Dear John Pavlovitz…

Mr. Pavlovitz,

Recently you wrote an article about how evangelicals need to lay off LGBTQ people. It lays out, with a fervor, how evangelicals are simply wrong and without any grounds to stand when they critique or stand up against the rising cultural tide of homosexual acceptance (and that which will naturally follow – transgender and that so far undetermined).

I have read a number of your articles over the years, and written a response once myself. Here again, I feel the need to stand up straight, and lovingly disagree.

You must understand (and that is both a plea and a gesture to your sensibilities) that there is a huge difference between condemning someone and simply disagreeing with their choices. Especially from a faith standpoint. 

Today people are far too quick to assume disagreement means you condemn them and wish they were actually just like you (which is a two way street that many progressives seem to forget). This many times becomes an all out social media mob attack before the facts are even straight. Disagreement and condemnation are dramatically different actions. Both find precedent in Scripture too. 

Jesus absolutely called sin out. Whether explicitly (the woman caught in adultery was told to go and sin no more) or implicitly (calling the Pharisees a broke of vipers) Jesus denounced sexual immorality in his sermon on the mount (to beware lusting after another person), and He defines marriage as God does in Genesis (Matt19 when he’s speaking of marriage, creation, and defending Gods place in those things against Pharisees). 

To try and say that because something isn’t explicitly mentioned means it isn’t directly connected to the theme and nuance of Scripture is being belligerently obtuse about it. 

Your MO is to speak from the heart, under the guise of a “faithful Christian.” A pastor even. But wolves can wear sheep’s clothing, and snakes can hide out where you least expect them. You can disagree with 2000 year old orthodox beliefs all you want. It’s your prerogative; many have come before you, and you won’t be the last. But to twist, and pervert, and bastardize Christ’s actual words or intentions to fit a modern cultural sin obsession is essentially the definition of using the Lords Name in vain. 

God will judge this world. Not man. But it is still our calling as the church to live authentically faithful lives in service to Christ. That does, in fact, look like love. Contrary to “straw man views” of evangelicals. It means loving someone and pointing them TO Christ. It means carrying your own cross, while in a community of those carrying theirs, all the while moving to grow closer to the Cross of Christ. 

It means being willing to give and receive accountability on your sin. Which means seeing sin as the Bible sees sin. And seeing sin in context (before anyone tries to pown me with some Leviticus passage…). 

I am the first to admit that the American church has truly sucked at being the Hands and the Feet of Christ for generations. But Christ hasn’t changed. He won’t change. And to claim that He would look at those with same sex attraction and would:

A) be totally fine with it, think it’s super grand, and applaud them for living authentic to themselves and their truth… 

OR

B) grab His closest Torah and beat them to death with it while singing an ancient hymn…

… you’re wrong on both counts. 

He spoke tenderly to Jairus, to Mary & Martha, to the Samaritan woman, to the rich young ruler, to the prodigal & elder son (through His parable), to John the Baptist, to the criminal on the cross, and to so many more. BUT He also could be direct when confronted with an affront to the Father. As in the zealous episode at the temple, or when He literally told Peter “get behind me Satan.” 

Christians ARE called to love. Love God first and foremost. Then also your neighbor. Your spouse. Your family. Your coworker. Your customer. Your senators. Your president. Your neighbor. Because each of them bears the image of your God. 

Now when you have created a loving relationship with your neighbor, and especially if they are a supposed brother or sister in Christ – YOU ARE TO HOLD EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE. That means lovingly. With caring words. Humbly. But still with the strength of the Truth on God. 

Pavlovitz, you are just another voice riding the sea of modern culture. Wherever it leads you in the future, I suspect you will willingly follow. But as an orthodox, reformed, biblically sound follower of Christ I feel it is just as pertinent to point out such wolves, snakes, & anyone else seeking to point away from Christ. 

In Christ,

David

——————————-

I welcome discussion on this topic, or others he has written on. Heretical thinking and preaching can only be overcome by exposing it to the light, and wrestling with it. It’s how we got away from Gnostic teaching. Away from papal errors. From prosperity “gospels” and more. So please feel free to comment, or message me. I would be glad to do some back and forth on it.

Additionally, be on the lookout for a potential podcast I will be hosting diving into the context surrounding Scripture and how we can better understand it for our lives.

Thank you for reading, and God bless.

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“Do you love Me?” – John 21:15-19

“Do you love Me?” – John 21:15-19

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

“Do you love Me?” Many times I read this passage like you would read a book. I know the backstory: Peter has betrayed Jesus, denying Him three times. It’s easy to read this passage as simply just Christ speaking directly to Peter – in this situation, talking about what had happened earlier.

 

But Christ is speaking to me, “David… do you love Me?” Christ as me this question in the midst of my own sin. And I answer like Peter, “yes, LORD, You know I do…” But God presses in a second… a third... time… “Do you love Me?” This really sinks in. I don’t ACT as if I love God. I back bite. I follow after my sinful desires. I fall into sin. Christ asked this of Peter in love, not seeking to hurt him. He asks the same of us, and even offers the Holy Spirit to guide and protect us!

 

Thanks be to God who is greater than any, and all, of my sin!

AMEN!

Apostle’s Creed Pt 6

We are getting to the last few phrases of the creed!

 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth…

and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

From there He judges the living and the dead.

I believe in Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen!

The creed has hit the first few big parts of the Christian faith. We have talked about how all things started, how Christ was born, how He lived, and that He died. That His life is firmly planted in history. His death paved the only way to God, and now we reach how that death does what it does.

Christ’s death was not the end of the story. Thankfully. Had it been, there would have been a very different world created from it. Christ’s death was only the period, the ending, on one thing – death itself. His death would end the power of death over His people. His death would end the power death had on the world. Christ’s death was not the end of His life. That is what is so amazing about Christ and his promise. His death may have ended death’s ultimate reign, but it would be His resurrection that showed the future for those predestined to eternal life.

Death had lost it’s sting, and Christ had crushed the head of the serpent. God had preordained Christ’s resurrection to be the end of that little escapade with death and  the beginning of our eternal relationship with Him. Christ was resurrected from the dead, to an eternal life, in body, beside the Father. He would be forever like us, in flesh… yet, above us to be that link between a wholly holy God and a wholly unholy creature. He will be providing intercession until He comes back to bring us home.

From His post alongside God the Father, Christ separates the sheep from the goats. The wheat from the chaff. The eternally saved from the eternally reprobate. Christ knows His own, those who He will welcome into His paradise in the last days, and yet the Church is not meant to sit idly by letting things happen. Christ has ordained to use us in this world to He has Willed. As a last statement, I think this is important. Many within the Church feel that mission work, whether at home or abroad, is unnecessary…. this goes against everything that Christ expected of His followers. We are meant to be the hands and feet of Christ now in this world. It may be uncomfortable, and “out of our shell” at times, but it is this that we are meant to do in the world. Being His workers is our beautiful calling – though it can and will be tough at times.

He will bring those to Him that are meant to. He judges the “quick” (living) and the dead. He holds the Book of Life in His hands. This should give us both awe and pause. Awe because He does call some to Him, even knowing how fallen we are… and pause because the Savior of all mankind does call some to Him and some from Him… as in He is the measure of salvation. Not our feelings. Not if we were good or bad people. Not chakras. Not karma. Not the universe… a real, historical person wants to have a relationship with you and me. He desires it. He seeks it Himself, knowing that we are so fallen, we never could (or would want to) reach out ourselves.

This Jesus is the One who conquered death. Who was the first born to true life everlasting. Who knows all men’s hearts, and acts according to the Book of Life that He authored… He wants to know us personally. All He asks is to trust Him, have faith in Him… and what’s even more amazing… He offers that faith freely…Amen?

How Deep the Father’s Love

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

——————-

This song is so powerful. It speaks to so many facets of my faith – my conviction. It reminds us of the reality of sin, the beauty of Christ’s death, and the new reality of His resurrection.

I think people need to understand this side of the Christian faith. We aren’t all Joel Osteen’s, or Phelps families, or defenders of the crusades, or any other false ”

options

” of Christ out there.

I hope to make this more clear as I make more posts, but a true Christian is one that accepts the reality of our sinful nature and our depravity… This must occur alongside a full, headlong plunge into the truth of Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection is the hinge, the crux, the entire point of my faith. To deny the
Resurrection is to deny Christ’s entire life and mission. To say it didn’t happen is to say that He was a liar lunatic, and His followers were literally just as out of their minds. Remember that these men went to their deaths with one thought on their minds, “today you will be with me in paradise.”

So what drives you? What gives you purpose? You see my goal, to give glory to Him who gave me true life. I work, I play, I live in both realities: sin and resurrection.