Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pastor Worley and his electrified fence for homosexuals

Yesterday a video went viral, having accumulated a critical mass that penetrated the top levels of news media, internet, and consciousness. A North Carolina Pastor said some terrible things about homosexuals

The pastor's speech misrepresents Christianity.

Pastor: Build Electrified Fence For Gays So They ‘Die Out’ (video at link)
"A North Carolina pastor has come under fire after calling for gays and lesbians to be killed off by keeping them locked up behind an electrified fence. During his sermon at the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, Pastor Charles Worley said he figured out a way to “get rid of all the lesbians and queers.” “Build a great big, large fence – 100 miles long – put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food,” Worley said during his May 13 sermon. “Do the same thing with the queers and homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out … and in a few years they will die out.” Worley went out to say that gays and lesbians will die off because “they can’t reproduce.”

Predictably, and rightfully, there is backlash. Today's headlines state:

"Internet helps expose bigotry"
"Video shows pastor is a lost soul"
"Former Worley Church Goer Saddened But Not Surprised by Homophobia"

The pastor's speech misrepresents Christianity.

True Christians know how heinous the pastor's remarks are. Christians lament and sigh and mourn over incidents like these because first, remarks like this besmirch the holiness and the reputation of Jesus. Secondly, we know we have our work cut out for us doubly hard when hate speech like this comes across the boards, because we have to make up for it. Also, it IS hate speech, and the lost and the homosexual-pushing agenda folks simply lump his remarks into one bundle and soon we're accused of hate speech even when repeating bible verses that state unequivocally that homosexuality is a sin. So this post isn't for Christians. It is for the lost, who want to believe that like this pastor, all Christians have a flawed and twisted perspective on God's mercy. Let's dig in.

While the pastor's speech misrepresents Christianity, it is a fact that homosexuality is a sin. People who engage in it will go to hell if they do not repent. However, homosexuality is ONE sin. Unrepentant thieves will go to hell. Unrepentant adulterers will go to hell. Unrepentant liars will go to hell. (1 Corinthians 6:9). And so on. Yes, homosexuality is gross, and it is an example to the ungodly (2 Peter 2:6) of how far their perversion has gone (Romans 1:24-28) but is is a sin that Jesus can and does forgive. It always comes down to Jesus's grace. As AW Tozer said, "For every person it must be Jesus Christ or eternal tragedy."

Christians are not "homophobic". "By definition, homophobia is fear of homosexuals, but its meaning has been broadened to include hate for homosexuals. Correspondingly, being homophobic tends to manifest itself through an outward demonstration or behavior based on such a feeling. This, in turn, sometimes leads to acts of violence or expressions of hostility. The truth is that homophobia is not just confined to any one segment of society. It can be found in people from all walks of life. Such hate groups have viciously attacked homosexuals and have used especially violent language in attempting to persecute and intimidate homosexuals. More often than not, Christians are said to be homophobic simply because they condemn homosexual behavior as sin. But the real fact of the matter is that the term homophobic is merely a “politically correct” scheme used by homosexual activists and supporters in their attempts to deflect a genuine criticism of an immoral and unhealthy practice."

Christians have a fierce love for unrepentant sinners, having been sinners ourselves- and though we are repentant and forgiven we still struggle with our sin nature! Praise the Lordhe sends the Holy Spirit to live within us to help us resist it. We are familiar with the sin-struggle. Unforgiven sinners go to hell and hell is serious! We wish that on NO ONE. Jonathan Edwards captured the horribleness of it in his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of and Angry God:

"It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: For "who knows the power of God's anger?"

We do NOT enjoy thinking of anyone in hell, and we do not utter words that indicate we want to hasten their eternal doom. The pastor's speech misrepresents Christianity.

Before I was saved, I believed that all Christians were like Pastor Worley. It only confirmed my attitude that Christianity was just the same as all the hate I'd already experienced in the world, and therefore was not worth exploring. Attitudes like that pastor's is what the world expects and it does much harm to the lost who need Jesus. Therefore, be Christlike, because He urges us to actions that the world does not expect. Who expects that if our cheek is slapped we give the other one to be slapped? Who expects love in the midst of enemies? Who expects meekness, humility, and service?

The pastor's speech misrepresents Christianity.

Stating that homosexuality is a sin is not hate speech, it is the truth of Jesus. Stating that all homosexuals should be rounded up and left to starve behind an electric fence is hate in the extreme. Each person on earth was made in the likeness of God (Gen 1:27). Saved or not saved, we are to treat people with respect. 1 Peter 1:22 says how to treat believers, "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." As for how we are to treat everyone, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, Matthew 5:16, James 5:16 are all good verses that instruct us on proper Christ-like behavior.

Focusing on the Matthew 5:16 verse, which says, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven," remember, it is all about the glory of Jesus. When you like a life of meekness and love, unswervingly adhering to His standards of uttering the truth in love, not hate, we shine more brightly for Him. And what seeker isn't attracted to the light and not the dark?

7 comments:

  1. Elizabeth: I do believe that unbelievers will find this comment of yours to be a contradiction:
    "Christians have a fierce love for sinners, having been and still are sinners ourselves! Sinners go to hell and hell is serious!" And I want to ask you where it says in the Bible that Christians are STILL sinners? We are called saints! Do we ever sin after becoming a Christian? Yes we do, but we are to repent and confess those sins and the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. "Sinners" don't repent; they keep on sinning and enjoying their sins. I do cringe when any Christian states, we are still sinners, because, as you said, sinners go to hell.

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    1. Sharon,

      Great comment. Thank you! I should put the word "forgiven" in front of sinner who is saved and "unrepentant" in front of sinner when referring to those going to hell.

      After salvation we still sin. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in the believer who is born again and gives the power to not only defeat the effects of the sin nature, but to supply strength to defeat the old sinful nature’s penchant to do wrong in God’s sight. (Galatians 5:16–17).
      In Rom 7:17 Paul said, "So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me." He struggled with doing what he didn't want and failed to do what he wanted.

      Though we are saints, and though God forgets our sins, and though we have the capacity to resist sin, we still fail to live perfectly. Paul said--

      "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Romans 7:22-23).

      This penchant to still sin led him to cry out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).

      I'll edit the essay to put the two words in front of the appropriate places in the essay. Thanks again for the correction. It's an important distinction

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    2. Thanks Elizabeth! Bless you for humbly accepting "correction" and not thinking I was being nit-picky! Your edited essay makes sense to me now. :)

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    3. I appreciate your perceptive and helpful comment! It's important to be correct when the Lord's word is involved. I'm eager to be better.

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  2. It is only confusing when we think that everyone who names Christ knows him.
    That is not a judgement about this "pastor" observable behavior is not the cause of sin it is the result. The cause of sin is the fallen nature of man, his heart that is subject to sin. The only remedy for sin is saving faith in Christ and a decision to follow Him. Which means completely give up on our own ideas, like those that this pastor recommends, and preach the Gospel. This pastor is the evidence of the condition of "the church" in the US.
    2 Timothy 3
    4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,
    All this "pastor?" is doing is galvanizing some against the Gospel.
    Call him out, and if he repents, he can be restored. Otherwise reject and avoid him. His congregation needs to send him on his way or share in his sin.

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  3. I feel like another man wanted to do something similar to this...put the people he didn't like behind a cage, oh what was his name! Adolf something... oh yeah HITLER! Because that turned out so well.

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    Replies
    1. You know about Godwin's Law, right?

      Godwin's law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies) is an observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990[2] that has become an Internet adage. It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches." In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably makes some comparison to Hitler and the Nazis.

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