BLOOD ON THE ALTAR | The Coming War Between Christian vs. Christian
PART 11 – AS WAS PROPHESIED: DAYS OF LOT BECOME LINE IN THE SAND
| by Larry Spargimino
This past Thursday, the top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted by large margins to recognize same-sex marriage "as Christian" in the church constitution, adding language that marriage can be the union of "two people," not just "a man and a woman."
This is the latest in a landslide of "Christian" organizations positioning themselves against traditional, bible-based morality.
How did we get to this point and what role will it play in the Antichrist’s Christian vs. Christian war?
In 1987, two homosexual political strategists, Marshall K. Kirk and Erastes Pill, published an article titled “The Overhauling of Straight America.” An important part of their strategy was to avoid trying to persuade fundamental churches in the hopes that they would moderate their opposition to homosexuality, but rather to try to reach churches that would perhaps waffle on their views. “We can use talk to muddy the moral waters. This means publicizing support for gays by more moderate churches, raising theological objections of our own about conservative interpretations of biblical teachings, and exposing hatred and inconsistency.”[i]
Since the publication of “The Overhauling of Straight America,” this strategy has worked extremely well:
The California Council of Churches, representing twenty-one member denominations, elected as its president the “Reverend” Gwynne Guibord, an open lesbian.
In Dallas, Texas, a $35-million “church” facility, called the Cathedral of Hope, was dedicated as the world’s “gay and lesbian mecca”: a symbol of “gay Christianity” equivalent in the eyes of its creators to Vatican City for Catholics and Salt Lake City for Mormons.
The Reverend Troy Perry, founder of the three-hundred-“church”-strong homosexual denomination called the Metropolitan Community Church, was appointed to the board of trustees of Chicago Theological Seminary and invited to lead chapel service at Yale Divinity School.
Soulforce, the “gay Christian” pressure group, now with chapters in many states, gained national publicity for its campaign against “spiritual violence” (i.e., failure to affirm homosexuality as normal) by physically invading the Southern Baptist Convention on June 11, 2002. Anti-Baptist “civil disobedience” tactics have continued, including a March 26, 2007, incident in which a dozen homosexual activists were arrested for staging a sit-in at the office of Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In 2008, the bishops of the Episcopal Church in California actively campaigned against Proposition 8, which defined marriage as only between one man and one woman in the California Constitution.[ii]
Because of the lack of training and commitment to the authority of the Bible, many churches and congregations easily transition from nominally Bible believing to strong supporters of the gay lifestyle. “Almost inevitably the congregation yields to pressure and changes its status to an ‘affirming’ one in which homosexuality is deemed morally neutral or a positive good.”[iii]
In a report titled “Case against Anti-Gay Minister Scott Lively Still Being Pursued,” we read:
On Feb. 24, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed that country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. The law, according to executive Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights [CCR], Vincent Warren, instantly outlaws the ability of LGBT people to advocate for their rights. [Vincent] Warren says…that “such a fundamental denial of rights to an entire class of people is illegal under international law as well as the Ugandan constitution.” For that reason the CCR is continuing to pursue the anti-gay minister Scott Lively for the role he played in getting the legislation passed.[iv]
Compounding the tension is the fact that some pastors who have taken a stand for the support of traditional marriage have backtracked and “repented.” This makes those pastors and churches that don’t “repent” of their position and maintain a biblical stance look very intolerant and vicious. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church fame publicly stated that he regrets supporting Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay “marriage” proposition.
Conservative Evangelical pastor Rick Warren expressed regret for instructing his congregation to support Proposition 8, California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.… Warren attempted to downplay his endorsement of the provision, claiming that he intended to communicate his private support to church members and was not trying to take a “public” position on the issue.[v]
Warren was interviewed by HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamon Hill. Evidently, Warren teaches two messages, one for the church and another for the world. The following is part of the transcript:
WARREN: I never made a single statement on Prop 8 until the week before. In my own church, some members say, “Where do we stand on this?” I released a video to my own congregation…
HILL: When you have a church of 20,000 people and you have a book that 32 million people have read and that 60 million people have accessed, to say, “I was just giving a message…”
WARREN: You’re exactly right, Marc, and I learned a lesson from that. What I learned from that is that anything I say privately is now public. And I actually learned from that mistake.… Everyone took that to mean I was pontificating to the whole world.
HILL: If you could do it again, would you not have made that statement a week before Prop 8?
WARREN: I would not have. I would not have made that statement. Because I wanted to talk to my own people. As a duty, as a shepherd, I’m responsible for those who put themselves under my care. I’m not responsible for everybody else.[vi]
As the interview continued Warren reiterated his position that he was against same-sex couples, and stated that while “it’s not a sin to love somebody, it might be a sin to have sex with them.”[vii]
Warren wanted to take some of the pressure off, but his liberal critics weren’t merciful and present him as confused and vacillating. “Warren seemed to back away from his endorsement in 2009, telling Larry King that he never once even gave an endorsement of the proposition. Now that the majority of Americans consistently support marriage equality, he regrets that people actually paid attention to his anti-gay views.”[viii]
HuffPost Live host Josh Hepps quoted from Joel Osteen’s new book: “It doesn’t matter who likes you or who doesn’t like you, all that matters is God likes you. He accepts you, he approves of you.” Zepps followed up by asking if that included homosexuals. “Absolutely,” Osteen insisted. “I believe that God has breathed his life into every single person. We’re all on a journey. Nobody’s perfect.”[ix]
Osteen pastors a congregation of forty-five thousand and stated that all people must be acknowledged for who they are. He expressed reluctance to “categorize” sin. “I believe every person is made in the image of God, and you have to accept them as they are, on their journey. I’m not here to be preaching hate, pushing people down. I’m not here telling people what they’re doing wrong,” said Osteen.[x]
We shouldn’t be preaching hate, but we should be preaching truth. There’s hate on the other side, too. In an essay titled “Is Hating Haters Hurtful?” Scott Lively affirms that he doesn’t hate homosexuals, though they don’t seem to be believe him. So, he tried “walking my talk” by taking an ex-“gay” man who was dying of AIDS into his family. Lively and his wife and children loved and cared for the man during his last year of life. However, Lively says “They [the homosexual community] hated me even more.”
Then I began asking for guidance from homosexuals themselves: “Tell me, where is the line between homophobia and acceptable opposition to homosexuality?” I asked. “What if I just agree with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin no worse than any other sex outside of marriage?” “No, that’s homophobic,” they replied. “Suppose I talk only about the proven medical hazards of gay sex and try to discourage people from hurting themselves?” “No, you can’t do that,” they said. “How about if I say that homosexuals have the option to change if they choose?” “Ridiculous” they answered. “Maybe I could just be completely positive, say nothing about homosexuality, and focus only on promoting the natural family and traditional marriage?” “That’s really hateful,” they replied.[xi]
So, as we have seen, there is a section—a rather large one, at that—of the professing church that views God’s covenant with Israel as conditional, and in the past, and now we are seeing how the professing church is becoming increasingly oriented towards accepting the gay lifestyle. But others are feeling pressure as well, such as military chaplains who are coming under increasing pressure now that the military’s “Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell” policy has been repealed. Does the normalization of homosexuality require that all military chaplains join the radical moral evolution, even if doing so compromises their basic Christian convictions?
R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Southern Seminary, reports that the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, the endorsing agency for Southern Baptist chaplains, has formulated policy guidelines on these issues. SBC chaplains—the largest single group of non-Catholic chaplains—have been advised that they cannot minister in any context that “would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrong doing.”[xii]
On Monday, September 16, 2013, Tom Carpenter, identified as the co chair of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy and an elder in the theologically moderate (some would say “liberal”) Presbyterian church (PCUSA), vociferously argued that Southern Baptist chaplains must resign immediately from military service.
The North American Mission Board [NAMB] has turned the Army motto on its head. They have forced their endorsed chaplains into the untenable position of either serving God or country. Given that choice, as men…of God the only honorable course of action for most will be to resign their commissions and return to civilian ministry.… If these Southern Baptist chaplain s were civilian pastors, there would be no problem. As civilians, they undisputedly have an absolute First Amendment right to believe, preach and counsel in accordance with their denominational tenets. But they are not civilians, and have a duty to not only God, but also country. It is instructive that they are not salaried by the NAMB but by the American taxpayer.[xiii]
It is widely conceded that Western culture has entered a post-Christian era. As a result, the Christian church is deeply polarized. Although some mainline churches include evangelicals and charismatics, the mainline Protestant churches are a group of churches that contrast in belief, history, and practice with evangelical, fundamentalist, and charismatic Protestant denominations. The dividing line is the authority of Scripture. On the right, one finds conservatives who uphold the doctrine of biblical inerrancy and embrace God’s moral truths as timeless. On the left, one encounters folks who believe the Scriptures are an imperfect human work bound to anachronistic culture and that one must revise one’s interpretation in light of today’s sensibilities.
The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) counts 26,344,933 members of mainline churches versus 39,930,869 members of evangelical Protestant churches in the United States.[xiv] Instead of being Christ’s missionaries to the lost world, mainline liberals are now ostensibly the world’s missionaries to the church. They devote their energy to social issues like trying to legitimize same-sex marriage; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality; feminism; and being inclusive of non-Christian religions. Mainline churches include the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), the United Methodist Church (UMC), the American Baptist Churches, the United Church of Christ (Congregationalist), the Disciples of Christ, and the Reformed Church in America, amongst others. Many of the above reject core doctrines of classical Christianity like substitutionary atonement, leading H. Richard Niebuhr to famously surmise their creed: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”[xv] Evangelicals stand in sharp relief.
Evangelicalism is defined as “the movement in modern Christianity, transcending denominational and confessional boundaries, that emphasizes conformity to the basic tenets of the faith and a missionary outreach of compassion and urgency.”[xvi] The name derives from the Greek word for “gospel,” euangelion, and verbeuangelizomai, “to proclaim the good news.” Examples of evangelical denominations are: Assemblies of God, Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, Bible Church, Black Protestants, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion; Church of Christ, Churches of God in Christ, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, National Baptist Church, National Progressive Baptist Church, nondenominational, Pentecostal denominations, and the Presbyterian Church in America. Some of these are called fundamentalists.
Often maligned, those who will be separated for extreme persecution in the coming war on true Christianity will be known as “extreme fundamentalists.” Part of how they will be ostracized is playing out now, fueled by the same spirits that wanted to rape angels in the days of Lot. Even the new Pope, Francis I is sympathetic to their cause, declaring:"Who am I to judge?"
TO BE CONTINUED
[i] Scott Lively, Redeeming the Rainbow: A Christian Response to the “Gay” Agenda (Springfield, MA: Veritas Aeterna, 2009) 19.
[ii] Ibid., 20–21.
[iii] Ibid., 23.
[iv] Jared Keever, “Case against Anti-Gay Minister Scott Liverly Still Being Pursued,” Opposing Views, March 4, 2014, http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/gay-issues/case
[v] Zack Ford and Annie Rose Strasser, “Rick Warren: I Regret Coming Out in Support of California’s Anti-Gay Marriage Proposition,” Think Progress, November 28, 2012, http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/11/28/1250921/rick-warren-i-regret
[ix] “Joel Osteen Finally Comes Out on ‘Gay’ Issue,” WND, October 3, 2013, http://www.wnd.com/2013/10/joel-osteen-god-approves-of-homosexuals.
[xi] Lively, 153.
[xii] Albert Mohler, “Can Evangelical Chaplains Serve God and Country?—The Crisis Arrives, AlbertMohler.com, September 17, 2013, http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/09/17/can-evangelical-chaplains
[xiv] Association of Religion Data Archives, http://www.thearda.com
/mapsReports/reports/mainline.asp (accessed February 6, 2014).
[xv] H. Richard Niebur, The Kingdom of God in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1959) 193.
[xvi]Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology: Second Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001) 405.