KOH2RVA: Day 231

peter-cornelius-the-bibleIs it just a coincidence?

On the same day I’m preaching about the time Peter went to the home of Cornelius, a Gentile, someone who was considered “unclean” by the Jews, I have been invited to a reception for the retiring pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church—what some people call “the gay church.” After that I’ve been invited to serve on a panel at Congregation Or Ami—a reformed Jewish synagogue just off Huguenot Road—for a discussion on aging with dignity that will include end of life issues. After that I’ve been asked to say a few words at the ordination of Krista Mann Manuel, a recent BTSR graduate who is now serving at Tomahawk Baptist Church.

Fifty years ago there wouldn’t have been a “gay church,” I probably wouldn’t have been invited to serve on the panel at a Jewish synagogue, and a Baptist church would probably not have been ordaining a woman. The times they are a-changin’ as Bob Dylan might say, and the question I have to ask is this one: Is the church caving in to the culture, as some people fear, or is the Holy Spirit on the move?

Here’s an excerpt from today’s sermon:

The Jewish Christians, the ones Luke calls “the Circumcised,” wanted to know why [Peter] had been spending time with the Uncircumcised and eating with them. It was against the law!—the Law of Moses, that is—it was contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture! I was trying to imagine a comparable situation last Friday when I bumped into Victor Davis over at Clark Springs Elementary School, where I tutor. Dr. Davis is the Baptist minister who did our January Bible Study last year. I said, “Victor, in our time and place, who is it that would be considered ‘unclean’ by the church?” And without hesitating he said, “The gays.” And so, on the way back to church, I thought: What if a local Baptist minister went on a mission trip to New York and found out when he got home that pictures of him hanging out at a gay nightclub in Manhattan had been published on the front page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch? Don’t you think there would be a special called deacons’ meeting that very afternoon where the chairman would hold up the newspaper and ask, “What’s this all about?”

I don’t have time to tell you how the sermon comes out, not now, but if you’ll come to church at 8:30 or 11:00 this morning, or tune in to our webcast at http://www.fbcrichmond.org, you’ll hear the rest of the story. And maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll tell you what happened at the pastor’s reception, and the panel discussion, and the ordination service.

It’s an interesting world we live in.

5 thoughts on “KOH2RVA: Day 231

  1. It is interesting how people hear things differently. I heard you say that we are to be an accepting church and to leave the way people live and sins they have to God and his judgement. I agree with this Another person I talked with said that he fears this leads us to become another humanist and universalist church.Another said, “Is sin not sin anymore.” I think I see where you are going and I am comfotable with that, but you may need to say more about being accepting and remaining Baptist.

  2. You have to read my response to one of your messages posted yesterday. The sermon was GREAT! I don’t know what you will do to top it. Just warn us so we don’t fall out of the pews when we hear it.

  3. I was streaming your sermon this morning and actually was writing this email “blasting you” for not including the recent GPBC experience. I then had to take care of my wife getting ready to go our church (Millbrook Baptist Church in Raleigh) and missed your transition to who we deem unclean should be reconsidered. Then your closing charge was thoughtful and provocative.

    I grew up at FBC Richmond and was part of the 1960s membership vote dealing with the 2 Nigerian students wanting full membership instead of Watchcare. Then it was a racial issue. I appreciated your sermon and commented late to your 4/11/2013 blog post.

    I and my wife, an ordained Baptist minister, are members of The Alliance of Baptists and am sorry more folks are not associated with us due to the gay issue. TAOB are truly trying to include the gospel as liberating. In my comment on the post the proclaimer was right on – If they are not against us, they are for us when done in God’s love.

  4. The Holy Spirit is most definitely on the move and has been since God placed Him here with us. I think the question should be, is the Church keeping up? For years I have heard, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” It now seems an overused saying. I think that is because we have said it in vain so many times. A church who doesn’t accept sinners should be empty. We are called to be in the world.
    I do not believe we just leave peoples lives and their sins up to God’s judgement, as another response said.
    We cannot expect a non-beliver to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirt. The bible tells us the Holy Spirit comes to us when we accept Christ.
    We do not sit a baby at a table and set out a Steak and potatoes. He has to be taught to eat, chew and swallow. It is a messy process. And, he needs help getting through it. But, there are meat and potatoes waiting. We have to go to the un-reached, and be ready to help clean up the mess.
    However, once you are a believer and part of the body, there is accountability. We are all called to it! To ourselves and to others. The bible and the Holy Spirit are there to help us with the logistics if we are ready to listen. He is on the Move! We need to catch up!

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