Standing up for Jesus and not the majority
In the recent debate on 377A, a peculiarity has arisen when Christians used the "majority" tagline to argue for gays to be criminalized. Does the majority view - the majority in numbers, power and wealth - the majority in terms of religious affliations ever automatically makes it correct. We Christians are so afraid to stand up in the public space for what is right and just but highly unpopular even though Christ first stood up to proclaim the Truth despite the tirade of majority views against Him leading to His death. Likewise, we are called to stand up for Christ and not the majority world or religious view. Yet, the Christianity in SIngapore is ever so silent when faced with church doctrines that are anti-Christ but so loud when coming against a very small minority people group.
09 Dec 2007, Catholics, forming the largest Christian denomination, began celebrating 150 years since a young shepherdess saw visions of the Virgin Mary, at a shrine to Mary at Lourdes, coinciding with the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Vatican has advised that the Pope would grant indulgences for a limited time to pilgrims who visit Lourdes for the 150th anniversary. Indulgences are remittances of suffering for sins, so that one could go heaven. Even though this is a travesty of the largest Christian denomination against basic foundation of Christianity of worshiping another god and advocating a salvation in a name other than Christ, you would not see this event ever mentioned in the pulpits of the churches nor in the Web sites. Yet, you would see positional statements against Homosexuality in the churches websites even when Gays have nothing to do with the established churches. What right has the churches to insist on criminalizing gays outside the four walls of the church?, when within the churches, we find the greatest iniquity against the Word of God. Has the Church became the carnal world, when power and wealth takes precedence and there is no mileage to come against the most powerful denomination. But Gays are weak, disunited, and easily condemned with the support of the majority & ever the punching bag when the churches wants to emphasise its own holiness and morality (the light when compared to the alledged darkness of a "homosexual" lifestyle).
With the Catholic teachings followed by more than 30% of Christians in Singapore, this is a very major moral issue and iniquity but yet you could only hear silence from the other Christian Churches even with their large trumpeting band against Gays over obscure Jewish related verses and laws. Whilsts we proclaim our holy indignation over two men committing to each a long term relationship and mutual support and love on account of it destroying our marriages, but yet we are silent when those proclaiming to be Christians yet worshiping another god at altars in the high places and so undermining the integrity of our Christian faith. When we called immoral, the sacred commitment between two same sex loving couples who love each other till death, but called moral and indeed even deserving special redemption from sins, the worship of idols, how could we ever see ourselves as people of biblical faith with a consistent moral integrity. When we emphasised our morality compared to gays in the public square as valid reasons to criminalize gays, yet condone a most immoral act, we loose our speaking rights. The stunning silence of the evangelical Charismatic mega Christian churches and the National Council of Churches, does not in any way excuse them in view of their very loud anti-gay sermons in the public square. Slience means consent when we have been so vocal against the slightest inquity we see in the gay community. We can stand idly by when faced with critisizing a large and powerful interest group, but we could not resist standing idly by to bash up a weak and defenceless group.
We have so misread the verses relating to homosexuality, attributing the act of same sex as sin, whereas in context, the sin was idol worship, the Cannanites idols of the Old Testament that demanded sexual orgies. When we so easily assigned verses condemning our idol worship to gays, we are trapped in our tinted glasses where great transgressions we do not condemn but the good we regard as sin. In essence, we come under the spiritual bondage of idol worship when we condemned gays. It could be another god, or could be power, or wealth. We blamed gays for sexual hedonism yet the very institution of gay marriages and gay relationships we weakened and destroyed not giving any platform for gays to have long mutual loving relationships as in the Heterosexual lifestyles. We draw attention to the high rates of HIV amongst the gay population, but failed to notice our guilty part when we have put in so much condemnation of the gay community and destruction of their intergity and dignity leading to low self estemn putting them at very high risk. We insist that Gays cannot marry and so put their relationships at risk and exposed to frequent change of partners hence encouraged the spread of diseases.
The church in Singapore is like a Martha, with events after events and busy with building new churches, evangelism, and outreach. We have been really busy and even some mega churches is known to take up much time of the teenagers. We have world class preachers coming into Singapore and we put much effort into attending the bible studies and gaining much knowledge. All which are very good. We emphasise on discipleship and hard work to extend the kingdom of God and strong affirmative action and zealous participation in missions. Yet in all our doings will come to nothing, if we miss Jesus, if we miss seeing the heart of God, and listening to His word and voice lest we be distracted by our own religious morality and cultural misconceptions and prejudice. All this good work, great as it may be, may be leading us into great trials if we do not stop and reflect and ponder at our actions, priorities, and the Gospel message. Do people see Christ in us, the Christ of the bible? or do people see a Jewish religious zealots, the Saul of old? When we loose the mercy and compassion, we lost sight of the heart of Christ, the bible becomes our justification for persecuting people rather than dying for others that the Gospel may be known. Saul justified his actions based on the Torah, so do we. At the end, we missed Jesus, whom the bible was written to reveal. The pastors, and the visiting speakers from America becomes "god" and whatever they said becomes our battle cry. God is calling His church to be still, to rest, to reflect and just the dwell in the presence of God, not to do anything, but just to behold His glory and beauty - to return back to the simplicity of our first love because nothing else really matters for God seeks our fellowship.
The church has been very very loud against those that could not shout back whilst have been very silent on the greatest culprits and this is a very great sin. We have very good people with a good heart in the churches who loves the Lord and would want to do the best for Him. The loud voice of the church against gays doesn't do justice to the very many people inside the church who loves the Lord and who sincerely considers this as the right thing to do. We have gone too far as using the tag line of the majority even though the bible called us not to be unequally yoked to the ways of the world, the ways of the majority. There is a call today, for the church, to stand up for Jesus - and not morality, religion, culture, tradition, majority view but to stand up for His message of the Good News of God's love and Salvation in Christ alone and not through any other man or spiritual entity. Then we will reflect the light of God, and be salt to a broken world desperate for a saviour. Before, we do that though, we have to stand in the presence of God and be truly amazed by His glory and majesty. Stand up for Jesus alone and not for the majority world view.
I stand amazed in the presence
For me it was in the garden
In pity angels beheld Him,
He took my sins and my sorrows,
When with the ransomed in glory