Homosexuality and the Theology of Inclusion Part 4 Straw-men

HomosexualityOver the last several posts I have done my best to present a Biblical position on the issue of  Homosexuality and the LGBT lifestyle  and in particularly, concerning what the Bible teaches concerning what the church’s position ought to be in contrast to  the recent decision of Eastlake Community Church of Bothell WA..  What I have avoided on this sensitive and emotional topic has been name-calling and straw-man arguments.  That has not been the case with ECC and pastor Meeks.

So, just what is a straw-man argument anyway and why should I care?

Wickipedia (not always the best source) defines it as “a straw man is a common type of argument and is;  an informal fallacy based on the misrepresentation of an opponent’s argument.[1]  Another explanation is; “The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.”[2]  And of course, Webster’s defines it as;  “a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated.”[3]

More often than not, this kind of argument or fallacy is perpetrated upon another, purposely, without the chance of rebuttal.  It is done through exaggerated examples and frequently the use of slogans and pejorative name calling.  The tactic is often effective on those who are not in the habit of using critical thinking skills and/or are easily swayed my emotional rhetoric.  It is also particularly effective by the use of name-calling (ie. racist, bigot, hater, judgmental, Pharisee, homophobe, etc.) with the goal of silencing the opposition through guilt association and shame.    It is often used in politics and religion where the goal is to target a friendly audience to the person’s position by vilifying the opposition.  In some cases,  where the tactic is often used,  the party using it is unaware of the unfairness of its use and they often think they are actually raising a logical polemic.  What is even more interesting is that once they have bullied the opposition into silence through fear and/or guilt, they think they have won the day! This often has the effect of reinforcing their own position and as a result they become more militant. Continue reading ‘Homosexuality and the Theology of Inclusion Part 4 Straw-men’

Homosexuality and the Theology of Inclusion Part 3 – Is it a Sin to be Gay?

HomosexualityNearly two decades ago I was a guest on Seattle’s, KOMO TV station on a program called “Town Meeting.”  The topic was,  “Is It A Sin To Be Gay?” Sitting next to me, representing the so-called “affirming” or “inclusive” position was a United Methodist minister.

When I first heard of the topic title I was incensed.  How is it that man could even think he can define what is sinful apart from the authority of the Scriptures?  Sin is not a human concept or idea, it is by definition completely a Divine concept.  Sin is rebellion against God.  It is that which is offensive to the Holy character of God.  We don’t get to define it, only God can do that, since it is God’s character, holiness, righteousness, and justice that are violated by our rebellion.

Romans 1-3 are Paul’s argument that all, whether Jew or Gentile,  are guilty and under sin and the judgment of God. In Chapter 3:9-23 we read a summary of the depravity of man.  In essence, anything that falls short of God’s glory is sin (Roman 3:23).  Sin can also be defined as lawlessness, a defection from any of God’s  law and standards (Romans 7:7-13; Galatians 3:10,12;  James 2:8-12, 1 John 3:40). Sin is a moral evil. A.H.  Strong defines sin as “lack of conformity to the moral law of God, either in act, disposition,, or state.”[1]  Ryrie, in “Basic Theology,” states; “Certainly the chief characteristic of sin is that it is directed against God. (This may be expressed in relation to God’s law as well.) Any definition that fails to reflect this is not a Biblical one.  The cliché that categorizes sins as against self, against others, not against God fails to emphasize the truth that all sin is ultimately against God (Ps.51:4; Rom.8:7).” [2]

So, the question is, where do we look to find the answer to our opening question?  The answer to that question is the Scriptures, God’s revelation of Himself, His nature, and His redemptive story.  Only the Bible can define sin and any individual, ecclesiastical body, or church, who attempts to define sin outside Biblical revelation will always fall short at best or be fully corrupt in its assessment at worst. Continue reading ‘Homosexuality and the Theology of Inclusion Part 3 – Is it a Sin to be Gay?’

Homosexuality and the Theology of Inclusion – Part 2 -Antinomianism

HomosexualityJust what is antinomianism?  Websters Dictionary states; “1:  one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation. 2:  one who rejects a socially established morality.”[1]  Theopedia.com goes on to say ; “Antinomianism comes from the Greek meaning lawless. In Christian theology it is a pejorative term for the teaching that Christians are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality…. Antinomianism may be viewed as the polar opposite of legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation. In this sense, both antinomianism and legalism are considered errant extremes.”[2]  Charles Ryrie, in his fine work, “Basic Theology,” puts it; “Antinomianism teaches that a Christian is not bound by the law. Antinomianism’s concept of freedom from the law leads to license.  Antinomianism is sometimes equated with Christian liberty, a wrong equation.  The opposite of liberty is slavery, and the believer has been brought out of slavery to sin to a position of freedom in Christ.”[3] Continue reading ‘Homosexuality and the Theology of Inclusion – Part 2 -Antinomianism’

Homosexuality and the Theology of Inclusion – Part 1

HomosexualityIt is no great news that a number of main-line denominations have adopted a theology based on a perverted understanding, found outside the Scriptures and/or the wresting of Scriptures, of the concept of love. It is that view of love that birthed the concept of “inclusion,” “affirming churches,”  of all types of sin, especially the flavor of this age, homosexuality as authentic love.

It has now infected churches claiming to be “evangelical,” such as Eastlake Community Church in Bothell, WA  as the “lead pastor,” Ryan Meeks explains;  “I refuse to go to a church where my friends who are gay are excluded from Communion or a marriage covenant or the beauty of Christian community… “It is a move of integrity for me—the message of Jesus was a message of wide inclusivity.”[1]

I don’t find this surprising that Eastlake would take this position.  It is part of their DNA of “inclusion” and acceptance and being non-judgmental of sin.  It’s “the church for the rest of us.[2]”  Ryan states; There are plenty of churches for the already convinced. But what about the rest of us? A lot of us have questions. That’s not always a welcome reality in a lot of circles. I wanted to create a space where it didn’t matter where you were coming from or what beliefs you held.[3]

The idea that the Scriptures are clear on what is sin, what is rebellion against God, is  in Meek’s mind, non-inclusive and seen as spiritual arrogance  (Post Modernism).   Meeks makes his Post Modern approach to the Scriptures very clear when he commented in Mynorthwest.com;   “The last few hundred years the church has had this, like, ‘We have all the answers, it’s all super clear,’ certainty model. I think people today are just like, ‘I just don’t know how you can have that kind of certainty.’ I don’t have certainty. I have trust… “But, you know, I wasn’t there. I’m placing my faith in this idea that Jesus came and died on the cross. But I don’t know it! A lot of times I think people hear these pastors talk with certainty. So people are looking for an authentic faith journey that embraces our unknowing.”[4]  His lack of certainty concerning clear Biblical teaching and his position on homosexual inclusiveness is not a matter of “integrity” on Meek’s part, as he claims,  but of capitulation of clear Biblical truth.  There can be no authentic Gospel preaching that neglects repentance and Biblical sanctification, the Lordship of Jesus Christ and avoids the clear teaching of the Scriptures.

The idea that the Bible is unclear about what is sin,  is to ignore the argument of Romans 1-3. And for the leadership of any church to deny or propagate such a notion is unbelief and clearly not Evangelical.  It also distorts Grace as an acceptance of sin in our lives which is the heresy of antinomianism. If there is no knowledge of sin there can be no repentance (Romans 3:20).  In the case of Eastlake’s legitimizing, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and full acceptance of LGBT as acceptable lifestyles,  worthy of full acceptance and not a hindrance for church membership is not “loving”, but rather cowardice and leaves those captive in slavery to these sins, unregenerate and under the judgment of God.  And like the Pharisees who added and changed and distorted the Word of God, ECC converts are in danger of “twice as much a son of hell” (Matthew 23:15) if they accept a Gospel message that lacks repentance,( Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Like 13:1,3; Acts 2:28; 8:22). and the forsaking of sin (John 8:10-11) and accepts LGBT as normative..

Nor is the Gospel of Jesus Christ inclusive (John 14:6).  It is embodied in a set of undeniable and clear non-inclusive objective truths.

Over the next several days I will address ECC’s antinomianism, Post Modern Theology, and the Scriptural evidence for the sin of homosexuality and straw-man tactics and name calling.

-Pastor Michael Holtzinger

[1] http://time.com/3669024/evangelicals-gay-marriage/

[2] http://mynorthwest.com/?sid=2353222&nid=651

[3] Ibib

[4] Ibib

Reformation Day

lutherFriday is known by the world and many Christians for something else.  But it is a great day for those of us who understand the Reformation.  Friday is Reformation Day!  It is the day we remember and reflect on the theological positions of  Sola Scriptura,” “Sola Fida,” “Sola Gratia,” ” Sola Christus,” Soli Deo Gloria,” held and defended by  great men such as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, Heinrich Bullinger, John Calvin, and John Knox, just to name a few.

I don’t think that it can be over emphasized, that for those of us who hold to these great Biblical theological positions, we stand on the shoulders of men and women who were willing to pay any cost necessary in defense of these truths.

Born, raised, and educated, as  a Roman Catholic, I came to saving faith in Christ through the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s cross in my early twenties.  As I grew in Christ my passion for the Gospel grew and I soon found myself “contending for the faith once delivered” (Jude 3)  I started reading  the biographies of Luther, John Knox William Tyndale and John Calvin. These were men who were on fire for the defense of the faith. They were courageous beyond belief and completely sold out to Christ.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to these who championed the formal argument of the Reformation; Sola Scriptura.  That doctrinal position opened the doors to a re-awakening of the Gospel message in it fullness, and the release of spiritual captives under a religious system that could not release them from their sin.

- Pastor Michael Holtzinger

Had Lunch With A Sinner Lately?

Luke 7:34 (NKJV) 34  The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

Luke 15:2 (NKJV) 2  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.”

lunchThe complaint of the Pharisees that Jesus ate and was friends with “sinners” was a common one.  The self-righteousness of  this group was often on open display.  Our Lord referred to this in Luke 18:10-14 contrasting the self-righteousness of a Pharisee and a repentant tax collector.  While observing their religious duties and disciplines, they had “neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.”  (Matthew 23:23).  The so-called religious “disciplines” and matters of  “separation”  were  so ingrained they were unable to see through their hypocrisy.  The thought of having lunch with a common sinner was beyond their comprehension to do so.  They were incapable of demonstrating any kind of love and mercy and were also blinded to their own sin.  The result was that they saw the mercy of Christ worked out not as mercy or love, but sin.  They had an upside-down morality (Isaiah 5:20; Amos 5:7) that called that which was good evil and that which was evil good.   They could not see that their religious actions and attitudes were evil.  As far as they were concerned, by definition they must be good!  They were done in the name of Jehovah weren’t they? Continue reading ‘Had Lunch With A Sinner Lately?’

Is There Life After Death?

Bill O'ReillyWhen ever I watch the O’Reilly Show and he has a segment on religion of any kind, I  am immediately skeptical waiting for miscues and outright error  concerning what the Bible teaches. Bill often represents his own Church’s doctrine (Roman Catholic) inaccurately as well.  So it was with some real reservations that I hung in there to watch the segment on; “Is There Life After Death?”  There was no doubt in my mind that Bill believed in “life after death,” after all he is a Roman Catholic. So I was confident that at least that question would be viewed in the positive, especially since he was airing this question in the context of the resurrection of Christ. Continue reading ‘Is There Life After Death?’

Thanksgiving

When our family gathers for thanksgiving, its a large festive occasion.  Full of noise from exited grand kids and discussions ranging from what’s happening in our respective homes, our gadgets (cell phones, tablet, and computers), ministry blessings, and of course what ever football game is on at the moment.

We will sit around one large table to enjoy the Thanksgiving dinner with the younger grandchildren at a separate table.

Continue reading ‘Thanksgiving’

Chuck Woolery on Taxing the Rich

While this blog is primarily a discussion of theology from a Biblical perspective, I thought this very funny video was worth a post!

– Michael Holtzinger

Pope John Paul II’s body exhumed ahead of beatification

For the uninitiated, this headline would seem to be just another liturgical ceremony of the Roman Catholic Church.  It is viewed as harmless and maybe even respectful of the life of Pope Paul II and that is all.

But what does it mean when the Catholic church talks about the process of  “beatification”? For the Catholic Church it is the “last step before being declared a saint.[1] This is also called the process of “canonization”.  “By canonizing some of the faithful, ie., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors.”[2] So this is the process whereby the Catholic Church recognizes that certain individuals because of the exemplary life as seen by the Church have earned heaven and sainthood. Of course, not only is the life of the person examined but there must also be evidence of sainthood through the performing of two miracles that are recognized by the Catholic Church.  In the case of Pope Paul II only one miracle has been recognized. The Vatican has deemed that the otherwise inexplicable cure of a French nun, Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, was due to John Paul’s intercession with God to perform a miracle, thus permitting the beatification to go ahead. Another miracle will have to be attributed to John Paul’s intercession after the beatification in order for him to be declared a saint.  Of course, for the Catholic Church this process is complicated and intricate, the beatification and subsequent canonization is recognition of the sainthood of the deceased individual and also his or her intercessory influence before God.

Continue reading ‘Pope John Paul II’s body exhumed ahead of beatification’

Quote Of The Day

“Believers in Christ’s atonement are now in declared union with those who make light of it; believers in Holy Scripture are in confederacy with those who deny plenary inspiration; those who hold evangelical doctrine are in open alliance with those who call the fall a fable, who deny the personality of the Holy Ghost, who call justification by faith immoral, and hold that there is another probation after death… Yes, we have before us the wretched spectacle of professedly orthodox Christians publicly avowing their union with those who deny the faith, and scarcely concealing their contempt for those who cannot be guilty of such gross disloyalty to Christ. To be very plain, we are unable to call these things Christian Unions, they begin to look like Confederacies in Evil… It is our solemn conviction that where there can be no real spiritual communion there should be no pretense of fellowship. Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin.”
C.H.S., Nov. 1887, The Sword and Trowel.

InHabit Conference – Seattle

A few days ago, I  received an email inviting me to attend a conference in Seattle called “Inhabit Conference” at the end of April.   The Conference is being hosted by Mars Hill Graduate School and being sponsored by “Parish Collective,” Mars Hill Graduate School”, and “Transform.”  The Theme is “The West Coast Gathering for the growing transition toward rooted Practice – Presence – and Place.”  Since I am not part of the emergent/emerging missional movement I really didn’t know what the code words Practice, Presence, and Place meant so I took the time to do some research and see if I could glean some meaning..  The best explanation I could find was on their Facebook page; “the Inhabit Conference brings together innovative missional practitioners from across the West Coast to empower, encourage, and engage each other around the common theme of inhabiting a particular place.” With that in mind, and upon some further research, the organization, “Parish Place” one of the sponsors,  seems to really see the missional directive in that same  kind of language. Michael Frost of Paris Collective puts it this way;

“God’s reign and rule is not only over individuals and their lives, it’s actually over the planet, it’s over human society, it over everything, God’s reign is complete, utter, and total, even though it is perceived kinda partially and mysteriously.  Well then the mission of God’s church is to alert people to God’s reign over the planet, over the environment, over human relationships. So for me the mission of the church, I think, is identifying the way God’s reign or rule is unfolding in their neighborhood and that’s always pursued in the context of place. It’s perceived in the restoration of relationships, in the presentation of beauty, and in the expression of justice. And all of those things are always expressed locally in a sense of place. So rather than church membership being the primary goal of mission, the primary goal of mission needs to unfold or uncover that ways in which God reign is being expressed in the place in which we currently find ourselves.”

Continue reading ‘InHabit Conference – Seattle’

A Call To Ministry

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ( ESV ) 26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,£ not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;  28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,  29so that no human being£ might boast in the presence of God.  30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.  31Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

I recently received an email encouraging me to attend a pastor’s meeting where I would have a chance to meet and interact with a speaker who’s ministry is to , among other things, encourage the development of  natural and spiritual giftedness in light of the pastor’s call to ministry.  In a paragraph called “Living Your Strengths”, the author states ; “Your calling is what God wants you to do with your life; your talents and strengths determine how you will get it done. When you discover your talents, you begin to discover your calling.” The author was encouraging us to particiapte in StrengthFinder/APEST Seminar which will be held in early February 2011 .

To discover these talents and gifts that are defined into 5 categories (Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelist, Shepherd/Pastor, and Teacher, taken from an interesting hermeneutic of Ephesians 4:11) a person can take the  APEST  online self-assessment designed to solicit an individual response to a series of questions. It was developed and adapted from a team of Gallop Research scientists, headed by Dr. Donald O. Clifton which is based on their 40 year study of human strengths in which they created a language of the 34 most common talents and developed the assessment to help people discover and describe those talents. Continue reading ‘A Call To Ministry’

Quote of the Day

I cannot count the number of times that I have told people how bad the Constantine was for the Christian faith. Well, today I was reading Culver’s Systematic Theology and ran across this statement. Thank you Robert for saying it so well:

“In modern times faith has been wrongfully “rationalized” and “psychologized”, just as in the medieval period it was “legalized” and ruined by the reduction to mere assent to facts.”

Culver, Robert Duncan, Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical. Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor Imprint, 2005. 716.

Quote Of The Day

I  feel sick to death of the common talk about the healthiness of doubting and the beauty of “modern thought.” This talk is only the self-praise of a set of concealed infidels treacherously lurking in God’s church.

- C.H. Spurgeon, “The Three Witnesses,” a sermon originally preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on Sunday morning, 9 August 1874.