Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making God in Our Own Image

"As long as we have only just started on the way to the cross, we fancy ourselves the main object at stake; it is our happiness, our honor, our future--and God added in.  According to our idea we are the center of things, and God is there to make us happy.  The Father is for the sake of the child.  And God's confessed Almightiness is solely and alone to serve our interest.  This is an idea of God which is false through and through, which turns the order around and, taken in its real sense, makes self God, and God our servant." 
                                              Abraham Kuyper in To Be Near Unto God

On Sunday, I reviewed a book on Amazon called Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill.  When I like a book, I'm always curious about the negative reviews.  There was one 2 star review so I read it.  Basically, someone read the book knowing they would disagree with it.  So, they wrote a review to refute the premise of the author.  The author, Wes Wiley, was writing about what it means to live as a celibate gay Christian.  He shares his story both about his faith and about being gay.  Then he shares the reasoning behind his conviction.  From there, he talks about his loneliness and the loneliness of others who have gone before him.

So, I entered into a dialogue with the reviewer and the man who commented on his review and agreed with him.  I suspected that I would end up deleting my comments in the end--and that's what ended up happening.  Because my purpose was not to invite attack, it was to have a discussion.

The two men were basically saying that you can't believe in the whole Bible and that "morality" trumps the Bible.  

I don't know about the legality of quoting them word for word, so I'll try and give a brief summary.  I made a comment about depression--that someone doesn't choose to live with depression, but it is a part of this world because we live in a fallen world.

In response, one reviewer said my analogy was singularly inept.  He felt that homosexuality is not an imperfection (and thus not a sin either).  That only if a homosexual person is unfaithful to their partner would it be morally wrong.

The reviewer believed that homosexual love is just as beautiful and and sacred as heterosexual love.  And that it is immoral to say otherwise or to try and convince homosexual people to change or to commit themselves to living celibate lives.

To top it all off, the reviewer felt that it was ridiculous to let the Bible to be seen as a greater authority than common sense and humanity.

I think this man made his opinions very clear.

Earlier this year, Jennifer Knapp "came out of the closet".  She said that the Bible was mistranslated on Larry King Live.  And that she is the happiest she's ever been in an interview with Christianity Today. 

Shortly after that, I read that Derek Webb, former lead singer for Caedmon's Call, was touring with Jennifer Knapp.  Looking into it on the internet, I discovered that there is a Christian group which includes both Christians who feel they must live celibate lives as gay Christians and who feel it is permissible for them to be in homosexual relationships.  Derek Webb performed at one of their conferences.  I really didn't know what to think.  I didn't understand.

How could someone support Jennifer Knapp, her lifestyle, and her statements that the Bible has been mistranslated?  I struggled with this for a few months.  My husband and I weren't on the same page.  He wasn't sure why it upset me so.  

I kept coming back to the fact that Christian music is what I look to for encouragement and it's important to me that the performer of the songs believes in Jesus and that the Bible is God's Word.  In a movie about Fanny Crosby, a hymn writer in the 1800s, I remember a line about hymns being the theology that people would remember.  Many people couldn't read then and didn't have many books, but hymns stayed with them in their minds and hearts wherever they went.  

In the same way, the worship songs and music we listen to stays in our heads.  So, it concerned me that Ms. Knapp was saying such things and that Derek Webb was supporting her by touring with her.

After many discussions, I came to a conclusion.  How do you help someone see that they are wrong?  How do you help them see the truth of the gospel?  Do you expect them to come to where you are?  Or do you go to where they are?  Did Derek Webb have the opportunity to minister through his music to people who came to hear Jennifer Knapp and don't believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God?  Yes, he did.  Would Derek Webb have more of an opportunity to minister to Jennifer Knapp and point her to the gospel by shunning her or by playing with her?  I cannot speak for him.  But, I feel okay at this point leaving that to God and knowing that Derek Webb's choices and reasons, unless he chooses to talk about them publicly, are between him and God.  There is such a curiosity in our country about many things and I get caught by that curiosity.  I am at peace with this matter and feel it is right for me not to be occupied by it anymore.

If you want to read a good book about Christianity and homosexuality, the one mentioned earlier was really good.   Am I going to listen to Jennifer Knapp's music?  I'll be honest, no.  It is unsettling to me to listen to her music and her music isn't encouraging to me because of her perspective on life, God, and the Word of God.  

The comments on the review of Washed and Waiting on Amazon spoke to me a lot about the world's view of homosexuality today.  I am deeply grieved by the sin in our world.  It can be overwhelming to realize how much we as a culture rationalize our actions and sins.  Something that Jerry Bridges says in Respectable Sins always comes to mind.  He talked about how sins that were seen as sins ten years ago are now seen as acceptable behavior--even among mainline Christian churches.  He feared for what that portends for the future.  I do too.


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