In the book What Is the Emerging Church? (2008) we warned that the emerging church is weak on the issue of homosexuality. Brian McLaren, for example, says, “Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality” (“Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question,” Jan. 23, 2006, blog.christianitytoday.com). Chris Seay says, “Approach homosexuals without condemnation but with God’s love and the gospel” (ChurchRelevance.com, June 19, 2007). This confused thinking is now front and center in the Southern Baptist Convention by the election on June 12 of J.D. Greear as President. In 2014, in a message before the ERLC [Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission] National Conference on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage,” Greear said, “We have to love our gay neighbor more than we love our position on sexual morality … I am not saying that we would ever compromise our position or fail to state it, just that even when they disagree with it, we do not cut them off, we draw them close. We say yes, this issue is important. I cannot compromise, but I love you more than I love being right. In the cross of Jesus Christ, he shows us the right way to relate to the gay and the lesbian community—clarity about God's righteousness, compassion that would give up its own life to draw them close.” Greear’s position is incredibly misguided and unbiblical, though it is presented in a semblance of truth. It is certain that Jesus Christ loved sinners and died for sinners with a desire that sinners draw close to Him; but Jesus calls sinners to repentance and there is no “drawing close” to God without repentance. Twice in the same sermon Christ said, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Christ directly and plainly exposed the sin of the woman at the well, and she repented and drew close to God in salvation (John 4). On the other hand, Jesus exposed the sin of the rich young ruler, and he did not repent and as a result did not draw close to God (Mark 10:17-23). Greear says, “We have to love our gay neighbor more than we love our position on sexual morality,” and, “I love you more than I love being right.” But the Bible says we should love God’s Word and hate every false way (Psalm 119:128). The Bible says we should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). Jesus was a friend of sinners, but He preached repentance to sinners and warned them of eternal hellfire (e.g., Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5). Christ never modified or softened or shortened His message in any way whatsoever in order to “draw them close.” The fundamental problem in the Southern Baptist Convention is that it is composed of churches that do not have a zeal to obey God’s Word and are thus spiritually powerless. Having grown up in Southern Baptist Churches and having wide experience of them over the past 68 years, I can say that the average SBC congregation is a mixed multitude of saved and lost and is spiritually lukewarm at the very best. The pastor is a hireling, not a prophet, and his greatest fear is offending some lukewarm member of his congregation. Serious intercessory prayer and fasting are nearly unknown. Separation from the world is considered legalism. Life-changing conversions are as rare as hen’s teeth. Consider the statistics for 2013: A full 60% of SBC churches baptized zero youth between ages of 12-17 and 80% baptized zero or just one young adult ages 18-29. But there was an explosion in the baptisms of “five and under” (Annual Church Profile, 2013). That is Baptist infant baptism, and it is the sign of a dead denomination! And most Independent Baptists today are no different in spiritual character than Southern Baptists. I am so thankful that I personally know of many churches that are different in spiritual character than what I have described and that do know and experience the resurrection power of God in regenerating power and life-changing holiness and biblical separation.
(Friday Church News Notes, July 27, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)