by Hadley Robinson
"The Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is often summarized as, 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16). Because of his love, we love and care for all those who experience same-sex attraction. The Anglican Church in North America continues to welcome everyone to experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ."
The Church Fathers, the Reformers, and Paul the Apostle (including the other Prophets) would have little or no idea of what the Bishops' were speaking about. The biblical Gospel is not about experiencing God’s love, it is about Christ rising from the dead, a man’s conversion by the direct in-working of the Holy Spirit and his response: repentance, faith, and obedience. The Bishops' statement has the order incorrectly.
As has been said elsewhere, we are saved by faith alone but saving faith is not alone – which is the message of James, in particular. The transforming love of Christ is given to the converted, His Elect. This is what the Scriptures teach. It is not sound, theologically, to get things out of order with something as important as the Gospel, as the Bishops have done. Maybe this was not their intent but “…if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks…etc.”
Where in Scripture are the heathen invited to come to a meeting of God’s people where they can experience “the transforming love of Jesus Christ”? Homosexuals, adulterers, thieves, the proud, etc. will not be converted by the Bishops’ or any other source of human love for them. Homosexuals, as the Scriptures teach, parade their sin about (Is. 3:9) and, despite the Bishops’ words, will not relent in their vicious attacks upon Christ’s Church. There sin is unique in that it results from a particular and extreme hatred of God for which He delivers them over to this grievous sin.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. -- Romans 1:21, 22, 26, 27
"...to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh." -- Jude 1:23
That is, sinners are not wooed into the Kingdom by any kind of what’s-in-it-for-me appeal or flattery (1Th 2:5) as the Bishops have publicly done. Rather, all sinners are commanded, wherever they are, to repent and believe in the crucified and risen Son of God.
The Gospel is not summarized by John 3:16 except by modern American evangelicals a.k.a. the mass-marketers of the Gospel where the offense of the Cross is largely or completely eliminated. Repentance? Suffering? Putting the flesh to death? Making restitution for the damage and hurt that I have caused? Taking up one’s cross? Whatever can these Biblical paradigms ever mean? This is what comes these days from most American Evangelicals.
On the other hand, the New Testament summarizes the Gospel in this way,
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." - Paul (1Cor. 15:2-4)
"I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds." - Paul (Acts 26:20)
"After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 'The time has come,' he said. 'The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!'" (Mark 1:14-15)
The Pelagians, Semi-Pelagians, and others of Humanist persuasion choke on the Biblical Gospel. It is an offense to them because it seems so unfair that some receive God’s grace but not others. It goes something like this,
"How can God demand something of mankind that he cannot do? God did what He could now I must complete the work of salvation. It is so unfair that God appeared to Abraham and Paul the Apostle."
He could have done the same for Hammurabi and Caiaphas but chose not to. Why not? In the Humanist/Pelagian worldview, God’s salvational grace is something He owes lost mankind. But what is this specific grace we lost sinners receive? Is it something universal? God’s goodness and His grace are distinct and not to be used interchangeably.
The world craves to hear, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” and all the variations. This is the gospel of flattery and does not convert any man. Instead, it has filled the churches with tares and wolves and given false hope to millions.