I have been the pastor of Blenheim CRC since January 2013. I am married to Cynthia and we have two beautiful little girls.
It strikes me that we have different ideas of what it means to love, accept, and embrace someone who feels same sex attraction. I don't see scripture telling me to affirm and congratulate sinful behavior; rather, I long for churches who are able to walk alongside those who feel attractions outside of God's ideal and struggle to resist those temptation. At some point a sin must still be called sin. Whether our sins are deemed acceptable in our worldly society or not does not change the way God views sin. I would not want to kick anyone out of church for being a sinner, but I would want the church to call all sinners to repentance which implies that we will wrestle against our sinful patterns of behavior. There are tremendously complex situations that will arise because of the brokenness of our world and we need to be very careful as we seek to understand God's will for those specific circumstances.
The HSR speaks very broadly about a wide variety of sexual sins. I doubt many of us would be prepared to take a strong affirming stance in our churches toward other sexual sins such as adultery, pornography, incest, or polyamorous relationships. I am not prepared to say that the church is simply "behind the times" and move on to accept these sexual expressions as perfectly fine. A local United Church has a large banner flying on their building which says simply, "Love is Love." But that is simply not true. God's creative design and God's word give limits to a healthy sexual expression otherwise the sexual sins earlier identified could be part of a "love is love" movement.
Posted in: Take My Sermon Challenge
To be quite honest, I would have a hard time delivering this kind of message in light of how so much of our Western culture which has changed the gospel message into a prosperity gospel. Preaching on the proverb that you have cited would have me questioning its proverbial wisdom. "The house of the righteous contains great treasure; but the income of the wicked brings ruin." (Proverbs 15:6) When I look at our western world today, it would appear that the wicked prosper and in many ways the righteous are suffering. Proverbs are just that... proverbs -- wise sayings; they are not truth for each and every circumstance. How could they be? There are proverbs that completely contradict one another, like Proverbs 26:4 "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him." and Proverbs 26:5 "Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."
I could quite easily affirm where you ended in Acts 4 in redefining what is intended by the prosperity of Jesus. When a faith community looks out for the needs of the most vulnerable -- the widow, the orphan, the poor, the rejected -- we are living out the gospel message. God's love offers hope and the blessings that God gives to us are to be used for His glory living out His kingdom. The trouble is that we and our churches are often not living out of that kind of perspective. And for that, we should be called to repent.
Posted in: The Lord’s Supper and COVID-19
Some churches in Ontario have re-opened with social distancing measures, I am curious as to how these churches are celebrating communion. Specifically, I am wondering if there are any creative approaches to serving the elements in post-covid services. We were discussing the options this evening in our council meeting.
Posted in: Every Pastor in the CRC Should Hear This
While I agree with much of what the article has to say, I want us to also stop and consider that the young adults who are leaving the faith from our churches also grew up with those same covenantal teachings, albeit with an older version of some of the same curriculum. But they are still leaving. Somehow, we need to discover what it is that we are missing in our teaching, not just what "the others" are missing in their curriculum. Could it be that in our covenant theology that we fail to emphasize our response to God's faithful promises? Do we presume a faithful response acceptance because we have taught the meaning of the words? I don't have the answers, but I am also not hearing those kinds of questions being asked within our denomination.
Posted in: The Siphonophore Gospel
Until such a time as we meet another extra-terrestial being to ask them these kinds of questions, isn't this a lot like asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
This very question reminds me how little we are taughrt or informed regarding the ordination service, either the local traditions or denominational expectations.
Posted in: Long Goodbye
You make some excellent points. I question the transition time-line from the perspective of financial management.
Posted in: Time for Non-Compete Clauses for Clergy?
Really? Fear of competition is going to restrict what God may be doing? Isn't there one God that we're working for? Isn't there really only one church? Let's get past ourselves and look to what God is about. We are becoming more and more worldly in our approaches. Let's seek first the kingdom. If a church cannot remain viable because a neighbouring church is opening, then we have to wonder about the viability of the original church to begin with...
Posted in: Referenda
I believe that ship has sailed some time ago. Denominational loyalty is virtually irrelevant to young people today. The comment about seeing what is said and what is done is so true. This was already hinted at a long, long time ago in a short story by James Schaap. If memory serves, it was about the worship wars going on in a church where the anger over opinions of right worship flared to the point where one person on the committee hollered, "If I had a dime, I'd quit this committee!" Whereupon a young person who up until now had sat silently amidst the arguments, stood up and slapped a dime on the table and walked away.