Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When the Church Acts Like the World: The Unfortuntate Case of Rev. Worley

By now you have probably heard about Rev. Worley. If you did not know his name you may have heard news reports of a sermon that he preached on Mother's Day in which he said that all homosexuals should be put behind electric fences, and keep them there until they die.  Unfortunately the video of his sermon was put on YouTube and then went viral.  This caused news stations across the united states to run stories and talk radio to discuss the controversial message. The story has caused anger and has reinforced a stereotype that all Christians hate homosexuals.

I am going to say right from the outset that what was said in the message is inexcusable and should have never been spoken by any Christian, thought by any Christian much less expressed in a Christian pulpit.  But it has happened, so how do we respond to it. 

First, as a Christian I must apologize to those who have been deeply hurt by the comments.  There is no excuse for the sermon nor the attitude.  I know that you may never understand nor you may never believe that there are Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin but who do not hate homosexuals.  Yes, we believe that homosexuality is a sin, so is adultery, and lying, idolatry, pornography, hatred and the list goes on.  We also believe that God saves sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  We believe that Christians are not perfect but are forgiven by God.  They are now children of God who struggle with sin such as homosexuality, lying, unfaithfulness etc.  You have probably met Christians like this but because they are not in your face, you may not have recognized them.  So I hate that the only Christians you get to see are the ones who make the most noise.

Second, as a Christian I can say that what Rev. Worley did was wrong, but I dare not be judgmental for if I do then I would be acting like him.  I pray for Rev. Worley and his church.  I pray that through this incident, they would recognize that hatred spoken in the name of God is still hatred and defames his name.  It was Jesus who said, let him who is without sin cast the first stone.  Yes we are called to be zealous for righteousness but at the same time we are to be equally zealous for grace.  As I write this, I recognize that I am guilty of acting and thinking in un-Christ-like ways and so I need to repent as much as any one else.

Finally, I titled this when the church acts like the world.  I recognize that some who read this would say that in this incident the church was not acting like the world.  The world after all embraces homosexuality as a natural lifestyle that should never be condemned.  How could this be a case of the church acting like the world.  The worldly way of doing things is to be tolerant of everything except those who disagree with you.  The world vilifies those who disagree with us. The world treats opponents as enemies.  The world says hatred is justified if the one you hate has done something to hurt you.  Not so with Christians we follow the one who prayed for those who crucified Him, "Father Forgive Them."  We follow the one who said love your enemies and do good to those who revile you.  Maybe the church would do better if we stopped yelling and started loving.  Think about it.

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