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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Failed Attacks and False Gospels: A Response to Kluwe, Vines, and Mclaren.

In the seemingly relentless campaign to marginalize and stigmatize those of us who hold to a biblical view of sexual ethics, the militants on the opposing side are more than happy to utilize morally and doctrinally wayward "Christians" to advance their cause and to silence religious opposition to anti-biblical values with respect to human sexuality.

One such person is "gay rights" advocate, football star, and professing Roman Catholic Chris Kluwe. 

The Vikings football star (well known for his support for homosexual causes) landed himself in the blogosphere once again when he wrote an open letter to a Minnesota Catholic bishop, responding to what he called the bishop's position of  "oppression, intolerance, and fear".

What did Archbishop John Nienstedt do that warranted such a strong condemnation?

In a letter written two years ago, Nienstedt addressed a Catholic parishioner of his who expressed dissent concerning her Church's teaching about human sexuality as it pertained to her gay son. 

The clergyman implored the concerned woman to accept the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality, going as far to say "your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation of heart on this topic".


A Catholic bishop urging a Catholic to accept Catholic teaching!

I have my problems with the Church of Rome, but this isn't one of them.

It would seem to me that any rationally minded person who is not emotionally wrapped up in this issue would see this exchange as a mundane and normal expression of governance and spiritual admonishment by a religious authority.

And yet to the fawning praise of gay blogs and websites, Mr. Kluwe wrote a poetic and mind numbingly over-dramatic response to the bishop in which he referenced the "Crusades" and the "Taliban", accused the bishop of "denying the humanity of gay people", and even implicated him in the not-so-hypothetical suicide of gay teens.

All this because a professing Catholic was told to accept the following from the Catholic catechism:

  Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.  (Catechism of the Catholic church, paragraph 2357)

 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. (Catechism of the Catholic church, paragraph 2358. emphasis mine)

 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (Catechism of the Catholic church, paragraph 2359)

Whether one agrees with this teaching or not, these passages say nothing about the intrinsic value of the person with SSA, except to imply that he or she is so valuable as to be respected and protected from unjust discrimination.

I suppose these "finer details" must have gone over Mr. Kluwe's head.

But we all know that divergence from Scripture in this area is in no way relegated exclusively to the Roman Catholic realm, by any means.

Recently, a young man named Matthew Vines has been making his rounds in Evangelical circles boldly spreading the not-so-old heresy that homosexual behavior is not sin and should be accepted by Bible believing Christians.

Vines, who spent two years researching the issue of homosexuality and the Bible, recycled and repackaged the same old "gay theology" arguments we've all already heard (albeit, with a few new twists) and put them in a sermon that is being lauded as monumental and groundbreaking by both secular and religious talking heads alike.   

Of course, neither Vines nor his promoters pay even the slightest attention to the numerous and comprehensive refutations of all of Vine's points, widely available for years--decades even.

And even more recently, news that "Emergent Church" preacher Brian Mclaren officiated his son's bizarre same-sex "wedding" commitment ceremony hit the fan, further discrediting the minister who was already suspect due to his frustratingly vague views on many critical points of Christian orthodoxy.

Thankfully, the positions of Matt Vines, Brian Mclaren, and Chris Kluwe, mean very little in terms of signaling some grand "evolution" in the thinking of the church, except to show the increased boldness of those who have fallen prey to this modern day rotten theology.

We hope and pray that, in time, they will come (back) to the true biblical faith.

My point is not to give these men undue fame, but to respond to a common theme that seems to serve as the foundation for these men's shared heterodoxy and rejection of the biblical teaching on sexuality.

Note the next three quotes by the men themselves:

Over time, I could not square their stories and experiences with the theology I had inherited. So I re-opened the issue, read a lot of books, re-studied the Scriptures, and eventually came to believe that just as the Western church had been wrong on slavery, wrong on colonialism, wrong on environmental plunder, wrong on subordinating women, wrong on segregation and apartheid (all of which is justified biblically) ... we had been wrong on [the issue of homosexuality]. --Brian Mclaren

How can we reconcile our version of the Catholic Church as salvation to the sick, the needy, the poor, when we must also bear witness to the Catholic Church as oppressor, tormentor, and executioner? Where, in all of Jesus’ teachings, did he ever say to deny the humanity of other human beings; where did the Son of God proclaim that mortal Man knew God’s will; where, pray tell, did Jesus ever say to harden your heart against those who may not be exactly the same as you? -- Chris Kluwe

Good teachings, even when they are very difficult, are not destructive to human dignity. They don’t lead to emotional and spiritual devastation, and to the loss of self-esteem and self-worth. But those have been the consequences for gay people of the traditional teaching on homosexuality. It has not borne good fruit in their lives, and it’s caused them incalculable pain and suffering. If we’re taking Jesus seriously that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, then that should cause us to question whether the traditional teaching is correct. -- Matthew Vines

Whether they believe what they are saying or not, the argument being used by "gay theology" proponents is this: the biblical teaching that homosexuality is a deviation from God's creative purpose for human sexuality and that sexual expression thereof is sinful is inherently destructive towards people with SSA and is an attack upon their very self-worth and value.

 This, of course, is nothing short of a pernicious lie. 
Human sexuality is a beautiful aspect of our person and is to be expressed within the the creative framework that God has decreed.

In the beginning of the world, God made Adam, whose name means simply "man", and Eve, whose name means simply "life", and brought them together that they might love and care for each other as life-long partners.

Jesus expounded on this theme where he made the case for life-long, faithful, natural, marriage in Matthew Chapter 19 saying:
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

It was God's purpose in making two sexes that two would become one.

This is the good and proper paradigm that we as Christians should hold to, support, and defend over and against any other paradigm, whatever it may be.

However, we are told about the genuinely difficult plight of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have felt the sting of the Fall with respect to their sexuality, as we all have felt the sting of the Fall in so many areas of our own lives.

Does that mean that we reject the man-woman paradigm for relationships that God has put in place and instead craft one to our liking?

Certainly not!

The appropriate path is to come along side our brothers and sisters and help them bear their burdens as they begin to understand their desires within the bounds that God has so lovingly ordained and seek to find who they are in Christ, irrespective of who they are attracted to.

Whether they, like many heterosexual Christians, will stay single, or perhaps, by the grace and power of God, find a spouse, we hold that is not only possible, but crucial that to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ we all must submit our sexual desires to Christ as God has commanded in Scripture.

When Paul spoke to the Corinthian Church about sin and salvation, he had this to say in chapter 6 of First Corinthians: 

 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

And one invitation to enter into this new state of being is given by Jesus in Matthew 11:   

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus doesn't say that following him will be easy, he says that he will bear the burden with us as one who has "overcome the world" (John 16:33).

This, I believe, is truly a message of truth, hope, and love that all people, regardless of sexuality, can cling to.