A few years ago the 1.5 million member United Church of Christ re-released a major TV advertising campaign promoting itself as a tolerant church. The main focus of its tolerance concerned homosexuals although the ad did not specifically mention them by name. What it did strive to do was blur the line between race, something God created, and a sexual behavior the Bible clearly condemns. The intent was to suggest that the rejecting of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle was the moral equivalent of racial discrimination. This, by the way, is an assertion that should highly offend every racial minority.
To view the ad
The promotion, which they refer to as “The Bouncer,” ignited a national controversy when it first aired in December 2004. According to UCC’s national website, since that time more than 7.1 million visitors have logged on to various church websites and more than 661,000 of those visitors entered a city name or zip code to find a UCC congregation near them. Clearly this media campaign has had a major impact and is arguably the most successful promotion of homosexuality by a professing Christian church in history. Its success is due in no small part to its direct appeal to the homosexual community and those who accept that lifestyle. Everything about this particular message validates the gay and lesbian lifestyle as a moral alternative to heterosexual relationships. This now brings us to our point.
The “Bouncer” ad featured two prominent statements designed to proclaim UCC as a church that remains consistent with the teachings and practices of Jesus Christ. These statements are as follows:
“Jesus didn’t turn people away, neither do we.”
“No matter where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”
At first glance these words appear to make a positive argument about love and reconciliation, which is certainly a prominent aspect of Christianity. However, do they truly represent the Messiah’s attitude toward sin and the willful refusal to acknowledge it and repent? In other words, did Jesus accept everyone who came to him without expecting something in return? Furthermore, did He consider practicing sinners as people that are simply somewhere on “life’s journey”? To better understand what is being conveyed with the UCC’s assertion, let’s ask a few questions.
Would Jesus accept child molesters who refuse to repent of this sin as a part of His fellowship? Come to think of it would the United Church of Christ accept them?
What about members of NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association), who openly advocate engaging in sex with boys as young as five years old? Would the Messiah consider this just another step on life’s journey? Or would He have offered a different piece of advice for such people (Lk. 17:2)? Come to think of it, what does the UCC think of NAMBLA? It is our understanding that some NAMBLA members have actually claimed to be ministers of the UCC,
What about someone who slept with his father’s wife? Would Jesus encourage His Church to embrace him? After all, he has to be somewhere on life’s journey. Why not there? Or, would the Messiah offer a slightly more severe remedy to this behavior (Deut. 27:20, 1 Cor. 5:1)? What is the United Church of Christ’s position on this? Would they invite him in or throw him out?
What about drug peddlers, or pornographers? Would Jesus accept them in His community of faithful even if they chose to rationalize their sin instead of turning from it?
What about professional killers or extortioners? What about members of organized crime? Do they get in if they simply promise to leave their fellow congregants alone? Or does God require more?
How about people engaged in ongoing incest or prostitution? Would the Messiah accept them without passing judgment on such behavior? Is this just another step on life’s journey?
What about white supremacists or members of the Ku Klux Klan, would Jesus accept them just as they are? Are they simply apart of a diverse world that should be spared from condemnation?
What about those who practice adultery or fornicators? If they insist on living in such sin as they go through life’s journey, would Jesus direct His Church to welcome them?
What if a man married his brother’s wife, would Jesus command His servants to welcome him into the community of faith? Or would He instruct them to rebuke the man? (Mt. 14:1-10)
This now brings us to the question of the day. Would Jesus welcome into His fellowship sodomites who claim that their behavior is just another expression of love? Would He defend their right to marry and raise children?
At this point it is important to understanding something about the Savior of the World. Although Jesus loves mankind, He does not love mankind’s brazen rejection of God's moral law. Such behavior is SIN and Jesus HATES sin! Furthermore, there is not the slightest hint in the scriptures that Jesus was a tolerant of everything Savior. He is totally intolerant of the evil that has saturated this world and moral depravity definitely falls into that category. That is why He offered up His unblemished life and consented to suffer a torturous death. He did so to pay the price for sin. But in order to claim that sacrifice, we must STOP sinning!
It is true that Jesus ate with and comforted sinners and was even condemned for this by the religious leaders of His day (Lk. 15:2). However, these sinners were not seeking validation of their sin, they were seeking forgiveness which Jesus explained when giving the parable of "The Prodigal Son" (verses 11-32). When it comes to the United Church of Christ they are not offering forgiveness but rather acceptance of both the sinner AND the SIN! Suffice it to say, there is a HUGE difference between the two. Furthermore, although Jesus would deal kindly with sinners, He was never reluctant to admonishment them. For example: when He literally saved the life of a woman caught in the act of adultery, He also exhorted her to "sin no more" (Jn. 8:11). The problem with the UCC is that they don't believe sodomy is a sin. They think it is just another step on life's journey.
While so many today think of Jesus Christ as one who came to extend mercy, while the God of the Old Testament was a harsh judgmental deity, this is NOT true. Jesus was the God of the Old Testament. He was the one who called homosexuality an ABOMONATION (Lev. 18:22)! He was the one who proscribed its consequences (Lev. 20:13). Furthermore, despite the assertions of the United Church of Christ, the Bible declares that gays and lesbians will not receive a free pass into God’s kingdom. On the contrary, they will not enter into it at all if they refuse to repent Rev. 21:8).
We don’t say this because we hate homosexuals. We offer these words because God wants the world to know that man does not have the moral authority to define good and evil. Furthermore, when man attempts to do so the consequences can be disastrous. The great prophet Isaiah put it this way.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and has smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. (Isa. 5:20-25)
Here Isaiah is saying that God will not only withhold His protection of a nation for their wanton rejection of His Moral Voice; He will also execute His judgment on them. To illustrate this point consider the words of the late author and evangelist, John Ogwyn who once described how God warned Moses and the children of Israel of the dangers of accepting sexual depravity as the moral equivalent of the God ordained purpose of love and family. In his essay entitled, “From Closet to Mainstream The Homosexual Agenda,” Mr. Ogwyn wrote the following:
When the ancient Israelites were preparing to enter the Promised Land, God instructed Moses that certain vital guidelines were to be passed on to the people. It was God’s purpose that Israel be very different from the surrounding nations. Both in Egypt, where the people had dwelt for more than two centuries, as well as in Canaan where they would be settling, a multitude of sexual perversions were common. Detailing many of these practices in Leviticus 18, God emphasized that Israel was to be different from the nations around them. The fornication, incest, homosexuality and bestiality that were commonly practiced by the Canaanites had caused the land to "vomit out" the inhabitants, declared the Creator (Leviticus 18:28). If Israel fell into these degenerate practices, God warned, the same consequences would come upon them.
As much as the United Church of Christ may reject this assessment of Jesus’ words as the God of the Old Testament, they stand as an indictment against a church that believes they know more than their creator does.
A Final Thought
Throughout the Old Testament God warns the disobedient that the consequence of defying His law is to be "cut off from among His people." Even the Psalms proclaim that truth.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psa. 1:5-6)
In the new Testament the warning from Jesus' own lips is even more severe. When giving the "Sermon on the Mount," Jesus spoke of a time of great judgment and warned that he will order the lawless to remove themselves from Him. In other words He will turn them away.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mt 7:21-23)
The United Church of Christ recently announced that it is launching a new ad campaign. The ad, which was also a part of the "Bouncer" promotion, proclaims that “God is Still Speaking.” On that we couldn’t agree more. We just think it’s about time they start listening.
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