The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Louie Giglio, President Barack Obama, and Homosexuality

By: Thomas Fletcher Booher

Sometimes it is good to talk on current issues. I assume most people reading this will be aware that Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia and leader of the Passion Movement was invited to give the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony. Then a gay rights group dug up a sermon some 15-20 years ago that Giglio preached where he called homosexuality a sin. A big stink was then raised, and Giglio withdrew to not cause a greater controversy. A pro-gay "pastor" has replaced Giglio. 

Four years ago Rick Warren faced similar heat, but he was not removed. So in four years the tide has turned in the public eye and in the White House- to condemn homosexuality as a sin is to not be with the times, with the beliefs of today, with what the god of "today" says. 

I want to address how this has happened. It has happened because Christians don't know their Bibles and what it says about homosexuality, and those who do believe homosexuality is a sin have not called it sin, or they have done so in such a way that is mean-spirited. All are wrong. Those who don't want to call being gay sin either do so because they don't want to be persecuted, or because they don't know how to argue that it is sin. Those who single out homosexuality and get their jollies from putting gays down don't really know why it is sin either but simply know that God hates it and therefore they want to spread hate too. Those are the only two voices you really hear on TV from Christians regarding homosexuality. Neither are what is needed because neither one is the biblical approach. 

What is needed is a thoughtful, careful, but firm explanation of what God says about homosexuality, and further, what He says about marriage. Scripture does clearly call homosexuality sin, but we must explain to unbelievers why it is sin. It is not enough to say that it is unnatural, nor that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. This would be acceptable if this was used as shorthand, but sadly it is not. The message that the culture needs to hear is that the Lord God is indeed God, and as such He is sovereign over all, and He has created all things and everyone for His good purposes, His glory, and His people's joy. This is why He created Adam and Eve, man and wife, and the sacred institution of marriage is supposed to reflect the precious spiritual union between God and man, between Christ and His bride. So perhaps we could say homosexuality is wrong because Christ marries a bride, not a groom. The God of the universe would not allow His marriage to be classified in terms of homosexuality nor let his relationship to His people be represented by a homosexual union, of groom and groom or bride and bride. So why do we? That would at least spark more discussion. 

The bottom line is that people don't understand the gospel nor do they have a Calvinistic understanding of the sovereignty of God over all things including salvation, and thus they don't fully understand why God created man and woman, Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. And if the world is going to be changed at least to the point where it is acceptable to still believe homosexuality is a sin, they must hear both the gospel and the purpose for the Creation of the first man and woman. Man needed a helpmeet, someone like him, but not exactly the same. Man needed companionship, someone who was his own flesh but yet wasn't quite the same. Different strengths. Complementary, not identical. It reflects the communion and diversity in the Godhead, between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It takes this diversity to bring forth new life- whenever God acts, each member of the trinity is involved. Take Creation- The Spirit of God hovers over the depths, and yet Scripture also says it is Christ who made all things for Himself, and it was God the Father's plan to do this! So with humankind, diversity in strengths, diversity in sexes, produces the clearest image of God, who is the highest good and the greatest delight. Further, the complete diversity of the Godhead is what made new life, all Creation, and it is the diversity of the King and Queen of Creation, man and woman, that creates new life. This is true for the animals as well. Heterosexuality represents the Godhead, homosexuality does not. Therefore, heterosexuality represents mankind, homosexuality does not. 

So what needs to be stressed to all the liberal pastors who think homosexuality is fine, and all who are unbelievers and think homosexuality is fine, is that when you mess with marriage- one man and one woman- you mess with Christ, with His Creation, and with His good purposes for marriage and love, which is the reflection of His own love for His people and our own love for Him. Further, you mess with the very image of both man and God when you do this. In short, you mess with the very fabric and structure that God has created the universe to be sustained, subdued, and governed by- the family structure itself. Men and women marrying and having children and raising them well is what makes this world go round, Christian or not. Anything apart from that and the world goes haywire, because God is the one who ordered the world, and He did it through diversity, the diversity of His Godhead. When people believe there are no God given differences between man and woman, they will behave unisexually, demonstrating neither the characteristics of the man or woman that they are that God has placed in them, and yet there are differences in the roles of the Godhead. And when mankind embraces homosexuality because there is no difference to begin with, sin happens. Pedophilia and rapings  happen. Bestiality happens. Incest occurs. Murder increases. 

This teaching must, of course, work in tandem with the gospel because unregenerates will not desire to follow God's family plan for the universe if they do not have that persuasion already. There is a small chance they may concede that it is a viable position and something to think about, but they will not submit to it in their hearts. My hope and prayer is that more men and women of God would begin to take the gospel and the theology of marriage and family as defined by God to the masses, even to other Christians who don't know what it is themselves. Only this coupled with prayer, by God's grace, can turn the sexual immorality in our nation around, and thus save it from great moral wickedness.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Roads Go Ever Ever On

By: Andrew M. Gilhooley

There is a scene in the last chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, or There and Back Again which stirs me deeply every time I read it. The hobbit Bilbo Baggins, accompanied by the wizard Gandalf, is on the return journey to his home across the Water under the Hill at Bag End, from whence he was suddenly displaced over one year earlier on a warm April morning. The reason for his displacement was his sudden and quite unexpected inclusion into a quest with a party of thirteen dwarves to reclaim their stolen treasure and homeland of the Lonely Mountain from the great dragon Smaug. By this time in the story (chapter XIX) the mission has been completed: Smaug is dead and the stolen treasure and Lonely Mountain are reclaimed; and for that reason Bilbo is heading home. As the two travelers come one day to a rise, Bilbo sees in the distance the Hill which his hobbit-hole is under, and at the sight of it he suddenly stops his walk and speaks a soliloquy:

                        Roads go ever ever on,
                            Over rock and under tree,
                        By caves where never sun has shone,
                            By streams that never find the sea;
                        Over snow by winter sown,
                            And through the merry flowers of June,
                        Over grass and over stone,
                            And under mountains in the moon.

                        Roads go ever ever on
                            Under cloud and under star,
                        Yet feet that wandering have gone
                            Turn at last to home afar.
                        Eyes that fire and sword have seen
                            And horror in the halls of stone
                        Look at last on meadows green
                            And trees and hills they long have known.

A soliloquy is a character’s utterance of his innermost thoughts within the hearing of others; it is the speaking of his private thoughts aloud to himself while being oblivious as to whether anyone is listening to him or not. This is precisely what the above poem is; it is Bilbo’s reflections concerning his adventure which is now drawing to a close, which he speaks in the hearing of Gandalf on the road.

The heart of this soliloquy lies in the first four verses of the second stanza:

                        Roads go ever ever on
                            Under cloud and under star,
                        Yet feet that wandering have gone
                            Turn at last to home afar.

These verses stir me, because as a Christian I relate to Bilbo. Like him, I have been displaced from my home, for long ago in my father Adam I was exiled from Eden: my heavenly abode in the divine presence; and I am on an adventure away from that home, trekking upon roads under cloud and under star. Yet by the grace of God one day my feet that wandering have gone will turn at last to home afar.

That is my hope: that one day I will be restored to my heavenly abode in the divine presence; and it is the hope for all the elect saints of God. All were exiled from Eden in Adam as a consequence of his transgression, for all humanity is identified with him (Rom 5); but all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore identify with Him—who as a second and greater Adam obeyed the Father actively in all things and never fell into transgression like the former, while also giving up His life passively as a vicarious sacrifice for His elect—will one day be brought back to dwell for eternity in a greater Eden, namely the new heavens and earth. And be assured that once we are home we shall never leave for another adventure again.

*Other articles written by Andrew concerning The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien: There and Back Again: The Story of the Christian Life

--Andrew M. Gilhooley is currently a sophomore at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida. Among his hobbies are fishing, archery, playing piano, writing, and reading classic literature. Upon graduation, Andrew plans to attend graduate school and possibly enter into bible translation ministry.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Slate Asks: Was Jesus A Homophobe?

By: Sean Rice

An American publication named Slate recently published an article by Will Oremus called 'Was Jesus a Homophobe?'* Surprisingly, given that it is a pretty left-leaning publication, I actually agree with a lot of what Oremus had to say. He doesn't seem to stretch facts to come to favourable conclusions. He does criticize Paul for wording things a little harshly when it comes to homosexuality (most Christians would criticize Paul's use of language, too - how many of you would stay if your pastor dismissively told the troublemakers in your church to castrate themselves? See Galatians 5.12), though I don't disagree with the strong tone that Paul sometimes takes on issues. Will Oremus writes,
'[Was Jesus a homophobe?] Yes and no. While it's reasonable to assume that Jesus and his fellow Jews in first-century Palestine would have disapproved of gay sex, there is no record of his ever having mentioned homosexuality, let alone expressed particular revulsion about it. In Leviticus, the Old Testament declares it "an abomination" for a man to lie with a man; the punishment was death. It’s possible that attitudes would have been less draconian in Galilee, the region in northern Israel where Jesus spent most of his life, since it did have a reputation for political autonomy. Still, Jews of the time tended to be less sexually permissive than those in Rome or Egypt, so same-sex relationships would have been kept quiet... 
...Even if Jesus viewed homosexuality as a sin, he had a penchant for reaching out to sinners rather than shunning them. Criticized by the Pharisees for dining with tax collectors, he likened sinners to lost sheep; the goal was to bring them back into the fold. Not all of Jesus’ followers took such a tender view, however. In Romans I, Paul denounced gay sex as unnatural—an example of pagan decadence—and said it would bring the wrath of God.'
I love that last paragraph. 'Even if Jesus viewed homosexuality as a sin, he had a penchant for reaching out to sinners rather than shunning them. Criticized by the Pharisees for dining with tax collectors, he likened sinners to lost sheep; the goal was to bring them back into the fold.' I volunteer extensively in a small church in Saskatchewan, and while there are some pretty open-minded -yet theologically conservative- people in the Christian community, the desire to be 'reaching out to sinners rather than shunning them' isn't a desire that is shared by everybody. On this, we Christians desperately need to follow Jesus.

It is worth adding that Jesus more than likely believed that homosexuality was a sin. He taught this. InMark 7.20-21 Jesus explained that 'what comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, comes... sexual immorality'. That Jesus would so casually, and without explanation, mention sexual immorality means that those he taught would likely have had a shared definition of what it was. That shared definition likely came from the list in Leviticus 18.1-30, where homosexuality is listed inLeviticus 18.22. In that small, passing reference at least, Jesus did teach on homosexuality and at least a dozen other sorts of sexual immorality. The fact that it rarely came up in Jesus' teaching suggests it wasn't a common practice in Galilee or Judea during the early 30's when Jesus was fulfilling his ministry.

We can't say that Jesus didn't teach on the subject. What we can do is reach out rather than shun.

That's all for today,

*Oremus, Will, 'Was Jesus a Homophobe?' For the full article, visit here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Fruit-Bearing Life of the Believer

By: Nathan Fox


I feel so compelled to write this blog post today. Not only do I work through books of the Bible at a time, but also have been blessed to read a little booklet everyday that provides tidbits of encouragement and sound Biblical advice. The book (Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest) covered one of my favorite topics today, and consequently the Scripture that I was covering in Colossians also speaks on this issue. The issue you ask? It is simply this: true faith in Jesus Christ bears fruit. 

Scriptural Text

Last week, we covered the first few verses in the book of Colossians, and talked about unity in doctrine and unity in love. Unity in doctrine is an imperative for a growing Christian and a growing Christian congregation, but it doesn’t just stop there! The doctrine of the Gospel has the potential to change lives not only at the moment of conversion but for all eternity. For our text today, we will look at Colossians 1:5-8 and in doing so I hope to show you the natural reaction of a human life to salvation.

Let’s start in verse 5 as it says this: “because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the Gospel...” In this verse we encounter a word that stands out (truth). The hope that we have as believers not only for this life but for eternity rests on the truth of the Gospel! If the Gospel is not true, then there is no hope for the believer in the Gospel. But if it is true, and I believe with all of my heart that it is, then there is something to rest our entire lives on! 

But it’s truth does more than just give us confidence; it goes way beyond that by changing our lives! How does it do that? Because the Gospel bears fruit! True faith in Jesus leads to a changed life and a life that bears fruit for Him! Take a look at verses 6-8: “it (the Gospel) has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.” Take a look at the content of those verses again before we try to break them down. 

The Gospel brings forth fruit, meaning that it has come to change lives. It is making a difference in the lives of those who believe in it. But it doesn’t just change our lives at the moment that we are regenerated, but is also something that should bear fruit as we go through our daily lives. Look at the latter part of those set of verses again. The Gospel bore fruit in the lives in the Colossians not only by leading them to salvation but also bore fruit through how they loved each other. And this is what I want to focus most on: the Gospel indeed bears fruit and changes lives the moment the Holy Spirit indwells us, but it also should bear fruit on a daily basis, and should be most evident through our love for each other. Just as Paul heard of the Colossian’s bearing fruit as evidence by their love, so too should Christians today bear fruit as a result of a changed life. 

Practical Application

Oswald Chambers had this to say in his book (and I must say that I love this quote): “The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be the visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.” If Jesus has changed your life, if you have heard the truth of the Gospel and as a consequence the Holy Spirit moved in you and now indwells you, then the natural reaction can only be this: bear fruit! Live as the people of Colosse did, and let people hear of your love. Let people see the church today bearing fruit as a result of their profound faith in Jesus Christ. 

Let me say this as well: bearing fruit doesn’t necessarily mean that you drop everything, give up all your money, pray 24/7, and become a foreign missionary overnight (though I have respect for those who have the dedication to attempt to do these things). Be practical in the way that you do things, and start off small. Small gestures of love and kindness is still bearing fruit, and still exemplifies the authenticity of the Gospel in which you believe. For example, I send a text to my fiancee’s sister after each of her basketball games to inquire how she did and whether she had fun or not. I attempt to encourage her in very practical ways and I am trying to give her the confidence needed to do her best. Now that might not be the biggest example of bearing fruit, and you would be right. But that’s my point! Do little things for people (believers and non-believers alike) out of a heart of love, and in doing so you are allowing the Gospel to bear fruit through you. 

It is my prayer that this week that you will bear fruit for the Gospel. I hope that everyone who reads this will be encouraged enough to live out a life of authenticity for the world to see, and that we as believers will be a light to all who encounter us. It is my prayer that you will display simple acts of love for the lost, and in doing so will gain the opportunity to display one of the most beautiful acts of love as you gain their trust to present to them the good news of Jesus. If you are looking for something to do that will be an encouragement and will allow you to exercise your faith then I have something that you can do for me. Pray for me as I go through an ACL surgery this Wednesday. Pray for the doctors who will work on me and for the tedious rehab process I will have to undergo. Somehow, I hope that your praying for me will bolster your faith in the best healer that I know (Jesus). Somehow, I hope that this small act of kindness that you display towards me will allow you to see just how fantastic it is to bear fruit for the glory of the Lord.