A couple of weeks ago I posted about my experience on a conservative Christian website. On that site I mainly discussed Luke’s Gay Apocalypse and the fact that we can no longer use the Torah to define sin. The post prompted the following reply from Christiaan (that’s his actual name).
Ronald, I feel that your explanation of the situation is biased. Not even close to the entire story is being told. Also, you quoted 2 comments above that are mine, #2 and #4.
Ronald, this “fundamentalist” website that you speak of is made up of many thousands of people throughout the world whose sole purpose is to glorify the Lord and bring revival.
In this situation, you brought up a dead thread. You gave your remarks. You tried to back them up Biblically, and you were rebuked biblically. After many, many pages of people using “Biblical” examples of why your thesis of “Jesus and the 6 homosexuals” and the two men in a bed was incorrect, you refused to move from your stance, even after biblical evidence was given.
So let me ask you Ronald, when someone joins a discussion to push an agenda (which is clearly forbidden by this site’s admins), which in your case was the homosexual agenda, and refuses to cease, what should be done? When someone who claims that they follow the Lord, but will not take biblical teachings and rebuke when they are proven wrong, what are people supposed to do by the Bibles standards?
I will say Ronald, that you were very polite in your discussion, and I give you credit for this. You seem like you have a loving heart towards people, which is a great thing. But as long as you keep your stance, which is completely opposite of what scripture teaches, you should expect people to challange you. And if those challanges produce no results to show you the error of your ways, then people will continue to warn the sheep… of a wolf amongst them.
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Christiaan, thanks for clarifying the situation with your additional detail.
You are right — everyone on the site responded biblically. All the responses I got were biblical, either direct quotations from scripture (and there were many), based on scripture, or consistent with biblical teachings. Some responses dealt directly with the issues of gays and lesbians and of the Law; some were directed to me as warnings to repent; others exhorted others to “mark and avoid,” etc. Paul warns us to avoid argumentative and divisive people. Many, many verses–frequently large chunks of scripture–were quoted as the weeks went by.
One problem connected with this idea of being biblical (and I do try to be biblical) is that most Christian groups consider themselves biblical. Just as you can “justify” your actions and beliefs biblically, I can “justify” my actions and beliefs biblically, too. (And this does relate to justification by faith.) So your actions are justified biblically, my actions are justified biblically, and where does that leave us? Let me quote a few passages I can use to “justify” myself.
Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority.
Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
And there’s this one: “We told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said… “For whoever is not against us is for us.”
Christiaan, I am not against you or the other posters on the site. I value your present and future ministries. I know you are personally involved in people’s lives. Obviously I don’t agree with everything you teach or do. And I am gravely concerned about the suicidally negative effects some of you have on gay and lesbian believers. But I know your desire is to do what is right, to obey and glorify God. I know that a lot of edifying spiritual and biblical ministry occurs among you. I know that God works through you and touches lives.
Because of our differences, we each have a different work to do: From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Because of our differences, we probably can’t work together. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.
In my congregation, there are people who have strong emotional reactions against homosexuality. One elderly woman stormed out of my home Bible study, enraged at my acceptance of my gay son. I don’t keep my views a secret at church, but I don’t make an issue out of it either. In a congregational setting, it is possible to work with people who sharply disagree with you.
Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind…. let us no longer criticize one another… we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.
But, to state the obvious, a web forum is not a church. Despite the differences, I still tried to conduct myself like a Christian.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
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I decided to contact Christiaan, telling him I would send him my reply. I asked him if he would like to reply in turn. I’m very happy to say that he said yes. Here is his response.
Thank you for your gracious reply. I do appreciate the chance to reply to your posting.
Ron, what exactly are you asking in your post to me? Are you asking that I leave and let be? Are you asking that if I see error being taught, that I not say anything about it? Ron, what you are asking me to do, is to turn a blind eye to teachings that lead people to the gates of Hell.
Why do these teachings lead people to the gates of hell? Because what is being taught here is acceptance of sin, not repentance and moving away from sin, which the Bible teaches.
Ron, the scriptures that you posted are wonderful scriptures, but are being used WAY out of context. Let’s use your first example of scripture. You quoted, Matthew 5:10,
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The error in posting this in your situation, respectfully, is that you’re not walking in righteousness. You claim to be, but you truly are not. Scriptures state that those who preach a false gospel ARE TO BE SHUNNED. You are super-imposing your beliefs into this scripture, as if the Lord was speaking directly about the Homosexual agenda in it.
The Lord speaks about being righteous all throughout the scriptures. He teaches about turning away from sin. He teaches about abandoning sin… and yes, He teaches that being, living in an unrepeated homosexual lifestyle… is sin. So to say that you are being persecuted because of your beliefs is wrong. You have been shown the error of your teachings with scripture, and have yet refused to move from them. What do the scriptures teach about moving away from error? NO WHERE in scripture does it state that you will be allowed to sit at the right hand of the Father if you continue to live in sin. In fact, scripture states that your sin will lead to hell fire. Not a very good thought. In fact, this is the reason why I am passionate about this topic, because I do not want to see anyone go to hell, even those who would consider me an enemy.
This is only replying to one of your scripture references.
At the end of your post, you state, “Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind…. let us no longer criticize one another… we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.” This is great and all, but you cannot enter into a conversation where you know that people disagree with you 100%, and expect that we would not challenge you to the core. Let me ask, what did you expect? Did you expect that people, including myself, would stay silent and not challenge the error of your teaching? Explain to me how letting someone who teaches unscriptural teachings continue unanswered is good for the body of Christ?
If you wish to be left alone to teach your teachings, then that is by all means your prerogative. But please do not expect to receive a warm welcome with these teachings when you enter a Bible based site. In fact, I pray that you are challenged from the first word spoken. Today’s church has fallen so far into apostasy, that if men of the Word do not stand up, I fear to see what the Word will look like when the apostate church finishes with it.
Blessings to you Ron. I do appreciate your time and willingness to converse with me. Be blessed.
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Christiaan, thanks again for participating in this conversation. I know there is a kind of personal risk involved.
I don’t know how God will use you in the future, but I am confident that you will be used and will be a blessing. Each of us is unique. There are somewhere between 4 and 12 (or more) personality types, and when we add variables like age, birth order, sex drive, cultural and regional differences, gender, and personal history, there are more versions of “human” than I can count.
What I am confident of is your desire to do and become whatever it is God wants. In my life I have believed and said things that I wouldn’t believe or say in quite the same way today. But believing it and saying it was important at the time. I learned the utility and applicability of those things by their use. It was part of my growth as a Christian, human being, and servant.
I know a guy who was pretty wild as a young man—sowed a lot of wild oats. He was charming, but he was busy flouting conventional morality, proving his manhood, used to having his way, and not caring how his actions affected other people (broken hearts). After he became a Christian he changed, but was basically the same: charming, flouting political correctness, proving his manhood, getting his way, and not caring how his pronouncements affected other people. His metanoia (repentance) was real; he really did change allegiance. But his metamorphosis (transformation according to Romans 12:1-2) was understandably slow in coming.
In terms of continuity, I’m very much like this. As a boy I had no friends or buddies. I was shy and unsociable, a loner taking refuge in the fact that I was always the smartest kid in the class. I spent lots of time helping my sister by listening to her talk about how she was being tormented at her school. As an adult, I have few friends, am a shy and frequently awkward loner who takes refuge in my Bible knowledge, and spends a lot of time trying to help people who are tormented in the their churches. My metamorphosis certainly seems slow in coming sometimes.
One of the things that resulted from my two months on the conservative website was the realization that the depression and discouragement I experienced was only a small taste of what gay and lesbian believers experience when they are driven from their home churches by the elders, deacons, pastors, and other adults they grew up with. I had the choice of whether to post or not, whether to stay or leave. Gay and lesbian believers don’t have that luxury. Before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I suffered suicidal depression. I have met many high school students who struggle with suicidal depression, and I know a young man who took his own life last year.
What did I expect would happen on the conservative Christian website? Did I expect everyone to suddenly “see the light”? Of course not. Over the years I have spent long periods on several Bible-centered forums, mainly because I am a student of the Bible and I enjoy serious discussions centered on scripture. I frequently find myself at odds with people who, it seem to me, are more interested in defending the internal consistency of their theological systems than with allowing the Spirit to speak to their lives and ministries and energize them, whether through the scriptures, other believers, or directly.
Popular opinion on the site concurred that I was a false teacher, and based on that label everyone had pretty much the same, more or less scriptural, response, which was just one possible scriptural response.
The rejection and conspiracies directed at Jesus and Paul were all Bible based. The scribes, Pharisees, and priests agreed that Jesus was a false teacher and conspired to kill him. This was a scriptural response based on Jesus’ violation of specific scriptures. A group of Jewish men in Jerusalem made a death pact to kill Paul (Acts 23:12, 13, 21). This was a scriptural response (from Deuteronomy) based on Paul’s violation of specific scriptures.
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and . . . says, “Let us follow other gods . . . and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. . . . That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the LORD your God . . . . You must purge the evil from among you.
If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” . . . . do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death . . . . Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again. (Deuteronomy 13)
As you can see, heeding the scripture is no guarantee that we’re doing the right thing. Actually, there is no such guarantee, which is why the just shall live by faith. The people who conspired to kill Jesus and Paul would actually have had to violate their consciences to not act as they did. They would have had to violate the clear commands of scripture to heed the voice of the Spirit speaking through Jesus and Paul.
Christiaan, I am not privy to the timing or the content of your metanoia or your metamorphosis. The timing and the content of your repentance and transformation are between you and God. But I can say on good authority that your metanoia and metamorphosis can only be enhanced by heeding the following encouragements:
- Walk in the Spirit according to the law of life in the Spirit.
- Do not violate your conscience and thereby shipwreck your faith.
- Be transformed by the renewing of your mind from within.
- Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.