Alan’s monthly letter for June 2013
Do you agree with God? What would it take for you to declare something good that God says is bad? Money, power, or fame? Unfortunately, many believers are willing to part ways from Scripture for a lot less.
At Stand to Reason’s 20th anniversary conference at Biola, I addressed three areas where Christians are compromising in the church. One area, in particular, is homosexuality. Believers are bullied into thinking they’re backward and intolerant. That makes it more likely they’ll cave in to cultural pressure.
Part of the problem is that the culture—and increasingly believers—are buying into false ideas about homosexuality. Many Christians, for example, think that same-sex attraction is biological or genetic and, consequently, unchangeable. They think same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue. They think the Bible is either neutral or condones homosexual behavior. And they feel that if you think homosexuality is wrong, then you can’t love a person who says they’re gay.
Christians who hold a biblical view on homosexuality are becoming an endangered species. It’s common for a believer to compromise when a friend or family member tells them they’re homosexual. They believe that loving them means accepting their behavior.
But equating love with acceptance is odd. I’m betting these parents didn’t operate on this principle when their children were growing up. When their kids stole, swore, or lied, they didn’t accept their behavior in the name of “love.” They disciplined them. They loved them while they corrected their behavior.
This principle doesn’t evaporate with age—it continues to apply as adults. You can believe homosexual behavior is wrong and be compassionate, tolerant, and loving towards gay-identified individuals. There’s nothing contradictory about that. Disapproval doesn’t diminish love. Every parent knows this.
Editor of Biola University’s school newspaper, Elisabeth Sallie, wrote an article about same-sex attraction among some of the Biola students and alumni. She made a clear and uncompromising assessment of the biblical issues the university faces. Her most important sentence, though, emphasized the critical balance between truth and compassion: “We don’t have to compromise our biblical doctrine to be a community that exemplifies grace, love, and care for every individual.”
Because many believers are losing sight of this principle, denominations are falling like dominoes. The Anglican Church and Episcopal Church USA were the first to fall. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) abandoned the biblical view of homosexuality in 2009. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) made a similar move in 2011. Churches that resist are demonized and pressured until they succumb.
You and I, however, will not falter from the truth. We must “stand firm in the faith” (1 Cor. 16:13). We don’t make Scripture subject to our desires. Rather, Scripture is an authority over us. Otherwise, it is a meaningless book.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m thankful for you. You’re not willing to compromise your convictions. You stand by the Word of God and then you stand by me in support of my work. I’m grateful that I can count on you.
I’m also excited to tell you that I’ve finished writing The Ambassador’s Guide to Understanding Homosexuality. This book will help believers understand what Scripture and science say about homosexuality. It will also help communicate that knowledge in a winsome and gracious way. I’m looking forward to its publication this August. It’s one more reason I can thank you for standing with me.