By Jack Glover
Jesus made the following accusation against the Pharisees: “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).
We live in a time when sin is justified. We expect this from the world, but our goal for the church is higher. Christians do not partake of sin (I John 5:18), nor do they seek ways to justify it in others. We should be willing to suffer for good rather than justify evil. Christians are to “test all things; hold fast what is good” (I Thess. 5:21).
It appears that we are rapidly approaching the justification of evil by Christians. We are not speaking of those who falsely claim to be servants of God and are not, like the Pharisees, but members of His church. Some are beginning to justify sin under the guise of doing good?
Note this excerpt from a Soulforce press release from March 27 about an “equality ride”:
ABILENE, Texas — Equality Riders completed a full day of presentations, discussions and worship with students at Abilene Christian University today, the first school to allow the riders full access to campus. The school, affiliated with the Church of Christ, has about 4,000 undergraduate and 800 graduate students studying in a range of liberal arts and professional programs.
Soulforce describes the ride like this: “The Soulforce Equality Ride is a journey to change the heart and mind of America on the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Following in the footsteps of the Freedom Rides of the 1960s, the Equality Ride uses principles of non-violence to confront military and religious colleges and universities with policies banning enrollment of LGBT students.
The Equality Riders reflect on the lessons of history, which have shown past religion-based discrimination against women, people of color and religious minorities to be an unacceptable abuse of the sanctity of religion. At each of the 19 schools on the 51-day bus tour, the young adult ambassadors of the Equality Ride bring this simple message to students, faculty and administrators: Learn from history; end religion-based discrimination.
The goal of ride is easy enough to understand. It “is a journey to change the heart and mind of America on the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.” In other words, they want the equal right to attend and promote their way of life in all schools (religious, military, etc.). Anyone who thinks they will not promote their sexual ways simply have their heads in the sand.
Their goal is to openly advocate things that are condemned as sin in the scriptures. During a recent Easter egg roll at the White House, same-sex parents brought their children and wore leas to show others they were same-sex parents. They could have come and enjoyed the festivities with no one ever knowing their sexuality, but that was not good enough for them. They had to use this event not just for their children but also to advocate that a sinful lifestyle is acceptable.
Two ACU officials issued statements about why the school allowed this group on campus:
- Wayne Barnard, associate provost for student development and dean of campus life: “This is an opportunity to proclaim the message of Christ in love. As followers of Christ, we love all people, even those with whom we might disagree. We should always be prepared to give a reason for our faith, and our students need to witness Christ-followers engaging other views with calm assurance of God’s truth. Jesus talked to people with whom he did not agree, and as His ambassadors, we can do the same.”
- ACU president Royce Money: “After careful consideration and discussions about who we are as a university, we decided the best way to affirm our core Christian values would be to treat Soulforce as Christ would — to have peaceful, patient dialogue about these issues while respectfully and clearly articulating why we believe as we do.”
Soulforce members said they knew ACU continued to affirm the belief throughout the day that God intended sexual relations as an expression of love between a married man and woman. They also agreed that ACU offered the love of Christ, despite theological and academic disagreements.
We agree that Jesus talked with sinners, at times even ate with them. It is my understanding that is why He came to earth (Matt. 9:10-13, I Tim. 1:15). They also killed Him (Matt. 26:45), and God doesn’t hear them (John 9:31). There is a way to teach or deal with sinners like Jesus did — Matthew 23 is a good example — but the Bible doesn’t seem to describe it as the ACU event was described.
In our effort to show charity, or be open-minded with groups that advocate sinful lifestyles, we must be careful that we do not allow the attitudes of society to influence our decisions. The following scripture makes a good point:
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (I Tim. 1:5-11)
We don’t have to fellowship sin in order to teach the sinner.