December 9, 2019
The most important question you’ll ever answer | Why the proposed Fairness for All Act isn’t | Faithful answers to LGBTQ challenges to Christianity
On this 9th day of December and the 9th day of Advent, Carmen discusses Luke chapter 9. Herod wonders aloud about who Jesus is and then Jesus asks his disciples who people say that he is. Finally, Jesus turns to his disciples and asks them directly, “who do you say that I am?” It is the most important question any one of us will ever answer. It is the ultimate question. How we answer matters more than any other confession, any promise, any relationship we will ever make. So, who do you say that he is?
Carmen introduces the Fairness for All Act proposed in the U.S. Congress.
Peter Kapsner returns to continue the conversation about how Christians can faithfully respond to the challenges presented by the LGBTQ demands for the Christian’s capitulation to the demand for inclusion. A few notes….
- Does love actually require inclusion? No.
Cultural Statement #1: Correcting the Church’s “Hatred”
“The church has been filled with hatred and bullying of the gay community. Therefore, we must correct that with inclusion.”
- The proposition of hatred and bullying seems to have some merit as some of the more public ministries the past two generations have responded with anger, condescension, and dismissal.
- However, it is not a logically determinative that the remedy should be inclusion. There are a range of possible responses with inclusion as only one possibility.
- Most importantly, current “inclusion doctrine” is often based on a misunderstanding of biblical, unconditional love. “Inclusion doctrine” teaches that love is a synonym for approval.
- In the biblical text, however, love is not “inclusion-based.” Love is a deep affection (ahavah) that is self-sacrificing (agape), never forsakes (hesed), and based in an other-centered desire for wholeness. When God unconditionally loves it is in the pursuit of wholeness and not in the “including” or “approving” of all things. In fact, God EXCLUDES certain things because of love….because He knows such things will destroy us.
- Who are you to judge?
Cultural Statement #2: Do not Judge…..
“Who are we to judge? Jesus said not to judge. Therefore, we must not judge others, but instead embrace inclusion.”
- This line of thinking is based on a misinterpretation of Jesus teaching on judging and how “judge” is used in the biblical text.
- One form of judgment in the Bible is that of “condemnation” – which can be understood as someone whose future has been determined and is fixed outside of God’s Kingdom. The poor and marginalized were often treated this way by the Pharisees. They were not invited to the table of the religious leaders as their future was already decided.
- Judging as condemnation, in this way, is indeed, antithetical to Kingdom life. Everyone has a possible hope if they turn. When Jesus said, “Do not judge” in Matthew, He is saying, “Do not condemn.”
- A second form of judgment in the Bible is that of “discernment” – and this IS the call of Christians. We must discern how our decisions and our ways of life ripple outward for good or evil as related to God’s Kingdom. The “fruit” of a sinful life is misery. Jesus died to break the power of sin and death and the “fruit” of staying tethered to Him as the Vine is life, love, hope peace, etc.
- This is why sin should not persist in the body of Christ. So we have to be able to JUDGE (discern) what is rightly ordered and consistent with the Kingdom of God.
- In this way, I hope I am both the most and the least judgmental person you will meant. Hopeful and discerning.
- Jesus welcomed sinners… (with the goal of redemptive wholeness)
Cultural Statement #3: Jesus Welcomed Sinners
“Jesus ate with sinners and shared fellowship with them. Therefore, those in same-gender relationships should be included in church.”
- It is true that Jesus ate with sinners. However, the “therefore” seems to miss the point of Jesus’ invitation to His table.
- The point of Jesus’ eating with sinners was not simply to be included at the table – as if “inclusion” was the final goal of the invitation. Instead, inclusion to the table shows that all people are welcome at the table where forgiveness, healing, and transformation into Christlikeness is possible – without merit and without condition. Inclusion is the starting point for this journey for this process, not the end point or goal. Zacceaus provides one example of this.
- Such ideas of inclusion as a “final value” often represent a syncretism or conflation with American civil rights where inclusion is often the final goal.
- In America, the individual is to be empowered and equipped for life as they see fit, and all are to be included. It is a focus on the human being as entitled to pursue happiness and to find wholeness defined by oneself.
- In the Kingdom, we come to Jesus’ table with a bent knee in service to the King and trust He will bring wholeness to our lives.