• Must Read Books on Christianity, the Bible and Homosexuality

    A few weeks ago I spoke at Orange Evangelical Church and gave two talks on Homosexuality and Christianity. I have been asked a few times to recommend books on homosexuality and Christianity or homosexuality and the Bible that I have found helpful and so here are my list of must read’s on this issue that Christians need to be both Biblically clear headed and filled with the love and grace of Jesus:

    The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics by Robert Gagnon. This is a must read for pastors, Bible college students and anyone who is in a significant place in christian leadership. Gagnon is exhaustive in his analysis of the Bible and his interaction with those who try to argue from the Bible that homosexuality is a biblically legitimate expression of sexuality. His tone is scholarly and straight to the point and he pulls no punches so this is not a book to go to if you are looking for pastoral counsel. But if you want a book that deals with the Bible and Homosexuality this is the book.This is a tough book to read that will take work but it is a vital book to read.

    Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views by Dan Via and Robert Gagnon. This is written by two scholars who present their arguments from the Bible on why the Bible is for homosexuality (Via) and why it is against it (Gagnon). It is a great book to see how the two different sides of this debate actually look at the Bible totally differently.

    Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill is a great book that I hope all Christians read. It is written by a man who calls himself gay in the sense that he is attracted to men and and yet he is a Christian who because of his faith will not act out on his desires. What this book shows is how painful it is to be caught in this situation. The book also gives us hope by dealing with this issue in a pastorally brilliant and theologically informed way.

    Sex and the Supremacy of Christ edited by Justin Taylor and John  Piper. Buy and read this book for Al Mohler’s article “Homosexual Marriage as a Challenge to the Church: Biblical and Cultural Reflections”. The article shows Mohler at his best. It is both biblically and theologically informed and culturally savvy.

    Like Me: Confessions Of A Heartland Country Singer by Chely Wright. Is an autobiographical account of American Country singer Chely Wright and her struggles with being a life long lesbian. It takes you through her battles with her identity, we read of her praying as a seven year old that God would make her straight and other emotionally gripping stories. Christians should read this book because it shows us point blank the emotional turmoil that exists when struggling with homosexual identity.

    Homosexuality is one of the flash points for Christians in our age. We need to be biblically informed and yet have compassion and love. The books on homosexuality will help you be both.

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  • What You Have To Know About Our Culture’s Preoccupation With Sex

    We live in a world where sex is everywhere. It seems every magazine has a sealed section about how to have hot sex. Sex sells everything. People pay for sex or pay to watch people get naked and have sex.

    But what does our cultures preoccupation with sex say about us and our culture? In the middle of last century C.S. Lewis said this about the culture’s preoccupation with sex:

    “You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act–that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?

     

    One critic said that if he found a country in which such strip-tease acts with food were popular, he would conclude that the people of that country were starving. He means, of course, to imply that such things as the strip-tease act resulted not from sexual corruption but from sexual starvation. I agree with him that if, in some strange land, we found that similar acts with mutton chops were popular, one of the possible explanations which would occur to me would be famine. But the next step would be to test our hypothesis by finding out whether, in fact, much or little food was being consumed in that country. If the evidence showed that a good deal was being eaten, then of course we should have to abandon the hypothesis of starvation and try to think of another one. In the same way, before accepting sexual starvation as the cause of the strip-tease, we should have to look for evidence that there is in fact more sexual abstinence in our age than in those ages when things like the strip-tease were unknown. But surely there is no such evidence. Contraceptives have made sexual indulgence far less costly within marriage and far safer outside it than ever before, and public opinion is less hostile to illicit unions and even to perversion than has been since Pagan times.”

    C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 89-90

     

    Lewis shows that our preoccupation with sex shows that our society is broken. That we are defined by sex shows that we are enslaved by it. The gospel shows us that our identity is not formed by or based on our sexuality. It is based on the fact that we are made in the image of God and he has redeemed us through his son. Only through that lens can we see our sexuality in the light that we should see it in.

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  • Jason Collins, Homosexuality and So Called Religious Bigotry

    Yesterday Jason Collins, a 12 year NBA veteran, came out and announced he is gay. Both the blogosphere and the twittersphere has exploded with this news. NBA stars like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Bradley Beal, among others, have tweeted their support of Collins. Collins has also received encouraging tweets from people like Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Spike Lee. The Sydney Morning Herald’s headline for this news was “‘I’m raising my hand’: basketball star reveals he’s gay after being inspired by bombings

    There are a few things to say here. Firstly this is not as big news as it seems. Contrary to the SMH Jason Collins is not a star or never has been a star. He is coming towards the end of his 12 year career (which is a very good stretch in the NBA!) and is a free agent that no one probably wouldn’t have been signed regardless of whether he is gay or straight. If Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin or Lebron James came out and announced they were gay this would have been a far greater news story. This fact is in ten years time no one will remember Jason Collins as a great basketball player only as a gay one which I think is sad for Jason Collins.

    Secondly, it has been interesting to watch how to media has reacted to people voicing their religious belief that practicing homosexuality is a sin. For example, the NBA team I support, the Golden State Warriors have a lot of Christians on the team and a lot of those guys are Christians. The coach, Mark Jackson, is a pastor and was questioned about Collins coming out: Here is the transcript:

    Q: “Did you hear about Jason Collins today coming out as the first gay athlete still in the game?”

    Jackson: “I will say this. We live in a country allows you to be whoever you want to be. As a Christian man, I serve a God that gives you free will to be who you want to be. As a Christian man, I have beliefs of what’s right and what’s wrong. That being said, I know Jason Collins, I know his family, and am certainly praying for them at this time.”

    Q: Is there a stigma attached to him now? Will he be able to get on another team?

    Jackson: “That’s not for me to answer.”

    Q: “Would he be welcome as a Warrior?”

    Jackson: “If he had game.” (Jackson laughs, as do several members of the media.) “If he can help this basketball team. Today he can’t help this basketball team.”

    Q: “You said you knew Jason. How well do you know him and were you surprised to hear the news, knowing him a little bit?”

    Jackson: “I called Nets games for three years and he was a member of the Nets team. Also, living in LA, his parents, his mom, I don’t know if she does but works for one of the private schools. We had interactions in terms of attempting to get one of my kids into school and she was instrumental in it. Comes from a great family, and he’s a great guy.”

    Q: “Knowing the locker room atmosphere as you do, Would any player in general have trouble gaining acceptance around the league not just this team or not just with Jason, but in general? Would that be difficult?” Jackson: “It’s something that obviously being around Jason, and I played with John Amaechi in Utah, that there’s a reason why in these situations these players are at the end or done. So obviously that answers itself. Right, wrong or indifferent, it is something that’s new to people.”

    Q: “Are you shocked?”

    Jackson: “Shocked? That there’s a gay man?”

    Q: “That he came out.”

    Jackson: “It’s like asking me if I was shocked that he came out and said that he liked women. It is what it is. To each his own. And like I said, I know him as an individual, he’s a good guy, and I’m certainly praying for him. I’m not shocked at anything these days.”

    After these words were reported the Twittersphere exploded. Marcus Thompson (@gswscribe), the Warriors beat writer for the Bay Area News Group and a Christian, went on twitter defending the rights of Mark Jackson to say what he thought. But the guy who has really copped it was ESPN NBA writer and Christian Chris Broussard. Broussard was asked whether Collins could be Gay and a Christian because Collins has said he is both. This was Broussard’s reply:

    Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.

    This was a very bold statement! But did you notice how Broussard carefully says that all sex outside of the confines of marriage is sin. He is therefore not saying that homosexuality is worse than any other sin but he is standing on his own convictions and saying it is a sin. Ironically, many people have spoken out and called what Broussard said wrong. It seems you can’t call things a sin today because that would be, well, sinful right?!? Whether or not you agree with Broussard’s thoughts about homosexuality I am sure you can agree with what he said in the same show about name calling and bigotry:

    In talking to some people around the league, there’s a lot Christians in the NBA and just because they disagree with that lifestyle, they don’t want to be called bigoted and intolerant and things like that. That’s what LZ was getting at. Just like I may tolerate someone whose lifestyle I disagree with, he can tolerate my beliefs. He disagrees with my beliefs and my lifestyle but true tolerance and acceptance is being able to handle that as mature adults and not criticize each other and call each other names.

    We need to be truly tolerant about this issue and many others today. To call each other names like “bigot” or “intolerant” is, in the end, not tolerant at all. If we are to be mature adults about this we listen respectfully to each other and we can all agree that even though I may disagree with your moral choices or your sense of morality and you me disagree with mine we need to hear each other out on the issue of sexuality as well as many others.

    Maybe you are reading this and you aren’t a Christian, I would add one more thing. The Bible doesn’t say that  homosexuality as the worst sin, nor does it permit abuse or vilification of homosexuals. If any Christians vilify Gay people they are in deep sin and God hates all sin, especially the ones religious people commit. But the Bible does hold to a high standard of sexual morality that we all fall short of (e.g., Matt. 5:28). That means we are all  sinners and that all of us are in desperate need of a savior. The good news is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), no matter their sexual orientation. Because he loves us he died on the cross and took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved. Then God raised Him from the dead three days later. This is what Easter is all about.  Now anyone can receive forgiveness and eternal life when they trust Jesus as their lord and saviour and repent of their sin. God loves you and has done everything you need to be right with him. The choice is yours as to whether you come into relationship with him or not.

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  • The Great Porn Experiment

    Porn screws up guys lives and here is a very important video that all guys, pastors, coaches, teachers, etc. should watch. Trust me it is worth the 18 minutes of your time to watch.

    Gary Wilson has a webpage dealing with the content of his talk more fully. Access it here http://yourbrainonporn.com/

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  • Unexpected Pastoral Ramifications from the Fresh Perspectives on Women in Ministry series

    Martin Luther is reported to have said “Theology is never naked.” What he meant by that is that all theology is connected, so if you change one part of your theology over here it will have knock on effects to this part over here.

    This is never any more true with how we read the Bible. If we read the Bible on one issue in certain way we have to be consistent and allow people to read all parts of the Bible in the same way that we have read that one part.

    This principle has hit home recently with the publication of John Dickson, Michael Bird and Kathy Keller’s books in the “Fresh Perspectives on Women in Ministry series”. Around Christmas and in the days following there was a lot of chatter on social media about these e-books and it seems that a lot of people have read them or have understood the books arguments because the authors have given summaries of their arguments. This is not only good marketing but it is very generous. This I applaud.

    But since these books have been released two Christian men who have been struggling with same sex attraction for years have asked me “If these guys can read the Bible in such a way that gets us out from under what the Bible appears to be saying about gender in the church why can’t I read the Bible in such a way that lets me live in a committed same sex relationship?” Now I am not sure how Bird and Dickson would respond to these men. No doubt they would respond biblically and with great care but the question still remains if Dickson and Bird are allowed to deal with words in a way which makes us read the texts entirely differently than what they seem to be saying. (I think this is what Dickson does as he defines the words “to exhort” Gk. parakaleo and “to teach” Gk.didasko.) Why can’t a pro gay reader redefine the words that seem to prohibit homosexual unions in the Bible (i.e. the Greek words Malakoi and Arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 where we get prohibitions of homosexual sexual sexual activity)?

    In putting forward this blog I am not saying that Dickson and Bird are pro gay. That would be stupid and sinful on my part. But the question I would love to know is “How they would respond to this question that our brothers in Christ have put forward?”

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  • 7 Resources you can use to Fight Pornography

    Pornography is one of the biggest issues facing many Christians, male and female, today. Over the past few weeks the issue of pornography has come up over and over again in pastoral conversations that I have had. I also have had different friends in ministry asking me about dealing with this dreaded issue in the lives of their people.

    How do you deal with pornography if you are addicted to it?

    How do you help someone else in their addiction to pornography?

    The following are some resources that you might use in your fight:

    Here are some videos about dealing with porn addiction that you should watch:

    In this one Don Carson talks about temptation but the example he uses is pornography

    John Piper has a few clips about dealing with pornography. One about unbelief and porn addiction. In this one John Piper is talking to a bunch of youth about pornography. Both are fantastic!

    In this one John Piper, Tim Keller and Don Carson talks about how the gospel and accountability conquers the sin of Pornography.

    If you struggle with pornography you need to get some kind of monitoring software. I use Xwatch Pro which costs 7 dollars a month. You can get the free version here

    Mark Driscoll has written a book called Porn again Christian. It is very blunt and very frank but very good.

    Pornography looks so good and yet it never delivers what it advertises it will. It promises gratification but that gratification is quick and shallow and ultimately it leaves people empty. But more than that, when we look at porn, even free porn, we are playing our part in the victimization of the women and men who do porn. These men and women are created in the image of God and therefore should be loved and respected.  And because porn distorts our self image as well as our view of sex and other people we are alspo destroying our lives. But most of all God hates porn and we should too.

    The answer, as the guys say in the various videos, is not to give yourself a list of rules. If you are trapped in this sin you don’t need another list of do’s and don’ts, you need to realise that your greatest joy will not be found in sex but in Jesus.

    When realize that, and this truth becomes central to your being, you will have overcome pornography.

     

  • 9 things that Inform the way Christians Interact with the Gay Community

    Whether or not Gay people should be allowed to be married keeps getting splashed all over the media. It is a confusing time for all people especially Christians. Christians should love all gay people because God loves gay people and we are called to imitate God in his love. We also need to acknowledge that there are gay people in our churches. Some people are struggling with their orientation in silence, others are figuring out where they are at with Jesus while living as a practicing gay person and while others are open about their struggle and are seeking to conform to the image of Christ. The following are 9 things that I think Christians need to keep at the forefront of their mind when thinking about the current sexual climate. If you are reading this and you don’t call yourself a Christian the following is a summary of what (I think) Christians should believe about Gay people and being gay. My hope is that this belief that we Christians should have is worked out in love for the Gay community.
    1. All people are created in the image of God. Just because a person’s sexual orientation changes, it doesn’t change that they are made in the image of God. Therefore, Christians should treat homosexual people with love and respect knowing that, just like them, gay people are created in the image of God.
    2. The gospel says that gay people, just like straight people, are loved by God. When the Bible talks about the love of God (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10; Rom 5:6-8; etc.) we see that the love of God is open and knows no boundaries. Therefore, Christians need to biblically affirm that gay people are loved by God, and we, as Christians, should be known for our scandalous love for the Gay Community.
    3. The gospel says that gay people, just like straight people, can change. The Bible calls Christians ‘new creations’, which infers that people can be made new. This shows that through the power of the gospel all people, including gay people, can change. This does not mean gay people will automatically change their sexual orientation. That may change but just like a person who is arrogant will struggle with pride for the rest of their life we must not think that all gay people will change their orientation. This may change, but all people (married,single, gay, straight) are called to faithfulness to God. This is a tough pill to swallow but we all need to acknowledge that our humanity and identity is tied up with God and who he is and not our job, money, sexual orientation, etc.
    4. Biblical sexual ethics starts with Genesis 2:18-25 and this text is never superseded, but always remains foundational for biblical sexual ethics. This text affirms that the right context for sex is between one man and one woman in one relationship for one lifetime.
    5. Although Jesus did not talk about homosexuality specifically, he understood marriage as being between a man and a woman. In his conversation about divorce in Mark 10:1-12, Jesus uses Genesis 2:18-25 as foundational when he speaks of marriage. In using Genesis, Jesus is affirming biblical sexuality as being between one man and one woman in one relationship for one lifetime.  Also, in his teaching on divorce (Matt 5:31-32, 19:9; Luke 16:18; Mark 10:1-12) Jesus shows he is conservative on divorce, thus deconstructing the myth of the sexually-tolerant Jesus.
    6. People in the Roman world around the time of the New Testament had similar views on homosexuality, including long-term homosexual union, as the general population in the Western world has today. In Greco-roman literature[1] as well as art[2], homosexual activity was normal and sometimes was held up above heterosexual sex![3]
    7. We need to do careful word studies on the words the New Testament uses when speaking of Homosexual acts. We need to look at the Greek words ἀρσενοκοῖται and μαλακοὶ in their contexts in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Some scholars seek to show these words to have an extremely wide range of meaning and therefore render the words unusable because they lack specificity. But the overwhelming support from New Testament scholars is that ἀρσενοκοῖται should be translated something like ‘males who take other males to bed’[4] and μαλακοὶ should be translated something like ‘effeminate males who play the sexual role of females.’[5]
    8. The Bible is univocal in its condemnation of homosexual practice. Wink, a theologian who argues that Christians should fully accept all people regardless of their sexual orientation,[6] says this: ‘I have long insisted that the issue is one of hermeneutics, and that efforts to twist the text to mean what it clearly does not say are deplorable. Simply put, the Bible is negative toward same-sex behaviour, and there is no getting around it. The issue is precisely what weight that judgment should have in the ethics of Christian life.’[7] Wink is saying that the Bible clearly condemns homosexual behaviour but he asks what place the Bible has in speaking to Christian ethics. So, even a theologian who is agreeable to homosexual relationships recognises that the Bible clearly condemns all homosexual acts.
    9. Gay people, like straight people, need to hear the gospel first and foremost. Christians have a tendency to be moral warriors. But what the world needs to hear is the gospel. The world needs to hear the fact that God is there and he created them. The world needs to hear that we have all rejected God as our king. The world needs to hear that God, in his great love, sent Jesus to die and take the penalty for our rebellion. The world needs to hear  that Jesus has risen from the grave guaranteeing our Resurrection. The world needs to hear that God is inviting us all to know him and one day to be with him where  there is no more evil, pain or suffering. The world needs to know the gospel. Christians sometimes act like as if we get gay people to be straight we have won. But you don’t go to hell for being gay and you don’t go to heaven for being straight. You go to hell because you have rejected Jesus as the lord and saviour of your life. The world needs to hear the gospel from the lips of Christians who have their heart broken by the love of God for the world.
    What do you think?
    What would you add?
    What would you take away from this list?

    [1] See the discussion in Robert Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001), 350-360 as well as Thomas K. Hubbard, Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: a Sourcebook of Basic Documents (University of California Press; 2003); and Marylin Skinner, Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture (Wiley-Blackwell 2005).

    [2] See John R. Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 B.C. – A.D. 250 (University of California Press, 2001)

    [3] See Plutarch Dial, Love 750B-751B, 752B-C

    [4] This is how Gagnon takes ἀρσενοκοῖται. Some alternative translations from other scholars include ‘Men who take the female role in sex.’ Victor Furnish, The Moral Teaching of Paul: Selected Issues (Abingdon Press; April 2009); ‘Men who assume a passive sexual role with other men.’ Bernadette J. Brooten, Love between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (University Of Chicago Press; 1998).

    [5] This is how Gagnon translates μαλακοὶ.

    [6] Walter Wink, ‘Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality’, Christian Century, November 7, 1979, 1082

    [7] Walter Wink, ‘To Hell with Homosexuals: Sex and the Bible’,  The Christian Century, June 5-12, 2002, 32-34

  • Adultery, Homosexuality and the quest for grace and truth

    If you haven’t heard the latest blow up in the blogosphere here it is. Andy Stanley, a megachurch pastor from Atlanta in the States preached a message called “When Gracie Met Truthie” which was based on John 1:14. The point of the passage is that Christians and churches need to hold both to grace and truth. You can’t let go of one or the other, or you can’t lean to one or the other because Jesus embodied both grace and truth perfectly. Near the end of the sermon he has a killer line “The church is at its best when it embraces grace and truth and refuses to let go of either.” This is a line which all biblical Christians can embrace. Not only that, all Christians can embrace much of the sermon because Stanley spoke very powerfully of the grace and truth of the bible and Jesus’ ministry.

    The issue came with an illustration he used.  In the illustration he told of a couple with a daughter who divorced when the wife discovered that the husband was in a homosexual relationship. The woman then told her former husband and his gay partner to move to another church. They did move. Not to another church but to another North Point location where they volunteered on a welcoming team. The woman later told Andy Stanley that her former husband and his partner were now involved as volunteers in the other congregational location. She then told Stanley that her ex-husband’s gay partner was still married. Stanley then explained that the partner was actually committing adultery, and that the adultery was incompatible with him being on a welcoming team. Stanley told the two men that they could not serve on the welcoming team because one man was still married. The story ended with the former wife’s decision not to live in bitterness but to bring the whole new family (Her daughter, ex husband, his lover, her new boyfriend and her new boyfriend’s daughter) to a Christmas service.

    This is a confusing message, is adultery sin but homosexuality not? I am sure that Stanley would not say that homosexuality is fine. But to use this story and not be clear on all sin is a very confusing message. Would a person who is gay walk away being affirmed in their sexuality but a person who is caught in adultery not?

    The church needs to be welcoming to all people caught in all types of sin and folly but we don’t do it by soft-pedalling sin or telling stories that may show God’s love, but that don’t speak clearly into people’s lives. We need to hold onto both truth and grace. As Stanley himself said:

    “The church is at its best when it embraces grace and truth and refuses to let go of either.”

  • How to find “The One”

    So many of us who are single are trying to find “The One”. You know the one who I should marry, the one who will complete me, the one who God wants me to marry.

    It goes without saying that if I find “The One” I will have a great life that will be always full of love and joy and will have no tears or heartbreak. But, if I don’t find “The One” my life will be a disappointment and I will not live the happy life I deserve!

    Well let me tell you where you will find “The One”.

    You will find “The One” in Wonderland next to the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow riding a unicorn!

    You know why you will find them there? Because just like pots of Gold at the end of the rainbow and unicorns “The One” is a myth.

    Because there is no one person who will make you feel great all the time. With whom you will never fight or get frustrated with.

    There is no perfect mate

    No soul mate

    No “The One”

    “The One” is a very dangerous concept. It is not found in the Bible and it frustrates me no end that Christians talk about “The One” without realising that they have got this concept from Hollywood and the media. It is dangerous because it gives people an over inflated sense of what a relationship or marriage is going to do for them.

    “The One” is also an impossible bar that no one will be able to clear. Imagine the pressure of being someone’s “The One”. You are there to make them happy, to fill them with joy all the time and to know what they are thinking and feeling without them or you saying anything. This not only impossible but a dangerous fantasy. I have been married to my beautiful wife for two and a bit years. I still need her to tell me what she is thinking. Sometimes she pulls a face and I am left thinking “Does she want me to get something?” or “Have I missed an important day?” or “Does she have gas?”  Holding onto the concept of “The One” will only end in tears.

    How do we get rid of the concept of “The One”? We do it by hearing what the Bible says about us all. The Bible says that we are all made in the image of God and therefore we are all to be loved and respected. But it also says that we are sinful and selfish and therefore when two sinful people come together in marriage or a dating relationship we will expect that there will be tension, there will be periods of frustration, it won’t always be the romantic comedy fantasy that we hoped for. The concept of “The One” doesn’t give us a realistic view of ourselves, the opposite sex, relationships and ultimately marriage.

    Marriage is a great thing and my life has been enriched by my marriage to my amazing wife in so many ways. It is truly a great gift of God. But let’s get rid of the unbiblical fantasy known as “The One” and lets have our relationships defined by God and not by Hollywood.

     

  • Tough questions from a girl who was hurt by adultery

    Last year I sat down with a friend of mine who was at Bible College. A few years ago a mutual friend of ours had committed adultery and was disqualified from ministry. It hit us both very hard but I think it hit her harder because he was her youth minister who led her to Jesus and the girl he cheated on his wife with was her best friend.

    I found myself asking a question that I am not sure I wanted to know the answer to. I asked:

    “What do you think I can learn from this situation?”

    She said I should ask myself these questions:

    Do I think I am above it? She said that no one is above it and to think otherwise shows we are arrogant. But if we think we aren’t above being committing a sin that disqualifies us from ministry we will make every effort to guard against it.

    Do you admit that you are wrong? Her youth Pastor was challenged about the relationship he had with this girl before the scandal came out and yet he never admitted that it was wrong. In fact, he never he admitted he was wrong about anything. Pride does come before the fall.

    What’s in your closet and who knows about it? She said everyone has junk in their closet but what kind of junk is it? A porn addiction? Do you lust after girls/guys in your church or youth group? Who knows about the junk in your closet? If no one knows then no one can hold you accountable and if no one can hold you accountable the sin will overcome you.

    Is your wife involved in your ministry? She said that our friends wife didn’t know what he was doing in his ministry, she didn’t know the relationships that he was forming or where he was most of the time. She said partnering with your wife in ministry is not only helpful to you in ministry but is an added level of accountability.

    If God took away your title as pastor would you still be a Christian? Her ex youth pastor and my friend since the indiscretion has since walked away from Jesus and yet she told me a touching story about seeing him and how he said he still has sermons to preach and  how he loved being a youth pastor. He said that he wished he could all take it back. She reminded him of the gospel and how Jesus loves him and died from him. But he hasn’t come back to church. Maybe it is because of the shame of his sin but she thinks he was more in love with the title of Pastor than Jesus. This is a question of identity. Where do we find our identity? Is it in our Job/title/role or in Jesus? If it is in our job we will want to be needed/wanted by our people if it is in Jesus we will create proper boundaries in our ministry and pastor those people by pointing away from us as their functional saviour to their real saviour Jesus.

    These are very tough and yet timely questions.