This week we consider Assumption #5. Perhaps, though, I should refresh your memories about the first four! Here are the first four of the "8 Assumptions Pastors Can No Longer Make in a Post-Christian Culture":
1. Biblical Literacy
2. Frequent Attendance
3. Consistent Giving
4. Political Alignment
Assumption #5, according to author Karl Vaters in the December 2017 issue of Christianity Today is:
Awareness of and Agreement about Biblical Sexual Ethics
The author says, "As ministers we can spend a lot of time teaching, debating, and arguing the finer points of sexual ethics, from gay marriage to premarital sex to gender identity and more. But when someone comes to faith in Christ today not only can we not assume they will want to follow a Biblical moral code, many will have no idea there is one to follow."
There is a lot of sexual sin and brokenness in our culture today, particularly among young people. We have paid a steep price for the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. But the stunning development of late is the sexually progressive agenda driven by so many evangelical pastors! Pastors seem more focused on welcoming, endorsing, embracing, and legitimizing the unrepentant LGBTQ community into their churches than preaching the blood of Christ. Twenty to thirty years ago this was not an issue. But the progressives are relentless and aggressive, determined to obtain the church's blessing, and not at all reluctant to denounce the "intolerant" churches who don't jump on the bandwagon.
I find the Biblical teaching to be simple and clear. Homosexuality is a sin. Same-sex attraction or desire is also a sin, even if it is not acted upon. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that even our desires must be in conformity with His will. Am I unloving to say so? On the contrary, telling the truth is the most loving thing we can do. We must speak the truth in love.
Having said this however, don't misunderstand me: the LGBTQ community is always welcome in our church. So are murderers and thieves and sinners of every stripe! We don't vet people at the front door. I wish nothing more than for them to worship Almighty God with us. I welcome the opportunity to explain "the way of God more accurately", as Priscilla and Aquila did for Apollos (Acts 18). And if they are repentant they are most welcome to profess their faith, become full communing church members, and one day perhaps rise to leadership in the church. As Augustine said, "We are all washed in the same blood."
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore!
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow'r.
Come ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all.