By now you have probably heard the news that came out of Detroit last week. One particular news report was titled “Presbyterians in U.S. to allow gay marriage ceremonies.” (Many thanks to my friend and co-laborer/pastor who passed this along to me!) To be clear, you shouldn’t interpret that headline to mean that all presbyterian people in the United States are on board with homosexuals getting ‘married’ (it’s not marriage). That would be far from the truth. The truth is, that the denomination called “Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” voted to allow their pastors to ‘marry’ homosexuals (they are the largest presbyterian denomination in the states, and this is only step one…there is much else that has to happen at this point). There are many presbyterian denominations, so this is only one of many. Also, other denominations have already done this, like, for example, the Episcopal Church.
Now that that part is clear, I want to point your attention to a quote in the news report in question. It comes from Nathan Sobers, a “ruling elder with a Presbyterian church in Seattle” who is “married to a man” and has been “for 27 years.” What is disturbing here is that he’s a “ruling elder.” How the PC USA denomination could pass this gentleman along and call him a “ruling elder” is beyond me. (And honestly, ever since Machen was basically booted from the Northern Presbyterian Church in the 1930’s, things have been a rough go for the PCUSA folks). Instead of upholding the biblical requirements of an elder, somehow Mr. Sobers was allowed by the church’s governing authorities to become an elder. Yep. Huge *facepalm*.
Aside from the apostasy of the PC-USA denomination, and the related fact that God is turning them over to their sin in judgment, the most disturbing thing comes from the mouth of Mr. Sobers. Here’s the quote from the article:
“The gospel is about fairness,” said Sobers. Moreover, “Jesus never said a word about loving same-sex couples. … His message was about love, about celebrating God’s love for everybody, not just for those who are like me, but for everybody. We can’t show that love to the world if we can’t show that love to ourselves in our church,” Sobers said.
I could go on and on about the ridiculousness of Mr. Sobers’ false anthesis about God’s love apparently being at odds with any amount of rules or moral restraint. We could cite Jesus’ incredible statement in Matthew 5 where he upholds the Law of God, and does not abrogate it (meaning that the Law of Moses still applies, and *gasp* it even does today!) It’s true: Jesus forbids same-sex ‘couples’ from marrying and fornicating; He upheld the scriptural ideology of one man and one woman, you know, that thing that God ordained in the Garden of Eden…the covenant institution of family? Yes, that thing. Jesus made it (John 1:1-3). (If you have 5 hours, listen to this. Also, read this.)
But instead of addressing Mr. Sober’s entirely faulty theological construct he calls “loving,” I want to point out the unbelievably absurd statement that “the gospel is about fairness.” Mr. Sobers, if the gospel is about fairness, then you have officially maligned the grace of God. The gospel is not about fairness. How do I know? Scripture:
“What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:14-24)
Fairness is not what you want. We do not want God to be fair. If God were fair, no one would be saved and all would be damned forever. That would be fair because we have earned it because of our sin. Is God just? Absolutely. Do people receive justice? Yes. Do people receive mercy? You bet. But no one receives injustice.
And yet, as Paul points out here in Romans 9, God extends mercy to whomever he wills. No one will be in hell who didn’t deserve to be there, and all those in heaven will know that they didn’t deserve to be there. The gospel is about grace and mercy, justice and righteousness, not ‘fairness.’ And you, Mr. Sobers, are maligning the Triune God by trying to justify your unrighteous behavior. This is a false gospel, and unless you repent, Scripture says you will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9; cf. Gal. 1:8).
I thank God that He broke my will set against him by extending mercy to me, changing my dead heart into a heart that beats for the glory of God. It wasn’t fair. And for that I am grateful.