A couple of people have contacted me very curiously asking about my stance on the issue. I regard this as a sad situation. My heart is broken for Tory and I sympathize with the church.
My position does not side with one or the other however I think the article reflects two major issues that the bible addresses clearly.
1. THE INDIVIDUAL: Tory is young (yes, I am too) she is going through a time in her life when she is learning of different cultures/lifestyles that she may have been less aware of growing up. She is given an opportunity to be involved in a gay pride event. What’s wrong with that? Is it bad to be involved in multicultural events? Is it bad to love people different to the cultural norm? Of course not! In fact, Jesus spent much time with people who failed to meet cultural standards. Despite the criticism, he loved those who everyone else loved to hate. ★ Mat 11:19
So what exactly is the problem here? Repentance!
The bible clearly identifies fornication/homosexuality as sin. ★Rom 1:26-28, ★1 Cor 6:9, ★1 Thes 4:3. Sexual sin is even emphasized because of it’s self destructive nature in ★1 Cor 6:18. Furthermore homosexual sin is recognized as a mark of whole-hearted sinful rebellience throughout the bible. So then, we know with out a doubt that sexual immorality/homosexuality is definitely sin according to Jesus. And what is the problem with sin?
Maybe, to a young person with a poor biblical understanding of the Gospel, sin seems like a small thing. This might be highly likely for a person who is a new Christian, whose understanding of sin has little to do with a personal transgression and more to do with the overarching injustice in the world we live. However regardless of what a young person’s growing perception of sin might be when considering homosexuality/fornication, sexual sin is sin. Sin is what Jesus Christ died for. Sin is what separates us from God. Sin is the problem. Sin is the incontrovertible enemy of every Christian and the church at large. Therefore no individual or group can call themselves Christian AND accepting of sin at the same time. Being a Christian is constituted by confessing your sin [against God], repenting* of sin, and calling on the name of Jesus for forgiveness [as the only propitiatory sacrifice for the injustice you’ve committed]. To repent* is not simply feeling bad or guilty. Repentance is a verb. After confessing the wrong doing, repentance is the action of stopping and starting to do the right thing instead. Repenting of sin- (homosexuality included) means stopping. There are no exceptions, there are no sins that God deems allowable under special circumstances. A sin is a sin, you can repent of it or indulge in it, you can’t do both. Therefore, if repentance is a must for the christian; anyone intentionally/actively practicing or taking pride in homosexuality (or any other sin) is not practicing christianity. Any church condoning unrepentant faith is not a christian church regardless of the sin it condones. This is why ★Luke 5:32 and more say “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”
2. THE CHURCH: I believe it would be unwise let the church walk away feeling as if it did a good job. One thing this article has made very clear is the church’s failure to properly disciple and care for Tory as a young baptized, committed christian. I’d like to make it clear that this problem is not unique to Tory’s church, it is a wide spread problem throughout churches of the west as they struggle to reason with today’s understanding of “tolerance”. But the fact that many churches fail to take their responsibility seriously does not justify the failure. Tory says “I was so upset. I was crying during points of the meeting,” she said. “I’ve gone there ever since I was born. I was baptized there.” This is where I have to ask the question of the church “What exactly have you been preaching? What exactly did you baptize her into?”
Why is it such a surprise to Tory that you rebuke sin? How come she’s aware that you condemn gay marriages but she’s suddenly so upset that as christians we are called to die to self? Isn’t that the reason we do baptism? I thought baptism was an outward sign of an inward decision, yes? What reason is there to make an outward sign if the witnesses fail to rebuke, exhort against, or even acknowledge the sin in the lives of those they baptize?
The scariest part of this church’s reaction is… well, really scary! Tory: “Basically, they told me that I wasn’t being a positive role model for the youth in the church and the younger children, and that I was promoting a sexual lifestyle,”. True, asking Tory to step down from her involvement in the Pride parade was good. But, the reason you gave her (if that truly is the only reason) is shamefully weak! Although her example is undoubtedly bad for the youth of your church; the bigger concern is that she is living in unrepentant sin! When we tell the story of the prodigal son we don’t say that taking your dad’s money and blowing it on hookers is a bad example. The prodigal son did not sit in his pig pen and say “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have set a bad example of heaven and of you”“, the point is that he sinned. We are not called to confess our bad examples. If the problem is that homosexuality is a bad example then we might as well say to homosexual people “Go! Be homosexual! Just don’t let anyone know about it. You have subtly said to Tory and those listening “it’s not that being gay is bad, it’s just that I don’t think the youth are ready for it.” That is nothing but an attempt to soften the blow of the inevitable political hot button whiplash.
Shamefully I know, I can’t point the finger at you, I myself do the same thing daily. But together under the banner of Christ all churches must remember who we fear. 4“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.a Yes, I tell you, fear him! ★Luke 12:4-5. Yes, it is a hard thing to say, but we must lead by example. How can we expect people like Tory to understand repentance if we ourselves who preach repentance can’t even repent of our own sin! We must fear God! To fear man over God is sin, let’s repent!
Thank you New Westminster First Presbyterian Church, for being the example we all needed to see to remind us of our responsibility to disciple the young and spiritually immature to know and love the precepts of God, so that they don’t feel suddenly shocked, upset and wronged at our rebuke, when they choose sin over God.
To christians I WARN YOU IN LOVE: BEWARE! Your condemnation (see my corrective comment below in the comments section) of homosexuality homosexual people is meaningless, hypocritical, and destructive! Please STOP NOW! I wish you would treat the sin in your own life (namely self righteousness and pride) with as much passion! (Yes, myself included.) The bible instructs us to examine ourselves, and call others to repentance, ★1 Cor 11:28 & ★Luke 5:32. BUT, the power and judgment to condemn belongs to God alone, ★Luke 24:5, ★James 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
To homosexual people: One argument that often seems to remain after repentance is preached to the homosexual person is: “This isn’t something I chose, God made me this way.” To all who make this point I say: I sympathize with you. You see I too did not chose to be born this way. I did not fill out an order form before I was born choosing whether I would like to deal with the struggles of heterosexual or homosexual sin. I didn’t request hatred, nor did I chose to deal with the sin of selfishness. However these sinful proclivities are mine from birth and my only escape from them is through the purifying power of the blood of our resurrected saviour, Jesus Christ. Do you think God sent his only son to die and receive our punishment if we could simply choose not to sin? If it were possible that we could simply repent from our sin on our own (apart from the power of Jesus) why would a just God ever crush his only son on the cross for us?
It was about the man born blind that Jesus said “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” ★John 9:3. Is it possible that you are dealing with a sin, so deep and powerful just so that God might be glorified at the working of your repentance and purification?
2 Corinthians 7:8For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Love God, love people!