Thursday, December 18, 2014

Men Without Chests

C. S. Lewis wrote in his book The Abolition of Man:
And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. 
My greatest concern is that my generation and the one rising under us is retreating from the battle-lines with their tails tucked between their legs. Those who have been raised on a steady diet of: "The only absolute is: Thou Shalt Not Offend Anyone For Any Reason, Lest Thou Be Labelled Uncool By the World" seems to be all but silent on the key issues before us. It is disheartening to see the compromise on the issue of homosexuality, the indifference to the issue of abortion, and the lack of concern for sound doctrine. What has happened to manliness, conviction, courage, strength, and boldness? Men need to have messages. Men need to have something to say. Christian men need to have "chests." Lewis was a master wordsmith when it came to illustrating profound truths like this one. It is a bit frightening to note that Lewis penned these words in 1943 - right in the middle of World War II. He was speaking of "men without chests" back then. What image would he have used if he lived today?

We, the Christian church, have no one to thank but ourselves for the mess we see today. Our children have had relativism, evolutionism, scientism, atheism, and statism pumped into them for several generations now through the government school system. We actually thought we could offset that by sending our kids to youth-groups once a week and by taking them to church for an hour on Sunday mornings. And we are shocked that young people are not outraged by the wholesale murder of unborn children through abortion. They are undiscerning and easily deceived by church-growth gurus and hucksters. As long as the person looks cool, is popular, and is charismatic, they jump up and shout "amen!" no matter how unbiblical the doctrines they preach might be. We find them more offended by and concerned with the "tone" of people who condemn homosexuality than they are with the filth of the sin itself. God forbid someone stand up and condemn sexual perversion with any degree of pathos and vigor. Such are dismissed as unloving and even as un-Christlike. Such are the actions of men without chests. What are the young men of the rising generation going to do in the face of these clearly defined battle-lines: homosexuality, abortion, and the exclusive claims of the gospel of justification by faith alone? Sadly, it seems that most are blissfully unaware that such lines even exist. Such was the plan of the social engineers all along. They want to produce "men without chests" because such are easier to control and govern. They want to produce men who melt into puddles on the floor at the first sign of a debate or argument. They want men who have no guts, no conviction, no courage to stand their ground and fight for truth and righteousness.

And so I want to encourage parents and pastors everywhere: Labor to produce men with chests. Labor to produce Christian people of conviction and strength. You only have your precious children for a very short time. Speak to them about the battles of your day and encourage them to stand and fight armed with the Word of God, the gospel of Christ, and divine love. Pastors especially must recognize what J.C. Ryle wrote long ago: "The pulpit is the place where the chief victories of the Gospel have always been won." Every time you step up to your pulpit to address the people of God, remember that you are a leader. Remember that you are the mouthpiece of God during that moment. Remember that your text in God's Word is where the power of God is located. Remember that you must understand the times in which you live. Do not be content to feed people fluff because it "preaches good." Give them meat and solid food. Labor to produce men with chests who will be strong in the Lord and who will, in the power of God's might, change the world. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

There is no "gay" or "LGBTQ" "community"

The surest way to guarantee you will lose a debate is to allow your opponent to define the terms, parameters, and worldview that will lie beneath your conversation. If we let them do this, then our opponents have won the argument before it even starts. While they pretend to be neutral, they are not. While they tell us to be open-minded, they are not. We must recognize that those insisting the loudest to us that we must be open-minded are in fact the most closed-minded people on earth. They are dogmatically committed at the outset of all their dialogs and debates to their worldview and value system, and they grant to them the highest immunity to correction or revision. When Christians engage the world of unbelief around them, they must learn to obey this simple passage of Scripture while doing so:

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”

As we defend and present the faith, it is foundational that we “sanctify the Lord God in our hearts” while we are defending and presenting that faith. We begin committed to the propositions of God’s Word and we proceed committed to the propositions of God’s Word. We must not let the opposition attempt to sneak in their worldview undetected.

In the debates over homosexuality, the Bible, the church, and the Christian faith, those in favor of same-sex marriage and of affirming God’s blessing upon homosexuality in general speak quite frequently of “the gay community,” or “the LGBTQ community.” This is a subtle and often undetected Trojan horse which enters into these discussions. Christians must object to the use of such terminology. There is no “gay community.” Nor is there an “LGBTQ community.” Human beings cannot be defined by a particular sin. Please think about this previous sentence. I will restate it. Human beings cannot be defined by a particular sin. Here is the non-Christian, anti-Scriptural presupposition at play in such labels: God creates people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and etc. And therefore, there are “communities” of such people who are homosexual by nature. They are normal because God created them that way and they cannot be anything other than what God made them to be.

How are we to handle the person who says, as Matthew Vines does, “same-sex attraction is completely natural to me,” and further tells us that this sexual orientation is something he was born with and which cannot be changed? We stand upon the authority of the text of God’s Word. We say to such people: There is no “gay community.” There are no “gay people.” Your same-sex attraction is sinful and must be stopped. God creates males and females. They are designed as compliments to one another. Genesis 2:18 “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” The word translated “comparable” is the Hebrew word: negeth. It means: “an opposite correspondence to.” When it comes to sexuality, the Biblical worldview is clear: Men are created to be married to one woman and to have sexual intercourse with one woman, and vice-versa. The fact that individuals sometimes experience same-sex attraction is due to the same cause of the desire to commit adultery, idolatry, theft, envy, coveting, and murder. That reason is: the advent of sin into the world (Romans 1:18ff, 5:12-19). The Scriptures identify same-sex attraction as a sin – Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Leviticus 18:22; 20:13. Thus, it is entirely anti-Scriptural and irrational to speak of a “gay community” in the same way it would be to speak of a “murderers community.”

Since the fall of man, people experience the desire to commit many different kinds of sin. Some of those sinful desires are sexual in nature. People experience perverted desires. But why call anything “perverted?” We do this because of the standard set forth in God’s Word. Sex is a privilege, not a right. Sex is the privilege of married people only. The word “marriage” is defined by God as well and it is not subject to modification or change:
Genesis 2:24-25 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. [25] And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

As a pastor, I encounter people who have various struggles with various types of sin. Some struggle with stealing. Would it make much sense for me to “affirm” such individuals as part of “the thieving community?” Would it not strike you as odd if there were kleptomania conferences, seminars, workshops, coffee-houses, and bars devoted to overcoming klepto-phobia? Of course. And so what are we to do with people who come to us and ask, “What about all the people in the gay community? Don’t they need pastors and loving churches too?” The answer of course is, ‘yes, they do.’ But no pastor and no church ought to affirm them in behavior which is prohibited by the Word of God. A “loving” pastor and church will call such individuals to repentance and faith in Christ. No one denies that same-sex attraction is a real phenomenon, just as the desire to commit adultery, to covet, and to steal are real phenomena. But what I do deny is that people must be mastered by those desires. It is the Word of God which defines human gender, sexuality, and marriage, not our desires. Our desires must conform to what our Creator says is right, not the other way around.

And so I urge all Christians not to allow proponents of same-sex relationships either inside or outside the walls of churches to smuggle in the idea of there being a “gay community” or an “LGBTQ community.” Human beings are not defined as the specific sins they commit. And to allow them to get away with doing so is to lose the debate before it starts.