It seems like Christianity and Jesus are increasingly under attack. What's going on? What we'll be looking at is what happens when Christians use human wisdom to interpret the Bible, twisting scripture away from its intended message. This blog is dedicated to using Scripture itself to interpret and help us understand Scripture. You are welcome to add your comments and thoughts. Other viewpoints are welcome. Disagreements are welcome.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
U.S. Hate Crimes Bill
With everything that has been going on did you notice that just over a month ago President Obama signed into a law a hate crimes law. It adds to the list of federal hate crimes attacks on people based on their sexual orientation. The way this type of law has been interpreted in other countries is that, if your pastor preaches against homosexuality, and someone in the congregation attends a homosexual rights rally and happens to jostle a homosexual (that has been considered violence), your pastor is guilty of inciting a hate crime.
You can be found guilty of a hate crime for teaching your children what the Bible says about homosexuality. Schools will increase their promotion of homosexuality as being good and right, because that's how to teach children be be loving.
A Massachusetts man has been fired from his sales position at the Logan Airport branch in Boston of Brookstone allegedly for telling a female manager that his Christian faith says homosexuality is wrong.
Peter Vadala was fired, and the company says he violated a tolerance policy. But Vadala reports his dismissal came because he expressed his Christian view of homosexuality after a female manager made repeated references, as she approached him four times during work hours, to her plans to marry her lesbian partner.
"At the start of the day, she told me she was getting married. I told her 'Congratulations,' and asked, 'Where's he taking you on your honeymoon?'" Vadala said.
"She replied that her partner was a 'she,'" he continued, "So I immediately tried to change the subject.
"I think she knew I was uncomfortable talking about it," he continued. "But, she brought it up to me three more times during the day.
"After the fourth time she told me about her plan to marry her partner, I told her, 'I think homosexuality is bad stuff,'" Vadala said.
"That's what I said. I wasn't rude about it and I didn't act disrespectfully to her," he said. "All the woman said to me as she left the store was, 'Human Resources buddy. You keep your opinions to yourself!'"
Vadala said when he was hired he went through the company's training program, including a requirement to watch a video.
"In the video, there was a homosexual man who said he overheard two workers talking. One man in the outsourced video tells the other, 'If a homosexual man hits on me, he better watch out.'
"The homosexual man in the video said he was offended, but I'm not allowed to be offended by a homosexual ... I was told that since homosexual marriage is supposedly legal in Massachusetts, that I was wrong for being offended," Vadala said.
A Brookstone human resources staffer called a few days after the incident and Vadala said he told the caller he wanted to resolve the matter.
"I spoke to (the human resources staff member) and I wanted to resolve it. I said that for his sake, the matter needed be resolved because this manager will be around customers who, chances are, will be offended by the types of things she is saying," Vadala said
But during the course of the conversation Vadala said it became clear the call wasn't about resolving the issue.
It was a few days later Vadala received a termination letter from Brookstone.
The letter accused Vadala of "harassment" and described his comments as "inappropriate and unprofessional." Further, the letter charged, he was "imposing" his beliefs upon others.
Vadala said the letter from Brookstone, signed by Susan McGrath, contained numerous false accusations.
In a copy made available to World Net Daily, the letter reads, “You acknowledge that you then expressed to Ms. (name blacked out) that you disagreed strongly with her homosexual lifestyle and that [you] believe it is wrong. You describe it in your statement, as you did when speaking with me, as 'deviant.'"
But Vadala said he didn't use that word.
McGrath's letter further asserts that a sales associate "who was working with you at the time … provided a written statement indicating that while she did not witness the conversation … you did tell her later that you 'knew (she) is marrying another woman' and that you 'hate people like that.'"
Vadala reports he also did not say that.
McGrath refused WND's request to comment on the dispute. Instead she suggested Brookstone’s legal department be contacted. That department did not respond.
When contacted about the firing, store manager Katelyn Woodard said, "You need to speak to human resources about this and if you call this number again, I'll file harassment charges."
Vadala said it's clear to him he was fired for his faith.
The United Methodist Church is holding their national meeting in Texas this week. An issue that has been a hotly debated topic is that of homosexuality. This week, by a vote of 55% to 45% the United Methodist Church has reaffirmed their official position that homosexuality is not compatible with the teaching of the Bible. They got it right! Hallelujah!!
If a blind man is walking toward a cliff, we don't encourage him and tell him how wonderful he is and how he should be enjoying his walk. We WARN him. "Stop, blind man!! You are about to step off a cliff and die!" That is the loving thing to do... warn the blind man about the danger. That is what the United Methodist Church did this week. They took a courageous and loving step in saying to the spiritually blind, "Stop! You are heading for eternal death. You are going the wrong way." Turn from your sins, repent, and trust that Jesus has paid the penalty for all that you've done wrong!
God talks about marriage and what He expects from marriage in Malachi 2:14-15.
"The LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion. Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth."
Homosexual marriage does not fit into this picture of marriage at all. It is a picture of one man, one woman, remaining loyal to each other and doing what God wants... making Godly children.
Marriage is also a picture of God's relationship with Israel, and a picture of God's relationship with His church. In every case we are to reproduce... the church is to be involved in evangelism, leading people to Christ so that they become children of God.
But as I pointed out in that post, it is impossible for any of us to obey God's commands perfectly. In fact, the law was not given to us so that we can learn to obey it perfectly, the law was given to us so that we will know we are unable to obey God's law (Romans 7:7) and as a tutor that leads us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).
"I would not have known what sin was except through the law." - Romans 7:7
I explained in that previous post that while Christians do sin, it is because they fall into sin, they do not dive into sin. Christians struggle with sin, they do not accept sin as being good and right.
Here is today's verse:
#9 - "He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1 John 3:8,9
If we look at the original Greek for this verse, it has a deeper meaning than we get from the English translation. This verse is talking about having a continuing lifestyle of sin without repentance... without a struggle with sin.
The example that jumps right out is that of homosexuals being ordained as ministers, priests and bishops. To be a leader in a Christian church you must be a Christian. A homosexual who has turned away from homosexuality, and who is no longer practicing homosexuality can be a minister, priest or bishop. That person may even fall back into the sin of homosexuality... that is something that happens with fallen people such as us.
On the other hand, a homosexual who says, "I'm gay and I'm proud of it." is not a Christian and thus can not be a church leader, or even a church member. Instead of repenting of their sin, turning away from, and struggling with it, they are embracing their sin. That's what this verse is saying. If we embrace our sin... plan our sin... and do not struggle with our sin... then we are not a Christian.
One point I'd like to be very clear about: I said that a homosexual may not be a member of a church. This is true. The church is the body of Christ. If you are not a Christian you are not a part of the body of Christ, you are an enemy of God. However, that does not mean homosexuals are not welcome in church. Everyone is welcome to attend church services, classes and events. The doors are open to you. Come learn about Jesus Christ and how he died on the cross to pay the penalty you owe for disobeying God.
"By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me [Paul] also..." 1 Corinthians 15:2-8