Monday, April 28, 2014

Decision time for evangelicals

Once upon a time a Christian could make a choice of career and know that if he worked hard and lived by his principles he could make a go of it.

No more.

The American Family Association says there are seven careers that are no longer open to the Christian who lives by his principles. They are, it says: 

Photographer - A Christian photographer in New Mexico was fined $6,700 for politely declining to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony. The Supreme Court allowed this fine to stand.

Baker - A Christian baker in Oregon is facing both civil and criminal penalties, including jail time, for politely declining to bake a cake for a gay wedding ceremony. Her business was closed.

Florist - Baronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist in Washington, is being sued by the state attorney general for politely declining to prepare an arrangement fpr a gay wedding ceremony.

Broadcaster - Craig James was fired by Fox Sports Southwest after only one day on the job for expressing his support for natural marriage while he was a candidate for the United State Senate.

Counsellor - Jennifer Keeton was dismissed from the counselling programme at Augusta State University for her religious reservations about the homosexual lifestyle.

Innkeeper - The Wildflower Inn in Vermont was fined $30,000 and forced to shut down its wedding reception business after politely declining to host a lesbian ceremony.

Teacher - Ms Gillian John-Charles was kicked out of a doctoral programme in education at Roosevelt University for expressing in class her belief that homosexuals aren't born gay.

This (if you will permit a rather snide comment) in the land of the free.

Not that we have anything to boast about. We have a  list of people penalised for their Christian beliefs - the latest a young carer at a London nursery dismissed for gross misconduct for telling a colleague in response to a direct question what the Bible says about homosexuality.

In an important and careful piece, as you would expect from the president of one of the largest theological seminaries, Al Mohler says that evangelicals face a decision that cannot be avoided. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no place to remain silent. To be silent, he says, will answer the question.

The question is whether evangelicals will remain true to the teachings of Scripture and the unbroken teaching of the Christian church for over 2,000 years on the morality of same-sex acts and the institution of marriage.

"The world is pressing this question upon us, but so are a number of voices from the larger evangelical circle - voices that are calling for a radical revision of the church's understanding of the Bible, sexual morality, and the meaning of marriage. We are living in the midst of a massive revolution in morality."

Our answer to the question, he says, will determine or reveal what we understand about everything the Bible reveals and everything the church teaches -  even the gospel itself.

He ends with an appeal for fervent, urgent prayer that this moment of decision for evangelical Christianity will be answered with a firm assertion of biblical authority, respect for marriage as the union of a man and a woman, passion for the gospel of Christ and prayer for the faithfulness and health of Christ's church.

I couldn't disagree with that.

If you would like to read his piece - and it is well worth reading - you  can see it here. A masterly exposition of the Scriptures on homosexuality by Dr Mohler and four others you can download free here.

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