Coming Out of the Closet

I think it’s time to come out of the closet:

I love gay people.

I’m straight, and happily so; married and father of two. But I love gay people.

My brother-in-law David was unabashedly gay, a great and loving uncle to our then two-year-old Matthew before lung cancer, an infection and AIDs conspired to take his life. And for those four short years that I was privileged to know him, I loved David. You almost couldn’t help but love David.

I love gay people. I love straight people. I love rich people. I love poor people. I love skinny people. I love not-so-skinny people. I love people who fearlessly tell the truth. I love people who lie. I love people who cheat and steal and murder; and I love people who don’t. I love people who accuse and judge and condemn others; and I love people who don’t. I love people who hate and I love people who love.

I love them because I’m called to. I love them because Jesus loved them first, and died for them, and lived again so they could too.

I’m not called to judge them. It’s not my job. I’m not good at it. I’m not qualified to do it. I’m not authorized to do it. And even though Jesus knew the hearts of people while He walked this world in sandaled feet, He didn’t come to judge them but to save them and to wash their feet — and their whole bodies — with a baptism of forgiveness.

He will judge later, of course. That’s His job as Son of Man with unsandaled feet that glow like bronze in a smelting furnace and a heart that knows every heart and two eyes that see every action and two ears that hear every word. He’s qualified. He’s authorized. He’s God.

I am called to love, and that’s what I intend to do. I am not much better at loving people than I am at judging them. But I am dedicated to getting better at loving them and to stop judging them altogether.

Some people are harder to love than others. Some people aren’t hard to love at all. We’re all different. God loves us all. Jesus died for us all.

Then instead of coming out of a closet, He came out of a tomb. And then He sent us out to love as He loved; to forgive as He forgave; and to tell and live His Story before everyone who would listen and see.

Everyone. All the world.

Love them.

Tell the Story.

Let it — and Him — work His miracle in their lives. That’s how it works.

I want to be part of that.

So I will start by loving.

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52 thoughts on “Coming Out of the Closet

  1. As I’ve commented elsewhere, regardless of what convictions we Christians have regarding the morality of GLBT, if we cannot love such people then we have yet to truly understand that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5.8).

  2. Keith said; “I love them because I’m called to.”

    I know I am stepping in it very deep here, I have tryed to think of a kinder way of saying this but there “just ain’t one” .

    “I love them because I’m called to.” In my opinion is the same as saying I was told to do so.
    And in my opinion, people give tangeable things in the same way, because in order to be a crediable Christian, I have to do this. A crediable Christian before who? I believe a Christian is to give with a giving heart, not a reluctant one, I don’t know that reluctant given is of any credit to the giver. I believe we should show love from a loving heart, not through just accepting orders, and it should be no harder to love one of God’s children than another.

    “Some people are harder to love than others.” This statement kinda belittles the rest of the post.
    I know it is harder to “like” some people “like me for instance” but love flows freely to all from
    a true Christian heart. if it don’t can it really be a heart that believes in and follows Jesus Christ?
    Yeah I know I will be accused of just not understanding what was written.

    • To me, a calling is something heard and felt deep in the soul, rather than something one is told or ordered or even just asked to do. It’s a yearning; a desire; a hunger. Maybe those are clearer words.

      I’m sorry there are some people who are harder to love than others: People who molest children … People who rape and swindle and torture. Even people like me who just write bad poetry and foist it on an unsuspecting public. It’s no excuse for me not to love them. It’s just harder. That’s all I meant.

      • Keith, if you have to “try hard ” to love someone, you don’t.

        Keith, don’t get me wrong. I don’t “love” every person in the world, but I don’t claim to as you have done, as I read what you said you love every one including all sinners “as Jesus did” I don’t because I can’t. I forgive because Jesus asked me to , I forgive the best I know how. but if I were to say I love all people the way Jesus did, I would be lying.I don’t wish those people you referred to any harm, in the afterlife, but as you said I don’t have the ability to give final judgement, nor pardons. I am not sure but I believe Jesus said he died for those who believed in him, who was sent by God. Is there any place in the bible where Jesus said he died for “ALL WHO REMAINED SINNERS” I am just not as big a person as you are, or claim to be. I am not going to name those I can’t love, but God already knows, and nobody else needs to.

  3. God showed His love for us, sinful man, by giving his Son as the perfect sacrifice. He indeed came to save that which was lost. Man has been given the opportunity to change. 1 Cor 6 tells us that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Love for those people would not be to just accept them as they are. Love, true love would demand that we share the saving power of the gospel with them, so they can make the choice, do I change and follow Christ or do I deny Him and follow the lust of the flesh? God has already made the judgement, Those who practice such things, will NOT inherit the Kingdom. Don’t ya think we should warn them? As followers of Christ, that is our job. If we don’t who will? Is that how we love our children? Do we allow them to live as they wish? behave as they wish? Or do we teach them, correct them? love demands it.

    • “Don’t ya think we should warn them? As followers of Christ, that is our job. If we don’t who will? Is that how we love our children? Do we allow them to live as they wish? behave as they wish? Or do we teach them, correct them? love demands it.”

      don’t you think they know this already? do you think this would be the first time they have heard what you are saying? …

      is this sin of the alternate lifestyle any worse a sin than telling a lie, or gossiping, or eating too much, or whatever? … do we not love the folks that speed on the interstate, tell lies, or whatever?

      what condition were we in when we “first saw the light” and got all that junk washed away? do “we” not still hose up?

      we need to love everybody, and not keep reminding them. we need to love them through it.

      yes, it’s wrong what they are doing, but we do wrong, too.

      • Hopefully when we saw the light, we knew what we must do, change “repent” change course, turn from our old selves and turn towards God. We can’t remain in our sins and hope God will accept us. He expects us to change. This sin is called an abomination before the Lord. Kenny you make sound as if we tell someone that they need to change that its unloving and uncaring. I’m thankful someone taught me the gospel and told me I was lost in my sins. I have a co-worker who is gay. I consider him a friend. But the fact remains, he will never enter the kingdom of God until, he repents and changes. We all make mistakes “sin”, hopefully we don’t continue to do it. Committing sin and living in sin are different matters.

      • Jeff, you said: “Committing sin and living in sin are two different matters.” Perhaps you can point me to where scripture says this and specifically points out that what your friend does is one of those, and what you and I do is another. And that therefore, the person who only sins is righteous and saved, but the person who lives in sin is lost and condemned.

        Do you and I desire the judgment of others, or their love? Which do you think your friend desires? Are we believers really supposed to be all about judging others or about loving them and sharing good news with them?

        What I’m trying to say is that Christ led off with love. His role as judge comes later. And we don’t have that role at all.

      • “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one 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. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” – 1 John 3:7-10

        Hi Keith, so since this is part of the story will you tell it to your gay friends? I’m not saying you should lead with
        it, but will you get around to telling it and let their judgment or love towards you fall where it may. My great concern with the current generation isn’t being “over judgmental” but our incessant need to be liked by everyone – when Gospel tells that we’ll be hated for living and sharing the Gospel – no matter how kind and gracious we are to those around us.

      • Sure, Brad; as soon as you explain to your overweight friends how gluttony is continuing in sin … your gossiping friends that continuing to gossip is continuing in sin … all of your friends how judging others is continuing in sin, especially all your preaching friends. Because, as I understand it, continuing in sin is what it is no matter what the sin is.

        And perhaps you can give me some guidance about how to lovingly correct others (when there is still sin in my life) that does not come off as hypocritical and judgmental. And IS not hypocritical and judgmental.

        I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s a bit more complex than your simple challenge, isn’t it?

        Christians have been so eager to correct others that we need to do a lot of loving to overcome our reputation of judging.

        There’s a way to look at loving others that denigrates it as simply trying to relieve a narcissistic need to be liked, and there’s another way to look at it as reflecting the very nature of Christ.

      • kb, Romans 6: 1 ” What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly Not!” Verse 15, ” What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law (old Law) but under grace? certainly not! (16) Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that ones slave whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? (18) And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (19) I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleaness and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” (20) For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” Heb 10:26 ” For if we sin willfully after we have recieved the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” Col 3:5 ” Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth, fornication, uncleaness, passion, evil desires and covetousness which is idolatry. (6) Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience (7) in which you yourselves onced walked when you lived in them. kb, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” As a child of God, I will still fall short, But I strive to live the life that Christ wants me to. Hopefully when I do sin, I reconize it and repent. I do my best not to repeat the sin. Those outside of Christ are lost, It is clear from scripture that this lifesyle is NOT according to God’s ways. 1 Cor 6, we are to glorify God in Body and spirit, we are to flee sexual immorality not live in it. Also in 1 Cor 6:9-11 those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Verse 11 reminds them that some of them did practice such things, but they had repented and were baptized. In this we can see not only is it a sin, but they can stop doing it if they want to be what Christ wants them to be. They can change, they must change. Telling people of God’s ways is the most loving act anyone can do. How can I say that I love someone, knowing that they live in sin and not say anything? What a hateful thing for me to do. Are we to LOVE them all the way to hell? When we tell others about God’s ways, we are not judging, we are warning them of the wrath to come. Those of the body of Christ play a big roll in God’s plan. It is up to us to spread the good news. “How will they hear without a preacher?” God has already made the judgement, Those who remain in their sins and reject His Son will perish. Luke 13:3 ” Jesus said, “I tell you, But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” With our help they can escape the final judgement, why can’t we love them enough to tell them that here is hope.

      • And, Brad, let me add this (since you quote only the scripture that may imply that if people don’t hate us we aren’t doing the right thing) … there is another way that people react to the gospel being shared and lived. You find it at the end of Acts 2:

        “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

        I think that’s a worthy example to follow.

      • Keith, of course, sin is sin of any shade or color but you appear to be evading what the Gospel burdens us with. I do tell my friends what the Gospel says about sin, all sins, and confess freely my own faults. However, just because you are not to judge anyone,doesn’t mean that Scripture does not judge us. You seem to be confusing telling others what the Gospel says and leaving it at that and condemning others of your own authority – and, if true, that suggests you are more worried about being liked than being a Christian. The Gospel is pretty clear that we have to preach the whole story, not just the parts we like, or think others will like.

      • Keith, my quotation of 1 John 3:7-10 was in direct response to what you wrote here:

        “Everyone. All the world.

        Love them.

        Tell the Story.

        Let it — and Him — work His miracle in their lives. That’s how it works.”

        I wanted to see if you were really serious about these statements because there are passages, like the one I quoted, that make it difficult to claim you “tell the story” when you only tell part of it.

        ““Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

        I think that’s a worthy example to follow.”

        I do too. I think we should strive for humility above all things and respond with gentleness and respect. But your quotation of Acts 2 has to be tempered with the reality that Jesus said that you and I or anyone else who follows him will be persecuted for his name’s sake. And that persecution will come from sinners of all colors, shades and stripes.

      • I was hoping you and Jeff could explain to me why you felt you had to know all these things about me: would I do this or that; was I serious? Did you think I was lying about what I posted? That it was wrong of me to extend love toward others? Did someone appoint you as my judge on the matter?

        I would enjoy finding out from anyone why we believers seem so dedicated to perpetuating the culture of judgment and correcting others.

        If correcting others is the loving thing to do, how do we do that lovingly?

      • “Did someone appoint you as my judge on the matter?”

        Judge you how? I judged you by asking you questions to see the extent of your convictions? I haven’t made any firm conclusions about you Keith. I’m still here interacting with you and willing to learn from you….though it appears (and note that careful, little caveat and all the other caveats I built in earlier to convey that I’m not drawing firm conclusions about you) that you seem to think that I hated your post. I didn’t.

        So did you judge me? Are you my judge? Sheesh, where does it end? Jesus makes all kinds of distinctions with people in Scripture and asks us to do the same without condemning each other – which is a distinction you don’t appear (again, caveat) to understand. For instance, there’s a difference between Jesus’ reaction to the adulterous woman where he said, “I don’t condemn you” and the rich young man he says “One thing you lack…” Do you see it?

        Anyway, I didn’t hate your post, Keith. I liked a lot of it. But I was curious about how you balance your new convictions against the whole Gospel. I realize that time and space prevent a full vetting of every issue from all sides, but I saw you had a comment section and you seemed willing to field questions. And we’re still “good” in my book. Though It appears (again, note the hedge there) that you are really sensitive on this issue.

      • Brad, I didn’t intend to be combative. I just don’t think we always give full thought to the idea of correcting others and how we sound to them. Plus we pick and choose the things we want to correct others about. And sometimes it’s totally unnecessary.

        Let’s say I have a friend who is grossly overweight. Do I need to tell him/her that overeating — gluttony — is not what God wants for him/her; that it endangers body and soul? There’s almost no chance that my friend isn’t already aware of that.

        Let’s pretend I preach in a jail ministry. Do I need to harrangue my audience week after week about how wrong it is to steal or murder or break the laws of the land? Most of them, by the fact that they’re incarcerated, will have a pretty good sense of that, I would think.

        Most of us have a moral compass built in by God, and unless our consciences are seared (sometimes the case in people who have truly given themselves over to evil and think that’s good), we have a sense for what’s right and wrong.

        People who don’t believe in Christ, in this country at least, are probably pretty well aware of what believers believe about right and wrong.

        You’d have to read some of my other posts to understand that I’m not convinced that God is unqualifiedly and contractually obligated to save only those who have heard the Story of Jesus and have believed and done some things that believers have chosen out of scripture but not necessarily some others. God is sovereign. He is free to save whom He wills. Jesus will judge the living and the dead, and He will judge based on what people say and do. What we say and do bears witness to what we believe. That could mean people who have never heard still have opportunity and means to express their belief in divine good because of that built-in moral compass Paul speaks of in Romans. I think that’s a fair reading of scripture that describes a fair God.

        So that’s why I’m trying propose the idea that we don’t need to judge others at all. God will do that. We don’t need to worry about what others might or might not be doing wrong. All we need to do — should be eager to do and unstoppable at doing — is share the Story that bears the promise of salvation to those who hear and believe. The Story is powerful enough — even in the wrong hands, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians — to convict, persuade, and change hearts.

  4. “comming out of the closet”

    Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    I think we would all be better off, if we returned into the closet. I believe we all came out long ago, and stood on tyhe street corner, and shouted “see what a good Christian I am, I love everyone” just like Jesus.

  5. Many self pronounced Christians claim they are so righteous, God wants to live in their body with them, and does. The “word” by which every man will be judged , is just not good enough for some ,they want to be told in person. and they claim they are, they have personal conversations with God. some claim he just speaks to them through the “holy ghost” .

  6. Gay people are welcome in our congregation. We have some gay members. And we love them.

    But gay people are not to use our congregation as a political platform or a vehicle to advocate their sin. Just as no other person in our congregation is allowed to make an issue of their sin (advocate them).

    • Steve, by accepting them as they are, by being tolerate of their sin, (any sin) you are advocating for them. God in His word has made an issue of it, shouldn’t we? So people in your congregation cannot speak out against sin? Scripture teaches us not to even greet one who practices lawlessness, or else we become partakers with them in their sins.

      • Just so we all know how complex this judging and labeling thing gets, have a look at this link: http://www.missional.ca/2012/01/gay-christians-missional-integrity/.

        Should we, Jeff, then advocate being intolerant and yet still loving? How exactly does that work? And how do we do that without judging?

        I’m still open to helpful suggestions on the how-to.

        If there isn’t a way, I’m just going to go ahead with my original plan and love people and try to not judge them or decide in advance whether I think they’re lost or saved, and talk with them about Jesus and let His Story work His miracle on their hearts if they haven’t heard and are willing.

        If they’re not willing or don’t want to talk about Him, I’ll postpone. Maybe they’ll ask. Maybe I’ll just bring it up on my own again later.

        If they are willing, I’ll help any way I can to lead them closer to Jesus.

        If they already believe, I’ll delight in finding a fellow believer and enjoy the chat about our Lord.

        No judgment required.

      • You make a few good points kb that I would agree with. I would never go up to a gay person and begin to blast them. If I was approached by someone that I knew was gay, and they asked me to study with them, it would be my duty as a Christian to point out to them that this lifestyle is contrary to God’s word. They would need to know that they must put off the old man, They must change, repent of that sin, be baptized for the remission of their sins and be raised a new creature. This would go for any and all sins. Every one must be willing to change. Remember Heb 10:26 kb. “If we sin willfully after we come to the knowledge of truth, there remains no more sacrifice for our sins.” If there were
        people who came to our congregation who I knew were gay, I would be sure to teach a lesson on the topic, so they would know God’s truths and what they must do in order to be saved. kb, if this

        were any other sin, would we be having this conversaion?

      • I didn’t cut you off right there, but let me cut you off right there!

        I’m not going to be in the business of assuming that people are lost, damned, etc. anymore. I’m just not.

        I am going to love them, chat with them about the Christ if I can, and let the relationship grow and lead to whatever God and the other person will allow it to be. I din’t have to be the one who plants, waters, gives the growth and weeds.

  7. ” I’m just going to go ahead with my original plan and love people and try to not judge them or decide in advance whether I think they’re lost or saved, and talk with them about Jesus and let His Story work His miracle on their hearts if they haven’t heard and are willing.”

    ( talk with them about Jesus and let His Story work His miracle on their hearts )
    sounds kinda like you have already “judged” them lost.
    Even jesus didn’t come to save “the righteous” but the sinners, the lost sinners, you can’t save, saved sinners.

    • kb, I’m having trouble posting, things keep jumping around. God is intolerant of sin, shouldn’t His followers be as well? It is sin that separates man from God. If man desires to be reconciled to God, he must be willing to change. If man is willing to change and accept the terms of salvation, God will come to him, and His saving grace will be his. This is the gospel message that we Christain must preach. it is our love for God that causes us to spread His message. it is our love for our fellow man that causes us to share this saving message with them. You say “if they already believe…..no judgement required.” If they believe, truly believe, they will no longer practice the sin. They will understand that to please God they had to change and seek righteousness. When we share God’s word with people, it will be what convicts them, not us. If they have good and honest hearts (parable of the soils) they will be willing to do what ever it takes to be what God wants them to be. Love is sharing this message with them, love can never be hidding the truth from them. Many will be offended by God’s message, I can’t help that, if I am to be what God wants me to be I must teach the whole counsel of God. Until man is willing to give up their sinful lives, God’s saving grace will never reach them.

    • Same as Peter’s in Acts 2. However, if “someone” has little or no exposure to teachings about Christ, the church; to scripture at all … how likely is it that he/she will ask that question? We have to start somewhere, and my choice is to start with Christ.

      • Your right kb, we do need to start with Christ. We have several examples in Acts where the gospel was preached and they asked that age old question, “what must I do to be saved.” After they heard and believed what they heard, they were always told to REPENT and be baptized. Many times after hearing it one time. Why do we preach Christ? Because ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The gospel of Christ condemns all men. God desires to be reconciled to all men. The only way that can happen is if man obeys the gospel. At some point in teaching Christ to someone, they need to know that the sin in their life has separated them from God. We can teach Christ all day long, and if the one we are teaching doesn’t understand that they will need to change or they don’t desire to change, what good have we done? To accept Christ, is to accept His teachings. If we reject His teachings, we rejest Him. I agree teaching someone can be a slow process, giving it time to sink in. But they need to understand why they need Christ. They need Christ because of sin.

      • We can teach Christ all day long, and if the one we are teaching doesn’t understand that they will need to change or they don’t desire to change, what good have we done? To accept Christ, is to accept His teachings. If we reject His teachings, we rejest Him. I agree teaching someone can be a slow process, giving it time to sink in. But they need to understand why they need Christ. They need Christ because of sin.

        So… the sin in *THEIR* lives is so atrocious and awful and abominable that unless they give it up and never never never never never ever ever do it again, they’ve not truly repented…

        but the sin in *OUR* lives is such that we can still do it, ask for forgiveness, and be walking in the light?

        Awesome – I like this religion of yours.

        PS – you don’t teach people to desire to change by hammering at what you think they’re doing wrong. You do it by laying before them an attractive model of a healthy, holy life. In the immortal words of the FBI agent in Heat offering immunity to the wife of one of the bank robbers, so she can raise her son free from his influence…

        “This stuff here sells itself.”

        If what you’re laying out before people doesn’t sell itself… it probably isn’t Jesus.

      • Nick in Luke 13:3 Jesus said, “UNLESS you repent,ye shall likewise perish.” Repentance is a change of mind, a desire to do as God has directed. It is a turning point, when we turn from our old sinful selves and turn to Him. Rom 6:1 “Shall we continue to sin so that grace may abound? God forbid.” Heb 10:26 “If we sin willfully, there remains no more sacrifice for us. We can fall from grace Nick, 2 Peter 2: 20-22 we are to overcome, not to be entangled again. Heb 3: 12-14 we are not to depart from God. Luke 12:42 we are to be faithful and wise servants. Why so many warnings to Christians Nick, to keep the faith? to be faithful? I agree Nick that we shouldn’t hammer anyone. But at some point they will ask, Why do I need this one called Jesus? Answer, because He loved you enough to come and die in your place. When you deserved death, He came to give you life. Because all men have fallen short of the glory of God. He came because there was a sin problem. And now by the grace of God, He has provided a way for man to be forgiven. In every convertion account in Acts, man was convicted of sinfulness. They were told to repent and be baptized FOR the remission of their sins. I know that many people say, give me the man not the plan. Such a concept is just not biblical.

  8. Our guest speaker today at church spoke about Galatians 5:16-26 — I especially “like” verses 25-26, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” Such challenging verses to live by, especially in this day and age when ‘political correctness’ is so very encouraged over truth – especially God’s truth. My prayer is that I can walk daily in the Spirit and allow God to take over my life — that is so very difficult because I just think I know so much more than He does (HA!) Reading Mr. Brenton’s blog and the responses make me really look deeply into my own faith and search the scriptures for the truth. Thanks all — especially Mr. Brenton!

    “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”

  9. This is the kind of reputation that makes for true unity:

    http://www.crystalbeachlocalnews.com/?p=1835

    No man on the peninsula is loved more than Jerry Valentine, in my humble opinion, and my own pastor, Dennis Allen, of First Baptist Church of Port Bolivar, refers to Brother Valentine as “the spiritual leader of Bolivar Peninsula.” Even those who never enter the doors of any church or claim any faith, feel that Jerry Valentine is their pastor. From a quick word of encouragement spoken in genuine love at The Big Store, to a friendly hello at the newly refurbished golf course in Crystal Beach, or from behind the pulpit, this man emits the love of Christ to all he meets.

  10. I’m not going to be in the business of assuming that people are lost, damned, etc. anymore. I’m just not.

    Well, who is concerned about their post-resurrection life, if not you or I? After all, we don’t have to assume that people are lost, because
    a) all outside of Christ are lost
    b) all Christians living according to the flesh are in great danger to rejoin them
    Both is said frequently in the NT by all of its writers.

    Paul said:

    2Co 5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.

    Can we then really say: “I’m not concerned whether they are lost or not?” Or shall not this concern Paul expressed lead us to a more direct and committed form of witnessing instead of trying to be amiable to all?

    Alexander

    • This is a classic case of taking a quote out of context, and twisting it to mean that I don’t care about lost people. I do. I just don’t assume that every person I meet who hasn’t heard the (full) Story of Christ is evil and damned. God shows mercy to whom He wills. Those who hear and believe the Story are recipients of the promise of eternal life. That doesn’t tie God’s hands to make Him condemn everyone else who hasn’t heard, as if His main concern is saving time on Judgment Day by not judging everyone individually. We will all be judged by our words and actions (Matthew 25), whether we have heard or not. That sounds fair to me.

      But by not assuming damnation and unabated wickedness, I am free to see people who have not heard the Story as lost (wandering, searching) and possibly morally confused (rather than evil); as persons like me capable of making good choices as well as bad. I am free to live them without judging them — and I am still working on that.

      God sees wrong in all of us. I think the people who don’t know the (full) Story and yet show love and charity and forgiveness — and all the traits of Jesus — put to shame those of us who supposedly know His grace yet fail to show it. So I don’t believe God sees wrong and expects perfection. I believe He imputes perfection through the blood of His Son to whom He wills.

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