I have nothing but contempt for those who preach themselves rather than Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:5) and preach their own ideas and opinions in place of “Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). I have a hard time concealing my contempt when their “preaching” brings shame and reproach on the name of Christ.
If you haven’t heard about the preacher referenced in the title, here’s the long and short of it (I’m not embedding or linking to the video; it shouldn’t be hard to find): This “preacher” (who shall go unnamed on this blog) was preaching about the gay marriage issue and said that the solution to the problem was to put up a fence 50 or 100 miles around and put all the lesbians, queers, and homosexuals (his terms) and drop a little food in to them and in a few years they would die out because they can’t reproduce.
A few thoughts:
1. This isn’t preaching
Preaching is the proclamation of God’s Word. It is not the proclamation of the preacher’s ideas and opinions prefaced by “Thus saith the Lord.” Were this man preaching the Word and the message was not popular, I would say with Paul, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”
But that is not what he did (at least in the portion of the sermon I saw.) He far exceeded what is spoken of in Scripture.
I can easily conclude what type and method of “preaching” this man does and it is not worthy to be called “preaching.” It is pontificating masquerading as an authoritative word from the Lord and this man takes the Lord’s name in vain when he claims the Lord’s authority for things the Lord did not say.
Our Lord is a righteous judge but he appears to us in this age as the One who brings hope into our despair, light into our darkness, and life into a world of death through the good news of mercy and grace and whose death has turned aside the wrath of God for the world (1 John 2:2) so that we might see God’s longsuffering nature (2 Peter. 3:8-9).
2. What this guy proposes has already been done. 70-odd years ago. We call it “the Holocaust.”
I don’t want to break Godwin’s law here but I can’t escape the connection. Hitler’s ire was directed toward several kinds or types of people, especially one particular group, and began systematically exterminating them from his world.
This is evil. Oppression, bullying, assault, even name-calling is wrong, immoral, sinful, and the devil’s work. We are to speak with grace to those who hear (Col. 4:5-6). We are to speak words that lead to life (John 6:61; Phil 2:16).
Every person is formed in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; James 3:9) and even though because of our sin we bear that image bent and tainted until Christ begins the work of transformation (2 Cor. 3:18), the Scriptures teach that we cannot bless God and curse men with the same tongue (James 3:9-10). I pray God strengthen me never to be ashamed to be called “Christian,” but I am ashamed that this man is called “Christian” since he brings a reproach on the name of Christ and fails to proclaim the Good News of our Lord as the Word has called him to do.
3. What does this have to do with gay marriage?
I don’t think that someone who believes homosexuality is wrong is exercising hatred in doing so. Everybody thinks something is wrong. (Some will protest that nothing is morally wrong but they’ll stop saying that as soon as you do something wrong to them. I promise you that person’s morality will become objective again.)
I say that to say this: This really has nothing to do with the gay marriage issue. The issue can be framed in several different ways, but so far no one respectable has (as far as I am aware) proposed that people who self-identify as homosexual do not have a right to live.
Leviticus does call for execution for homosexuals under the civil statutes of ancient Israel. No one is calling for that today (except a few crackpots). The law also specified death for adulterers and those who curse their parents but does he call for that? I doubt it.
Everybody refers to Leviticus but Paul is also instructive (and relevant) here. For example, in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 homosexuals are listed among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Presumably this preacher believes this passage. Why is he not calling for death for those who gossip? (“Slander” in NKJV is gossip; “revilers” in the KJV). But judgment belongs to the Lord our God. If God commands us to love our enemies in this age and let the Lord judge those who persecute us (Rom. 12:17-21) would that principle not also apply to those we see as evil-doers, regardless of what evil they practice and perpetuate?
This is why our Lord taught a kingdom ethic that involves loving our neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40) and even those who persecute us (Matt. 5:12f.) and Scripture commands praying for all people including our pagan leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-4).
(I note in passing that the Romans 12 passage cited above begins with “Do not repay evil for evil” (v. 17) and ends with “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” (v. 21). Perhaps this pastor should reacquaint himself with this passage, among others.)
4. You hurt rather than help your cause when you speak so foolishly
I said above that we can frame this issue in several different ways, but we ought to shy away from (indeed, we ought to be horrified at) proposing that people who self-identify as homosexual, or anyone else short of those condemned to death in a court of law, do not have a right to live.
As a society: (1) we can argue the morality of gay marriage, (2) we can argue the legality of gay marriage, (3) we can argue the civil/ societal benefits (or lack thereof) of gay marriage, (4) we can argue the impact of gay marriage on our culture.
As Christians: (1) we can argue whether gay marriage is wrong both in the Bible and now, (2) we can argue whether we should let the world go its way on this issue while we remain faithful to what we believe or fight against it, (3) we can argue how involved we should be in the political process as individuals and as churches and religious organizations.
What we cannot argue is whether someone who practices immorality of any kind has a right to live. (I’m intentionally leaving off discussion of the death penalty since that’s not relevant here.) Life, death, and judgment belong to the Lord our God.
5. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
This man failed the Col. 4:5 test (among others).
Jesus is the One to whom all judgment has been committed (John 5:22, 27, 30) and he will judge in righteousness in the last day. This is in Scripture and needs to be proclaimed but the focus of our proclamation is that Jesus has borne the judgment of his people in his death and triumphed over sin, the effects of sin, and all the forces of darkness in his resurrection.
This “preacher” is supposed to be in the business of proclaiming this Good News (“gospel”) of Jesus Christ which is that Jesus, the Christ, the Son of David, has paid the penalty for our sin and triumphed over death so that he can defeat our enemies and has earned the right to rule. This same Anointed One (“Christ” or “Messiah”) will establish his kingdom which will be characterized by peace, blessing, and unity and this kingdom will have no end.
If this preacher knows God’s mercy, grace, and love through Jesus Christ, he has no occasion to boast (Rom. 3:27; 1 Cor. 1:29) and should preach as a dying man to dying men, holding out the hope that is in Christ alone with boldness and forthrightness but also with grace and compassion.
May the rest of us do better than this guy did. I pray that God give each of a spirit of boldness (Acts 4:29, 31) and compassion (Mark 1:41; cf. Acts 4:30) to speak words of life (John 6:61; Phil 2:16), hope and peace to our fellow sinners so that they may be brought to Christ who alone can save them and bring them peace, joy and hope.