Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Church as a Minister of Damnation

Pastor John Piper, of Bethelehem Baptist Church has written a telling article critiquing President-Elect Obama's decision to have Gene Robinson, the first openly gay and non-celibate bishop of the Episcopal Church, deliver the invocation at the inaguration kick-0ff.

Dr. Piper writes:

This is tragic not mainly because Obama is willing to hold up the legitimacy of homosexual intercourse, but because he is willing to get behind the church endorsement of sexual intercourse between men.

It is one thing to say: Two men may legally have sex. It is another to say: The Christian church acted acceptably in blessing Robinson’s sex with men.
The implications of this are serious.

It means that Barack Obama is willing, not just to tolerate, but to feature a person and a viewpoint that makes the church a minister of damnation. Again, the tragedy here is not that many people in public life hold views (like atheism) that lead to damnation, but that Obama is making the church the minister of damnation.

Of course, Obaba is not alone in making the church a minister of damnation, but all of those who have upheld Bishop Robinson's heretical activities. But, as president of the United States and a man who professes faith in Jesus Christ, Obabma is sending a powerful statement. Unfortunately, as Dr. Piper writes below the message is more destructive than Mr. Obama or Mr. Robinson know...

The apostle Paul says,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves , nor the greedy, nor
drunkards, nor
revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And
such were some of
you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were
justified in the name of
the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (
1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
What is Paul saying about things like adultery, greed, stealing, and homosexual practice? As J. I. Packer puts it, “They are ways of sin that, if not repented of and forsaken, will keep people out of God’s kingdom of salvation.” (Christianity Today, January 2003, p. 48).

In other words, to bless people in these sins, instead of offering them forgiveness and deliverance from them, is to minister damnation to them, not salvation.

The gospel, with its forgiveness and deliverance from homosexual practice, offers salvation. Gene Robinson, with his blessing and approval of homosexual practice, offers damnation. And he does it in the name of Christ.

It is as though Obama sought out a church which blessed stealing and adultery, and then chose its most well-known thief and adulterer, and asked him to pray.

May we be in prayer for the church of the Living God, that God's people would awaken from their slumber and rise up against the sin that invades its ranks. May we also pray for our country, that we, who claim to be one nation under God, would honor that God who has so richly blessed us.

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