Pastors against homosexuality – and hate, too

When Rome burned in 64 AD, Nero denounced the followers of Christ, and during the first few centuries of the apostolic church it was common practice to blame Christians for whatever evil befell the Roman Empire, Why?

At a time when even the most exotic religions were embraced under the Pax Romana, Christians broke the rules by preaching an exclusive faith which held that the pantheon of Roman gods were only idols, and that the Christian God alone made the heavens and the earth. Upsetting the foundation of diversity and tolerance from which Rome's emperors ruled, Christians were considered anarchists and suffered death for the crime of high treason. Rome had little tolerance for religious and moral absolutism.

Today we find ourselves mirroring the decadence of the Roman Empire, eagerly welcoming the latest spiritual fad as one more pattern in the grand tapestry of man’s search for transcendence. In such a climate of tolerance, the radical exclusivism of Christian doctrine and morals has again become abhorrent.

So, commenting on Matthew Shepard’s tragic murder, the Rev. Philip Amerson expressed grief over this death, and rightly so. Amerson went on to use this tragedy as a means of attacking Christian leaders who have faithfully preached the Bible. Taking aim specifically at pastors who have warned our nation against homosexual practice, Amerson accused them of fomenting hatred against homosexuals and, therefore, bearing a part of the guilt for Shepard's murder. A senseless murder has then, by twisted rhetoric, been turned into an ideological weapon wielded by those seeking to normalize homosexual practice.

We have a problem here, reminiscent of the days of the Roman Empire. Christian pastors have taken ordination vows to teach God’s truth without ignoring or downplaying those aspects which our generation dislikes. We are to “preach God’s Word, in season and out of season, with great patience” knowing “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:1–3, NIV).

Scripture’s moral law is not rooted in the latest Gallup poll but in God’s divine character. Thus God commands, “Be ye holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” As men called by God to serve as His undershepherds, we must warn those tempted by sin to flee the wrath to come. What memeber of a Christian congregation who loves his own sould would ask us to forsake this calling in the interest of better vibes between the Church and her surrounding culture?

We the writers both hold membership in the Evanglical Theological Society which is composed of pastors and professors in higher academic institutions who affirm the complete truthfulness of the Bible. The socity met for its 50th annual meeting Nov. 19–21 and 1,225 strong, passed a resolution pertinent to this discussion. Here are excerpts:

“Whereas advocates for the social normalization of homosexual behavior laid the blame for hate crimes on the moral witness of the Church and...

“Whereas some in the national media covering reaction to the heinous death of Matthew Shepard have accepted and perpetuated homosexual attacks on the moral witness of the Church without any factual basis and have thereby failed in the fundamental journalistic responsibility to report the truth and not false accusations, and...

“Be it therefore resolved that we...abhor the terrible sin of doing intentional harm to another human being (from the cause of) hate...

“Be it...resoloved that we...abhor the rhetoric of hate to prejudice the power of civil government against the open and complete proclamation of moral standards revealed in God’s Holy Word...

“Be it further resolved that we affirm that Scripture clearly teaches that homosexual conduct is always an abomination in the sight of God for all human beings, both men and women, in all circumstances, without exception, (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9)...

“Be it finally resolved that we call on the national media to refrain from and repudiate insubstantial, untruthful, and hateful accusations against evangelical Christians and to report truthfully concerning the Church’s true message of the good news that God offers forgiveness for sins through faith in Jesus Christ.”

There is a battle today over standards of morality in our society. On one side are those who believe the moral standards of God’s Word are outdated. On the other side are those who believe those moral standards are anchored in God’s character, and therefore forever binding on the conscience of man.

Is it hard to understand this second group upholding God’s standards by calling sinners to repent of their sin and to believe in the mercy of God which is the Cross of Jesus Christ?

Pastor Tim Bayly is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). This articles orginally appeared in the Bloomington Herald in Bloomington, IN.

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