Banner

"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Contributors

  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

    top250.jpg

    Community Websites

    Monergism Books on Facebook

    Blogroll

    Latest Posts

    Categories

    Archives

    Ministry Links

  • « TULIP (5) | Main | The End of Racism »

    Is Christianity to Blame for Violence Against Homosexuals

    On facebook I ran across a discussion about an article about the violence against homosexuality in Uganda. Below is one person's comments (named Kevin) with my response

    Kevin
    It's partly the church leaders fault for implanting the ridiculous notion that homosexuality is wrong. Obviously, they weren't preaching violence, and these idiots went way too far, but this is the problem with missionary work. MOST of the ...people here in America have grown up understanding various religions and know the positions on things, so they aren't prone to violence (not all, but most) against these groups. But introducing a new religion to people, telling them these things that the deity says are evil, what reaction do they expect? New converts are going to be over-zealous by nature.

    ------------
    John
    @Kevin, If this were the case then they would also be murdering thieves, adulterers, liars, polygamists, and other people who have sin problems like me. There are a lot of things that Christians believe about right and wrong -- and they do not lead to violence toward them. Here's why....

    The first truth about Christianity is that I personally justly deserve the wrath of God for my sin save for his mercy in Jesus Christ alone. ANYONE who believes this most basic truth of Christianity has ZERO interest in violence toward others because he has realized for the first time that apart from grace, there he goes as well. That other sinner is JUST LIKE ME. If someone does not believe this basic truth then they have not been taught true Christianity at all. Homosexuality is wrong but so are many things I have done and now unfortunately still occasionally do. Being born with an inclination toward something, however, is no excuse for them or for me. We all are born with such inclinations. So Christians, seeing the reality of the situation, can only view themselves as beggars leading other beggars to bread. We cannot be angry with them for being sinners because we are too. Telling people God's law which shows them to be sinners or is not only not unloving, it is the most loving thing we can do. Because Jesus offers forgiveness for all of their sin. There is nothing extraordinary about the sin of homosexual acts. Certainly no worse than the many things I have done. And I am sure many of them a better citizens than I have ever been. But this is not the issue.

    When someone has a drug problem, a good friend will intervene. You don't call him a hater or inciter to violence because of it. On the contrary, you see that he cared enough about his friend to act. The same goes for Christians who tell it bluntly. And they can do so gently simply because they also have the same disease. Now you may not share this worldview, but don't call them haters. From their perspective they are doing the only thing that can help. If Christianity is true then it will end up that the real haters will be those who stood by and agreed who rebelled against God.

    -------------

    Kevin
    John, I see your point, but if you re-read my post, I said the church was only partly to blame and I made it clear the church does not promote violence.

    And I'm relatively positive Liars, Adulterers, thieves and the like are also murdered i...n these countries, but there isn't as much media attention at the moment because of the contentious gay issue and the current law being presented to their congress.

    Your lesson in Christianity is understood, and in theory it works, but do you really think that in practice, it is always the same? People don't preach the same just as

    -----------------

    John
    ‎@Kevin, Indeed ... I have no doubt in my mind that there is and has been a great deal of false and inadequate teaching in the name of Christianity leading to countless problems. This has been the case through church history. But I believe... the resolution to the problem is not to take the Bible less seriously (since this is what led to the problem in the first place) but to take its contents more seriously. Grace is such a difficult lesson that if it is not taught, and it merely becomes a list of dos and don'ts, then I can look down on others who are not LIKE ME. But this is not Christianity but Phariseeism, the natural inclination of a large percentage of people both inside and outside Christianity.

    --------------

    Kevin
    Yeah definitely. I'm not a christian in any way shape or form, but if the missionaries are teaching something more along the lines of peace and love and universal brotherhood, rather than just "this is right, this is wrong', its impact will be greater and more constructive.

    ---------------

    John
    Without grace, telling people to simply change their behavior is not helpful. But with the gospel of grace, you CAN preach right and wrong because, at the same time, you see the log in your own eye as you tell others about forgiveness and escaping the sin through grace.. This way it is proclaimed without condescension, hatred or an "I am better then you" attitude. But to be sure, peace and brotherhood does not come from saying evil is OK. It comes from understanding oneself to be evil and having fallen woefully short and pointing others to Christ, who alone is without sin and can save the lost.

    If I was doctor who went to a remote island where all of the peoples there were dying of a disease ... a disease I also had ... Loving them would have to include telling them they had to stop eating a certain root, but also that they needed the medicine that I am also taking. Both are important. Many may not believe me but this does not make me less loving for telling them. It is loving them.

    -----------

    Kevin
    @John: Yes, but it's one thing to preach against evil and another to preach against something that is simply natural for 10% of the population.


    -----------

    @Kevin, I was personally born with many evil propensities. My being born with them does not alleviate me of responsibility. We live in a post- fall world where ALL people are born with a natural tendency toward some forms of evil. Homosexual acts are just one of them. Christianity has preached against adultery and polygamy forever but these are frankly the natural inclination of the majority of men. Do we stop saying it is wrong simply because they were born with the inclination. This is what separates us from the animals. We have ideals and morals. What are morals except shooting toward an ideal that we do not presently live up to. Why don't we live up to it? Because we can't. We are born with the natural tendency to disobey God. Just try obeying the ten commandments for a week and you will know what I am talking about.

    ------------

    Kevin
    I would respond, but then this would become a theological debate, which just deviates too far from the original topic and, as I am greatly outnumbered among Franks friends, i will relent and not subject anyone to my hedonistic and darwinian views.


    -------------

    John
    I understand completely Kevin. But I will leave you with this challenge.

    As a Darwinist, (Quoting Doug Wilson), all the things you mention (like calling homosexuality sin) and other things you are morally outraged by are in the "meaningless" category. Morality, tragedy, and sorrow are equally evanescent. They are all empty sensations created by the chemical reactions of the brain, in turn created by too much Chinese food the night before. If there is no God, then all abstractions are merely chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water. This means that we have no reason for assigning truth and falsity to the chemical fizz we call reasoning or right and wrong to the irrational reaction we call morality. If no God, mankind is a set of bi-pedal carbon units of mostly water. And nothing else. You have no way to account for morality. You should have no objection to the way others behave or for Christians who say there is right or wrong. Given your worldview, there is no moral difference between genocide and a day at the beach. In both cases, all you have is atoms banging around.

    Objective and universal standards of reason, morality, and beauty simply cannot exist in your purely material world. So when you are morally outraged, you are fighting Christianity with borrowed Christian weapons.

    Posted by John on January 28, 2011 02:54 PM

    Comments

    John, your explanation of the Gospel of Grace and of sin and repentance are so full of truth and love!

    Thank you for your honesty and boldness.

    The one missing dynamic is the religious leaders' ferver against violence. It shiuld be equal or more impassioned than against the homosexuality.

    @Mike

    Violence does not even enter into the thinking of Christians as an option. It is just not the way a person who has been taken hold of by grace thinks. Christians have renounced violence altogether, even under the most unkind and brutal dictatorships. This has been the case through much of the history of the church. Our kingdom is not of this world. When the "church" has become violent it is because it does not take the Bible seriously - that is always the case. The most conservative of Christians declare that violence against anyone belongs among the worst of sins.

    I am not sure why the obsession over this homosexual issue. We see it as a sin just like any other. Nothing out of the ordinary. I am not sure who you see as not impassioned against the violence against them - I and everyone in my circles do. Not sure what kind of Christians who would not.

    Post a comment

    Please enter the letter "x" in the field below: