When a gay atheist understands Jesus better than we do …

Matthew ParrisGina Dalfonzo writes at BreakPoint:

British journalist Matthew Parris is an atheist and a homosexual, so his argument against gay bishops — however murky his motives — makes for a remarkable read.

Excerpting from Mr. Parris’ essay:

No, God would not have approved of gay bishops 

Anglican evangelicals are right. Knowingly to appoint gay bishops robs Christianity of meaning. It is time that convinced Christians stopped trying to reconcile their spiritual beliefs with the modern age and understood that if one thing comes clearly through every account we have of Jesus’s teaching, it is that His followers are not urged to accommodate themselves to their age, but to the mind of God. Christianity is not supposed to be comfortable or feel “natural”. The mind of God, contemplating the behaviour of man, is not expected to be suffused with a spirit of “whatever”. As it happens I do not believe in the mind of God. But Christians do and must strive to know more of it. Nothing they read in the Old and New Testaments gives a scintilla of support to the view that the God of Israel was an inclusive God, or inclined to go with the grain of human nature; much they read suggests a righteous going against the grain.

… “Inclusive”, “moderate” or “sensible” Christianity is inching its way up a philosophical cul-de-sac. The Church stands for revealed truth and divine inspiration or it stands for nothing. Belief grounded in everyday experience alone is not belief.

… A religion needs a compass. Logic alone does not point the way and religion adds to the general stock of human reasonableness a new directional needle – if it adds anything at all. I cannot read the Gospels in any way other than as declaring that this was revealed to man by God through Jesus. Revelation, therefore, not logic, must lie at the core of the Church’s message. You cannot pick and choose from revealed truth.

The path to which the compass points may be a stony one, but this should not matter to a believer. The teachings of the early Church looked unattractive to the Romans. Revelation pointed the way, and only Revelation can point the way now. I believe this Revelation is false, but Christians have nothing else firm to cling to.


My own thoughts:

“Christians have nothing else firm to cling to.”

I would add: Liberals also have nothing more firm to cling to than their opinions.

My own journey out of liberalism,* during my college years, began with the realization that while liberalism posed profound questions about my traditional Christian beliefs, it was utterly unable to answer any of the questions it posed.

Indulge me, if you would, in a bit of amateur philosophy: The liberal worldview is rooted in relativism. In my college world, the argument focused on cultural equivalence: “Morals and religion are personal and cultural. Who are you to say your morals are right and mine are wrong? Who are you to say your religion is true and someone else’s is not?” We did not at the time have the benefit of the Christian worldview and apologetics perspectives that grew out of the work of men like Francis Schaeffer and Charles Colson. Because we could not answer the questions, we assumed our interrogators were right.

They were not. In fact, their questions only raised even more fundamental ones: In a context of relativism, how can anyone say with confidence that anything is right or true? Doesn’t this viewpoint wind up validating even the most reprehensible values? How can a multicultural society come to enough agreement on right and wrong to establish a just, civilized society?

The answer, as we have seen over the past 30+ years, is that liberalism — relativism — has nothing to offer but opinion. Like conservatism,* it may assert that opinion with great fervor, but it is merely opinion, nonetheless. (Revelation by itself, unfortunately, also is inadequate, because it cannot prove why it is more true than any other “revelation” or tradition. That is why the Almighty gave us proof that the Christian revelation is true.)

There is a better path to justice than relativistic liberalism and subjective conservatism can offer. Jesus’ values are not mere opinion, nor are they only revelation. Most liberal Christians wink knowingly and fall in behind the unbelieving culture. Most conservative evangelicals cry “Outrage!” at the compromises, but can’t prove how they know their own values are true. Conservative Christians keep looking to a Republican party whose elites are as liberal in their morals as the Democratic leadership. Followers of either party who claim Christ are being led down the primrose path toward a social collapse that will inevitably require the State to enforce order. In this world, anarchy is answered only by tyranny.

Mr. Parris writes: Jesus … gives no impression that He came into the world to revolutionise sexual mores. Even our eye, if it offends us, must be plucked out.

Jesus calls on us to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. He requires us to help “the least of these.” He gives no impression that Caesar offers any hope for creating justice. Jesus speaks with the authority of the God of Abraham who requires his people to do justice, with the power of one raised by God from the dead to prove he told the Truth.

In the United States, we are witnessing the rapid degeneration of a society that will become increasingly hostile to the truth and values Jesus requires his disciples to declare. Many who claim Christ will slide off into the abyss with everyone else — both those who are trying to channel the culture and those who don’t understand Jesus well enough to know they should be loving their neighbors more than fighting a culture war.

Yes, the political issues are critical — government spending, abortion as birth control, same-sex marriage, religious liberty — and Christians on each “side” understand a crucial part of the truth. But no victory in the political arena will resolve any of those issues. The only path to justice — pressing toward God’s will on earth as it is in heaven — requires us to unapologetically declare Jesus’ message: that we all are broken, that God loves each of us, that only God’s grace can bring us healing, that the Kingdom is right under our noses — trust Jesus and he will give you new life!

We don’t need to become relevant; the Gospel is already relevant. We don’t need to condemn a sinful society; it is already condemned. What we need to be doing is proclaiming — and living out — the full, free, and forever life only Jesus can give.

It’s no mystery, folks: Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. Help the least of these. Seek the Kingdom first and foremost. Make disciples.  When the branches bear much fruit, the Vine receives the glory he deserves.

* The labels “liberal” and “conservative” are so misused as to be almost completely meaningless, but I haven’t yet found anything that works better for this kind of discussion. Most people I know could be described with either word in different aspects of their lives. I refuse to apply either label to any specific individual. Labeling is the cultured cousin of Stereotyping, which in turn has a country cousin called Bigotry.


About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
This entry was posted in Countercultural Christianity and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to When a gay atheist understands Jesus better than we do …

  1. Pingback: A better path to justice than liberalism and conservatism |

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