The Bravo Channel, a cable network, offered up a show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, from 2003-2007, where 5 gay men, adept at interior design and personal clothing selection helped straight men become more contemporary. Usually the straight guy needed an upgrade from his typical ensemble of blue jeans and a flannel shirt or his home and/or apartment needed to be transformed into something that did not fall into the category of man-cave or worse, a pigsty. This show was popular for several years and became a favorite of the twenty-something college crowd. The effort to mainstream the LGTBQ lifestyle eventually led to the formation of the LOGO cable network, launched in 2005, that caters to that lifestyle choice. Those that have chosen an alternate lifestyle are now often looked upon and cool, hip and enlightened, especially in the secular world. Bishop Mark Hanson of the ELCA follows in the footsteps of those cable networks as he caters to those choosing to lead an alternate lifestyle. Much effort is put into anti-bullying, directed primarily as support for LGTBQ individuals through the “It gets better” project. Understand that it is absolutely reprehensible to discriminate, bully or treat those that choose alternate lifestyles as someone to scorn. Everyone is a child of God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter their life choices. What is problematic though, is that Bishop Hanson affirms that lifestyle even though Scripture is abundantly clear that God does not approve.
So, why does the leader of the largest Lutheran Church in America decide that what God has obviously forbidden, is to be affirmed by God’s church? Hanson tries to explain that, somehow, God is telling us new things and that apparently, God (through the Holy Spirit inspired authors of Scripture) could not possibly fully understand that the alternate lifestyle would evolve as it has. It is also the misguided love of neighbor that drives his crusade to normalize the homosexual lifestyle. Is the sin of homosexuality any worse than any of the sins supposedly good Christians commit every day? No, it is not. Whenever I, as a married man, look at a woman with lust in my heart, I commit the sin of adultery. Whenever I place my needs ahead of God’s will, I place myself on the altar and push my Lord away. Should the church affirm this type of behavior as right with God? Of course not! 1 John 1:8-10, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” As a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ, Hanson has the authority to declare the entire forgiveness of all of our sins. But, what he does not have, is the authority to declare that which God has forbidden, is no longer prohibited and is acceptable in the eyes of God.
We trust that the leaders of God’s church are inspired by the Holy Spirit to lead us in ways that are pleasing to our Lord. We accept that the message from the leaders of God’s church is the truth and they would never lead us astray. But, they are not only ministers of God’s church. They are also sinful human beings just like every one of us. When one uses human understanding to try to discern God’s will, one may just hear what they long to hear, rather than where the Holy Spirit is leading. When one believes that their own imperfect human love approaches the pure and perfect love of our God, one can disregard the truth and replace it with the desires of imperfect human beings. All believers are equally inadequate before God and fall woefully short of the glory of God. But, when God’s children trust the leaders of God’s church and are led astray by those leaders, a heavy burden falls upon those leaders. Just as the police officer is held to a higher standard of the law, the leaders of God’s church must endeavor to preach the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that with the power of the Holy Spirit, those that are lost may come to believe. If they lead their flock astray, Jesus said in Luke 17:1-3, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.”
The misconception that one must accept sinful behavior as somehow pleasing to God in order to properly love the neighbor, makes no sense whatsoever. Do I expect that my brothers and sisters in Christ look upon me as righteous, even though I am a greater sinner than they? Do I withhold my love of my brother until they accept my sin as acceptable to God? It doesn’t matter what your sin. It doesn’t matter what you have done. It doesn’t matter what you have failed to do. Faith in the living Christ is what matters. And if you truly love the Lord, you will want to please Him. If you want to please the Lord, you will try your best to delight in His will and walk in His ways. If you love Him, you will want to give all the glory to His Holy Name. My Savior and king died for me, an unworthy sinner and I am forever grateful. It is time for Mark Hanson lead his flock to the truth and not simply placate those that want their earthly desires affirmed.