Koinonia News, Religion — August 30, 2017 — by Michael Callahan
I firmly believe that otherwise good Christians can have disagreements on minor doctrinal and non-essential issues. However, in this day and age there are some that have pushed the envelope so far that they no longer can be classified as “Christian.”
This was the opinion of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) when they recently published a document titled “the Nashville Statement,” where they clarified their conservative position on the LGBTQwxyz agenda, and Churches that support them.
Needless to say, the media and LGBTQ groups were quick to chime in calling them hateful. Not surprising was the response by The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, editor-at-large of America magazine, and consultant to the Vatican Communications office. Martin who is wildly pro-LGBTQwxyz, painted the Nashville statement with his own seven points of false gospel narrative. He basically accused the SBC of being judgmental, hateful, marginalizing, that gays and lesbians don’t need to change, etc. Nowhere in his polemic is a call to right teaching or orthopraxy. Yes, Fr. Martin, God loves everyone, and so does the Church. Martin also called out a Roman Catholic Bishop last month, who made similar clarifying position statements. Somehow, in Martin’s mind you need to point out every single sin known to man, in order to present a fair teaching. Well, Fr. Martin, when was the last time you heard a group of “adulterers” demanding that their sinfulness be normalized and accepted as morally sound? No? I didn’t think so.
After that first paragraph, some liberal-minded Christians may be tempted to question my personal faith, or call me a hater as well. You see the popular mind set these days is that Christianity is all about “love,” and that the Jesus of the bible never condemned anyone. That is patently absurd. In the Gospel readings of this week, Jesus was pretty harsh in his condemnation of the scribes and pharisees — the religious leaders of His day. Additionally, Jesus did not shy away from calling out people who were in the midst of their sin. Jesus is the one who violently turned over the tables of the “Money Changers” in the Temple. To the “Sinner” He says, “go and sin no more.”
Ever since the “Sexual Revolution” began, the mantra of “sex, drugs and rock & roll” has been a growing influence in American Culture. The immorality of this cultural shift has emboldened all sorts of challenges for both culture and church. Morality these days, especially sexual (in common understanding) has overshadowed most every other social issue, and is now making its demands on the Church.
I have been trying to understand this shift in moral center for the past twenty years. What was once black and white, morphed into something grey and now is flourishing into a “rainbow” of diversity that is 100% antithetical to Church teachings for the past 2,000+ years — to the point that any person or group that dares to speak up against the sexual revolution is immediately labeled as “haters.”
Back in the 90s when California was voting on a ballot initiative to define marriage as being between “one Man and one Woman,” and then again when they were voting to approve “marriage equality,” I stated on several occasions that we were embarking on a slippery slope, opening a Pandora’s Box of immoral possibilities. At that time I was soundly shouted down as an extremist. Looking at where we are now, (sadly) i feel vindicated, for what its worth. These days on TV we see popular shows glorifying all sorts of immorality. Just yesterday I listened to one show which was extolling “polyamory” and “polygamy.” It seems that anything goes in the 21st century.
The bible is clear, there is no ambiguity, sin separates us from God. Scripture is also explicit as to what sin is. In the biblical context, all human sexuality outside of a married relationship is sin. No equivocation is made in scripture between heterosexual, or homosexual sex. If you’re actively involved in our modern “hook up” culture, you’ve got a problem — gay, or straight! If you’re married and having an extramarital relationship, you are in the sin of Adultery. If you’re married to a same-sex partner you are living in sin. These are biblical truths. Individuals and Churches that teach a different message are preaching lies from Hell!
The Apostle Paul states that these false teachers “wish to pervert the gospel of Christ.” He continues that they are “accursed.” that is pretty plain language!
As Christians we are to show love and compassion to all who pass through our doors, Saint and Sinner alike. However, that does not mean we should be modifying our teachings to placate secular outcries.
This is much more than a culture war, this is a battle between the powers of darkness and light. Whichever way it turns out, God is in control — Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.
I commented recently on a so-called “priest’s” page who was angry about the “Nashville Agreement” and was summarily unfriended. No wonder — he is with “The Catholic Universalist Church,” which “exists for those people who believe that God’s love is so perfect that all will be saved in the fullness of time.” For them, sin does not matter so it does not matter what they teach — in their own minds, anyway. Talk about preaching a “different gospel.”
The Gospel message has always been about admonishing conversion, not about accepting everyone’s idea of propriety. This was especially true for the Apostle Paul, teaching to the Corinthians and Ephesians — both metropolitan communities inculcated in cultures of sin. In these hot beds of immorality, Paul did not hesitate to call sin for what it is!
“I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by [the] grace [of Christ] for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach [to you] a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!
Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.”
Michael Callahan is senior editor for Koinonia News and Presiding bishop for the Catholic Church in America. Michael is also the author of “Authentic Faith, Radical Transformation, and Contemplative Prayer (available on Amazon).