If you haven’t read my last post, please do so before reading this.
My Reply To Fischer’s Response:
Mr. Fischer, thank you for taking the time to respond to explain and elaborate on your initial statement.
As a follower of Christ, I share the same concerns that you do. I don’t want to be shut up in the four walls of the church. Have you considered that they are being so oppressive and intolerant in response to the oppressiveness and intolerance they feel coming from conservatives?
Yet, as a Christian, my primary concern is the advancement of the gospel. Seeing lives changed because of the grace and mercy of God. Living out that grace and mercy by showing it to those who some would deem “enemies of the church”, just as God showed it to me when I was one of His enemies (Rom. 5:8).
The concern that I have is not your intent, it is your method. Above that, it’s how your methods are perceived, and how that perception is cast upon the body of Christ as a whole.
OUR [AFA’s] MISSION
The mission of the American Family Association is to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission.
The American Family Association acts to:
(1) restrain evil by exposing the works of darkness;
(2) promote virtue by upholding in culture that which is right, true and good according to Scripture;
(3) convince individuals of sin and challenge them to seek Christ’s grace and forgiveness;
(4) motivate people to take a stand on cultural and moral issues at the local, state and national levels; and
(5) encourage Christians to bear witness to the love of Jesus Christ as they live their lives before the world
AFA STATEMENT OF FAITH
1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
2. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
4. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
5. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
6. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
7. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am 100% behind the above section from the AFA website. What concerns me is that this statement of faith is the same as ANY church’s core statement of faith. So, when someone goes to see what the AFA is all about, they see this. Then they hear a comparison of ANY group of people to the Nazis, they assume that anyone who shares these core doctrinal beliefs think the same thing.
If your original intent was to say that homosexuals are trying to suppress the church like the Nazis did, you could have very easily and just as strongly said so without using the term “Nazi”. Instead, you chose to compare a group of people to one of the most violent hate groups most people can think of. This language, this thought process, and this behavior is divisive, it does not show the love of Christ, and serves to push people AWAY from the gospel instead of drawing them toward the only Savior who can turn the hearts of men like channels of water (Proverbs 21:1).
This cannot be about moral conservativism. If we try to push a conservative agenda in this manner, it will fail every time. Preach the gospel. Preach that we were all dead in our sins, and it is by the grace of God alone that we were made alive and have faith in Him, and through that faith and relationship have our minds and hearts renewed with an affection for and a desire to obey Him (Ephesians 2:1-10).
If we merely try to push our values on other people, and do not truly show them the gospel, then we are no better than the Pharisees. That loses its meaning in most of the Christian world, so let me clarify the emphasis: Jesus called them a “brood of vipers” (Matt. 12:34, 23:33), to signify that those who were supposed to lead people to life were, in fact, leading them to death. And that this occurs so subtly, because it’s in the name of “good” or “God”, that many people don’t even know it’s happening. He told them that they had made what was to be a “house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:7) into a “den of thieves” (Mark 11:15) because they made it to where only the Jews could come and worship. He also said that it would be better for a person to be drowned than to lead people astray (Luke 17:1-2).
Belief in the gospel both requires and produces humility, because we recognize that were it not for the grace of God, we would stand condemned with those whose actions we would desire to condemn. Belief in the gospel means that we, politically and spiritually, confess Christ as Lord and King, and submit to and embrace His sovereign control over all things. Yes, we should absolutely use our right to vote (which is under God’s control and is His gift toward us) to create or maintain an environment where we can freely advance the gospel. But if this government is overturned tomorrow and we come under communist rule and are completely censored, and there is true persecution, then we still advance the gospel in love, grace, humility, and boldness. Just as the gospel and the church is exploding today in China (and all over the world) while still under persecution.
As Christians, we must love people and allow God to change their hearts in HIS timing, and pray for strength to endure the frustrations of being patient.
Mr. Fischer, if you still feel it best to make such comparisons about homosexuals, Muslims, or any other community of people, that is, by God’s grace, your right to do so. I would ask two things though: 1) How does that “bear witness to the love of Jesus Christ” toward His enemies? 2) How does this conform to Titus 3:2 when we are commanded to “speak evil of no one”?
My sincere hope and prayer for you, as well as for those who struggle and embrace homosexuality (or any other sin), is that you would come to know the truly life changing grace of God in the gospel, and that it would be evidenced in your life and words through loving and humble speech and actions.
I am by no means perfect, and don’t pretend to be. The reason I am writing this is because I love Jesus and believe the Bible to be authoritative. The heart behind this is very much one which desires you to truly experience and express the gospel and love of God, so I write this, appealing of the authority of Scripture, to address your incorrect and unloving actions in the hopes that you would come to live out the gospel, or as Paul states in Titus 1:3 “…rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith…”
If you still think this method is the best course of action, please (I’m literally begging here) make it clear that you do not speak for the body of Christ. I have done my best to express my thoughts and feelings in a manner which is both loving and edifying, and if I have failed to do so effectively, then I deeply apologize in not being seasoned enough to be both accurate and loving at the same time.
Closing Clarifications [on the blog only]:
I know that was a lot, so let me briefly summarize:
1) I fall under the authority of Scripture, as any Christian does.
2) Scripture does indeed condemn as sin any sexual act which takes place outside of heterosexual marriage.
3) Scripture equally condemns as sin any act which expresses hate, or leads people away from Christ, even if it’s done in the name of “good” or “God”.
4) The grace, mercy, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus is enough to provide redemption and restoration for EITHER of the above mentioned sins.
5) My intent in addressing this with Mr. Fischer was in the hope that he would see the grace that has been applied to his life (if he is indeed a follower of Christ), and out of gospel-inspired humility show that same grace toward those who he would consider his enemies.
6) Additionally, my intent was to ask him that if he does not confess Christ as Lord, that he would do so openly, as to not categorize himself in the same group as those who do confess Christ as Lord and are trying to show love to the enemies of God, as we all were prior to God’s sovereign moving in our hearts and minds.
In the interest of allowing conversation and freedom for people to express their opinions, I have left comments on this post open. Comments are moderated, and any that are not civil or appear hateful will not be approved.