An unfolding tragedy

By Jerry Falwell

The issue of homosexuality and the church continues to be a raging fire of debate within many churches, with one denomination claiming it is on the brink of splitting over the divisive dilemma.

In England this week, Dr. George Carey, who serves as the spiritual chief of the Anglican Church through his role as Archbishop of Canterbury, accused the denomination’s British Columbia bishop of generating a schism in the church after the man blessed homosexual relationships. Dr. Carey, who will soon retire, warned of a split in the denomination over the variation in church policy on homosexual unions.

Michael Ingham, bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, B.C., countered, saying, “The diocese of New Westminster believes that Christ died for all humanity, and that the unity of the church cannot be built on unjust discrimination against minorities, such as homosexual Christians.”

Indeed, Christ did die for all people – that is the central theme of the Bible.

However, through His death, Christ called us to follow Him as “new creatures,” leaving behind the sins that plague us in our life without Him. And whether homosexuals want to admit it or not, the Bible clearly rebukes homosexuality and all other sexual sin that is outside the traditional man-woman marriage relationship. If we are truly to follow Christ, we must accept and uphold this truth.

Regretfully, a host of church leaders today believe that they can create God in man’s image and adopt modified “biblical” policies to adapt to an ever-changing society. This may result in temporal satisfaction for those who are lost in their sin, but it is a dire “solution” that fatally ignores the teachings of the Bible.

As Jesus said in Matthew 17, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Political correctness, even within a church setting, may win fashionable friends on earth, but only the Word of God matters when all is said and done. And I am committed to embracing and upholding the Word of God even if I suddenly find myself as the only one doing so.

Here in my hometown of Lynchburg, Va., Mel White, a de facto leader in the homosexual-rights movement, has taken up residence (with his male paramour) directly across the street from my Thomas Road Baptist Church. Their quest is to compel our church members and me to alter our biblical stance that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle.

These two men accuse me of endorsing “spiritual violence” on the homosexual community because I continue to preach the truth of the Bible, namely that homosexuality is a sin.

Their in-your-face exploit has resulted in much media attention – certainly what they hoped for – but their message is preposterous, at best. I wonder if they honestly believe that TRBC members will suddenly reject unambiguous biblical teachings simply because they see Mel and his boyfriend out walking their dog.

If my parishioners were that unresolved in their faith, it would say much about my lack of leadership as their pastor.

Michael Johnston, one of the leading voices of the “ex-gay” movement, said, “Those, like White, who profess a spiritual motivation – one certainly not rooted in Christian doctrine – may indeed see things from a spiritual perspective. But that perspective has less to do with speaking to injustice than it does redefining who God is to fit their own desires.”

And that is the tragedy of Mel White’s effort.

The fact is this – our church routinely ministers to homosexuals in the same manner we reach out to all sinners. The Bible clearly instructs us to extend the Gospel to everyone. But we must reach out to people with a commitment of standing firm on biblical doctrine.

Our message is moot if we alter the Bible in order to touch people’s lives. And the Gospel itself becomes irrelevant if we begin to pick and choose which of the mandates of the Bible (God’s holy Word) we will follow. Left up to man, we would eventually strip every principle from the Bible in order to excuse and justify our sinful proclivities.

However, when we accept Christ as our Savior, He walks with us and we – only through His power – can live lives that are pleasing unto Him.

There are many thousands of former homosexuals who have discovered new life in Christ when they gave up their worldly desires in exchange for the desires of Christ. I pray that Mel White and his devotees will discover this glorious truth.