Posts tagged ‘Salvation’
Many books about homosexuality are hitting the shelves to coincide with upcoming U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage. Among them I reviewed Scott McKnight’s A Fellowship of Differents and now Debra Hirsch’s Redeeming Sex.
Hirsch, a former lesbian-turned-heterosexual-married-self-describing-Christian, exemplifies the need and ability to discern false teaching presented as biblical. Many of her arguments are based on false premises, which lead to false conclusions.
Most disturbing is her approach that distorts and negates the person and work of Jesus Christ.
By suggesting Jesus as a “sex symbol” she writes he “would have been deeply attractive to both men and women” and it was likely that “genital sexual advances were made towards him.” Did Hirsch not read Isaiah 53? Isaiah prophesied that peoples’ redemption would come from one man who “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” Jesus was ordinary looking. And the pain and death he suffered, separation from his father, was more than enough to heal every person’s brokenness, including sexual sin.
Her reasoning regarding Jesus and celibacy is equally problematic. Regarding celibacy and comparing Jesus Christ to Roman Catholic priests Hirsch exposes her ignorance about common misperceptions related to institutionalized celibacy. More important, however, is that Jesus, as both fully God and fully man who was without sin, would not have thought romantically about women. His human nature was perfect and incomparable to the rest of a sinful human nature. Hirsch mentions nothing about obedience to God as a reason for celibacy—for all unmarried believers—one of only two sexual relationships Paul consistently and clearly admonishes that honor God.
Jesus was not celibate because he did not want to spare a wife or child from “the pain of the cross,” as Hirsch suggests. Jesus’s sole purpose was soteriological: to die a death he did not deserve for those who did deserve death—including everyone struggling with sexual sin—in order to redeem them from that sin, not to willfully continue it.
This is why through Christ’s love, grace and mercy, combined with a humble, contrite, repentant heart, and healing through the Holy Spirit, no practicing homosexual can claim to know and love Jesus Christ. To love Jesus is to follow him, to trust and obey him—no matter the cost. (McKnight brilliantly communicates this by citing testimonies from people struggling with sexual sin who claim nothing they have given up compares to the joy of knowing Jesus Christ.)
Furthermore, by defining sexuality and gender by man-made (not biblical) terms, Hirsch wrongly surmises the prostitute falling at Jesus’s feet (Luke 7:36-50) evidences what she defines as “social sexuality” and “genital sexuality.” Nothing could be further from biblical truth.
She interprets this text as “Jesus blurs the lines, suggesting it is possible to love intensely outside of a marriage relationship.” This exemplifies both an arrogant western concept and an absurdly false claim.
The prostitute worshipped Jesus. She did not love him in a romantic, socially sexual, or genitally sexual way. The prostitute fell at Jesus’s feet because she loved him as her Lord and Savior.
Worshiping Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s emotional, asexual, or sexual feelings. Authentically worshiping Jesus for who he is as Lord does not even remotely imply that non-married women and men (the prostitute and Jesus) can love each other deeply. If anything, Jesus loved her as a father loves a child.
Hirsch’s doublespeak astounds. She asserts Jesus is “calling us to be in the ‘right’ loving relationship with God and with people…. to love God is to walk in his ways.” Yet she also maintains “there is no room for self-righteousness and exclusion based on disputed interpretations on nonessential issues of the Bible.” If sex, gender, and same-sex marriage is a nonessential issue of the Bible, then why write a book about it?
Further still, she justifies “God is ok with gay,” monogamous same-sex relationships provide “no incompatibility with following Jesus,” and “no ministry or church has the right to impose any change on an individual, let alone one so intrinsic as a sexual orientation.”
Perhaps this explains why only verses that appear to support her assertions, taken out of context, are used as pull quotes instead of every verse if explained in their context would clearly refute them?
For anyone to argue the Bible “does not understand a modern day understanding of homosexuality” either reflects intellectually dishonesty, deception, or ignorance about sexual norms and practices during the Apostle Paul’s day. In fact, McKnight’s book paints an astonishing picture of that time, to which today’s standards pale in comparison. Again, if the Bible’s view of sex and gender is nonessential, why write a book about it?
By using the Kinsey Scale as a plumb line Hirsch presupposes that human feelings, rationale, or psychology provide the basis for “trying to understand or define homosexuality,” which she claims, “is no easy task.” Homosexuality is easily understood when one first understands who God is. The gospel, not the Kinsey Scale, is what is needed to completely surrender to Jesus’s love, a love that surpasses all selfish and self-seeking choices to love and be loved by human standards.
Biblical love exposes sin and articulates that only through God’s grace, with or without the help of Christians, God restores broken people to himself. Hirsch and others who condone the behavior and mindset of “practicing homosexual Christians” are not loving, but harming them. Worse still they make Jesus’s death worthless. Hirsch’s misrepresentation of scripture is irresponsibly misleading. Sadly, she is not alone.
Hirsch like Rob Bell who “came out for same-sex marriage,” Rick Warren who held hands with and joked about kissing Elton John, the Progressive Christian Alliance, the Gay Christian Network, and many at RNS who unashamedly cite human knowledge and feelings above biblical wisdom.
Paul, who Jesus exclusively tutored for seven years, wrote more about sex and marriage and male and female relationships than anyone else. Wouldn’t reading what he wrote in its entirety be the logical starting point? Yet few Christians read the Bible.
Those who “walk in the spirit,” those who love God with their whole heart, soul, and mind, those who seek to renew their minds and “pick up their crosses,” would not choose to “walk in the lusts of the flesh.” They would not want to disobey Jesus because their love for him is so great.
Sinning, for believers, leads to repentance, not repetition of sin. Those who know and choose to follow and obey Jesus grasp the reality that their lives are not their own; their purpose extends beyond themselves. Human sexuality (and intellect, ingenuity, athleticism, or physical or psychological traits) is only rightly understood once God’s will, communicated in scripture, is understood.
By Candace Hardin / 15 April 2014
As the Easter season approaches, it is time to reflect on our faith and stand in awe of the miracle that is Jesus Christ.
I am given to remember a song titled “Wonder of Wonders” by Charles B. Wycuff.
It was recorded by The Inspirations, one of my favorite gospel groups from Bryson City, NC.
This is the line I find most impressive in the beautiful hymn:
“The wonder of wonders, oh how could it be, that God became flesh and was given for me. The Almighty came down and walked among men. The wonder of wonders he died for my sin.”
If you think on that line, God’s sacrifice is almost too much to imagine, and that is not even getting into His crucifixion.
He came down and walked among men. He left heaven to come and live here on earth with us.
When I hear that, I wonder how He saw the difference in this earth with its’ carnal ways. How difficult it would be, if we put ourselves in His shoes, would we be willing to do it?
Just as a most simplistic comparison, would you or I be willing to leave our comfortable, clean, well-appointed homes to live in squalor in a third world country for 33 years just because our father asked us to do it?
How much more did Jesus give up to come here, knowing how long He would be here and how horrifically He would die, yet still willing to do his Father’s will?
This past Sunday was Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered the city. He knew he would be killed in a very violent way within the week.
He was made flesh and felt all things as we do. He asked His Father to let it pass from him in prayer, yet ultimately accepted His fate with serenity.
If you only think of these examples of His exemplary life, disregarding all of the rest, you cannot help but marvel and praise.
The very least we can do is stand up for His name and His church in everything we do.
It is not something reserved for the Holy Week, but should be a lifestyle.
As you gather with your family and friends this Holy Season, remember to keep it holy.
Honor Him and thank God for His Son who did what we would shrink away from doing.
Image: Courtesy of: http://www.themindfulword.org/2014/contemplation-cutting-edge/
About the author: Candace Hardin
Posted on January 26, 2014 by Jon Kuhrt
“It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma…
You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or opposite one. Its clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it.
And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you reap, so will you sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.
That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep trouble. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.
The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled….its not our own good works that get through the gates of heaven…
If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. All I do is get up on the Cross of the Ego; the bad hangover, the bad review. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my sin and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked:
- Who is this man?
- And was He who He said He was,
- or was he just a religious nut?
And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.”
All text taken from Chapter 11 of Bono on Bono: conversations with Michka Assayas, 2005 (Hodder). Buy the book.
About the Author: Jon Kuhrt
Jon Kuhrt works with people affected by homelessness, offending and chronic addictions at the West London Mission. He, his wife and three children are part of Streatham Baptist Church and he is a member of the Christians on the Left. He likes football…but loves cricket.
You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or opposite one. Its clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it.
And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you reap, so will you sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news…
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