FBCU, Rethink Your Homework

FBCU, Rethink Your Homework

FBCU, Rethink Your Homework

This is a review of a sermon given by the pastor of First Baptist Church of Umatilla, Brooks Braswell, on Baby Dedication Sunday, January 12, 2015. To listen to other sermons (audio or video), go to www.fbcumatilla.org and click About Us and then click Resources. The scripture references for the sermon are Genesis 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 1:10-11, and Revelation 3:16.

The recording of the sermon that is posted online is not the from the service I attended, and my notes are sparse, so there are instances where I’d like to insert a direct quote but can’t. If I unintentionally misrepresent Braswell’s words as a result, it is my hope and prayer that he’ll let me know (I contact pastors with blog links to sermon reviews), and then I’ll update the blog post with his comments. It is especially unfortunate that the sermon video is from a different service, because there were two particular things Braswell said that I wanted to address word-for-word. I’ll identify those later in the blog series.

Homework

Braswell begins by following up on last Sunday’s homework for the congregation to call the Lake County Clerk of Court, Neil Kelly, regarding the gay marriage decision. He says,

Out of sixty-seven counties, we were one of thirteen that said, ‘You know what? They’re going to make us hand out the paperwork, but we’re just not going to perform any ceremonies any more.’ and I believe that’s kind of a win. (Applause)

This week’s homework?

1. Write Neil Kelly a letter of encouragement to tell him you support the decision that he’s made, you’re praying for him, and you are encouraged by his stance for the Lord. Why? Brooks explains,

This isn’t an easy thing. People hate him right now, and you may say, “Well, that’s what the Bible says is going to happen, when we live for the Lord, people are going to hate us.” But that doesn’t mean it feels good when people hate you, you know?

2. Get rid of your subscription to the Orlando Sentinel (Brooks calls it “Orlando Slantinel“), call Lauren Ritchie, who wrote this scathing article, tell her “you’re mean,” send her some gospel tracts, and tell her you love her.

Does God approve of gay marriage?

Some believers say yes, some say no, and others have no idea. Yes, yes, you say. All of this is quite obvious. What’s the point?

Well, there’s something going on here that isn’t as obvious. Read on…

Do believers who oppose gay marriage REALLY oppose gay marriage?

There’s a difference between one believing something is wrong and one opposing something that one believes is wrong. Some believers are very vocal about opposing gay marriage.

Braswell considers Neil Kelly’s decision to require employees to issue marriage licenses but forbidding them to hold ceremonies “kind of a win.” Notice the unassuming but extremely important words, “kind of.”

Why is it merely a “kind of” victory and not a complete victory for Braswell and others in Lake County who oppose gay marriage?

Because Kelly can’t tell the Lake County Clerk employees to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

But notice the operative word “can’t.”

Is it humanly possible for Kelly to tell the Lake County Clerk employees to refuse to issue marriage licenses? Yes, of course. He has the ability to communicate. Granted, it would cost him his job, but my point is that no one can force Kelly to make a decision according to a law he believes is wrong.

Let’s take this a step further. Can employees who oppose gay marriage refuse to issue marriage licenses? Yes, they can. Again, they would lose their jobs, but no one can force them to complete the paperwork.

If believers say, “We oppose gay marriage,” yet they choose to prepare marriage licenses for gay couples, what kind of message does this send?

The message I hear is: I oppose gay marriage when it is convenient and safe for me to oppose gay marriage, but my moral conviction to oppose gay marriage crumbles when my paycheck is at stake. Therefore, my moral conviction isn’t as convincing as I say it is.

Lukewarm Believers

Later in the sermon, Braswell talks about lukewarm believers. I’ll address this concept in another blog post, but for now, it is suffice to say that believers who say they oppose gay marriage and then don’t oppose gay marriage when they have the perfect opportunity to do so appear to be neither cold nor hot in their convictions. They appear to be comfortably lukewarm people.

What if…?

Let’s suppose that believers who say, “I oppose gay marriage,” because they are truly convinced that God disapproves of gay marriage, were to act upon their convictions and refuse to prepare marriage licenses even though it’s part of the job description? What if believers were hot in their convictions? What then?

Well, for starters, it would be buzzing all over the news and social media. And I suspect that those believers might find that they have some unlikely allies in the LGBTQ community who would probably prefer to have a marriage license prepared or a ceremony performed by someone who isn’t experiencing a moral dilemma over it. And I doubt that they want to start their marriage by contributing to someone getting fired.

Peaceful protest. Peaceful resolution.

Of course, my conjecture could prove to be erroneous, but we’ll never know that as long as believers who oppose gay marriage keep jabber-jawing about opposing gay marriage and then offering safe, mediocre opposition. Not a very impressive “stance for the Lord.”

Another possibility is that a bunch of people get fired, everyone forgets about it, and life goes on.

Let’s talk about gay marriage.

In my opinion, if God does NOT recognize marriage between two men or two women, then there is no legal document or ceremony that can trump God’s opinion. And since God’s opinion is based on knowing all there is to know about people, societies, morality, law, and well… everything, then a man and a man or a woman and a woman cannot ever be legitimately married, even if the marriage license were signed by the President of the United State and the Pope officiated the ceremony.

Conversely, if God DOES recognize marriage between two men or two women, then refusing to issue a legal document or hold a ceremony won’t trump God’s opinion. Disagree all you want, but if they are married in God’s eyes, then they are married, indeed.

So really, all this business about licenses and ceremonies is a formality compared to the real spiritual meat of the matter, which is very much like this:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Jesus, to the religious leaders, Matthew 23:27-28)

Believer: “I oppose gay marriage.”

Not-Yet-Believer: “Prove it.”

Believer: “Wait… I might lose my job? Can’t I just say I oppose it, and leave it at that?”

Not-Yet-Believer: “Sure you can. But… doesn’t your god have a problem with lying? Hypocrisy? Do you always go around saying one thing and doing another? How does your god feel about that?”

Believer: “Well, that’s what the Bible says is going to happen, when we live for the Lord, people are going to hate us.”

Not-Yet-Believer: “Have you considered the possibility that I don’t hate you, but I hate your self-serving behavior? How can I have respect for your beliefs when you don’t respect your own beliefs?”

In all fairness, Braswell’s sermon doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of all FBCU members. And perhaps those who agree with his views would be willing to lose their jobs to act according to their “I oppose gay marriage” moral convictions, to live like they believe what they say they believe.

Either way, FBCU members might want to rethink this week’s homework assignment.

 

 

 

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert January 16, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Alice, you have become just like those at whom you scoff for their lack of public action because you didn’t make a scene at the baby dedication. Preach it to yourself, poor Christian Universalist; and poor I mean. You should have stood up in the middle of the meeting and told them what you thought was wrong with their actions and doctrine without backing down or stopping your criticisms until they promised to make immediate changes to correct their error. Weren’t you willing to be ushered out of their meeting by the civil police for disorderly conduct and also offend your family and friends publicly? No. You’re learning restraint due to cost and willing to sacrifice your “convictions” to civility. In criticizing them you criticize yourself of hypocrisy. You’re no better than Neil Kelly.

    We’d all do better if the we would follow God’s commandment and execute everyone in the LGBTQ community. I would be in favor of a nationally declared day each year for the extermination the LGBTQ community. That’s not hate speech either, because to God the LGBTQ community is abomination.

    • Stephen Helbig January 16, 2015 at 3:10 am

      Lanny, which is it ? Your beliefs system and comment above or your belief system and comments previously stated ~
      Note: ~ Lanny A Eichert states January 12, 2015 at 2:01 am ~ ”You really don’t “get it” do you, Alice? The church has a right to limit you. It is called “order.” They have the right to teach without opposition. The proper order is to privately make your desire know for discussion of your matter and they may choose when, where, and with whom; or not at all. You need to be satisfied with that.”

      and also the following comment

      Lanny A. Eichert states January 15, 2015 at 5:01 pm In response to questions put forth by Alice
      Alice asks ~ “Let’s suppose you were a member there. What if other leadership did not agree with you? What would you do then?” ~ Your response to question ~ “Leave quietly”.
      Alice asks ~ “In addition, what if other leadership did agree with you, but also believed the pastor has the “right to teach without opposition” – what would you do then?” ~ Your response ~ “Leave quietly. I would allow the other leadership to remain friends with me as they saw fit and if in my house they seemed open to discussion I’d go softly.”

      “Seems to me your talking out of both sides of your….?” ~ Stephen

      • Lanny A. Eichert January 16, 2015 at 12:21 pm

        Stephen, one side is hypocritical Alice and the other side is moderated me. Alice displayed inconsistent conduct to her claims upon others. You don’t see the hypocrisy of the three of you, do you? You all are quick to tear down others with conduct you wouldn’t do.

    • Alice Spicer January 16, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      These are two entirely different circumstances. One situation would require the believer who opposes gay marriage to actively participate in its advancement. The other situation is different. I do not actively participate in the advancement of an erroneous doctrine by choosing one platform of discussion over another. And perhaps you are forgetting that I did lose my job for refusing to comply with the pastor’s demand to abstain from writing blog posts about what I believe.

      • Lanny A. Eichert January 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm

        So shall I pat you on the back for your one and only historical stand from which you now shrink?

        • Lanny A. Eichert January 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm

          NO. I will not do such a thing, because you were totally wrong from the start. The lost resurrected to Judgment and condemnation cannot be thereafter re-resurrected to life. They are post-mortem and not subject to death, therefore they cannot die. Since they cannot die, they cannot be resurrected again.

        • Alice Spicer January 17, 2015 at 1:00 am

          Of course I don’t expect a pat on the back. I also don’t expect that it be lightly brushed aside as if it never happened, especially because it directly applies to your comments.

          • Lanny A. Eichert January 17, 2015 at 1:19 am

            Alice, I would hope you’d realize your error from the start and that youwere properly dismissed from the church because they have the right to protect their orthodox doctrine.

            The wicked are not resurrected TWICE. That’s impossible.

            • Lanny A. Eichert January 17, 2015 at 1:41 am

              Your scheme, Alice, has no possible way to work: to double resurrect anybody. The word “scheme” is not a bad word and is properly used even in the book I’m reading on dispensationalism to refer in that context to the set of details of each subject discussed. Once the wicked are resurrected to judgment/condemnation, they cannot again be resurrected to life. They can’t die once they’ve been resurrected.

              You don’t have an answer for that, do you? So why don’t you admit there is no salvation in the Lake of Fire. Face it, Alice, the Bible ends with a populated Lake of Fire without remedy because that’s reality: people burn forever. Nobody’s resurrected in the Lake of Fire as a way out. The resurrect to Judgment/condemnation is FINAL.

              Alice, the sooner you admit you’re wrong the less “crow” you have to eat.

    • Mary Vanderplas January 17, 2015 at 5:40 am

      The action of remaining silent, of refraining from voicing one’s objections/questions, while visiting a family member’s church is motivated by respect for the family member. The action of performing a job duty that violates one’s professed convictions is motivated by self-protection, specifically, by fear of losing one’s job (and sacrificing financial security and other benefits of being gainfully employed). Exactly how are these comparable?? Clearly, they aren’t.

      Hate speech is hate speech, regardless of how one chooses to try to justify it.

      • Lanny A. Eichert January 17, 2015 at 2:36 pm

        Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. {Psalm 97: 10} The evil is the wicked person.
        I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. [PSALM 101: 3}
        The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. {Psalm 118: 7}
        Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. {Psalm 119: 104} false way is the “gay” way
        I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. {Psalm 119: 113} hate and love at the same time
        I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love. {psalm 119: 163} gays are a complete lie
        Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. {Psalm 139: 21 & 22}

        God expects His people to hate unrighteousness in whatever fashion it is found, even the gay community as a people group, the LGBTQ community. I hate the LGBTQ community. If that makes me guilty of hate speech, so be it, but I am in favor with God.

        In the action of remaining silent you asked Exactly how are these comparable?? In both cases being “chicken” to have suffered the consequences. So, you see, they are the same, Mary.

        • Mary Vanderplas January 18, 2015 at 5:53 am

          There is nothing self-protective – fear of suffering the consequences – about exercising restraint for the sake of not (potentially) causing embarrassment/harm to another.

          The God revealed in Jesus Christ abhors hatred of those whom God loves – which is everyone.

          • Lanny A. Eichert January 18, 2015 at 10:50 am

            Mary, how many times must I quote Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Psalm 11: 5 & 6

            The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

            Is this a different God than Jesus Christ? {LORD = Jehovah} Did God change between testaments?

            The consequences, Mary, are alienation and hatred.

            Are you able and willing to recognize that God regards the LGBTQ community as abomination?

          • Lanny A. Eichert January 18, 2015 at 10:59 am

            How many times must I quote. Psalm 11: 5 & 6

            The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

            Is this a different God than Jesus Christ? {LORD = Jehovah} Did God change between testaments?

            The consequences, Mary, are alienation and hatred both are chicken to suffer by presenting the issues and being actively involved.

            Are you able and willing to recognize that God regards the LGBTQ community as abomination?

      • Lanny A. Eichert January 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm

        Mary, don’t you recognize to God the LGBTQ community is abomination?

        • Alice Spicer January 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm

          Lanny, don’t you just realize you called God an abomination?

          • Lanny A. Eichert January 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm

            the LGBTQ community is abomination

          • Lanny A. Eichert January 17, 2015 at 6:32 pm

            The subject of the verb, to be, is the LGBTQ community. The predicate nominative of the verb, to be, is abomination. How are you getting your understanding of my statement?

      • Lanny A. Eichert January 17, 2015 at 6:40 pm

        Mary, are you able and willing to recognize that God regards the LGBTQ community as abomination?

  • Lanny A. Eichert January 16, 2015 at 2:10 am

    Back on topic
    … he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night … {Revelation 14: 10 & 11}

    for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night
    Taken together as it is written means everlasting torment in the Lake of Fire because those resurrected to condemnation persons are not able to die again so that they could be again resurrected instead to life. They are post-mortem, meaning past dying, not subject to dying again.
    Therefore since they cannot die, they cannot be resurrected a second time. A post-mortem person can only be resurrected ONCE. Your scheme doesn’t work, Alice, because it can’t work.

  • Lanny A. Eichert January 16, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Alice, have you noticed the order Jesus put the resurrections?

    all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. {John 5: 28 & 29}

    The first resurrection is the righteous to life.
    The second is the wicked to Judgment/condemnation.

    Which one comes first both here in John 5 and there in the Revelation 20? The resurrection to life. AFTER that comes the resurrection to judgment. Your error is that your scheme requires the resurrection of damnation first before the resurrection of life. You argue with Jesus’ order of things. No wonder you get it all wrong and you are unable to believe the Bible, because you refuse to believe Jesus since your feelings are hurt because that means all those you loved who died without confessing Christ are burning and will burn forever in everlasting torment.

    Face it: the resurrection to damnation is the last and final resurrection and they cannot get out of the Lake of Fire.

  • Mary Vanderplas January 16, 2015 at 5:02 am

    I agree that those who talk about opposing gay marriage on moral grounds should be willing to risk losing their jobs rather than doing something – namely, issuing marriage licenses to gay couples (or authorizing this action) – that would violate their conscience (and send a mixed message about their convictions). The fact that some aren’t does call into question their integrity and, if they are professing disciples of Jesus Christ, their commitment to living out their faith by following what they believe to be according to the will of God, the highest law.

    I like what you say about ceremonies and licenses being a formality, about no human law or institution being able to determine whether two people are one in the eyes of God. While human laws and institutions confer social benefits that come with legal status, the relationship itself is either legitimized or not legitimized by what God says about it.

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Mary, God does NOT legitimize homosexuality, He condemns it, even the entire LGBTQ community, even sentencing it to death. Why don’t you?

      Why aren’t you anti-gay marriage and anti-gay unions? Are you afraid to declare God’s Law?

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 17, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Mary: does God regard the LGBTQ community as abomination? Yes or no?

  • Stephen Helbig January 16, 2015 at 7:55 am

    RE-Thunk the homework assignment given at FBCU and I really, (initially anyway), thought it was somewhat off color. I really couldn’t see that beautiful RAINBOW of God’s LOVE and Promise that is round about His Throne.
    …and there was a rainbow round about the throne…Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Rev. 4: 3&11)

    • Lanny A. Eichert January 18, 2015 at 1:30 am

      Stephen, are you making reference to the rainbow as the entire LGBTQ community? That’s gross, man.

      Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. {Leviticus 18: 22}

      • Lanny A. Eichert January 18, 2015 at 1:31 am

        Really off color

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