America achieved its independence and freedom in the 18th century in large part because colonial pastors stood up for biblical principles, preached them, lived them and refused to back down from them – even in the face of death.
The American War of Independence has been accurately called a “pulpit revolution” for this reason. It was inspired by great men of God who recognized evil and called it by its right name.
What a difference two centuries, combined with affluence and the corporatization of the 501(c)3 church culture has made.
A good example of this was on display on CNN’s “Larry King Live” this week, as “America’s Pastor” Rick Warren did a soft shoe act on his role in the same-sex marriage battle over Proposition 8 in California.
“You know, Larry, there was a story within a story that never got told,” he said. “In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have been, never will be. During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never – never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going. The week before the – the vote, somebody in my church said, Pastor Rick, what – what do you think about this? And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is – really should be defined, that that definition should be – say between a man and a woman.
“And then all of a sudden out of it, they made me, you know, something that I really wasn’t,” Warren continued. “And I actually – there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends – the leaders that I knew – and actually apologized to them. That never got out. There were some things said that – you know, everybody should have 10 percent grace when they say public statements. And I was asked a question that made it sound like I equated gay marriage with pedophilia or incest, which I absolutely do not believe. And I actually announced that. All of the criticism came from people that didn’t know me. Not a single criticism came from any gay leader who knows me and knows that for years, we’ve been working together on AIDS issues and all these other things.”
What are we to make of such mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy, namby-pamby hokum?
It’s a great illustration of America’s most prominent church leader equivocating and backtracking and saying almost nothing coherent so that he will offend no one.
Let me lay it on the line: This is not the way Yeshua talked or behaved. It is not the example of the one whom Rick Warren claims to emulate and worship. There is nothing prophetic or biblical or courageous or principled about this kind of Christian witness.
If there is a subject upon which the Bible is crystal clear – from beginning to end – it is homosexuality. Another subject about which no one can misinterpret what the Bible says is marriage. Let’s examine the text:
- Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
- Romans 1:22-27: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
Some suggest Yeshua (Jesus) Himself was silent on these matters. Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, Yeshua said He did not come to overturn the law but to fulfill it. He taught that He was and is the Word – its living fulfillment. He explained that He is eternal and created the Heavens, the Earth and man. The Bible also says God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And Yeshua never contradicted any of the law. He quoted from it. He taught from it. He explained it. He affirmed it. On the road to Emmaus, He gave two disciples a Bible study from the Torah, revealing Himself at the very core of it.
The law, in fact, was the measuring stick by which He was judged perfect and worthy of serving as the atonement for the sins of mankind – including the sin of abominations like homosexuality.
But Yeshua also spoke very specifically and clearly on the subject about which Rick Warren appears so self-consciously waffling.
In Matthew 19:4-6, it says: “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Here Yeshua had a golden opportunity to explain any middle ground in this issue of men and women – if there were any.
There is no middle ground on this issue.
Either you believe the Bible or you don’t.
If you don’t, there are consequences. If you do, you are obligated to take a stand for righteousness. Of course, there are worldly consequences for that, too – for some apparently too great to accept.
Followers of Yeshua have a choice: They can please God or please men. They can accept God’s laws, which are not burdensome, and obey them, or they can reject them and try to tickle the ears of men. They can offend God or offend men.
But followers of Jesus cannot find some happy medium where they can please God and please the world. Nobody can.
It’s time for America’s pastor class to decide where they stand – with the world or with the God of the universe.