Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Overlake Christian Church Provides Aids Test To "Remove Stigma"

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Last Sunday, Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, WA., a suburb of Seattle, provided AIDS testing for its members. The church Facebook page explains the church is "standing in solidarity and getting rid of the stigma."

Linda Robertson leads the local HIV/AIDS Outreach Team at the church and volunteers regularly at RoseHedge Multifaith Works in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle.

Linda and her husband Rob are active in the church and in the gay community/Aids efforts in Seattle.

Their son Ryan was homosexual and died in 2009. She says her passion is that Ryan's life and death will matter...and the mistakes she made, as a conservative evangelical mom with a young gay son, "will serve to help someone else learn to really love their children, just because they breathe...and before they no longer do."

Linda writes for Huffington Post and other publications in advocacy of correcting her "mistakes."

I want to take a look at the "mistakes" Linda feels she made in regard to her son.

And is "standing in solidarity and getting rid of the stigma" of AIDS the biblical message of redemption and love according to God's Word?


Pastor Ken Hutcherson publicly expressed disappointment when Overlake Christian Church declined to take a stand for traditional marriage in the 2012 election.

Linda has written an article for Huffington Post-Gay Voices which gives in detail how she feels she failed her son and how others are failing by not affirming the behavior.

She also explains how biblical verses on homosexual behavior are misused.

She begins and ends with the expectation that many evangelicals will attack her over her beliefs.

While disagreement with the homosexual agenda and behavior is almost universally equated to "hate," let me say I disagree, but do not hate.

I have great empathy for parents who are faced with this. As a pastor, I have stood with them in their darkest moments and hours. I have also stood with those who have practiced this behavior, having come to the realization it is a destructive one and were seeking deliverance and restoration.

I have also stood with Christian teenagers whose parent was homosexual, forcing them to live out their Christian faith in isolation in their own home.

In each case, it is heart breaking.

We have reached a point in our culture where anything less than affirmation (standing in solidarity) is considered hate.

In the absence of hate, let me disagree with Linda and Overlake Christian Church.

Linda makes her case in the Huffington Post on a false presumption.

She begins with this:

1.The Bible does not teach that any human being created by God (and we all were) is an abomination. Wow. I have come to loathe that word because of how it has been used to destroy people.

2. The Bible does not include a verse that says, "Love the sinner, but hate the sin." Someone who wasn't thinking very carefully came up with that, and unfortunately, it caught on. After the abomination accusation and the threat of hell hurled at blameless individuals who have done nothing but be born, this is one of the phrases that has been most damaging, not only to the individuals who are hurt by it but to the cause of Christ.

Biblical Christians do not believe that God or they themselves feel that homosexuals are an abomination. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves people, but cannot look on sin. God says homosexual behavior is sin.

While there is not a verse that specifically says, "Love the sinner, but hate the sin," God, in the greatest act of all time, has modeled that truth when He sent His Son to die for our sins (John 3:16).

In the narrative of Christ's death for our sin, we learn that God hates sin in a way that caused Him to turn from His own Son at the moment our sin was placed upon Him on the cross. (Reference: my God, my God).

Linda tells her readers, "When one says 'I love my son John who is gay, but I hate his homosexuality' it's a complete oxymoron. It's like saying I love you Linda but I hate that you are heterosexual."

No it isn't. Heterosexual relations are biblically affirmed in the bond of biblical marriage, which is between one man and one woman. Homosexual relations are condemned as sin and destructive by the Bible.

Homosexual behavior has been revised by those who seek to affirm it and find ways to claim the Bible affirms it, or at least does not condemn it.

For thousands of years, every major religion and every major culture identified the behavior as sodomy---including the Bible. Activists then revised it to "homosexuality"--a condition, then to "Gay"---an identity.

It is a behavior and in no way equates to ethnicity. That behavior is not a civil right.

Linda says, "Rob and I were both raised hearing condemning messages about homosexuality (for me, from the Bible, and for Rob, from more of a general "American moral code"). As young parents, we heard horror stories from conservative "family" radio speakers about the dangerous practices of "those" homosexuals, complete with graphic details about their perverse practices and their number of daily conquests. These came from sources we thought were trustworthy, and though I did doubt their veracity and was suspicious of the agenda behind the tales, I can see now that the power of propaganda to incite fear is, indeed, real and potent."

The lifestyle of homosexuals is well documented. Time Magazine published an extensive report on the matter. This is part of their report:

"As the world’s leading AIDS researchers gather for the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., scientists report that despite gains in controlling the spread of HIV, the disease has continued to spread at an alarming rate in the very population in which it first appeared — gay men."

"In a series of papers in the Lancet dedicated to the dynamics of HIV among gay men — a group epidemiologists define as men who have sex with men (MSM) — scientists say that the continued burden of AIDS in this group is due to a combination of lifestyle and biological factors that put these men at higher risk. Rates are rising in all countries around the world."

Linda continues, "It was after my brother Don courageously came out to us that I began reading books -- from varying perspectives -- about what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. At the end of the day, I came away a bit confused, but sure of one thing: The Bible does not support hate. That, at least, was clear. It was after our own son came out to us 10 years later that the fear that had been planted in our minds years before began to grow and make us feel that our son was in very real danger, hence our many mistakes and our choice to be ruled by fear rather than live by faith in the One who made Ryan."

Living by faith in our Creator does not give one license to redefine Scripture.

There is no scientific evidence that any person has ever been born gay. It is an acquired behavior.

Linda seems to dismiss biblical truth in favor of situational ethics and rationalization based in relativism.

She tells her readers that she and her husband "after much prayer, study and listening to God and others, we've come to believe that this is one of those issues mentioned...infrequently...in the New Testament, like eating meat previously sacrificed to idols. For some it may be sin."

"For us," she says, "love wins out." "Every time."

Love certainly wins out, but true love---God's love, requires a proper understanding of God's Word.

Biblical love and Truth does not seek to affirm sin. God is not the author of confusion.

God's message of love is greater than our ability to define it, but it is never contradictory to His Word.

God's love is so complete and unconditional that it convicts us of our sin, while embracing us, delivering us and restoring us from the brokenness of our sin. And leads us to a new productive lifestyle, free from our destructive old lifestyle.

Remember George Beverly Shea singing the "Love of God" at Billy Graham crusades?---"The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen could ever tell...it goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell."

God's love brings Truth to our lives. God's love can heal the broken heart of a parent. God's love does not compromise God's Word.

Linda says her senior pastor at Overlake, Mike Howerton, does not agree with her on all points.

However, one wonders how "standing in solidarity with AIDS" can be seen as the solution to a very destructive and sinful behavior? A behavior that seeks to redefine marriage and family...and even Scripture.

Linda says, "Rob and I continually seek our Lord for truth."

May God reveal His Truth to them.

And may her church embrace the truth that biblical redemption, not solidarity, is God's solution to the issue of homosexuality, AIDS and sin.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed. 

18 comments:

  1. You republished my confession about a year ago of how things really are in the community and how the homosexuals are always trying to portray it as 'family'. There are a few exceptions I'm ...... well I shouldn't say I'm sure because I don't really know what their relationship is. They could be looking monogamous and yet have an open or partially open lifestyle outside the prying eyes of the general community and family.

    I did stop posting because it can take over so much of my time. Homosexuals continue to post about these exceptions and I know for a fact that most of them are illusions. We used to make a case with some of the parents of the 'guys' I hang out with. I swear we could have survived a lie detector we were so convinced in ourselves and yet when we would skate away from the family setting we would go right back into our destructive behavior after having set our families minds at ease. Crazy.

    Druggies can do the same thing. Sexual addiction and rebelliousness is very intoxicating. No rocket science here. Again, it is exactly like the 'Emperor's New Clothes." What seems obvious truly is obvious. Don't listen to the long winded explanations for why it isn't. Someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. And I'm sure there will be a cleaver play on my words and a long winded rebuttal.

    Men doing WHAT? with men and women doing WHAT? with women is not natural and is perverted. You know and I've been there and I KNOW it.

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  2. Great article, Gary. Not too many years back, Overlake was a solid, Bible believing church. Sad to see yet another Pastoral team on the eastside of Seattle succumb to the toxic cultural pressures.

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    1. So, in your opinion, Overlake was a "solid bible believing church" a few years back.

      Would that be back when Pastor Bob Morehead was accused of molestation by multiple men and the congregation responded by rallying around the pastor (who was guilty) and attacking his victims as "agents of Satan"?

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  3. When we "removed the stigma" of out-of-wedlock babies, we got more of them which is not how God intends children to be raised. When we "remove the stigma" of homosexual sin, we will get more people involved in that empirically supported destructive lifestyle. When will we learn?

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  4. You're only telling part of the story. HIV/AIDs affects a lot of people - not just homosexuals. One of the pastors at Overlake and his wife adopted a young boy that is HIV positive and I believe that may be part of where their passion for HIV/AIDs prevention comes from. (See this article in the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021898437_aidsschoolsxml.html.)

    One way (among many) to prevent HIV/AIDS from spreading is to get tested to make sure you have not been infected (e.g., accidental needle prick in the emergency room) and are not passing the infection to others.

    I'm disappointed in your knee-jerk response. This testing the church made available had nothing to do with same-sex marriages or homosexuality. It's so much bigger than that.

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  5. You're only telling part of the story. HIV/AIDs affects a lot of people - not just homosexuals. One of the pastors at Overlake and his wife adopted a young boy that is HIV positive and I believe that may be part of where their passion for HIV/AIDs prevention comes from. (See this article in the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021898437_aidsschoolsxml.html.)

    One way (among many) to prevent HIV/AIDS from spreading is to get tested to make sure you have not been infected (e.g., accidental needle prick in the emergency room) and are not passing the infection to others.

    I'm disappointed in your knee-jerk response. This testing the church made available had nothing to do with same-sex marriages or homosexuality. It's so much bigger than that.

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  6. I don't see Gary's response as "knee jerk." It is measured and compassionate. When you link the AIDS Day at the church, the churche's statement on their web site that they are working to remove the stigma, then read what Ms. Robertson is saying to a national audience regarding biblical teaching on homosexuality it is apparent that this is something we should be informed of. Thanks Gary. Keep up the good work.

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  7. Overlake has moved significantly toward the emerging church model that Tony Compollo, Jim Wallis, Gordon McDonald and Rob Bell advocate. It is very disappointing to many od us who have supported the church in the past.

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  8. I read Gary's article today about Overlake Church and the subject of homosexuality with great interest. As a Christian Mother of a Gay son I had ran across the "Because you Breath" article and it gave me a lot of insight on loving my son unconditionally without compromising my Biblical beliefs....however, I did some follow up reading of the author's communication with Christian people expanding her ideas further and was disturbed when I realized that she has instilling her own doctrine into the Word of God.....false teaching. If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ and follow His Word the Holy Spirit will instruct you about what is Truth and what is false teaching. Gary is absolutely correct in his teachings here. It lines up with God's Word. People are being "dumbed down" and accepting this deception as normal. My husband and I love our son and always will and we accept his partner as part of his life and care about him but the lifestyle will never be something we will embrace and our son knows that but also knows that we love him and always will. We have come to grips with something we never thought we would encounter. We have grown through this and will continue to call upon God's grace to always do the right thing According to His Word. I am a Mother, I am a Christian Mother of a wonder, caring son who happens to be Gay. I am learning every day to be the best I can be but I will never compromise God's Word...or change the content or skip over the "uncomfortable parts" . I am also a nurse who has taken care of many serious cases of AIDS victims. I have always felt a great deal of compassion for them as I would for any suffering person and have frequently been impressed how they often care for each other. I would like to see more believers grow in compassion for the lost Gay or not.

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  9. It is difficult to discuss issues like this when they are a part of a story that has people who are rightly hurting. Definitely pain is informative. Yet, it is not a guarantee of correct conclusions. So to disagree with Linda Robertson puts one in a position of looking insensitive.

    I can empathize and feel the pain that Linda and her family is experiencing. However I disagree with some of her conclusions and statements of fact. The article quotes her as saying, "The Bible does not include a verse that says, 'Love the sinner, but hate the sin.' Someone who wasn't thinking very carefully came up with that, and unfortunately, it caught on." I don't believe she is challenging the "love the sinner" part. It must be the "hate the sin" part that bothers her. I understand the visceral reaction to trite statements in the time of pain. Like medicine, trite statements don't taste so good. However, the bible does call us to see sin as something to hate. Gary correctly pointed this out in his article. I would also point to Jude 1:20-23. The passage is exhorting believers to keep themselves in the love of God, specifically by rescuing believers who are caught up in sin. Verse 23 employs an inescapable metaphor for sin, "hating even the garment defiled by the flesh." Thus believers should rescue with loving mercy and yet, with caution so as not to get caught up in sin ourselves.

    By the way, I'm not sure who coined the phrase, "Love the sinner, but hate the sin." But Augustine in his Letter 211 states that the nuns should exercise their duty to help each other be pure "with due love for the persons and hatred of the sin." Source: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1102211.htm. Her statement that this instruction wasn't thought out carefully is itself not thought out carefully. Agustine and those who have had to give instruction to believers relied on the Scriptures for that advice. They knew that we had to have compassion and love for each other. But they also knew that could never mean encouraging people in sin.

    May God help us to remain faithful to the Truth and yet sacrifice ourselves in order to save others. At the cross Grace and Truth kissed (Psalm 85:10). May our lives be such a demonstration of love.

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  10. wow- so uninformed. watch the service.... is this a response to HIV testing or an attempt to start a dialogue with one person from Overlake? as a side note, you're also showing your ignorance by calling it AIDS testing.

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    1. You need to keep in mind that Gary and his followers believe that 'AIDS' is God punishing the gays. And that it's sort of a natural selection thing, even though they generally don't buy natural selection. Their discussions of the disease make sense if you view it from that perspective.

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    2. Again, I follow Jesus Christ and he inspired the Apostle Paul to write in Romans ! that homosexual behavior causes people to "receive in themselves the due penalty for their perversion". There is no misunderstanding the verse, no wiggle room.

      I think he meant what he said

      Craig in Lacey

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    3. You 10:49 AM are the one that doesn't know Gary. I attended his church. Neither Gary nor anyone in that church ever thought God was punishing gays. You are off track where he is and I don't think he has any "followers".

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  11. Dividing lines, tipping points, water shed moments. True Christian men, women, pastors, elders will be forced to take a stand; you are either for Christ or against Him. Gay man on man, woman on woman sex, adultery and fornication are sins, and will be judged by God. Those leaders who are hiding like wilting flowers will soon regret their decisions. Christian persecution is here, it’s not coming, it is here.. And it will get severe.

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  12. This church is impotent and compromised. Mike Howerton and the team are a product of the New Age Christian Apostate Church. Mike will be be marring gays soon, mark my words.

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  13. Mike Howerton is, in my opinion, a truly compromised preacher. I use the word "preacher" loosely. Many know of his story, and how he became the senior pastor at OCC. His theology is aligned with many other compromised churches that litter this country.

    We were warned about compromise, false teaching, and what the landscape would look like near the end.

    The elders and Leadership at OCC, and other churches, should repent and turn from the evil that is enveloping this nation.

    There's a sifting process happening this very minute. Genuine believers will be few. The narrow road is not easily found. The words Depart from me are scary words.

    Christ said “If you love me you will keep my commands”

    Enough said… Praying for Mike’s eternal soul, and all of those men and women who work on staff at OCC.

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