“For a time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to truth and wander off into myths.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
We are warned in Scripture about the subtle work of the enemy to entice us away from beautiful truth. I’m referring to the Gospel Truth so beautiful that it heals, frees, rescues, and restores. The enemy hates the pure and powerful work of the gospel and will do all that he can to steer us away by using cultural pressures and influences. This is not new and it will always be a weapon in his arsenal.
Therefore, it is important that our women know where we stand on important issues because we want to always offer a refreshing drink of truth that can be trusted and founded on Scripture. Dr. Cheri Strange is serving as our catalytic leader for our women’s ministry and wrote this article months ago. I regret that for some reason it was never placed onto our church blog so I am re-submitting it for you. I am excited about the future of our Women’s Ministry here at First Baptist. If you have any questions or need help please don’t hesitate to contact us as we care deeply about helping you grow in your hope in God.
For His glory and fame,
Executive Pastor for Equipping
Article on Homosexuality
by Dr. Cheri Strange.
There is nothing like jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool as winter slowly subsides into spring where the water is a crisp 59 degrees. Honestly, even in August when the pool is a miserably lukewarm, you won’t find me entering all at once. I like to ease into the water rather than shock my system with a plunge. But with eight kids and an ornery spouse– occasionally I am hoisted from the place where I am comfortably moseying, and caste into the deep.
I feel a little like I’ve been heaved unexpectedly into the deep end of a chilly pool. For the past few months I’ve been easing my way into the women’s ministry at First Baptist Belton. It’s been an exciting time, filled with getting to know different women and praying for discernment about the direction the Lord would have us take. Slowly and steadily, we have been developing a vision, and forging avenues for women of different ages to come together while offering new opportunities to grow as believers.
Everything has been moving along smoothly, until last week. That’s when my comfortable easement ended abruptly. But this time, I’m the culprit. I’ve thrown myself into the frigid spring deep – because it’s the right thing to do.
About two weeks ago, the evangelical humanitarian aid powerhouse, World Vision, made a corporate decision regarding their employees and homosexuality (click here to read more). Chad and I have enjoyed sponsoring children through World Vision for more than twenty years. We learned of the policy change with the rest of the world. It was disappointing. And we faced the decision of whether to continue supporting the organization or not. Like other supporters, the decision remains a personal dilemma.
But then the author of a Bible study we just embarked up (which I purchased at Lifeway), wrote a blog on her website responding to the World Vision announcement. In her response she called into question the authority of Scripture. Referring to homosexuality and the response we should have to the World Vision decision she wrote, “We needn’t race to our laptops with our hair on fire every time another Christian offends our personal sensibilities.” After talking with the executive staff, we at First Baptist Belton have made the decision to cancel the study by this author and replace it with another.
How should we respond? What do we say? What should we do when another person or even groups of Christians harken similar sentiments about homosexuality that resemble those resounding throughout our culture?
We should treat the issue of homosexuality like we would any other issue that confronts our beliefs. What are we going to give authority in our lives? That’s the first question to settle. The Bible is a complex work, written by over 40 authors, spanning thousands of years. Yet the consistency, the remarkable amounts of fulfilled prophecies across that vast span, as well as the integrity of the ancient texts—cannot be matched by any other work ever created. Either, we decide to place our lives under its complete authority or we make our own rules by picked and choosing the parts we will accept or adhere to.
If your decision is to take a Biblical worldview, the next thing to do is know what the Bible says concerning the issue. You can also listen to the podcast by Pastor Andy. He summarizes the issues from both sides and leads you through the key texts of Scripture that address homosexuality. If you want to know how the Southern Baptist denomination lines up with the whole counsel of the Word on this issue, you can find it here.
Although World Vision quickly reversed their decision, and this author attempted a further explanation, her authenticity may be questionable. Loss of prestige, funding, sponsorships, and speaking engagements can be strong motivators. These actions call us to discernment. They beckon us to know truth and our Biblical call for how to respond regardless.
While I’m still treading chilly waters, allow me to offer a filtration system or set of standards that we, as a women’s ministry will strive to foster. When we encounter issues such as this in the future, you can be certain, we will address each from a Biblical worldview, under the authority of Scripture, as well as the Biblical leadership of our pastor and elder body.
As women of First Baptist Church, Belton:
- We will believe, teach and study the whole counsel of the Word (John 1:1; 2 Timothy 3:16).
- We will stand upon the truth of God’s Word, without embarrassment or hesitation, even when others disagree (Luke 9:26).
- We will guard our own hearts, for out of it flow the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
- We will foster an environment in which people can find the love of God—not acceptance of sin without repentance (John 8:11).
- We will encourage lifestyles that refuse to glamorize sin by what we choose to do, what we allow ourselves to see, what we say or what we remain silent about (Ephesians 4:17-32).
- We will pray for God to enable us to see all people though His eyes; and strive to treat them as He would (John 13:34).
You and I are called to “let our lives lovingly express truth in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly” (Ephesians 4:15, AMP). This kind of living requires occasional plunges into unpleasant, sometimes frigid waters. Although uncomfortable, it’s always the right thing to do.