Why the greatest threat to Christianity is not from gay marriage, instead its internal and comes from individuals like CJ Mahaney who allegedly covered up child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries. It also comes from individuals like John Piper and Al Mohler who stood by and supported CJ Mahaney against the largest lawsuit in evangelical history. This also explains why evangelicals need to pull the plank from their own eye before commenting and attacking the Supreme Court decision. This also explains why Eagle believes the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage will be good for American Christianity in the long run in separating the wheat from the chaff and hopefully bringing an end to the culture wars which have become a distraction from preaching the Gospel.
“To me, marriage is really important and what we build families on. That’s why gay marriage is really important”
“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
Anthony Kennedy “Obergefell vs. Hodges”
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.“
Matthew 7:3-5 NIV
(Side Note…this morning while getting ready for church I learned through a Facebook message that someone who I know passed away this weekend. I saw him a couple of weeks back. Strong, vibrant, healthy, and good health. This is a shock…so my heart is heavy with pain as I write this post. I want to write more about loss in the near future)
Okay….so I was at work on Friday when I heard about the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. I was wondering what my Facebook feed was going to look like, and I expected it to be filled with gloom and doom. These are some of the articles that I was seeing on my Facebook feed, plus the feed of
The Gospel Corporation, whoops did I just say that? The darnest things come out of my keyboard. Sorry DA Carson and Tim Keller! I meant to say Gospel Coalition. Okay you have Al Mohler commentary here, Erik Stanley here, Russell Moore here, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC here, SGM’s here, and John Piper here. I could go on but you get my point. I also would love to dissect each one, and analyze the quality of the write up. So I pose this question…is gay marriage the single greatest threat to the Gospel in the United States?
My response….absolutely not. There is another issue that is a greater threat that poses a deeper problem which challenges the very existence of the Gospel itself. That threat is internal corruption in evangelical Christianity, with an overwhelming chunk coming out of the neo-reformed camp. It short order evangelical Christians need to pull the plank out of their own eye before talking about gay marriage.
Child Sex Abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries
The largest scandal to date has dragged in many denominations, touched Tim Keller, DA Carson, and countless others. It dragged in The Gospel Coalition with this bastardization of a statement and is the chief reason why I will not step into a church that is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. The Gospel Coalition is too corrupt and nothing but a spiritual version of Tammany Hall. The legal situation against Sovereign Grace Ministries, which I don’t believe is completed is still brewing. As the situation dragged on speaker after to speaker decided to stand-by their man. (Note this is a good time to have Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man playing in the background) Those who chose to speak at SGM Louisville and defend Mahaney and ignore the least of these, (Unless the least of these now includes a Pastor suffering in a Louisville Marriot…poor CJ!) includes Thabiti Anyabwile on January 19, 2014; Jerry Bridges twice in March 2013; H.B. Charles Jr in October 2013; Kevin DeYoung in August 2014; Mark Dever June 2013; Ryan Fullerton on March 16, 2014; Wayne Grudem July 21, 2013; Jon Payne on October 26, 2014; John Piper February 17, 2013; Dr. Tom Schreiner on October 21, 2012; and Bruce Ware on April 21, 2013. Each and every person went out of their way to speak at Sovereign Grace. This was during the first part of the lawsuit, the amended complaint, the technicality issue which resulted in it being tossed, and proof of more corruption of alleged criminal activity hemorrhaging from Sovereign Grace. The Sovereign Grace situation has affected many denominations including the Evangelical Free Church of America of which I am now a refugee. The sad part is that the child sex abuse situation is telling in the sense that many evangelicals have not learned from the Roman Catholic church sexual abuse cover up. This is a huge issue of corruption.
During the SGM lawsuit I was being invited to a former Sovereign Grace church in the DC area called Redeemer Arlington. I was horrified as I read the details of the amended complaint. On a January night after reading horrid details of the SGM amended complaint and being under intense pressure by Andrew White to come to Redeemer Arlington there is something that I realized while I paced in my condo. You can not teach about sexual sin in any form as a church or denomination and engage in sexual abuse cover up simultaneously. Just like the Roman Catholic struggled with spiritual authority so does SGM. And actually I would put more blame on CJ Mahaney then the Pope because the Pope from my understanding did not force down the corruption from the top. Its my understanding that a lot of the corruption happened in individual dioceses and some of the Bishops and Cardinals. Whereas CJ Mahaney ruled Sovereign Grace and PDI like a dictator. Think of him as a theological Idi Amin who ruled with absolute power.
There are many other forms of corruption in addition to child sex abuse being covered up. There is the Reformed Industrial Complex and problems of greed, nepotism, cronyism, and countless others. You also have the re-emergence of Mark Driscoll who is re-starting his preaching career after all the pain and ruined lives that exist in Seattle. Watching Mark Drisocll’s career start again is like watching a train wreck in slow motion…it’s just painful. In addition consider what is being conveyed about Christianity in the Australian press. They, unlike us, are not afraid of quoting Mark Drisocll directly…so when Mark Driscoll referred to women as being penis homes, well that’s straight from Mark Drisocll himself. Why aren’t people objecting in mass to Mark Driscoll? Why aren’t people challenging the churches sponsoring him and helping him out? For Mark Driscoll to preach again is like having serial killer Ted Bundy operate an online dating service.
Pulling the Plank From Our Own Eye?
Let’s analyze what Jesus says in Matthew 7:3-5; “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Before Al Mohler or John Piper opens their mouth to attack or criticize this Supreme Court ruling further I suggest they need to keep it closed and focus on internal problems within evangelical Christianity. We have more than enough corruption bleeding from evangelical Christianity. I think Jesus would be shaking his head in disgust to know that there are elements of his church speaking after those who are not even Christians or outside the faith, while ignoring individuals like CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll within. Before evangelicals give birth to kittens over this court ruling they need to focus on what is happening internally. We also lack the moral authority to say anything at all, for example; how can John Piper support someone who was allegedly involved in covering up child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries like CJ Mahaney did; and stay silent on child sex abuse and speak out about gay marriage? Child sex abuse is sexual sin is it not? Child sex abuse threatens the Gospel does it not? Child sex abuse is threatening the faith of the church, its ability to evangelize the lost. I mean consider….this is one of the many issues as to why I would not explore Christianity at Redeemer Arlington when I was agnostic. If John Piper and Al Mohler and others actually cared about the Gospel and faith they would tackle this issue of internal corruption and not enable it.
Why I Believe this Supreme Court Decision is Good
Evangelical Christianity is a sick and diseased movement in the United States. Its sad…because it has so much potential, and can reach so many people. But that is not going to happen in its current form due to either issues like corruption, decadence, waste, squander or the culture wars. Modern evangelical Christianity which I would suggest thrived during the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the boom of the suburbs and life in the 1950’s has largely remained stuck. When the sexual revolution happened in the 1960’s combined with the women’s right movement of the 1970’s evangelicalism has over-reacted. It has remained stuck on waging the culture wars and trying to sway public opinion either through the election process, politics, or political movement. This was one of the greatest mistakes of the 20th century Christendom. It astounds me that this has happened and that many evangelicals can’t move beyond this point. Let me ask this question to Al Mohler and John Piper and those angry over this Supreme Court decision….when the Apostle Paul went to Rome did he go there to preach the Gospel or did he go there to wage the culture wars in the Roman Empire and try and engage and influence the Roman Emperor Nero and his government? Its my understanding that Paul went there to preach the Gospel not to try and change the Roman legal system, or culture. The Romans after all were far superior in excess to us today. If you want to have a taste of what sexuality was like in ancient Rome this Psychology Today article is good. It honestly makes me wonder….how would Al Mohler or John Piper have survived in ancient Rome? If they can’t handle a Supreme Court decision then how would they handle the open display of sexuality in Rome which far exceeds our standards of today I would suggest.
There is another reason why I am happy with this Supreme Court decision. Its needed to separate the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3:12). What I am basically saying is that it is needed in order to separate the two prevailing camps. I would suggest that in American evangelical Christianity the chaff have been those waging the culture wars in the United States since the 1970’s. Here’s why…they have turned the Gospel into banning abortion, pornography, trying to control school curriculum, and fight homosexuality. It has backfired miserably…. it has backfired so much that it has given the name Christian such a black eye. It has also back fired in that it gave birth to a movement – The Emergent Crowd – which is unorthodox, and teaches highly questionable doctrine. I am not the one of comment on much on the Emergent church. The Chaff is obstructing the Gospel in the United States and giving birth to questionable movements in the process. Its for this reason that I believe this court case will force Christians in the United States to peer into their souls and ask the question, “who are we going to be?” If Christians cannot discern the differences between state marriage and church marriage, well that plays along with the discernment issue many evangelical Christians have today.
Another factor why I think this Supreme Court case is good is that I hope it will bring about the death of “Christian” culture as it is known. Let’s be honest…we are becoming a more secular nation. The rates of those who don’t believe in God are rising, and the nones are growing fast. The “Christian” culture as it exists in its current form needs to disappear. Its becoming an obstacle to faith, and its prevented many from hearing the Gospel. I would even venture to suggest that its given birth to another gospel in this sense. If evangelical Christians remain stuck on this issue of gay marriage and homosexuality then what it will ultimately show is that much of evangelicalism is legacy of the Cold War and political wars. Its inability to adapt and change and let go of the political system and stay committed to preaching of a God who was born sinless, suffered, died, and rose again 3 days later…is lost. If it can’t then will the American evangelical church be the one described in Revelation 2:3-5 when it says, “yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” I would suggest to the displeasure of some people that there are a number of evangelicals who have lost their first love of God and traded it for trying to influence a political system.
Now I want to be clear when I say this that I am not emergent. I believe in hell, believe in God, and believe that you do need to posses faith in the Lord in order to get to heaven. I believe you can be conservative about homosexual issues but do it with much, much, much more grace than what currently exists. However, I will also say this…many evangelicals should not be commenting on what is happening outside of the church. And for those Christians who deal with gay thoughts, and who screw up the first act should be grace, grace, grace. Each of us should admit our own sins and be humble and honest about them. In my case its why I wrote this post about gluttony.
In closing the biggest threat to the Gospel today is not going to be from gay marriage…its going to come from internal Christianity and corruption. Its going to come from individuals like CJ Mahaney, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll and its going to be due to issues like child sex abuse cover up. Internal corruption is going to hurt and bring much more harm to the faith than two gays getting married. Its time we have a talk about this and admit and discuss this claim, and that is my contention.