Sunrise Children’s Services is asking Ky Baptists to sell their souls for the sake of “the greater good.” In a letter written to pastors across the state, President of Sunrise William Smithwick argues,
The issue for the Sunrise Children’s Services Board has not been and is not about homosexuality. The core question is not about separation of church and state or government money. The question is “What is the greater good?” Do we walk away from the pain, suffering, loneliness, and brokenness of the kids we serve over our hiring practice or continue ministering to young children who desperately need someone to show them God’s love? (Source at the bottom of this page)
What is Smithwick and the Board requesting? They’re wanting to change their hiring practices that currently forbid the hiring of homosexuals. Smithwick justifies his request in the name of the “greater good” by pointing to Christ as our example. Concerning Christ healing on the Sabbath and the condemnation of the Pharisees, Smithwick writes,
What did Jesus do that was so sinful? He helped and healed those who could not help themselves on the Sabbath much to the chagrin of the righteous Pharisees. He put people over dogma, grace over law, and healing over doctrinal purity. Such is the principle we face at Sunrise–which is the greater good–save the kids or keep our hiring practices and close. Shall we keep the law or heal on the Sabbath day? (Source at the bottom of this page)
I’m amazed that Smithwick is comparing Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath Day to Sunrise Children’s Services hiring of homosexuals. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (God) (Matt. 12:8); Smithwick is not Lord of sexuality. How can Sunrise Children’s Services possibly minister the gospel that demands repentance of sin and faith in Christ while justifying homosexuality? Will unrepentant homosexuals minister the gospel to children there? If there is no repentance of sin, there is no faith in Christ, and there is no gospel. The gospel (good news) is that Christ died for our sins (including the sin of homosexuality), rose from the dead to declare us righteous, and all those who repent of their sins (including homosexuality) and trust in Christ will be reconciled to God. Smithwick is asking Ky Baptists to sell their souls for sake of “the greater good.”
But, why the request? Smithwick and Sunrise love the children and families they minister to. Sunrise needs money to continue the current depth and breadth of their ministries. Smithwick writes,
The day is soon coming when sexual preference will become protected status attached to Federal monies and will likely be added to State monies, forcing anyone who accepts either to comply or close. (Source at the bottom of this page)
Of our $27M budget, Baptists, including CP gifts and church giving, account for only a little over $1M. The only way we can continue this ministry without taking state and federal monies is to open a small group home for six children (serving a total of maybe twenty kids each year). Otherwise, we must be licensed, which requires meeting state mandated regulations. (Source at the bottom of this page)
Thus, for the sake of $26M, Smithwick wants KY Baptists to permit Sunrise Children’s Services to hire homosexuals. What he fails to realize is that he’s asking us to sell our souls. Smithwick is asking Ky Baptists to justify the sin of homosexuality in the name of ministry. He’s asking us to forsake repentance of sin in the name of “the greater good.” Consider these words by Herschel York,
I do not question Mr. Smithwick’s love for children, but it would be immeasurably better to do what only we Baptists can afford without the government than to capitulate our convictions in order to get Caesar’s money. Separated from the gospel call to repentance and faith in Jesus, we only make the world a better place to go to hell from. When we assure the state that we will not “proselytize,” we promise a Christless social ministry that feeds the body and starves the soul. When we bend our beliefs to remain palatable to the culture or acceptable to the state, we cease to follow a crucified Savior who counseled us that the world would do to us what it did to Him.
James wrote that pure and undefiled religion is to care for orphans and widows in their affliction, but also “to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). By suggesting that we should compromise on the latter in order to do the former, Mr. Smithwick has edited the inspired Word of God and is attempting to make faithful Kentucky Baptists complicit in his revision. We must not sell our birthright of God’s favor for a bowl of government contract pottage.
When the board of Sunrise Children’s Services meets on November 8, their first order of business should be to refuse to compromise the clear teaching of God’s Word as suggested by Mr. Smithwick. Their second action should be to remove him as director for even suggesting it.
I agree with York. Don’t sell your souls Ky Baptists. Let us make sure all of our ministries that we fund preach repentance of sin and trust in the finished work of Christ for salvation (the gospel). And let us make sure that those who preach repentance of sin and trust in Christ, are repenting and trusting in Christ. We cannot justify hiring unrepentant homosexuals or any other person in open unrepentant sin in our ministries. To compromise here is to undermine the gospel that we preach.
*All the quotes from Smithwick in this article came from this letter he sent to KY Baptists across the sate (page 1 & Page 2).