Monday, September 24, 2007

Gluttony, Homosexuality and the Church

My head is spinning lately at all the diverse amounts of theology and theological discussions I've been digesting. One the the hot button topics in Christian thinker circles today is the emerging church and the relevance of the church to culture.

Questions like: where should a church change it's ways to minister to the culture around it? What doctrines/theology is essential and what can we agree to disagree on a Christians? What is the Gospel and how is it lived out? Are we as concerned with serving the poor and the oppressed as getting others "saved?" Was the bible meant to be picked apart and be used for "proof-texting" or is there a larger narrative structure of truth to it?

Another hot-button issue as of late in the Church at large is that of homosexuality. Is it a sin? Is it something that one has from birth? Can someone be a homosexual and a Christian? Can someone who is homosexual serve in ministry?

Let's take that last question: "Can someone who is homosexual serve in ministry?"

Well, lets say that we answer "no" to that question.

"Why?" - well because someone who is caught in unrepented habitual sin should not serve in Christian leadership.

Seems like a good answer. The bible calls Christian leaders to live lives above reproach.

Now what about gluttony?


You know...gluttony. It's a sin too, you know? What is gluttony? Overeating. Greedily consuming more of something we need than we need. Most people who are overweight struggle with the sin of gluttony.

Here's a question: "would you let your Christian leaders lead if they had a habitual sin that has not been dealt with in their life?" No?

How many overweight Christian leaders do we have? Many right?

So if a practicing homosexual has no right to serve in Christian leadership a practicing glutton has no right to serve in Christian leadership as well...right?

What do you think? Are we highlighting some sins and neglecting others? How "legalistic" should we get?

So I invite you the reader to pick some questions from this blog post and discuss them in the comments section. It could be fun :)


  1. Well Eric, The answer is simple.

    No, people who are in habitual sin should not be in ministry.

    I have had this discussion before, most recently in a bar. Yes a bar. I was witnessing (yes, sharing my faith VOCALLY which is what evangelism is) with a group of about 12 people, including a Catholic youth pastor.

    We were having a discussion about if one can be sure if they are going to heaven (yes) when a young lady pulled up in a chair next to me and sat down. She said very loudly 'what about homosexuality'
    I responded 'what about it?'
    She said 'can a homosexual get into heaven?'
    I asked 'what do you mean?'
    She asked 'can a homosexual get into heaven, am I going to hell because I am a homosexual'
    When I am evangelising one to one, I love this question, or any similar one. I told her that everyone is going to Hell, because we have all broken God's law. I explained that we have built up God's wrath on ourselves and that to go to heaven, we have got to have our sins paid for. I then focussed on sins we are all guilty of, that is, transgression of the ten commandments. We have all lied, we have all commited adultery and murder in thought if not in deed, etc.
    I then shared the good news with her, and the now doubled in size crowd. I shared how I had transgressed the whole law, but that Jesus paid my penalty. All we must do is to repent- that is confess our sin, turn from it, and utterly forsake it- and place our trust fully in Christ- for our salvation.

    You see Eric, I believe if we are truly born-again, truly redeemed, we will not condemn people for their specific sin-i.e. homosexuality vs. gluttony vs. tobacco usage vs. drinking alcohol (we can go down the list) rather, we will recognize that we are bad people that have been redeemed by a good God, and that people who are not are dead in sin and trespasses and need to be saved from that. And we, as those who are Born Again, need to live according to the spirit, and make no provision for the flesh.

    So, in this rather long response, I would also say that it IS urgently important that as born-again believers we share our faith, because that is what Jesus commanded that we do.

    God Bless all who read

  2. Um...yes I agree with most of that. Evangelism is very important.

    However, I wasn't talking about evangelism, I was speaking about tolerance and what we do/do not tolerate in our Christian leaders.

    Thanks for your response :)

  3. "Questions like: where should a church change it's ways to minister to the culture around it? What doctrines/theology is essential and what can we agree to disagree on a Christians? What is the Gospel and how is it lived out? Are we as concerned with serving the poor and the oppressed as getting others "saved?" Was the bible meant to be picked apart and be used for "proof-texting" or is there a larger narrative structure of truth to it?"

    You may not have meant to, but you did mention Evangelism, Eric....And, unfortunately, similar to many of your generation you place obedience to God as secondary to making sure that people are served instead of saved. Yes, being saved is way more important. The scripture tells us to serve the BROTHERS. That means people who are in God's family. So, if a member of God's family is poor and oppressed it is then and only then that we have primary concern for that need.

    Again, the great commission does NOT say "feed and clothe the poor and help the oppressed, then go, make disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them all I have commanded you. That may seem insensitive, and I do catch a lot of flack for that, But it is what the Word of God says.

  4. They will know they are Christians by their love Pastorboy. Are you really saying that ministering to the poor and the oppressed is not important?

    I can find dozens of verses in the bible that command us to take care of the poor and oppressed. Yes we are to take care of our Christian brothers/sisters and yes we need to share the gospel with them but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Maybe it's "your generation" that is wrong. Ever think of that?

    Or wait... could it be that both words AND actions are equally important?

    How are we to make disciples of all nations. Making disciples is a lot more than teaching them to share their faith. You are neutering the gospel if you only focus on "getting them saved."

  5. Yes, Erik, we are called to love.

    The church model that I point to is in Acts 2:42-47. But they were ministering to those who have been saved. The disciples helped people, but their focus of buing and selling and holding everything in common was for the purpose of helping the saints. When Paul took up a collection it was for the saints.

    Yes, I am sure they fed the unconverted but never without sharing the faith verbally. I know they healed the unconverted, but they did so in the name of the Lord Jesus while sharing their faith. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost- not to seek and to serve, not to serve than save- but to seek and save the lost. Our focus has been blown up, and this old guy (I'm really not that old) believes passionately that the message of the Gospel is being basterdized by many young and passionate people like yourself who, I believe are motivated by love, but the passion for people overwhelms the love for God which is reflected in obedience to His priorities. Jesus listed the two most important commandments, in ORDER- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength- and love your neighbor as yourself. When those two get flipped, Eric, by well meaning people, compassion for people and their apparent needs overcomes a love for God and His priorities.

    Lets do both. Lets not throw out the baby (loving God) with the bathwater (serving people)

    God Bless your passion, Boy!

  6. I think the worst sin is misquoting and misapplying scripture.

    You can do this in your life, and that allows you to be a homosexual or a glutton and get away with it, for you are wise in your own eyes and you do not have ears to hear.

    A low view of scripture allows it to be misapplied, or even ignored.

    Rob Bell, in the same wittenburg door interview you reference on this post basically challenges the existence of Hell, saying that we save ourselves (blasphemy) by serving the poor, and that Hell is a place for people who "BELL: The issue is not saving the poor—it's saving us. When Jesus uses the word hell, He does not use the word with people who are not believers or not believing the right things. It is a warning to religious people that they are in danger of hell because of their indifference to the suffering of the world. So the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is not what heaven and hell are like. It's a parable to rich people warning them that their apathy has them in danger. Heaven and hell are present realities that extend into the future."

    This low view of scipture allows people like Bell to twist it so it is teaching something entirely different than what the Bible actually says. Look in Luke 16, and you will see that the context does NOT teach that the rich are in danger of Hell because of indifference, nor does Jesus ever say that people go to Hell because of apathy. It clearly teaches that Hell is a real place, people who the rich (the rich) expect to be in heaven are not there, and the ones that are in heaven (Lazarus) were not expected to be there, because their earthly condition, reasoned the Pharisees, showed God's displeasure with them, and the wealth of the Pharisees demonstrated God's pleasure (sort of like having a 10,000 member church would demonstrate God's pleasure vs. having a small church)

    The point is, that a person who misinterprets the Word of God, questions the existence and purpose of Hell, says that salvation is universal, that we are 'saved by helping the poor' and misapplys the teachings, even changes the scripture has no business being in ministry.

    And, if we allow this leaven in our church, will it not leaven the whole lump?

  7. Look Pastorboy, let me level with you. I don't think for a moment you are willing to have an openminded conversation about anything involving Rob Bell. You help run a website devoted (in part) to discrediting him as a pastor.

    You will not convince me of what you're getting at because you're not the one to do it. I have heard many claims about this pastor or leader or that author or wise person, but until I talk to them frankly face to face, I am not going to judge them.

    God calls us to judge others by their fruit. Speaking of Bell specifically, I know of his fruit and it's good fruit.

    You have derailed the conversation of this post long enough. I get it. You don't like Bell or anything that is the Emergent church. But before you go judging people I would challenge you to talk to these people face to face about your issues. You are not helping the Kingdom of God sounding these alarms. In fact, you might drive more people to read and learn from Rob Bell or whoever by your ranting.

    If you would be honest, you know you're bias and I'm afraid that you cannot see past that to any truth in the ministries of the people you seemingly despise.

    If you would like to continue this conversation, please email me dareyoutomove AT gmail DOT com.

  8. I think Rob Bell is fine, I just think his teachings are deceptive. If more Christians read scripture, and more Pastors taught it, we would see that very clearly.

    The book of Jude 3-4 tells us:3Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4For certain men whose condemnation was written about[a] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

    So, I AM called to contend for the faith that was entrusted to us. And Eric, so are YOU.

    I urge you, go back to the Word of God. There you will see that not just ministers, but saints should stay away from gluttony, homosexuality, drunkeness, and NOT rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

    Is that back on topic?

  9. I agree that we should teach and study scripture. I do that weekly. Just remember that the Word of God is living and active and that there may be more than one way to interpret it. It doesn't mean that you can get whatever you want out of it, but that does mean that there might be more than one interpretation/application.

    I wish to contend the faith, I just don't think we agree on the essentials.