|May the bible truth set us free to see Jesus, God's grace|
On 04 June 2009, it was reported by CNN that 4 boys repeatedly sodomized or sexually assaulted a 13 year old boy with a brome and hockey stick over a period of 2 months. The incidents happened in Walker Middle School, in southern Tampa. The teens will be charged as adults and liable if convicted for a jail term of 120 years. It was a case of sexual assault motivated by bullying. They are likely to be straight guys. If a thousand years later, some religious group refers to this incident by stating that “CNN clearly states that Homosexuality is wrong” and quoted this incident, it would be a gross misrepresentation of the events and we would laughed it off as a big joke. We would have been very surprised if many believe in this outrageous spin of the truth. The conservatives would paint it to their advantage by saying that they were put to jail for being gay but the truth still remains for all to see if we seek first the truth.
Yet, this has happened in modern day Christianity when we refer to 4000 year old events in Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:4-5) about sexual abuse and assault by straight people to subjugate and control the weak as same sex orientation. Similarly, Leviticus 18:22 has been used to condemn same sex orientation when it concerns the ancient religious worship which is sexually erotic with fertility goddess where in the ultimate show of faith, straight men would have sex with each other. Yes, the Bible did mention men having sex with men, but it was clearly referring to another target audience, motivation, and religious background. The real sin here is trying to fit in the square box of our pre-determined religious dogma and theology to a round box of the bible and we end up losing all credibility and perhaps even damaging the bible truths.
Why are we so eager to force the events to fit in? Because if it did not refer to gays, and it must apply to us, to law abiding conservative folks, the majority of the population. Paul’s most sternness rebuke were for the Judaist religious Jews who he clearly upset in Romans (Rom 1) by condemning their ancestors who claimed to abide by the 10 commandments yet worshiped the Canaanite gods and have sex with men as part of their religious worship! It had nothing to do with same sex orientation which was rather novel and rare with only 5% of the population. Yet, we twist these verses and placed our sins on the pink sacrificial lambs to maintain our morality. In Singapore, we lived in a secular and multi religious society where 90% of the population does not worship Jesus as Lord and Savior. If there was a line ordained by God, we would have long crossed it and this not because of homosexuality. The Christian activist in their tunnel vision are not able to comprehend much beyond seeing a gay person under every rock and tree.
An Elder of a Charismatic Evangelical Church once said that we should not say “Thus Saith the Lord”, or “God says so….”, in the public arena unless it is a direct word from God and there would be confirmation by others. By saying “Thus saith the Lord… “, there is absoluteness for who could argue against God. There is however a danger in casually using this heavenly invocation as it would be impersonating God and worst still if our assertions are contrary to what God would have said, we actually blasphemed the very name and reputation of God. Similarly, In the arguments against gays, we often say, “The bible states very clearly that ……”, and then quote the verses. We no longer say “thus saith the Lord …”, but we actually meant it. There is an implicit understanding that since the bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit therefore God must have said so. However, we can only say that the Bible categorically states something In terms of major doctrines, if it is a common theme that runs through the OT and NT. If there is reasonable doubt, then there is a grave miscarriage of justice in our condemnation of gays.
The applicability of the Bible requires us to carefully and prayerfully determine the following in order to avoid our own inherent cultural and religious prejudice:-
The bible must interpret to bible to avoid falling into error. The bible unlike most other religious books is not an instruction book, but rather is a narrative of events, the faith journey of the people of Israel, how God dealt with them, and linking the events by the coming and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. These bible events (2 Tim 3:16) are thus useful for dogma, correction, and instruction if our situation applies, and in the context of making us wise "for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 3:5) ie in must be understood in the context of the revelation of Christ. For example, the bible is not a book about Gay sex, try as much as the Christian Activist would make us believe. When we see that the entire bible is about Jesus, worshiping God instead of religious idols, we begin to see how the verses attributed to gays are actual condemnation of idol worship and had nothing to do with same sex orientation.
Mdm Thio and the Anglican Church in Singapore (part of the anti-gay Global South coalition) has insisted that the Christian religion should play a role in the debate of how and what our society should be. They are zealous that the moral influence must be maintained. I am reminded of an equally biblical and religious group mentioned in the bible. They were the Pharisees. Even though of the same cultural and religious background as were the prophets of old, they completely misinterpreted the prophecies relating to Jesus, and when the Messiah came, they promptly set about to plan for His demise. Jesus warned us of the yeast of the Pharisees, shown by their hypocrisy. Jesus highlighted that how we judged we shall also be judged. How God judges whether it is a sin or not sometimes depends not only on the action alone but on the basis by which we used to judge others.
There are serious consequences of our loose words of judgement. For the Christian activists, there seems little fear of the consequences of using the name of Jesus Christ, and the bible to condemn gays. Instead, they applaud themselves for "standing up" for the Gospel as in the Aware Saga. Surely, they must be preaching a different Gospel. In our web sites, we see positional statements on Homosexuality (Church of Our Savior, Methodist, and National Council of Churches Singapore) without realizing the serious consequences. We have forgotten that how God sees or judge us, depend on the measure we used to see or judged others. We have put ourselves in a box without even realizing it. If we claim that we abide by the Law, then we will also be judged by the law, not only to the letter of the law, but the intent and the spirit of the law which is a far higher line. We cannot pick and choose selective verses and apply it to Gays and say that the rest don't apply because we are under grace.
For example, there is nothing wrong with Pastor Ho Sun Yeow being a pop star singer even though scantily dressed (comes with the Hollywood fashion). However, we judge now by how we have judged others. As City Harvest Church is strongly anti-gay using the Old Testament Laws, then by their own judgment, she should stay home, dressed properly with a head scarf, and not perform in public being a women. The same rules would apply consistently in how you judge others. The same line or measure will be used against us. Therefore, Pastor Sun is under God’s judgment by her very own words. In another situation, there are many in New Creation Church who sometimes worked on Sundays. There is nothing wrong with working on Sundays, but it becomes a sin because we judge gays thus according to the law. Grace may not cover us because we did not judge with God’s grace and mercy rather using a standard which we do not abide by ourselves. Who knows how far does grace of God covers and protects us when we showed no grace?
When we err let us err by showing too much of God's love, mercy and grace. There is much untapped power in the Word of God, power in the blood of the lamb revealed therein to save, heal, and proclaim liberty. There is a call, a call for revival, for a Gospel Revolution based on the grace of God. The Law only traps us and binds us and put us under condemnation. But grace, releases the power of God unto salvation to the ends of the nations.
Lord filled Your Church again