our identity.

No more. We’re tired. We’re disillusioned. We’re embarrassed. We’re just done.

After decades of believing churches like Willow Creek had discovered the antidote, after 25 years of copying, emulating, strategizing, and leadership conferencing, we’re finding out that we’ve built our behemoth, nondescript church buildings on the sand like the foolish people we are.

Well, Weeping Willow Creek and all others of its ilk, we’re on to you. We see the chinks in your armor, and they’re gaping open ever wider with each passing day. Another one of your empires has fallen, and others will follow soon.

We should have known all along.

Celebrity pastors cannot possibly be good shepherds to their people.

Attractional worship is only entertainment, nothing more.

A fast food version of Jesus can never be the real version of Jesus.

The church growth movement leads to a bloated, unhealthy body of people who don’t really understand what they’ve signed up for.

Capitalism does not hold the keys to evangelism.

The Pastor as CEO idea will always fail, often with far-reaching, disastrous results.

Big churches are not good role models for the rest of our churches. In fact, their methods will ruin us, too, if we’re not careful.

Though Willow Creek and those like it may crumble and fall, the church will go on. God will preserve it, and none else can stop it. We know that the cosmic renewal, redemption, and restoration has already begun, set in motion by God’s mighty acts in Jesus Christ.

But here in this culture, it must almost begin anew. The megachurch movement was nothing more than a last ditch effort to save a church created in our own image. The calling is clear: Christ must be born again within us.

So church, it’s time to rediscover your sacred, holy identity. It was never just about filling pews. Go on about the gospel that still calls to you. Go on with your liturgy. Preach the Word, administer the sacraments. Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God, even as it become more novel, more strange, and more isolating. Spread the great and glorious news that Jesus Christ has brought into this world, even when your culture no longer gives it lip service.

After all, church, what does it proffer you if you gain thousands of butts in your seats, but give up your heart and soul?

Nothing. In fact, church, you lose, and you lose big.

Adding more campuses is not discipleship.

Hiring more staff is not church growth.

Getting more butts in the seats is not evangelism.

So free yourselves from the church growth obsession.

Free yourselves from your slavery to numbers. Free yourselves from the neurotic counting. Free yourselves from the mind-numbing, maddening task of data disaggregation. Release yourselves from the anxiety over empty pews. Realize that you don’t have to keep wondering what you will eat or drink or wear if your budgets shrink.

Remove the [obsession with church] growth.

Free yourselves from what your Americanized gospel thinks of as success, because if you don’t, you may just end up in the same boat as this giant.

Resist the temptation to use worship as a hook, a holy bait-and-switch. Because your message is sounding more and more like an unwanted, confrontational Amway spiel. It sounds like you want people in your services because you’ve got some property for sale somewhere that’s too good to be true.

Free yourselves for the higher calling of the Gospel of Christ. Be who you are called to be. Stop counting. Stop strategizing. Jesus promises that he is engaging enough, even though the most numerically successful churches claim otherwise.

Maybe it’s time we stop trying to top him, and just take him at his word.

__________

Photo:
wikipedia

“The Healing of Willow Creek” by Mark Galli

This is an article published in CT Magazine that speaks of what happened  with Bill Hybels and Willow Creek up to this point in time that looks at it through the lens of “loyalty”.

The Healing of Willow Creek

Misguided loyalty harmed this historic congregation. True loyalty can redeem it.

Mark Galli| August 13, 2018

The Healing of Willow Creek

Image: JLM

In light of the resignation of its pastoral staff and elder board, it’s time to rally around Willow Creek Community Church with support and prayers. With those resignations, and the repentance they suggest, Willow has an opportunity to enter into a new fruitful season of ministry.

Let’s ponder what has happened in the last few months and why, because a simplistic reading of the events will only tempt Willow—and any Christian institution in a similar crisis—to react in such a way that the fruitful season will wither away all too quickly. Many women have come forward and said Bill Hybels has abused his power and sexually harassed female colleagues. The current leadership, pastors and elder board, have failed early to take seriously the accusations being brought forth. We are wise to try our best to grasp the moral and psychological complexities of what has taken place, so deep redemption can take place.

Rediscovering True Loyalty

Given the number of troubling testimonies about Hybels’s behavior, it’s easy to forget we’re still dealing with allegations and not proven fact. Many are of the opinion—me included—that he is guilty. Hybels, however, continues to deny many of the most serious allegations. It’s not merely an American thing but is also required of Christian charity: The accused are entitled to their day in court. For independent churches in Willow’s situation, that court is the sort of independent investigation that Willow has at long last commissioned. An independent investigation will hopefully be able to bring to light the full truth of the matter. The choice of the organization to investigate, as well as its work, are certainly matters to keep in prayer.

The current pastoral leaders and the board have shown both courage and humility in resigning. That in itself is an act of repentance, and for that we can be grateful. Without excusing the leadership, we do well, however, to note why staff and boards who otherwise show signs of wisdom are tempted in a crisis to downplay accusations and protect their leader at all costs, for they do it often.

One reason for many is loyalty. Loyalty is an especially precious virtue in mission-driven organizations, especially in an age when missions are so easily undermined. We do not want to hire staff or form boards whose first instinct is to suspect the leader of the worst after every accusation.

And here is the rub, because loyalty is more complex than we first imagine. We tend to think that loyalty means always taking the side of the leader to whom we want to be faithful. Loyalty instead means doing everything in your power to make the leader not only a better one but a more faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s not unlike patriotism for one’s country. The true patriot loves his country; so much so that he will speak out when he believes the country is doing wrong, to call the nation to adhere to its deepest ideals.

In the face of substantive accusations, then, it is not a betrayal to look seriously at accusations in a way that the truth will come forth and not be covered up. It is an act of loyalty—for the sake of the leader’s integrity.

Loyalty to the leader continues and drives even deeper when it appears that the leader is guilty of a shameful offense. That’s when the leader needs the loyalty of a true friend. This doesn’t mean denying or excusing wrong behavior. At such times, it means standing with them, praying for and with them as they begin to wrestle with wrongdoing and hesitantly, awkwardly try to repent. Because it is inevitable that in such crises, leaders usually do not have the spiritual wherewithal to confront every aspect of their sins immediately. Repentance is a hard and fearsome thing. We need God’s powerful grace to repent, and that grace is often communicated by patient and loving counselors who can help lead us to a proper and deep repentance.

But loyalty is more complex still. Pastoral staff and boards are also called to be loyal to their congregations. This is one reason leadership at every level is so hard and why it tests the best of men and women. Staff and boards often feel they have to choose between loyalty to their leader or to their congregations they are called to serve, and they often end up choosing one or the other. This is what has happened at Willow, and not only with the board. People are either for the congregation, and especially the women who have come forward, or they have been for the staff, board, and Hybels. But loyalty and love require that we parse how and in what ways we need to be loyal to all parties, even when we believe one party has made grievous errors of judgment or has been immoral.

Of course, all these loyalties are grounded in our loyalty—that is, faithfulness—to Jesus Christ, who has demonstrated his loyalty to us, even while we were sinners.

Going Forward

Some have said that Willow staff and elders have been too loyal to Hybels, and some argue that boards should not be so loyal. As the argument above suggests, we beg to differ. Instead, we believe boards should be even more deeply loyal to their congregations and to their pastors—with all that loyalty requires.

One question now is who is going to be loyal to those who have just resigned? And to Bill Hybels and his family? And what does loyalty look like now for those who remain and those who will be called into leadership? Who will be approaching any who have erred and sinned and have wreaked havoc? Is there anyone offering them prayer and support, inviting them out for coffee and conversation, being willing to listen to their story—all the while prodding them to deeper repentance and righteousness?

Many are saddened and rightly angry at the way the initial accusers of Hybels have been either ignored or slandered. That is a terrible thing. But it would only make matters worse if those we believe who have acted disgracefully are shunned in turn.

More than anyone, of course, the accusers of Hybels—those women who have apparently been bullied or sexually harassed—need people to rally around them. This nearly goes without saying. But the gospel calls some of us to rally around the accused and guilty, as well. What loyalty and love looks like in each situation is different, but in the end it should be a combination of honesty and grace, tough love and tender mercy, that leads one and all into a deeper relationship with God.

In short, our love and loyalty must span the breadth of innocence and wrongdoing, of wisdom and malfeasance, if we are to discover a redemption that truly heals.

In this painful moment, Willow has been given a divine opportunity—that is, a chance to be born again. It is entering into a season of self-reflection and repentance, which begins with that independent investigation. If it allows it to be a season, not something to be rushed though, it will see the slow and steady growth of grace set deep roots. May our prayer simply be the promise of the Lord in Amos (9:14–15), when he announced he would bring his people back from exile:

They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.

I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them.

Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today.

California Wildfires and Bethel’s ‘Miracle Workers’

The catastrophic fires raging in California have resulted in Christians all over the world to pray for God’s sovereign intervention and protection for everyone affected, both victims and responders.

An article at Pulpit & Pen had this to say concerning the California wildfires and the leader of Beth, Redding, Bill Johnson:

Bill Johnson, the leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California, claims that God has given complete power regarding what happens on Earth to man. Charismatics, like Johnson – especially those who teach Word-Faith theology, believe that they can exercise control over disease, sickness, and even weather. Bethel Church is the leading proponent of “teaching the miraculous” in the world. With the Carr fire consuming land near their headquarters and in their home county and outskirts of the city, Bethel leaders and members have been decreeing and declaring their power over the fire, calling down rain and demanding that wind stop. Unsurprisingly, their ability to control that which is controlled by God alone has proven futile, and 25 Bethel leaders have lost homes in the fire.

Bill Johnson has even told his congregation/followers that God is in charge, but not in control:

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The article continues:

The Bible likens prophets and supposed miracle-workers who claim to perform feats that they cannot and false teachers as being like “clouds without water,” an analogy that is fitting as Bethel pastors call down rain that doesn’t come.

They are clouds without water, carried along by the wind; fruitless trees in autumn, twice dead after being uprooted – Jude 1:12

The proven track record of being incapable of performing miracles did not stop Bethel Church from crying out to the weather, like Jesus in places like Mark 4:35-41. The Internet has abounded with examples of misled charismatics feeling they control the weather. While we all should rightly understand that God both controls the weather and does answer prayers, it is different than individuals claiming authority over the wind and tempests under the assumption that they are little gods.

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Obviously, the decrees and declarations have not worked. Several homes of Bethel staffers have been destroyed, as well as the homes of dozens of members.

Certainly, God can bring beauty out of the ashes. Some at Bethel are predicting and hoping for a great move of God, the likes of which have never been seen. Such revival would indeed be a wonderful thing.

What we have not seen are articles expressing doubt concerning the validity of Bethel teachings concerning the miraculous and how believers are supposed to operate in the ‘supernatural’ as a normal part of their Christian walk. How will this effect the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM)?

One might think that the failure of all the decreeing & declaring that the wind and fire cease would cause a bit of reflection on the part of those attending BSSM, as well as those trying to get up enough money to attend and become miracle workers. Perhaps some will be driven to really study their Bibles and come to realize they have been hoodwinked into drinking the poisonous Kool-Aid served up regularly by Bill Johnson and the other leaders at Bethel. One can only hope and pray. Time will tell.

In the meantime, continue to pray for the situation in California, all those affected by the fires, all of the first responders and firefighters. Pray also that God would remove a great cancer from the professing church, as the true children of God who have been deceived by all that is Bethel (including the Pied Piper that is Jesus Culture) are awakened by the Holy Spirit and flee from the flames of heresy.

Is Same Sex Attraction Sinful?

I believe this to the question at the core of the current kerfuffle in the PCA concerning a July 26-28 event to be held at Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA) in St. Louis, Missouri – the  Revoice Conference. All of the criticisms aside (and there are many), as well as the defenders comments (here is one), the real issue is whether seemingly natural (born with) human affections can be sinful, along with the inevitable temptations and sinful behavior that often follows giving in to temptation.

That, my friends. is THE question at hand. I’ve read more than a few articles on the subject, and what follows, posted at Purely Presbyterian seem to have hit the proverbial nail squarely on its head. Read on.

 

Is Same Sex Attraction Sinful?

Some otherwise conservative Christians are beginning to take a compromising stance on homosexuality. They claim that only homosexual behavior is sinful and that same sex attraction (SSA) is a “sign of brokenness” similar to feelings of grief or sadness, or as one proponent put it, that having SSA is being “born in a broken condition… that does not represent flourishing” similar to being born blind. They claim it is a negative result of the Fall, but not inherently sinful. So their advice for Christians who are same sex attracted is to remain celibate and that their SSA is not sinful and doesn’t need to be repented of.

One pastoral candidate was asked if he believed that “his homosexual feelings, attractions, thoughts, and desires are sinful.” To which he answered: “I believe my same-sex attractions are broken, but I do not believe they are sinful. It is not a sin for me to be attracted to another man, in the same way it is not sinful for you to be attracted to a woman.” [1]

Anglican minister Sam Allberry describes what same sex attraction is, “I am same-sex attracted and have been my entire life. By that, I mean that I have sexual, romantic and deep emotional attractions to people of the same sex,” [2] but also claims it is a “form of temptation” and that he is “uncomfortable with saying same-sex attraction is sin.” [3]

The following points will demonstrate how unbiblical and dangerous those ideas are.

What is Same Sex Attraction?

“Same sex attraction” is an ambiguous term, what does it mean? This is one fundamental part of the problem with discussions on this topic. Worldly terminology and worldly concepts are often used rather than Biblical ones. Calling it an “attraction” makes it seem no different than how a man could notice the objective beauty of a woman without lusting after her in his heart, however this is inaccurate.

When we ask if same sex attraction is sinful, the question is not whether finding someone objectively beautiful is sinful. A man could be attracted to women and men in this sense and no one would say it is sinful. For example,  David is described as “a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance” (1 Sam. 17:42), mothers can say that their children are handsome or beautiful, etc. This is clearly not the sense of the term when talking about same sex attraction, or else it is a pointless distinction because everyone experiences this.

Same Sex Attraction is not a Temptation

Some [4] have suggested that SSA is a merely temptation and since Jesus was tempted and remained sinless, being attracted to the same sex is not sinful. However, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between temptation and desire.

Temptation is the “solicitation of the passions” [5] or an enticement of a desire (whether that desire is good or bad). “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14). One can not be tempted by something one does not desire. Jesus’ desire for food was not sinful (Mat. 4:3), but it is sinful to desire an excess of something good (Col. 3:5), or to desire a particular thing that is not yours to desire (Deut. 5:21; Ex. 20:17).

Additionally, some desires are sinful in and of themselves because there is no particular circumstance wherein it would be lawful to have it. The Bible describes same sex attraction as the habitual desire for “strange flesh” (Jude 7), having “vile affections” (Rom. 1:26), or being “without natural affection” (Rom. 1:31; 2 Tim. 3:3). Temptation for something that is wrong in its very essence (such as sodomy, pedophilia, bestiality, etc.) is an enticement of a desire for that thing, thus the temptation is drawing from an already wicked desire. The desire for sin is itself sinful.

Sexual Attraction is an Affection

Affection is “A bent of mind towards a particular object, holding a middle place between disposition, which is natural, and passion, which is excited by the presence of its exciting object. affection is a permanent bent of the mind, formed by the presence of an object, or by some act of another person, and existing without the presence of its object….Desire; inclination; propensity, good or evil; as, virtuous or vile affections. Romans 1:31. Galatians 5:24.” [6]

Affections can be good or bad in themselves. They are good when they are directed at something good (e.g. 1 Chron. 29:3; Col. 3:2), they are bad when they are excessive (e.g. “inordinate affection,” Col. 3:5) or directed at something sinful (e.g. “vile affections,” Rom. 1:26, or being “without natural affection,” Rom. 1:31; 2 Tim. 3:3).

Same Sex Attraction is a “Vile Affection

Homosexual desire is not analogous to heterosexual desire. Man desiring woman is not sinful in itself because that is the way God made men (Gen. 2:18; 3:16). Man desiring man is sinful in itself because it is not the way God made men, so Scripture calls it “vile affections” (Rom. 1:26). Heterosexual desire is often sinful because it is misdirected in a particular or excessive way (e.g. toward a particular woman who is not one’s spouse), not because it is sinful in essence; but homosexual desire is sinful in its very essence, just as pedophile or bestial desires are. Whether homosexual proclivity is innate in some people or acquired, the proclivity itself is “against nature” (Rom. 1:26) and must be repented of. This is not true of heterosexual proclivity, which is natural and good by God’s design.

The affection for the opposite sex is a natural and good inclination of the human mind, because that is how God made men and women (Gen. 2:18; 3:16). The affection for the same sex is an “unnatural” and “vile affection” (Rom. 1:26) of the human mind because it militates against God’s design for human sexuality. Same sex attraction is sinful in itself while opposite sex attraction is not.

Opposite sex attraction only becomes sinful in two ways: 1) when the passions are aroused in an excessive way, what the Bible calls “inordinate affection” or “evil concupiscence” (Col. 3:5), or 2) when it is misdirected to an inappropriate particular object, such as toward a particular woman who is not one’s spouse (Deut. 5:21; Ex. 20:17). It is not sinful in the abstract, nor when husbands and wives are attracted to each other, but same sex attraction can never be lawful in any circumstance.

Concupiscence is “Lust; unlawful or irregular desire of sexual pleasure. In a more general sense, the coveting of carnal things, or an irregular appetite for worldly good; inclination for unlawful enjoyments…’sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.’ Romans 7:8.” [7]

“There is a difference in saying ‘I have this propensity, but I believe it is wrong’ and saying ‘I have this propensity and I believe it’s alright.’”

Matt Moore on Being Gay and a Christian but Says it’s a Sin

Sin is in the Heart, Not Just the Actions

Sin is not exclusive to the actions. Evil deeds and thoughts proceed from the heart (Mat. 15:18-19; Jer. 17:9; Mat. 7:16-18). Not only are our deeds sinful, the thoughts and desires are sinful as well. “The Law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14), “and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures (Deut. 6:5; Mat. 22:37-39; Mat. 5:27-28, 33-34, 37-39, 43-44)” (WLC Q. 99). The seventh commandment requires “chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior (1 Thess. 4:4; Job 31:1; 1 Cor. 7:34; Col. 4:6; 1 Pet. 3:2)” (WLC Q. 138) and forbids “all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections (Mat. 5:28; Mat. 15:19; Col. 3:5)” (WLC Q. 139), it is not restricted to outward behavior. If someone desires to have sex with children or animals they are still sinning even if they don’t physically act on it. This is true for every other sin as well.

Jesus corrected the false teaching of the Pharisees that sin was only in the actions and not also in the heart. Unrighteous anger is a sin of the 6th commandment and is murder of the heart (Mat. 5:21-22). Lusting after a woman who is not your spouse is a sin of the 7th commandment and is adultery of the heart (Mat. 5:27-28; Job 31:1). “Inordinate affection” and “evil concupiscence” (Col. 3:5)  are sins of the desires and of the mind. Part of being in Christ is to crucify “the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24), not just the external actions. All of this is true for the sin of homosexuality as well.

Same Sex Attraction Needs to be Repented of

Having SSA does not necessarily mean that someone is reprobate, but a regenerate heart will be struggling against it, not embracing and identifying oneself by it; crying out to God for repentance from it, not making excuses for it. Christians who are attracted to the same sex must recognize that that attraction is sinful, turn away from it, and strive to mortify it by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13).

In order to kill our flesh, we need to get to the root, our hearts (Mat. 7:16-20), where sinful sexual desires begin. In the case of homosexuality, sinful desires begin with the sin of same sex attraction. One must believe that his or her sinful desires are in fact sinful and beg God for the grace to repent from them and mortify them. How long that takes and the degree of success is up to God and that individual, it may not happen instantly, and it won’t happen completely in this life until we are perfected in glory (1 Cor. 15:54).

Celibacy, refraining from homosexual acts, is not enough, we must “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14).

Claiming that SSA is merely a temptation or a morally neutral “brokenness” from the Fall is unbiblical, deceptive, and eternally dangerous for the souls who struggle with this particular sin. Soothing same sex attracted people’s consciences by telling them that it’s just a “broken condition” or merely a temptation and not sinful unless they act on it is only going to damn them to Hell. They need to be admonished to cry out to God for repentance!

“From the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭6:13-16‬ ‭



[1] What Do You Think? Has the PCA acquiesced to pro-homosexual ideology? by Chuck Williams.

[2] Statement at General Synod (video clip).

[3] Sam Allberry, White Horse Inn, Same-Sex Attraction, Sunday, 27 Sep 2015.

[4] Committee on Judicial Business (CJB) of an unnamed Presbytery in the PCA; What Do You Think? Has the PCA acquiesced to pro-homosexual ideology? by Chuck Williams.

[5] Webster’s Dictionary (1828), Temptation.

[6] Webster’s Dictionary (1828), Affection.

[7] Webster’s Dictionary (1828), Concupiscence.


See also Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says about Sexual Orientation and Change by Denny Burke and Heath Lambert

Four Propositions on Homosexuality and Holiness by Rick Phillips

Sin, Salvation, Same-Sex Attraction by Jonathan Williams

Is Homosexual Orientation Sinful? by Denny Burke

Does The Gospel Coalition Believe in the Heinousness of Homosexuality? by Rev. Shawn Mathis