Consequentialism in Romans

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Abortion. Evolution. Homosexuality. These are three of several hot-button issues that people approach with varying beliefs and opinions. Convinced in their minds of these beliefs and opinions, many have suppressed God’s truth/exchanged His Truth on these issues for a lie. But believing in a lie doesn’t make the truth any less true. Consequently, because of those who have suppressed the truth, we are seeing God’s wrath poured out in our communities, nation and world. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18 (English Standard Version)

What happens when we push for such beliefs, freedoms and opinions and God lets us have it our way? When God turns us over to our own hearts, it’s like He is saying to us, “Is this what you really want?”

Charles Holmes, writer and FreedomSquared.org contributor

Charles Holmes, researcher and writer, FreedomSquared.org

Proud of my friend, VATG radio show guest, a prayer partner and brother-in-Christ, Charles Holmes, Jr., researcher and writer for Christian think tank FreedomSquared.org. I am pleased to share with you his excellent article “Consequentialism in Romans,” as the Book of Romans lays out the consequences to these issues. His article outlines the many ways that we suppress the truth and the real reasons behind the accelerated deterioration happening in our nation.

http://www.freedomsquared.org/consequentialism-in-romans/

I pray the message speaks to your heart in those places where you may have suppressed the truth. Thank you Chuck, for sharing this powerful message with us. God bless you.

-Nicole

Should Christian Business Owners Serve the Homosexual Community?

Great_CommissionYou’ve likely seen or heard the news of Indiana governor Mike Pence signing legislation to “protect” religious freedom and to give Christian business owners the right to refuse service to those who are homosexual. A contentious topic for sure.

In fulfilling the Great Commission as Jesus directed in Matthew 28:18-20, as God’s Elect, we are to serve believers and unbelievers. Though we are not OF the world, God has kept us IN the world to reach others through us. Listen to ENTIRE 10-min message from Amos Johnson, Jr., founder of the Church for Entrepreneurs, on the topic: “Is There a Biblical Prohibition Against Christians in Business Serving the Homosexual Community?”

Homosexuality and God’s Word: 5 Truths

Legalize Love imageHomosexuality. It’s a sensitive subject. Often uncomfortable and unpopular to discuss among those who share differing views about the lifestyle. Christians are challenged regularly on the topic as they engage with colleagues, loved ones, neighbors, and lawmakers. As Believers, one of our objectives is to present truth to those deceived so restoration can occur. Unfortunately, inharmonious debates exchanged between Believers and non-believers have sent both parties sputtering in the wrong direction. Read my article featured in Gospel Today to receive five truths to help Believers strike the right chords in a world out of tune. “5 Truths That Strike the Right Chords in a World Out of Tune.” 

Preacher Teacher: Compassion, Not Compromise

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Does your pastor preach that same-sex marriage is ok? Welcomes civil unions? Are they vague on whether homosexuality is a sin, as like all forms of sexual immorality? If this occurs in your church, you might pack up. There is a disturbing trend occurring among some church leadership to bend in the area of homosexuality and same-sex marriage/unions so as to not offend anyone. In a February 2014 Pew Research Center survey conducted, “62% of mainline Protestants now say they favor same-sex marriage, up from just 34% a decade earlier in 2004.”( June 2014 Pew Research Center) Truth is, if you love someone, you tell them the truth so they are no longer blinded. If God’s truth “offends” then it offends those who view God’s Word as an afront to their chosen lifestyle. God’s Word convicts and convinces us of what is righteousness and what is sin. Some ignore it to satisfy their depravities which have been stamped as “natural.” And now they’ve asked us as Believers to accept all forms of depravity as “natural” too.

So why tackle this hot seat topic today? As you sit in your Sunday morning service, I ask that you discern what those in leadership are imparting to you. Meet it with Scripture.

When I read the headline of this July 2 Black Christian News article, “Baptist Pastor Who No Longer Believes Homosexuality Is a Sin is Obama’s Guest at White House LGBT Pride Month Reception,” I said, “Whaat??”

To explain the long story short,  Danny Cortez, who leads New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif., rejected his denomination’s stance on homosexuality by deciding to accept the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community without teaching that homosexual behavior is a sin. He and his 15-year-old son, Drew Cortez, who came out as gay earlier this year, received an invitation to a June 30 White House presidential reception, celebrating LGBT Pride Month. About the event, President Barack Obama said, “This tremendous progress we’ve made as a society is thanks to those of you who fought the good fight, and to Americans across the country who marched and came out and organized to secure the rights of others,” Obama said at the reception.

 

Courtesy of New Community Church

Photo Courtesy of New Heart Community Church

In a similar Christian Post article, it states that in June “New Heart split following the pastor’s decision to transform the church into a “Third Way” church.” As a “Third Way church,” the Southern Baptist congregation would “accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship. We will choose to remain the body of Christ and not cast judgment,” says Cortez. Prior to arriving at this “Third Way” decision, the church reviewed their traditional views to determine if they should adopt a new position on same-sex marriage. 

 

Again, I reread this information and said, “Whaat??”

While Pastor Cortez properly nailed the “not cast judgment” part as how a Christian should view others, and while I have compassion for the conflicted feelings and confusion their son Drew must struggle with concerning his sexuality, and while I have compassion for Pastor Cortez and his wife as parents grappling with this news in a private and public manner, and while I have compassion and love for those in my life and community who consider themselves gay, AND while I mostly have a high regard for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, I’m led to expose the deception and problems that lie therein. Some would say, “Nicole, who cares. It’s not your concern.” Frankly, it would be easier for me to duck out on the issue and remain silent. Yet, silence and tolerance in order to “go along” have blended the wheat with the tare; blending the true with the false. God is separating the wheat from the tare to reveal who is who. As an Ambassador of Christ, He orders my steps to bring light and truth to deception so clarity can be restored.


What you need to know:


1. Feed Them Truth, Not Lies.
To God’s People, if we love the Lord, Jesus’ command to us: “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)  There is a heavy accountability and responsibility for those called to lead God’s people/sheep. We don’t take, add to, or distort God’s Word for our gain or to gain favor with others. Pastor Cortez has corrupted God’s Word to earn favor and to better cope with his son’s chosen lifestyle. While twisting God’s Word to rise in the eyes of others, these faulty shepherds are aiding in deceiving those to walk in their destruction if these sheep have not studied God and His Word for themselves. Good shepherds feed sheep the truth, not lies. They shirk being ‘comfortable’ and seek to sober a decaying world. I believe God is raising up new shepherds and witnesses to succeed where faulty shepherds have failed. As for faulty leaders, “their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2:3). God will handle that.

2. Compassion, Not Compromise.
 It saddened me to watch the 14-min video message from Drew Cortez sharing about his struggles with homosexual desires, not wanting those feelings, his “being confused and scared of being different and it worsened as I got older.”  (View video here).  I have compassion for Drew and am praying for him. As my friend and brother-in-Christ Hakim Hazim shared, “A Christian’s walk is often challenged to show compassion and love for those who express and promote opposing views that contradict God’s Word.”  As God’s Elect and Ambassadors of Christ, we are asked to “deal gently with those who are ignorant or misguided since we ourselves are subject to weakness.” (Hebrews 5:2)  We all struggle with something and none of it is new under the sun. We may have unhealthy or unnatural desires but through Christ Jesus, we ask His help to not engage in those behaviors. Spirit and flesh battle daily. The more we desire a heart of Christ, the more we will work to put those habits underfoot. The good news as found in 1 Corinthians 10:13- “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (New International Version) While Christians are to be compassionate and loving toward others in their struggle, this doesn’t mean we compromise God’s Word so we fit in and make them more comfortable. Pastor Cortez got this twisted. 

3. God Will Not Compromise His Name, Character or His Word.
 God’s Word is forever settled. I could say, “Father please compromise so I can live the way I want.”  “Compromise” means “a settlement of differences through mutual concession.” But truth is, if God compromised who He is, His Word or His promises, it would mean our defeat. His promise of eternal life, His equipping us to walk in full victory over temptation would be rendered empty, null and void. Does a good parent compromise the safety and life of their child to cater to that child’s harmful whims? No. So it is with our Heavenly Father. God’s Word is not subject to compromise, concession or vote as is a democracy. God will not compromise His character so we may gain favor with man. Clearly, in 1 Corinthians 6:9, says “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10- nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” Then v. 18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside of his body, but he who sins sexually, sins against his own body.”

4. Same-Sex Marriage: The New Satanic Agenda.
 Too many Christians have become accepting and comfortable with the ways of the world. So comfortable, they’ve joined the party line. It is crucial for God’s people to discern the authentic from the counterfeit. The only way we can discern truth from lie is to spend time in God’s Word, in His Presence and surround ourselves with those who also walk in and instruct His truth. Satan attempts to counterfeit everything of God, including God’s design for male and female relationships, marriage and sex (yes, in that order). The kingdoms and systems of this world (including political) are being handed over to the devil. A satanic agenda is being reflected (even through some of our church leadership) as we’ve never seen before. It is in this time that true “ride or die” Christians are being called forth to deliver godly clarity, correction, direction and instruction where confusion and deception have taken root and spread like weeds.


As our brother-in-Christ and Christian rap artist, Crucial, says in his song “Homosexuals” from his Hard Truth album:
“But man, don’t you know the devil’s been in pursuit? Deception wouldn’t be deception if it didn’t seem true.”  (Hear more on iTunes, track #11.  Thanks Crucial! Catchy beats produced by a former lesbian now sold out to Christ Jesus! We’ll invite her for a future radio show to share her story.)

Your call to action:

 

God’s Word has prepared His People to endure and empower others in these and all situations. As told in 2 Timothy 4:2-5:

2-
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3- For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4- They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5- But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (New International Version)

 

1. Pray for clarity to be restored among those deceived and that faulty leadership is removed.

2. If you’re deceived, seek truth in God’s Word.

3. Pray and remain compassionate for the Cortez Family, and others grappling with this issue and that clarity be restored to them.

 

As for President Obama, he is caught up in a system that has long been given over to the world.

About Nicole D. Hayes

Nicole D. Hayes is committed to serve as a vessel of compassion, instruction, love and truth for Jesus Christ. Born and raised in Topeka, Kan., she is a member of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington, D.C.  Drawn to know Christ in her early childhood and saved at the age of 12, Nicole is a student and applier of God’s Word. She is also a successful public relations professional operating in Washington, D.C., with more than eight years experience of coordinating and delivering strategic communications and media outreach support for nonprofits and small business owners. During her career she has placed several nonprofits and small business owners in national, local and regional media spaces. She operates with a personal and business mantra of “making an investment in people.” Among many things, Nicole is also a motivational speaker. She has been invited to deliver messages to business leaders to not be misguided by the world’s view of success, to direct young people navigating through the world’s challenges, and to remind those who may have lost their way that joyfully, “God Has Not Changed His Mind About You.” Nicole’s purpose in creating “Voices Against the Grain” is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amidst confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Reparative Therapy or Repair Our Compassion?

The following topic is likened to the intensity of a powder keg few would touch with a 10-foot pole while wearing protective gear, encased in a fortified tank.  But I am not so intimidated to approach. I trust the Holy Spirit to deliver the message as He desires.

Last week, national news outlets buzzed with fervor and perhaps a hint of excitement that would finally dismantle Christians’ positions on the conversation of homosexuality and whether someone engaging in this lifestyle could ever become “straight.”

This Washington Post piece is one of many articles published featuring Alan Chambers, Exodus International president, who said God has instructed him to shut down the 37-year-old ministry that utilized reparative therapy to help persons reduce and remove feelings of same-sex attraction. In a public letter, Chambers apologized for his treatment of gays and not acting toward them in love as God would. He also said that though he gave over years ago to Christ his same-sex attraction and that he and his wife are happily married with children, he still at times experiences attraction to men.  Furthermore, in this June 21, 2013 Christian Post interview, Chambers replies to a portion of his letter by saying, “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage, but I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.” Chambers desires to promote “peace at all costs” and share the good news of the Gospel.

Apology letter from Alan Chambers, Exodus International president

Apology letter from Alan Chambers, Exodus International president

The news of Chambers’ decision to close Exodus International (notice I’m not calling it a ‘ministry’ as he did), gained steam as CNN’s Anderson Cooper (who has been public about his homosexuality), seemed thrilled that finally a ‘Christian’ organization has recognized they are wrong to try and change or pray for someone from being gay.

In reading the Washington Post article, it appears Chambers’ issue was not his belief that same-sex attraction is not God’s way for relationships—rather, it was Chambers lack of compassion, condemnation and brow beating of homosexuals that was the problem. This is something entirely different. My concern is that if this issue is not communicated clearly, it will only increase some homosexuals’ hate toward Christians for our prayers to help those overcome such lifestyles— and encourage the unwitting to support same-sex relationships/attractions (which is the enemy’s hope and trajectory).

Let’s be real clear here. There are a few issues within this situation requiring clarity.

1. Certainly, the techniques of reparative or conversion therapy seem questionable and inhumane. The techniques seem to do little to demonstrate the love and compassion of God. Chambers’ decision to close Exodus International was likely best as he and others within the organization need to re-evaluate God’s command to love one another and show compassion. A Christian’s walk is often challenged to show compassion and love for those who express and promote opposing views that contradict God’s Word.  As God’s Elect and Ambassadors of Christ, we are asked to “deal gently with those who are ignorant or misguided since we ourselves are subject to weakness.” (Hebrews 5:2)

Salt and Light Living

2. Don’t be fooled. While a Christian’s charge is to extend compassion along with faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace and self-control to those we encounter (family, friends, colleagues, strangers), it doesn’t mean we shy away from instructing God’s truth—even when it is unpopular.  While many images depict Jesus as a gentle lamb, He is also a brazen and bold lion. So we must be.  Christians have been called to be “salt and light,” dispersing truth in a world that would rather pursue gods and vehicles that allow more fleshly freedoms rather than pursue freedom in Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:13-16 says,13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

3.  Since the creation of time, humans have engaged in all forms of immorality. Homosexuality is only one of these forms and is not new to the scene.  Since God has made Himself known to man, people have invariably exchanged the truth for a lie (with enticements from Satan) to satisfy their flesh. Ultimately, God’s wrath against mankind has turned many over to their lusts (Romans 1:18-32).

There are a number of scriptures (James 5:16 about confessing our faults to one another to be healed to help overcome fleshly struggles) or Deuteronomy 30:19 (I set before you life and death; blessings and curses) that indicates God presents us opportunities to choose not to accept or become slaves to our dysfunctions and tendencies; to break free from negative generational cycles. Through Christ, we have opportunity to live free from bondage. Flesh will always want it’s way over the spirit. We cannot overcome such struggles in our own strength. Only in Jesus Christ can we have this victory.

All of us are subject to battles of the flesh. Reparative therapy is not a solution.  Demonstrating compassion toward those who struggle with the flesh and have not turned it over to God, is our charge. However, this doesn’t suggest as Christians show compassion, we should also support the ways of the world. God’s Word does not change to conform to the laws and votes of our society.

Today, people wait to celebrate or shake their fists at the Supreme Court’s impending rulings on Prop 8, same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Yet, yesterday, today AND tomorrow, God’s Word remains consistent in his creation of man and woman for fruitful relationships. It is Satan’s hope that Christians will unwittingly retreat from the truth in their pursuit to keep harmony among unbelievers. But we know Satan is only interested in gaining co-workers with him instead of leaving people to become co-workers of Christ.

Today’s answer to tomorrow’s challenges: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”