Prayer Targets: "Gay Christians"?; APA Promotes Adultery; Religious Freedom Ministerial; More
July 17, 2019
Dear Praying Friends,
Rob Schwarzwalder (bio), now a Senior Lecturer at Regent University, served as Senior Vice President at Family Research Council for more than seven years. Rob was chief of staff to two members of Congress, Communications & Media Aide to a U.S. Senator and Senior Speechwriter for Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. A dedicated Christian and family man, Rob's commentaries from a biblical worldview have appeared in numerous national publications. This is from The Stream:
I've never yet met anyone who calls himself a "greedy Christian" or a "slothful believer" as the comprehensive definition of his heart and life. Each one of us struggles with various kinds of sin. Yet we don't identify ourselves by the evil things toward which we're drawn. We don't qualify who we are by attaching our particular "besetting temptations" to our faith.
Some of our brethren in Christ do exactly this. The "gay Christian" movement is seeping into Evangelical Protestantism. But Christian men and women who find others of the same sex physically and emotionally appealing are not "gay Christians." They are Christians who are burdened with a particular temptation.
The Good News - I cannot imagine how difficult it would be never to have the intimate relationship my beloved wife of 38 years and I have cherished. To be celibate, always, would be a heavy and painful burden. We must help those who carry it bear it (Gal 6:2).
The good news is that when it comes to identity, the New Testament defines it for us. Paul the apostle uses the phrases "in Christ," "in Him," and "in the Lord" no less than 160 times in his writings. What does this mean? That we have been placed in intimate relationship with the Son of God. That He has come to live in us. As Paul told the church in Colossae, it is "Christ in us" Who is our "assurance of glory" (Col 1:27).
Our identity is in our new fellowship with the God Who became man and died and rose for us. That's amazing and wonderful. It's also definitive.
Yes, we are also Americans, partisans, spouses, children, employees, stamp collectors, weight-lifters, and softball players. But these things describe aspects of our lives. They don't define the heart of who we are.
So, for example, there's no such thing as an "alcoholic Christian." There are Christians who have been addicted to alcohol and have to fight against it every day. But they are new in a living Savior. They can "put to death the deeds of the flesh" (Rom 8:13) through the strength and courage He offers. And when they fail, they turn from their sin and return to His fellowship.
No "Gay Christians" -That's why "gay Christian" is a phrase that faithful followers of Jesus Christ need to pull out of their vocabularies. It's common for someone to say, "I wrestle with same-sex attraction" or, to use our cultural shorthand, "I'm gay." This seems to be the basis of the "gay Christian" movement. It is a simple way of communicating a profound characteristic of one's life while also affirming his or her allegiance to Christian faith.
My argument is that this is neither wise or biblical. Without qualification, it seems to imply that one can practice homosexual inclination and still be faithful to Christ. He can't. And given the baggage that comes with declaring, "I'm gay," identifying oneself as a "gay Christian" brings with it unspoken assumptions that must not be part of one's Christian testimony.
And to the earlier point, none of us should nuance our trust and submission to the Lord of all. I am an American, a conservative, a Virginian, a professor, a husband and father, and other things. All of us have these kinds of identifiers.
But they don't define our core identity as born-again followers of Jesus Christ. With the early believers, we are to be "small Christs," simply Christians.
So, as the Nashville Statement puts it (Article VII), faithful Christians must "deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God's holy purposes in creation and redemption." To affirm this self-conception -- to approve the label "Gay Christian" -- is to lock struggling brothers and sisters into an identity from which Christ has freed them. How is this love? Or truth?
We Are Washed and Sanctified - Some Christians will struggle with homosexual attraction until the day they die. Every day is a battle not to surrender to this aspect of their fallenness. But with consistent resistance to temptation, the temptation's power slowly loses the power of its grip. This comes with diligence and time, the encouragement of true friends and the power of God's Word and His Spirit.
Paul concludes his charge to the Corinthians with these liberating words: "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." Washed, sanctified, justified: these are our core identities in Christ.
That may sound tough. But Christians serve a God Whose intent is both His glory and our good. That's where faith and obedience come in. And where, in the power of Jesus, we can triumph (see The Stream).
Jesus said: "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They answered... "We... have never been in bondage to anyone..." Jesus answered ... "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin... if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (Jn 8:31-36 NKJV).
Millions of men and women engaged in sexually confused and destructive LGBT behaviors have found liberty in Christ over the centuries (1 Cor 6:9-20). They have gone on to be "disciples indeed," and many have married, raised children, and enjoyed joy-filled Christian lives. Christ alone is the answer to the sin problem. Yet in America today, a concerted effort is underway in all spheres of culture to normalize and mainstream LGBT and other sexual practices that God plainly calls sin. A concerted effort is underway to persuade our children to affirm and embrace forbidden sexual practices and abortion. Mayors, city councils, state legislatures. even the U.S. House of Representatives and the courts have created policies to force Americans to affirm these confused and sinful sexual practices, whatever their religious faith or conscience. There are false prophets within our churches who are urging compromise or outright affirmation of the LGBT movement. But to Christians the Apostle Paul wrote:
For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own bodyin a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit (1 Th 4:2-8 NIV).
- May God's people lead the way, devoting themselves to extraordinary prayer that is fitting for the crisis in which we find ourselves. May they get equipped, engaged, and rise to speak the truth in love, to share the gospel of God's grace through Jesus Christ with every person in America. May they take their stand before those in high places who abuse their authority to impose policies that will bring our children and future generation of Americans into sexual bondage and that will do harm to themselves, others, and our nation. (Jer 1:5; Es 4:14; Rom 1:21-32; 1 Cor 6:11; Eph 4:11-16; 6:10-20; 2 Tim 3:16-17)
The APA's Adultery Promotion Spreads -- Cathy Ruse, FRC's Senior Legal Fellow and Director of Human Dignity, has written more about the American Psychological Association and the impact of their advocacy of "polyamory," "swinging," and "relationship anarchy" as healthy and ethical. California's Department of Education and their "LGBT Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force" revealed their plans for the California schools this fall. They are instructing teachers to talk to youngsters about sex "partners," and to avoid terms like "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" because "some students may be non-monogamous." This is in the lesson plan for 12-year-olds. And it gets much worse. The April revision of the Health Education Framework of the Department tells teachers that 14-year-olds "may have various gender identities and sexual orientations." Indeed, "there are an infinite number of ways an individual can express their individuality and sense of self... Teachers should affirmatively acknowledge the existence of relationships that are not heterosexual by actively using examples of same-sex couples in class discussions." "Polysexual" and "pansexual" are "common" sexual orientations for high schoolers, teachers are told. But they are to keep in mind that "gender and sexuality are often fluid and do not always fit neatly into these categories." (Read "Polyamory is for Pre-Teens in Public Schools. Oh, Really?")
- Father, from Genesis to Revelation you warn of consequences for sex outside of marriage and aberrant sexual behaviors that you forbid. Thank you for the administration and new judges and state leaders who are working to stop the tide of sexual anarchy. Lord, please bring your sovereign correction to the APA and all of the institutions that are promoting false doctrines and sexual anarchy. Stop the State of California from pushing the barriers farther and farther. Stir your pastors to speak out and call your people to action. Grant, as we prayed last week, a revival of righteousness in the church and America! (Gen 18:2-33; 19:24-28; 1 Tim 1:8-11; Jude: all)
The 2nd Annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom -- In one of the greatest efforts of any State Department in modern history, President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and U.S. Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback are continuing to expand their commitment to advance religious liberty worldwide. The second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Liberty turned away inquiries after 1,000 registrants maxed out the auditorium. Official representatives from nations across the world, concerned about religious liberty, are now in attendance, as are persons who have been persecuted for their faith. While promoting the freedom of conscience for people of all faiths, presently 80 percent of the instances of persecution across the globe are targeting Christians. Tony Perkins has been giving a daily overview of events on his Washington Watch radio program. Besides other great guests, Tony interviewed Secretary Pompeo on Monday. Tony is both President of FRC and Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). They both agreed that the administration's efforts have produced measurable results with regard to religious liberty among the nations. Sadly, on Tuesday, Tony talked with fellow USCIRF Commissioner, Kristina Arriaga, about five Cuban Christians who were detained by their government to prevent them from attending the Ministerial. The Ministerial will continue until 11 PM Thursday night and can be viewed online. (See Schedu le of Events; Watch Live; Text Archive; Tune in for Tony's Wednesday overview on Washington Watch; Visit FRC.org for a Daily Update on the Ministerial and other matters; View our event "Will Religious Freedom Survive in Northeast Syria?")
- Pray for the Ministerial and for the State Department's historic effort. May they make history from day to day, month to month, and year to year. May the Holy Spirit move upon the nations to open the doors for the Gospel to be preached freely and may multiplied millions be saved. May men and women of every faith be unshackled from government control of their God-given religious consciences. And may the nations that share in these goals prosper! (Is 61:1-3; Mt 6:33; Rom 2:15; 1 Cor 8:12; 1 Pt 3:16)
Finally, please pray for: 1) Biblically conservative Christians to be prepared and engaged in advance of the 2020 Election (see "Biblical Principles for Political Engagement: Worldview, Issues, and Voting"); 2) The House passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that included a repeal of President Trump's Transgender Policy. There are other supra-liberal "poison-pill" amendments in the massive military funding bill that is moving from the Senate and House into their conference committee; 3) President for less than a year, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen was fired yesterday, reportedly because she would not use "trans-inclusive" language, among other reasons; 4) The Ninth Circuit Court has ruled to let HHS proceed with its regulation to prevent family planning clinics that share facilities with an abortion provider from receiving any federal funding. Praise God! As always, thank you for praying!