Turning Jesus’ Teachings on End

The Roman Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI has recently banned homosexuals from the priesthood. These new rules bar even those homosexuals who still choose to remain celibate.

Let me say real quick that it doesn’t matter in the slightest what the Catholic Church does; they’ve been so far away from biblical Christianity for so long, it doesn’t matter to me what they do so far as their rules, regulations, and mandates. That’s all well and good.

Andrew Sullivan writes in “The Vatican’s New Stereotype” (Time, December 12, 2005, p.92) to say that categorizing a person by sin is wrong, and runs counter to Jesus’ teachings. I’ll take a look at the relevant texts, and then I want to share with you a bit of Bible teaching which I hope will be beneficial to you.

The message of Jesus was always to ignore the stereotype, the label, the identity–in order to observe the soul beneath, how a person actually behaves.

This is a good place to start. Mr. Sullivan, you are correct: Jesus did ignore the stereotype. After all, from His perspective as God, “there are none that doeth good, no, not one.” We were all sinners, blackened with evil, unworthy of His love and kindness. Like it or not, Jesus was and is discriminatory: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

How’s that for political correctness? How’s that for moral relativism and “all religions point to God” and tolerance? Christ said that we have a choice: Either we believe in Him, or we’re damned.

Let’s look at what Mr. Sullivan said next:

One of his most famous parables was that of the Good Samaritan, a man who belonged to a group despised by mainstream society. But it was the despised man who did good, while all the superficially respected people walked on by.

Excellent point! We ought not look on the outside to determine who our neighbors are. In this world, we’re a neighbor to all and ought to express such. However, if Mr. Sullivan is trying to point that Jesus doesn’t discriminate, I reiterate that He does. Did He not choose the Jews to the exclusion of the Gentiles and the Church to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven? Has He not chosen the Church to the exclusion of Jews and Gentiles to be His Bride to make up the Kingdom of God? Jesus discriminates! But…

Jesus consorted with all of society’s undesirables–with tax collectors, collaborators with an occupying power, former prostitutes, lepers.

So we ought to be neighbors and friends with people. Again, great.

His message was that God’s grace knows no boundaries of stigma, that with God’s help, we can all live by the same standards and receive the grace that comes from his love.

Ah, here we come to the crux of it. Mr. Sullivan seems to be teaching about a god who is nice, who will shower blessings and grace upon everyone, regardless of what sin stains them. This god is imaginary, for it is not the God of the Bible and beside Him there is no other.

God died for the world in the person of Christ Jesus. His blessings are open to everyone, but they will not necessarily be given to everyone. God demands obedience. Christ demands the forsaking of sins. Has He not said, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11)? Murderers, adulterers, homosexuals, liars, prostitutes, idolaters, rebels, witches, necromancers, coveters, backbiters, and so many more may be able to come to God “by grace through faith” in Christ Jesus alone and receive so great a salvation. Presumably, the homosexuals in question have gotten this far. They have been told by Christ, as He has the woman at the well, “Neither do I condemn thee” (again, John 8:11). But what then?

“Go, and sin no more.” Suddenly, the grace available to all has become discriminatory. You’ve entered into a Father/son relationship with a Holy God. Continuing to sin will not get you many blessings. In fact, sin may very yield chastisement–not condemnation, but fatherly punishment toward a child.

Further, sin can prohibit us from serving God. Sin quenches the Spirit of God in our hearts; if we continually sin against God willfully, we will grow less in tune with Him. Each moment in sin is like a shout toward God: “I defy You!” (Thankfully, like flesh and blood father and sons, the relationship is permanent.) But how involved in your life will Father be if you shut Him out?

Look carefully: “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28) and “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3).

If God commands us not to kill, can we really expect Him to work things for our good if we kill? If God commands us not to lie, can we really expect Him to work things for our good if we lie? If God commands us to not have sexual relations with someone of the same gender, can we really expect Him to work things for our good if we do? Notice the pattern yet?

We certainly can live by the same standard, as Mr. Sullivan suggests. However, with that standard there are things which we ought not do and consequences for doing them. Homosexuality is one of these things.

The new Pope has now turned that teaching on its head. He has identified a group of people and said, regardless of how they behave or what they do, they are beneath serving God.

I rarely have a chance to say this, but the Pope was right in his decision; homosexuals ought not be able to serve as the heads of churches. What a horrible example that would set for those in the congregation! Similarly, anyone with habitual sin ought not be in such a leadership position. Such lifestyle sin is evidence of an immature Christian, a baby believer who hasn’t yet cast off his sins. It is possible to sin and it not be habitual. We mustn’t overly scrutinize our leaders for any little problem (even certain of the apostles had their problems pointed out for all to see in the Bible). But we must recognize the clinging onto of habitual sin and react toward it. And the proper reaction is not to appoint the person to leadership. The Bible commands that we “deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5). This flies in the face of modern church practices, political agendas, and Satan himself, but the church must not allow the willfully sinful to remain, for “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6).

It isn’t what they do that he is concerned with. It’s who they are.

Mr. Sullivan at this point shows that either he is biblically illiterate or is simply willingly ignorant of the Bible’s teachings. As I quoted above, Jesus says, “Go, and sin no more.” He cares whether we are sinning or not! While works may have no bearing on salvation, they gain critical importance while we are saved. Hundreds of times throughout the Bible God tells us what we should and shouldn’t do. If Mr. Sullivan truly believes what he said, I sure wish he gave something to back it up. He verifies again, though, that he has created a nice god to replace Almighty God.

Aside from Mr. Sullivan’s comments, I’d like to point out the following:

  • All believers are priests. We all have the right to boldly approach the throne. The only person we need to mediate is Jesus Christ.
  • The Catholic position of “priest” is a form of the biblical office of bishop, and one of the qualifications for being a bishop is that you must be “the husband of one wife.” Women are prohibited. Those who are divorced are prohibited. Those with multiple wives are prohibited. Homosexuals are prohibited. It takes the RCC this long to figure that out? “Husband of one wife,” seems pretty elementary to me.
  • It is oft claimed that a homosexual who merely has “tendencies” or the feelings or whatever but that doesn’t actually perform sexual acts with a same-sex partner is not sinning. Let me point out another teaching of Jesus: sin begins in the heart. Lust after another man’s wife, and you’ve committed adultery. Hate someone, and you’ve murdered them. Dwell upon deceit, and you are a liar. The first chapter of Romans rings the death knell for the pro-homosexual claims by describing homosexuals as having “vile affections” (v.26). Affections are not actions, they are feelings! Again, sin begins in the heart!
  • I don’t care how you were born, what society did to you, or what your relationship with your parents was like. It doesn’t matter if a “gay gene” exists or what sex you think you want to be. All of us are born sinners. All of us were formed in iniquity. All of us were born equally guiltly. But CHRIST MADE A WAY! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! Renounce your sins and come to Him in simple belief. Receive the gift of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit and be born again! It doesn’t matter how you were born because in Christ you can be made a new creation! Your soul can be washed white as snow. You can be free! Cast aside your excuses and the sins which so easily beset you and come. Come before it is everlasting too late. Be made new. Rejoice in the freedom that comes only from Jesus Christ. He is God, and He wants to welcome you to His kingdom, to His home.

1 thought on “Turning Jesus’ Teachings on End”

  1. Well said Rick, couldn’t agree more.

    I have posted an edited transcript of this piece on our church’s forum for others to read. It is quite refreshing to read the truth about tolerance and relativism.

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