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August 20, 2012
As the cultural battles erupt over gay rights, Keller offers a thoughtful response.
posted by UrL Scaramanga
| Comments (17)
I agree that there is no sin that is worse than another and that we should love homosexuals as we would Muslims or anyone else. However, I wish Keller had spoken a little about the concept that once one embraces the Gospel and is saved, one becomes a new creation in Christ, and therefore, we would hope, would now be able to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit, to which now there is access, to, on an ongoing basis, not continue in doing what the Bible clearly defines as sin. It's true that once we are saved, the sins we commit are covered by Christ's sacrifice, but I think it could have been more clear that it's not okay to keep on being disobedient to the Word, whether it's continuing to be greedy, living a homosexual lifestyle, or whatever may be the sin(s) that repeatedly beset us. No—there must be true repentance when we do disobey and a striving to live a holy life by the power of the Spirit.
Posted By: Terri Kraus | August 20, 2012 6:41 PM
Simul eustes et peccator.
At the same time fully sinful...and yet fully justified.
(this drove, and still does drive the Catholics nuts).
We all continue in sin as believers (Romans 7 - and look in the mirror)
The issue isn't whether gays are saved or not, that is up to Christ Jesus, as it's up to Him for us, also.
But rather, should the church accept and affirm a person's sin? NO.
Gay people are welcome in our congregation, but they are not welcome to make an issue of their sin or ask us for a pass on it.
Posted By: Steve Martin | August 20, 2012 8:36 PM
So here's what we might be learning in this video clip.
Being greedy or gay doesn't send you to hell. Pride does.
But being good or even humble doesn't send you to heaven, Christ does.
So pride is why people are tortured forever.
But admitting we've done the things that didn't have us hell bound is what gets us out of it.
Additionally, gays are separate from the church. The church is "us" who aren't the "them". There's the "them" of hindus, muslims and gays who are equally outside the Christian faith. So "we" need to relate rightly to "them". If you are gay, you aren't "us". But "we" are committing to treat "you" better, because that is who "we" are. "We" will work on doing a better job of inviting "you" into our church as welcomed guests.
Posted By: Steve | August 20, 2012 10:11 PM
I think Tim did the best he could under the circumstances, and considering that the topic is loaded with nuances indicates to me that it was quite the waltz to be sure he covered as much as he could without breaking out in lecture.
The issue though is that there is a militant force that locks people into the homosexual life-style, a lie that enslaves individuals by saying, "well, you act gay, therefore you are gay!" Then tells them to be comfortable in that life-style, and damning anyone who says different.
And instead of confronting that lie, telling people no, you get to define who you are, not society, and certainly not some pop-psychologists who feel people must be pigeon holed so they can define personality types...no, we focus on the individual caught in that web of lies, and we're all too willing to burn them at the stake.
As I was told by several people who are involved in the "Gay Rights" movement that they would very much like to see legislation that would make it illegal to say homosexuality is wrong, and if possible, a hate crime.
That day may never come, but that is their response to the viciously reprehensible attacks that the Church has dumped on people trapped in the homosexual life-style.
The Church certainly doesn't treat sexually active heterosexual people like that...why do we treat sexually active homosexual people like that?
If sin is sin...
Posted By: sheerahkahn | August 21, 2012 9:50 AM
I'm not sure about the forum in which Tim was speaking. My hunch is that Tim was deliberately vague so as not to fall into the trap which had been set for him. The moderator painted a picture of intolerance and Tim tried to avoid the trap using pride and self-righteousness as counter points. The problem interacting with the gay community is their desire and demand to be accepted and condoned. The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin and that people who are given over to that lifestyle will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The church's stance varies in terms of how to approach sinners. Jesus was popular with sinners because He loved them, but He did endorse them. He came to save them, not just accept their sin. The love of Jesus transformed the sinners far more effectively than the law which pointed out their sin. Tim is perhaps trying to get sinners to meet the Savior Who transforms, but he appears to equivocate in the process.
Posted By: Frank Costenbader | August 21, 2012 12:45 PM
Tim did a good job here. Christians should never judge, and someone who leads a gay lifestyle should never push it on someone else. It's that clear and simple. Everyone has their own choice, and none of us can give a good reason for why someone has chosen a certain lifestyle. There are a million factors that go into play that no one can understand except God.
Posted By: Joshua Tilghman | August 22, 2012 8:45 PM
Does anyone know the context of this video?
Posted By: banyan16 | August 23, 2012 11:13 AM
I believe it was a Veritas Forum at Columbia University in NYC - the interviewer is a non-believing local journalist.
Posted By: Santosh | August 23, 2012 9:47 PM
We debate all this in fear of persecution, being labelled a bigot, racist or a hypocrit.
In fear of man we do not stand up for God. I am glad one day God will stand up. When He does it is over. Sinners will be in hell. Saints in heaven. Whilst we try and justify our sin in religious talk (blood of the lamb washes me, God loves the sinner hates the sin, God is going to forgive us all) we fall further from the truth.
CHrist came to set us free from sin. The cross is not a glorified pigeon to be sacrificied each sunday for your weekday sins. Israel did that each Saturdy and God hammered them. True Story.
Repent, follow CHrist lead a sinless (yes less) life by following His spirit not your flesh. If you think that God approves of a man inserting his penis into a bacteria infested rectum (excuse the clinical talk - I am a student Nurse) then you are absolutely stark raving mad. He doesnt. It is not love as Romans states its man gone mad - without God, buring for lust at a level that makes him so blind - he has sex with his own kind. We debate them because we are afraid of speaking the truth and facing persecution.
read 1 corinthians 6:9. Read and study it. It even outlines that both the ifeminate homosexual and the male acting one (if you read it in Greek rather than politically correct TNIV etc) will not enter heaven. The words say will not enter.
I once was lost in sexual immorality. Abused as achild demons of the past led me down a road of lust. TOday I follow Jesus, He is actually in me just as the bible says. I now have a degree in theology, doing one in nursing and am a street chaplain. Today I do not even look at a woman in lust let alone have sex.with my same sex? Here is a little ryhme you may llike to learn. Teach it to your kids. Penis for Vagina. Vagina for Baby. Bottom for poo. Get it?
Truely a lot of people are in for the shock of their lives when the all powerful HOLY pure God gets here. And obliterates the sinful. Everyone that causes sin - destroyed. Its in His word it makes sense.
Follower or debater?
Posted By: jack jones | August 24, 2012 9:59 PM
I thought Tim was excellent. May I ask why we as Christians don't make whipping boys of all the gluttons standing in the pulpit and in the congregation? Gluttony is very much a sin. So, why don't we continually disparage and judge the fat people among us with snide little comments like "Love the sinner, hate the sin?" I'm truly curious.
Posted By: Kathy | August 27, 2012 4:37 PM
I'm a pastor who HAS several gay friends and has known many others. Most of my gay friends are also committed believers. They are gay/homosexual because of orientation/attraction not by ongoing action! In other words, my friends who are attracted to members of the same sex cry out to Jesus for mercy, for victory over sin, for help to flee sexual immorality are just as committed as my Christian heterosexual friends who cry out for the same thing.
If you want to argue with me that the "attraction" itself is the sin rather than the "action" then please help me see where that is truly biblical (to Santosh in the above post the word "effeminate" does not mean attraction). Help me understand why Paul still felt a war going on inside of him between two "attractions". Or, better than arguing with me (or anyone)... why don't you/me/we embrace those who feel horrible that they have done everything to change their attraction, who feel exiled by the church, who wonder if God hates them because they've tried to date the opposite sex...tried counseling... tried reading the Bible... tried "repenting"... etc... and simply can't change the attraction (some do by the way).
Can't we just stand by them as the Body of Christ and say your struggle with the attraction for members of the same sex is not any different than my attraction to want more stuff at the expense of poor people in the world ("greed which is idolatry" when acted upon), or want more food than I need to eat (gluttony-"whose God is their stomach") or just something as simple as complaining ("and do not grumble as some of them did and ...were destroyed")? Most of "good" Christians have these "less sinful desires/attraction" or have just gotten really good at covering up the "more sinful" ones.
All of us sin is different ways, and all of us are tempted in different ways. Is acting on homosexuality a sin. I think the Bible says "yes." Just like me acting on lust and looking at internet porn (which I've done as most of the men who are reading this). But let's make it easier for individuals to repent of the action by not shaming them for the attraction or shaming them when they come for help with the action.
Posted By: Brian Townsend | August 27, 2012 11:45 PM
Keller didn't answer the question(s). Sometimes these great preachers seem to think as long as they keep talking they are making issues clearer. Yes, Jesus oves us where we are (in our sin) but He doesn't leave us there. Would the interview have been any shorter had the subject been pedophilia?
Posted By: Mike | August 28, 2012 9:14 AM
Who - exactly - told you your job as a Christian is to "stand up for God?" Because last I checked, the doctrine of justification is about Christ standing up for you and me because we're unable of standing up for ourselves.
And BTW, good luck helping people become disciples with that club you're carrying. You might make a few fearful religious people but no God-loving disciples.
Unfortunately, this issue is too complex to simply say "let's stand by them." Some will say you aren't standing by them so long as you say their actions are sinful.
I think Keller did his best under the circumstances. He had to "avoid the question" because the question was full of false dichotomies that Scripture doesn't recognize.
What I appreciate is Keller's gesture toward a more nuanced notion of sin than the bastardized version that floats around the culture. Few, even within the church, have a solid grasp of the difference between "sin" and "sins."
Posted By: Casey Taylor | August 28, 2012 9:46 AM
I think Mr. Keller did indeed skirt the question but it was a very tough question and I don't think he was prepared for it. We can love the "sinners" (whatever the sin) but still be against the sin.
Posted By: Don Ibbitson | August 29, 2012 2:09 PM
Dr. Keller is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which claims to be a bible-based denomination within Christianity. Years ago, Dr. Keller sat for an interview with David Eisenbach of Columbia University. Here are some of the points Dr. Tim Keller put forth during this interview:
1. It is very misleading actually to say, even to say, “Homosexuality is a sin.”
2. You don’t go to Hell for being a homosexual.
3. Committing homosexual acts will not get you to go to Hell.
4. Greed will not send you to hell.
5. Self-righteousness and pride will send you to hell.
If you don’t believe it, watch the video or read a transcript of the video.
According to Dr. Keller, the sin of self-righteousness and pride, which is, to use Keller’s own example, thinking God is going to take people to heaven because they’re good, will send people to hell, but the sin of greed, which is lusting after more material possessions or money, and the sin of homosexuality, which is having sexual intercourse with someone of the same gender, will not send people to hell.
People wonder how Christian denominations slip into error and sin brought about by pressure from the worldly culture around them. This is a very good example of that. Going by the interview with Eisenbach, Dr. Keller appears to disagree with Paul’s statement in First Corinthians 6:9 that neither the greedy nor homosexuals will inherit the Kingdom of God. But I’m sure he would assert that he does agree with Paul in that passage of Scripture. So what was Dr. Keller trying to do in this interview when asked about homosexuality? He was clearly trying to not get booed off-stage. He was trying not to offend the audience. And he was successful in doing this by essentially saying that religious, bible-believing, people who engage in the prideful and self-righteous judgment of others will, based on that action, be sent to hell, but that people who engage in homosexual intercourse will, based on that action, not be sent to hell. Dr. Keller’s clear intent was to pacify a crowd which was unsympathetic to the biblical view of homosexuality. What better way to do that than to hold close the nice homosexual while summarily denouncing the mean religionist.
Dr. Keller basically held up three forbidden fruits and said that one of them will kill you, but the other two, while they’re not really good for you. won’t kill you. Remember the saying? “You will not surely die.” He was doing his best to say what their itching ears wanted to hear while staying true to the bible, but he failed. Ministers of the gospel need to be bold and hold fast to biblical doctrine. They should denounce all damnable sins for what they are, not just pick out the one particular sin that happens to be repugnant to the unbelievers in your audience at the time, while simultaneously downplaying the sins that they approve of as not such a big deal.
As for point number one above, Dr. Keller says during the interview that it is misleading to say that homosexuality is a sin. Immediately after he says that, he says “of course homosexuality is a sin…” It is hard to find a more pathetic example of a double-tongued waffling minister talking out of both sides of his mouth and trying to please everyone in the room.
To my knowledge, Dr. Keller has never been formally called to account by the PCA for the glaring inconsistencies and false assertions he put forth during this interview. I could be wrong, but he has never, to my knowledge, renounced the interview or repented of how he presented things during it. Maybe I’m wrong. If I am, I will remove this post. If someone could let me know, I would appreciate it.
Posted By: importanttopics | September 24, 2012 6:54 AM
I believe Tim was addressing an audience in context. Which yes would not get him booed off stage without a clear presentation of the gospel first. But more importantly in addressing a particular context and audience Tim is dealing both with the church's sinfulness (Which will be judged more harshly by God) and their need for Jesus.
I do not believe Tim was saying that the wrath of God is not coming against the wickedness of mankind, of which homosexuality is part of.
Your points 1 and 2 show that you are not up to speed with our culture, and also not up to speed with the passage you quoted. First of all our culture. There are many people who follow Jesus who have a sexual attraction to the same sex. In our society it is believed that these desires indicate that one should follow them; and that they form a central aspect of your identity (you are not heterosexual; you are gay); our society seems to place our worth on our love-life, either in traditional marriage; serial monogamy; flings; one night stands; homosexual unions; or even affairs. So if you are a guy with homosexual desires wanting to follow Jesus you have to ignore societies call to follow these desires, but far more difficult, you have to ignore society's call to give up your identity, to become a fake, an ingenuine human being, a fraudulent con. Sounds easy hey. On the basis of this alone it should be clear that "homosexuality" doesnt send you to hell.
But to the passage. 1 Corinthians 6:9 Where does the next part of the verse take us? "And such were some of you" Some of these Corinthian Christians were likely to be homosexuals. And it continues: "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." Washed, Sanctified, Justified. These are God's actions. He then goes on to explain why sexual immorality is not helpful for the Christian. Why? Because there is some bad sexual immorality happening in the Corinthian Church and it is causing a lot of trouble.
Does Paul say they are no longer Christians? No, he writes to them to correct them in the error of their ways. Lovingly. They are in danger of shipwrecking their faith, but sin alone will not shipwreck it.
On the issue of Pride and self-righteousness, Tim here, I believe is getting at the heart of sin for all people. Yes God's wrath is coming against all manner of sin, all the ways in which we rebel against God, or live contrary to his design and purposes, or less than his intended purposes. But in each of our hearts underneath this rebellion is our own designed universe with us at the centre, rather than God. In our hearts we determine righteousness, not God. It is in this cold and distorted universe of our own hearts that we will forever stay, isolated from ever good thing God has to offer here on Earth and in Heaven, with every burning and agonising sinful desire with nothing to satisfy it. (This may actually include additional punishment from God for wickedness) but as you can see, the condition of our hearts is such that, were it not for God's graces here on earth, we would already be experiencing hell. Pride, and self-righteousness is what will keep us there.
Posted By: jon | February 6, 2013 4:54 PM
additionally it is only Jesus and his love for us, and his cure for sin, by entering our cold and distorted universe, like someone breaking into Jail, dying for our sin, like someone paying the sentence for our crimes, and then, he breaks out of jail, and shows us just how big this universe really is. We are not at the centre, God is, and it is sunny out here.
We cant save ourselves, we are stuck. Only Jesus can. His death and resurrection did that. Our faith in him, joins us to him, and his defeat of sin and death, and reorients us to the universe as God sees it.
Posted By: jon | February 6, 2013 5:05 PM
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