A Football Coach, Under Fire for Biblical Beliefs

My latest Baptist Press column is HERE.

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9 thoughts on “A Football Coach, Under Fire for Biblical Beliefs”

  1. Hi Pastor Brett

    It seems Christians in America are in conflict with the gay community quite a lot these days, I’ve been following the “Savage” incident, and would be interested to hear you responses to the Shellfish and Slavery arguments. Why is it ok to ignore certain parts of Levitical Law, while faithfully sticking by others.

    I’ll be upfront and tell you that I’m a Seventh Day Adventist, so we probably disagree quite a lot on many doctrines, but we would also agree on many. Although the official SDA line is opposed to homosexuality, I do feel that Christian groups need to sort themselves out before they start having a go at people who don’t care what they have to say. I doubt condemning homosexuals will win their souls, perhaps being more accepting would get them to study the Bible; come to God, & hopefully the correct conclusions on moral issues.

  2. Smidoz,

    Thanks for commenting. I’m not familiar with the “Savage” incident.

    As for your question about the Levitical law…reading the Old Testament through the lens of the New leaves little doubt as to which laws are applicable to us today. The more you study the book of Hebrews, the clearer this comes into focus. Regarding homosexuality, notice I also referenced the Apostle Paul. I don’t find Paul anywhere talking about shellfish or two different kinds of fabric, etc.

    You write, “I doubt condemning homosexuals will win their souls…” I agree. If you could point out to me where I or Ron Brown has condemned homosexuals? Tolerance is one thing. Requiring everyone to embrace a new cultural redefinition of marriage or legislating anti-discrimination for sexual preference at the same level as race and religion is quite another.

    To say it another way, building on your final phrase… Hoping homosexuals come to the correct conclusions on moral issues isn’t going to occur by Christians rolling over and saying that homosexuality is not a moral issue. Make sense?

    The Biblical imperative to speak the truth in love (being full of grace and being full of truth) is not easy, is it?

    1. The Savage incident I referred to involved Dan Savage attacking the Bible while addressing a group of high school kids, he then called those who left in protest names.

      Sorry, I wasn’t saying you or the coach were condemning homosexuals, but I can see how my wording may have implied it, but condemning homosexual behaviour is seen as the same by gay rights groups, think about this, if someone went to a Christian, and told them that eating pork is immoral, since Peter’s vision in Acts 10 would’ve made little sense had there not been food laws, he’d have eaten and not given it a second thought. Most Christians I know, who are very opposed to homosexuality would take that as an attack on them, not on their behaviour, so it isn’t really surprising that when Christians speak out against homosexuality, homosexuals see it as an attack on them.

      I’m not gay, so what the Bible says about homosexuality is unlikely to affect my eternal outcome, just like as a vegetarian, the question of food laws is of little real interest beyond an academic one, I simply brought them up because they seem to come into the gay debate quite a lot. I often feel that Christian reactions to homosexuality paint a picture to the outside world of the pharisee and the tax collector. People don’t see that Christians have a reasonable claim to moral high ground, and are unlikely to accept what they say unless they first accept the Bible. This is why I feel that going after the gay marriage issue is counter productive, homosexuals aren’t going to change whether gay marriage becomes a reality or not, so I can’t see how it will help to make a noise about it. God gave people freedom of choice, Ii someone wants to live their life being immoral, I can’t stop them, it is their choice, but I can give them a reason to look to me for guidance, and that’s by showing the love that Christ showed, and people don’t see the condemnation of gay marriage as loving, even if that condemnation is done from a loving motive.

      I hope I haven’t upset you, its just that I’m intrigued by this situation, since I had gay friends at varsity, who hated the church, because of the reaction they got from it. I’m not trying to pick a fight, I’m just trying to point out that there might be a better approach, and I’m hoping that by opening up the discussion Christians can find such an approach.

    2. Sorry, I also meant to mention that the New Testament does refer to slavery in a rather matter of fact fashion, at least implying it is right, and this is a large part of the argument used by the gay rights side, so the argument you used doesn’t really cover slavery.

  3. Smidoz,

    I thought I would jump in here and make a couple comments. I hope you guys don’t mind.

    First you state you are looking for a response to the shellfish and slavery issues. Dr. James White recently addressed the Savage fiasco and responded to his “arguments”. I would suggest you listen to these podcasts he did recently because they are much more thorough than we can be in this format.

    [audio src="http://www.aomin.org/podcasts/20120503.mp3" /]

    [audio src="http://www.aomin.org/podcasts/20120508.mp3" /]

    [audio src="http://www.aomin.org/podcasts/20120510.mp3" /]

    As to the “condemning of homosexuals”. I am sure it happens….we have all seen the Westboro wackos out there…..but the vast majority of Christians do not condemn homosexuals. It is not condemnation to point out that a particular behavior is not in accordance with God’s word. Even though the homosexuals say the feel that they are being condemned does not mean that is what is happening. It is true that some shed the light in a way that is not as beneficial as it could be done. Sinners often get upset when their pet sins are brought into the light to be compared to the standard of God’s word. With that said I would propose that it is actually an act of love to tell a sinner that their sin may be keeping them separated from God for all eternity. How else are they going to know if we don’t tell them?

    You said that you think “going after the gay marriage issue is counter productive?” How so? It is never counter productive to defend what God has told us are his standards in the Bible. The method we use to do it may be bad or even counter productive but if we are doing it for God’s glorification then it will always be good. If our method is bad then we need to change it.

    We must also remember that it is not our job as Christians to change the homosexuals. It is our job to proclaim God’s truth and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Too many times people get caught up in the fact that we have to be the one to change the person we are witnessing to. We don’t have that power. Our power ends with our proclamation. Then we must trust God for the rest.

  4. Tom, I appreciate those podcasts, and will definitely give the a listen, my issue on the gay marriage thing comes down to this: unlike murder; rape or theft, I can’t really see the effects that it would have on me or society, if you could provide me with the evidence that it would, in the way that we are affected by violent crimes, then I’d say, go for it, it’s measurably bad. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, just that i wouldn’t be able to provide a measurable identifier that it is worth making more noise about than, say, gun issues; poaching or other things I disagree with. I can see a measurable effect of gun ownership, sure, there’ll always be murderers, but we don’t need to make killing easier.

    In proclaiming the glory of God,part of that is that God gives choice, i don’t want to marry a man, but if someone does want to marry a member of their own sex, i may think use of the term marriage is semantically odd, but it really won’t affect me. You can say homosexuality is wrong, that’s fine, but to say that we should remove their options to live the lifestyle they choose is an attempt to deprive them of a choice God gave them. If the government starts saying that churches must ratify these unions, then a violation of separation of church and state has been violated, and that is worth making a noise about. Such an eventuality is unlikely, since Catholic and Adventist, and probably many other denominations, wouldn’t ratify a union of atheists in their church, but we wouldn’t say they can’t go to court to have a civil union. This is really the crux of the matter, should we deprive people of choice, or attempt to? the message that Christians don’t agree with homosexuality is out there, as is the message that Christians don’t agree with Islam, should it be illegal to worship Allah, or should people have freedom of religion? Look at the medieval Catholic church, they were oppressive, would it be alright for one denomination to subject everyone to the legal requirements of their beliefs system? Or does peoples God given right to choose to disobey the first commandment supersede our want as Christians to Christianize the world?

    Basically what I’m saying is that we do have a responsibility to spread the gospel, and equally the legalistic side, not only the “Jesus loves me this i know” part. my issue is at some point, we need to show tolerance, and say, we disagree, but we love you enough to let you choose, we ill keep trying to reach you, but your choice are yours, because God gave you those choices, and we respect God. Perhaps I’m wrong, but there is a reason i came asking questions, perhaps I’m involved in the conversation in the Paul Tripp quote Brett has posted on Twitter. I’m a South African, and we don’t have this issue so much, since South Africa is all about tolerance, to a fault, and anyone who sticks the neck out has their head bitten off. I also think Christians here are still licking their wounds for the part that misreadings of the Bible played in apartheid, and don’t really want to be put into the spotlight over contentious issues.

  5. smidoz,

    It appears that “choice” is a big issue for you. You have mentioned it in a couple comments already. I want to point something out to you about our “free choices”.

    First, I want to agree with you that we all make real valid choices. The problem is when we have a misunderstanding as to the freedom of these choices. What I mean is that the choices we make are only free in as far as they are in agreement with our nature. We are not free to make a choice that goes against our nature.

    Now, we are born with a sinful nature. In fact, the Bible says that we are slaves to our sinful nature. We have no power to change our nature. Only God can do that and he does it when he regenerates us so we can be saved. So, the choices we make must be in agreement with our sinful nature. Our sinful nature will only allow us to choose sin. From man’s perspective it sometimes appears that some of our choices are to do “good” things but from God’s perspective there is always a problem (with the motive of the choice for example). It is not possible for one who is enslaved by their sinful nature to make a choice contrary to that sinful nature. With this in mind, you can see that loving someone “enough to let them choose” is the wrong perspective. In fact, it is not really love at all. We need to love people (sinners) enough to tell them of the consequences of their choices. That is in accordance with Gods word that we are to love God first and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love motivates (or at least it should) us to tell people of the danger they are in. Consider this, if you knew someone was driving toward a bridge and you knew the bridge was out, would it be more loving to be tolerant and respect their choice to try to drive across the broken bridge or would it be more loving to try and warn them of the impending danger? I know this is a simplistic analogy but it conveys the general concept. Why is this important? Because God’s standard is perfection. He will not be tolerant when people face him on judgment day. He has given us clear warning and ignorance is not a valid defense. As such we must proclaim and defend his truth whenever and wherever we are able.

    1. “What I mean is that the choices we make are only free in as far as they are in agreement with our nature. We are not free to make a choice that goes against our nature.

      Now, we are born with a sinful nature. In fact, the Bible says that we are slaves to our sinful nature. We have no power to change our nature. Only God can do that and he does it when he regenerates us so we can be saved.”

      I think this sort of makes my point, people do have the choice to choose, or not, Christ. Christians have made it abundantly clear what the Biblical teachings on homosexuality, and yet that hasn’t changed much, preventing gay marriage probably won’t stop homosexuals living together, it’ll simply stop them from getting the economic benefits of being married. The aim is to get people to accept Christ so they can made a difference, you’ve warned them, either they don’t believe the bridge is out, or they don’t care, so you want to make it against the law for them basically to go against christ, when they’ve already, in many cases, made the decision not to accept him, often for the very reason of homophobia in the church.

      People like Matthew Divine need a different approach, that’s obvious. He claims to have accepted Christ, but he presumably attends a liberal church, that condones homosexuality, your approach with people like that, is not to attack their homosexuality, they know your opinion already, but to rather examine what’s wrong with liberal Christianity, and perhaps Christ can work from their. Christ will work in the lives of those who accept Him, and let Him, but if we are to plant seeds, planting them among the thorns is counter productive.

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