This past week, a well-known Christian author and former editor for CCM Magazine posted on Facebook and Instagram that he is leaving his wife to pursue a homosexual lifestyle. The details of the story are all too common. Give it a month or two and we’ll see the same scenario play out again, only with different names and titles. Maybe next time it will be a pastor or a worship leader or some other Christian celebrity.
What makes these stories especially heart-breaking is that most of us have experienced more personal versions of them. When the person is someone we know, with whom we have worshipped, gone to school, served in ministry, etc., the tragedy hits home even harder. Worst of all is when the story is someone in our family, like a parent, sibling, cousin, uncle, or, harder still, a spouse or child.
A more personal version of this story hit me this past week as well. When I was a teen, I attended a national brand name Evangelical church. In our denomination, the top prospective teens were selected to travel across the nation singing and doing ministry in various churches.
I’ll call the guy I would consider to be the lead kid of the leader kids “Mark.” Even at 17, when I met him, he was a musical prodigy. He had charisma, charm and leadership. He soon went to the brand name Bible college and was probably the most popular kid there, even becoming their admissions director.
He then became a worship leader for several churches (some quite large) around the county. We then lost touch and later reconnected as married-with-children adults through social media. We both had issues with the churches in which we were raised (him west coast and me east coast), especially the fundamentalism that often exhibited itself as arrogance and a lack of love toward others.
As we compared notes as adults, I discovered he was reading new Emergent Church authors (this was probably about 12 years ago) and was going shallower, while I was reading older holiness preachers and desiring to go deeper.
I found we disagreed on much, but I think we still had some mutual respect. We both said we knew as teens that the other would become a leader someday.
One day, the issue of LGBTQ came up in our discussion. Mark defended the “gay Christian” concept in an intellectual sort of way. I’ve learned people who do so are usually doing it for more personal reasons than academic. Either they or someone they love struggles with same-sex attraction. I think that out of frustration with my posts, he unfriended me and we dropped communication. I get it. It is hard when people just aren’t going in the same direction.
Last week, I saw a post on Instagram from a former Christian mega-church pastor who has recently become apostate and now marches in gay pride parades. Mark liked the post. Not having heard from him in a long time, I clicked on his profile and saw that 4 years ago, his church circulated a letter telling the congregation that Mark was stepping down because he was living an openly homosexual lifestyle. I guess his ex-wife and kids were very affirming and understanding, and he had found a gay Christian community that he spends his time with.
This story is becoming more and more common in my life. So many church friends from my youth, as well as ministry leaders, pastors, and even extended relatives, start to go soft on Scripture, then defend sin and finally come out as unbelievers and even God-haters.
I’d like to say something to Mark and others like him. First, I still care about you. I pray for your repentance. I know you believe you are still accepted by God, despite what 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 clearly states, and you are trying to reinterpret His Word to fit your lifestyle. But God will not capitulate and bend Himself to conform to your will.
I have changed over the years as well. I want to be more compassionate and caring, especially to those who struggle with any sin, sexual or otherwise. But I plan to go on with God no matter what. I have no “Plan B.” When Jesus saved me, He didn’t do it half-way. He didn’t shed His blood and suffer excruciating pain for me to ignore His Word and live to do whatever I want in defiance of His clear commands.
I’m not a half-way Christian. I plan to go to Heaven, even if the entire world around me decides to go to Hell. I owe Jesus that much. I’m committed until I die. No turning back. I’ll miss you and mourn for you and pray for you, but I won’t go with you. I pray that you turn while you still can.
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