Archives For Bible

This is a follow-up to a post I wrote yesterday about the city of East Lansing, MI banning a Charlotte, MI farmer from their farmer’s market because the farmer won’t allow gay marriages to be held at his farm.  (The Charlotte farmer is suing the city of East Lansing)

Via a helpful Facebook conversation about my article, I found the crux of the debate revolves around if providing a marriage is a business service or not.  The “pro East Lansing” side feels the Charlotte farmer is denying gay couples a business service in the public business sphere by not allowing them to wed on his property so he is guilty of discrimination.

1. If the farmer was unwilling to sell vegetables to gay couples, then he would be guilty of discrimination

If the farmer was unwilling to sell vegetables to gay couples, he would then be guilty of discrimination and the penalties therein.  As a farmer, his business in the public sector is farming.  In this case with the farmer’s market, it is selling vegetables.  He is not denying gay couples the right to buy his vegetables, nor is he denying Muslims, Hindus, or people having sex outside of marriage the opportunity to buy his vegetables either–all groups of people that a Christian would theoretically not allow to marry on their property because they don’t align with a Christian / biblical sacred wedding ceremony.

2. A wedding is a sacred worship service, not a public business service

I would never expect a Catholic Church, Jewish Synagogue, or Hindu Temple to allow me and my wife to marry in their building, or on their members’ private property.  The reason for this is because all of these groups see a wedding as a sacred worship service, something that is uniquely derived from their faith and religious tradition, not as the legal or business transaction which many in secular society see it as today.  I have officiated many weddings, but no one would call me a bigot if I was unwilling to officiate a Hindu wedding.  This would be the same as asking me to worship Hindu gods in my Sunday morning church service.  Hindus have the full American right to worship their gods, but the day the government comes in like the Gestapo and tells me that I too must worship those gods in my church, or in any part of my life, is the day American freedom dies at the door.

It’s not just about “gods” in the traditional religious sense, it’s that these wedding ceremonies are worship services for each of these religious groups.  The Catholic Church has every right to not allow me a Catholic wedding because I’m not Catholic!  I don’t ascribe to their beliefs about theology, God, the Church, and so on, and a wedding under their authority means we have both agreed this is the direction I and my spouse are living and pursuing.  It doesn’t mean we hate each other, far from it, but to say they must officiate my wedding is illogical and very un-American.  All of the same holds true for gay weddings, which I treat the same as I do two heterosexual people having sex outside of marriage.  The fact that two people have not agreed to follow the Bible’s design for sex does not mean that I am a bigot toward them, but it does mean I’m not going to hold the Bible over their marriage, which is the only thing I can do as a Bible-believing pastor when I officiate a wedding.  Like Hindu gods, the way we live out sexuality is a god as well.  I can’t “bless” a wedding like I carry magic pixy dust around in my pocket and I choose who to throw it on, I can only pray over (and “bless” in that sense) a wedding that is in line with the God I’m praying to (in line with God’s design for sex and marriage laid out in the Bible).  It would be a lie for me, and for the people getting married, for me to try to be so inconsistent before them and before God.  It would be as strange as singing Sunday morning worship songs to Krishna in my church.

In this East Lansing farmer’s market example, it’s like East Lansing heard that the Hindus wouldn’t let me do my wedding on their property because I’m a Christian and now have banned the Hindu farmer from their market because of it. That would be indefensible discrimination against that Hindu farmer, which I feel they are doing to this farmer from Charlotte.  They are discriminating against anyone who doesn’t hold to East Lansing’s religious views of marriage.

 

 

There is a trend in our culture where if you are attracted to the same sex, attracted to both sexes, or identify as a different gender than your birth gender, the cultural tide tells you to go with how you feel, be yourself, and live into these feelings and attractions.

It can feel like there are only two paths: the cultural path of living by your feelings / orientation or the biblical path of living according to what the Bible says.  This dichotomy that’s been set up by the Church and by culture doesn’t give the whole picture though; it’s like we’re playing a game of chess with only a quarter of the board.

A primary breakdown in this dichotomy is that “the biblical path” is often seen by both culture and the Church as meaning “the straight path,” as in, if you’re straight, you’ve met the Bible’s standard.  Heterosexual sin within the Church is no big deal, while homosexual sin gets all of the attention.  This dichotomy also assumes that the solution for someone who is gay is for them to become straight, something that is usually not possible.

Is heterosexual sin spoken against in the Bible?  Yes.  Clearly and directly and repeatedly.  From lust, to adultery, to divorce, heterosexual sin is called out as direct rebellion against a holy God.

Why is Jesus so harsh against lust and divorce? (Matthew 5:27-32)  It’s because God created sex to be between a man and a woman in the context of marriage alone.  Does that line feel familiar to you?  It might remind you of debates that go on between culture and the Church (or between the Church and the Church) about homosexuality.  And it begins to reveal a few more of the missing squares on the chess board…

Those who are gay, lesbian and transgender get all of the spotlight when it comes to conforming to the Bible’s design for sex—not that they are asking for it, but as a heterosexual with tons of sexual disorientation issues, I have to say I’m a little jealous. Continue Reading…

Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Abdu Murray are coming to Michigan this week for “Ask Anything” events, sponsored by Cru.  These events are free; you will want to attend and bring as many friends as you can.

Episode 33 of the “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast features an interview by Noah Filipiak with Dr. Ravi Zacharias.  Ravi discusses the types of questions about faith and truth that people are asking in today’s society, from pluralism to atheism to relativism to Islam and so much more.  Hearing Ravi’s perspective will make you realize how much is at stake, not just for you and your friends as individuals, but for Western and global society altogether.  Following the interview with Dr. Zacharias, Noah sits down with Brian Langford, Cru’s Campus Director at Michigan State University.  Noah and Brian discuss the faith climate on today’s college campuses and why the “Ask Anything” event with Ravi and Abdu is something people will not want to miss.

You can listen to Noah Filipiak’s “Behind the Curtain” Podcast interview with Ravi Zacharias on the Podbean Player below or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes. Continue Reading…

Quick, what’s your take on immigration?

Well that depends if you’re a Republican or a Democrat.

What’s your take on abortion?

Again, it depends on if you sport the elephant or the donkey.

On helping the poor.

On Syrian refugees.

On systemic racism.

Even on sexuality.

Of these many hot button issues, where do you go to get your guidance?  Sure, there is the Sunday School answer of “Jesus” or “the Bible,” but it only takes a stroll down Facebook lane to see Christians are getting their answers to these moral and spiritual dilemmas from the mouth of the elephant or donkey, not from the Lamb of God. Continue Reading…

Dear Refugee, (Documented and Undocumented) Immigrant, Muslim & African-American:

This is a letter to tell you you are loved.  I love you and many others do as well.  Recently some have spewed hate in your direction.  They’ve scrawled it on bathroom walls, spray-painted it on dugouts and have told you to go back to “where you came from.”

Graffiti of swastika on a softball field dugout in Wellsville, N.Y., Nov. 9, 2016.(Photo: Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily Reporter) Click to read the USA Today article

Graffiti of swastika on a softball field dugout in Wellsville, N.Y., Nov. 9, 2016. (Photo: Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily Reporter) Click to read the USA Today article

These people do not represent all of us and they do not represent me.

Notably, these people do not represent Jesus or his Church.

With this recent election, there have been some tragic dots connected by many: there is a renewed outburst of racial hate speech (that you have had to endure)… which people feel free to do because Trump is the President-elect… because Trump gathered many of his followers based on racist caricatures and fear mongering… and Trump won the election because of Evangelical Christians (polls say 80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump)… so this hate speech is now a reflection of Jesus and his Church.

And I know it’s not just the hate speech, but also some potential policies that might be barrelling toward some of you, and the fear and anxiety you currently have to live with of these policies. Continue Reading…