Thursday, May 3, 2007

Gays Welcome

The former Governor of New Jersey, James McGreevey, has been in the news a lot recently. You'll recall that he resigned his political position after admitting having an affair with a male staffer. He announced that he was a "gay American" in August of 2004, becoming what many have dubbed the first openly gay Governor... a title that I don't understand because he resigned as soon as he announced his sexuality. His messy divorce from Dina Matos McGreevey has been the most recent news involving the Ex-Governor.

Today, the news tells us that Mr. McGreevey - a lifelong Catholic - has joined the Episcopal church. Not only has he joined... he's planning on attending their seminary in the Fall! Naturally, this raises a lot of issues, but my initial thoughts aren't about sexuality and the priesthood or the gay rights movement. I'm thinking about the Episcopal church's acceptance of McGreevey into communion... and possibly into leadership.

James McGreevey is a homosexual. He is an adulterer. He is going through a divorce. His wife claims that he is showing perverse art to his 5 year old daughter. This man now wants to join the Episcopal church... and they say, "Welcome!" with arms wide open. Episcopals open their arms to gays, adulterers, and divorcees.

And so do I.

Christ's invitation stands for the homosexual. Jesus' call to follow Him stands for the adulterer. The cross stands to forgive any sinner, including me.

But there is a difference between what I'm saying and what the Episcopals are saying. There is a difference between biblical Christianity and liberal Christianity. Liberal Christianity welcomes the sinner, never asking for change. Biblical Christianity welcomes the sinner, urging and demanding change. The key difference is summed up in one word: repentance. Repentance is a sinner turning from sin to Christ... when a sinner begins to hate his sin and begins to love Jesus Christ... when the sinful habits that we treasure become disgusting to us in light of the invaluable blessings of following Christ. Repentance! Without it, there is no faith. Apart from repentance, we become like the Pharisees and hypocrites, of whom Jesus said, "You clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence." Jesus' description fits liberal Christianity in many ways. They have the outward forms of religion, the external marks of Christendom, but inside, nothing has changed.

Mr. McGreevey can join the church, go through seminary, and become a priest, but he's still filthy on the inside. Pray for him. And realize that it can happen to you and me, as well. We can devote our lives to going to church, walking aisles, praying prayers, etc. and still have our hearts filled with the nastiness of sin.

I leave you with the chilling, yet gloriously "welcoming" words of Jesus:

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

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