|Jesus, the Way, the truth and the real life|
The Christianity Today article “Muslim Priest and Buddhist Bishop-Elect Are Raising Questions About Syncretism” posted on 27 Mar 2009, talks about the Episcopal Church being long divided on the Gay issue and now facing a shift towards religious pluralism - the belief that there are diverse paths to God, or syncretism—the blending of belief systems. It claims that the Rev Billy Graham or Pope benedict would have responded that “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life” contrary to the stance of Bishop Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church. This issue it claims “is an even greater threat to the church than the 2003 election of a gay bishop”. However, it is obvious that they are two completely different issues.
The main issue has always been the name of Jesus Christ, and the validity of His own assertions that He is the way, the truth and life. This was the reason He came, the reason He died, the reason He rose again. Jesus was very clear in His message that seeing the Father is seeing Jesus. Now, the image of Father God has hitherto been rather blurred like groping in the darkness with man creating their own images and versions of God, each with totally different characteristics and demands for redemption just like what we have today. Jesus came, in the midst of a very pluralistic religious society, came and cut across all the religions, and claim that there is now no more confusion that that He is God, the “I am”. This issue is not new. However, Conservative Christians have used Homosexuality as a scapegoat to come against the Liberals, making it a more black and white issue. To argue against religious pluralism was never going to gain much public support versus a red button issue such as gay marriage to confirm once conservative credentials.
The danger of making Homosexuality a main sin in the context of biblical Christianity, is that we loose our credibility of trying to force our own ill founded and homophobic beliefs into the bible. The bible never condemns same sex orientation and the clobber verses that Christians used loosely to condemn gays are actually relating to idol worship where straight men have sex with men, in addition to having mass heterosexual orgies. The bible highlights the same sex activities to show the unnaturalness of worshipping man made gods or to the wickedness of men using sexual abuse to subdue and control other nations. By claiming that it is due to homosexuality, we negate the real reason is the worship of other gods and religions.
Christians have misused and misquoted the bible to come against gays, and is obsessed with Gay marriage using all kinds of false witness and fear mongering which all but side tracked the core message of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work and missions. We take it upon our mission field to come against gays, whilst the real Christian Mission is to proclaim the Gospel. We show ourselves to be hypocrites, gay bashers, people of hate instead of people of God’s grace and mercy. It is not only a poor Christian testimony but our actions deserved the penalty due. We are starting to reap the fruits of our wrong choices and hate with the mainstream Christian faith slowly but surely becoming pluralistic because of our confused messaging.
The claim to Orthodoxy by “Christianity Today” by claiming that support from Rev Billy Graham and from the Catholic Pope on this issue was misleading. The Rev Billy Graham said in a 1997 interview with the rev Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral, claims that Muslims and Buddhist can be “saved” in the wideness of God’s grace and that he was in no position to judge or condemn. However, the bible states clearly “he who does not believe is condemned already”. We are not doing the condemnation; they are already in a state of condemnation for not making the choice to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Conservative Christians have confused the matter by saying that Homosexuality is a choice, when the real choice is concerning Jesus Christ. Our Real Love Ministry is not about promoting heterosexual love, but real love comes from Christ redeeming grace. When we mixed up the Gospel with an anti-gay message, we break it.
Bishop Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church was vary of putting God in a box when talking about other religions. However, God came out of the closet so to speak in the person of Jesus Christ. God came out of the box to show His face, to show His love, and grace. The religious, His own people who claim they knew the scriptures and the Law, did not recognized Him. After two thousand years, it appears that we still have trouble-recognizing Jesus or could it be that His message so differs from the self-righteousness of conservative Christianity or human centered outlook in liberal Christianity. Jesus came out of the closet, yet we see Him not. “God is within”, we claim, when He came knocking at the doors of our hearts wanting to come in. We have put God back inside the box, just as we have put Gays inside the closets.
The Gay marriage in Massachusetts from 2004, made the arguments by the Christian Right that it will caused the destruction of marriages or that that the “gay virus” would spread and destroy the community where all the men would become gays, a terrible lie. As the reasons were said to be based on a “biblical Christianity”, it also much weakened any claims of the bible. As this issue will be repeated over and over again when gay marriages are approved in Connecticut and Iowa, and in Canada, Belgium, South Africa, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway, the false witness and the malicious hate of the Christian Right is becoming repeated for all to see. That is why there is increasing religious pluralism in the Western World, because Christians have been a negative testimony for they have testified not about Christ but about gays. They thought they were defending marriage when they should have defended the core tenants of their faith.
The bible says that on the rock of Jesus Christ that the church will be built and because of its strong foundation in what Christ has done and has overcome, it will never be defeated by the works of Satan to destroy it. When the church detours from Christ as the way, the truth and the Life, its very foundation, the reason for its existence begins the crumble and there will be no more need for evangelism nor outreach of God’s salvation to the world starting from Jerusalem. The Protestand church will collapse back to its inward shell into the dark ages of the past. The Evangelicals and the Charismatic only hasten its spiritual demise by using Gays as a scapegoat.
In the next 4 years in Singapore, we will have the one North, the SGD 500 million New Creation Civil and Cultural center Church venue/building. Pastor Prince will continue to mock gays as weak and emancipated impotent half man/ half woman when emphasizing that Christ had a six-pack muscle bound body. The audience usually laughs at this comparison, which essentially re-enforced their false perception of gays. But the bible does not make such a distinction here and Jesus was very normal without distinction, just like gays. He was so normal looking that they needed an insider such as Judas to betray Him. But Christian websites would be reporting with the dismay. states after states, nations after nations accepting gay marriages. The grace of God is moving on, to the least and last tribe in our community and in the nations of the World. The Rainbow nation is the Gospel reaching to the Ends of the World, beyond the white horizon. The Grace and mercy of God is marching on because Jesus is coming back again, even to the least that the last may be the first and the first, the last. Let us not be the last, to see God's grace and mercy reaching to the nations.
Jesus is asking us today to come to God just as we are - the real us - without our religion, our morality and self righteousness, without our intellect and self delusion and rationalization, wihtout our race and color, without our sexual orientation - whether straight or gay, without our sex, whether male or female. We are to come to Jesus with only one plea, and standing on the blood of Jesus Christ, and His cleansing power - in humility and an open heart to embrace Him. Your sexual orientation making you no more or less worthy of receiving God's grace and mercy into your lives because in Christ - all are equal.
Just as I am, without one plea,