Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Love can't stay silent

Recently, my wife and I watched an interesting and challenging movie about the gospel - and also about homosexuality. The movie is called "Audacity - Love can't stay silent".

As the main character in the film, I also am a Christian and believe that homosexuality is a sin. This might be an unpopular thing to say these days, but I don't say this to antagonise anyone. I am well aware of my own sins in other areas.

But why is there a need to even mention this or point it out?

God's Word tells us in Romans 6:23 that "the wages of sin is death". We should not take sin lightly. There is a very costly price to pay for sin.

But that is not the end of the story. The second part of the Romans 6:23 reads as follows:

...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eternal life instead of death? How? There was also a very costly price to pay in order to make this possible.

Jesus Christ gave the greatest demonstration of love for us by paying the price of death - on a cross - for sinners like me and you.

Maybe you are not homosexual or support homosexuality yourself, but you - like every person - have sinned against God. You need His forgiveness. Jesus Christ offers it to you freely. All you need to do is repent of your sin and place your faith in Christ. The door is open. The time is now.

If my mention of homosexuality caught your attention and you have further questions about God says or thinks about it, I would like to invite you to watch the new movie "Audacity".

You can watch the trailer by following the link below and the full movie below the trailer.

For more information, check out the website http://www.audacitymovie.com.


Anonymous said...

You write that you believe that homosexuality is a sin.

Do you think your conviction affects your behaviour toward people who identify themselves as homosexual? If so, in which ways? If not, why?

Michael Schmid said...

Thank you very much for your comment. That is an excellent question and made me think.

Yes, I do think that my conviction affects my behaviour toward people who identify themselves as homosexual.

Here are some ways I believe it affects my behaviour:
- Since I believe that homosexuality is a sin, I do not want to have a part in it or in celebrating this kind of lifestyle.
- I see homosexuals (but also other sinners) as lost and in need of Christ's love, forgiveness and salvation.
- I want homosexuals to find Jesus Christ as their true joy and treasure in life.
- I do not want homosexuals to be or feel unloved, unfairly treated or personally attacked by myself or by other Christians.

I hope that my blog post - as well as my life and behaviour - brings this message across.

May I ask who you are? What are your thoughts on this?

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for taking the time to reflect on my question(s) and sharing your thoughts with me.

You wrote in your answer that you do not want to have a part in homosexuality (as you believe that it is a sin). In your blog post you wrote that you are well aware of your own sins in other parts.

Assumed that you do not want to have a part in these sins (as you call it) too, why do you think you „commit“ those particular ones and do not apparently identify yourself as homosexual?

Do you think you are in all instances free to choose which „sins“ you „commit“? If so, why? If not, why do you think you commit those partiuclar „sins“ you wrote you „commit“? How about people in general?

With regards to your question what my thoughts are on „this“, I have to say I do not feel myself to be in the position to decide in absolute terms what behaviour might be in God(head)’s eyes classified as a sin and which not.

At the same time I do think that people who identify themselves as homosexual should be met with the same level of respect that people who identify themselves as heterosexual are generally met.

Last but not least, I want to give you a hint who I am: We know each other since early childhood and attended the same primary and secondary school(s)…

Take care!

Anonymous said...

P.S.: May I add as a (perhaps unnecessary) clarification to my statement above that from my point of view I can’t see anything sinful at people who identify as homosexual.

Michael Schmid said...

Thank you for disclosing your identity. You shall remain anonymous to others who might read this. :-)

I understand that you may not see anything sinful in homosexuality. But then that depends on your definition of sin. Perhaps your definition of sin is something like hurting another person. But someone else's definition of sin might be quite different. Someone might see sin as disobeying the laws of the land, someone else might hold to a certain moral code or religion, someone else might regard eating chocolate as a sin...

If there is a God, as I believe there is, it is important to know what His definition of sin is. In the Bible, God has revealed Himself to us and told us what sin is. It is "missing the mark" - i.e. not living up to God's holy standard. God tells us in His Word how He wants us to live and how He does not want us to live (e.g. the 10 commandments). He is also the one who created and defined marriage in the first place - so it is not up to us to redefine marriage.

That said, homosexuality is not the only sin in the Bible. We should be following God's instructions in all other areas of our lives, too (for our own good). The problem is that ever since the first man Adam sinned, all humans are born with a sin nature. We are inclined to sin and we are slaves to sin - preferring our own ways instead of God's ways. So one person might be more inclined to sin against God in the area of sexuality, while another person might be more inclined to sin against God in the area of greed, or of hate or of blasphemy.

As a human being, I still commit sins against God. But I know that God has forgiven my sins though faith in Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for my sins on the cross. However, this does not mean that I happily go on sinning, knowing that God will keep forgiving me. When Jesus saved me, He also changed me and gave me a new heart with new desires - desires to follow and honour Him in my life. So, yes, I still do commit sins, but this is because of my sin nature that still is inside of me. Being a Christian does not mean being "perfect" and not sinning anymore, but it does mean becoming more and more like Christ and following Him.

I don't know why I am tempted to sin in some areas more than in other areas. Perhaps just that different people are more tempted in some areas and less in other areas. I don't believe that people are born as homosexual, I believe it a definite choice/decision that people make - but that's just my view as an outsider.

I believe that every sin in my life generally is a definite choice on my part. (There may be exceptions in unknowingly committing a particular sin.) I believe the same holds true for every person.

And I also agree with you that we should respect all people - regardless of their sexual orientation. However, respecting all people does not mean I agree (or have to agree) with everything they say or do.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your detailed answer…

I am aware that one’s answer to the question if homosexuality is a sin depends to a large degree to the definition one has of the term sin.

Oftentimes sin is understood as a highly reprehensible act. I find this term used in this way to be highly emotionally-morally charged and often used and/or understood as depreciating and devalueing particular behaviour of people. For this reason I felt the need for a short postscript in order to distance myself from a view which sees people identifying themselves as homosexual as committing a sin understood in this way.

For my taste your line of argument is too narrowly oriented on one (out of many) interpretations of only one of the world’s religions and spiritual traditions and as such raises many questions that need from my perspective to be addressed.

Additionally I seem to have a different view on the questions relating to the free will vs. determinism debate. However, I do not want to fuel this little discussion further. We might find us going round in circles…

Thank you for sharing your view on your belief and the questions raised in my earlier comments.

Be well!

Michael Schmid said...

You're welcome!

Thank you for your questions which made me think more on some issues that I take for granted.

Yes, you are right that I try to base my argumentation not on my own reasoning or on what others say or think, but on the Bible. I believe the Bible is God's Word and that, as such, it is the truth.

However, if you believe that there are many questions that need still need to be addressed, I will be glad to do my best to answer them as well as I can, although I am sure there are also a number of questions to which I do not know the answer.

But if you want to leave it at that and not continue the discussion, that's okay, too.

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and for the good questions you asked.

Take a look at the movie if you haven't already.

Anonymous said...

You seem to enjoy thinking about some issues you take for granted (as you put it).

In case you want to continue with it, here are a few more suggestions:

You wrote that you “try to base [your] argumentation not on [your] own reasoning or on what others say or think, but on the Bible.”

Do you think this can be done without any form of interpretation? If so, how? If not, what consequences do follow from that?

Furthermore you wrote that you “believe the Bible is God’s Word and that, as such, it is the truth.”

How do you take account of other versions and translations of the bible than the one you consider authoritative? Are they untrue if they do not fit into your view of the bible? If not, what would that mean for your conception of ‘the truth’?

Last but not least, what does your statement mean for other religious and spiritual traditions and orientations?

Michael Schmid said...

Yes, I believe that the Bible is the truth and that it is most important for people to follow and live by. Yes, there are various opinions/interpretations among Christians regarding some of the teachings of the Bible (e.g. baptism, how to conduct a church service, the end times...). But the Bible is also very clear in its teaching in some areas that do not allow for various "interpretations" (such as the existence of God, God's creation of the world including man, the nature of sin, the divinity, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the eternal destinies of those who place their trust in Christ and those who reject Christ...). These teachings do not allow for various interpretations and that is why Bible-believing Christians all hold to these truths, regardless of their different denominations and different interpretations of the Bible in secondary issues.

Similarly, this also applies to different translations of the Bible. I believe that the very words of the Bible are inspired by God in the original manuscripts, not in any one translation. Of course there are some translations of the Bible that are more accurate than others, but even those that are not as accurate still convey the most important truths of the Bible. (This certainly applies more to actual translations and not as much to paraphrases.) The translators of the King James Bible of 1611 wrote:

"...we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the very meanest [worst] translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession…containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the King’s speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, every where."

What consequences follow from this?

I believe that this understanding should give a person the desire to study, understand and follow the teachings of the Bible as well as possible. There may be things one does not understand, but those are probably not the things of most importance. Live by the clear teachings of God's Word and don't let the things that are unclear to you keep you from that. Mark Twain said, ""It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

The Bible teaches that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation and eternal life in heaven with God. If this is true - as I believe it is - any other kind of religion or spirituality should be abandoned in pursuit of the truth. This is not a matter of personal preference but of living right before the one true God who will judge every person.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your remarks about your religious belief.

However, I think you did not really answer most of the questions I had offered as suggestions to think about adequately to what was asked…

Perhaps those questions are not meant to be pondered deeply by you…

Michael Schmid said...

I'm sorry that what I wrote did not answer your questions.

I will try to give you answer those same questions again with short statements rather than a long text:

Do I think basing my opinions on the Bible can be done without any form of interpretation?
- Yes and no. Some Bible passages are not as clear as others and may require more interpretation.

If so, how?
- By accepting the clear teaching of the Bible and taking the Bible for what it says.

If not, what consequences do follow from that?
- One should study the Bible so as to interpret its statements correctly in its proper context.

How do I take account of other versions and translations of the Bible than the one you consider authoritative?
- I believe the Bible is word-for-word perfect and inspired by God in its original manuscripts. Any translation of the Bible is authoratitive in so far as it faithfully translates God's Word into the speaker's language. Therefore, I do not consider just one version of the Bible to be authoritative, but I do believe that some translations are better than others.

Are other translations of the Bible untrue if they do not fit my view of the Bible? If not, what would that mean for my conception of ‘the truth’?
- It doesn't depend on "my view" of the Bible. The standard by which other Bible translations should be measured are the original manuscripts.

Last but not least, what does your statement mean for other religious and spiritual traditions and orientations?
- It means that other religious and spiritual traditions and orientations that are not based on the Bible do not, as a whole, teach the truth, although they may contain some true and also some biblical teachings.

I hope I have now been able to better address all of your questions individually, although maybe not so much in depth. But I will be glad to go into more detail if you want to know - or want me to think - more about some of these issues. Feel free to also e-mail me if you prefer.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to write again (even though there was no need to do so).

I don’t want to prolong this exercise in thinking so that I will refrain from giving you further questions to think about. However, feel free to rethink the questions I already asked on deeper levels. You might possibly gain some insights regarding your own belief and its relation(s) to the wider world…

Anonymous said...

It appears to me that there is some room for me to work on my linguistic accuracy. This formulation seems more precise to me:

“However, feel free to rethink on deeper levels the questions I already asked.”

Michael Schmid said...

Thank you. I will do. Let me also encourage you to give more consideration to the claims and teachings of the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your suggestion. As a clarifying note, I want to say that I do not dismiss the Bible as a potential source of deep spiritual truths. It might be a question of how to interpret and relate it to today’s world…