Back to business as usual. Today we have a couple of excerpts from a news article titled: Evangelical church opens doors fully to gays. Now in a perfect world we could say "Amen!" because they would be welcoming gays in to show them the love of Jesus and call them to repent. Instead, in what is an all too common reversal of the Gospel, we see a "church" that not only condones, but embraces sin:
The auditorium lights turned low, the service begins with the familiar rhythms of church: children singing, hugs and handshakes of greeting, a plea for donations to fix the boiler.
Then the 55-year-old pastor with spiked gray hair and blue jeans launches into his weekly welcome, a poem-like litany that includes the line "queer or straight here, there's no hate here."
The Rev. Mark Tidd initially used the word "gay." But he changed it to "queer" because it's the preferred term of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people invited to participate fully at Highlands Church.
Tidd said Highlands is not a one-issue church but one committed to social justice. He describes it as "radically inclusive but still rooted in the essentials of the Gospel." The church discourages promiscuity and encourages healthy lifelong relationships.
Tidd said he supports gay marriage and would perform same-sex blessings if asked. A gay man in a committed relationship sits on the church's board of trustees.
"Our position is not one of lenience, but a matter of justice," said Tidd, a married father of five. "It's not that we don't acknowledge the reality of sin. It's not a sin to be gay or act in accordance with your nature."
Healthy lifelong relationships? There is nothing at all healthy in living in a grotesquely sinful lifestyle while a man who claims to be an elder in the church of Christ affirms and applauds. The summary of this article is a man who tells people in rampant sin that their sins are OK, that Jesus loves them in their sin instead of Him dying for their sins. That this church is described as "evangelical" shows why that term has lost any meaning. The most telling quotes were near the end:
"We reach an understanding of the Bible not just by studying God's word, but by studying his world," Tidd said. "If you think he's the author of both, they both inform each other."
If evangelicals can disagree about end-times theology and baptism methods and still be considered authentic Christians, he thought, why can't the same tent hold disagreements about homosexuality?
Well Mr. Tidd, that is because one can believe in infant baptism or dispensationalism and still be saved. One cannot call what is sinful holy and be saved. I find it incomprehensible that someone who is supposedly an elder in the church is so ill-informed about the fundamentals of theology. My older kids know better than that. His attitude though holds some warning for us all. He stated that the world informs the Bible as much as the Bible informs the world. That is far more common than many people would admit. There are far too many doctrines in the Bible that run smack up against our comfort zone and in those cases the world typically wins out. "Sure the Bible says X,Y and Z but that was then, this is now." When you let the world define the Word, it is not that great a leap to start to welcome sin in the church. Whether it is comfortable, or easy or acceptable, the Word must define the way we see and live in the world.