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F. Earle Fox
I had asked a certain very good ministry fighting the sexuality battle whether they would be interested in my strategy for winning the fray. Below is their response and my rejoinder (with a few changes). To keep to the relevant context, I have inserted my part in caps in the text. First a short intro...
I think the issue in which you and I have engaged is one of the most important facing the Church and America and Western Civilization today. Speaking the hard truth affects every area of life, not just ugly sexuality.
At any rate, I thought for a long time about your response, even wondering whether I should just withdraw from the fray. With very few exceptions, I have found no one interested in the strategy I propose. But my despondency did not last long.
I read your words several times, and have come up with the response below. Where it will lead, I have no idea, but I do believe that if the Church does not learn how to put truth on the table, no matter how ugly (yes, in the proper venue, not blathering around), we will remain ineffectively in the backwaters of whatever civilization survives.
I think that there is an implicit First Commandment even prior to the two great commandments -- Thou shalt be a truth-seeker and truth-speaker at any cost to thyself.
Without persistent truth-seeking, anything that follows will certainly fall into error and confusion. We must always put ourselves at risk to further truth-seeking. That, I think, is part of the Sword of the Spirit, part of the meaning of 'faith', and an implication of Romans 1:18 ff, where Paul begins his three-step description of the Fall with subversion of truth. Because we have now blindsided ourselves by subverting truth, step 2 is loss of the Imago Dei and consequent worship of the creature rather than the Creator. Then step 3, having now an inadequate God, we fall into compulsive, addictive, and self-destructive behavior.
At any rate, I have inserted comments below into your email in caps -- not to shout, but to identify my remarks. It is a bit lengthy, but then this will be a lengthy war. And we will not win with sound bytes.
Blessings, Earle [Note: see also added epilogue below, more on spiritual warfare...]
I know from experience that
teaching about "gay" behavior does not
change the minds of those who already support "gay rights," but only
hardens them in their rhetoric that we are hateful and mean spirited.
THERE ARE, I THINK, VERY ADEQUATE WAYS TO DEAL WITH THEIR CHARGES OF BEING MEAN AND HATEFUL, BUT THAT IS ANOTHER STORY.
IT IS INDEED AN ERROR TO THINK WE WILL CHANGE THE MINDS OF MANY ADVOCATES OF HOMOSEXUALITY. IF SOME CHANGE, WELL AND GOOD, BUT THAT IS NOT THE GOAL WE SHOULD PURSUE. THE GOAL SHOULD BE TO SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE, TO SPEAK WITH CLARITY ABOUT THE KEY ISSUES, TO EXPOSE THE EVIL FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS -- GENTLY AND KINDLY.
YES, ONE NEEDS TO CHOOSE THE PROPER VENUE FOR A CANDID DISCUSSION OF SUCH TERRIBLE BEHAVIOR. BUT WE CANNOT RIGHTLY AVOID THE SUBJECT.
FOR EXAMPLE, THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE FOR THE CONSERVATIVE EPISCOPAL BISHOPS NOT FORCING THIS ISSUE IN THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS DISCUSSIONS. THAT WAS WHERE LIFE AND DEATH DECISIONS WERE BEING MADE. THE BEHAVIOR ISSUE NEVER ONCE MADE IT TO THE FLOOR -- NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT MADE AWARE, BUT BECAUSE THEY WERE TIMID OR PATHOLOGICALLY POLITE. THE CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP SURRENDERED THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, THE OTHER SIDE DID NOT WIN IT.
YES, IT WILL GET VERY NASTY FOR A WHILE WHEN THE TRUTH GETS PUT OUT IN THE OPEN. BUT IT IS STILL THE TRUTH WHICH SETS US FREE. SOME OF THAT TRUTH IS UGLY, BUT IF WE KNOW THE BEAUTIFUL TRUTH, WE CAN STAND FIRMLY AND CALMLY IN THE PRESENCE OF THE UGLY. AND JUST THAT WILL HAVE A POWERFUL EFFECT ON THOSE WATCHING.
PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT MY "CURE" IS WORSE THAN THE DISEASE, BECAUSE THEY THINK THAT THE SUBJECT WILL GET OUT OF HAND, THAT EXPOSURE TO SUCH BEHAVIOR WILL CORRUPT OUR OWN PEOPLE. IT WILL CERTAINLY TEST OUR PEOPLE, AND, YES, THERE WILL BE CASUALTIES. BUT WHAT WE ARE DOING (OR FAILING TO DO) WILL LEAD (AND IS ALREADY LEADING) TO FAR MORE CASUALTIES THAN BEING DIRECT AND TO THE POINT.
Those who are ignorant of
homosexual practices are disgusted to learn
the truth, but as often "shoot the messenger" as convert to the
pro-family position. Plus, spending any length of time focused on
these ugly facts is harmful to our activsts. You can't wallow in the
manure without getting it on yourself. This stuff is poison and we
must be very careful how we handle it.
FOR SURE, ONE CANNOT WORK IN THIS AREA WITHOUT BEING EFFECTED BY IT. BUT THAT IS WHAT THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS FOR, A CONTINUAL CLEANSING, A CONTINUAL REPENTANCE. ONE DOES LOSE THE INITIAL EMOTIONAL DISGUST AFTER A WHILE BECAUSE OF FAMILIARITY. SO ONE HAS TO DIG DEEPER AND BUILD A FOUNDATION OF RATIONAL DECISION IN CHRIST AS THE DISGUST FACTOR FADES. IT IS A MARVELOUS TIME FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH, LEADING, I THINK, TO A STRENGTH AND STABILITY WHICH THE OTHER SIDE CANNOT TOUCH.
The bigger problem is worldview.
The "gay" philosophy is sexual
freedom without limitation. This contrasts and contradicts Godly
sexuality, designed exclusively for marriage. "Sexual freedom" is also
very alluring, especially in a culture where the Godly example is
missing or weak. Anyone who adopts this "gay" philosophy operates
from a completely alien set of presuppositions about life,
relationships, children, and sexual conduct. The minds of such people
are, to varying degrees, reprobate -- unable to understand the truth.
Generally, only the experience of living the lie and finding it leads
to dysfunction, unhappiness, sickness and death will make a person
willing to change his mind.
I AGREE, BUT AGAIN, TRYING TO CONVERT THE ADVOCATES SHOULD NOT BE THE PRIMARY GOAL -- PUTTING THE TRUTH ON THE TABLE FOR ALL (OR AT LEAST THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THE DECISIONS) TO SEE -- SO THAT PEOPLE CAN BE FREE TO MAKE THEIR OWN CHOICE -- GO TO HEAVEN OR HELL. TRUTH SPEAKING IS MORE TO SET PEOPLE FREE THAN PERSUADING.
I THINK THERE CAN BE NO POSSIBLE REASON FOR NOT PUTTING THIS UGLY MESS ON THE TABLE WHERE PEOPLE ARE MAKING LIFE-&-DEATH DECISIONS (IN BOTH CHURCH AND STATE) FOR OTHERS.
IF WE ARE AIMING TO INFLUENCE AN AUDIENCE, THAT SHOULD BE, NOT THE ADVOCATES, BUT THOSE WHO ARE SITTING ON THE SIDELINES, WONDERING HOW TO DECIDE ON THE ISSUE. HOMOSEXUAL ADVOCATES KNOW THAT, AND SO ARE WINNING THE BATTLE. THEY HAVE A STUNNING STRATEGY FOR MIND-CONTROL. I KNOW OF NO EFFECTIVE STRATEGY AGAINST THAT WHICH DOES NOT INCLUDE CLARITY AND TRUTH-SPEAKING. LIVING IN THE LIGHT.
In my view, only the restoration
of the Godly example (truly healthy
marriage and family), aggressively marketed as the answer to society's
problems, will turn this tide.
THIS IS SURELY PART OF THE RIGHT STRATEGY. BUT HOW THIS DOES SPEAK AGAINST PUTTING THE TRUTH ON THE TABLE? IT CAN BE DONE GRACEFULLY AND CALMLY, WITH CLINICAL, NOT STREET LANGUAGE. I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANY TENDENCY TO 'WALLOW" IN THE MIRE WHEN I HAVE PRESENTED THE TRUTH ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY.
Facts about homosexual behavior
are useful to show why the "gay" way
can never compare to God's way, and we must be ready to show the
contrast as part of our marketing of marriage, but there is no "magic
SURELY FACTS ABOUT HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR ARE VERY IMPORTANT ALSO FOR SHOWING HOW SUCH BEHAVIOR IS ADDICTIVE AND LETHAL. AND THAT IS VERY MUCH RELATED TO WHY GOD WOULD SAY "NO" TO SUCH BEHAVIOR. IF WE DO NOT DEAL WITH THE BEHAVIOR AND ITS EFFECTS, OUR CONDEMNATION OF IT WILL TEND TO LOOK ARBITRARY, ARTIFICIAL, AND LEGALISTIC, NOT GODLY. WE CAN SHOW POWERFULLY WHY A LOVING GOD WOULD NEVER CREATE SUCH PERSONS, NOR APPROVE OF SUCH BEHAVIOR. HIS REASON AND LOVE, NOT HIS LEGALISM, FORBID IT.
I THINK I AM PROPOSING NO MAGIC BULLET, ONLY A REALISTIC, EFFECTIVE, AND POSSIBLY VERY DIFFICULT (IT TAKES TRAINING TO DO THIS) WAY OF PUTTING THE TRUTH ON THE TABLE WHICH THE OTHER SIDE CANNOT TALK AROUND. THEY HAVE SUCCESSFULLY TALKED AROUND EVERY OTHER ISSUE WE HAVE TOSSED AT THEM. THE HISTORY OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE. THEY HAVE NOT TALKED AROUND THEIR BEHAVIOR, NEVER ONCE WHEN I HAVE RAISED THAT ISSUE. THEY TRY, OF COURSE, BUT BEHAVIOR IS BEHAVIOR. YOU JUST HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. THEY HAVE TRIED TO SHUT ME DOWN, BUT THAT THEN IS SEEN BY THE AUDIENCE, AND MANY WILL BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THAT -- THAT THEIR CASE WILL NOT SURVIVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION ON THE MATTER.
THEY HAVE SUCCEEDED IN HIDING THIS FROM OPEN PUBLIC VIEW, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE SUCCEEDED IN NEVER ADMITTING THAT THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT APPROVED. HOW CAN WE JUSTIFY OUR ALLOWING THAT TO HAPPEN?
This will not be a quick
turnaround. The nation has adopted "sexual
freedom" as a social value higher than family and we are now a
minority. The church is also deeply corrupted with this philosophy,
even among those who still nominally oppose homosexuality per se. I
think it is inevitable that we are going to see increasingly
widespread harm to our society, and punishment of those who dare to
AGREED, BUT WE HAVE BROUGHT THIS ON OURSELVES. WE ARE IN THIS POSITION, NOT DUE TO THEIR CLEVERNESS OR STRENGTH OF THEIR POSITION, BUT DO TO OUR OWN UNWILLINGNESS TO SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE.
I THINK THE PRIMARY CORRUPTION OF THE VISIBLE CHURCH IS ITS INCAPACITY AND UNWILLINGNESS TO PURSUE TRUTH AT ANY COST TO OURSELVES. ANY COST. ANYTHING NOT BUILT ON A FOUNDATION OF OPENLY ARRIVED AT TRUTH WILL SOON BE CORRUPTED.
My own focus in the U.S. has
largely shifted to preparing the church
to redeem the culture through the example of healthy family. As the
the fruits of the "gay" philosophy (pain and suffering) increase, more
and more people will begin looking for an escape. Meanwhile, while we
work to restore healthy marriage and family in the church, and
continue to tell the truth about the homosexual movement, we must help
build and strengthen the ex-"gay" movement.
AGAIN, AGREED. I HAVE WORKED WITH EXODUS AND THE X-GAY COMMUNITY SINCE 1989. BUT ALL THIS WILL IN THE END COME TO NOT MUCH IF WE DO NOT LEARN HOW TO RAISE THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT -- SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, EXPOSING EVIL FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS (AS SCRIPTURE TELLS US). EXODUS LEADERS ARE INCREASINGLY URGING THEIR PEOPLE TO SPEAK OUT ON THE MATTER. THEY HAVE AN AUTHORITY FEW OF US HAVE.
HOMOSEXUAL ADVOCATES ARE TEACHING THESE TERRIBLE BEHAVIORS OPENLY TO SCHOOL CHILDREN IN MASSACHUSETTS AND ANY OTHER PLACE THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT. IF WE DO NOT OPENLY CONFRONT THEM, WHAT CAN OUR CHILDREN THINK BUT THAT WE ARE EITHER IGNORANT OR COWARDLY, AND THAT THE OTHER SIDE MUST BE RIGHT.
WE CHRISTIANS ARE CURRENTLY LOSING ABOUT 85% OF OUR CHILDREN TO SOME FORM OF UNFAITH -- WHO BELIEVE THAT THEIR PARENTS DO NOT KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT LIFE. WHY SHOULD THEY THINK WE KNOW THE TRUTH IF WE CANNOT STAND UP AND DEFEND OUR FAITH BY BEING PURSUERS OF TRUTH, BY TAKING ON THE ENEMY OPENLY AND UNAFRAID, BY INSISTING ON HONESTY AND CLARITY IN THE PRIMARY ISSUES? I THINK A TRUTH-TELLING STRATEGY WOULD BE A POWERFUL BREATH OF FRESH AIR.
Satan is called the father of lies in Scripture, not the father of lust, of gross behavior, or of homosexuality. And truth is that which sets us free (John 8:31 ff.). Truth, even ugly truth, forces us to grow up. As we learn how to expose the works of Satan, we learn also the impotence of Satan and all his strategies against the people of God. He has no more power over us as we mature in Christ than Goliath had over David. We lose our fear of the gross and the seductive. We become increasingly able to invade any stronghold of Satan, bar none. The gates of hell cannot withstand the invading army of God.
Whenever we allow an exception to total and complete living in the light, Satan will set up shop in those shadows. If we cannot trust that God will defend us in the light of day, come what may, we are not trusting God. Satan will bring us right to that point, that circumstance where we do not trust, and we will turn and run. That is happening today with the homosexual issues (and many others). The people of God are afraid of the light -- as though Satan has more power there than does God.
But God will turn the tables on Satan and show us how not to run -- if we will let Him.
Casualties? There will always be casualties in warfare. But casualties are healed and resurrected through our willingness to trust Jesus right at those horrendous confrontations with naked evil. We need more light, not less. And there will be far fewer casualties fighting the war God's way than by our compromised living in the light.
The help and the cure for those too weak to handle some truths is a strong, loving, surrounding Christian community which will help them mature emotionally, intellectually, morally, and spiritually -- not running from the open conflict of truth with darkness. If we must retreat, it is only to recuperate to begin the attack again.
The strategy of living in the light is to keep dragging that which is in the dark into the light. Then, as per John 3:19, those who prefer darkness because their deeds are evil, will run again for the bushes. In the end, they run all the way to hell and lock themselves in (See The Great Divorce, by C. S. Lewis).
That is how God sifts the human race, forcing us to choose between living in the light and living in the dark. We then self-select heaven or hell.
God sets up reality and truth as the common ground upon which any two persons can communicate. It is the only ground upon which persons can communicate. And then He enters into that common ground (revelation and incarnation) making it a level playing field. He will meet us there, on that level playing field, talking with us as equals. "Choose this day whom you will serve..." Joshua 24:15. "Come, let us reason together..." Isaiah 1:18. "...but I have called you friends..." John 15:15.
And He will invite us, command us, to mature, grow up, to live in the light, and so become his spiritual warriors, wielding the two-edged Sword of the Spirit -- truth spoken in love.
Reasoning together, yes, scientific pursuit of truth, open and honest dialogue aimed at the truth of the matter, is the strategy by which God plans to sift the human race, and win over to His Kingdom those who have it in their hearts to pursue truth and righteousness and love. If we are not interested in being truth-seekers -- at any cost to ourselves, we need not apply to Jesus for discipleship.
Truth, whole truth, nothing but truth... so help me God -- is a description of the Kingdom of God and of the strategy for sustaining and maintaining that Kingdom. That oath taken in court ought to be the banner under which all Christian spiritual warfare takes place. Only with such a commitment to truth -- at any cost to ourselves -- can our commitment to righteousness and love rightly be taken seriously by a fallen and confused world.
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