Month: July 2014

  • Lions! Tigers! And Gays! OH MY! Part 4


    (What Would Jesus Condemn?)

     I’ve been talking about Christians dealing with President Obama’s executive order which prohibits those who receive government funding or contracts from discriminating against LGBT persons.  Obama’s order doesn’t have an exemption for religious organizations who receive government funds.

    I think the most important question I haven’t asked yet is, “Christian, where would you like for LGBT people to be?”  Let’s take a moment to seriously consider this matter:  “If you are the light of the world, and if you have an eternal relationship with God why not take every opportunity to draw all kinds of people, including LGBT people to where Christ can get close to them?”  If you believe homosexual practice is an abomination then working with or around you would be ideal to bring them into contact with the “good news”.   Jesus saves from abomination!  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you believe he’s saved you from your sins, so give that same “good news” to those around you.

    If the government forces you to do your work with LGBT persons then find a way to show the world overcoming love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.   Christians have used either condemnation of or total acceptance of sin, for the past 30 years and nothing has been working.  Rather than push sinners away, or ignoring their sins, why not do what Jesus did?

    The Pharisees of Jesus’ day condemned all who were not like them.  When Jesus was having dinner at the house of one of the leading Pharisees, a woman came into his house, went directly to Jesus, and started washing his feet with her tears.

    “When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”  Luke 7:39.

    The Pharisee could do nothing but condemn the sinner for her sins, but Jesus forgave the woman’s sins.  If you have the cure condemnation is nothing but cruelty.  For Christians to condemn sinners is like a wealthy man refusing to feed his own children, because of the cost.  If you are a Christian or Christ follower then you have the wealth of God’s kingdom, so how can you refuse sinners, any sinner, the wealth God has lavished upon you?

    When Jesus is hanging on a Roman Cross the sins of sinners are place upon him.  We’re not simply talking about a transference of a guilty verdict.   The weight, knowledge of, and reality of sin was placed upon Christ.  Jesus, for the first time knew exactly what we all of us know from early childhood, the shame, feelings of, and power of sin.   Jesus knows our sins literally and intimately.

    “For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us…”

    2 Corinthians 5:21a

    Jesus knows us by our sins.  Jesus knows how wicked we truly are.  Jesus knows that we deserve nothing but his condemnation.  Jesus knows he is innocent, and he knows these same people crucifying him have murdered many more innocents than him.  Jesus knows that our guilt is absolutely irrefutable and yet this is his prayer on the cross, for those guilty of murdering an innocent:

    “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

    Luke 23:34

    Jesus knows our true hearts, and yet he does not condemn those who deserve condemnation.   Consider this then:

    Jesus not only takes the penalty for our sins, but he refuses to give condemnation.  Jesus not only takes our sins to death, but he continues to offer hope and life.  Jesus takes sin to the grave and he takes God’s righteous condemnation to the grave, as well.

    I believe in Hell, but any who go there will go there because they have rejected so great a love.  All who go to Hell will do so under their own power, and they will be their own condemnation.

    If you are a Christians consider something else:

    If God is conforming Christians to the likeness of Jesus, then, “Father forgive them…” is where God is taking us, as well.  So why is it Conservative Christians continue to be, very often, condemning?   Does the law condemn sinners for their sins?  We know the law does condemn sinners, and I would never argue against the law or the condemnation of the law.  But what must be argued, and what I believe is God’s argument is that salvation saves us from the sting of death from the law, but Jesus also saves from condemnation.

    “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

    John 1:17

    So the law came through Moses, and what does that law look like for the Homosexual?

    “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is abomination.”

    Leviticus 18:22

    BAD NEWS!!  Nothing else to be said about the law: Bad News!

    But what does the law look like with Jesus?   What does law look like with grace and truth applied?


    “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

    Romans 8:1-2

    I can tell you exactly what the law look like with truth and grace applied, in my own life.   “Lonnie you are a law breaker and you are guilty of committing abominations.  Because of the law you are dead in sin.  BUT through Jesus Christ you are no longer a sinner dead in sin, you have been made born again by the Spirit of God.  The Spirit breaks all the bonds of sin and death, and gives you life.  You are no longer an object of wrath, but a beloved son of God and in eternal relationship with God.”

    The law which was death to me has now become a reminder of all that Jesus has accomplished for me.  When I look at Leviticus 18:22, I don’t see a future of death and punishment, but a reminder of the great gift Jesus has given me!  What was once death is a cherished proof of the power of God to overcome all the world can produce in me, and that is sin.

    With so great a power to save, heal, fix, rebuild, raise from the ashes, how could anyone claim to represent Christ and offer anything but grace and truth, which overcomes the world, and also the condemnation and death,, the law necessarily brings?  What doctor, having the cure for a disease protests or seeks the formation of laws against disease??   If the doctor has the cure he/she merely gives the cure.   Why aren't Christians who claim the cure, condemn instead of giving the cure?   I believe it is the cost of the cure!  But what cost disobedience?   If Jesus puts condemnation to death, then what will happen to those who claim to be Christ followers who continually give condemnation instead of the Lord's prayer, "Father forgive...?"   If God is conforming us to the image and likeness of Christ then we will rather plead against, not for condemnation.

    How great is the punishment of Hell for those who claim relationship with and through Christ who condemn others??


  • Lions! Tigers! and Gays! OH MY! Part 3

    No Where To Go.  No One To Trust

    Jesus said, to the Jewish leaders:

    Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

    John 10:36-38

    We keep expecting LGBT people to believe what we say, but we can't show them how God administers the life giving gospel of the life, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to them.  Jesus doesn't do what we do today.   Jesus  points to the work of the Father in and through him, and says, "Look at the works only God can do, and believe me, because the words I speak and works I do prove each other!"

    The only people who believe Jesus are the tax collector, some Roman soldiers,  half-breed Jews (Samaritans), and prostitutes:

    Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

    Matthew 21:31-32

    The irony here is  these religious leaders of Jesus' day are actually very moral and upright, but the prostitutes and tax collectors truly are not.   They do not go near tax collectors and prostitutes.  They can't free prostitutes and tax collectors from their sins and give them new lives.  All the religious leaders can do is look down their noses at all those sinners, and put them out of the temple and synagogs.   Funny, Jesus comes along and a man can hardly find a hooker or a Jewish tax bully anywhere he's been teaching and healing!

    LGBT people should never do what we tell them to do.   If after 45 years we don't know God's answer for homosexuality then no one should believe us.  Is Matthew Vine an evangelical and a game changer?   Yes, I'd have to say he is, and why shouldn't we consider him one of us?   He's showed as much knowledge and ability to bring gay people to the homosexuality overcoming power of God as John Piper, Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren.   And look a Rob Bell, he's way out ahead of the curve.  He says he's for love no matter what it looks like.   And why shouldn't Bell and Vine hold to their positions on homosexuality?   Who among evangelicals knows how God desires to work freedom and change in the lives of sexually broken people??   Christians can't show LGBT people the world overcoming work of the Holy Spirit because they think it's easier and just as acceptable to God to stand against sin.   The thinking goes something like this:

    "If I stand across the street with a picket sign at a Gay Pride Parade that should be sufficient to show God I'm against sin."

     Few of us ever go among the sexually broken.  We're all  afraid of being judged by the religious leaders of our own day.   We're also concerned that people might start getting the idea we're gay if we start hanging out with gay people.  Christian guys are afraid if they reach out to help a gay guy, the homosexual will develop a crush on them.   (I've had to explain to more than one Christian man, that gay men have standards and exceptional taste, so very few Christian men are in danger of attracting a gay crush).    No one who has the cure for a terrible disease wastes time condemning the illness.   Jesus wasn't afraid the sinners he hung out with were a threat to his way of life or thinking.   Jesus didn't hesitate to go to the worst of sinners.  Jesus brought the cure to the world and he didn't sit around ranting or raving about Nero (Obama to many of today's Christians).   Jesus came to find what was lost, and to offer eternal life.  If after 45 years you're still standing around like the religious leaders of Jesus day,  condemning sinners and excommunicating them, then how can you possibly expect  people to trust us?

    I've had many many Christians tell me I should be among LGBT people, because my story of God's work in my life is so powerful.  I can't go to gay people and tell them how God changed my life.   Where would I send them after I told them how great God's salvation is??   I'll tell the gay people and the Church will simply prove me wrong.   All my life I've watched Christians destroy the faith of others because they show no love, no understanding, no faith that God will change the sinner.  they don't reach with love and faith that God can overcome sins.   I've watched Christians do it time and time again, someone reveals they are gay and they are shunned, refused opportunities to work in their church.   And God help the sexually broken persons who showed any kind of interest in youth or children.  People who're living lives which bear good fruit for all to see have received death threats if they get too close to children/youth ministries.  There are so few safe places, in the Church,  for people struggling against same-sex attraction.

    People who leave homosexuality are in danger from the LGBT community, but the Church hasn't offered a safe place for them to remain safe and pursue the life and freedom God will freely give them.  The Church is as dangerous a place for those dealing with same-sex attraction as the LGBT community is.   No one is going to listen to a voice which offers life, relationship, peace and eternal life, if all the evidence proves  those words false.

    The Church had better stop worrying about Obama's executive order and start learning about God's orders.   If, increasingly, no one can tell the difference between the traditional evangelical and the Matthew Vine kind of evangelical then that will be all the proof God will need, and he will start believing there is no difference between the two parties.  God overcomes, the, perhaps I should say church (lower case "c") because the evidence of God's overcoming power is lacking.   Great is the wisdom of God!   When we stand before God we'll either be conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus, or Matthew Vine, or Fred Phelps.   God isn't going to have to point any fingers, he'll see Jesus or he won't.




  • Lions! Tigers! And Gays! OH MY! Part 2


    The good news is Jesus Christ has overcome the world.   Also in the good new column: God says something incredible about those who believe in the saving grace and life transforming power of God:  "In fact this is love for God: to obey his commands.  His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world." 1 John 5:3-4.   So now here's the thing...God desires to overcome the world in and through you.   Still in the  good news column:  The truth that God can and will overcome homosexuality.  Remember 1 Corinthians 6?   "And such were some of you."   God has got the answer though he really doesn't give the answer in 1 Corinthians 6.    While you might find that a problem I most certainly do not.  My not knowing the answer to the problem isn't the problem.  The Holy Spirit has the answer to all sin problems and I'm his house.  I live with the person, the Holy Spirit, who knows how to fix, cure, save, free, deliver from sin.      In other words the answer is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you to love people to the freedom found only in Jesus Christ.


    There is a new young evangelical out there, and he's written a really terrific book, called,  God And The Gay Christian.  His name is Matt Vine.  Ok, it's not a terrific book, in fact it's completely derivative.  There is nothing original at all in the book.  I was reading the stuff in Vine's book nearly 30 years ago.  I do like the way he packages the book, it's easy to read, you feel a connection to the writer though not the material.  Well you might get a connection with the material, I can't get into what Vine writes because it's just such truly bad theology, and his conclusions are simply pulled out of his ear or the same place all bad theology comes from the broken, unwashed, deceived human heart.   Vine isn't the angry, accusing sort of gay religious type.  He attempts to approach his audience with respect and kindness.  He is relational, and I honestly like and appreciate the approach.  He makes several dives at the Gay utopia speak.  He claims that gay people can't ever change and then as his absolute and irrefutable proof he holds up the failure of Exodus International (Gay Utopia Speak are those things gay people say about being born gay, that gays can't change, and any attempt to change is harmful and dangerous, and etc., and etc., ad nauseum.   I honestly feel sad for Matthew when he points at Exodus International and claims its failure is 100% proof gays can't change.   Exodus International was doomed, not because gay people can't change.  Exodus International failed because, "Birds of a feather flock together."  If all you know is homosexuality, and all the person you're trying to help to freedom, from homosexuality, knows nothing but homosexuality then all that can be known is gay.   Exodus International was the blind leading the blind, so where else could a bunch of blind gay people end up but in gay christian relationships??

    People like Rachel Held Evans, author of, A Woman's Year Of Living Biblically, and another young neo-feely evangelical named Brandan Robertson call Vines', "a game changer."  I find Brandan Robertson's claim that Vine is a game changer a bit more believable than I do Evans', but then I don't trust the neo-feely evangelicals, and Held Evans is a leader in that camp.  Brandan claims that after having lunch with Matt Vine he realized that Vine is an evangelicals like the ones he's known all his life.

    I must admit, at first I thought Robertson had lost his mind.   But as I started to think about Robertson's assertion I realized he is dead on target.  Matthew Vine isn't any different from the lion share of evangelicals I've known.   Vine doesn't know what to do with homosexuality and he cherry picks the verses he likes to support his position.  Vine's arguments come from the same old sources gay theology has always been dependent on and all the other evangelicals I've known use the Bible as an excuse not to reach out and help homosexuals come to God for God to change them.  Unfortunately I'm going to have to admit that Brandan Robertson is right about Matt Vine:  Vine is an evangelical.

    This is  VERY VERY BAD NEWS!   if evangelicals can't see the difference between Matthew Vine and any other evangelical then there is a very strong possibility there are no vast differences to speak of.   What sets the Church apart is both the words and deeds of God done in us and through us.   If we can't find the path to God for LGBT people, then have you really found the way of life?   Claiming Jesus can change homosexuals is a far cry from proving it.   Jesus tells us he could prove what he said, and he proved the words he spoke by doing the works Father called him to accomplish.   "And such were some of you, (1 Corinthians 6:11)."   If you don't know how to minister Christ's life to LGBT persons "such were you," is meaningless, for at least some of the sinners mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6.

    So what shall the evangelical movement do now?   Here come the LGBT evangelicals, and if you think the body of Christ is polarized now, you ain't seen nothing yet.   One of the things I find most off putting about Vine's book is that all of his arguments are the arguments of mere unwashed, untransformed man.  Vine is suggesting you and I take his special theology, you know the Gay rose colored glasses and read the Bible through them, so that we see what Vine desperately wants us to see.  Vine wants you and I to see the Bible, God, and Gays differently.   This is where Vine's book falters badly:  The problem isn't persuading me to read the Bible his way.  Because, in and of myself, I am a mere man, and I can certainly see the value and the pull to that.  The problem for Vine and every other religious homosexual is convincing God to view his Bible from there perspective.   Changing my views is worthless.    If God doesn't change his thinking about homosexuality, adultery, single straights bumping uglies, and all the other "immoral" acts then Vine's book is worthless.   Vine's book fails not because he fails to be convincing, but because no one has ever succeeded in changing God's view of sin.   The failure of Gay Theology, Feminist Theology, Fascist Theology, and every other special theology is that true believers in Jesus Christ believe the Bible because it contains the teachings of God, and those words have powerful life altering effects in our lives.

    This post is long enough, so I hope you'll come back for the next part of this series of posts.    So be looking for

    Lions! Tigers! and Gays!  OH MY!   Part 3.

  • Lions! Tigers! And Gays! OH MY! Part 1


    Placing Blame Where Blame Properly Belongs

    Well President Obama went and done it!  He's opened a can of worms all over the sizable religious movements in this country.  Didn't someone get Obama the memo that America is a Christian nation?  Maybe the cause of the problem isn't Obama.  Maybe the Executive Order prohibiting organizations with federal contracts from discriminating against employees who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or transgender, isn't the problem.   Maybe LGBT persons aren't really the problem for Christians in America.  Maybe the problem with and for Christians is Christians.   Perhaps if Christians had been obeying God's teachings, and if Christians had sought God's kingdom first, and if Christians hadn't been cherry picking favorite verses while ignoring other very important Scriptures, Christians would be very different, and there wouldn't be this problem with  Gays.   Maybe the real problem is that the Church is suffering a terrible identity crisis.

    For more than 20 years I've been asking Christians, leader and laity alike, "Why can't the Church minister the eternal life giving, world overcoming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to gay people?"   The answer I always received was exactly the same, and I mean word for word the same:  "We don't know what to do."   Well it was 45 years ago that the Stonewall Riots in New York City kicked off the modern Gay Rights Movement.   You've had 45 years, so, just between you, me, and God, when do you suppose Christians are going to arrive at an approach to homosexuality?   Can you give an ETA?

    What if the topic under consideration here we're curing cancer and not homosexuality?    Would Americans put up with a medical/scientific establishment which hadn't done anything about furthering their and our understanding of cancer?   And more to the point would Americans put up with a medical/scientific community which simply said, "We don't know what to do about cancer."?  Would the world let our medical/scientific communities get away with almost 50 years of inaction and excuses?    We know none of us would put up with a medical/scientific community which gave us 45 years of inaction and continued ignorance.   But then cancer is all about beating cancer and outliving it's incredibly powerful death grip.    Homosexuality is, well it's not cancer, but according to Scripture it is life stealing, and the eternal outlook for homosexuals isn't very bright if Scripture be believed.   The most important question for Christ followers should be:  If the world wouldn't put up with the medical/scientific community, refusing to advance knowledge and treatment of cancer, how is it Christians believe God would accept the Church's empty and useless response to 45 years of the Gay Rights Movement?   Doesn't God love Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgendered (better known by the letters LGBT community)?   We know that God does love LGBT people, and Jesus tells us so:


    Surly that covers LGBT persons since they are in and of the world.   God clearly knows how to love, even those, we who call ourselves his children ignore or merely attempt to shame into "proper" behavior.   Perhaps the most important question to ask of all is, "Does God know how to overcome; defeat; put away; end the power of homosexuality and all the baggage associated with the sin?"  That is among the most important questions, but the answer creates more questions and propagates more puzzlement.

    "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

    Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor

    nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards

    nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were

    some of you.  But you were washed, but you were, sanctified, but you were justified

    in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

    (Bold text is my addition).

    "And such WERE some of you."   Look at that, do you know what that is?   Perfect present past tense of "to be"..."were."   At one time you 'are' but now you are, eternally, "were", as in "You are homosexual, but now God has made you "were homosexual", perfect present past tense of 'to be'.   You 'were' tells us what is no longer in your present, and what will not be in your future.  'Were' tells us what is in your past and will stay in your past.  God has changed everything for you, and for eternity you will not be defined by 'were' but by what God has given you and by what God has made you:  A New Creation.

    Clearly, plainly, indubitably, without doubt, with greatest assurance God knows how to overcome homosexuality, and move it into the perfect present past tense for all of eternity.   God doesn't tell us how he does that exactly.  God doesn't tell us the step by step instruction for leading people to freedom, but he does tell us what to do.   Yes that's absolutely right...Jesus tells us what he wants us to do.   If you would say, "I don't know what to do with or about LGBT people or their sinful situation," know that God proves you wrong.

    "Do to others what you would have them do for you."

    ~ Jesus of Nazareth

    It's only been in the Bible for over 2000 years, so Church you have no excuse, and be assured you will not stand before God and say to him, "I didn't know what to do."  God will prove to you that you are a liar.  So lets beat the heavenly judgment, and fix our real problem right now.   Take a good hard look in the mirror and say, to that man or woman there, "I am the real cause of my own ignorance."   Say to yourself, "God has the solution, the cure, the fix for LGBT people, and God calls me to be part of the solution."

    If you will take up this one little exercise you will see the truth of the matter, and that the Church's problem is herself.   Christians have no excuse for 45 years of ignorance about how God overcomes the sin of homosexuality.   When we start obeying the teachings of Christ God will not fail to lead us to that place..."And such were some of you."  God calls us to reach with his eternal love with a relational approach.   God will show you the right road to freedom when Christians start down that road.  The road to obedience is always the road where Jesus waits for us to join him in his work.  Jesus has been longing for us to join him on the road to eternal freedom for LGBT persons.   Join him, and you'll find the love which overcomes the world.

    Stay calm!  There is more I have to say on this matter...  After all God has defeated homosexuality in my life, and God's ways work better than you or I could ever ask, hope, or think.


    Look for the next post in the seriese