Monday, December 12, 2011

Open Letter to John Shore

Dear John Shore,

I've been following your blog and online writings for a number of years now. I believe it was a post on Calvinism that drew me to your blog. You seemed at the time to have some sort of orthodoxy in your Christianity, but at some point in the last 2 years or so, you've thrown whatever orthodoxy you had into the ocean. It's gone. Since that time, you've apparently decided that Hell does not exist and that active homosexuality is not a sin. You've also apparently have decided that you don't want dialogue or to be challenged on these issues, whether on your blog or on Facebook.

This is quite disconcerting. I think you're a talented writer. I think you mean well in your conversations with homosexuals. However, you have set yourself up to believe in a lie. You have followed the logical leftist non-orthodox Christian path that comes with trying to be too compassionate with those who want justification for their actions. First, you do away with judgment. There is a clear description of the judgment to come in the pages of Scripture, most particularly in the New Testament. Calling our brother a fool may subject us to the fires of Hell (Matthew 5:22). If some of our body parts cause us to sin, it is better to cut them off than have them send us to Hell (Matthew 5:29-30). According to James, our tongue can send us to Hell (James 3:6). Peter tells us that if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, why should He spare us (2 Peter 2:4).

Jesus speaks of a place of outer darkness where this weeping and gnashing of teeth. This same place is spoken of in the final pages of Revelation. Yet, you apparently deny there is a place of final judgment.  You claim scripture led you there, but honestly, I don't see how. God is the god of ultimate justice. There must be a punishment for sin. One must trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior to be saved from the wrath to come. But you either don't believe that or that everyone will be saved. It's true that Jesus does not care where you come from or what you've done to save you. What's not true is that if one is good enough, they'll be saved.

Example from 2 Samuel 9:
And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.”
(2 Samuel 9:1-4 ESV)
David is what we call a Type of Christ. It is even more clear in this verse what he is doing here. He doesn't care that Mephhibosheth is crippled. He completely looks past that. In fact, he even restores to this grandson of Saul, his rival, all that was Saul's. David didn't have to do any of this. In fact, most kings tend to destroy their rivals. We are just like Mephibosheth. We are lame, crippled, broken, abused, most notably sinners. Jesus seeks us out and gives us a place at His table always. We must accept this from Jesus. We must accept that he also changes us (more on this coming up as it deals with homosexuality).

With regards to your acceptance of homosexuality, I must agree with you on some points. Christians have been less than compassionate toward homosexuals. We have been hateful, spiteful, disagreeable, and seemingly murderous at times. We have chosen not to have dialogue about the issue and have chosen to allow other issues while this issue continues to grow and fester like a boil. You see, I'm not as disagreeable as you think.

So, Jesus didn't mention homosexuality. So what? He did mention sin. He mentioned judgment for sin. He mentioned that one must be born again to see the kingdom of Heaven (John 3). He told us that we must be poor in spirit, we must mourn, we must be meek, we must hunger and thirst for righteousness, we must be merciful, we must pure in heart, we must be peacemakers, and we must be persecuted for righteousness's sake (Matthew 5:2-12). He also told us to love God and love our neighbor as ourself. On this last part, I'm seeing little of in your most recent posts. You wrote the following most recently:
Fellow Christians: will you please stop treating the Bible like it’s a permission slip from God to be just as ignorant and immoral as your scared little self wants to be–and to raise your children to be just like you?
If not, then be sure to buy a new Bible every year. It’s a lot easier than having to keep washing the blood off your old one.
Is that loving? It's more like condemnation for an orthodox viewpoint. You consistently call those who say homosexuality is a sin: bigots, backwards, fundamentalists, haters, and even murderers. You blame Christians (without any proof) for the gay bullying and teen suicides. In fact, in the post I just referenced, there is no evidence that Christians were behind the bullying, nor is there evidence that the teen was gay. He was called gay slurs, but it never says that he was gay. And yet, you assume all of these things. Yes, there is a bullying problem. There has always been a problem, and there probably will always be a problem. That doesn't make Christians the whipping boy for it.

As for homosexuality being a sin, I could point to Leviticus as proof, but that's expected. I won't point to Sodom and Gomorrah, because I don't believe that homosexuality was their biggest issue. It was unrepentant sin, that was the issue. Instead, I'll point to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
To me, this is an encouragement passage. Paul is reminding the Corinthians where they were at. Some of them were adulterers, idolaters, thieves, possibly murderers (though not mentioned here, but listed elsewhere), and yes, even homosexuals. I've seen many attempts by others to explain this passage away by suggesting that the word homosexual wasn't used until the early 19th century or that this referring to a type of temple orgy, etc. However, we don't have that context in this passage at all. Instead, we have a word that refers to the active or passive sex between two male partners. Sounds like homosexuality to me.

So, where does the compassion come into being for the homosexual. I believe I can be kind to people. I can love all people. I'm told I shouldn't love the Arab Muslim because they want to kill me. Does that stop me from being kind to them? No. Are they going to Hell? Without Jesus, yes. The same goes for the homosexual. Active homosexuality and active Christianity are incompatible. One cannot live in both worlds. God created Adam and Eve and said that man would leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and have children. That is the natural order of things. Homosexuality is not natural. Can one have inclinations toward homosexuality? Sure, just as one has inclinations toward lying, murder, stealing, adultery, divorce, etc. There is a temptation to sin. Christ came to free us from sin. It would be more loving for me to tell a homosexual to believe in Christ Jesus to be free from their sin and from Hell than it would be to affirm their homosexuality. Why? Because I would be doing as Christ commands me and that is to give them the hope that will rescue them from judgment.

By you denying the realities of a final judgment, you can therefore also deny that this particular sin deserves judgment. You claim that it is in the name of compassion or love. But in reality, it's not. You're only widening the path to judgment. You can call me all the names you want as you have done. You've called me arrogant, argumentative, allowed others to call me a troll, etc. Nearly every one who comments on your blog posts and your Facebook page agree with you and praise you, and you eat it up. I make a comment challenging what you've written and pointing to Christ, and I get torn down and you encourage it. Is this your brand of Christianity? Where have I torn you down? Where have I been arrogant? Where have been unloving? Where have I been argumentative? I'd like to know where I've attempted to bait. You accused me of that.

In all, I felt this was something that had to be written. I believe you are a talented writer. Other writers that I admire have said so as you have posted on your Facebook page. However, I believe that you are misusing your talents. All those letters you get from gay teens struggling with acceptance are giving you and opportunity and yet your missing it. You have an opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet, you've missed it. Christ is the one who changes hearts, not man. You've chose the enlightenment, humanist route, and not the God-centered route. For that, I am sad. Feel free to respond or feel free not to. Either way, this is out of my head and on to the web. May God work in your heart to change you to be more like Christ.

Sincerely in Christ,
Chris Coppenbarger
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