Friday, June 29, 2018

Is the SBC drifting?

Recently, the SBC elected a new president with progressive tendencies. In a way, that says more about those who voted for him than the candidate himself. Tells you something about the state of SBC leadership. Those in a position to vote for SBC president. This reflects a typical disconnect between the elites and the rank-and-file.

I suspect a source of the problem is evangelical leaders who spend more time hobnobbing with each other than with the laity. As a result, they become increasingly out of touch with the pulse of the laity. Here's Gagnon's analysis of the new SBC prez:

That said, Rev. Greear does have at least four other positions that are either incorrect or misleading, besides (1) the remarks about “loving our gay neighbor more than we love our position on sexuality” and “more than being right,” making five in total. These could unintentionally produce some slippage in the church’s historic stance, that in turn other Christians who are less firm on this issue than Rev. Greear could use to create still further slippage in the future.

(2) Rev. Greear’s claim that "homosexuality [sic; homosexual practice] is not a 'worse' sin than other sins," implying that all sins are equal. This is a false view even if held with the best of intentions by many Evangelicals. No one could possibly believe in real life the claim that all sins are equally severe in all respects. It is certainly insupportable from a biblical standpoint. The fact that any sin can exclude someone from the Kingdom of God if personal merit is the means of salvation does not mean all sin is equal in all respects. A good health care plan should cover all injuries equally but that doesn't mean that all injuries are equal. Some are clearly more catastrophic than others. I understand the reasons for Rev. Greear contending that "all sins are equal": Lest we become arrogant and graceless, we should remember that we were all under sin and continue to struggle with sin in our inward members. Those who experience and acquiesce to same-sex attractions are not irredeemable moral werewolves. Well and good. Yet these reasons are not justifications for distorting the fact that Scripture treats homosexual practice, like incest, as a particularly severe sexual offense. If it were otherwise, people could rightly argue (as, for example, Jonathan Merritt does) that since the church has given some ground to remarriage after divorce, it should do so as well with committed homosexual "marriages." See my article here:

(3) His contention that we must be “among the chief advocates against … discrimination against [sic] the gay and lesbian community in our society.” Obviously the “LGBTQ” community counts as discrimination many things that Christians classify as support for immorality. Moreover, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” “non-discrimination” laws are used to discriminate against Christians, as was already obvious back in 2014 and prior. The evidence now is so overwhelming nowadays that any Christian leader who in an unqualified manner says that we should be "the chief advocates against discrimination" of "the gay and lesbian community in society" is exposing the church to great deception. The church should reach out in love to self-affirmed homosexual and "transgender" persons, of course. Yet let's not kid ourselves into thinking (as Rev. Greear seems to do at points) that this will make us great "friends" of the "LGBTQ" community. The true church will always be out-compromised by the false church in pandering to the "LGBTQ" agenda. See my article here:

(4) His claim that “God doesn’t send people to hell for homosexuality,” i.e., for committing homosexual practice in a serial, unrepentant way. He gets this point from Rev. Tim Keller. This view is misleading at best and I attempted to show why here: (point 2). Paul does warn self-professed believers that "men who lie with a male," among others, will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9). Does Rev. Greear disagree?

(5) His assertions that (a) we should not “stigmatize sexual sin,” which action he adds “shows extreme ignorance of the gospel," nor (b) should we put “sexual ethics … at the center of Christianity” I understand what Rev. Greear is trying to say here: We need to find a way for the church to reach out to "LGBTQ" persons who view the church's stance against homosexual practice and transgenderism as an obstacle to checking out Jesus. Yet he would never make the same remarks in connection with mistreatment of women, as the sometimes excessive, recent treatment of Paige Patterson indicates. Nor would he make the same remarks about racism. Imagine the (justifiable) uproar that would ensue if he said: "We should not stigmatize clear cases of racism and mistreatment of women because to do so would show extreme ignorance of the gospel; nor should we put concerns about racism and mistreatment of women at the center of Christianity." If he had said such things, then all the people commending him for saying the same things about sexual sin in general and homosexual practice in particular would have worked vigorously against his candidacy as SBC president. The reason would be obvious: He would be undermining the church's resistance to matters of genuine concern in the church and society at large.

Why then say the same thing about sexual ethics when this is even more under siege in society? Add to this the fact that the second thing Paul typically warned converts about, after getting the proscription of idolatry squared away, was abstention from porneia (sexual immorality). And Rev. Greear wants to diminish the significance of that in church discussion? The church should be talking more about sexual ethics, including homosexual practice, not less.

The male-female foundation of marriage is anything but a peripheral matter in Scripture. To seek to remove altogether from the church a stigma associated homosexual acts ends up harming the church in a cultural context mandating full approval. Not even Rev. Greear can consistently maintain the view of not stigmatizing particular sexual sins. Are we to infer that Rev. Greear thinks we should not stigmatize adult-consensual incest and polyamory, to say nothing of pedophilia? Everyone knows that polyamory or polygamy is stigmatized in a manner greater than remarriage after an invalid divorce. This is as it should be since polyamory is a worse offense. Are we saying then that polyamorists are beyond the pale of the gospel. Of course not. The same thing applies to incest of even an adult-consensual sort, which is worse than polyamory or polygamy. Would anyone take seriously the argument that we should.

Again, I wish to reiterate that I am convinced that Rev. Greear does not want to undermine the church’s position on homosexual practice, even if some of his views may unintentionally contribute to slippage. He is stronger on the issue than the OneNewsNow article suggests but not as strong as he could be.

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