David and Jonathan – What kind of love?

(supplemental  to the current preaching series, Sex in a Broken World, from 1 Corinthians 5-7. Audio sermons  available here.)

Were Ruth and Naomi, the centurion and his servant, David and Jonathan, and the Ethiopian eunuch all homosexual or bi-sexual?  One of the more creative efforts is to discover relationships in the Bible narrative that must have been homosexual and are seen positively; thus the conclusion – The Bible endorses loving committed homosexual relationships and God blessed them.  Is that true? Let’s take a look. Continue reading “David and Jonathan – What kind of love?”

Danica Patrick on Love and Marriage

… you can’t just pick when love happens and with whom.

So said NASCAR driver Danica Patrick in a USA Today Interview posted online on July 26. The article was based on a recent interview about Danica’s relationship with fellow NASCAR rookie, Ricky Stenhouse.  The success of their relationship was summed up in “She’s cussing a bit less; he’s dressing better.”  How is that for proof of a great relationship? Continue reading “Danica Patrick on Love and Marriage”

Inhospitality in Sodom

(supplemental  to the current preaching series, Sex in a Broken World, from 1 Corinthians 5-7. Audio sermons  available here.)

Why was Sodom destroyed?  Why did God’s wrath come on them through literal fire, burning sulfur, as recorded in Genesis 19?

Appealing to the prophecy of Ezekiel, it is argued that Sodom’s sin had nothing to do with homosexuality, but a range of sins, and in summary, the lack of proper hospitality toward visitors; not the commonly understood practice of homosexuality, or attempted homosexual rape, as recounted in Genesis 19. Continue reading “Inhospitality in Sodom”

Sex and Shellfish in Leviticus

(supplemental  to the current preaching series, Sex in a Broken World, from 1 Corinthians 5-7. Audio sermons are available here.)

Christopher Wright writes an excellent article in the July/August 2013 issue of Christianity Today, Learning to Love Leviticus.  Included is a very helpful sidebar, Sex in Leviticus. Wright is Right!

The arguments defending the acceptance of homosexuality seek to discount the key biblical passages through unique interpretation. One argument is that all the examples in the Bible are non-consensual, thus none apply to the discussion today of two committed homosexuals. That is easily dis-proven.  Only one (Judges 19), possibly two (Genesis 19, at least partially) fit that category.

Another common argument is that prohibitions in the Law against homosexuality are mingled with dietary laws, such as forbidding the eating of shellfish, and rules about mixing cloth, thus Leviticus is irrelevant to the discussion. Not so fast!  Rather than restate what Chris Wright has addressed so well, I’ll just send you right now to Sex in Leviticus.

 

 

 

Why We Are Losing the Argument

(supplemental material related to my current preaching series, Sex in a Broken World from 1 Corinthians 5-7)

Am I a homophobe?

Dictionary.com defines a homophobe as “a person who fears or hates homosexuals and homosexuality.”  I’m not at all happy with that definition, but it is the meaning attached today with the emphasis being more on hate than fear. I certainly don’t want that to be me. But what do I do? Continue reading “Why We Are Losing the Argument”

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield – Her story and a Powerful Lesson

After introducing the amazing story of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield in an earlier post this morning, and mentioning it in my sermon today, a member of our church family reminded me where I first heard her story, an article in Christianity Today last February, My Train Wreck Conversion

This is more than worth your time, not only her story of coming to embrace biblical faith, but even more a powerful lesson in how to engage, and how not to engage, those with whom we disagree. Butterfield notes the impact on her of tirades from the Religious Right that stir up the base and raise money, but don’t winsomely proclaim the truth.

Angry rhetoric may bring accolades from those who already agree with us, but will accomplish nothing positive in connecting with those with whom we differ. Preachers of my generation have regularly fallen into that trap and gotten kudos for courage in addressing hard topics.  But it takes no courage to speak boldly inside the church, “beating up the bad guys” who aren’t there to defend themselves.  Good thing they aren’t there because that wouldn’t help them.

In 37 years of preaching, I confess I’ve erred into that false courage many times with my supposed bold preaching.  What takes courage is speaking with truth and grace as modeled by Jesus with the woman at the well.

“Lord Jesus, help me to learn from your example.”

 

 

Is there any hope for me?

(supplemental to my preaching series, Sex in a Broken World from 1 Corinthians 5-7)

“I’ve sinned Horribly, Is There Any Hope?”  That is the question John Piper addressed in his Ask Pastor John audio series on Friday, July 12. He takes us to Psalm 107 for a cycle of sinful patterns and dreadful consequences, followed by repentance and divine deliverance.  The foundational repeated truth of the passage is the steadfast love of the LORD.  This is the hope of the Gospel, brought to fulfillment in Jesus Christ and applied through repentance and faith.

Listen carefully to Piper’s explanation.  Read Psalm 32.  Read Psalm 51.  Read Romans 8. Read Ephesians 2:1-10.  Read Philippians 3:7-16. Read 1 John 1:1–2:6. Read and Rejoice in the steadfast love of the Lord!

Is change possible? What is my role?

(supplemental to my preaching series, Sex in a Broken World from 1 Corinthians 5-7)

Have you heard of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, former English professor at Syracuse University?  Once a self-professed lesbian, with her academic focus on Lesbian issues in Women’s studies, she is now a Presbyterian pastor’s wife and mother of four.  How do you explain that?  Continue reading “Is change possible? What is my role?”

Abortion, Homosexuality or Starving Children?

Which wing of the aircraft is the most important, the left or the right? I don’t mean to shut down legitimate debate about what takes priority in the complex social issues of our world, but we do sometimes get caught in a left/right debate that causes us to lose perspective. And I readily include myself as one who can get off balance.

One of the challenges to me in recent years has been the question: Why do you always default to abortion and homosexuality (supposed issues on the right) in regard to America’s sins? Continue reading “Abortion, Homosexuality or Starving Children?”