Is World Vision Intolerant?
Gay rights is one of the most polarizing issues of our time (as evidenced by the comments for and against in any online debate). Healthy debate is a good thing, but what I find troubling is that our culture has dictated that the terms of the debate be fought along a false narrative of “Tolerant” (anyone who supports it) VS “Intolerant” (anyone who opposes it). This is patently false. “Tolerance” does NOT mean “to agree with”, what “tolerance” ACTUALLY means is: “to disagree with but still respect the others right to hold their view.” Someone can be perfectly tolerant (and yes even loving) toward a gay person while still disagreeing with their lifestyle and believing it is wrong. But according to our cultures false narrative: Last week World Vision was “Intolerant” then briefly became “tolerant” and is now once again “intolerant” of homosexuality. Following the same flawed logic when people say to Christians: “be tolerant”, what they really mean is “you need to agree with us or I’ll label you intolerant.” This is ironically (by the words true definition) an intolerant thing to do.
The second thing that I find troubling is when I am told that if I do not agree with the cultures accepted position on this issue that I am somehow being hypocritical or not showing Christian love. This is another false narrative. World Vision did not go from unloving last week, to loving, back to unloving. Last I checked they are showing tangible love to countless children around the globe. What really happened at World Vision was a struggle with whether or not they would remain an organization that is firmly grounded on the clear teachings of Scripture or not.
You see what this issue is truly about for the Christian is our fundamental understanding of the Bible and what it says about sin. Do we study and follow Scripture as the inspired, infallible, authoritive Word of God or don’t we? If we do, then we have to take it seriously about what it says about homosexuality - we simply can’t pick and choose only the parts we like and dismiss the rest. As a minister, I am called to “Correctly handle the Word of Truth” so for this reason I have studied Scripture exhaustively on this subject from all angles. I have read and listened to all the arguments that try to explain how the Bible does not actually say that homosexuality is wrong… but every last one of those arguments does not stand up to cross examination from within the consistent interpretation of the entirety of Scripture. Here is the bottom line of what the Bible says:
"Sin" is anything that falls short of God's glory and perfect design for life in any area. Ex. God's perfect design is everyone shares - the opposite of that is stealing - hence "sin." God's perfect design for human sexuality is that it happens exclusively between one woman and one man committed to only each other for their entire life. That means a)heterosexual sex outside of marriage is "sin" - b) homosexual sex is "sin" in any context because it falls short of God's perfect design. Homosexuality is no worse a sin than any other sin, and just like for any other sin (stealing, sex outside of marriage, etc.) it can be forgiven by the Grace of God. But as with all sins (of which I am guilty of many!) it can only be forgiven if it is acknowledged for what it is and confessed to God. We are all sinners and need God's mercy. This is not my own idea, because after years of intensive study I tell you with complete confidence that this is what the Bible teaches on this subject!
You can agree with it or disagree with it - but please don't do violence to the Scripture by twisting it to say something that it doesn't.
So to any Christian who believes that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, authorative Word of God, and also believes that actively practicing homosexuality is not sinful, I honestly ask you this question: How do you reconcile those two beliefs? Don’t just blindly accept what our culture is telling you to believe and don’t just accept what I am telling you either – honestly dig into it for yourself! Look at the wide variety of texts that speak about this (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:18-27, Genesis 2:23-25, Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13). Pray and seek the Holy Spirits guidance. Then if having done that, you still feel the same way, please show me how the Scriptures supports that view.
I realize that the Biblically grounded belief on this subject has already been rejected and is actively being attacked by our culture. I also realize that many Christians, churches and para-church organizations are giving way on this issue. But even if I must stand alone, I will gladly stand alone on the authority of God's Word rather than stand among the many on the authority of people's opinion.
Remember that in the end, we do not get to decide what is sin and what is not – God is the only one who decides that and He has spoken clearly. Thankfully God is also the one that loves us and decided that a sinner named Danny Groening was worth saving, so He sent His only Son to die for my many sins, in my place, so that I could be forgiven and so that I can walk with Him for the rest of my life and keep right on walking with Him into the next.
I also believe that He did that for every last sinner on planet earth and that His incredible love, mercy and forgiveness is available for every last one of us, including the homosexual. And because God's loved has changed me - I choose to love you. I choose to love you regardless of whether you vehemently disagree with me or want to label me as "intolerant". I choose to love you enough to tell you the truth about what sin is with the hope that you can turn to God for mercy, grace and forgiveness. But regardless of how you choose to live your life, I choose to love you. How is that possible? Because true love does not require agreeing with what the object of your love is doing - true love is willing to sacrificially put itself on the line to to help the person get out of sin - all at the risk of being rejected. Remember that God loved us so much, that while we were still lost in sin He sent Jesus, His Son, to get us out of sin's clutches - but He to was rejected. And so He had to die alone in the place of sinners so that we could be forgiven and set free from sin and death. And He is still giving us the choice to accept or reject Him... What do you choose?
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