26 Jun 6/26/15 “Opposing Gay Marriage – 5 Reasons Why It’s Not Hate Speech” – Pastor Shane Idleman
In a desperate attempt to avert calamity, the captain signaled: “COLLISION INEVITABLE. TURN TWENTY DEGREES STARBOARD!” To the captain’s amazement, the light signaled back: “COLLISION CONFIRMED…CHANGE COURSE IMMEDIATELY!”
Now near panic, the captain signaled: “HIGHEST RANKING OFFICER IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY—ALTER COURSE IMMEDIATELY!” The oncoming light did not move, but signaled: “ALTER COURSE IMMEDIATELY!”
Infuriated that this small vessel would challenge his authority and endanger both ship and crew, the captain gave a last alert: “FINAL WARNING: ALTER COURSE. WILL OPEN FIRE. I AM A BATTLESHIP!”
The final signal was chilling: “CAPTAIN, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, ALTER YOUR COURSE. I AM A LIGHTHOUSE!”
I’ve heard this story numerous times, yet I’m always reminded that absolute truth, like a lighthouse, stands solid, immovable, and unyielding as a guiding light. A weapon of destruction has set its sites on our nation, our homes, and our families. Relativism and postmodernism continue to challenge truth, but to their own destruction. Attacking absolute truth is like challenging a lighthouse. It cannot be negotiated or bargained with. Truth cannot move – its stands as a beacon to save man from himself.
Confronting is often a characteristic of genuine love. We must extend compassion but without compromise. Parents warn, confront, challenge, and admonish daily. Truly misled or self-serving individuals would wrongly attribute these traits to “hate-speech.” We are not called to make truth tolerable but to make it clear. Follow Jesus’ example: preach the difficult truths as well as the joyful ones; preach the cross and the new life; preach hell and preach heaven; preach damnation and preach salvation; preach sin and preach grace; preach wrath and preach love; preach judgment and preach mercy; preach obedience and preach forgiveness; preach that God “is love,” but don’t forget that God is just. Ironically, it’s the love of God that compels us to share all of His truth, including those things that are hard to hear. Perhaps the debate could be settled quickly by allowing both sides to take a lie detector test to determine who really “hates.”
Affirming what the Bible clearly calls sin is love, not hate. This debate is really over truth; the terms “hate speech” and “homophobic” are meant to divert us from God’s design. Those who strongly believe in the Bible and God’s will regarding sexual behavior also strongly believe in unconditional love and forgiveness. To say that authentic Christians hate or fear those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the Christian faith. To “confront in love” simply comes from a desire to honor God and to truly love and care for others.
Many who defend homosexuality aren’t truly loving them; they are simply seeking to avoid conflict. If a person (or a pastor) is more concerned about being accepted than being truthful, do they really love homosexuals more than those who are willing to risk their reputation, and quite possibly their safety, in order to speak the truth in love? Christians love the truth and others to the degree that they are willing to risk the consequences of confrontation in order to help others. This is genuine love, not hatred. When pastors and leaders believe that God has given them the authority to change truth in order to keep it relevant and alive, they are departing from God. His grace is big and bold enough for all, but grace doesn’t replace truth – it reinforces it.
Changing God’s truth is not love, it’s a slippery slope. The futile attempt being made to conform God’s Word to social norms, rather than to conform social norms to His Word, has nothing to do with love – it’s all about acceptance and every man “doing what is right in his own eyes.” “Will you accept me and my sin” has always been the battle cry of man fighting God. Pastors and churches who accept sin rather than lovingly challenge it have three things in common: truth is vague, doctrine is blurred, and the fundamentals of the Christian faith are often avoided. This is not moral progression on God’s scale, it’s spiritual digression.
Love doesn’t always coddle, it often convicts. Leaders today have “perverted the words of the living God” (cf. Jeremiah 23:36) by not warning, instructing, challenging, and contending for the truth. Pastor’s, as the church falls deeper into self-reliance and further from reliance on God, our need for bold leadership has never been greater. Change will only occur when there is a strong conviction of sin, genuine faith, humility, and sincere repentance—may God grant us the wisdom and strength to proclaim these truths. We must stop confusing God’s patience with His approval and preach with conviction from the pulpits again.
Although disheartening, this trend away from God’s truth is not surprising. The apostle Paul warned centuries ago: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine [God’s Word], but according to their own desires…they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Men will be lovers of self rather than lovers of God…rebellious and arrogant…unwilling to bow their knee to God. If we continue to war against God, we will not win.
Times change but God’s standards do not change. No matter how many laws are passed in favor of sexual orientation, it will not change God’s mind. His principles are guardrails through the canyons of life. State legislators are removing these guardrails.