God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines

Matthew Vines is a young author who has just released a new book trying to disprove that the Bible condemns homosexuality, God and the Gay Christian. Against a 2,000-year old consensus within the Christian church, Vines contends that key biblical texts do not mean what they appear to mean—that homosexuality is fallen and sinful and completely incompatible with following Christ.

Vines argues that if the Bible were properly understood, everyone would see that there’s nothing inherently sinful about homosexual orientation or behavior. Thus there is no biblical reason to prevent gay “Christians” from entering into the covenant of marriage with a same-sex partner. Gay couples can fulfill the marital norms of Ephesians 5 just like their heterosexual counterparts. Continue Reading →

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First-born from among the dead!

O Jesus, Savior of my life,
My hope, my joy, my sacrifice,
I’ve searched and found no other one
Who loves me more than you have done.

So I denounce my lingering sin
Whose power You have broke within
My ever weak and faithless frame.
Its vigor’s crushed in Jesus name.

For your death did at once proclaim,
The Father’s glory and my shame.
And you did seize my cup of guilt
And drank all that the chalice spilled.

No condemnation now I dread
Because you went for me instead
To bear the Father’s hell-bent rage,
To pay the debt I would have paid.

Yet your work finished not with death,
Nor with your final murdered breath.
For death’s blows could not ever quell
The One whose life is in Himself.

Your passion broke forth full with life,
And foiled the adversary’s wiles.
You broke the chains, destroyed the sting
With which death had afflicted me.

O Savior, who died in my stead,
You firstborn from among the dead,
O Savior, you who saved my life,
Will take me whole to paradise.

So on this resurrection day
I lift my voice with all the saints
And sing with all my ransomed might
Of You, the Savior of my life!

————

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. – Colossians 1:18

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Rise up, O you sleeper, awake! The light of the dawn is upon you!

 ALL THINGS NEW

Come broken and weary
Come battered and bruised
My Jesus makes all things new
All things new

Come lost and abandoned
Come blown by the wind
He’ll bring you back home again
Home again

Rise up, oh you sleeper
Awake, the light of the dawn is upon you
Rise up, oh you sleeper
Awake, he makes all things new

Come frozen with shame
Come burning with guilt
My Jesus, he loves you still
He loves you still

Rise up, oh you sleeper
Awake, the light of the dawn is upon you
Rise up, oh you sleeper
Awake, he makes all things new

The world was good
The world is fallen
The world will be redeemed
O hold on to the promise

The stories are true
That Jesus makes all things new
The dawn is upon you

Rise up, oh you sleeper
Awake, the light of the dawn is upon you
Rise up, oh you sleeper
Awake, he makes all things new

————
Words by Andrew Peterson
Music by Andrew Peterson, Ben Shive, and Andy Gullahorn

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9-year old boy sings gospel music during kidnapping

From NBC News Atlanta:

ATLANTA — A young boy’s love of gospel music may have saved his life.

Earlier this month, police say a man kidnapped then nine-year-old Willie Myrick from his southwest Atlanta driveway. He allegedly drove the boy around for some time before dropping him off unharmed in East Point.

But Willie’s actions during those terrifying three hours are inspiring people around the country. Willie says he sang the gospel song “Every Praise” until the man let him go.

Read the rest here.

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Russell Moore on CBS News’ morning show

Russell Moore did a great job earlier today on CBS News’ morning show. You will note that Danny Akin, Daniel Patterson, Jon Akin and some others make cameos in this one. Watch it above.

I was struck near the end of the interview by something the reporter says. After noting the positive message that Moore brings to the job, she says, “But a different tone only goes so far.” She goes on to say that a new tone doesn’t remove the offense of Christianity’s sexual ethic, and in particular, its stance against gay marriage.

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Michael Bloomberg: “I’ve earned my place in heaven.”

Former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg is an activist for a number of causes. As a result, he believes that he is a shoe-in for heaven. The New York Times reports:

But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

These remarks reflect a common misperception of how things are going to shake-out at the judgment. Many people believe that if their good works outweigh their bad works, then they will have eternal life. Likewise, if their bad works outweigh their good works, they will not. The problem with this formulation is that it has absolutely no support in scripture. It misunderstands the Bible’s teaching on sin and grace. Continue Reading →

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When sexual orientation breaks from the norm

On a recent episode of NPR’s “This American Life,” Luke Malone filed a report on people who report having a minority sexual orientation. These people have an enduring pattern of sexual attraction that does not match the norm. Malone argues that such folks must deny themselves the pleasure of acting on their attractions, no matter how strongly they feel them. He says there needs to be a plan to help them abstain:

Imagine being a teenager and being told never to act on your sexual feelings ever for the rest of your life. That’s what we’re asking of these people. At the moment, there is no clear plan for how to do that. But maybe there should be.

What happens when a teenager is asked not to act on his sexual feelings? According to the article, denying such urges can cause depression, self-loathing, and fear. Nevertheless, Malone insists that such persons must abstain from acting on such attractions, and they must refrain for the rest of their lives.

If you read the article, I’m certain that you will agree that such people must not act on their orientation. For them to do so would be immoral, harmful, and evil. Why? Because everyone recognizes that it is not just the behavior that is wrong but also the attraction.

It is common today to say that sexual orientation is a fixed, immutable characteristic. It is cruel and discriminatory, therefore, to require anyone to deny the attractions that they feel they were born with. What this report shows is that you cannot give a moral assessment of sexual behavior merely on the basis of one’s orientation. Some people’s attractions–even if experienced from a very early age–are wrong and should be changed. The moral assessment of both the orientation and the behavior that comes from it must be made on other grounds.

Some of this is difficult to read. But if you want to read a transcript of the report, start about halfway down the webpage at “Act Two: Help Wanted.” You can download the audio here or listen below. Start at 30:15.

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T4G Reflections: “Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling…”

I can’t overstate how helped I was by the messages I heard at T4G this week. I already mentioned Kevin DeYoung‘s in my previous post, but I should mention that the other sessions were edifying as well. On the last day, Lig Duncan put on a clinic about how to preach Christ from the Old Testament. John MacArthur had his usual rigorous exposition of the biblical text, this time focusing on John 6 and the nature of false converts. I could go on and on extolling the other talks, but perhaps it would be best just to direct you to the page where you can download and listen to them for yourself. Also, Bob Kauflin leading from the piano. Does it get any better than that? Continue Reading →

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The Bible is the Dividing Line

Kevin DeYoung has just delivered what may be the touchstone message of the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. As usual, he was both witty and insightful. But that’s not why the message was so powerful. The message was weighty because he spoke from God’s word about God’s word. In doing so, he clearly and plainly addressed the touchstone issue of our time–the authority of scripture.

In recent days, there has been a lot of division among “evangelicals” over the issue of homosexuality. But those with eyes to see and ears to hear know that homosexuality is not really the fundamental issue. The issue that “evangelicals” are facing is whether or not we will look to scripture as the supreme and infallible authority.

Continue Reading →

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