Apologize For The Truth of the Gospel?

 ***UPDATED MARCH 31, 2008***

I thought I’d save time for those of you who embrace “seeker friendly or “emergent” theology that want to argue the “Jesus likes us as we are” argument, or the “God’s grace covers our sins”. My colleague Pastor DL Foster over at Gay Christian Movement Watch posted an excellent article on what grace REALLY is.

I hope you enjoy reading it. If you still want to leave a comment that argues your point, then I’ll simply save myself a few keystrokes and send you to his article again…

—————————————————————-

ORIGINAL POST – MARCH 29, 2008

sorry.jpg

Rev. Richard Mark Lee, pastor of Sugar Hill Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta has decided to apologize.

Apologize for what, you ask?

Pastor Lee is apologizing for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the past, Pastor Lee has preached from the pulpit condemning homosexuality, couples living together outside of marriage, abortion, and many other sins. On Sunday March 31, 2008 he plans to get in that same pulpit and apologize for his previous condemnation:

Gwinnett minister to apologize to those condemned by Christians Gays, women seeking abortions, couples not married will be included


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/28/08
Just as the Christian church has done many wonderful things throughout history, says the Rev. Richard Mark Lee, it also has done many terrible things, such as targeting, judging and condemning various individuals and groups.On Sunday, Lee plans to apologize for these past wrongs in a sermon at his church, Sugar Hill Baptist, known as The Family Church. Some of the groups Lee said he’ll apologize to include gays, women seeking abortions and couples who live together outside of marriage.“For too long, we’re been known for the issues we’re against, not for the God we’re for,” said Lee, 38.Lee makes it clear he’s not speaking for, or against, the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, to which his church belongs. He doesn’t know if there will be some fallout from his sermon. (click here to read the rest)

Let me make this clear – I DO NOT advocate using religion to advance a hateful agenda. I also DO NOT advocate the butchering of doctrinal truths and the twisting of the Gospel to avoid offending people who don’t embrace it.

This pastor should apologize if he preached against sin without declaring that the only antidote to sinful death is acceptance in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that access to the Father can only come through a relationship with Him (John 14:5-7).

If he preached the true Gospel and it just didn’t sound “nice” enough, then he has NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR.

In the article, Rich made an interesting point:

The “bumpersticker mentality” that seems to govern how people identify themselves clearly isn’t benefiting anyone, said Lee, who has led the church for seven years and has a doctorate from the Southern Baptist Theological Convention in Louisville, Ky.

What “bumpersticker mentality” is he talking about? Since when does being identified as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ guarantee any benefits in this life? The last time I checked, Peter said that we would run into a few problems as believers:

Share the Sufferings of Christ

 12(A)Beloved, do not be surprised at the (B)fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;

 13but to the degree that you (C)share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the (D)revelation of His glory (E)you may rejoice with exultation.

 14If you are reviled (F)for the name of Christ, (G)you are blessed, (H)because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

 15Make sure that (I)none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a (J)troublesome meddler;

 16but if anyone suffers as a (K)Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to (L)glorify God in this name.

 17For it is time for judgment (M)to begin with (N)the household of God; and if it (O)begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those (P)who do not obey the (Q)gospel of God?

 18(R)AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE (S)GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?

 19Therefore, those also who suffer according to (T)the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (1 Peter 4:12-19)

How about this juicy little nugget from Rich:

“Why is the gospel of love dividing America? The unchurched world views us as judgmental and homophobic,” says Lee. “I don’t think God is going to ask what label we wore. He’s going to ask what did we do for Jesus.”

Well Rich, the “gospel of love” is “dividing” America because  “pastors” like you are compromising it’s truth by making it palatable so that sinners can “accept it” and remain in their sin. When Jesus sent the 70 out to evangelize the Gospel, He said:

 5“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’

 6“If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

 7“Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for (A)the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

 8“Whatever city you enter and they receive you, (B)eat what is set before you;

 9and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘(C)The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

 10“But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say,

 11(D)Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that (E)the kingdom of God has come near.’

 12“I say to you, (F)it will be more tolerable in that day for (G)Sodom than for that city.

 13(H)Woe to you, (I)Chorazin! Woe to you, (J)Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in (K)Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in (L)sackcloth and ashes.

 14“But it will be more tolerable for (M)Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.

 15“And you, (N)Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!

 16(O)The one who listens to you listens to Me, and (P)the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.” (Luke 10:5-16)

As Christians, our job is to declare the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a pastor, Rich is supposed to make disciples so that they would declare the Gospel for themselves. Rich is supposed to preach GOD’S UNCOMPROMISING TRUTH. PERIOD.

If Mark read his bible, he would already know what God is going to ask about our work for Him:

21(A)Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

 22(B)Many will say to Me on (C)that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; (D)DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

The Two Foundations

 24“Therefore (E)everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

 25“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

 26“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

 27“The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.”

I could be all wrong in my assessment of this supposed apology, and I would be happy if I were wrong.

If Rich stands flat-footed and declares the unchanging Word of God, and calls for repentance of sin, then the Lord’s Will be done.

If Rich apologizes that God’s Word has been “hard” on the sinner and he’s sorry that he hurt their feelings, then he’s wasting his breath.

The people may accept his apology, but God won’t.

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16 Responses to “Apologize For The Truth of the Gospel?”


  1. 1 biblicalfoundations March 30, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Doesn’t surprise me. There is a deceptive spirit in the church right now. Although its shocking the church, it is also serving the church. It is separating the sheep and the wolves. Sad thing is there are some wolves that I could have sworn were sheep.

  2. 2 johnMark March 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    First, it’s good to find another Atlanta blogger. 🙂

    There probably could be or have been better “approaches” to evangelizing certain types of sinners. However, it seems this pastor may be a little unfair in broad brushing everyone. It’s not as if everyone has modeled Fred Phelps around the country. I certainly haven’t seen it.

    Where I think we need to open our eyes is at the heterosexual sinner who is living in sin with their boyfriend or girlfriend. They seem to get a pass in some respects. It’s all unholy living that is unpleasing to God.

    So maybe we should be apologizing for not being bold enough in all areas of sin. No matter how kind we are to unbelievers and how sweetly we share the Gospel, if they stay in unbelief they will be offended.

    Mark

  3. 3 gcmwatch March 30, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    IST, I saw this on the news the other night and I immediately thought, wow! how quickly this new heresy has reached the US. What the pastor is doing is not original.

    In February, a group of “Christian ministers” in Australia calling themselves the “100 Revs” decided they would “apologize” to the homosexual community for “excluding them from the church”. Im afraid this is one of those neat postmodern ideas that seems really “loving” and is spreading in the churches.

    This Marietta pastor has somewhere along the way not been influenced by God or the Holy Spirit but by some gay activists who are seeking control and influence in the church sans repentance and change of behavior.

    I seriously doubt that women seeking abortions are unmarried couples have felt excluded from the church. This smacks of homosexual activism and its terrible influence on the contemporary church.

    As you noted, we should never apologize for the truth. Exclusion from the church is really a smoke screen issue. The real problem is the FACT that the bible calls sin, sin and these activities will not just exclude you from the church, but more importantly the Kingdom of God. Another smokescreen: Christians didnt condemn anyone, God’s word condemns sin. Jesus said anyone who refuses to believe in Him as the only way is condemned already by their own choice.
    Of course the inference is that the church is WRONG about homosexuality and other sins, so we should apologize.

    The sad fact is that people would rather wallow in their mess than repent and enjoy a right relationship with God.

    Thanks for reporting on this.

  4. 4 Speaking Truth March 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    @ johnMark:

    Thanks for stopping by. I agree, not every Christian “evangelizes” like that certified nutcase Fred Phelps. I mean, how effective is it to hurl derogatory comments at mourners attending a funeral? Hos is God glorified by that?

    I admit that I used to “rate” sin e.g. lying was bad but homosexuality was punishable by eternal hell fire. The truth is that a sin is sin, and there are repercussions to it.

    We can’t scream “REPENT” to everyone while we piously pretend that we’re better than anyone else – we are saved by Grace and it’s God’s Grace that keeps us daily.

    We also can’t deny His Truth – no matter how “upsetting” it may sound to those who revel in their sins.

  5. 5 Robert Warren March 30, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I am a former member of Pastor Lee’s church, so this whole thing caught my eye. Let me preface this by saying I love these folks and they love the Lord. I just watched the video podcast. I am happy to report that there wasn’t really anything controversial. I will, however make a few observations:

    I had remarked to my wife earlier that the root of this whole deal was going to be the Barna book about young people leaving the church because of condemnation, judgmentalism, and homophobia (a word which I reject)… and sure enough that was one of the first things Pastor Lee mentioned. (You can view the confused author of that book at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMflS_pRnVo). I think the real reason young people leave the church is because while they are in the church, they are entertained and not trained in Bible study, discernment, and apologetics. Then, when they reach college and have to face a faculty straight from Hell, they have no foundation to resist, are utterly unprepared, and fall away. And since many churches focus on entertainment and aren’t much different from the world, these young persons don’t really see much of a difference between where they are and what they fell away from.

    Also, let me share a little secret about why the unregenerate don’t like the Church: they’re unregenerate. And they’ll remain unregenerate until the Holy Spirit quickens their heart through the presentation of the real Gospel, which begins with sin, condemnation, judgment, and a host of other unpleasant realities. Only then, when they understand their desperate condition, will they value the love of Jesus. You have to know you’re lost before you can be found.

    Pastor Lee made some legitimate points in his message, such as we shouldn’t be unloving to people different than we are, etc., but it was hardly an epiphany that some professed Christians (“Christ-followers” in his words, which seems to be the new parlance of the seeker-sensitive / PDL / Emergent continuum) need to repent of and work on their poor people skills. But those folks are all big boys and girls and should do their own apologizing. And I was greatly relieved that he did not serve the full-strength Kool-Aid of liberalism regarding homosexual behavior, as he affirmed Romans 1 (although only in passing).

    I was disappointed (and mystified) that he apologized for protesting at an abortion clinic when he was younger. Let me take this opportunity to apologize that I didn’t protest abortion clinics when I was younger.

    In short, I hope this whole episode wasn’t a ginned-up controversy out of the PDL playbook, like the dumb advertisements of sex-related sermon-series we’ve seen.

  6. 6 Ann Brock March 30, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Great article!If Pastor Lee has preached against all these sins and has condemned them why must he apologize for it? That really don’t make sense too me.

    I think it’s important for people to know that you can not live any kind of way and still expected heaven to be your home.

    We need pastors in the pulpit telling thus said the Lord. If what he’s doing is apologizing for Gods Word then he need to apologize for being in the pulpit to begin with.

  7. 7 Speaking Truth March 30, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    @ Robert:

    I can see why you are a “former” member of this church.

    Thanks so much for your insight. I thought this sounded a little “seeker friendly” in the first place.

    Like you, I think we need to teach young people to understand what they believe and how they can defend the faith – especially in the hostile agnostic environment of the college campus.

    I pray that this pastor repents and returns to preaching the immutable truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  8. 8 JDanny March 30, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    The message as I received it wasn’t condemning or condoning the sin or the sinner, but trying to get US (the Christian Community) to rethink our own attitudes and actions of harsh judgementalism that seem to do more to drive sinners away from salvation rather than make them want what we have. We are to be salt, not stoners. They are deceived, and when we shout and picket instead of loving and helping them find their way, we aren’t following Christ’s example. He ate with sinners, but many who critically blog here would probably think they might taint their own reputation should they be seen eating with sinners. My Lord even talked to prostitutes openly! I believe we most excellently represent the Saviour when we exhibit grace, peace and love. May God tender my heart to so love people as I believe this pastor does, even when they aren’t very lovable, and even when their choices are reprehensible. Jesus loves them just like they are, and, once regenerated, they’ll come to see the truth that so many of you seem so proud you’ve already found. If an apology will tender their heart toward being receptive to the redemptive message, I’m all for it! I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

  9. 9 Scott Winters March 31, 2008 at 1:27 am

    In a world full of “theologians” like Joel Osteen, Jay Bakker Tony Campolo and Oprah Winfrey, I’m not surprised at all at this pastor’s supposedly new revelation that Christians should apologize for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The enemy is working overtime in an attempt to destroy the church. Satan knows already that he has been defeated at the Cross so He will never actually be able to destroy the church but he will settle for the next best thing, which is to cause division among the brethren and thereby compromise the effectiveness of the church and undermine the power of the Gospel.

    Don’t be surprised because God warned us in His Word that this would happen.

    2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    He warned us that “sound doctrine” would be a thing of the past, which is exactly what the Emerging Church Movement is about, redefining God’s Holy, unchanging, inerrant and authoritative Word.

    God also warned us in His Word that there would be a “falling away” in the last days before the man of lawlessness is revealed.

    2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    Everyday, with each passing minute, I become more and more convinced that we are indeed living in the last days of this world. It wont be very long from now that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is LORD!!

    We as the body of Christ MUST remain faithful and true to the complete and unvarnished Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    God Bless
    >

    John 14:6

  10. 10 Speaking Truth March 31, 2008 at 11:28 am

    @ JDanny –

    Thanks for commenting. I’d like to address some of the specific points of your post:

    The message as I received it wasn’t condemning or condoning the sin or the sinner, but trying to get US (the Christian Community) to rethink our own attitudes and actions of harsh judgementalism that seem to do more to drive sinners away from salvation rather than make them want what we have.

    I wrote about the apology as an upcoming event (posted the evening before the sermon), and I didn’t attend the service to hear the apology live. As I stated in the post, I was commenting on what the pastor said to the newspaper. I also mentioned that I’d gladly report if he stood flat-footed and preached the Gospel AS IS.

    I can’t speak for any other blogger or anyone who comments on my posts. I don’t walk around piously thumbing my nose at sinners. I am a sinner saved by grace, and I seek the Lord daily for guidance in my life because I remember how it was before He saved me. I don’t think anyone has the right to adjust the message of the Gospel to avoid offending any group. Period.

    If we are truly explaining the wages of sin to non-believers, then they need to know exactely what they need to turn away from. I’d rather them know the truth now than be surprised when they stand before God.

    Also, we are commanded to judge – as long as we aren’t condemning behavior that we’re secretly involved in ourselves. Read the following scripture in context: Matthew 7:1-5, Romans 2:1.

    They are deceived, and when we shout and picket instead of loving and helping them find their way, we aren’t following Christ’s example. He ate with sinners, but many who critically blog here would probably think they might taint their own reputation should they be seen eating with sinners. My Lord even talked to prostitutes openly! I believe we most excellently represent the Saviour when we exhibit grace, peace and love.

    As I stated in a previous comment, I don’t condone the ignorant “evangalism” of the likes of Fred Phelps. I also don’t condone watering the Gospel down so that it’s “seeker friendly”.

    Again, I can’t speak for anyone who visits or comments to this blog, but I eat with sinners every day BECAUSE I AM ONE WHO IS SAVED BY GRACE. I don’t have a reputation to protect because my only agenda is to glorify God. He is my reputation.

    We exhibit the love of Christ when we tend to his sheep as he commanded (John 21:16-17).

    Also, Jesus didn’t come to spread “peace”, especially as it pertains to evangelizing the Gospel in His name (Matthew 10:32-36).

    Jesus spoke what God told Him to speak and gave us a roadmap to eternal life with Him. He ate with and communed with sinners because they were the ones who needed to hear what he was saying.

    Jesus loves them just like they are, and, once regenerated, they’ll come to see the truth that so many of you seem so proud you’ve already found. If an apology will tender their heart toward being receptive to the redemptive message, I’m all for it! I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some

    Most people want to hear that “Jesus loves you just like you are”, but the hard part is telling them what He requires of them in order to have a relationship and access to His Father. I am proud of my relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but I had to take a few lumps before I understood that I couldn’t drag my mess into my relationship with Him.

    People need to understand what this faith walk is really all about, and we cheat them when we “play down” the wages of their sinful lifestyles – whatever they may be.

    Also, when Paul said he had become all things to all people, he simply meant he empathized with their current state but he didn’t compromise the Gospel message so that he would be accepted by all men. Paul was simply explaining that God sent him to speak to the Jew and the Gentile alike (1 Cor. 9:20-23).

    So again I ask, what are we apologizing for? I do not agree that we should apologize for God’s truth.

  11. 11 gcmwatch March 31, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    JDanny: “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

    I wonder if the pastor (or you) is willing to become a drag queen or perhaps a transvestite in order to save the drag queens and transvestites. And while youre at it why don’t you get stoned on crack so that you can save the crack addicts.
    You might also consider killing a few people, then avoiding police for a few years until you are captured just so you can go into the prison and save serial killers.

  12. 12 Speaking Truth March 31, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    @ Scott Winters & GCMW –

    Amen!

  13. 13 Bill Formella April 1, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    In case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the link to download the video of the message”

    http://www.sugarhillspace.com/apology_mp3/#

    JDanny,

    Be careful not to demonize everyone that has any disagreement with Richard. There are no real Popes in Christendom. Christ is the only head of the church without error. After listening to the sermon there is much he said that I agree with, but I also have many problems with his approach. Here is what I said on another blog:

    I am a former member of this church but left a few years prior to Pastor Lee arriving. However, I did visit the church a few times about three years ago and, although we had many friends there that would have made it an easy move, we decided we could not stay. The first message (and I am purposely using the word message in place of sermon) began with a Disney video clip from Beauty and The Beast. It was the song “be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test.” The entire message was based on the premise that “the most important person in your life next to your relationship with God is the visitor sitting next to you.” Although I believe he has a passion for the lost, I found the entire message almost completely void of scripture and patently unbiblical. Whatever happened to “especially those of the household of faith”? The modern church truly has lost sight of it’s greatest evangelistic tool. Namely, loving ONE ANOTHER with such passion that those in the world who truly are being stirred toward the things of God say WOW!. Instead we so busy ourselves with so many gimmicky church programs that true, spontaneous fellowship has to take a back seat.

    When I received the e-mail invitation to this service (Richard Lee added me to the e-mail list a few years back), I immediately noticed two things. Richard said that 85% of the people in our community are unchurched and they had “good reason” to be. I shuttered at this statement because you will never see any such excuse in scripture. This goes way beyond the boundaries of God’s word. Whatever happened to the gospel being “a stench to those who were perishing” and the narrow gate being so hard that “few are they that enter in”?

    BTW, this is not the first time he has done this. A few years ago I recieved a postcard invitation that was intended for those who do not attend church because of “church people”. Once again the message was given that they stayed home for good reason, but then boldly proclaimed that they should try The Family Church because they are not one of “those churches”. I could not believe what I was reading. At the time this just seemed like such arrogance to me.

    The second thing that caught my eye in this current invitation was how he immediately discredited anyone who would disagree with him by suggesting they were “religious folk” who would “stone him like they stoned Stephen.” My first thought was “one of the oldest pulpit manipulation tricks in the business. Demonize those who disagree with you before they have a chance to speak.”

    I did listen to the message and found myself agreeing with several points, but disagreed with how he framed the whole message. Good grief, when David confessed his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and having Uriah killed he repented and said “against You oh Lord, and You alone have I sinned.”

    I also found his first confession very alarming. He confessed to the sin of “loving his church more than the community.” I don’t get that one. Scripture is filled with references showing that even God has a special love for His children. We are to love all men, but “ESPECIALLY the household of faith.”

    After carefully listening to and relistening to several points, I don’t think this was nearly as controversial as it was played up to be in the media. I’m sure the professor from Princeton didn’t hear what he wanted to hear. There is no doubt in my mind that the media did not get what they wanted. He affirmed the authority of scripture along with what the bible says about homosexuality in Roman’s 1. (However, I don’t recall him having really articulated what it said. I’ll have to listen again).

    I’m hoping to get a chance to talk to Richard and go into more detail about my concerns. I do think he is genuinely discouraged by the lack of genuine love in the church, but aren’t we all? He also alluded to his disappointment that the growth in his church hasn’t come from new converts generated by the witness of his people. I think that was a heartfelt concern. I just think the way that he articulated his disappointment was unbiblical, dangerous and potentially more damaging to the community than it is helpful.

  14. 14 Speaking Truth April 1, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    @ Bill F –

    Thank you for detailing your experiences at this church, and the “apology” sermon.

    I appreciate you taking the time to carefully disect the message, and for your insight on Rich and your previous experiences with him.

    I think it’s fair to say that most of us in the household of faith have an earnest desire to see true disciples being birthed in the Body. I agree that these days, most pastors are resorting to “gimmicks” and “sound bite” sermon titles to grab the attention of the lost, when a true and honest exploration and explanation of scripture is sufficient.

    I’m hoping to get a chance to talk to Richard and go into more detail about my concerns. I do think he is genuinely discouraged by the lack of genuine love in the church, but aren’t we all? He also alluded to his disappointment that the growth in his church hasn’t come from new converts generated by the witness of his people. I think that was a heartfelt concern. I just think the way that he articulated his disappointment was unbiblical, dangerous and potentially more damaging to the community than it is helpful.

    I ask that everyone who reads this post pray that Rich – and the Body of Christ as a whole – stop trying to package a “user friendly” church and simply present the immutable and unchanging Word of God.

    Let’s pray that the ears of the hearer would understand the Word of God through the Holy Spirit, but that the mouth who speaks God’s Word not compromise.

    Amen.

  15. 15 Caught Thinking April 1, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I had to think this one out for a bit, so I’ve been slow to speak. Rather than give a point by point response to all that is already here, I’ll list a few things I’m still thinking about.

    1 John 4: 7 & 8 calls for us to love and declares those that do not love don’t really have a relationship with God because God is love

    Love does not call for pretense, nor will it pretend. Love speaks truth, not motivated by declaring that we are better than you, but by declaring, God is in love with you.

    Equally true is that God so loves you and I that he died so that you and I don’t have to stay the way we were and are.

    When I think of my own depravity, it was not condemnation that called me to repentance. Heard it all before, hell, fire brimstone. The one act on the part of others that ushered me into the process of deliverance was being loved and accepted as valuable in spite of my sins and flaws. It was actual honesty. I was loved because I was. I was also confronted about things that had me enslaved. Someone loved me enough to get close enough without pointing out the stench, muck and mire. Someone looked deep enough to see beyond actions and saw need.

    I have to be careful now. I understand that I am depraved and without God’s grace that is what I would be. So I love my friends that still refuse a relationship with God with all my heart. Thy know that I love them, they know that I don’t support many of their choices. I don’t have time to police their lives to figure out if they are gay acting, gay friendly, gay what ever! Just like I don’t evaluate the lives of my Christian friends to find their sins, many as they are. Oh well, that might just be me.

    Two things I hold as truths.

    People (All People) are God’s greatest priority.
    Loving people (All people) is our greatest responsibility.

    A third thing I know and it’s worth thinking about.

    People don’t care what you know unless the know that you care.

    My conclusion is this, we need to be about the business of loving people not leading them. Who cares if they come to the church building. Go after all still means go, right?

  16. 16 Speaking Truth April 1, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    @ CT:

    We agree on the core of this post – we can’t “condemn” someone into accepting the Gospel message. We must be willing to reach out to those who need God’s love the most. It’s a waste of time if we condemn the world to hell while “preaching to the choir” on a regular basis.

    We also have to make sure that we don’t compromise the core message of the Gospel when we do extend it to the lost. It’s a disservice to the sinner and the saint (sinner saved by grace) if we water down the message and the methods of evangelism to make ourselves seem more “acceptable” to the world.


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