The Courage to Act by the Truth
A controversial matter arose recently in the city of Arlington, Texas. According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, Cecil Sinclair, a 46-years old veteran of the Desert Storm campaign, died suddenly of complications from a heart condition. The deceased did not belong to any church, but his brother was a member of the High Point Church and was also an employee there. During the deceasedˇ¦s 6-year long illness, church members had continuously prayed for him. So the church agreed to hold a funeral service for him there. Then they discovered that he was an active homosexual from some of the photographs presented by his family members, who also wanted to invite a famous gay band to sign hymns during the service. The pastor of High Points Church, Gary Simons finally had to decline holding the funeral service at the churchˇ¦s premises. Based on Biblical teachings and the principles of the church, he and his congregation could not allow the life style of homosexuals to be on display at the church, and certainly could not allow a gay band to perform there. He did not oppose holding a funeral service for a homosexual, but rejected any silent acknowledgement of the gay lifestyle within the church. He gave the example of a church member losing someone in the family who was a murderer. The church would surely volunteer to hold his funeral service, but photos of his act of murder could not be exhibited at the church. Although the church could not conduct the service within its walls based on moral principles, out of their own love and concern, the brothers and sisters were willing to cover all the expenses of the funeral and also deliver food to the final venue.
The decision of the High Point Church brought strong criticism from the deceasedˇ¦s family members, friends, and gay-rights groups from all over the country. They believe that homosexuals should enjoy the freedom of sexual preference, just as the church enjoys its religious freedom. The church should respect the personal dignity of the deceased and his past contribution to the country, especially at this time when family members require comfort and support from losing a loved one. The spokesperson for the gay band declared that the church had cast them as sexually immoral, and their comparison by Pastor Simons to murderers was way overboard.
This writer believes that the pastor of the High Point Church made the appropriate decision when he refused to allow photos contrary to his belief to be exhibited or permit the participation of a gay band at the service.
The critics of the church believe that it is unacceptable for the church to consider Cecil Sinclair a sinner and to compare a person who had made a contribution to the country to a murderer. Yet, the Bible has this characterization of people (including dead people) ˇV ˇ§For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.ˇ¨ (Romans 3:23); ˇ§You were dead in your transgressions and sins.ˇ¨ (Ephesians 2:1) If man does not admit that he is a sinner and refuses to receive the salvation of the Creator, he is like a terminal patient who does not admit that he is sick and rejects the diagnosis and treatment of the doctor. All the good things that a person can do in his life cannot make up for the blemish on the glory of God, much less the rejection of the Son of God. Paul also viewed the sin of homosexuality as wickedness. Man will lose eternal life if he does not repent of it. ˇ§Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.ˇ¨ (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Although Jesus did not directly talk about the sin of homosexuality in His teachings, that does not mean that the loving Lord will forsake the principles of holiness and righteousness. Jesus Christ is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come; the God who never changes; the God who has authority over all time and space in the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, God clearly indicated that He detests such a sin (Leviticus 20:13). How can Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled the law and the prophets, change His view of this sin of debauchery? The Church emulates Christ in loving sinners, but it must never distort Biblical Truth to gain the favor of earthly humans. Like the High Point Church, the Church should have the courage to act by the Truth.
By: Daniel To