|The Fear of the Church|
With the Lambeth Conference approaching and the "marriage" of two gay priests, it appears that the Gay issue is blamed for the historic split in Christianity! However, how could a small group of minority ever hold such a great threat to Christianity or is this all a red herring with deeper issues on the fears in our religious faith!. Perhaps the obsession with keeping sex to heterosexuals reflects the foundation of the Anglican Church due to sexual immorality by King Henry the Eight or the Pope insistent on keeping political power till the late 19th century in Europe. Gays, even though a small minority, by God's grace has played such an important part to bring faith and civility to England including King James 1 who commissioned the the much beloved KJV bible, and William Shakespeare, the most famous English playright and poet, to the modern day actor, Sir Ian McKellan who acted as Gandalf in the Lord of Rings and Magneto in X-men. We have been so fearful of gays which our Christian faith has so long victimised and condemned on the surface using biblical reasons which perhaps show our fear instead of faith in God. Religion sometimes makes us do unnatural actions such as 911, and now putting gays into prisons.
The book of Hebrews was written in 60 BC as Christianity became distinct from the Jewish religion, losing its privilage as one of the official religions that can be worshipped in the Roman Empire. There was internal and external opposition from the Jewish religious leaders, and also the Roman Emperors as the Christians pleaged allegience to Jesus instead of to Ceaser. The Roman Ceaser was considered god - man with the title Pontifex Maximus, which today, is the title that the Pope holds. The Church makes no denial that the Pope is infallible as the Ceaser of old, nor that the Saints and Mary have places of utmost importance for worship and prayer. Therefore, the challenge to Christianity by a political power, succeeded in a religious system which takes away the need for supernatural faith in Christ alone to an earthly leader and historical figures of importance not much different from our Chinese ancestral worship. The God like powers of the Pope is demonstrated in His ability to grant indulgences, a passport so to speak to heaven. The religious system with its rules and laws, and steps in faith seems so far removed from the simplicity of believing in Christ alone, but much easier to believe.
Whilst the Protestant fight amongst themselves over the gay issue, we often forget that Christianity today despite all the assertions of the Global South and the Methodist Church in Singapore is primarily not based on bible but more on tradition such as the Roman Catholic faith which has by far the largest converts of over 1 billion supporters. As a sign of religious duty, the priest is not allowed to marry which is in line with the religious practices that the bible talks about as challenges to the first Christians. We have many churches having positional statements of Homosexuality whilst very few if at all have positional statements on the Catholic Faith despite being protrayed as their Christian brethren. We are so eager to break communion with "gay suppoters" whilst so quiet on those which transgressed the most. The Protestants fear to look into the mirror to see the face of Christianity is simply vaguely biblical for a vast portion of believers whereby faith in a tangible religious sytem is more believable and acceptable.
The greatest challenge to Christianity is fear. We respond to fear by making god like us and reference to those we can see, hear or relate to. Therefore, we have the Pope, the Saints and Mary, all which we can identify with have become our worship. We respond to fear of not reaching heaven by having a very good well defined religious practices which in a way "gurantees" us a heavenly passage. We fear so much the challenge to the bible, because it challenges the basis of our salvation, so anything such as the gay issue which remotely challenges our interpretation of the bible must be resisted less everthing falls apart like a deck of cards. We defend it using all the reasons however illogical such as the few gay marriages destroying the straight marriages of the remaining 95% of straight marriages. The "Fundamentalist aggenda" of how to persecute the gay community was all spelt out by the Glenferry Protocol where Christian leaders committed to create a false notion of a gay threat by fanning the fears of the majority.
We hold on to the bible so tightly in fear that we become frozen failing to see the errors in our interpretation less our beliefs are deconstructed. Faith in Jesus is so unseen that we make the religious system, or the bible our god instead. We rationalize everything from why the miracles don't exist today, to why tongues are not required. Compare the first few chapters of Acts to the Methodist church in Singapore, and you simply see it devoid of the power of the Holy Spirit!.and we still hold on to the fact that we are biblical. The Charismatics realized that the miracles are part of the full gospel and are more creative with the likes of Benny Hinn having miracles which cannot be verified but looks great on TV. You either rationalise it that it is no longer in this present age, or you innocently fudge it by faith.
Therefore, it is true that Gays are the greatest threat to Christianity because it forces us to examine issues that we would never desire to see in the mirror of our own reflection. When we do, it is a scary movie which may deconstruct our religious system and beliefs.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forver. He loves the church so much, and it is His love that will lift up the church as they fall and trapped in deep sin. When nothing else would help, when pleas of common sense and back to biblical christianity could not change the self righteous and hypocrisy of the church, who is adamant to continue their crusade of injustice against gays then it is by God's grace alone. The same Jesus who called upon Peter, do you love me, the same Jesus who called upon the church today, do you love me more than strange doctrines and man made and man centered religious rites and strange ex-gay theology who keeps people in bondage in the appearance of setting them free. It is a call to return to be established by the grace of God and not with earthly food and desires of this world - the power and wealth and the carnal mind of reasoning instead of faith - to believe in Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God. Some say the End times is the time of persecution and falling away of faith. Perhaps, that had happened more than 1500 years ago, and we are returning back to be established in faith and hope awaiting for the return of Jesus Christ. At the end, though the church has fallen, there will be a resurrection to return to a biblical faith based on Jesus.