Recently, a head football coach at a major university resigned from his very lucrative, and prestigious position. Evidently, some things came to light that put his behavior in a very bad light. The school administration made it very plain, that if he had not resigned, he would have been fired. Their reasoning was that his “personal conduct” had violated certain stipulations in his contract. In other words, his behavior had not been consistent with what they expected from someone that was in his position.
Now, I’m not going on a “witch hunt,” or cast stones at someone that is down; because the university that I support, lost a coach on somewhat similar circumstances. Other schools, businesses, and organizations have all lost people because their behavior is not “consistent” with what they stand for. I know that there are some college football coaches that have “cut ties” with star high school recruits, because of something that appeared on their social media accounts. Again, their behavior was not “consistent” with what they wanted from their players that represent the university, and them. There are certain behavior patterns that people, and organizations, expect from those that are in position of leadership and influence.
This morning, I was reading in Galatians as a part of my devotional reading, and I read the story where Paul had to confront Peter. You see, Peter, even though he knew better, was acting like a racist toward the Gentiles (because there were people there from Jerusalem). Peter was in such a position of influence, that others, including Barnabas, were joining him in this racist action; and Paul was compelled to speak. What I found interesting in that story, was this verse:
But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, … (Galatians 2:14, NRSV).
When I read that, I thought he was rebuking Peter for acting in way that did not reflect what Jesus was all about. WOW! If we rebuked people today for not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, who would not be rebuked! Then a thought slapped me up side of the head, as I thought about something that has been going on in the evangelical world for the last few days.
Last Tuesday (8-29), some evangelical heavy-hitters released what they called The Nashville Statement. It is a document that has 14 articles that deal with human sexuality, and it is obvious with the LGBT movement. Now, I suppose that I had better say first of all, I have read the statement and believe what they say is right. So you’re question is, What’s the problem then?
Well, I don’t understand (1) why it had to be said, (2) why it had to be said when it was, (3) what was the purpose for saying it, (4) what good will it accomplish, and (5) if this is the only statement that they think is necessary. Now, there are people a lot smarter than me, and a whole lot more influential than me, that are discussing those questions — I don’t suppose that there will be very many people that ever know this blog was written. But, the thought this morning, as I was reading Galatians, is how can you make a “statement” about only one of the “sins” that is troubling us today? A little later, in Galatians 5, Paul lists what he calls the works of the flesh, look at that list:
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. … (Galatians 5:19-21, NRSV).
Wouldn’t like to see the statement that a group of religious leaders drew up about enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy … . There are some of those that I would not want to have any part, because I would be guilty. Is our anger any worse in the judgment of God, that sexual sin? Where was the evangelical statement about racism after Charlottesville? How many of our people excuse their behavior, saying “that’s just the way that I am”? This list could go on and on and on.
Now, I understand that some are afraid of our changing culture, and the impact it will have in the future. The culture is changed, and the laws are made. The die is set, as far as the country, and it’s government, is concerned. We should quit worrying about that, and start preaching Jesus and His redemptive love. I worry about proclamations and statements that drive the wedge deeper; between those who are supposed to represent Jesus, and those that are struggling with immense problems.
Now, I know that that this will not please everyone! There are probably some that will think I am too soft on this. I don’t see this as soft on this, I see it as saying we are picking what we to attack, and soft on a lot of other things. What I have written is not a well thought out piece, that I have taken the time to word properly. I read Galatians, went for a walk — talked to the Lord, and thought about what I would write. I hope that it has made you think. Peace.