Standing up for Christ by championing Gay rights
Aug 11, USA. The Atlanta Braves baseball team will hold another "Faith Day" this weekend but without "Focus on Family" , an anti-gay group founded by James Dobson. They are being barred from participating in Sunday's post-game activities despite sponsoring the first such event at Turner Field last month. It has been speculated that Focus on the Family was given the boot for promoting its belief that homosexuality is a social problem comparable to alcoholism, gambling or depression. Pitcher John Smoltz will give his testimonial and a Christian rock band will put on a show. Chris Reitsma, a Braves pitcher is scheduled to speak at the final "Faith Day" said "... we want this to be a positive thing to promote the Christian faith.". Meanwhile in New Orleans, the American Psychological Association issued a stinging reply to the so-called ex-gay movements (NARTH and Exodus) following their demonstration at the APA convention. APA issued a very strong statement reaffirming its stand.
In Miami Beach, Florida, Guy Adams, Renew America’s Deputy National Grassroots Director, appeared on “The Right View,”. While discussing the recent Gay Game, he made a preposterous and offensive claim "The newest thing in Chicago, it's becoming a trend, and you're gonna find this hard to believe… sex with infants". If we have lived in the Old Testament and according to the laws, God would not have shown mercy to NARTH and Focus on Family. They have not only been merciless but have resorted to grossly distorted statements. They persecuted those who can hardly defend themselves.
The world outside of the Protestant church is seeing the church as an environment in which prejudice and discriminate against minority groups flourished. The Protestant Church has long condemned the Catholics for worshipping the Pope, but they too worshiped their leaders, the James Dobson, the Pat Robertson, the Rev Akinola, and in Singapore, the Bishop Solomon, the Rev. Kongs, etc, as if their word is the Word of God. When we represent God, we need to speak the truth with great responsibility and fear. If we speak falsely and caused great harm, we maligned the name of Jesus and bring harm to the ministry. For the last 30 years, despite strong scientific evidence that being Gay is just as natural as being straight, the church has been calling homosexuality a sin, hence denying God's love and salvation upto 10% of the world's population. Groups such as NARTH and Exodus went further and caused great psychological damage. Fortunately, the churches' remain true to the bible on their teaching on Jesus Christ and Salvation through Him alone. And for the last 25 years, this evangelical message of God's love has resulted in the formation of mega churches. Yet, for all the hype, the Singaporean mega churches add upto less than 100,000 in Singapore or 2.5% of the population. Singapore has some of the best preachers in Asia yet the growth and impact of the christian church on the nation as a whole remained 10% evangelical christians. The Rev. Ed Siloso at the recent Festival of Praise called for ministry in the work place, but the issue may be more fundamental. It has reached to the stage of what we are doing wrong that is impacting the church, and not what we did right.
Saturday afternoon, the Christian bookshop in the Suntec mall should be expected to be crowded as they are proclaiming the good news which is free of charge. Singaporeans are known to queue for long hours for a good offer. Yet, will they queue up when the shop prominently display "How to prevent your child from being a homosexual", or "What God says about Homosexuality". Granted that the other 99.9% of the bookstore was on other subject, how does the church rejection of gays which only forms 5% of the population impact their ministry to the remaining 90 to 95% of the population. McKinsey famous study on Gays as being 10% of the population. Did God put or make 10% of the population Gay?. Just as we should tithe 10% of our income so that God will bless the remaining 90% our income, we need to honour Gays being the 10% of the community that God has called us to minister. As we minister to this most rejected outcasts, as if Christ to them and affirming God' creation in them as who they are, God will bless the remaining 90% of the straight audiences that we minister to. Instead of affirming their sexuality, we have become their greatest antagonist and fuelling public sentiment against Gays. They send them back to their closest as if they do not exist and create ex-gay organizations. In doing so, we have made the Church slowly becoming irrelevant not because we are teaching the wrong doctrine 99% of the time but because we have not paid the 10% tithe to honor the Gay people that God has put into the community. At the Sunday New Life Service, at the Anglican Cathedral at the City Centre, the messages are very well preached. Thousands in the vicity of the church could have heard the messages, yet less than 20% of the church was full. We have a most self righteous zeal against gays thinking that it is the greatest treat against the church and moral laws, yet God's ways are not straight as man would have imagined and God's ways are strangely opposite to man. What has God created, let no man deny. It is God's grace and mercy that we are blessed by great mega churches even though we never did tithe correctly.
We become an irrelevant church not because we make ourselves relevant to the peoples by our social services and church without walls, but on account of our wisdom to discren the core foundation and principals of what God requires of the church as it minister Christ to the community. If we want revival, the three "to do" items must be paramount:-
1) To do justice
2) To Love Mercy
3) To walk humbly before God
(Micah 6:9 NKJV) The Lord's voice cries to the city; Wisdom shall see Your name: "Hear the Rod! Who has appointed it?
(Micah 6:10 NKJV) Are there yet the treasures of wickedness In the house of the wicked, And the short measure that is an abomination?
In Singapore, we have every reason to be happy with the mega churches and seemingly new move of God. But everything has a limit, a boundary, when we mixed the grace of God with man's effort, when we mixed yeast in our bread. In Micah 6:9. the rod represents rulership and chastening. If we do not hear God's cry to the cities to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly, instead focus on ourselves and the treasures we gather at the expense of others, the blessings of God for Singapore and our revival in our land will not be as great as it should be. Instead we deserved a rod, a canning for the injustice and lack of mercy we have shown towards gays. God is waiting, for His grace and mercy through His son Jesus Christ endureth forever. God has worked mightily in spite of our evil heart and cruelty, but there comes a time when the measuring rod is set and we go no further. At the Festival of Praise, materialism and immorality (adultery in particular) was highlighted as chalenges to the church in Singapore. But the real challenge is not to the congregation, it is to the leaders to set the right spiritual environment. We have great leaders in Singapore, who has sacrificed much with a heart for revival and the move of God. But attitude is seldom enough to overcome our carnal nature, our prejudice. Instead of using the bible is a tool of blessing and relevation of Christ, we used it for condemnation not accordance to the truth that it is written but to justify our pre-conceived prejudice.
There is revival in Singapore, but only within our churches. The great churches of City Harvest and New Creation reported double digit growth. However, there is no revival outside the church. God has not moved out from the church to greatly impact the community and the nation. We have made our churches exclusive by inadvertantly including only straight people. We have closed the door to 5-10% of the population, not realising that it is by the same door that 90% of the community will be blessed. Singapore need God. We have prayed earnestly for revival, and have chosen to believe there is one. The structure for growth through cell groups have been well developed. How long we ask God? The answer is right in front of us - there is just no one like Jonah willing to do God has told him/her to do - to be the champion for Gays and their rights. Will you be a champion for their rights that the church may be relevant and that revival may come. God is calling us to do justice and love mercy. There is an old hymn to stand up, to stand up for Jesus. When we stand up for Gays, we have stood up for the least in the community that could not defend themselves, to be their champions, to bring Christ to them, to bring justice through equality, to bring the mercy of God to their lives that they may be able to accept how God created them as gays. Then, we would have stood up high for Jesus and reach not only to this community but to the remaining 90% for true revival to come.