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July 14, 2005

The razor-thin line between obedience and love

I came across the following OpEd from the Baptist Press:

I write this on lunch break in my corner of an office of The 411, a New York City church (on 42nd street, sponsored heavily by Southern Baptist churches from the deep south) who are embracing a radical, risky and eternally rewarding way of life described in the same book that calls the homosexual lifestyle sin.

Romans 12:21 reads, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Overcome evil with condemnation? Overcome evil by shaking our heads, refusing to go see the Disney movie "Tarzan"?

No. Overcome evil with GOOD.

Today the staff of The 411 hauled hundreds of water bottles to a dancer's call audition for the revival of the Broadway musical "A Chorus Line" (infamous for being the first successful musical to openly deal with and affirm homosexuality in the arts). We walked into a room full of hopeful dancers and nervous producers and said "Hey, this water is free for you guys. We're from a new church called The 411 and we just want to say that God loves you."

The man running the audition looked at me with a blank stare and then said, "Wow, that's ... well ... that's just ... wow ... that's ... amazing!" Then he announced to the entire room, "Hey these church people just brought you guys all free water!" I then heard him turn aside and mutter to himself, "Wow that is just amazing."

Yes, it's amazing. The goodness of God who sent His only Child to be brutally murdered on behalf of a human race who rebelled against Him is amazingly GOOD!

In no way should a person who claims to follow Jesus Christ advocate a lifestyle that so clearly is spoken against in the Word of God. However, we trust that by meeting the basic needs of lost people, doors will open to share with them the hope of a new life in Christ.

I get tired of people belittling others efforts, simply because it's not what they choose to do. I made a point of limiting how much of my money went to Disney, because Disney made a point of endorsing homosexuality. I also made a point of reaching out to people I know who are in the homosexual lifestyle so that they could see that it was not them personally that Christians opposed, but the behavior they engaged in. It's not an either/or deal when it comes to how a person treats the issue, but the author certainly gives the impression that she believes it is.

It's great that her group did something nice to someone, but her rejection of the stance other have taken in opposing homosexuality strikes a warning bell. Others have leapt to that side, with her gusto, only to either fall of the edge of syncretism (all go to heaven by their own way) or be yanked back by fellow Christians as they begin to slide into it (as Anthony Campolo was).

I've seen this kind of misplaced zeal before, in people the author's age. They see the love and kindness that can be done in Jesus name, and then criticize the harshness they see coming from others. Yet they never seem to notice that the harshest words in the New Testament came from Jesus' own mouth. He was unbending when it came to His expectation of righteous behavior. Yes, he kept the adulteress from being stoned, but then He told her to go and sin no more. That part's usually glossed over, but it's there. He judged her sin.

In an opinion piece masquerading as news, MSNBC quotes homosexual activist, Jallen Rix as saying...

“‘God loves you, but — ’. That is not unconditional love.”

It was his introduction into a sickening rationalization why he believed God wanted him to commit sodomy with other men.

Using that same rationalization, why couldn't Joseph Edward Duncan then say that if God loves with unconditional love, then his acts of torture, murder, kidnapping and child rape were all within God's will? Same “logic”. But that mindset is what Liberals who like pretending they are Christians have (what we sometimes call, Oprah Christians). And that mindset is a strong temptation to exuberant, idealistic young Christians who react too strongly to perceived negativity among other Christians.

It's uncomfortable to blend the two truths of: God loves this person — but — they are doing something horribly evil. We hear the old, “If God really loved us, He wouldn't send anyone to hell.” as if that isn't the same, exact juvenile pouting that we hear when a small child cries, “You make me eat spinach. You don't love me!” Locally, here in the Tulsa area, one of our better known pastors has fallen into this perverted mindset, and his church is now considered a cult by many. It's a dangerous thing.

It's like being on a very tall building and needing to reach something near the edge. The need is there, but the danger is also there. It does little good to reach what you need, only to fall to your death doing it. The same goes for compassion for others. It is needed, very much more so than most Christians attempt. But the danger is there also, and just as real, and just as important to be focused on. Sin is sin; it can't be rationalized away. A baby is cuddly and precious, but that same baby can have a very stinky diaper, that someone has the job of changing. Life is full of contrasts, and therefore the correct balance must always be sought.

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 14, 2005 08:13 AM

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