After Orlando: A Letter to a Secular Friend

Dear ______,

In a recent conversation, among other things, you made the claim that Christians are complicit in the tragic Orlando shootings by arguing that "you weren't the gunman, but you think gay people are sinful and need saving so you're part of the culture that built him."  While it is understandable why someone might make this statement during their pain in the face of such grief, but ... aren't we all sinful people desperately in need of saving?. Those in the LGBT community are not unique in this. I am no better. My sins, no doubt, easily equal or far exceed the sins of most of the souls who died in the nightclub. I certainly do not deserve God's favor or forgiveness and that could have just as easily been me die in there.  I cannot boast in anything - no merit, "no gifts, no power, no wisdom - I can only boast in Jesus Christ His death and resurrection."

The gospel is not "I am saved because I am better than you." The Bible has always taught "I am saved because while I have no righteousness of my own but Christ, the righteous one - He alone is my hope." Jesus came into this world to save sinners, like me ... He was a human being who was uniquely without sin and died the death I deserve, and it was MY sin that held him there on the cross. Jesus, now risen from the dead, declares freedom for the captives.

Now a short point about Islam: Christians, Jews, Gays, Polytheists, Secularists and apostate or even some peaceful moderate Muslims are all the violent targets of the strict followers of the Quran. There is currently, what can only be described as, genocide against these groups across the Muslim world. The recent atrocities carried out by a Muslim in Orlando are openly taught by Muhammad in the Quran (see surah 9). That is the culture that created the gunman. Lets not put political correctness & philosophy ahead of truth because that may put us all at great risk.  ISIS and other strict followers of Muhammad have openly declared the intent to create a world-wide Caliphate which excludes, by death or subjugation, all the above groups. Although there are many Muslims who are peaceful, there are still massive numbers of supporters for a Caliphate all across Islam.  It is not just some small fringe cult.

Now, have there been people professing to be Christians who have done spiritual harm to the LGBT community and other minority groups?  Certainly. Those who believe "I am saved because I am better than you" are graceless nominal Christians. Sadly being a religious moralist is the natural disposition of us all, until the gospel takes hold. When the gospel changes a man he goes from "I am saved because I am better than you" to "I do not deserve salvation ... am the least of all men and deserve God's wrath more than others, but thanks be to God for Jesus who had mercy on me ... may I never ever lose the wonder of his mercy toward me" Such a person has beheld the holiness of God and sees himself in light of God's majesty. Grace changes a person.  I wish I could apologize for those who think they are better; repent for them. I would if I could ... but it would mean nothing to you if those same people continued in their damnable self-righteous moralism.  While I cannot vicariously repent for them I can continue to do what we have been doing - preaching Jesus to them as we do the rest of humankind, so that they might, by grace, believe the true gospel for the first time. A gospel which helps them recognize that are far from deserving forgiveness and are no better than others and, like everyone else, desperately need Jesus.

Now, I know you believe that only people who think like you have the best interests of marginalized groups like LGBT in mind. And if your presuppositions about the world were true (and that is a BIG "if") then it would follow that you are are doing people in the LGBT community, and all groups in society, the most good. But if your presuppositions about the world are false, and mine are true, then you are doing them and our society the most possible harm (albeit unintentionally).  It depends entirely on which view of the world is true and good and beautiful. You may not agree with our view or how we vote on this issue, but we have the opposite intent of harm. Consider - Your presuppositions about truth and the nature of man are as religious as anyone else. You have created your own narrative of the world and the nature of human beings, about who we are and where we are going. Liberals like you have a whole narrative of redemption, just like many other religions. But you cannot demonstrate to me, or anyone else, that your view is necessarily true. You can try to persuade us and that's fine. You have freedom of conscience, but don't tell me that you and your fellow secular progressives are the only ones who have the people of this world's best interests at heart.  You think your ideas are best for human flourishing? Great, others think their presuppositions are true and best for the world and human flourishing as well. You think your view has gay people's best interest in mind? We also have gay people's best interest at heart. From your perspective it may not seem like it, but from the perspective of the gospel, we do. We love them every bit, if not more, than you. From our perspective you are doing them harm, but I don't think you do so intentionally. But good intentions are not always a good test to determine what is true.

The point of writing this is perhaps in the hope that you will see that you are not the only ones who have the people's of this world's best interest at heart. You appear to have some idea that Christians are only interested in protecting their own group and are gasping for their right to power so they can oppress others. I cannot speak for all who profess Christianity, because there will always be wheat and tares, but our hope is not for power in this world. If we changed all the laws to how we wanted them, it would not redeem a single soul. We do believe our ideas would be best for seeing humanity flourish so we will vote our conscience and continue to be your political opponent on this issue. But our intent is to obey God and since we believe people can be saved as long as they live, what benefit would it be to us to harm others? We would be doing so at the risk of our own souls. Again, our hope is not in making laws, as if everything depended on it. We are VASTLY more interested in people's souls than some outward behavior modification, which, by itself, helps no one in the end. People's greatest need is a renewed spiritual heart which knows and loves Jesus.

Warm Regards
J. W. H.

Sun, 06/19/2016 - 22:37 -- john_hendryx

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