A few months ago, members of the Westboro Baptist Church—a church well-known for being very hateful toward others—came to the Greater Cincinnati area for a protest. One of these protests occurred at a local high school, aimed at their student-led Gay-Straight Alliance Club.
Other people turned out to protest the protesters, and, according to a local pastor and supporter of Answers in Genesis, an editorial supporting this alliance was published in a local paper and was “endorsed by a number of pastors.” Well, Kevin Landis, pastor of Bible Chapel of Delhi Hills, recently published a response to these pastors. It was a very gracious, loving, and truthful response that pointed very clearly toward the good news of redemption and forgiveness in Christ, and I wanted to share it with you.
In the Viewpoints recently I read an editorial in support of Gay-Straight Alliance at Oak Hills, endorsed by a number of pastors. I certainly don’t endorse the methods or mean-spirited stance taken by Westboro Baptist Church, but neither can I endorse the stance taken by these pastors.
It was suggested that based on a “belief that is grounded in a deep study of our holy scriptures,” that “neither gender identity nor sexual orientation impedes God’s ability and willingness to love us just the way God created us” and that “God is an inclusive God of unconditional love who loves us all . . . ” This perspective, said to be gleaned from Scripture is that I’m okay and you’re okay, whatever your sexual practices.
I, also a pastor and student of Scripture, believe it is misleading to suggest the Bible teaches that God approves us as we are. The message of the Bible is not that we are righteous, but unrighteous and flawed. “There is none righteous, no not one” (Rom.3:10); the heart is “desperately wicked” (Jer.17:9). It teaches that our sins have “separated us from God” (Isa.59:2). This applies to us all, for “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23). Clearly, I’m not okay, according to Scripture.
The Bible’s message about Jesus is that we’re not okay. “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim.1:15). We need rescue, not affirmation. How does he save sinners? “He died for our sins” (1 Cor.15:3); “He died, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God (1 Pet.3:18). Jesus’ mission declares that we’re not okay.
One of the many way[s] our sin reveals itself is in our sexuality. God created sexuality and laws to govern it, and violation incurs guilt. God’s Word speaks clearly, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, no homosexual, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor.6:9, 10). Jesus even condemns lusts (Matt.5:28,30). Sexual sin condemns us all, to say nothing of other sins.
Is it loving to say, “The Bible says God accepts us the way we are”? No, because He doesn’t. It is loving to be honest. We have all sinned and need rescue. The good news is that Jesus is the Savior. Those who turn from their sins and trust this Savior and His saving work find forgiveness and acceptance with God. (Rom. 5:1; 8:1)
I am a sinner whose own sins would condemn me. I’m thankful to write as one pardoned sinner, telling others where to find forgiveness and acceptance in Christ. I know that I also speak for many other like-minded pastors.
Of course, we join with Pastor Landis in decrying the hate of the Westboro protesters, but we also agree that pastors and other believers cannot twist God’s Word and misrepresent God in an attempt to be “inclusive” of everyone. The gospel is the most inclusive message out there—God’s grace is extended to all who will put their faith and trust in him. But we cannot stay as we are. We must repent and obey our Lord and Savior, turning away from sin—whatever that sin may be.
“The Lord . . . is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
I encourage you to learn more about the gospel in this article, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.