Thursday, October 10, 2013

National Cathedral Pastor - Not Affirming Homosexuality is Sin

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In one of America's most well known churches, most prominent because of its location in Washington DC, the list of U.S. leaders who have attended over the past 100 years and the weddings and memorials that have been held there, Rev. Gary Hall, a pastor at National Cathedral, gave a sermon last Sunday that characterizes the cultural chaos and spiritual deception of our times.

While the church website presents it as a place for unity, the pastor's sermon last Sunday was fraught with division and deception.

The church has recently announced they will begin conducting same-sex "marriage" ceremonies.

He told the congregation, "In its wisdom, the church came to its senses and labeled racism and sexism as sinful."

Of course racism is sin. Hating anyone is sin.

Sexism means prejudice based on a belief that one gender (male or female) is superior to the other. The New Testament teaches that male and female are different and complimentary to one another. They complete one another. The ultimate expression of this is found in the marriage covenant between one man and one woman. To believe otherwise is contradictory to Scriptural teaching.

"And now," the pastor said, "we find ourselves at the last barrier---call that barrier homophobia, call it heterosexism. Both," he says, "are sin."

This is where the pastor begins to do what progressives always do. He begins to make assumptions about people who disagree with his position.

Hating anyone is sin, however, the pastor is now proceeding on the assumption that everyone who believes biblical teaching that homosexual behavior is sin, hates those who practice the behavior.

Not true. Jesus hated the sin, but loved the sinner. So can we. Jesus loved them so much He died for their sins. In His strength, biblical Christians can and do tolerate and love those who live a life of sin, while hating the destructive sin.

Heterosexism, the dictionary says, is a system of attitudes, bias and discrimination in favor of opposite sex sexuality and relations. It says, "It can include the presumption that other people are heterosexual and that is the only norm and therefore superior."

So if one does not affirm same-sex relations, that person hates the one who practices the behavior. Would that apply in reverse?

Homophobia, according to Wikipedia, "Encompasses a wide range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people identified as or perceived as being so...It can be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion or hatred and may be based on irrational fear and is sometimes related to religious beliefs."

If one's biblically based religious belief holds that homosexual behavior is sin, the person who believes that is actually the sinner.

Welcome to the deception. And a religious left willing to redefine the Bible as they themselves redefine marriage, family and the sanctity of life.

Welcome to the church's version of spiritual relativistic narcissism---"certain things are true because I believe them to be true."

The pastor said, "Shaming people because their identity doesn't fit in neatly into your sense of what it should be is sin."

"If we are faithful" in this, the pastor said, "today's generation of LGBT youth will thrive and grow and take their places around this table, with Jesus, as we bless, forgive, heal and love the world."

The pastor said he prepared this sermon to mark the 15th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepherd, the gay man who was killed by two men in Laramie, Wy. More on that in a moment.

Not only does this kind of teaching stand in contradiction to biblical teaching, even the accuracy of the public account of the Matthew Shephard tragedy, which the pastor celebrates, is being called into question.

Rev. Gary Hall's sermon weaves biblical truth and non-truth into a deceptive fabric that says unless you affirm homosexual behavior, you are a sinner--- while claiming those who violate the very clear teaching of the Bible on the matter, will be seated with Jesus.

Jesus did indeed come to heal and forgive and He certainly loves people. He did not affirm sin---He gave His life to redeem and restore each of us because of our sin. And He did not come to abolish the law, He came to fulfill it.

Jeff Walton, Anglican program director on Religion & Democracy, told the Christian Post Rev. Hall's remarks "weren't surprising" given his activist background.

Walton said Hall "has long pushed for the normalization of homosexual practices. What has changed is that Hall no longer sees room for those who disagree with his view."

Tolerance. Do as I say, not as I do.

He said Hall sees anyone with a differing view as "bullies and agents of intolerance who must be silenced for the sake of justice."

I personally think Rev. Hall and other far left religious leaders, immersed in the "social justice" movement rather than in actual biblical teaching, are attempting to make any kind of disapproval of homosexual behavior into a "thought crime." Walton agrees.

He says, "Merely stating the traditionally understood biblical view of marriage and sexuality is now equated with bullying."

Being true to clear Scriptural teaching on this behavior, is being set aside for a non biblical narrative that declares belief in biblical teaching to be sin, and affirmation of homosexual behavior as true biblical Christianity.

Relativism. Right is wrong. Wrong is right. Up is down. Down is up.

While the murder of Matthew Shephard is tragic, there are those who have researched the matter more in depth. They have found the homosexual activist's account of the tragedy doesn't square with most of the facts.

In his newly published book, "The Book of Matt," author Stephen Jimenez finds that, although homosexual activists have canonized their version of the story, there are many, many discrepancies.

He compares the telling of the Matt Shephard story to a kind of religious movement, thus the title.

And he is not short on details because he researched the subject for 10 years before writing the book.

Anyone who would write such a book is a homophobe, a hater, a bigot and certainly a sinner. Right?

Author Stephen Jimenez is himself a homosexual.

So homosexual activists have been forced to take a little different tack on this "sin."

Media Matters, a far left secular progressive organization, has dispatched their own guy to write a "review" on the book. They have published the review nationally. While the review is seen as pathetic, inaccurate and a hit piece by most, it has served to bring even more attention to the Matthew Shephard book written by Jimenez.

I take no joy in reporting this. It is a sad, ugly and troubling story. It would break the heart of most any parent. But here are a few details. You may read more through the link above.

Over his ten years and repeated visits to Laramie, Jimenez uncovered and reported an ugly story about how methamphetamine had slowly overtaken Laramie and much of Wyoming—how Matthew Shepard allegedly succumbed to it by becoming a member of a dangerous drug cartel working out of Denver and one of the principle suppliers of meth to Laramie. According to Jimenez, Shepard also became a dedicated user, along with his buddy and sometime sex partner Aaron McKinney, who later killed him. It is an ugly story that will send you to the shower after reading it.

In fact, Jimenez’s investigation showed that Shepard was allegedly involved in a highly-organized and dangerous criminal drug enterprise and that lives were in danger.

Jimenez’s account points specifically to a Wyoming law enforcement official who told Jimenez the murder had nothing to do with sexual preference. Jimenez explains that the man had “intimate knowledge of the murder case,” though he does not go into detail because the man fears for his life and the lives of his family.

Why would a law enforcement officer be fearful for his life if this was a hate crime?

Jimenez interviewed a man named Glenn Duncan, who agreed to an interview with Jimenez “on the slim hope that someone in the media finally tells the truth about Shepard’s murder.”

Jimenez reports Duncan had a long history with Aaron McKinney and spent years trying to get him out of drugs, going so far as taking him to "Life Training" seminar two years before the murder.

Jimenez writes much about a Thomas “Doc” O’Connor, one of the central figures in the whole case. He ran several businesses in and around Laramie, including a limo service often used by Shepard and his killer. O’Connor and those around him are among multiple sources for the claims that Shepard knew his killer, did and sold drugs with his killer, and had sex with his killer.

As is often the case, when the light is turned on a very different picture emerges.

Sin, as taught in the Bible, weaves a web of destruction in any person's life, but there is hope.

Jesus said, "The truth shall make you free." He also said, "I am the Truth, the Way and the life."

Social justice happens when Jesus is Lord.

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