I was once asked to officiate a wedding for a young couple that had been attending our church. The young man had waited for me outside the building and he was very nervous. I knew the couple had been living together, and when he asked, I looked into his face and said, “I don’t normally marry couples who are living together. That’s against what God’s Word says, so we’ll have to talk about that.” I’ll never forget that conversation. I was right. However, I did a poor job of loving my neighbor. I loved being right more than I loved that young man, and it cost me the opportunity to influence a young couple with the gospel.
J.D. Greear has been accused by American family Radio of jettisoning gospel truth in favor of loving his neighbor, particularly those neighbors who happen to be homosexuals. If you haven’t read the accusations, you can read them right here. The statement that prompted these accusations seems to have been “We have to love our gay neighbor more than we love our position on homosexuality.” Greear went on to say, “We say yes, this issue is important. I cannot compromise, but I love you more than I love being right.
I’d like to give a few thoughts on this article:
- The author says that the number one cultural and social issue of the day is homosexuality. I respectfully disagree and believe that the number one social and cultural issue of our day is the tribal nature and labeling so prevalent in our culture. If we could find our identity in Christ rather than a political party or a certain moral position, then, as Dr. Tony Evans said at the 2018 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference, “Two hundred year problems would become two-minute problems.”
- Loving our neighbor does not mean we have to jettison Biblical truth. we need only to look at the example set by our Savior to see an example of loving they neighbor and standing for truth. In the eighth chapter of John, Jesus is confronted with a woman caught in adultery. Did He shame her for her adultery? Did he tell her that adultery was against God’s plan for her life? Did he tell her that she would need to repent of her evil before He could offer His help? No, He saved her life! think about that for a minute. Jesus, who could have rightly condemned this woman for her evil act, saved her life first from the hypocritical religious leaders of her day. He loved her. Did he let her sin slide? No, he instructed her to go and sin no more. He both loved her and stood for Biblical truth.
- We have to learn to live with those who have specks in their eyes. The author of this attack on Dr. Greear seems to assert that we cannot live with those who are living homosexual lifestyles. How exactly is Christ supposed to use us to draw others to Himself if we have to live separate from them? We can live with sinners and not participate in their sins. We do it all the time. If we knew everyone in our communities who had been convicted of a crime or spent time in jail, we would understand that we’ve always lived among sinners without participating in or endorsing their sins.
- What about millennials? The author says something about millennials and the election of Greear as SBC President. I’m not sure what that has to do with Greear’s election other than I guess the author is blaming our generation for the future demise of the SBC. I’ve been a Southern Baptist since I was born, and if our convention is advocating showing more love to those who do not know Christ, then I will continue to be a Southern Baptist.
Let me be clear, I believe sin is clearly defined in God’s Word. God has shown us what is right and what is wrong, and we are responsible for communicating God’s truth to the unbelieving world. We’re also responsible for loving the unbelieving world. I would be willing to bet that the man who had been beaten and left for dead in Luke 10 was glad that the Samaritan man didn’t read him a list of all his sins before he bandaged his wounds. I’d bet Matthew was glad that Jesus didn’t condemn him for being a cheating tax collector before He asked Him to come follow.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a ringing brass gong or a clashing cymbal.” What good does it do us to have knowledge of everyone’s sin yet fail to show them love? I’m afraid AFR is becoming a clanging gong or a clanging cymbal.