Outed

November 13, 2007

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina ejected a church for accepting homosexuals into the church. Last year, the Convention changed its rules to kick out churches that accept homosexuals (see previous post here). During this year's debate, one messenger argued about the use of that new rule:

We have the opportunity to use a bylaw -- ill-timed and ill-passed -- to club a church or to extend to them the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and say, 'As you claim Christ as Savior and we claim Christ as Savior, then we are brothers and sisters in Christ.'
The appeals were unsuccessful as messengers overwhelmingly voted to exclude the church. No word yet on if they also kicked out all the churches that accept members who have committed heterosexual sins or are guilty of pride, greed, or hypocrisy (you know, the issues Jesus focused on).

12 comments

  1. Josh Byers1:09 PM

    So you would want an individual living openly in sin functioning in a leadership position in your church?

    Your blog post and even the article you linked to have sensationalized the matter. The convention is not throwing the church out because they are accepting gay people into their church but because the church is approving of the homosexual lifestyle and placing them in positions of leadership.

    There is a huge difference to what Christ did (accepting people where they were at but then helping them to change and be more like himself) and what this particular church is doing (accepting people where they are at and saying its okay - don't change.

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  2. Brian,

    Josh is pretty much on target.

    The church should have its doors open to sinners of every kind, helping them to learn and then "go and sin no more."

    Those living openly sinful lifestyles are to be learners among the body of Christ, not leaders of the church.

    I agree with you that churches overlooking heterosexual adultery in leaders' lives should also be disciplined and, if necessary, excluded by the convention.

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  3. One more note:

    What a preposterous statement by the church's pastor, likening Gentiles to homosexuals in his rationalization of the church's rationalization to shed its Spirit-given reluctance to affirm the gay lifestyle.

    He must believe either that homosexuality is not a sin, or that homosexuals--like Gentiles--are born, not choosing to be that way. That theology must be "new Baptist" if it's at all Baptist.

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  4. Thanks for the comments!

    Josh: I am afraid you all missed my point. My post was about the problem of singling out the issue of homosexuality. Why the obsession here? If a church places someone in leadership who is guilty of pride, greed, hypocrisy, or heterosexual sins (all items that Jesus frequently condemned), there is no action taken against them. Isn't that hypocritical?

    Chuck: You got my point a little better by wanting to extend the rule to heterosexual adultery. What about other sins? Why pick and choose what issues will get a church kicked out?

    Also, I'm not sure if your "new Baptist" comment was a swipe at the Celebration. If so, you are quite wrong because the Baptist groups that accept homosexuality have not been invited to be part of the Celebration.

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  5. Brian,

    I think you are missing the problem here. The problem is not sin, it's universal acceptance of that sin. Certainly, there are churches that have sinners in leadership. We are all sinners. But we don't celebrate their sin and tell them it is O.K. that they bask in that sin. If that were the case, then yeah, you have a point.

    But this congregation went beyond accepting sinners to telling them their sin was appropriate and should indeed be celebrated, and then further put their money where their mouth was and elevated these people to places of leadership.

    And remember that this is a sin so hated by God that He reserved the death penalty in the OT for those who committed such. That is no small sin. And we get too wrapped up in comparing sins to realize that living a lifestyle in such a sin is taken very serious by God. We cannot continue to confirm such acts of open and willful rebellion to God.

    Of course sinners should be welcome in the church (we're all sinners), but no one should be told their sin is acceptable in the eyes of God.

    See Romans 1:32.

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  6. Chuck3:59 PM

    Brian,

    It's fine with me for Baptist groups accepting homosexuality to be excluded from the Celebration of NBC--and certainly from Conventions, like the one in question here, which don't accept homosexuality.

    But, using your own question to me, you need to ask yourself and others in the NBC, "What about other sins? Why pick and choose what issues will get a church (Baptist group) kicked out (excluded)?"

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  7. D.R.: I understand that the convention is concerned about the acceptance of homosexuality, but that still works toward my point. Why not be concerned about churches accepting the behaviors I listed? Many churches accept leaders who have committed heterosexual sins, or are guilty of greed, pride, or hypocrisy. Why not punish those churches for condoning the sins Jesus condemned? Even your death penalty reference does not justify the convention because homosexuality is the only such item they will kick a church out because of--even though there were many behaviors that could get you killed under the Old Testament laws. Why the unbiblical obsession with homosexuality?


    Chuck: I was not part of that decision but I suspect they were worried about the inaccurate and unethical guilt-by-association attacks that would be leveled if those organizations were given a sponsoring role. Just because we work together does not mean we must agree on everything.

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  8. Chuck6:10 AM

    Brian,

    I think the answer, or at least part of it, to your last ("obsession") question to D.R. is that homosexuality is the obvious sin-lifestyle which is actively campaigning for acceptance by the church. There still seems to be warranted shame on the part of the heterosexual adulterer, the person guilty of incest, etc.

    If many churches accept unrepentant adulterers, etc. as leaders, than many churches are wrong. I wouldn't stay part of one.

    As for greed, pride, and hypocrisy, the first two are attitudes of the heart which we can't judge unless or until they manifest themselves in sinful actions--theft or slander, for examples. In the Bible, I find that hypocrisy, except when pointed out by Jesus, was the target of instruction and correction, not expulsion. However, immorality was cause to "expel the immoral brother."

    As to your NBC response to me, I agree we needn't agree on every single thing to work together. But, unless there is agreement on the authority of what the Bible teaches about sin and sins, and about the Savior and not saviors, we shouldn't work together under the banners of Christ or Baptist.

    This--standing for the authority and truth of biblical teaching-- should be the reason the NBC excludes the "Baptist" groups accepting homosexuality, not some worry over being accused falsely and found guilty by reason of association.

    But, assuming you're correct in assessing the motive, the NBC should likewise disassociate itself from any hint of plurality. You know what I'm referring to.

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  9. Brian,

    First, let me second Chuck on what he wrote. I agree wholeheartedly.

    For a smart guy, I don't see how you don't get this. There is a huge difference between occasional sin and an unrepentant sin lifestyle. But, let me offer an example to help out.

    Say I become a pastor in a church in MO. I start reading Scripture with my members and we come to the conclusion that pedaphilia isn't wrong and we feel these people have been discriminated against. And we find out in that study that we have two active pedaphiles in our congregation. We tell them that what they do is their business and science will eventually show that biologically they are just made that way. So, we allow them to be full members, and even make them leaders. They in turn bring their pedaphilian brethren to church and we announce that we are not "welcoming and affirming" to all pedaphiles. The convention meets and discusses this and decides to vote them out. They call you and ask how you would vote. What do you say?


    And before you answer, think about this: there is no passage in the Bible whereby pedaphilia is explicitly condemned. But there sure are places where homosexuality is. Do you get it yet?

    Now insert beastiality or rape or incest or adultery into that scenario and you have the other sins detested by God in Leviticus 18 and 20. Now who is distinguishing between sins?

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  10. Sorry, that one sentence in the third paragraph should read,

    They in turn bring their pedaphilian brethren to church and we announce that we are "welcoming and affirming" to all pedaphiles.

    Sorry if that caused some confusion.

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  11. Thanks for the lively discussion!

    Chuck: The Celebration is centered on the Bible (especially Luke 4), so you do not need to worry about pluralism or other problems.

    DR: You are still proving my point. Why is only homosexuality listed by the convention as something that can get a church kicked out? In your last paragraph you list several sins that would not get a church removed under the current policy. Doesn't that, then, suggest there is a poor double-standard here?

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  12. Brian,

    I know you are busy, but I really wish you were able to answer in a more timely manner that would facilitate more discussion.

    As for your comment, you failed to show how I proved your point. As I noted above and I note again - the problem is "celebration" of the sin - unconditional acceptance! You have failed to show any examples of a church that celebrates and unconditionally accepts any sin mentioned. Please show me a church that says "pride is alright" or "murder is just fine by me."

    Finally you said, "In your last paragraph you list several sins that would not get a church removed under the current policy. Doesn't that, then, suggest there is a poor double-standard here?"

    So here are the sins mentioned in my last paragraph:

    1) Beastiality
    2) Rape
    3) Incest
    4) Adultery

    The challenge to you is to show one church where these sins are taught to be perfectly fine and acceptable. Show me one church that celebrates any one of these and affirms that the Bible doesn't say that any of these are wrong and even encourages church members to engage in them.

    As I said before, you seem to be a smart guy, but surely, surely you see my point here. I'll be waiting for the name of that church and I promise I will bring whatever church you show me to the attention of its state convention for removal.

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