|Trapped by the Past - Rev Louie Giglio|
Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
The Rev Louie Giglio, an evangelical well known for his anti-slavery/ anti human trafficking work has pulled out of the US President Inauguration prayer due to a strong backlash of his 15-20 year old anti-gay sermons.
In a world whereby the liberal persuasion means being inclusive of listening to other views different from us, it seems contradictory for gay groups to take issue with Rev Louie Giglio for his anti-gay sermons in the mid 1990s.
However, what was taken as a right of opinion by the Rev Giglio is a special right to legislate his opnion causing grave harm and denial of basic rights to the GLBT peoples. Hence, the suffering, pain and even deaths caused cannot be negated by the claim of free religious speech or opinions.
In response to the withdrawal by Rev Giglio, the Christianity Today Magazine highligted that a Christian reseach group Lifeway found that 37 percent of Americans believed that Homosexuality was a sin, down 7 percent from just a year ago. They see it more as a cultural battle.
Both Liberals and Evangelicals often coveniently forget the power of the law of God. For the Liberals, surely a loving God will not send humanity to eternal suffering. In the other extreme, for the evangelicals, just like the Pharisees so concerned about sin and others breaking the law of God, that they forgotten they were the greatest sinners against the law of God, causing grave harm and injustice to the weak and powerless.
We have blamed people for something inherent and natural and dammed them to hell and suffering here on earth and in eternity whilst we wilfully sin in denying their basic rights at the same time insisting on own rights/sexual preference. The law, the punishment for our sins should not so easily passed away because so many people were deeply harmed.
Changing Public Opinion raised by Christianity Today should not be the only criteria from concern even though in 4 years time based on current trend it will probably be down to less than 20% believing that homosexuality was a sin.
Yet, due to the outcry of public opinion, Rev Giglio have had to withdraw even though his message is one of mercy and his work on social justice against human trafficking so admirable. He shouldn't have to account for a sermon, 17 years ago! especially since he is not a strong modern day anti-gay advocate.
The voices of those who died, the many who committed suicides or died through AIDS, or have their lives of happinnes denied due to the likes of message of Pastors such as Rev Giglio, that grave sense of moral injustice and sins committed against the innocent fill the space because there was no justice nor rest for their lost souls.
The greatest challenge for the Charismatic Evangelical church is not the public opinion which in a sense limit what they could say without incurring a stong negative feedback which will sideline their main evangelical gospel message of Christ' saving grace.
The greatest challenge is a spiritual challenge where the judgement of the law of the sin against the innocent so willfully and deliberately carried out in the very name of Jesus Christ is blood spilled on the ground which cries out for justice. The ground/ soil is tainted. Any good work which the good rev did doesn't bear fruit on tainted and cursed soil. In Matt 5:17, the judgement of the law just simply cannot pass away.
In Matt 15:3, Jesus was declaring blessedness to the hundred of his followers looking down from the mountain top to his followers below. Jesus started off with blessed is the poor in the spirit, those who realised how spiritually lacking they were as a result of their own sins and failures and so coming to a contrite position seeking redemption, and finding the kingdom of heaven in Jesus Christ.
We have in the 21st century, an evangelical charismatic church acting like the pharisees having a certain sense of outward righteousness (75% still considered homosexuality a sin according to Christianity Today - Lifeway research article). In Mat 5:20, Jesus calls for our righteousness to be based on Jesus and not for being seen to be righteous because we deemed others as sinners especially when it is us who has sinned against them.
The backdown by Rev Giglio due to the strong negative public opinion which derailed his message on his work in social justice against human trafficking is just the start. It is the Gospel message that is being derailed. The blood in our hands could not be cleansed by good works. It stays with us, haunting us even though the anti-gay crusade by the church even in Singapore has toned down over the last 4 years.
There is forgiveness, grace and mercy in Christ Jesus, and not insisting a right of opinion but a contrite heart asking for forgiveness and seeking repentance. The more we insist on our rights, the more we are judged to the letter of moral law for the grave sins against the innocent. The more we seek God's grace, the more grace we received even though much harm we have caused. Therefore, live by God's grace and mercy and never insist on the law either of the land or of heaven.