This graphic was posted a few days ago and is now making its way around social media: Pastor Just Said Something That Blew His Entire Congregation Away… Wow
Here’s what it says:
There are so many issues with this graphic that it’s difficult to decide where to start. So let’s just go from the top.
First of all, we see the dramatic title, designed of course, to grab your attention. Now, I don’t know if this is the actual quote of a pastor. My guess is: no. However, these same sorts of comments are made by an alarming number of pastors these days. I’ve heard similar comments from some, myself. None the less, the graphic suggests that the author is quoting an actual pastor. So let’s assume that is true and respond accordingly.
Here is the first line: “Now, according to a few passages in the bible, homosexuality is a sin“. “A few” is carefully placed there to try and lessen the validity or importance of these passages. There is no actual Scripture mentioned here, and particularly no exegesis of any passages in any attempt to understand their purpose. But more disturbing about this is a gross misunderstanding or perhaps lack of knowledge of the uniformity and consistency of the Scriptures as a whole. The entire Bible points to God’s design for creation. This clearly includes marriage between one man and one woman, and the family unit as relational in His very image. To dismantle and downplay certain parts is essentially to unravel the entire gospel. You cannot simply pick and choose which of God’s words you want to believe and which you want to throw out.
Next line: “Couple of older males in the audience: Amen!“. On the surface I too would be concerned about this kind of cheering regarding sin. A church that does this tends to be caught in law, pragmatism, and “picking a side” rather than confronting sin and proclaiming the redemptive saving grace of the gospel. But more to the point, we see the author passively suggesting that it’s the older folks who are outdated and judgmental, and therefore also must be marginalized or silenced.
Next several lines: “Now, wait, I’m not finished.
Pastor: You know what else the bible defines as a sin? Divorce.
-uncomfortable silence-“. First of all, it is quite true that churches that have gone down the road towards accepting or ignoring fornication, pornography, gossip, slander, divorce and remarriage, etc. are indeed hypocritical to draw the line at someone else’s sins while excusing their own. Sin is sin, and a church that turns a blind eye to it is in very serious trouble and may already be completely spiritually dead.
But, I wonder how a statement like this affects someone who has been abandoned and divorced by his or her spouse, and who had no real say in the matter. To make such a reckless accusation of the congregation without Scripture and with out clarification is just plane abusive. There are legitimate, biblical reasons for divorce. (More on that, below.) The Bible also instructs us to forgive and welcome back sinners who have repented. But that isn’t mentioned here either. So what we see is a potential guilt trip laid on the innocent. This is purely destructive to any church family. Singling out divorce in order to excuse homosexual sin also ignores the wonderful opportunity to embrace repentant homosexuals who are truly working hard to resist sin. A church like this would be nothing but destructive to them.
So a pastor who speaks these words potentially condemns innocent victims and then turns around to suggest that divorce is actually a good thing for the church to accept (because God’s ways are cruel and inhumane, as he says a few lines later). All of this in order to accept even more sin into the church.
An aside: There are still many older churches that once held firmly to long-held orthodox biblical doctrine, but have, over the past two or three generations jettisoned the gospel and stopped dealing with sin, in favour of a mushy, seeker-sensitive, watered-down, worldly message. The term that most succinctly describes their beliefs is “moralistic therapeutic deism“. In these cases you will see people winking at certain sins while still speaking boldly against others and patting each other on the back for being so open minded and accepting. Or often you will find that they don’t speak against any sin and even prefer not to use the word at all. Members who have held onto any semblance of morality are often eventually shamed into silence about all sin because of arguments like this individual has presented. They don’t know their Bibles, so they can’t even refute the attack.
“Pastor: These are countless passages that talk about how divorce is wrong, and that there are consequences to getting a divorce, such as the wife should be stoned.” (Note: no passages are shared). There are about eleven instances of divorce mentioned in the Bible, which is not much more than the number of specific instances that homosexuality is mentioned. I’m not exactly sure how this constitutes countless passages. This is, at best a failed attempt at dramatic contrast. Though the congregants probably don’t know that, and would just take his word for it. What’s more, divorce isn’t always a sin. There are provisions for it.
Regarding the “stoning” comment, this individual has taken Levitical law and tried to throw it back, out of context to make his point. Any pastor who does that has no right to stand at the pulpit and claim to be a shepherd of God. In making comments like that, he (or in this case it could also be she) is basically saying that the Old Testament (which comprises more than 2/3 of the Bible) is outdated and barbaric, as if the God who wrote the New Testament is not the same as the one who wrote the Old Testament. So not only does he or she ignore the authority of Scripture, he or she doesn’t even know what it says or what it means. This is alarming, to say the least.
“Yet, I witnessed a divorce just this morning. And I gotta tell you, it was heartbreaking, but I definitely didn’t attempt to throw rocks at the wife, even though she was the one who filed for divorce.” In other words: “You should praise me for being so tolerant and understanding!”. This may be the heart of the rant (if in fact this actually was what someone preached in a sermon). The pastor dealt with something that irritated him and decided to use the pulpit to voice his or her opinion on this as a way to cast judgment and encourage the congregation to turn a blind eye to sin. Many pastors do this. And often it is inappropriate because it’s simply a human being’s words and feelings at that moment, and nothing to do with God’s word, which is what is supposed to be preached.
“We chose to overlook the consequences of divorce because time has proven that they’re inhumane and cruel.” This is really something for a pastor to say. This comment shows the total distrust and disgust with God’s word, and thus, God Himself. His ways are inhumane and cruel? Then why would you worship such a god, and why on earth would you become a pastor? This is yet another example of someone who loves the ways of the world and will gladly chose it over God’s word every time. This fleeting little culture is more important than God’s eternal word, as far as this pastor is concerned. “WE know better than God, because that is how advanced we are now.” Rubbish!
“The bible doesn’t say anything about the consequences of a homosexual lifestyle. Yet, we seem to be spearheading the campaign to ruin the lives of the people we don’t even know.” It doesn’t say anything about the consequences of a homosexual lifestyle? How about Romans 1, for starters? But let’s step back and ask what the consequences of sin are? The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. The Bible clearly lays out what sin is, and what its consequences are.
I don’t know what the pastor means by “spearheading the campaign to ruin the lives of people we don’t even know”, unless he’s the pastor of the cult Westboro Baptist. In that case, yes it’s a serious problem. But they are not a Christian church, and anyway I think it’s pretty safe to say this is not a quote from Fred Phelps.
Secularists and liberals often accuse Christians of “always talking about homosexuality”. But the reality is that we aren’t the ones forcing the issue to the forefront on a daily basis. We do respond when attacks are made on the church and right doctrine. This has been the case throughout history, such as when the Trinitarian nature of God was disputed, the sovereignty of God was attacked, works-based salvation challenged salvation by grace alone, etc. etc. Evolution is another one that is more often mentioned because there are so many false teachers trying to bring it into the church now, too. We have a right and a responsibility to respond boldly but with love and grace.
Further, standing firm in God’s truth does not destroy lives. In fact, engaging this issue requires knowing and understanding, and showing compassion and love towards homosexuals, secularists, etc. There is nothing more loving that you can do than to share the gospel with lost souls, whether they be gay or straight. Destruction of lives happens when the Bible is ignored, truth is ignored, and people are encouraged to embrace sin. The consequences are both devastating now and for all eternity. But this pastor is looking through a purely secular lens, so cannot see or accept that reality.
“-the pastor shifts a few notes around-“. In other words: dramatic pause.
And finally: “Pastor: The bible states to love thy neighbor. That’s it. There are no other rules or restrictions to that passage.” Actually, the two greatest commands are to love God and love our neighbour. That first one is so easily ignored, isn’t it? If we love God, we love His word. We love His truth. We love His gospel. And so we love his creation, which includes our neighbours (and our enemies). So yes, we are to love. But what does that look like? The second flows from the first. That is how we are even able to love our enemies. (No, I’m not saying homosexual people are our enemies, just pointing to the extent of the command). The whole of Scripture expounds on how we are to love one another, and it never includes turning a blind eye to sin because the wages of sin is death. If we love someone, we want life for them, not death. Love is not a simple mushy feel-good command. It is vital, it is painful at times, and it is incredibly sacrificial. It’s the kind of thing you won’t see preached about too often at a seeker-sensitive church.
“Pastor: So, we as a church family have to support equality with a smile on our face. THAT is the true Christian way.” I think now that we’ve explored so many issues with the previous statements, we can clearly see what a ridiculous conclusion this pastor presents. Essentially what he or she has said is that the church needs to be more like the world, throw out the Bible (especially the Old Testament), and just go with the flow. If this pastor does actually exist, he or she is, without a doubt, a false teacher, and not at all ordained by God. The Bible tells us that teachers will be judged more strictly. So they need our prayers, that they would come to repentance and salvation. And they need to be confronted with boldness, love, and grace for the sake of the church and the sake of their own souls. It is sad to say, but there are many pastors in churches these days who do not even know the gospel and quite possibly have never even heard it for themselves.This graphic is a clear example of that exact heartbreaking reality.
I haven’t covered all the issues with this graphic, but I will stop here as my post is getting very long.
Lord, have mercy on us in these dark days.
If you noticed other issues that I haven’t mentioned, please comment below.