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  • Writer's pictureJosh Reading

THE YELLING GAMES...The Gospel and Same Sex marriage Pt 1

This is the first installment of a series on the Gospel and Same Sex Marriage. Please be patient to engage on issues that will arise in later posts. I will delete all comments not relevant to this specific post or comments that do not show respect for people. THE YELLING GAMES MARRIAGE EQUALITY – PROTECT – YOU BIGOT – YOU DEPRAVED PERVE – PITY THERE ARE SO MANY CHRISTIANS AND SO FEW LIONS – KILL ALL BIGOTS – SAVE THE CHILDREN – LOVE IS LOVE - YOU ARE ON THIS WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY – THIS IS THE GREATEST ISSUE OF OUR GENERATION… So many catch phrases I have seen, so much yelling, so many slogans, so little deep thought, unfortunately. I want to speak to the issue that has been thrown in all of our faces and people are often so passionate and dogmatic about but one which people have often not considered deeply. I can’t speak to this from a non-believer’s point of view. I can only speak to this as a believer in Jesus. As such, for some who read this but do not yet believe in Jesus my process and foundational ideas do not reflect where you are but maybe this series will help you understand me and I hope vice versa. To speak about human relationships in isolation from our relationship with God as designer and sovereign makes no sense in my world view, so allow me to elaborate on what Christians call the Gospel or the Good News of Jesus (which is in response to some very bad news). As a believer and as a church community, our heart at Divergent Church (formerly LIFECITY CHURCH) is to live as a humble yet passionate people set apart for a life that Christ has called us to (Ephesians 4:1). Our desire is to spur each other on (Hebrews 10:24) in recognition that though we are called and our identity is found in Christ through his cross (Ephesians 1:4 – 10) we are still broken in ourselves and still are far from who God is calling us to be (1 Corinthians 15:22, James 1:14-15).

In everything we do, we pray that our cornerstone is the Gospel. My understanding of the core of the Gospel below is:

1. Humanity was created innocent in nature, yet due to rebellion against God, there is a huge separation between God and us. (Genesis 1:26-31, Is 59:2, Rom 3:23) All rebellion against God and his desires is what we call sin.

2. Sin has devastated all of creation including us as humans, we are broken in our very being body, soul and spirit (Romans 8:18 - 25).

3. In that brokenness we are 'naturally' rebellious and sinful, willfully living out of our brokenness (1 John 1:8-10).

4. God loves us even though we are broken by sin and sin willfully (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2). 5. For God to be truly just, all sin must also be judged. Our insistent rebellion deserves the just wrath and judgement of God (Rom 2:5, Matt 25:46, Rom 1:18)

6. Jesus' death and resurrection alone is the only way the perfect love of God and perfect justice of God can be satisfied. Jesus has paid the price for our sin (Hebrews 9, 1 John 2:2). To access this gift given, we must place our faith in Jesus and his work (Acts 4:12, Rom 9:9-13)

7. God loves us so much he called us not just 'out of' our sin and past but 'into' freedom in him (Galatians 5:1, John 10:10, Ephesians 1:4 – 10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24).

8. The worthy response to Christ's love for us, is our love for him. This is shown in our obedience to him. (Philippians 1:27, Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:9 – 14, John 14:15)

9. We are responsible to speak and live out the truth, grace and mercy of the Gospel (Ephesians 5:2, Matthew 28:19 – 20). 10. We are secure not in the political, social or cultural circumstances but 'in Christ' (Eph 1:4) This security of identity should overflow not in arrogance but humility. The tension of the Christian life is that we believe in a different sovereign and a different kingdom from the rest of the world. As such we become caught in a tension of when, where and how we need stand up for what we believe to be true yet in such a way that does not expect others who are not of this kingdom to live as if they are. How these meet in a democratic society where we are asked to intentionally ‘vote’ to reflect these values is at times more difficult than we will all acknowledge. If you are not a believer and reading this, I don’t expect you to live according to my convictions yet I do believe that the desire of God is that all discover the truth, mercy and grace that is provided in the ultimate expression of his love, Jesus. I also believe that ‘all legislation is on some level morally focused’ and thus we all must ask ‘when’ not ‘if’ moral understanding should or should not be legislated. ALL legislation imposes a framework of behaviour and understanding upon others. I invite you on the journey of how I have come to my conclusions in this issue. Maybe this will help you, maybe it won’t. We might disagree but hopefully, we will all be at a place in the end where deeper discussion has been had around this issue in an environment of truth, mercy, understanding and grace. JOSH

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