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Thursday, May 07, 2009
Doug Wilson wrote a brilliant post yesterday on the new hate crimes legislation making its way through Congress. Wilson correctly points out that "[s]oon the denunciation of real sin from the pulpit ... will be illegal as well." It's happened around the world, and while the First Amendment may prove more difficult to circumvent, eventually it too will fall.

Wilson goes on to make an important distinction between the gospel that the world wants Christians to proclaim and the Gospel that God commands us to tell.
The central distinction we must learn to make here is the difference between sin in the sense of shortcoming and failure, and sin in the sense of high-handed rebellion. This especially includes sexual sin. This division between failure and rebellion should not be understood as one marking the difference between forgiveable and unforgiveable. Saul of Tarsus was guilty of the latter, and God converted him on the Damascus road anyway. And many live their lives in the former, drifting in a slow spiral as they circle the rim of Hell. So we should understand that lethargic refusal to repent of moral failures is something that will harden into a high-handed and everlasting rebellion. But in the meantime, the difference is not one of forgiveability.

So what is the difference then? The difference can most readily be seen in the attitude that the Church should take toward the practitioners and advocates of those sins. Practitioners of sins are those who commit them. Advocates are those who present the way of sin as though it were a new gospel, which, in their confused world, it is. The Church must always have her doors open to any refugees from the world, no matter how tattered or mangled they may be (Jude 23). Are you a practitioner of sin? Then welcome. Have you wasted your substance on hookers and cocaine? Then welcome. Are you the ultimate of sexual losers? Then welcome.

Are you the adulterous woman who wipes her mouth and says she has done no wrong? Then here is the door. Are you among those who call good evil and evil good, who substitute male for female and female for male, calling upon the UN to enforce your fundamental human right to hump whatever you please? Then good bye. Are you a Jezebel, teaching believers that fornication is part of Christian liberty? Then God will cast you into a bed of tribulation. There is no tolerance of that kind of hellish doctrine thing here.

This distinction must be held out and publicly maintained constantly. If the distinction is blurred, even slightly, then we are preaching a false gospel to our children, those who are growing up in our midst. Without this distinction, the more clearly we fight the apostles of a false sexual gospel (as we must), the more we are going to confuse and terrify those afflicted by lust who know that their lust is sin. Those who know that their sexual failures are sin are in a different category than those who want to remake the world in a way that conforms to their lusts.
Jesus did not come to die on the cross in order to save those who had succeeded in sinning just a little bit.
Summarized another way, sin as rebellion is thrown into Hell. Sin as confessed failure is ushered into Heaven with a fanfare of trumpets. This being the case, the Church -- a foretaste of what God is up to in all history -- should reflect the same set of values. In the New Testament, false teachers and their corruptions are escorted to the door and are handed their hat, and the "such were some of you" Corinthians are escorted to the Table, and are bidden to sit and eat. In the modern church, confused as we are about this, we reverse this. We shove the failures aside roughly, and treat the scholars of sodomy with far more respect than they deserve.

So then, in conclusion, if the hate crimes legislation is passed and signed into law, every faithful pastor in America will make sure he commits a "hate crime" the following Sunday in his pulpit. And in that same message, if he is worth his salt, he will extend the hand of grace to every struggling sinner there. Come, and welcome, he will say, to Jesus Christ.


D.J. Williams said...

Great article.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »