Summary: Pastor Ryan continues his forbidden series by discussing the lifestyle of homosexuality and how the church has been wrong in how it has dealt with those who practice this lifestyle.
Part 3- How The Church Was Wrong
Pastor Ryan Akers
Have you ever noticed when you see Christians represented on television that is seems that they are being knocked for something? I like to watch CNN and ABC World News and Good Morning America and I have come to the realization that probably 90% of the time when you see an evangelical Christian brought in on the conversation they are there to denounce something.
They are there to denounce homosexual marriages or denounce another Pastor’s mistakes, or denounce pro-choice advocates, or denounce evolution or whatever the hot social and political issue is at the time. Bill Maher/ Politically Incorrect. Pastor and Author Tim Stevens wrote in his book, Pop Goes The Church, that the unchurched today have 6 negative images of Christians/Hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, homophobic, sheltered, too political, and judgmental.
He goes on to write about how people started leaving or avoiding church and instead started looking for God within the culture because the church was not giving them what they needed (authentic relationships). Instead of trying to reach people by leveraging the culture we started to fight against the culture. He says, “I think that followers of Christ began to realize some time ago, perhaps subconsciously, that more and more people were pursuing God through culture (instead of through the church). (Because of this Christians) entered a season of boycotts, petitions, and black list. Like an animal looking for its next meal, the church was driven blindly and obsessively by two primary goals. First, protect ourselves from the culture at all costs. So rather than prepare our children to engage, discern, and make good choices, we put our hands over their eyes and our fingers in their ears. However, through the Internet and news media, the culture was still able to invade our homes. Unfortunately, our kids were ill prepared to deal with it. Our second goal was to use our combined Christian power to legislate and pressure the culture to change to reflect our values. But society has changed little, and our efforts have served to further ostracize us and give every follower of Christ the feared stereotypical tag of “extremist” or “fundamentalist.”
Unfortunately some outspoken “evangelical Christians” have done much more harm than good when it comes to advancing the gospel of Christ through love and actions. Their obvious disdain for culture and lifestyle choices have given us all the stereotypical tag of extremist and we are all fighting an uphill battle to show love.
Fred Phelps- Pastor of Westboro Baptist in Topeka, KS. He is know nationally for preaching with slogans and banners that have phrases such as “Thank God for 9/11”, “America is doomed”, “God hates fags”, “AIDS cures fags” and “Fags die, God laughs”. Phelps and his followers frequently picket military funerals protesting war and thanking God that our soldiers are dying. Pastor John Hagee- Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX has made statements that suggested that the church shaped Hitler’s anti-Semitism and he has said that the devastation of Hurricane Katrina was God’s response to homosexual sin. Pastor Ted Haggard- Former Pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO was very open from the pulpit about being against homosexual relationships and marriage but was later outed about his own homosexual lifestyle.
Because of these stances by the church and statements of evangelical men and women the culture around us has formed this incredibly negative view of Christians. And now Christians are known more for what they are against rather than what they are for.
We are known more for what we hate, what we protest, what we stand against than for what we are for like feeding the hungry and clothing the needy, and working to solve the AIDS epidemic. The video I showed brought up some great thoughts. What we are battling today is not a “gay” issue; it’s a “love” issue. We believe in Jesus but we have failed miserably to love like Jesus. When people disagree with our beliefs we become unloving, angry, defensive. We become judgmental of their lifestyle and life choices. We shelter our children from the world and we hide in safe comfortable bubbles where we are only surrounded by other Christians. We go to Christian functions, attend Christian schools, listen to Christian music, wear Christian t-shirts, watch Christian movies, and go to Christian concerts. We have created Christian theme parks, Christian TV Channels and hang out only with Christian friends.
Christians have done all they can to segregate themselves from the very people that Christ commanded us to love the most. We have segregated ourselves from the very people who desperately need to hear about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We have segregated ourselves from the very people Christ spent time with. Instead of meeting them where they are at and showing them the unconditional love and grace of Jesus Christ we have condemned them for their sins and have expected them to live up to our standards. Instead of leveraging the culture around us to show them Jesus, just as Christ did, we wait for them to come to us, through our doors on Sunday, but they won’t come because to them we are hypocrites and judgmental.