Part 3 of 4. This series will conclude in the next issue when Ed focuses on radicalized Islam. Click links for Part 1 and Part 2.
May 2020 – Since the homosexual political movement erupted in New York City 51 years ago, its success in gaining support from mainstream America has been stunning. From corporate America to Hollywood, from the nation’s colleges and universities to Madison Avenue, the ideology that spawned the movement has been embraced and disseminated virtually everywhere.
By and large, during much of that movement’s journey of success, the church remained the consistent opponent, holding the line against the devastating lie that homosexuality is natural, moral, and healthy.
However, while the advancement of the homosexual agenda has not been as successful or widespread as in other cultural institutions, the acceptance of a “gay theology” in many churches has been shocking. It represents a direct assault on the truth of Scripture and the gospel itself.
Mainlines off the rails
A new poll from Lifeway Research reveals substantial growth in support for the homosexual lifestyle among Protestant pastors, but especially those in mainline churches. In one of the queries, the polling firm asked 1,000 pastors whether or not they agreed with the statement, “I see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married.”
According to Lifeway, the percentage of all pastors who agreed with the statement had increased from 15% in 2010 to 24% in 2019. For mainline pastors, the positive response had increased from 32% to 47% –nearly half.
The only good news from the Lifeway survey is that, for pastors of evangelical churches, support for same sex marriage had stayed low at 8% in 2010 and 2019.
Still, it has become clear that those who are adopting a pro-homosexual theology have, in fact, drifted away from a Christian view of Scripture itself.
“The movement we see among pastors’ views of same-sex marriage has less to do with their denominational tradition than their view of the Bible,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “An evangelical distinctive is the ultimate authority the Bible has over one’s beliefs despite changing cultural perspectives. It is not surprising then that evangelical pastors across different denominations continue to view same sex marriage as wrong through this lens.”
Evangelical support growing?
However, even among those who consider themselves evangelical Christians, opposition to the acceptance of homosexuality appears to be softening.
Numerous followers of Christ were disappointed when popular contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle fumbled her response when asked by a radio show host whether or not homosexuality is a sin.
“I can’t honestly answer on that,” Daigle sidestepped. “In a sense, I have too many people that I love that are homosexual. I don’t know. … I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God.”
Yes, Lauren Daigle isn’t God, but God is, and He has spoken clearly on this subject. Of course, that’s the value of having the Scriptures.
Bible teacher Beth Moore’s apparent flinch on the subject is even more troubling. The popular teacher/speaker has influenced tens of thousands of Christians with otherwise sound instruction, but last year Moore removed references critical of homosexuality from her book that was undergoing a re-write for an online version.
Gone was her paragraph that cited these biblical truths: homosexuality is a “deadly sexual assault of the evil one;” homosexuality is a sin; and a promise that “God can indeed deliver you …from homosexuality.”
Once it was made public that the passage had been removed, Moore received significant blowback. So, she explained the deletion this way: “After taking three years to pray and test the fruit, it became clear to me that my words in this section, words that exceeded Scripture, were stopping many from God’s words which follow. It wasn’t a doctrinal shift. When our words keep people from God’s words, we’ve over-spoken.”
As frustrated critics pointed out, nothing now remained in her online version that calls homosexuality a sin or promises freedom from it.
However, it was Moore’s bizarre reference to prayer and testing of fruit that may have been most revealing. Like Daigle’s milquetoast deflection away from the clear teaching of Scripture on the subject, Beth Moore’s appeal to what she feels is the truth is a shameful admission from a Bible teacher. One looks in vain for anything in Moore’s original statements that “exceeded Scripture.” After insisting that the deletion did not indicate “a doctrinal shift” on her part, one struggles to imagine how this is actually the case.
Part of the collapse of Christian truth-telling about what the Bible so clearly teaches is no doubt the result of fear. After all, the backlash that results when someone actually speaks the uncomfortable truth can be a shock.
Evangelical celebrity athletes such as Tim Tebow and Drew Brees, for example, certainly have felt the wrath of the homosexual community and its sympathizers, and both promptly withdrew from the fight. (See Tim Wildmon’s column at afajournal.org or in AFA Journal, 1/20.)
Brandan Robertson, an LGBTQ activist who claims to be a Christian, told the Washington Post, “Just five years ago it would have been okay to say homosexuality is a sin and an abomination. Today you would be hard-pressed to find any major evangelical leader who would say that publicly.”
Lesbian Julie Rodgers, who resigned her position in the chaplain’s office of the evangelical Wheaton College, now pushes a gay-affirming version of Christianity and says the shift among leaders is helping to change minds.
“When pastors and leaders begin to come out [as LGBTQ affirming], people are going to move. They just need permission,” she told the Post. “I think a shift is inevitable. It’s just a matter of [when].”
She may be right. A 2017 Pew Research poll found that 47% of evangelical Christians born after 1964 favored same sex marriage. The percentage among that group in 2006? Only 16%.
Coming to the church door
It’s one thing for a nation in rebellion against God to turn away from His truth and embrace the lies of the sexual revolution. But how is it that even the evangelical community finds itself toying with the idea of embracing what God calls an abomination?
The hard truth is that many people who identify as Christians are just as worldly as the culture that applauds sodomy. Many who claim to be Christ-followers are cohabiting and engaging in fornication or are in chains due to sexual bondage – whether it’s to hardcore pornography or the softer perversions offered by Netflix and other streaming services.
Large swaths of the modern church have built an American-style version of the faith on the same postmodern foundations built by unbelievers. How can it be argued otherwise? Countless surveys reveal an evangelical community that doesn’t know what its faith teaches and can’t be bothered to learn.
Even a blind man should be able to see that a day of reckoning is coming to America; only a blind Christian would fail to understand that the reckoning will knock first at the church door.
More insights from AFA
American Family Studios offers related resources at afastore.net or at 877.927.4917.
The Bible and Homosexuality Series with Dr. Robert Gagnon has two 50-minute DVDs examining scriptural truths on marriage and sexual ethics.
The Progressive Threat to the American Republic features Ed Vitagliano in a one-hour DVD. A 37-page complementary booklet is also available.