Groveling to the World (or The Wishy-Washiness of Willow Creek)

I recently came across this message from Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels. Apparently Willow Creek wanted to invite Starbucks president Howard Schultz to come speak for a leadership seminar, but the constituency of Starbucks had other plans. Believing the church to be “anti-gay,” over seven hundred angry petitioners came together in protest, threatening to boycott Starbucks unless Schultz declined the invitation. So he did.

At this point, Willow Creek had a choice as to how they could respond. You would like to think they would have said, “Well yes, as a matter of fact we are ‘anti-gay,’ and very proud of it too. Gee, isn’t it nice to be hated by the right people?” Unfortunately, Hybels’ response was a little different:

Where to begin? We could start by the fact that at the end he’s citing Matthew 18 (??) as their basis for trying to “meet with” the petitioners in order to “seek a better understanding” and perhaps come to a point of “mutual respect.” The petitioners, who are (we presume) not even remotely Christian and not associated with the church in any way, shape or form. That sounds like a private grievance with a Christian brother, not. But Matthew 18 seems to be the go-to thing these days… no matter what the situation, Matthew 18 must apply, somehow.

So that’s just weird, right there. But of course there’s a big picture problem here, namely that Hybels is somehow trying to have it both ways. Notice that he does say at one point that the church “challenge(s) homosexuals and heterosexuals to live out the sexual ethics of the Scriptures,” and he even elicits some applause. However, he immediately continues with some fluff about “grace-filled spirits” and “honoring everybody’s journey,” whatever the deuce that means.

Official stance aside, what is getting repeated over and over here? It’s this all-inclusive “welcome” message. “The mat on every door at this campus [campus--don't you love that?] has always read ‘welcome’. ” No, the church is not anti-gay. In fact, the church is not anti-anybody. (One would like to ask, “Does that include the world, the flesh, and the devil?” But moving right along…) That’s what he’s harping on, and harping on. Now granted, in a church that size, there wouldn’t really be much you could do to actively prevent somebody gay from walking in on Sunday. But it’s pretty obvious that there wouldn’t be much of an attempt to exercise church discipline on an immoral member, or to communicate a pointedly, explicitly anti-gay message from the pulpit that might “offend” [Edit: In fairness, I just read an article which quoted a 2007 sermon that did contain anti-gay messages. Whether Hybels would preach something similar today is another question.] The clear take-home message here is, “It’s all right, it’s okay.” Make no mistake, Hybels is trying to walk an impossibly fine line, and something has to give. We’re seeing a serious disconnect between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. It may take a few years, maybe even a decade or two, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see even the official policy quietly disappear one day.

But until that happens, the angry petitioners still won’t be satisfied. I can see it now: Church sets up the meeting (if the petitioners are willing to meet at all), and Hybels goes and spouts the liberal line, saying nothing at all about the church policy if he can help it. But sooner or later they drag it out of him, and then it’s all over because as long as the letter is there, they will fight it.

I see this as just one more part of an emerging trend: Christian entities (churches, organizations, etc.) are becoming more and more eager to invite completely secular speakers for secular purposes, in an effort to “find common ground.” Compare with Focus on the Family and Blake Mycoskie. The Church is actively extending these kinds of invitations: “Hey, let’s forget about our differences and have you come and talk about leadership, or giving shoes to poor children, or anti-AIDS charity, or [insert something else generic]?” When those secular leaders yield to pressure from their base to refuse the invitation because of the officially conservative values of the Christian entities extending it, said Christians react by saying, “Oh, we’re so sorry. We’re good little liberals, honest! Er, yes, well, we do officially have standard Christian principles of morality, but can’t we w0rk something out anyway? Pleaseohpleaseohplease? All together now: WE ARE NOT EXCLUSIVE.” Instead of which they should realize, “You know, maybe that’s what we get for trying to work with somebody who doesn’t particularly share our values, at least not enough to stand up to a vocally complaining left-wing base. Let’s invite x solidly Christian speaker next time instead.”

The Church wasn’t built to grovel to the world. She was built to overcome the world. And if taking a stand for what’s right means that we are reviled and scorned… well, somebody kind of important once said that we should count that as a blessing.

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41 Comments

Filed under Faith and Culture

41 responses to “Groveling to the World (or The Wishy-Washiness of Willow Creek)

  1. JSR

    First, I very much am against sin in any form, including homosexuality.

    Second, I don’t really understand why most “Christians” care. Most churches take the view that we all sin and fall short on a daily basis. If you accept that theory why does it matter if one person has a problem with telling “white lies” and one person struggles with homosexuality. They are both against the word of God. So, if the church is going to accept sinners why specify the acceptable sins. They are all unacceptable to God.

    The point I’m trying to make is Christianity has drifted far from it’s course. When “the Church” begin to accept sinners as Christians “the Church” ceased to operate as its designer, Jesus, intended. Until Churches stop being hypocritical and standing against ALL sin they’re going to struggle to pick out certain ones and take a firm stand.

    • So you’re trying to say that if the Church is normalizing one sin, why not normalize all sins? Why bother to pick and choose? I think that’s a good point. I’ve often thought it interesting that there are other sins Christians wouldn’t think twice about condemning, yet for some reason when it comes to the specific sin of homosexuality they’re ready to make excuses.

      I believe it’s a result of which sins have become socially acceptable. Sadly, the Church is following in the culture’s footsteps there.

    • quartet-man

      Well, the Bible does give special emphasis on homosexuality to a degree, but no sin should be condoned. The church shouldn’t stop entry or boot out people who sin and are seekers nor should it people who are struggling or seeking to overcome. However, it might be different on a member who doesn’t desire to change on a known sin and is in disobedience to God.

      A homosexual who struggles with temptation in my mind is no different than me struggling with lust, temper or whatever. However, a lot of homosexuals pull out the “we were born this way” mantra. Well, we are all born into sin thanks to Adam and Eve, but that is no license to sin. A lot of homosexuals will not only give into temptation, but be in relationships thus continuing to give in. It is the same as a heterosexual couple deciding to live together and sleep together. Being forgiven in these types of sin, but staying there and continuing them is not repenting thus there is trouble. Also, a lot of homosexuals want to force not only acceptance and tolerance of their sin, but outright take away our right to speak against it or call it what it is, sin. Do you often seen “lust pride day” or “temper pride day” or “gluttony pride day” or “cussing pride day” or “stealing pride day” or “covetousness pride day?

      Nonetheless, I do think part of what makes us Christians dwell on this (besides the fact that the Bible speaks so strongly against it and the homosexuals and world try so hard to push it in our faces) is that other sins might be a struggle for us at times and we have a harder time speaking against them (not because we don’t think they are wrong), but because we know we struggle with them, but also because we DON’T struggle with it, so it is easy to speak out. But that reason is probably the lesser of the others. I know the latter doesn’t change my speaking out much at all (if any). I will tell you the sins I struggle with are wrong just as easily as ones I don’t. The biggest reason I speak out against homosexuality so much is because it is brought up so much. So many try to force it on us and then I will speak up against it as what it is, sin.

      • quartet-man

        Ooh, I just thought of a funny example to add to my list, how about “Pride pride day”? :D :D

      • Yes, exactly. That was the point I was making. At the same point I do agree that we should be willing to acknowledge that certain sins are especially abominable in God’s sight. We do see distinctions between “lesser” and “greater” sins in the Bible, and I don’t think we should balk at making distinctions ourselves.

  2. quartet-man

    Preach it, sister! I was slightly amused at this quote: “find common ground.” It seems to me if you are trying to find common ground, a coffemaker would be a good place to start. ;) :D

  3. Olaneljonoisle

    This is a good example of the “church” trying to win the approval of the world. When are “we” going to learn that if we stand on the truths of the Word of God that the world will not accept us. The Biblical NT church should not be anti any person, only the sin in which they are living. Whether it is sodomy, fornication, or drunkeness the church should be against the sin. I would not have an issue with any sodomite coming to my church because they would get to hear the truth of the Gospel. The Bible does tell us that we are to be different from the world, not trying to show it respect or acceptance.

    In a Southern Gospel context we see the same thing going on. Why would the SGMA give it’s Jame D Vaughan Impact award to Dolly Parton or Barbara Mandrell or the Statler Brothers? Or the NQC have Sarah Palin or John Ashcroft as a keynote speaker? Just as the modern “church” tries to kowtow to the world, we see the SG industry try to do the same. Are these groups/political figures full time SG artists? Do they actively promote SG music? They throw SG a few bones and our industry leaders get all excited that an international music celebrity/politician actually knows about this genre. Just as the modern “church” tries to kowtow to the world, we see the SG industry try to do the same. Why do some within the leadership of SG see a need for the approval of worldly musicians and music acts. SG, just as the church, should seek the approval of the Lord and no one else.

    • I’m not sure I’m entirely on board with that analogy. I don’t think it’s fair to compare giving an SG award to the Statler Brothers or inviting Sarah Palin to NQC with sweeping sin under the rug to gain worldly approval. I may sympathize with the people who say that SG awards should be reserved for SG-only acts, or that NQC should stick to music, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got a problem with the Statlers or Sarah Palin. I’d much rather NQC invited Sarah Palin than a Democrat speaker. That would really be a better analogy. Somebody like Palin or Ashcroft has values that are basically in line with NQC’s conservative audience. If NQC were really trying to kowtow to the world, they’d invite somebody less conservative to try to gain approval from the other side of the political spectrum.

      • Olaneljonoisle

        I would agree that winking at sin and having SP or JA at the NQC are not quite in the same category. The point I was trying to make is that SG has plenty of people that have made an impact or can give a keynote speech, we don’t have to go to the world to get those kinds of people.

        I like the Statler Brothers and Sarah Palin. I just don’t see the need to have them involved in SG events to make them more prestigious or important or whatever reason they have been included.

        Question? You said that if the NQC had invited a Democrat instead of Palin then my analogy would have made more sense to you. Are you equating Democrats with sodomites then?

      • In the sense that both Democrats and sodomites are diametrically opposed to what Christian conservatives by and large stand for, yes (and sodomites overwhelmingly vote Democrat anyway). Trying to gain approval with either group would be a kind of kowtowing to the world.

    • quartet-man

      Olaneljonoisle, as far as I know at least some of the ones you mentioned are Christians. Dolly, unfortunately preaches that gays should be accepted and not condemned because of who they love, which to me is anti-Christianity. Sure they should be loved, but not accept their sin. However, Dolly, the Statlers, and Barbara Mandrell have done things to help SG which to some degree is what the awards are for. I won’t get into whether Dolly should be included or not because of her views on at least what I mentioned not aligning with scripture. Palin is Christian and I believe Ashcroft is. I understand what they are trying to do which in probably at least some of these things and show relevance to more popular people in the world in hopes of growing, but I also understand your point in how that could be seen as selling out. However, if they don’t give up values to show relevance to the world, I am not sure I see the harm. But I do understand wanting to keep SG’s identity alive and not water it down and I understand the thoughts that NQC is about SG music and not politics.

      • Olaneljonoisle

        Quartet-man,

        I think you kinda hit it on the head with the “selling out” comment. That’s how I see it when we see these people come in that don’t even have a clue about SG or what the music is really about. I am sure that many of the people that I have mentioned are probably Christians. I am not saying that they can’t be a Christian and be involved in secular music, it’s just that we don’t see the CMA giving a SG artist a lifetime achievement award or an impact award.

        I understand that the board of directors for the SGMA and the NQC are always thinking of ways to expand our base and reach new people, but I don’t think bringing in or honoring these types of celebrities is the answer. What is the answer? We need to see better recordings and a higher standard of performance by our artists. That will draw people in. Also we need to stay true to who we are, Bible based lyrics and Biblical standards of conduct. Those things honor the Lord and then He will bless.

      • In fairness, John Ashcroft is a southern gospel fan.

      • quartet-man

        As far as SG fans, I think Palin is the only one who isn’t. Ashcroft, the Statlers, Dolly and Barbara Mandrell are. The Statlers, Dolly and Barbara had gospel on their shows, Dolly has the museum at Dollywood, and all have performed it. So, at least they are fans and have contributed. However, I do understand wanting to honor those within the industry itself who have contributed, but just might not happen to be as big of names outside the SG community.

      • That’s what the Revival Awards are for [plug!] :)

  4. I saw a comment on Bryan Hutson’s facebook page that sums up how I feel….the church should be a hospital for the spirtually ill. Every single sinner who walks into the church should be accepted, regardless of the sin. How are we expected to reach the lost when we have a mindset of, “Sorry, your kind is not welcome here”?

    I disagree with Mr. Hybels in regards to justifying the sin, but I want to scream when I hear a church say, “No, we will not allow homosexuals in our doors.” Why not?? That’s a perfect opportunity to minister to them. Any time a church rejects a sinner, that’s one less soul that could be saved.

    Think about it…..how many church members sin? EVERY GALDERN ONE OF US!!! If we rejected every sinner at the door, then there’d be no church….

    • JSR

      So your saying the church is a hospital for sinners and no one ever gets better?

    • As I mentioned, I don’t think there would really be a way you COULD prevent somebody gay from walking in. The question is how you proceed from there.

      Let’s take your hospital analogy for a moment: Suppose somebody came in and said, “Well, I don’t need to take any treatment or medicine from you, because there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just here because I like the potted plants, and breakfast in bed sounds really cool.” Would you let him keep hanging around the hospital? That’s how many homosexuals treat the Church. They take advantage of the fact that nobody’s going to “condemn” them to enjoy privileges without repentance.

      It is one thing for a sinner to come who is truly broken and seeks to lose his guilty stains. It is quite another for a sinner to come who has no intention of giving up his sin.

      • JSR

        And there is my point. If “everybody” sins because of Adam’s sin and we can never completely stop sinning then what’s the difference? Most churches teach you can never fully stop sinning because of the way we were born and homosexuals claim the same thing. Do homosexuals even try to stop? Usually the answer is no. But, how many “Christians” do you know who really try to stop all their sins? Most people say they were born sinners and can’t quit and don’t really even try.

      • True Christians feel convicted when they sin. The problem with many homosexuals who claim to be “Christians” is that they do not even regard their behavior AS SINFUL.

    • quartet-man

      I don’t think anyone here is saying to not let them in. I haven’t listened to the clip, but there is a difference in condoning the sin and allowing them in to listen to the word. Unfortunately, there are churches who don’t want to allow sinners or I should say certain sinners in the door. That is wrong. Now, if they are there to stir up and cause problems, then I say don’t let them. For instance, I have heard of homosexuals going to churches, trying to get into positions of leadership and when denied stir things up. These aren’t ones who really want to change or even want to attend, they just target churches in an effort to try to force them to accept homosexuality or bring them down if they don’t, Once they have harmed the church and caused problems, they move on to another.

      I know people (Mr. Hutson included, I believe) who will delete Facebook friends for using curse words. Now, I understand if they post in their pages, and I would not want someone doing that on mine. However, I am not sure I would delete them unless it happens a lot on my wall and I have asked them not to. I have only had it happen a time or two tops on my wall, and not from the same person. So, I never said anything. But if the same person kept on, I would have to ask them not to and then delete them if they do. They can post whatever they want on their wall, and although I see it on the feed and am not thrilled with it, I still feel that maybe something I post will reach them, so I keep them.

      There is a guy who has recently come to my church a few times. He had a conversation with me in the church after church, that had cuss words, and talked about when he drank underage etc. Now, although I think it in poor taste, not respectful or even necessarily “bright” ;), I hope that he comes back and hears the Word. The saying that is close to what Mr. Hutson was saying is true, the church is a hospital for sinners not a museum for the saints. But, too many sinners want a church not to challenge them or say what they are doing is wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking getting in their faces, confronting them (although there are times that is Biblically responsible to do), or calling them by name in the sermon. A pastor should preach the word and what God would have them to say whether we in the church are comfortable and like it or not. We should be there to hear God’s word and become better, not stay in sin and be given the warm fuzzies all of the time. Otherwise, it would be like going to the hospital with a burst appendix and want them to tell us we will be okay, not do anything to help us, but instead say good thoughts, play good music, and ignore as well as not acknowledge our need.

      • quartet-man

        I hadn’t refreshed the page, and missed the responses prior to mine. It looks like I wasn’t the only one to clarify the hospital analogy. :)

  5. By the way, here’s a perfect example of the liberal response to Hybels:

    http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/religion_theseeker/2011/08/to-make-point-starbucks-didnt-need-to-shun-willow-creek.html

    Money quote:

    “…[I]f Hybels honestly thinks his current explanation (that his church is not anti-gay) will change anybody’s perception of Willow Creek, or evangelical Christianity in general, he’s deluded. They’re as clueless about homosexuality as they ever were. They’re the biggest obstacles we face in the fight for LGBT equal rights. And we need to continue speaking out against them and educating Christians about how misguided their views are.”

    • Amy Herrera

      So they have zero tolerance for intolerance, huh? Nice.

      • You’re catching on. One thing I found really scary about that article is that the author is a complete atheist and says that he himself has spoken at Willow Creek because he sees it as an opportunity to preach his own “gospel.”

        Also, Bill Clinton? Gag.

      • Amy Herrera

        Yeah, that isn’t really gonna be on my list of “churches” to worry about.

  6. Amy Herrera

    I like JSR’s posts on here …

    Also, I wanna mention one or two other points. I think the point about “not being able to keep gays from coming in a church of that size” maybe didn’t have all the implications thought out. Simply put, it sounds like you want to, or think they should. I don’t believe that was your meaning – at least I hope it wasn’t. Because that does happen. I have a “friend” (she’s much older than I and was my hero when I was little – our previous pastor’s wife) who told me about personally meeting this woman who was all messed up in this, and she wanted out. But she didn’t think that churches even wanted her to come. When my dear friend urged her to come, she had a hard time believing it. I’ve heard a couple other stories that are a shame and a poor reflection on the church.

    My other thought was that I can understand how that happens, as YGG mentioned above. We see the discrimination suits and the battles being fought in the court, and we are reluctant to expose ourselves to that. I don’t know where to draw the line either. The Russian believers behind the Iron Curtain didn’t know – did you welcome newcomers as seekers or shun them as possible informants? Probably we are gradually approaching that here. But we do have a mandate from Christ to not avoid persecution at the cost of compromise. The Good Samaritan ran a risk when he stopped along the road to Jericho.

    • I think there are levels. For example, would you want to welcome a gay “family?” I sure wouldn’t—in a situation like that, there’s no question about where they stand. I don’t think it’s right to automatically turn away first-time comers who are gay partly because they may actually feel convicted and be seeking help, like the woman you mentioned. But when two “daddies” walk in, that’s different.

      I would say let all who may come, and then preach the unvarnished gospel message and see if they stick around. If they try to gain control in the ways quartet-man has described, stop them. If they leave, let them leave.

      • Amy Herrera

        I’m with you 100%. :)

      • JSR

        Would you welcome a family that is openly living in fornication or adultery and come as a “family”?

        I really don’t like the fact that it may seem I’m defending homosexuality. I’m not at all. I’m defending the fact God has called us to holiness. Holiness is a lot different than trying to live the best we can, still maintaining some sins in our own lives, and strongly protesting sins that clash with our ideas of social norms.

      • It would be more difficult to tell whether a heterosexual family was sinful or not. Certainly if they were to become members and I learned that the mother and father were unmarried, I would urge them to marry.

        There IS something distinctly unnatural and in-your-face about unapologetic homosexual sin. Although you aren’t condoning it, you seem to be trying to deny that it stands out in any way—it’s just another sin like all the rest. I think that’s a misguided view of the culture war.

      • quartet-man

        I will tell you one thing, my pastor WILL NOT marry couples who are living together. He says they are in rebellion to God and in essence saying they don’t care what He says, they will do what they want. In fact, he got into trouble with his previous church as well as some higher up in that district (sadly) because of this stance when a big powerful family of one of the couple he refused to marry caused a stink. He was straight up when interviewed for our church about this and many were pleased.

        Now, I am uncertain if he would marry them if they would stop living together until they got married (I realize that would seem unnecessary and inconvenient to the couple and really, how could you enforce or check on it) . I have mixed feelings in that I feel like they are trying to correct things by marrying, but I respect the pastor’s stance. More pastors should feel the responsibility to God to make the tough decisions and he is a great friend as well as boss. We did lose one family due to his stance, but so be it. All of the others as far as I know were people calling from outside of the church wanting to be married there, When the pastor refused to marry them, many wanted to rent the church and get a pastor who would marry them. Sorry about that, but the church isn’t a civic center to be rented for just anything. I do at least recognize we have had several who at least were honest about living together. I don’t know the pastor’s protocol, but if we got their addresses and saw they were one and the same, I imagine that would be a dead giveaway. ;) The pastor also does premarital counseling with those getting married.

      • JSR

        Oh, I totally get that it stands out and that the homosexual crowd is trying to take away the sinfulness associated with their life style.

        My whole point is the nominal Christian will readily say they sin and because of their nature they can’t ever stop completely stop sinning (which is not biblical BTW). So, I feel our religious society has brought this on themselves. They have slowly accepted any and everything and as long as you say you love Jesus everything is ok. Women walk around the beach half naked and men sit at the beach and lust. On Sunday the women is in the choir and the man is preaching and no one is willing to stand up and say that is unacceptable. “Christians” live in adultery and fornication and no one is willing to stand up and say you can’t be a Christian and live like that. So, we now have a “church” full of “Christians” who sin everyday, “repent” every night and as long as they feel some form of conviction they’re ok. Everyone says the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak, but Jesus says the actions of the flesh mirror the heart. Therefore, homosexuality is just the next thing that is creeping into the “church.” I realize the scriptural distinction on the sinfulness of homosexuality. I realize we’re losing ground in our society, but nominal religion started backing up a long time ago and I feel its backed up way to far to take an effective stand now.

      • Well, I agree that other harmful concessions have been made, but I don’t think it necessarily follows that the Church is not in a position to criticize homosexuality. I’m grateful wherever I see Christians taking a stand against a specific sin and don’t refuse to accept their part in the fight unless I also see them condemning every other sin that’s out there.

        That may not be what you were advocating however, so forgive me if I’m misreading your intentions.

      • JSR

        I’m thankful for any who stands up and makes a stand to slow down the degeneration of our society. I guess I’m also standing up and saying their stand will be a lot more effective at cleaning out their brothers eye if they will get their own eyes cleaned out (Matthew 7).

        I’m also concerned that a lot of people are taking valiant stands for good causes and will be told by Christ he never knew them because they never stopped working iniquity. A lot of people are totally missing the requirements the bible lays out for being a Christian. To me its really sad.

      • Amy Herrera

        Amen, JSR! If the church would get back to Biblical grounds, it would have a lot more room to take a stand against homosexuality. We can’t draw an arbitrary line and blink at unmarried couples living together, or no-fault divorce and remarriage, and then look at gays and put the focus on them.

        When the liberals accuse “Christian” America (I mean that segment of the population) of accepting the decay of marriage in every respect but ONE, they aren’t far off the mark. We (not necessarily you and I, but again, nominally Christian America) are willing to take a guy with two or three marriages and call him a “family-values man,” and then stay homosexuality is destroying family values. No! They’re already destroyed! This is just another step down.

        I’m not saying we should refuse to vote for a political conservative who is divorced and remarried. We only have so many options. But lauding him as a great upholder of family values is off the mark. Neither am I saying that we’re necessarily at fault for the moral decay in America (although the church was intended to be the salt of the earth,) but we are responsible for keeping the moral decay out of our churches. Thankfully, many churches still don’t accept these couples except on the basis of “sinners who need to repent and be saved,” but too many do.

        When the church becomes an enabler of hypocrisy, it’s scary. And it does happen. We did take a stand against fornication and adultery not many years ago, but they too were militant and “in-your-face” (we may have forgotten a little bit), and we let them win. Mark my words, it could happen with this new movement as well. Which was the point of your post, YGG; we’re not really attacking you, just borrowing your soapbox. :) My uncle, an excellent preacher, warned our movement some years ago against arriving at the same point here that many arrived at with fornication – allowing couples to visit their parents’ home and stay together – out of fear of offending a child. It happened then, and it will happen again.

      • I’m more conservative than most Christians when it comes to divorce and re-marriage, but even I recognize that it can be a murky thing where one party is much more at fault than the other. So when I hear that a favorite artist is divorced and re-married, I think “Well that’s unfortunate and possibly un-biblical,” but because I don’t know what happened, I don’t leap to conclusions. That person may have been cheated on by the other spouse for all I know, and then I would have less of a problem with re-marriage than if they just separated, or worst of all if the artist was the one doing the cheating.

        With a homosexual relationship there is no wiggle room whatsoever. There is no possible respect in which it could be justified. It is a perversion of nature. Common sense alone should tell us that there is something wrong with it even before we bring God’s Word into the picture.

      • Amy Herrera

        That’s why I specifically mentioned “no-fault divorce and remarriage.” I believe there are situations where separation is warranted, and even permitted in the Bible, not to drag this post in that direction! And I believe that in the case of adultery, remarriage is probably permitted. I was just trying to hit a lowest common denominator – surely every Bible believer believes that leaving one’s spouse for another person is S-I-N. And yet churches sometimes know that those are the circumstances and ignore it or smooth it over, but then they’ll get hung up on somebody else’s sin. That’s the situation I was trying to focus on. :)

  7. Lydia McGrew

    When people seek to become members there is usually going to be some kind of ceremony involved in that. In some denominations it is confirmation; in others it is baptism if you weren’t already baptized. In some Baptist churches for believers who are already baptized it is called “giving the right hand of fellowship.” When people consult the pastor about becoming members, that is a time to call a halt if you realize that they are living in some on-going, unrepented sin. If it’s a guy living with his girlfriend, whether or not they have children, that would certainly count and should be a bar to membership until and unless they get married. The same would _of course_ be true (in spades) of a man living in a sexual relationship with another man. Anything that would be an appropriate reason for church discipline would be an appropriate reason for refusing membership in the first place. But notice the difference: You can’t and shouldn’t urge the two men to “get married” so as to resolve the problem! That points directly to the difference YGG is getting at between different types of sins.

  8. mary

    I don’t believe in sex before mariage, but I’ve met a few men that tried to tempt me and I’ve been known to try and tempt at least one man.

    Sin slips up on us all.

    But practicing homosexuals are actively engaged in constant sin activity. We all know the more we practice anything the better we get at it. Eventually, they don’t see their actions as sinning anymore.

    Some churches will allow anything if it keeps the lights on.

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