NBA veteran Jason Collins' decided to come out as an open homosexual this week, making him the first active openly gay athlete on any major U.S. team. I am a lifelong lover of all things basketball, but to be honest I don't really care to know about this man's sexual preferences. That is not really the point, though...this is about forcing everyone to accept and embrace homosexuality regardless of their religious beliefs.
The media will use this as an opportunity to bash any conservative Christian groups who hold what they believe to be antiquated, extreme views against homosexuality. Unbelievably, this is the doctrinal stand of the three great religions of the world and has been for thousands of years, but they think they know better. Collins has been praised by the President of the United States and the commissioner of the NBA, who will swiftly discipline anyone else related to the NBA who does otherwise.
Groups or individuals who hold to the biblical understanding of human sexuality will be marginalized, and anyone who questions this will be labeled a bigot or intolerant. This is just one more step in the big plan to criminalize "hate speech" against things the Bible calls sin. I do not hate this man. I believe that God loves him and so should all Christians. Just because I don't agree with his viewpoint or lifestyle doesn't mean I hate him or anyone else with different views on things.
Only one key media figure that I have found had the courage to speak out against this, Chris Broussard. Here are some comments he made yesterday:
"Personally, I don't believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly ... like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you're openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says 'you know them by their fruits.' It says that, you know, that's a sin, and if you're openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality -- adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals -- whatever it may be, I believe that's walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don't think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian."
Wow! I wish more preachers were as bold as Chris Broussard. This man put his career on the line to stand up for his beliefs.
As a Pastor here is my take away for the church. The days of "cool church" are over. If you think that you can be cool and genuinely Christian simultaneously in this culture, you are absolutely wrong. You can't be both. You can try, but sooner or later you will be called out...just ask Louie Giglio or Chris Broussard. I am not suggesting that churches should be boring, cold, old-fashioned, or even traditional in their worship, but I am saying that you could never be cool enough to please the liberals that hate everything you believe. If you stand for or against any moral issue, be prepared to be labeled an intolerant, judgmental, bigot no matter how lovingly you take your stand.
Christians are justly criticized for being hypocrites. Nobody wants to be a hypocrite, but I have to admit that I have been guilty of hypocrisy on occasion. It is hypocritical for Christians to blast homosexuality while neglecting other sins like: lying, cheating, stealing, cursing, adultery, etc. I am sure there are NBA basketball players who lie, smoke dope, sleep around, get in and out of marriages, live with their girlfriend, neglect their kids, cuss, lust, hate, and engage in any number of sinful behaviors. It would be hypocritical of the church to condemn one player for engaging in homosexual sin but neglect to point out that all those other behaviors are sinful too. It would be equally hypocritical for the church to refuse to label homosexual sex as sinful (both old and new testaments make this very clear...read Romans 1), just because it is politically incorrect to do so.
God's standard doesn't change just because American pop culture becomes more and more tolerant of sinful behaviors. As Christians we are to love everyone (including homosexuals) enough to tell them the truth that God loves them too, just like they are. He loves all of us just like we are, sinful. Jesus shed His blood to wash away all those sins, and He rose from the grave three days later. The wisest thing any of us can do is to believe on Jesus, repent of all our sin, and seek to live life for His glory.
I am completely in favor of churches taking that message to the masses, making creative environments for worship, turning up the band, and removing any and all unnecessary obstacles to lost people hearing the gospel. What worries me though, is that so many "cool" churches who really do believe the Bible think they can ignore this and get away with it. They're wrong...God won't ignore it when we refuse to boldly, lovingly preach the truth, and the world will no longer let us get away with violating their standards of "morality." If you are a Christian who believes in biblical morality when it comes to sexuality, you are a target for them, and any church that takes that stand will be targeted too.
The churches, pastors, and church leaders who refuse to speak now will only have themselves to blame when an increasingly liberal government determines for them that they should no longer have the freedom to speak about those things.
The church more than ever needs to be clear about what the Bible labels sin. We must proclaim the gospel message of salvation by grace through faith. My hope is that more churches of every style and denomination and their leaders will strive to teach the whole counsel of God and reject the temptation to soften the harsh message of Scripture when it comes to sin.
Pat Fiordelise, Senior Pastor, Kingsland Baptist Church, Richmond, VA