by Matthew Hamilton
Pro-LGBT United Methodist minister Trey Hall of Urban Village Church in Chicago spoke last Sunday at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington DC. Rev. Hall’s sermon at Foundry centered on Luke chapter 10, which tells of Jesus’ commissioning of the seventy two to go out and preach the good news. Perhaps what was most revealing from Hall was in reference to his work at Urban Village to support gay marriage and affirming LGBTs within the United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church officially affirms sex only within traditional marriage between a husband and wife.
Hall cautioned: “People who do this hard justice work… without a spiritual rooting, quickly can become resentful, dogmatic, a little hyper earnest, fueled by rage sometimes, fueled by that eternal victim mechanism.”
There is a lot more truth in his statement than may first meet the eye. Hall essentially makes a case that people who exhibit resentment, rage, and a victim mentality do not have their work spiritually grounded. By that measure, Exhibit A, which is the work of Missiongathering Church in San Diego, betrays the symptoms of not being spiritually rooted as there is clearly resentment, rage, and a victim mechanism being presented.
Faults exist on the far opposite end of the spectrum as well. Exhibit B is a photo of a young member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church (which is actually not affiliated with any Baptist association and is essentially a family cult centered around Pastor Fred Phelps). While having some different symptoms from Missiongathering, they are rhetorically even more vicious, spiteful, and devoid of spiritual rooting.
Westboro Baptist is thankfully nearly alone in advocating the heresy that God “hates” LGBTs. It is easily recognizable to most Americans thanks to its obsessive flaunting of their heresy and the equally obsessive media coverage that their antics attract. The media routinely reports on Westboro, although it comprises only a few dozen people. So it is unsurprising that much of the Religious Left and many secularists believe that this heresy has the following of a large number of the Christian Right. In reality, of course, this particular heretical view is mostly confined to the media hogs at Westboro Baptist.
But the heretical view of Exhibit A: that LGBT behavior is not only not sinful but merits endless affirmation, is widely held by an immensely larger number of persons in the Religious Left and many prominent persons among United Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Lutherans. While they may be far more subtle than their Westboro Baptist adversaries or their Missiongathering allies, their symptoms of resentment, rage, and victimhood as they have fought both in churches and in the public square have been easily observable by their opponents… and apparently, by some of their allies too.
Both Exhibit A and Exhibit B fail the test of being rooted in God’s word. Exhibit A undoubtedly believes that God loves LGBTs and that God does not see their behavior as sinful, while Exhibit B undoubtedly believes that God hates LGBT’s and that God sees their behavior as sinful. Fact of the matter is that both are partially right and both are partially wrong.
Christians who believe that homosexual behavior is not sinful are committing the heresy of defying the authenticity of the Bible and its God who commanded with no ambiguity:“‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman” (Leviticus 18:22). How dismissal of the prohibition on same sex behavior does not by default ultimately dismiss the veracity of God’s prohibitions on other non-marital sex, incest for example, has never been satisfactorily addressed by Christians who affirm homosexuality and bisexuality. People like Trey Hall are simply cherry picking Biblical passages to match their preconceived notions of sexuality which by definition is both logically fallacious and heretical. In I Corinthians 6:9-10, the Apostle Paul addressed again in plain language the issue of homosexuality and warned against believing those who deny its sinfulness:
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
According to the Apostle Paul, people like Trey Hall do not know who will inherit the kingdom of God and are being deceived by a heresy.
Similarly, the crowd at Westboro Baptist claiming “God hates f**s” is also following a heretical teaching. The idea that God hates every LGBT person because of their sexual practices is not Biblically founded. The Scriptures do describe God at times hating. Psalm 11:5 for example says, “The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.” In the Bible, passages which speak of God’s hatred follow the common trait of His hate being directed at persons who are evil, that is, persons who deliberately pursue what is evil, such as sowers of discord or false witnesses. There is however no Scripture to support the idea that LGBTs inherently possess evil intent. There is also no Scripture to support the belief that a sinner who does not have evil intentions is also hated by God. Therefore, there is no Biblical basis for the claim that God hates LGBTs. What there is Scriptural basis for, is that God’s offer of redemption is for all sinners and does not exclude LGBTs in the slightest.
Trey Hall proclaims that his church in Chicago strives “to be inclusive, and evangelical.” By inclusive he means that they welcome LGBTs to be part of the church, and by “evangelical” he means simply that they preach the good news to non-believers. Hall says that “for Methodists, they’re two sides of the same gospel coin.” However, this particular gospel coin is a lousy counterfeit.
Not once, in all of his sermon, does Trey Hall ever mention the word repentance or anything having to do with the concept. The gospel is not merely preaching the good news that Jesus came to Earth to restore man’s relationship with God. Jesus also came commanding repentance per Matthew 4:17 where he says: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” If whatever gospel Trey Hall preaches does not involve repentance, it is a counterfeit, factory second, broken, and worthless. If the gospel of United Methodists does not involve repentance because they favor being able to call themselves inclusive, it may be little wonder that the UMC in America has continued its downward spiral and shrunk by an additional 72,000 members in 2011 alone.
Those like Rev. Trey Hall who believe the heresy that homosexuality is not sinful are doing the LGBT community no favors. Jesus said in Luke 13:3, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” In some regards, they may be just as harmful to homosexuals as the Westboro Baptist types in so far as they espouse heresies that do not lead to redemption. The Gospel is meaningless without repentance, and it is unfortunate that many with good intentions for LGBT people are misguiding them with a counterfeit Gospel. No doubt many are motivated with compassion and a desire to include LGBTs rather than make them feel like outcasts by convicting them of their sin. But is the feeling of temporal acceptance for LGBTs worth missing out on the eternal redemption that God offers?
“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? -Jesus (Matthew 16:26)
You have your answer.