2011 and last year, 2012 were very difficult years in my life. Filled with great pain! My wife and I endured the most painful thing one can endure, the death of an adult child. Our Charity Hope went to be with Jesus Christ our Lord on April 24, 2012. I feel like I am just now coming out of a fog of grief. Understandably I have not put energy into this blog site, blogging or writing. As a parent, you never fully recover; you learn a new ‘normal’ much like an amputee, or someone suffering with PTSD.
Before April 20, 2012 when our daughter was suddenly admitted to the hospital, I was also dealing with the heartbreaking decisions of many in the Church at large to embrace an emergent theology. I was in personal discussions (Matt. 18:15-20) with many leaders in the United States concerning the ‘new directions’ that are embracing of a non-culture effectiveness “staying out of policy and politics” and a shift in an emergent antinomianism theological belief systems; turning the grace of God into a license for sin. These discussions were with believers I once walked with in ministry across the USA. There was a lot of grief in the division in ministry, much like the grief in a church split. Therefore I did not give much time to writing, perhaps this will change in the near future, I hope so.
If you can sympathize, prayer covering is sincerely appreciated, thank you, Sincerely, Stephen Black
A Message to Pastoral Care Leaders Processing The Gospel and “Gay Christianity.”by Stephen Black, Executive Director, First Stone Ministries
The Gospel according to Jesus Christ is the same message for a gay-identified person, an idolater, an adulterer, a fornicator, a pornographer, a liar, a thief, a gossip, a slanderer or a murderer. The message of good news–redemption into a love relationship with God–is the same for all sinners. Many “Christian” leaders [see note 40 ] communicate a message that is not Biblical, but instead is deceptive and eternally dangerous. It is certainly not a message of love to lead a person into a false hope. Unfortunately, this misleading message of “gay Christianity” is spread by perhaps well-meaning but Biblically-illiterate leaders who present a message based not on the truth of the Bible, but on a man-made theology. Other leaders purposefully and deceptively spread this message, which is a much graver offense. Deception–which leads people astray–is not love; it’s evil. I share this concern with the same grief-filled compassion as expressed by the Apostle Paul to the Romans in Romans 9:1-3 when he wrote “with a great heavy heart and many tears.” Sincerely I write this article after much heart-ache and many tears. Paul reminded us that many will fall away from the faith in the last days. This perversion of The Gospel is an example of the message of ease, love of pleasure and living unrepentantly with which many will go astray. This article is equipped with many end-notes of Biblical references to back up the emphatic statements and is a Bible study with over 150 verses. Please read the Scripture references with this article and let God’s word be your guide.
GOOD NEWS or BAD?
The Gospel is Good News from Creator God, the Father in Heaven revealed to us through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is an amazing message of love given to fallen humanity. By truly believing in and being in Christ, believers’ relationship with Holy God is restored to the way it was before “the fall.” The Good News is that God the Father has made a way for all mankind to be restored to His original divine intent of an intimate loving relationship that is greater than any we will experience in this fallen world. His desire is for this relationship to be forever with Him. Many proclaim a message that totally contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that you can be a practicing sexually-immoral person or a practicing homosexual and go to heaven. The Bible speaks directly to this, with uncompromised clarity. The truth expressed in Ephesians 5:5 is clear: you can know with certainty that no one who practices sexual immorality will go to heaven. Interestingly, the Bible often follows these types of passages with the reminder that we should NOT be deceived by people giving us empty promises or words that contradict the truth. Jesus came to save us from and out of our sins, not leave us in them. A person who struggles with and against sin differs from a person who embraces and freely practices sin. The Good News is Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose victoriously over death, hell and the devil. When Christ rose from the dead, He gave us the promise of the Holy Spirit of Grace, assuring us that the Holy Spirit would come and live in those truly born of God unto eternal life. The Holy Spirit of Grace empowers true believers to live holy repentant lives in a devout relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord. However, the Spirit does not live in people who are hostile towards God and disobedient, walking in and embracing and practicing sexual immorality. The Bible tells us He–the Holy Spirit–is given to those who obey God. The Bible also tells us that all sexual immorality grieves God. Holy God revealed in the person of the Holy Spirit will never abide with, or approve of any immoral behavior. God opposes the proud and gives His grace, the Spirit of Grace, to those who humble themselves and see their need for Christ. Anyone who says otherwise is not teaching the Whole Gospel of Jesus Christ and would be giving bad news instead of the good news.
The Son of God’s Beginning Message: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at Hand,” Should also be Our First Message
God’s message, revealed to us in human form through His Son, Jesus the Holy One, is very simple: turn from your ways and turn to Me. Biblically we know that turning or repenting is the evidence of true faith and a belief in God that ultimately produces obedience to God in a loving relationship. Through repentance, we replace our belief systems, our worldly thoughts, the flesh and the devil’s ways, and our minds are renewed by God’s word and by His Spirit. This “believing” in the mind and heart turns the behavior away from the way of the flesh to the way of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to BELIEVE in Christ for salvation. Believing and repentance may unfold differently in each person, depending on his or her history, but God’s grace is truly amazing as it will produce a life becoming more and more like Christ. His grace always convicts the real believer of sin, and reminds the believer of the righteousness of God and the judgment to come. If this heart-change does not happen, self-examination is in order to see whether or not you are truly born again. True faith in God is believing the Word of God and believing in Jesus Christ; such beliefs will result in a changed and righteous life. Paul’s letter to Timothy makes it clear that the Gospel Message must be based upon the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ, which conforms the soul to godliness. The goal of this message is to mature the hearer into having pure love, an undefiled clear conscience and a sincere and devoted faith. I rely on Jesus’ words for leadership and filter all teachings through His words. Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to life and FEW find it. Broad is the way of destruction and MANY will go on its path.” I also rely on Jesus’ statistics. In the parable of the sower, Jesus’ statistic is only 25% would actually bear good fruit after hearing the word of God. Shouldn’t we teach the same narrow way that leads to eternal life? If anyone–and I mean anyone–teaches otherwise, they are NOT teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should never teach people that they are justified to live in sin and an unrepentant life, a belief that is completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, many leaders today teach contradictions. John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, warns of this danger in his epistle, 1 John. “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light,as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned,we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” “Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He (Jesus) walked.” (1 John 1:5-10, 1 John 2:4-6). John also reminds us of the importance of obedience in his Gospel, in the very words of Jesus: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light (Jesus) has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light (Jesus), for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil (practices) hates the Light (hates Jesus), and does not come to the Light (Jesus) for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light (Jesus), so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” “He who believes in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:17-21 v. 36)
Follow Me to the End
My story of true conversion began in February 1983. After praying with people that were completely surrendered to Christ, I was confronted with the Word of God in many ways, two of which I’ll share here.
First, Jesus spoke to me in the power of His Spirit. I didn’t understand what was happening to me; my heart was pounding and I felt very strange. I heard in my mind a voice I know now as the Holy Spirit, telling me that if I did not surrender to Christ, I was going to die. The fear of the Lord gripped my heart. I knew in my soul that I did not know Jesus Christ like these people. They spoke in terms of a relationship with God that I thought was crazy. They told me that Jesus was answering their prayers, speaking to their hearts, that He was consistently known and felt in their home. I had never experienced Christ in that way, but I wanted to. They prayed with me to receive Jesus Christ as Lord.
Later that evening in the car going home, my friend who had been with me and witnessed my surrender to Christ, asked me; “Does this mean you will stop being gay?” I told her I didn’t know for sure, that I wanted to follow whatever Jesus had for me. At home that night I got out the big table-Bible, our only family Bible. Holding it my lap, I prayed and asked God to show me in His Word whether homosexuality was a sin. After all, the gay Catholic priest from my parent’s parish had told me God loved me just the way I was as a gay man; and he stated all the more reason to visit him at mass. God heard my prayer for truth and revealed it to me through His Word found in the Holy Scriptures.
Secondly, Jesus spoke to me through the Bible. As I opened the Bible, it fell directly upon Leviticus with the heading, “Laws on Sexual Immorality.” There it was right before my eyes: chapter 18, verse 22. It was undeniable that God detests homosexual behavior. Initially, I was angry. I could clearly see that I was worthy of death. However, I also understood now that Jesus Christ paid for all my sins in His death on the cross and that He loved me. He saved me from destruction and death.
In the summer of 1983, we began to hear of a strange disease being reported by the news in Oklahoma City hospitals. At that time, the doctors were calling it G.R.I.D.–Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (syndrome)–or G.R.I.D.s. Many of my friends, people who had seemed so vibrant and healthy, were now dying. In fact, more than half the people I knew in the Oklahoma City gay community died within the next few years. In the midst of this tragedy, the fear of God instructed me and gave me life. God spared me and revealed His mercy.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Anyone claiming to declare the Gospel, but excluding the fear of the Lord–the very beginning of wisdom–is immediately suspect to me. I look first to see if a messenger/teacher knows and demonstrates the fear of God, as this is how the Gospel was presented to me by the Holy Spirit. Does the messenger teach that God is holy? Does the teacher instruct that we must turn to God in intimate relationship to become holy because God commands it? These questions must be answered with an emphatic “Yes!” We must respect the word of God. Yes, we must know the kindness, but we also must know the severity of God, for no immoral person or idolater will be in Heaven.
Many times I have been asked if I ever considered returning to the gay lifestyle. I decided in 1983 that I would rather live celibately than return to a life that clearly is not God’s divine intent. However, I am married now with three adult children, and grandchildren. I truly believe God’s word concerning homosexuality. I know He is holy, and I tremble when I think of the fate of people who choose to continue to live in immorality. The Scripture is very clear. No one who practices sexual immorality will go to Heaven. Yet, false teachers, under the guise of hope and kindness, persist in spreading a message that is contrary to God’s Word. Therefore I embrace the words of Jesus Christ for clarity: “And many false (pastors) teachers will arise, and lead many astray (they will tell you can be a gay Christian), and because lawlessness (the practice of sin) will be increased,the love (real love) of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:11-14.
Will you endure to the end with me and the many others who will never go back to sexual immorality? We must endure to the end in a love relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the pearl of great price. Even if we live to be 100, this life is a mere vapor. I will never be sorry I embraced Christ, His word and repentance from all immorality. Even if I am wrong, even if there is a remote possibility that a Christian could be gay, I have merely denied myself in pursuit of obedience. But, if the gay Christian or teacher of gay Christianity is wrong, the consequence may be eternal death. That’s not a gamble I am willing to take. Are you? Even if you struggle with homosexual temptation to the end, if you deny the fleshly desires out of love for Christ, isn’t eternal life better than hell? Isn’t loving Christ instead of the world or our pleasure the better choice?
Assurance of Salvation and Answers to Prayer
You can have assurance of salvation. The Bible is clear we can have security IN Christ. If you repent of your sins and put your faith completely in Jesus Christ for your salvation and you continue in this faith in Him, you WILL have eternal life. The promise is found in 1 John 5:13-15: “…to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” Unfortunately there are doctrines and traditions of men and churches that communicate a relationship with Christ by praying a prayer, or being a member, or being present in an organization. Jesus never taught praying prayers to receive Him as Savior; He taught discipleship and Lordship. Although we should pray to receive Christ, it is not merely praying a prayer that gives us an assurance of salvation. A devoted relationship, a sincere faith in Christ resulting in righteous repentant living and becoming His disciple are the Biblical truths for an assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation to a sexually immoral person may begin by praying a prayer, but if not accompanied with a sincere faith producing the fruit of repentance, giving an assurance of eternal life would be a very dangerous teaching in leading people into a false hope. Would you like to be prepared on judgment day to give an account of leading people into a false hope of salvation based upon the traditions and doctrines of men? Would you like to give an answer to God for giving a message that actually sent people to hell?
What Will Be The Message? A Biblical Message or Man’s Theologies?
Several church leaders embrace the emergent message of gay Christianity and present a gay Gospel. Their teachings are not based upon the sound doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or New Testament Biblical instruction. They choose to embrace a false social gospel of a more palatable feel-good-God, a man-made theology, yet they do ‘good things’ under the banner of Christianity. Unfortunately, rather than embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel of self-denial that produces a Spirit-filled life that really does do good, they are embracing a man-made theology promoting gay Christianity. Which gospel message will you embrace? Will you follow a Biblical message that allows the human heart and soul to be transformed by the Word of God or a man-made theology that allows men to live in self-centeredness and indulgence? Shall we teach people that just praying a prayer and being a part of a community saves them eternally? Or shall we teach a true belief, that accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and following Him in discipleship will result in a life of righteousness? Which Gospel will you teach or follow? The true gospel of Jesus Christ, which leads to life, or a gay gospel according to man’s words, which leads to death? “There is a way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death.”
More Recommended Reading on this topic:
Dr. Robert Gagnon’s Online Library of Articles <– Excellent Resource
Mastering Life Ministries Online Library of Articles and Video’s by Pure Passion TV <– Excellent Resource
End-notes: (Please read the following scriptures in context of this article:)
 – i.e. Adam Hamilton, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Jay Bakker, Ray Boltz, Andrew Marin, Troy Perry, Mel White, Tony & Peggy Campolo, Reba Rambo-McGuire, Gene Robinson, Alan Chambers & Neill Spurgin (Neill Coffman)
We Are Created in the Image of God—Imago Dei!
Communicating the term “sexual orientation” for a person’s identity gives an indication of viability to behavior outside of God’s original intent for human sexuality. I have never liked the idea of communicating “sexual orientation” as our sexual direction, or how one is created sexually. “Sexual orientation” communicates a distorted truth based upon attractions and feelings, a term given to us by modern psychology. There is only one divine intent of human sexuality from God. It is what we call “heterosexuality,” also a term given to us by modern psychology. However, God calls “heterosexuality” holy relating between one man and one woman in a covenant marriage relationship with the potential to create life in His image in sexual intercourse. God calls this relationship holy—two becoming one—and a holy relationship that can only be between one man and one woman. You can never be more like God in His creativity as a human being when we are in concert with God in creating life. You cannot create life in homosexuality. We are most like God in His creativity when heterosexually married couples produce life, produce children, also created in God’s image. All other “sexual orientations” are at the very least, distorted emotional wounds and psychological problems in the desire; and at the very worst, “sexual orientation” is the idea of an activity given to us by modern psychology of sinful behaviors that can also culminate with the potential for mutilation as we see in gender reassignment surgeries. This is diabolical and so very deceptive.
Heterosexuality is innate in being human. Heterosexuality is an innate created biological fact and therefore cannot change, and is simple biology 101. We are created male and female at every level. However, being human gives rise to the ability to have distorted attractions and very sinful behaviors, because all humanity is under the curse of original sin. Humanity is fallen and therefore the only orientation that un-rejuvenated humanity has is a “sinful orientation” and not a “sexual orientation.” Very simply, homosexuality and other “sexual orientations” outside of God’s divine intent are sinful. However there is hope! Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from all our distorted thinking. He gave us the Word of God, so our minds could be renewed by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes into those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Isn’t it good news to know we do not have to be defined by modern psychology or our feelings, or attractions or appetites? We are defined by the Creator, Who created us in His image to be like Him in a holy identity as man and woman; and we are created as His children.
Coram Deo is living in a cognitive state of being before the face of God Almighy. To live Coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, always for the glory of God. To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are before the gaze of Almighty God. God is omnipresent. Therefore, there is no place that we can escape His penetrating gaze, HE SEES! Coram Deo is to be live in a state of awareness of the presence of God, so acutely aware of His sovereignty, we enjoy the terrible awesomeness and FEAR God to encounter HIS fountain of life so as to be overwhelmed by HIS LOVE, because He is so forgiving and so merciful. Only those who are truly born of the Holy Spirit can understand this awesomeness! God is terrible, fearful, awesome and FULL of AWE… God is NOT tame, He is NOT safe, but HE IS oh so very good, so holy, so merciful and so loving. Without understanding the holy severity and the incredible kindness of God, we cannot grow in maturity.
The fear of God is NOT mere reverential trust, just ask those who have actually received a glimpse of God; peer into the Holy Scriptures and READ about those who have encountered God in His glory. They fall in awe-ness, in terrible fear – TREMBLING before the Almighty. May God transform my life, and those who read this to fear God, and live in Coram Deo! CORAM DEO — God sees you all the time and everything you do, and you will give account to HIM.
“For The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight (God sees all), but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Jesus Christ – The Word of God – will be our judge). Hebrews 4:12 & 13.
“For we know him who said,”Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again,”The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:30 & 31
“Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship, with modesty and pious care and godly fear and in trembling awe; for our God [is indeed] a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28 & 29
FOR JESUS’ SAKE AND FOR HIS GLORY!