The Bible spells it out quite clear what true love is. Discipline encompasses true love. Even though God is 100% love (1 John 4:16), at the same time God is 100% consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, 9:3, Hebrews 12:29). Because God is both, Satan has perverted what love really is and our so-called educated modern society has bought the lie from the father of lies.
I must admit that in our complicated society there are gray areas that need a lot of discernment to come to a decision. But most of the other areas are clear-cut. I want to share the following news story as reported in a major US newspaper:
- The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa., entered a plea of not guilty as the trial of the United Methodist minister who officiated at his son’s same-sex marriage began on Monday. He is accused of breaking church law barring same-sex marriages and his defense is that he just took God’s love and extended it to his son when he officiated at the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts. On Sunday night, Schaefer told supporters he was encouraged but added he doubted that he would be acquitted and the worst punishment would be for him to be defrocked. “I feel that this is the home stretch after all we worked for the last few months,” the minister said after a day of local vigils and demonstrations in support of his position. “I feel encouraged by the outpouring of support, really from all over the world and the U.S. So many people who prayed for me and expressed support. I want to make a strong statement that what I did was in good conscience,” he said, according to press reports. During a penalty phase in his trial Tuesday November 19, Schaefer was unrepentant for standing up for gays – even telling jurors that he has been called by God to be an advocate for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. “We have to stop the hate speech,” he said. “We have to stop treating gays as second-class Christians.” The United Methodist church, the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination, also rejects homosexuality as being contrary to Christian teaching and bars its clergy from performing same-sex marriages. However, gays and lesbians are allowed to be full members of the church. Same-sex marriage has politically and socially divided the nation, though it has grown increasingly more accepted. In a July 2013 Gallup poll, 52% of Americans said they would vote for a law legalizing gay marriage, and 42% said they would not. As recently as 1996, polls showed that 68% said they did not believe same-sex marriages should be valid, while 27% said they approved. Tim Schaefer, the minister’s son, said he struggled with his homosexuality as a teenager and prayed every night that “God would make me normal, take this away from me.” He told the Associated Press that he contemplated suicide but knew it would devastate his family. Schaefer finally told his parents at age 17, and he said they accepted him completely. Years later, Schaefer knew he wanted his dad to perform his wedding ceremony. “I remember thinking I have two choices: I can ask my dad and know I am putting him in a position … where he would risk his career, or I could not ask my dad and really risk hurting his feelings. I think he would have been devastated if I hadn’t asked him,” he said. The United Methodist clergyman convicted of breaking church law for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding was suspended late Tuesday, and ordered by a jury of his fellow pastors to surrender his credentials in a month if he can’t bring himself to adhere to the laws of the church’s Book of Discipline. Schaefer said he had no intention of changing his mind about the church’s teaching on homosexuality, declaring he would perform more gay marriages if asked.
Please read the following Scripture, not taken from the Old Testament, but written in the New Testament. Please read it very carefully two or three times so you can allow what our Creator and Judge is really saying:
- But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (Romans 1:18-22, 24-28, 30, 32 NLT)
Jesus came to fulfill the Levitical law, but the forbidding of sexual sins is just as sure today as it was in the Old Testament:
- This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. “Greetings! We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:23, 24, 28, 29 NLT)
- I (Paul) can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother. You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2 NLT)
- Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes (effeminate-a man showing characteristics regarded as typical of a woman), or practice homosexuality. (1 Corinthians 6:9 NLT)
Now I would like to share the following points about the news story that are clear cut according to Scripture and should be according to all Church Law:
1. The Reverend Frank Schaefer is guilty of performing the ceremony for his son Tim according to both Scripture and Church Law. Punishment to protect the Church is demanded by Scripture: In the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church. I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus. Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns. (1 Corinthians 5:4, 5 NLT)
2. It was not true love that the Pastor showed for his son. It was a twisted love.
3. Homosexuality is not only forbidden by Scripture it is an abominable (detestable) sin in God’s eyes: Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin. (Leviticus 18:22 NLT). Things that are abominable to God have an attitude of rebellion behind them: Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. (Titus 1:15, 16 NLT)
4. It will not be public opinion that judges us when we stand before God. It will be God’s rightly divided Word the Bible alone: Then he (Jesus) said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15 NLT)
5. Even though the United Methodist Church still bars its clergy from performing same-sex marriages, it is wrong according to 1 Corinthians 5 to allow those who live in open sexual sin to become members of the Church.
6. Sin goes hand-in-hand. The threat of suicide (self-murder) and depression often accompanies homosexual sin. Romans 1 above explains this.
7. God calls the twisted love homosexuals have for each lust (Romans 1:27), not love. God says that they will suffer the punishment they deserve.
8. God always provides a way out as long as we do not suppress the truth by our wickedness (Romans 1:18). It is His way and not the way we may want it: The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
9. God has already declared His verdict that homosexual sin is wrong. To pray that Reverend Schaefer will be victorious in his stand is a mockery to God and His Word: God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19 NLT)
10. We may have to live with sin in the world, but it is not allowed to be tolerated within the Church of Jesus Christ: When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NLT)
11. The term ‘gay christian’ is a total contradiction of terms: Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. (1 John 3:7-9 NLT)
12. God does not make anyone ‘gay’. Because of the hardness of their own heart, God abandons them to their own shameful desires and to their foolish thinking and lets them do things that should never be done (see Romans 1:26 & 28 above).
Discipline is clearly defined in the Bible and encompasses true love, yet most of modern society defines it as archaic and unloving. Over and over again, the Bible warns us of the importance of proper godly discipline:
- For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12 NLT)
- For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:6, 29 NKJV)
- He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. (Proverbs 13:24 NKJV)
- If they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. (Psalms 89:31-34 NKJV)
- Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding. (Proverbs 10:13 NKJV)
- Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15 NKJV)
- Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. (Proverbs 23:13, 14 NLT)
- Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle, and a fool with a rod to his back! (Proverbs 26:3 NLT)
- To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child. (Proverbs 29:15 NLT)
In summary, Jesus demanded that we love Him more than our family and our own life. He warned us that this would cause deep problems in our families:
- “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 NLT)
- “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against. Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53 NLT)
Do you truly love Jesus as much as He demands or do you put family and your own life first?