It’s going to get messy

When Krista and Jami Contreras took their daughter Bay for her first pediatric visit, they were surprised to learn that the pediatrician they had selected, Dr. Vesna Roi, had decided not to accept Bay as a patient because they were lesbians. Dr. Karam who informed the Contrerases of Dr. Roi’s decision and said she would be Bay’s doctor delivered the news. Dr. Roi said she had prayed about it and did not think she would “be able to develop the personal patient doctor relationship that I normally do with my patients.”

According to their attorney, Dana Nessel, the Contrerases did not want to publicize the matter initially, “But now they think it’s important to come forward. It’s a matter of letting people know that this is a real thing that really goes on.” Of course they do. Same-sex couples think that everyone, including conscientious Christians, should accept their chosen lifestyle as normal and natural despite what the Scriptures teach.

There have already been some discrimination cases of a baker refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, and a photographer who did not want to take pictures at a same-sex couple’s wedding. But these are not even in the same category as refusing health care to a child.

We are in the midst of a major societal shift, and witnesses to the capitulation to the homosexual lifestyle by our culture and the courts. Christians can expect in the foreseeable future to be confronted by same-sex couples that will demand acceptance and services. What’s a Christian to do?

Honesty compels me to ask, Would Dr. Roi have turned away the child of a heterosexual couple who live together without benefit of marriage, or a single woman whose child had been born out of wedlock? Does she pick her patients based on the specific sin of the parents? How would she reconcile her decision with the words of Christ who told us “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” Matthew 7:12?

Things are going to get messy as the Church negotiates the learning curve of same-sex relationships and how to reach out to them in love without condoning their behavior. And regardless of how intolerant and petty they treat us, we have a God ordained obligation to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 6:44.

Rather than disengage and withdraw from interaction with same-sex couples, I think Christians should seek to be the salt and light we are called to be. After all, our witness may be the only Gospel influence they ever have, and by engaging them we obey Paul’s admonition, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” Romans 12:21.

Advertisements

Looking To Yourself

Earlier this month David Murray wrote an article entitled Why Are Christians Hated So Much? He goes on to point out that Christians are involved in a host of humanitarian ministries and should be appreciated for their charitable contributions to the betterment of those less fortunate. Why is it we take the brunt of the criticism, while other religions are applauded? He says it is because Christianity calls for a commitment to the exclusive claims of Christ, and most other religions don’t require a similar commitment. I think that is true, but I do not think this is the only reason.

Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, tweeted he had watched the movie Fifty Shades of Grey saying it was a “great movie.” Several of his followers questioned his Christian commitment for seeing the movie. He tweeted yet again, “Saw a movie filmed in the town I call home. Provocative/disturbing no doubt but that does not make me less Faithful. Have a blessed day!”

The older, and I hope wiser, I get I am not as enamored with the entertainment industry as I was when I was younger. Based on some of the reviews I have read I will not go to see Fifty Shades of Grey. But honestly, I have better things to do than follow Russell Wilson, like doing the best I can to follow Christ.

This perspective is not born out of the words of Christ who said, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” Matthew 7:1. If those who like to quote this passage would take the time to read the context they would see that it is referring to hypocritical judgment. There is a place in the Christian life for honest objective judgment, John 7:24.

But for those who think Russell was wrong, I would point them to Paul’s words, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted,” Galatians 6:1. All of us make mistakes. If we witness someone making a mistake our first thought should be how to avoid doing the same.

If instead of trying to correct others, we spent more time correcting ourselves, Christians would have less time and be less inclined to criticize others, and would probably have a better testimony to a culture that desperately needs the influence of biblical Christianity. But if Christians insist on shooting themselves in the foot, they should not complain about limping around on a bad reputation.

I think this is the sort of silliness that causes people to get mad at Christians. While there is a time and place to exercise sound scriptural judgment, I do not think that is what happened here. As Paul said, each Christian should be “looking to yourself.”

Pope Francis Got It Right

Pope Francis recently endorsed the spanking of children in the home. The first and loudest howl of dissent came from the United Nations who I thought at first must have been spanked themselves. The UN believes Pope Francis’ proclamation conflicts with its Children’s Bill of Rights, specifically right number 15, protection from maltreatment.

Founded initially as the League of Nations, January 10, 1920, the United Nations’ primary goal is to achieve world peace, something they have failed at miserably since their inception. Of the 25 enumerated rights of Children, the one most conspicuous by its absence is the right to be born. Probably because this would rob some supposed doctors of a significant source of income, and worse, abortion activists their peace of mind.

Some may think there are more important issues to write about than the practice of discipline in the home, but the home is the most basic unit of any culture or society. Long before the institutions of education, industry and government were ever conceived, God instituted marriage and the home, Genesis 2:18-25. Show me a society where the home is threatened, and I will show you a society on the brink of collapse.

Despite the United Nation’s denouncement, Pope Francis is on solid scriptural ground. Solomon wrote, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently,” Proverbs 13:24. Corporeal punishment is a means of instilling in a child respect for his parents instructions that are meant for the child’s wellbeing. I do not believe spanking is the sole means of disciplining a child, nor, depending on the circumstances the most preferable, but there are times when it is indispensable.

Anyone who has witnessed a parent trying to negotiate terms of obedience with a three-year-old tyrant throwing a temper tantrum knows what I mean. The Vatican clarified its position by saying, parents “should be able to rectify their child’s inappropriate action by imposing certain reasonable consequences for such behavior, taking into consideration the child’s ability to understand the same as corrective.” I am a fair wordsmith, but I could not have said it better myself.

Beyond the need to maintain order in the home, there is a vital spiritual principle here. The child who never learns to respect and obey the parent he can see, will doubtless never learn to respect and obey the Parent he cannot see.

Parents are saddled with dual yet conflicting responsibilities; they are to defend their children when they are right, and they are to discipline them when they are wrong. This requires honesty, discernment and diligence on the part of the parent. These responsibilities are achievable when guided by the Scriptures and with the help of our Father. “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother,” Proverbs 29:15.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Nicole Pasulka wrote an article How a Bible-Belt Evangelical Church Embraced Gay Rights. Nicole writes for a “digital news and lifestyle magazine,” takepart.com. The article is about Dale Wigden a homosexual who “had a complicated relationship with organized religion.” When Dale started attending Grace Pointe Evangelical Church in Franklin, Tennessee, he was looking for a place where he could “be gay and Christian.”

Even thought Grace Pointe did not permit LGBT people at that time to serve in any leadership capacity, he felt comfortable attending there from the first time he went. When Melissa Greene, pastor of worship and arts, said, “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or who you are, you were born beloved of God,” After that Dale said, he was “hooked on Grace Pointe.”

But things began to change at Grace Pointe. In a message this past January 11, Pastor Stan Mitchell said Grace Pointe “would allow LGBT people to take leadership roles, have baby dedications, and, yes, get married.” Mitchell “told the congregation…the Bible does not explicitly prohibit loving, consensual same-sex relationships.” Dale probably thought he had died and went to heaven.

The very essence of the Christian faith is that God has revealed His divine will and holy nature to us in the Bible. The Scriptures reveal to us the very character of God. The good news of the Gospel is though man has broken his life by living sinfully, God provided a remedy for our sinfulness by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and provide a way of being saved from our sinfulness. This provision of salvation is secured when in repentance we turn from our sin to faith in Christ.

For Mitchell to claim the Bible does not “explicitly prohibit…same-sex relationships” is ridiculous. When God declared, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination,” Leviticus 18:22, I do not know how God could have been clearer. To deny the explicit language of this verse is to be confused, or in open rebellion to what God has declared as sin.

To say I am gay and a Christian is the equivalent of saying, I am an adulterer and a Christian, or I am a liar and a Christian. To repent and turn from our sin is inherent in the concept of what it means to be a Christian. Homosexuality is not unique among the sins that men commit. It receives no special provision or dispensation allowing its continued practice. Like all sins it must be repented. All the word wrangling in the world will not change the fact that same-sex relationships are sinful according to the Bible.

It is simply more honest to say you do not care what the Bible says, than to pervert what it does say to accommodate your personal pleasure or practices. The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves.