Viewers of “The Congregation,” recently broadcast nationwide on PBS, were promised an unprecedented look into the life of a mainstream Protestant congregation. While the view was certainly unprecedented, the picture was hardly mainstream. When the issue of homosexuality unexpectedly entered the picture, this documentary exploded into a debate over the deepest issues of faith.
Does a Christian school have the right to expel a student for immoral conduct? That may seem at first to be a ridiculous question, but the right of Christian institutions to enforce biblical standards of conduct is now under assault. The latest case comes from Dallas, Texas where Trinity Christian Academy forced an eighteen-year-old high school senior to withdraw after he acknowledged his homosexual identity and promotion of a homosexual web site on the internet.
“Brian, a bright and personable third-grader, brought home from school a form that frustrated him: his family tree, complete with empty spaces for mother, father, and four spaces for grandparents. Brian’s parents are a lesbian couple; his father is an unknown sperm donor. Brian’s mothers worked to persuade their son that nothing was wrong with this family–instead, something was wrong with the school form.”
All eyes were on Pennsylvania last week as United Methodists held a church trial that would consider, not only the case of one minister, but the larger issue of the denomination’s integrity and resolve.
“What we have here is a scientific controversy,” explained Michael Bailey, a Northwestern University scientist and proponent of the “gay gene” theory. For the past fifteen years, homosexual activists have staked their political strategy on claims that homosexuality is an inherited trait, like left-handedness, for a significant minority of human beings.
The much-awaited “Windsor Report” was released in London on Monday, but the Anglican debate and division over the issue of homosexuality will not be resolved by this report and its recommendations. If anything, the Windsor Report, submitted by a group of leading Anglican figures known as “The Lambeth Commission on Communion” represents a massive failure of nerve. In the end, it may be the final nail in the Anglican coffin.
“What stance should Christians and Christian churches take regarding homosexuality?” That question begins an incredible and most useful conversation between two New Testament scholars, one supporting the normalization of homosexuality, and the other defending the historic Christian understanding of sexuality and sexual sin. In the space of roughly one hundred pages, these two scholars set out the basic issues of debate.
The world of higher education is a prime context for shaping the next generation, and a look at developments on America’s elite campuses reveals a social revolution in the making. In moral terms, we are looking at chaos in the academy.
When Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks struck down Washington State’s ban on same-sex marriage, the nation was presented with yet another reminder of the real and present danger posed by an activist judiciary now out of control. In his decision, Judge Hicks declared that Washington’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman was unconstitutional because it denied a “fundamental right” to some persons that was available to others. His decision, handed down on September 6, follows another Superior Court ruling similarly nullifying the state’s prohibition on same-gender civil marriage, and will be reviewed by the state’s Supreme Court.
The protection of marriage constitutes the great moral challenge of our age, framing not only the 2004 presidential election, but determining the future shape of our civilization. Given the stakes, no issue rivals the question of marriage, for to destroy humanity’s central institution is to launch the greatest social revolution in human history.
Signaling total capitulation to the homosexual agenda, the American Psychological Association has endorsed same-sex marriage and now calls for the complete acceptance of homosexual partnerships and homosexual adoption. In a sweeping resolution, the professional organization for psychologists provided ample evidence that the group is now practicing politics rather than psychology.
The church’s engagement with the culture involves a host of issues, controversies, and decisions–but no issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality. Some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle. Other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns.
In this strange postmodern age, heretics find themselves in a very strange predicament. Various skeptics, revisionists, liberal theorists, and atheists have been undermining the faith for more than a century. By this time, virtually every heresy has been expounded by numerous proponents. The creative heretic of the contemporary age has to come up with some new angle or bizarre new theory to promote.
Is the battle against same-sex marriage already lost? With homosexual marriage now legal in Massachusetts and with momentum toward legalization now spreading across the nation, homosexual advocates are increasingly confident that victory is in sight. Now, some conservatives are beginning to wonder if the gay activists might be right. Christopher Caldwell, writing in The Financial Times, notes the momentum of the gay rights movement as it achieved its great victory in Massachusetts. “In gaining full legal marriage rights in an important state, American gays have effected the quickest transition from pariah status to protected status in the history of civil rights movements.” Caldwell, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, appears certain that same-sex marriage is now an established social reality.
The spectacular success of the homosexual movement stands as one of the most fascinating phenomena of our time. In less than two decades, homosexuality has moved from “the love that dares not speak its name,” to the center of America’s public life. The homosexual agenda has advanced even more quickly than its most ardent proponents had expected, and social change of this magnitude demands some explanation.
When the United Methodist Church met in Pittsburgh earlier this month for its General Conference, the issue of homosexuality was front and center. Controversies related to homosexuality had consumed much of the denomination’s attention for the last three decades, but the action of a church court in its Pacific Northwest Conference created a firestorm as Methodists gathered in Pittsburgh.
Like mile-markers in time, certain calendar dates stand in memory as not only historic, but momentous. Dates like December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001 represent far more than mere days on a calendar. Now, May 17, 2004 must be added to that list.
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