When I was a kid, one of my favorite excuses for doing something wrong was, “Everyone else is doing it,” to which my mother would say, “I suppose if everyone else was jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge you would too.” That would (usually) end the conversation. One day during my teenage years however, I decided to answer her, not realizing that smartassery takes a bit of finesse and technique, neither of which I had yet acquired; my reward was swift and unexpected, as well as unpleasant.
I recently read an article in which it was stated that a portion of the United Methodist Church is again planning on again proposing a change to the Book of Discipline during the 2016 General Assembly in Florida. The proposed change would allow for active gays and lesbians to be ordained as pastors and elders in the church. The reason given for this change, and I paraphrase, is, “…the church is behind the times and must keep up with society.” My first question is, “Since when has society been given the authority to dictate church doctrine?” Well, “Everyone else is doing it.” This reply never worked for me, and it certainly doesn’t work for the Church. Since before Jesus’ time and for nearly twenty-one centuries after him, what constitutes sin has been absolutely clear, and homosexuality is one of them; in fact, God’s Word calls it unnatural and an abomination in both the Old and New Testaments. And in the same way that homosexuality is a sin, so-called same-sex marriage is an oxymoron! There is NO Biblical support for either one! Why is this so hard to understand when it has been made so clear? Actually, it’s not. It is not a lack of understanding; it is because of the apparent unwillingness of Pastors and church leaders to stand firm on what the Bible says in spite of the desires of sinful humanity. Are they afraid they might offend somebody, that someone might not like them? Perhaps they’re in the wrong job, then. My mentor told me early on in my training, “If you can do anything else and still share your Christian witness, do it, because this is the most difficult and least appreciated job there is.” That came from fifty years of experience. Let me ask you pastors, didn’t Jesus die because some people didn’t like him or his message? And weren’t all the Apostles persecuted, and all but one martyred because they weren’t liked or popular with everyone? How many Christians even now are being murdered in Africa and the Middle East because they will not kowtow to the societies around them? What makes you so special, Pastor?
In his letter to the Church in Ephesus, Jesus says, “Yet I hold this against you. You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Rev. 2:4-5 (NIV). Pastor, is your lampstand in danger of being removed from its place in heaven?
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