While I was reading the Bible last night I came across 2 Corinthians 11 which speaks about Paul’s defense against false apostles. It seems that after Paul left the church at Corinth false apostles moved in and began to oppose Paul’s message and authority. While Paul was confident about the believers he had left behind in Corinth, they were not so sure about him. Paul is forced to defend his genuine call as an apostle and speak out against the false apostles.
In verses 14 and 15 we read “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” One of Satan’s favorite tricks is to do evil while maintaining an outward appearance of good. He knows that it is easier to destroy a building from within than from without – corruption on the inside will soon undermine the whole structure. He sends people to do his evil work on his behalf, many of them purporting to be Christians. I believe that as often as not these people are unwittingly his servants – they may honestly believe that they are Christians. I am sure many of them will stand before God some day and say “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” But God will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23)
This morning I was doing some online reading and came across an interview with Phillip Yancey. He had done an email interview with Candace Chellew-Hodge, the editor of Whosoever magazine, an online publication devoted to GLBT Christians (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Christians). Chellew-Hodge had learned that Yancey was accepting of homosexuality through his book What’s So Amazing About Grace where he describes his close friendship with a homosexual. Thrilled to have found someone that might affirm her lifestyle, Chellew-Hodge asked for and was granted an interview.
As I read the article I was struck by the verses of Scripture I had read just a few hours before. In this interview Yancey discusses his compassion for homosexuality and criticizes Christians who criticize the homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle. He speaks about gay and lesbian churches he has attended and bemoans the fact that so few evangelical churches accept homosexuals in membership and leadership. He believes that homosexuals need exposure to an inclusion in the wider body of Christ. He holds his church as an example of forward-thinking in that it at least welcomed if not affirmed homosexuals in positions of leadership.
Yancey admits to struggling with a few (a very few) Bible verses that seem to condemn the lifestyle, (or in his words “give him pause”) but he has decided that since he is a journalist and not a church official he is able to just say “I don’t know” and leave the questions unanswered.
Any conservative Christian will realize that Yancey does not understand grace. What he claims as grace and is praised for is license. He must believe that God’s grace gives us license to live however we would like to live and to do even those things that God expressly forbids (whether this be homosexuality or any other kind of sinful lifestyle).
I can’t help but think back to 2 Corinthians. “His ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” Mr. Yancey had better take a long, hard look at his heart and at his ministry, lest his end be according to his works. May we all take these words to heart and examine our areas of ministry, whether they be in the context of community, church or family to ensure that we are our Lord’s ministers of righteousness.
If you are interested in the rest of the article, you can read it here.