Since making that decision, there have been parents and others in our community who have questioned the Christianity of our church and especially me as the pastor. There's been a good amount of negative press about the decision we made. Accusations of intolerance, judging, and holier than thou have been thrown around with regularity. I don't want to get into a war of words with anyone. I've learned the hard way that when people have made up their mind on how they feel about you or your church, no one but God can change their mind and outlook. It's frivolous to argue. That being said, I've decided to simply make a statement in response to the unfortunate reaction and I'll be done.
I know this is going to come across as arrogant, and nevertheless I feel I need to bring it up. I have found that most criticism against pastors and churches as it pertains to issues like homosexuality and the like come from individuals who may or may not claim to know Christ and are typically not active in church attendance, Bible study, prayer, or worship. I don't say that to mean people can't have an opinion or shouldn't be heard. I simply point this out to wonder why so much credence is given to unfounded criticism and individuals who if they were honest, don't know a whole lot about the Bible as a whole. It's the equivalent of an 8th grade student making an A+ and then feeling qualified enough to argue with Dr. Stephen Hawking about the Black Hole Theory. That correlation being made, let me address the common criticisms.
It's been said that we are actually not being Christlike by removing our sponsorship from the Boy Scouts as Christ loved sinners and was tolerant. We are more than tolerant with sinners. In fact, as far as I'm aware, my whole church is full of sinners and pastored by one as well. To my knowledge, there have been or currently are drunks, smokers, cussers, liars, gossipers, gluttons, deceivers, addicts, pornographers, adulterers, and narcissists. We welcome all sinners in our church for our services and activities. I've did my very best to build my ministry in this town around the attitude of acceptance of all people, rich, poor, sinner, saint, addict, or whoever. We've even had homosexuals attend our church. I hugged them. I welcomed them. I offered to take them out to eat like I do all of our visitors. The church is for everyone. It's the body of Christ. It's the representation of His Kingdom. It's the hospital for broken people and sinners.
The decision to separate ourselves from the Boy Scouts of America is based upon the fact that we cannot sponsor an organization that declares something to be acceptable that the Bible clearly states is sin. The Bible is clear both in the Old Testament and more so in the New Testament that homosexuality is sin. It's not an alternate lifestyle. It's a sin. The Boy Scouts have a motto that states that scouts will do their best to live moral lives and they pledge this to God and to their country. This obviously is a contradiction of the Bible. A person living in sin, controlled by sin, willingly practicing sin should not be pledging to live a moral life especially to God when the life they are choosing to live is immoral according to the scripture that He wrote. In essence, by making homosexuality open and acceptable, the Boy Scouts have incorporated immoral behavior into a moral pledge. This is something the church cannot stand for.
We've been said to be judgmental and as such judging people. Here again is another time where someone has heard something in the Bible, been told something, or read one scripture and assumed meaning. When Jesus called the Pharisees vipers, was He judging them? When Jesus called Peter the devil, was He judging him? When Paul labeled the group in Romans and the Corinthian church as immoral and children of the devil, was he judging them? The answer in each scenario is no. The Bible tells us what is and is not sin. To point out what the Bible clearly states is sin is not judging someone. If someone murders a person, and I call that person a murderer, have I judged him? If someone is lying and I call them a liar, have I judged them? The answer is always no. If I'm 50 lbs overweight and my doctor tells me I'm fat, is he judging me? Of course not. We've developed this mentality today that if someone points out something in our lives that we are doing wrong or that is wrong, we immediately claim that we're judged and we become dramatic and offended. Jesus said that we would all be known by the fruit that we bear. And if we're curious about what fruit is, Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit and fruit of the flesh in Galatians 5. There's no need to judge. The Bible clearly tells us what is right and wrong. If I say homosexuality is wrong, I'm not judging homosexuals. The Bible judges them guilty of sin. I'm only repeating what the Bible says. If I say adultery is wrong, I'm not judging adulterers. The Bible judges them guilty of sin. I'm only repeating what the Bible says. So the notion that the church and Christians can't confront sin because we're judging people or are being intolerant is simply just wrong and not even remotely Biblical. Yes, there are some judgmental people that like to nitpick people and jump on people when they have a bad day, make a mistake, or are going through a rough time. They refuse to show mercy and grace. In those times, that's where judging is taking place. Simply saying what the Bible says is no more judging than saying God loves the world because the Bible says that as well.
It's unfortunate that we had to sever our relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. Our decision is one of many decisions that are being made in the same way by other churches across the nation. Homosexuals and every other sinner are welcome in our church, but the church cannot endorse or support an organization that endorses and tries to normalize something that the Bible says is sin. There is a large difference. We don't believe in abortion and as such we won't support an organization that states that it is acceptable. That being said, women who have had abortions or are considering having one, are more than welcome in our church. We won't support an organization that promotes pornography or strip clubs, but we more than welcome those struggling with pornography or those in the stripping industry. We welcome those struggling with sexual sin, both heterosexual and homosexual, but we're not going to support an organization that tries to make it seem like its ok and that the Bible doesn't say it's wrong.
I don't expect this post to quieten those who want to persist in being intolerant towards me and judging me and my church, but I did want to simply make a statement of rebuttal against the barrage of accusations. We love sinners. I desire any and all people in my church. I believe the power of God is real and His forgiveness is for everyone and that His Holy Spirit still changes people. I believe that whatever sin a person is committing and living with, God has the power to save and free them. That's our creed. That's our mantra. That's our foundation. That won't change. We can love people without accepting their behavior. We can love people without condoning what they are doing. If we call sin a sin and we refuse to endorse behavior, that doesn't mean that we are not showing love or not being tolerant. The Bible is true. It's God's Word. It tells us what is right and what is wrong. It tells us the pathway to eternal life and Heaven. We don't get to redefine holy living and the Christian lifestyle because culture changes or popular opinion tells us something. God's Word lasts forever. It's the absolute truth and the way to life. It's what we stand on and live by. I do truly hate that the relationship with the scouts did not work out, but our decision to end our relationship with them was not one out of hate or intolerance. We made the decision simply because we can't support or sponsor an organization that recognizes homosexuality as normal and acceptable.