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This week, I’d like to share about two areas where the Gospel is particularly under assault. 


 

This week, I’d like to share about two areas where the Gospel is particularly under assault. 


Not everything claiming to be benign actually is…

The first area of attack on the Gospel is occurring in the Church.

 

There is nowhere in the Church where there is more vulnerability for the Gospel to be undermined than in the Anglican Communion. Certainly, there are other churches and denominations where the historic faith has been more fully and formally abandoned by the official decisions of institutional leadership, but the current vulnerability in the Anglican Communion is that the historic faith and Gospel commitment that have driven missionary zeal and Biblical fidelity for centuries are being de-emphasized in order to “get along.”

Right now, there are countless initiatives at the institutional level to attempt to convince people that the “cut-glass crystal punch bowl” is so beautiful that when it is polished, preserved, and appreciated, the recipe of the punch it contains is unimportant. The challenge, however, is how much adulteration to the punch is acceptable. I addressed the House of Bishops in one of our Anglican Provinces and pointed out that the soup that was being made (to switch metaphors) has lovely carrots, beautiful potatoes, succulent chicken, and tasty broth. “How much manure can be added to the soup before you no longer can consume it and stay healthy?” I asked them. Not surprisingly, they did not want to have any manure added to the soup, and yet, quite a number of them were participating in conferences sponsored by liberal entities that completely undermine the Gospel, replacing it with institutional focus and uncritical acceptance of sin.

While I was tremendously excited at the selection of Justin Welby as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and had hoped and prayed for his selection believing that he was the best of the available candidates, I have been concerned at what appears to be a perspective that everything can be reconciled with everything else. Whereas most relational disruptions can be reconciled, theological positions are another matter. It is impossible, for example, for the position “Jesus is Lord of all” to be reconciled with “Jesus is not Lord of all.” Although theological disagreements may not seem to be that stark, it is precisely that revelation that is at stake in the Anglican Communion. The Lordship of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture and how He viewed Scriptural authority are very much in play.

 It is admirable to have loving “welcomes” for all people, but everyone needs to be welcomed to come into a relationship with the Savior. The current plan by senior leaders in the Church of England to bless relationships of same-sex sexual intimacy may seem to be a wonderful welcome so that people can then later be won to Christ, but what is the character of the Christ that is being presented? When Jesus validated Scriptural authority (every jot and tittle), He certainly could have made exceptions for some things of moral law had He chosen to do so, but He did not. He certainly dismantled tenets of the ceremonial law. Rather than making changes to moral law as well, He instead called us to an even higher standard. Same-sex sexual intimacy is proscribed by Scripture because it is incompatible with Godly living. The spiritual and physical health consequences are terrible. Sadly, virtually everyone overlooks the truth that there are Biblically proscribed behaviors that have devastating consequences to people’s bodies—as well as to their souls and spirits.

 I heard with my own ears Archbishop Welby describe the plan to allow for blessing of some same-sex relationships while “holding the line against same-sex marriage.” That is no comfort. In a marriage, the Church does not “marry” the people. The people marry each other. In fact, the bride and groom are the ministers of the sacrament. The role of the priest is to evaluate the circumstances of the union and if they conform to the teaching of the Church, pronounce blessing over the union. Pronouncing a blessing over that which God does not bless is no blessing at all. It is, instead, a fantasy that leaves people on a dangerous path spiritually and even physically. The Archbishop is in many, many, respects a wonderful man. However, on this point, I believe he is tragically wrong.

What we need to do is recapture the majesty of the Gospel. Rightly lived and proclaimed, it should offer a lavish welcome to sinners, because that’s what we all are. The Gospel then embraces us for Christ’s sake so magnificently that we are fundamentally changed. We actually get a new nature and begin to be able to become like Him who saves us. We are not “stuck” with the way we were. Our new horizons are the horizons of Jesus. What is possible for us is what He deems possible. It is to His values and horizons that He draws us. Granted we have far to go, but we cannot proceed while shackled in a false, ungodly belief that thinks we get to choose which part of our lives to submit to Christ. The fallacy that we get to decide what is good and what is evil is not only the same mistake that wrecked things in the Garden, it still burdens lives and robs freedom, leaving people stuck in “less than” lives. We should love them better. The dialogue that is being promoted and advanced among Anglicans is not an honest one. The “Continuing Indaba” project is an utterly corrupt process of manipulation designed only to advance the liberal agenda. That kind of conversation can never bear godly fruit. We need a different kind of conversation where the Gospel can be plainly, lovingly, and powerfully demonstrated and then spoken about. Only then can there be resolution.