Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Those New Hampshire Episcopalians...

Remember when the world was set on edge by the nomination of an openly gay man to be Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire?  Well, that is certainly old news, isn't it.  Now that Bp Robinson is stepping down, we find that one of the chief candidates nominated to succeed him is another gay priest.  It would either seem that New Hampshire is either a bastion of gay Episcopalians or they love to be on the cutting edge of things new.  In any case, it seems that being gay has become one of the most important criteria for being a Bishop in the Episcopal Church, at least in New Hampshire.

The candidate waxes lovingly about the support of his "husband" in the priestly endeavor but he is not alone in support of the GLBT agenda.  The other two candidates, divorced or going through a divorce, are both very supportive of Bp Robinson's ground breaking election.

You can read it all here....

My point is not to express surprise or shock at this but to point out how easily and how quickly an aberration has become normative in a church body and to also highlight how dangerous it is when we wander from the living legacy of the sacred deposit once bequeathed to the Church.  It once took generations for the church to institutionalize heresy or heterodoxy but now we have shortened the residency requirement before tenure is granted to deviation from the evangelical and catholic norm of Scripture, tradition, and morality.

It was only a generation ago that a female Episcopal Bishop was thought to fracture this once noble communion.  Now it seems rather tame in comparison to the novelty now become routine in the form of gay and lesbian clergy and even episcopal officers of the church.

All of us need to beware.  What happened in the Episcopal Church, can happen anywhere -- unless we remain vigilant and deliberate in the cause of orthodox faith and practice.

There is more here....


Anonymous said...

The Anglicans learned some hard lessons from the inroads made by the LGBT and the Standfirm blog that tried to stem the tide in TEC is re-gearing to help bring awareness to the rest of the church. Yesterday, I read two articles at their site that may be of interest to you. The first one exposes how the activists make inroads into the church and the second one covers a current struggle that I hope will succeed in pushing the LGBT agenda out of the church.

How Revisionist Activists Subvert the Church

Revisionists Set Their Sites on the Reformed Church in America


Anonymous said...

This really needs to be taught to our youth as part of apologetics and defending our faith from false teaching.

Thanks, Susan, I printed that document for my husband and son, 14, to go over together.

Anonymous said...


Except that neither document actually include any Gospel. I thought for a moment that the second half of the second document might when I saw the subtitle "truth and grace." But it jumped straight to sanctification without presenting justification.

Defending the Law alone will not win the day since the Law only has the power to reveal sin and increase sin but has no power to overcome sin or change lives.

Being vigilant and deliberate in the cause of orthodox faith and practice requires defending and proclaiming both Law and Gospel or we have already lost the battle and might as well give up now.

Anonymous said...

an example of what I meant in #3:

Wesley Hill is a young man who is attracted to men but believe homosexual intercourse is wrong.

He describes the experience of many homosexually tempted young people in Washed and Waiting, "Even after a good day of battling for purity of mind and body, there is still the feeling....that something is seriously wrong with me, that something is askew. I feel in those moments that my homosexual orientation makes God disappointed or unhappy or even faintly upset with me....Does that mean I'm locked into this feeling of being constantly unacceptable to God?

Now, the proper application of the Gospel would tell such a young man that God is indeed pleased with him, not through his own works, but through the cross of Christ.

This article instead would have such a young man only..."fight against sin" and "know the expulsive power of a new affection." The closest it came to presenting Gospel was "folding them into our communities, and by walking together in faith and repentance, all to the end that we may live into the 'such were some of you' gospel hope." Hardly a strong presentation of justification and, since I don't know of any church actually willing "fold a homosexual, even a repentant, into their community," it becomes a pointless and unachievable statement.

Where was the vigilance in presenting the Gospel in that article?

Anonymous said...

"I don't know of any church actually willing "fold a homosexual, even a repentant, into their community," it becomes a pointless and unachievable statement."

I know of such a church, mine. The LCMS is not some gay bashing church. We welcome all.

Anonymous said...

Amen, my LCMS brother!

"Hate the sin, but love the sinner!"

I hope and pray that the LCMS will never become like those hateful Baptists from Topeka, Kansas.

We LCMS don't have to change our doctrine to comply with the current political and social correctness. But, we can stand our ground and still show Christ's love and compassion to all, including gays and lesbians.

All are welcome in my LCMS church, and I hope that will always be the case.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that the LCMS doesn't have to change its doctrine - the doctrine is sound.

But, no, repentant homosexuals do not feel welcomed in the LCMS. I know several and, yes, they stay because they do hear the Gospel preached in general. But that is not the same as feeling "welcomed" or "wanted." With the exception of one, all are afraid to tell their pastor about their struggle with sexual temptation. As one of them put it, "the only time my pastor mentions homosexuality is when he giving a laundry list of really awful sins no good Christian would ever want to commit."

Now this is a bit different than being afraid or embarrassed to confess an actual (in the theological meaning of actual) sin. In the case of most sins, such as adultery, the person may think "what will the pastor think of me because of what I did?" The homosexually oriented teen must ask, "what will the pastor think of me because of what I AM?"

Or to put it another way, the heterosexual teen might go to the pastor or another Christian adult and confess that he is troubled with temptations toward sex but desires to live a chaste life. He will probably be told that his struggle is normal, his sin is forgiven and that the pastor respects him for desiring to remain chaste and for asking for help. Can you honestly think the homosexual teen will receive the same reply? Or, instead of being commended for striving for purity, will he still be given the impression there is something "wrong" about him, something "profoundly unnatural" (CTCR - Human Sexuality a Theological Statement)

The problem is not with doctrine but with the application of doctrine. In principle we uphold Law and Gospel but in practice we overwhelmingly tend to present Law in 2nd and 3rd use without an intervening application of Gospel. (Search through LCMS pastors' blogs on homosexuality and see if I am not right - on this particular blog there was one good application of Gospel to the topic in August of 2010, out of 25 posts matching "homosexual")

Now it is true that we also forget the Gospel with a lot of other sins, but I can't think of any other sin that is defined as what a person Is rather than what a person DOES. While this does not mitigate our error, it does put homosexuality in a category of its own and when we do not understand this it makes our condemnation of homosexuality more severe and burdensome that our condemnation of other sins.

Now sometimes we do indeed have to deal with cultural and political issues surrounding homosexuality. But if we were truly interested in welcoming repentant homosexuals, wouldn't some LCMS pastor somewhere have had a post about what we have to offer the homosexually struggling teen?

Is the LCMS more welcoming than some? Yes. But is a repentant and homosexually struggling teen likely feel like he is wanted and welcomed in the LCMS? No.

The greatest tool we have to fight political and sociological pressures toward the acceptance of homosexuality is the Gospel and all that it means. If we want to win this battle, we need to actually begin to offer it.

Anonymous said...

"With the exception of one, all are afraid to tell their pastor about their struggle with sexual temptation."

Oh, come on. How many straight people never tell their pastors about being tempted?

It is the media that screams that Christians hate gays, not churches. My pastor preaches against divorce and unchastity, and abortion regularly. Why? because they are so much more common. If he has made any references in sermons about gays, I haven't heard them. The worst thing I have ever heard about homosexuality in church is just the simple statement that the Bible teaches against it. That is not hateful. It is just true. But no one goes on and on about it. I attended churches for 30 years and have never heard gays bashed. Never. Nor any other sinners. We are all called to repentance and it is rightly assumed that we are all in fact sinful.

"But is a repentant and homosexually struggling teen likely feel like he is wanted and welcomed in the LCMS? No."

I disagree. If there are any teens who are not struggling with sexuality, I am not aware of them. Gay teens struggle like any other to resist temptation. The church doesn't tell teens that illicit sex is fine unless you are attracted to the same sex. Sexual temptation is hard on everyone. Also, gays like everyone else have all their other sins to worry about, not just sexual sins and temptations to sin. We are more alike than different in that regard. All the focus on gays is driven by the culture outside the church. The church is not preoccupied with the sin of homosexual activity. The culture is. The church just tells the truth about God's law and proclaims the Gospel to all because all fall short.

Anonymous said...

Homosexuality is considered an abomination in the bible. It was ranked as serious of a sin as practicing witchcraft and sacrificing live children to Molech.

I think it would be ideal to have former homosexuals work as LCMS pastors in the gay communities. Who will step forward?

Rev M said...

The worst thing I have ever heard about homosexuality in church is just the simple statement that the Bible teaches against it. That is not hateful. It is just true

First, I'm going to put a name on this comment since "anonymous" gets too confusing.

Secondly, what you say is correct. It also is a very common response when I speak of the need to apply Gospel to this issue.

I find it very interesting that when I say "we need Gospel." The response almost always indicates that people think I mean "we need less Law." The result is that pastors who feel compassionate toward homosexuals tend to preach about it less often or more gently.

But you will notice that I did NOT advocate preaching less Law. I advocated preaching MORE Gospel. Particularly in reference to the two links posted by Susan. The second one, especially, purported to be a call to the RCA, outlining how to deal with the topic of homosexuality. Yet it contained NO Gospel at all. How can we pretend to adequately deal with ANY sin without a discussion of the the application of Gospel?

You are correct the preaching Law, even very strong Law, is not hateful. But preaching the Law toward a specific sin while neglecting the Gospel is both hateful and untrue.

And let's be honest, you may not have heard homosexuality addressed from the pulpit but you have heard people from you church discussing homosexuality, perhaps during coffee hour, and many of the comments they made certainly would have made a homosexually tempted teen who overheard them feel that he was very unwelcome and unwanted indeed.

You are also correct that heterosexuals and homosexuals are more alike then different and that they concentration on homosexuality is driven from the culture outside the church.

To This i would respond:

1: Then pastor should preach that. Let's start preaching that adultery is a perversion and profoundly unnatural. Let's start preaching that heterosexual lust also ranks with witchcraft and child sacrifice. Let's start preaching that sex before marriage is inherently sinful and evil, a selfish misuse of another person's body and an act of self worship. I do not advocate softening the Law at all. In fact, I would love to see stronger Law. But it needs to be at all sins and the Gospel needs to be expounded just as powerfully.

2: While the concentration on homosexuality is driven by the culture, when we respond we still need to respond in a Lutheran manner - with both Law and Gospel. To respond with only Law in the public square is a Calvanistic response and not worthy of Lutherans.

Pastor M said...

I think it would be ideal to have former homosexuals work as LCMS pastors in the gay communities. Who will step forward?

Actually this would be a very bad idea for a couple of reasons:

1: There really isn't such a thing as a "former" homosexual in the sense that the person no longer feels temptation for those of their own gender. Under times of stress the old temptations will return and so such a pastor would be in a place that was dangerous to him.

2: If you think the gay community hates Christians, you haven't seen anything. Gay activists hate "former homosexuals" even more. The things that are said about them and the attempts to discredit them are downright vicious. A former homosexual has fewer open doors to the gay community than does a straight pastor.

3: We don't need to be doing mission work in the gay community as much as preaching both Law and Gospel clearly within out own churches. A very large number of those in the gay community are young people from our own congregations. At 12 to 14 they began to realize they were attracted to people of their own gender instead of the opposite. At this age they were still in confirmation class and sitting in our pews. Seriously, when you talk to homosexuals, both those in the gay lifestyle and those who have chosen to reject same sex intercourse, you hear the same story. At that age, based on what their parents and pastors had said about homosexuality, they believed that God, their parents and their church would reject them if their temptations were known. So our mission field is already inside our church doors - again, we just need to be sure we clearly apply the Gospel to homosexuality while preaching Law equally and strongly to all sins.

And this includes blogs as well because our tech-savvy youngsters will often check out what their pastor writes on his internet blog about sensitive subjects rather than ask him directly.

Pastor M said...

One final addition

Sometimes I get the question, "why should we apply the Gospel directly to any sin in addition to saying 'all sin is forgiven in Christ,' especially when we talk about the Gospel all the time? Aren't we already applying the Gospel to homosexuals when we say 'all sinners are forgiven'?"

To that I would say, take a look at what Christ did. While speaking of forgiveness in general, he also specified the tax collectors, the most despised sinners of that day, as receiving forgiveness. By doing so he not only assured the repentant tax collectors that they are forgiven but also proclaims that all the "lesser" sins are also forgiven.

I think that following the example of Jesus is a pretty good idea.