Several Options, No Waffling

I believe the time for waffling is over. As a denomination we have a clear position. Some choose to disregard, disobey, and disrespect that position. This should not be. The PCUSA, the ELCA, and the Episcopal Church fought these same battles over many years. They often urged patience, insisted on unity, and encouraged their people to focus on mission. Now they all welcome gay clergy in one way or another. Those on the side of historic orthodoxy “trusted the process” and the process let them down. Now is the time for action. Later will be too late. There are many different steps many different churches and classes should take. The overture from our church is one of these possible—and we think necessary—steps.

I recognize that the common retort at this point is to ask, “Why single out homosexuality? Why are you picking on this one sin? Why don’t you people talk about all other sins in the church? Are we going to pass resolutions for every sin?” There are several good responses to these questions. For starters, we do talk about lots of other sins—at least we do in my church. This is certainly not the only sin out there, and not even the main sin in the vast majority of our churches. But it is one of the principal areas where the church is under pressure from the culture to compromise. Every generation faces difficult issues and theological controversies. They require the church to speak out and speak clearly. Sexuality just happens to be one of those issues for our day. And the fact that many of our churches fail to practice the necessary discipline in a whole host of areas (from heterosexual fornication to unbiblical divorce) does not mean we should further compromise in this area of homosexuality. We ought to exercise loving, restorative discipline in every church. But as long as people in the RCA are not marshaling forces to celebrate marital affairs and divorce, it is a smokescreen to suggest that caring about those issues precludes us speaking out on this one.

I want unity and believe Christ commands us to be one. But we cannot be one institutionally unless we are truly one spiritually. The differences over sexuality are serious enough, but the issue is only symptomatic of disagreements that go wider and deeper, disagreements that touch on the authority and interpretation of Scripture, the authority and interpretation of our Standards, the reality of eternal hell, the reality of divine wrath, that nature of the atonement, and the nature of the gospel itself. We cannot pretend forever that an ambiguous understanding of “shared mission” can cover over our profound theological, biblical, and ethical disagreements. Let the RCA decide once and for all whether homosexuality is acceptable in our fellowship and then peaceably allow congregations and pastors to figure out if the RCA is still right for them.

Truth and Grace

Believe it or not, I really have no desire to engage in a long, protracted fight over homosexuality. What pastor does? But I do want to be faithful. And compromising on something the Bible speaks to so clearly is not faithfulness. It is cowardice. Of course it would be nice to do nothing. I begrudge the time and effort involved in controversy. More than that, I do not enjoy making people upset. I do not relish being thought narrow, judgmental, intolerant, mean-spirited or whatever else opposition to homosexuality is now considered in our culture. But even more I loathe doing nothing when so much is at stake. If it is true that homosexual behavior is sinful—as the Law of Moses and the gospels and the letter of Paul and our Catechism and our General Synod pronouncements conclude—then we are helping no one by saying “peace, peace,” where there is no peace. We are not helping the RCA fulfill its mission of making disciples in the world. We are not helping persons with same-gender attraction who need love and the truth in equal measure. We are not helping the consistories and pastors and professors in the RCA who continue to promote sin at risk to their congregations, their students, and their own souls. Most importantly, we are not helping to magnify the glory of our holy God and his all-forgiving, all-transforming grace.

I too know of persons who struggle with homosexual desires. Some of them will reject the church if we do not affirm their lifestyle. That is true, just like the greedy and self-righteous may turn away if we preach against those sins. But others know they lack sexual wholeness and are looking for a church body to help them fight against sin. They are hungry to hear the truth of God’s word and eager to know the expulsive power of a new affection. We do not help them by soft-pedaling the truth or giving them a lie. We do not help them by celebrating what the Lord would have us tearfully correct. We do not help them by joining hands with those who would offer them a stone instead of a piece of bread. We help them by repenting of our hurtful attitudes, by speaking the truth in love, by 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 of 1 Corinthians 6.

I’ve been in the RCA my whole life.  I’m convinced that the best and worst thing about our denomination is that we don’t like to draw lines in the sand.  This is good in so far as it keep us from majoring on the minors and focusing on each other’s faults.  This is bad in so far as it keeps us from acting decisively when faithfulness demands that we must.  There are some denominations who can’t say yes to anything.  Thankfully, that’s not us.  And yet, sometimes we have a hard time saying no to anything.  We are a small group, tight knit, held together by relationships that stretch back into seminary, college, and family reunions. We don’t like to make people waves. We don’t want to start a fight. That’s good. But the word of God calls us to a higher standard than niceness and warm relationships.

We are not called to be abrasive and arrogant, harsh and hateful.  But we are called to be strong and courageous, willing to do the hard, uncomfortable, painful act of holding each other accountable and saying no to ungodliness and worldly passions (Titus 2:11).  Do not be cowed into silence by those who claim all that’s at stake are two different interpretations of Scripture.  There comes a time when we must rule certain interpretations—no matter how sincerely held—out of bounds with Christian orthodoxy, unfaithful to Scripture, and unacceptable in our churches.  Do not be afraid of strong words and hard labels. Jesus himself commended the church at Ephesus because they did not “bear with those who are evil” and hated “the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Rev. 2:2, 6). Do not take the easy way out and allow what you know to be unbiblical under the guise of unity and mission. With hearts of love and theological backbones of steel we must not compromise on homosexuality.

A Call to Courage

How many in the RCA will put their reputations and their ease on the line that we might decisively confront this issue? If we fail to discipline such intransigent disobedience to the Scriptures and to our own pronouncements it will be fair to wonder whether we have lost the third mark of the church, and consequently, whether we as a denomination can still be recognized as a true church (Belgic Confession, Article 29).

The question is not whether we can have an entirely pristine church. The issue is whether we care to defend what is true and take courage to oppose what is false. In a recent blog post, Carl Trueman brings this point home with reference to a different denomination struggling with homosexuality:

It is, of course, not a question of whether the Church of Scotland is morally perfect in her membership or behaviour; no church ever has been and that is not the point at issue here.  It is rather a matter of whether, as an institution, she will not merely tolerate but actively encourage, promote and defend the true preaching of the word of God, of the whole counsel of God, and oppose—and depose by due and decent process—those who do not do so yet who claim to minister in Christ’s name.

If we truly believe in “one, holy, universal, apostolic church” we should make every effort to be true to the apostle’s teaching (no matter how countercultural) and in step with the faith confessed around the world throughout the ages, no matter how strange it may seem to our Western sensibilities. We should also strive to have a holy church that reflects the character of our holy God. To hunker down in our own friendly confines and do nothing at this moment in the life of the RCA is to dishonor the history of the church, the witness of Scripture, and the character of God.

Now is the time for broken-hearted courage. Now is the time for doctrinal integrity. Now is the time to not only say the right thing but do the right thing. I can hear the voice of Elijah calling to us: “How long will you go limping between two different opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21).

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45 thoughts on “Homosexuality and the RCA: A Call for Action, Consistency, and Faithfulness (Part 2)”

  1. Faithworks says:

    I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statues. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. Psalm 119: 59,60

  2. Tom Beetham says:

    Thank you Kevin for voicing the thoughts and heart of others with this post. The Lord found me and saved me in a RCA church, and so the denomination is dear to my heart. May the Lord stir a revival in the RCA toward the ends of doctrinal and ethical faithfulness to scripture. God knows that we need this now more than ever. I stand with you brother. You and the RCA are in my prayers.

    Tom Beetham

  3. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Parts 1 and 2 are so good, they warm my soul! I am blessed and edified by such exhortation and counsel.

    Having said that, I might imagine that this excellent series “A Call to Action, Consistency, and Faithfulness” might be construed as ecclesial politicicking. And I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with ecclesial politicking in and of itself.

    But in humble tentative forecast, it will come down to a vote, and a vote can be seen as a power struggle. Will faithful shepherds gain control to discipline wayward hirelings and wayward sheep? Or will the faithful shepherds decide to unyoke themselves from the hirelings who won’t do what the faithful shepherds and Scripture say to do?

    These excellent series of articles are really for the benefit of Pastor DeYoung’s church. They will see that all has been done to lovingly correct the trajectory of the RCA denomination. That there are noises coming from the RCA that things are being done. And then the question of “A Call to Action, Consistency, and Faithfulness” will boomerang back to Pastor DeYoung’s church and they will have to decide whether to remain yoked to the RCA.

    Pax.

  4. Andrew from bonnie Scotland says:

    For folks who read the blog post from Trueman regarding the Church of Scotland please be aware that he offers a very one sided and I would suggest inaccurate picture of what is happening in the Church of Scotland at this time. It is not as clear cut as he protrays it and there are many evangelicals who are committed to working within the Church of Scotland and are free to preach God’s word.

  5. David Phillips says:

    (the Grace of God) teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age
    - Titus 2:12
    For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
    - 1 John 2:16
    And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.
    - Romans 12:2
    If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
    - John 15:18
    If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
    - John 15:19
    In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted
    - 2 Tim 3:12
    Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.
    - 1 Cor 15:58
    Support and prayers from your brothers and sisters in London, England who are going through the same struggle…

  6. Josh Blunt says:

    I think those of us in the Body who are of this mindset must be admonished by the Lord’s word to Ezekiel in chapter 3:16-21:

    16 And at the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me:
    17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
    18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
    19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
    20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand.
    21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”

    We must do what is right, not just for our congregations’ consciences, but for the sake of our own relationship to the Lord and our own integrity before him. People can call it politicking, saber rattling, pot-stirring, or whatever they like – at the end of the day, it’s about obediently bearing a prophet’s burden in this culture.

  7. Brent Elkins says:

    Kevin, thank you for taking on this topic. I don’t think the general RCA member has any clue as to how bad it really is within the RCA. Here is just a few RECENT examples:

    Room for All
    Supporting, educating, and advocating for the full inclusion of LGBT in the Reformed Church in America.
    http://www.roomforall.com

    RCA takes strides toward more inclusion of homosexuals | MLive.com
    Nov 19, 2011 … Two recent decisions rally activist group Room for All.
    http://www.mlive.com/living/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/11/rca_takes_strides_toward_more.html

    Room for All hosts second national conference Oct. 27-29 | MLive.com
    Oct 22, 2011 … Those registered to attend so far include more than 100 RCA church members, college and seminary students, and pastors, organizers said.
    http://www.mlive.com/living/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/10/room_for_all_hosts_second_nati.html

    Leaving the nest: Allendale’s Lighthouse Community Church …
    6 days ago … Church cites ministry opportunities, biblical teaching on sexual orientation as causes for leaving the denomination.
    http://www.mlive.com/jenison/index.ssf/2012/03/leaving_the_nest_allendales_li.html

    Allendale church to split from RCA | MLive.com
    Jun 25, 2011 … Pastor of Lighthouse Community Church in Allendale says doctrinal issues caused church to take steps toward independence six years ago.
    http://www.mlive.com/living/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/06/allendale_church_to_split_from.html

  8. Faithworks says:

    What about the new general secretary of the RCA, Tom DeVries? Is he a vacillating man? Does he have the backbone to walk a bold and decided line?

  9. Bill Myers says:

    Homosexual sin is sexual sin; so are adultery and fornication. I am a PCA pastor and am regularly and increasingly approached by co-habitating couples to see if I will officiate their marriage ceremony. My conscience requires me first to meet with them and help them see that they are building on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). If they express a desire to build on the rock, and acknowledge that they are sinning, and are willing to confess and repent of the sin, I will continue to meet with them and quite possibly officiate their ceremony. To compromise on this point because so many in our culture are “doing it” makes no sense. I would not be helping them in the way in which they most need help. I think the principles for proceeding in this manner apply also to the position for which Kevin is arguing, with which I whole-heartedly agree.

  10. Mark LaChonce says:

    I would love to hear your advice on how to confront people, some of whom are old friends, who are “leading the charge” for acceptance of homosexuality in the RCA (RFA leadership, for example).

  11. Michael Bentley says:

    I sincerely hope my brothers and sisters (and fellow pastors, especially) in the Christian Reformed Church are reading this blog.

  12. Faithworks says:

    @Michael,

    Where are the pastors and the executive directors in the CRC who will stand up for truth on this issue? Frankly, I see none.

  13. Michael Bentley says:

    @Faithworks,

    Well, I am one. I know several others who are not afraid to address the issue in both a sensitive AND responsible way. Just because we don’t get national publicity doesn’t mean we’re not here.

  14. DRT says:

    Well, I am sorry for wasting all of your time, as I am about to shake the dust from my sandals on your doorstep.

    But until the :) , I ask you to be sensitive to the true nature of God and Jesus. To make his point Kevin trots out “not compromising” divine wrath, hell and other threats. If you take him seriously then you will most assuredly fall in line and not risk being thrown into the pit of fire!

    But if you pay attention to the big picture of Jesus you will realize that these are all arguments that are waving a stick of punishment if you don’t fall in line and believe as he does. Don’t go for it.

    Look at the big picture. Look at what Jesus did and taught. Study the gospels.

    And yes, I can see still coming out on the side that homosexuality is a sin, and that is OK (I will not threaten that you will be thrown into the pit of eternal flame). This is a judgment call. Jesus was all about judgment calls. He did not give us a book of dos and don’ts, he gave us general principles to use in regard to our lives. Jesus did not say that you have to cast out anyone who is gay. He did have quite harsh words to say about those who are greedy.

    But even those who are greedy, have hope. He did not cast Judas out. He will accept you.

    Please have a heart. I am not asking you to go around celebrating Mr and Mr gay america, I am asking you to be a neighbor to someone else and if you want to put energy into the decay of Christianity and the decay of society then put the energy into combating greed and pride. Those issues are at least as important to our world as was in Jesus day and those are the primary things that he talked about. Let your neighbor who likes women alone.

  15. DRT says:

    Kevin, why can’t your have a statement (even though this is still incredible demeaning to homosexual people) that says something like this.

    Clearly, God made male and female and gave divine purpose to the complementary physical form. Male and female, after all, are what is required to reproduce. But God also made people with a large range of desires, some destructive and others, not so much. While we acknowledge that male and female pairs are required and are the state required for procreation, we also acknowledge that life long monogamous relationships that do not harm other people are also consistent with God’s creation. In light of the fact that there is no outright harm in pursuing same sex relationships for those that God has made that way, we will endorse those relationships as being in keeping with the overarching theme of God’s intention of a heavenly existence on earth.

    I just don’t understand why you all are so adamant against the weak.

  16. DRT says:

    @Faithworks , I will stand up for the truth!

  17. DRT says:

    @Michael Bentley, I too hope they are reading this blog, and particularly the commments. People need to realize that they are making outcasts of their neighbors and family over the obvious teachings of Jesus. It is just plain wrong!

    The Truth is that Jesus came to help the sick. The greedy and rich are sick and need to get the message that their way is wrong!

  18. DRT says:

    How about if you put the rule in effect that anyone keeping more than $100k per year is greedy and a sinner! If not $100k then name your number. Obviously Jesus felt that money was evil.

  19. Kevin, thank you as always for your words, courage and ability in speaking the truth with love.

  20. TB says:

    DRT…

    Tell me… how are the rich sick and the homosexuals aren’t?
    Tell me… according to your reasoning we can also use the sin of greed in the same way you use the sin of homosexuality, for example; “…we also acknowledge that” greed “that does not harm other people is also consistent with God’s creation. In light of the fact that there is no outright harm in pursuing” greed “for those that God made that way, we will endorse” this character trait “as being in keeping with the overarching theme of God’s intention of a heavenly existence on earth.”

  21. JAQ says:

    @DRT

    I find it interesting that you are willing to let Kevin (and a number of others)know how wrong he/they are by posting numerous times in the comment section, but shut off all comments on your own blog.

    Talking about money or some other sin (you feel is greater) to distract from the topic of homosexuality is a common tactic by those who want to ignore the truth. I would really like to get into the subject about money/the rich, but that is not what this post is about.

    Both homesexuality and greed are sin, but I doubt you see it that way and at that point we stand on different truths. Further discussion will be fruitless.

  22. Dan says:

    The RCA as Kevin paints the picture of it sounds a little like my own non-denom church, though this particular issue has not come to a head in any fashion that I know of. Still, the common thread I see is a tendency to elevate human subjectivity above Scripture.

    That is it, really, in a nutshell – whether Scripture is sufficient and authoritative as God’s revealed will for the Church, or whether “traditions of man” hold the trump card; be they old traditions or new practices and beliefs that are more accommodating and adaptive to the culture surrounding us.

  23. DRT says:

    TB..

    I am not making the argument that the rich are sick and the homosexuals are not, though I do believe that. I am saying that Jesus clearly articulated what he thought were the predominant and most difficult things for people. Being rich and greedy is certainly a big one. Homosexuality never entered the conversation.

    But that is not even the most important point. The most important point is that many churches are putting effort into fighting against homosexuals and putting no effort into fighting against those who are greedy. Why don’t we see posts about testing to see if people are greeding and excommunicating them if they are?

  24. DRT says:

    JAQ, I forget exactly how I have comments set up on my blog, but I think I have it set for closing threads after either 7 days or 30 days. I have done that because I only get a couple people to comment every six months. But, given your input, I put up a new post that I will try to keep open so people could engage me.

    JAQ, I would love having a good debate on my blog. It just doesn’t get any traffic.

    Now to your allegation that talking about money and greed is a distraction from the truth, I disagree. The truth is that Jesus considered money and greed to be a much bigger deal than sexual sins based on what he talked about. I feel that it is exactly the point that we have to pick and choose what we concentrate on because we all have finite means. Every time you are picking on the gay person you are taking away the opportunity to help those who are struggling with power, money, greed, self importance and all of those issues.

    All sin is not the same. Do you feel homosexuality is much less, the same, or greater?

  25. DRT says:

    Dan, you cannot isolate scripture from human decisions. Well studied people have significant disagreements about what scripture actually means, so you are forced into the position that all you can be supporting is your interpretation of scripture, not what scripture actually says.

  26. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Martin Luther: ““If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.

    “Wherever the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.”

    The world and the devil are at this moment attacking the Bible’s condemnation of same-sex behavior as sin, and wanting to normalize gay marriage.

  27. Michael Swart says:

    Marriage figures prominently throughout the Scriptures and is often used to illustrate other teachings. I am convinced that – even if there was not a single reference to homosexuality in the Bible – the sum of all the teaching on marriage clearly shows that God condemns whatever would undermine what he requires.

    Our Creator is the faithful covenant God. He requires in our marriage relationships that faithful love, between a man and woman, be central. I believe that those in congregations who call for the acceptance of homosexuality do so to justify what is foreign to the Scriptures. These “enlightened views” on homosexuality do not promote the Biblical view of marriage. By seeking to expand the Biblical view, they simply add to those voices in society which are actually undermining marriage. We can either accept the teachings of Jesus and his earliest followers or reject them. The honest thing would then be to leave and not impose the views of modern society on the Church of Jesus Christ.

  28. Red says:

    “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral … nor adulterers … nor homosexual offenders … will inherit the kingdom of God.”
    -1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    When a practicing homosexual reads this list he may identify himself as being a “homosexual offender” but how could he not also clearly understand that “adulterers … will not inherit the kingdom of God”?

    However, in Christian denominations if he’s paying attention, he’s observed that modern “adultery washing” proceeds this way:

    After the two engaging in adultery are outed, each divorces their current spouse (leaving heaps of children strewn behind), marry one another and repent as they fall asleep in the marital embrace on their satin honeymoon pillows.

    Voila! Their adultery is washed away. Whiter than snow. Instantly vanished. Gone.

    At this, the homosexual wonders:

    “How do these heterosexual adulterers make their damning sins go —- poof — but I have no way to wash away my ‘offence’ and also get sprung into Heaven?”

    Unless we turn off this hypocrisy spigot flooding the church, how can we lovingly counsel one struggling with powerful same-sex attraction?

  29. Paul Cummings says:

    @Red there is a professor/ author named Dr. Mark Yarhouse who does a great job writing and speaking about exactly what you’re getting at. (which I agree is a glaring blind spot)

  30. Melody says:

    I’m divorced. I know I’m forgiven but I still face the brokenness of the past choices of my life. It’s funny though. I never see anyone use my sin as a justification for molesting. Jesus didn’t speak against that either but it is kind of a no-brainer.

  31. Melody says:

    I’m guessing there is a problem with the site again

  32. TB says:

    DRT…

    Once again, by your logic lets change the “sin” to one that “never entered the conversation.”

    Sorry if I am repeating myself…

    Tell me… according to your reasoning we can also use the sin of pedophilia in the same way you use the sin of homosexuality, for example; “…we also acknowledge that life long monogamous” pedophilia “relationships that does not harm other people is also consistent with God’s creation. In light of the fact that there is no outright harm in pursuing” pedophilia “relationships for those that God made that way, we will endorse those relationships as being in keeping with the overarching theme of God’s intention of a heavenly existence on earth.”

    You also mention “many churches are putting effort into fighting against homosexuals and putting no effort into fighting against those who are greedy.” … Name one… and how do you know that these churches are not dealing with greed in there personal counseling sessions? Who said anything about excommunication?

  33. Red says:

    Will you millions of Christians sitting in the pew each Sunday, who engaged in adultery/porn, and are now in 2nd marriages, repent of your sexual sin (or unforgiveness) and return to your 1st spouses (who you covenanted before God and man “to have and to hold … for better or for worse … until death parts you”)?

    Until then, Pastor DeYoung (and other Reformed pastors) will continually and hypocritically counsel the occasional Christian with a same-sex attraction to repent of their sexual sin.

  34. DRT says:

    TB, I must be misunderstanding you. Are you suggesting that I need to actually say why pedophilia is different than homosexuality?

    You second point about churches fighting against greed totally misses the point. If churches wanted to deal with homosexuality one on one and not put statements barring them from any aspect of the church then I would be for that.

  35. DRT says:

    Melody, you and TB should get together. How in the world do you possibly put molestation in the same category as long term, monogamous same sex relationships?

  36. Michael Swart says:

    @Red
    You quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, a word of judgement, but Paul went on to speak a word of grace: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11). This passage speaks of people whose lives were messed up in so many different ways. When they heard and believed the Gospel this changed: Thieves became honest, drunkards sober, adulterers faithful, greedy generous, homosexuals devoted to a holy life, idolaters worshippers of God (see 2 Tim. 1:9)

    The Gospel is how Jesus came to deal with this problem, once for all, and that those who believed in him had their lives changed. This happened when his earliest followers went and told people all they had seen and been taught. It has continued down the centuries and is continuing even today. The Church has no other Gospel. If the Church changes this, then it is no longer the Gospel and a message of hope. And it was precisely because some Christians in Corinth were turning back to former ways that Paul writes warning them not to go there but to recognize how and why they had been changed.

  37. Red says:

    @Michael Swart

    Since millions of unrepentant/unforgiving remarried heterosexuals persist in their refusal to physically repent/forgive by returning to their 1st loves (and yet they’re all totally forgiven), why does the one-off homosexual Christian get eternally punished for his (apparently organic) same-sex attraction who also has a desire, but failure, to once-and-for-all physically repent?

    Even Paul did not the things he should, but the things he shouldn’t.

    Grace is extended to these millions of unrepentant/unforgiving remarried heterosexuals but not the homosexual.

    Sounds like crass hypocrisy.

  38. Melody says:

    @Red

    I used that example because DRT was using the excuse that Jesus didn’t mention it for a reason that it didn’t matter like greed did. There are lots of things that Jesus didn’t mention but since He was sinless and followed the laws that God put down, didn’t need to be mentioned AGAIN.

    You can point at my sin, you can point at the whole world’s sin but in the end it is between you and God and you get no excuses. None of us do. For DeYoung, he is called to speak the truth or he would be sinning.

    At the risk of being crass, I know of no homosexual couple that has saved themselves for that one true love/only one sexual partner for life situation. I doubt that such a scenario even exists.

  39. Particularly troublesome regarding the national focus on gay marriage has been the manipulation of words to promote a radical redefinition of marriage and family.

    I feel a need to expose this agenda – not to intentionally offend others – but to invite clearheaded thinking based on facts. In the following link,I suggest seven deceptive distortions of truth used to change the way the public thinks: http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/kirk-cameron-questioned-about-homosexuality-by-piers-morgan/

  40. Steve Coomes says:

    @ Faithworks — Your question is whether Tom DeVries, the new General Secretary of the RCA, is a man who will waver or who will stand on the truth…

    I had a chance to speak with him at a congregational meeting at Lighthouse Community Church in Allendale, MI, recently (Lighthouse pulled out of the RCA and declared itself non-denomination starting January 1 mainly over this issue). I asked DeVries whether he or the leadership would take a stand and begin to discipline RCA leaders in openly homosexual lifestyles. Instead of answering the question, he asked me what I would do. I told him basically what Kevin DeYoung is saying and used 1 Corinthians 5 to teach the command of expelling from fellowship a person who says he is a Christian but is clearly in sin and is unwilling to repent. After my response DeVries danced around the question and did not really answer it. Even after another person at the meeting challenged him to answer the question directly, he still did not do so. I even talked with him personally at the end of the meeting and shared my concern that he did not offer a plan for dealing with the sin in the denomination, and he still beat around the bush and did not answer the question.

    I do not know anything about DeVries’ character besides this interaction, but from this incident it seems to me that he is behaving like a middle-of-the-road politician.

  41. Dave says:

    Kevin, I applaud your calling for biblical fidelity to sexual ethics in Scripture. As a member of a congregation in the EPC and as someone who attends a PCA seminary, this discussion is extremely important in regards to who should serve and in what capacity, biblically speaking, to those of us who are Reformed.

  42. Michael Swart says:

    @Red
    You do not seem to have understood my comment. You also need to carefully consider the central teaching of Jesus and the New Testament on this subject.

    Paul recognized the struggle in the Christian life: we mess up (sin) every day both by doing things that are wrong as well failing to do what is right. Jesus teaches that sin goes far beyond the deed including our very thoughts (Matthew 5:27-48). None of us can escape God’s guilty verdict but that is where God’s grace, his undeserved kindness, comes in. He not only forgives us when we first turn to him, grieved by what we have done wrong, but as we continue to seek forgiveness for our daily transgressions.

    When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, his model prayer suggests that we will be praying – daily – not only for our provisions but also for forgiveness. Christians do not become perfect the moment they start following Jesus but their aim is to obey and please God. While Paul recognizes the struggle of Christians, he encourages them to live differently (Ephesians 4:17-24) . The Christian life is not only littered with failures but also marked by patterns of new behaviour. If, however, we profess to be Christians but do not continue to seek his forgiveness, we are rejecting our need of Christ and will not be welcomed to enjoy God’s forever happiness.

    We need to examine obeying God with respect our sexuality. However, we need to recognize that there is not a single area of our lives where we do not sin. Failure in these areas estrange and separate us from God. Paul named some of these areas. However, modern society is particularly selective in what offends it and so it does not have to accept that many things are morally bad. Churches and Christians must not follow society but be guided by the Scriptures, by the teachings of Jesus.

  43. TB says:

    DRT… Who’s to say that the 7 year old boy and his 40 year old uncle don’t have a consensual, “loving”, “monogamous” relationship… you certainly are judgmental… I know Jesus wasn’t judgmental on this issue because he never mentioned it…

  44. “I want unity and believe Christ commands us to be one. But we cannot be one institutionally unless we are truly one spiritually.”

    Well said. Great line. So true.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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