Since the printing of our mailed newsletter, two important decisions have occurred that have altered our culture and may affect our ministry: Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage in all 50 states and the success of a lawsuit against JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) for unethical practices and charges of consumer fraud. (Link to CNN special) The jury found JONAH guilty of several of the 20 counts of consumer fraud. Jeremy Schwab, a ministry leader present at the trial and who testified for the defense said, “The judge practically ordered the jury to side with the plaintiffs. They also excused anyone from jury duty who attends weekly religious services because they are ‘extreme.’ (Link to trial transcripts)
Even before these cultural shifts, I have been leading toward a Christ centered and transparent look at ongoing struggles, urging ministries to take the focus off of attraction change and to stand firm on a Biblical approach that focuses on walking daily with the Body of Christ. To prevent the alteration of attractions from becoming an idol in our thinking, we should put Jesus above ALL things, regardless of our struggles.
Even with this as our focus, after these two rulings we will very likely see more lawsuits directed at groups that focus on changing attractions. I believe it will not be long before pastors & churches will be sued to force gay marriages, and pastors, churches, and organizations like ours will be challenged for simply calling homosexuality sin.
Regardless, I challenge us all to keep our focus on Jesus. God is not surprised by this. We are just experiencing another step in the deconstruction of the family overall. It’s been seen over the last fifty years through rampant adultery and divorce, pornography addiction, abortion, drug addiction, and on and on. But worst of all, that which grieves God’s heart for certain, is those who have not accepted His free gift of salvation and grace through His sacrifice on the Cross, that we might have life to the full through Him. John 10:10 And, I believe right there with these is those who lead others into sin, where Scripture is very clear in Matthew 18:6. We’ve certainly had leaders who have changed their tune and have become proponents of homosexuality, confusing and discouraging those who struggle with this issue. Lastly are those who remind me of the only ones that Christ ever lost his temper over. Matthew 23:27, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”
I recently saw a young man on America’s Got Talent who was the victim of a sports accident where a ball damaged the nerves in his throat. Now he has an extreme stutter. He confessed, “The guy I used to be wouldn’t have hung out with me. That guy was a real jerk.” Many of us today in Christianity are frankly jerks, believing we are spreading righteousness, not realizing our own stench in the way we misrepresent the gospel. (Link to AGT video)
As Christ’s followers and ambassadors, the question we are faced with is: Is our message going to reflect and draw people to Christ? I’ve seen some disgusting responses to the Supreme Court’s decision by Christians that do not draw anyone to Christ. Hate and condemning words do not serve to reflect Jesus! These occurances should cause us to look at what it is we believe and how we behave. Sharing condemnation becomes a distraction and a tool of the enemy against those whom Christ suffered for on the Cross. Let’s remember that Christ’s crucifixion changed EVERYTHING! The curtain in the temple was torn, from top to bottom, ending the separation between God and mankind. His desire is NOT judgement, but in compassion and forgiveness He invites us to accept His Son. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
If I’m going to be martyred, then may it be for the cause of Christ alone. Yes, I will tell my story, but my story should draw people to Christ and not to whatever level of change I’ve experienced but how Jesus changes lives, period. Gay marriage should not cause me to loose hope or become distracted from sharing Christ’s love, and from sharing my story.
Our conference report will show you that there is hope! We had some 150 people attend, mostly men and women who have walked away from homosexuality. They are not so focused on changing their attractions (they may or may not have had a shift in attraction), but on honoring and serving God. He is their focus! Pray for them, and please, reach out with Christ’s love and compassion to a lost world including those who are struggling and even those who are defiant.
Here is a link to a thorough Christian based review of the Supreme Courts decision by Dr. Albert Molher.