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Friday, April 10, 2015
P5 Concluding Notes from a Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Conference: The Gospel, Sexuality and the Church - Conclusion
Note to readers: The above image is from the weekly publication, "The Baptist Messenger", produced by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). The link is www.baptistmessenger.com. All comments below and links were granted permission by the BGCO to be used in today's post. May what is written below inform and equip the reader to the glory of God.
A few weeks ago this blogger had the opportunity to attend a conference sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (henceforth from here we will use it's abbreviation "BGCO") entitled: "The Gospel, Sexuality and the Church". My intention for attending this conference was two-fold:
1). To be equipped on how to better communicate to people what the Bible has to say about the Gospel and it's bearing on gender, sexuality, the church and culture.
2). To know how to express the love of Jesus in a better way to all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
The conference to say the least was very well done, organized, positively communicated and Biblical. As each sermon and panel discussion was presented, I felt it necessary to not only take notes but to make them available to readers of this blog with the hope of sharing this informative, engaging and Gospel-centered conference. Today's post concludes my summary of this very important and significant conference. The BGCO has posted some of the plenary sessions on their website, as well as links to their weekly publication: "The Baptist Messenger", which features after-conference reflections and articles by key leadership in the BGCO. Here are the links: http://www.bgco.org/bgco-conference and http://www.baptistmessenger.com/the-gospel-sexuality-the-church-2/.
Final Panel Discussion: Communicating the Gospel in a culture that is committed to blurring the genders
This final panel discussion dealt with questions that centered around gender and the Gospel, hence this author's heading for this summary of the final panel discussion. The discussion began by defining the often talked about "LBGTQ Culture", which stands for
Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Gay, Transgender and questioning of one's sexual gender. This title summarizes the worldview that is attempting to redefine what it means to be a man and woman, marriage and family. After this initial discussion, the panelists were asked the following questions:
1). How has pornography affected our culture? Dr. R. Albert Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary notes two basic types of pornography:
a). Ambient pornography. The kind of images we see on billboards and in stores.
b). Explicit pornography. Men are more image driven and look for men-like women, whereas women are more emotionally driven and look for more emotionally expressive and sensitive men. Dr. Mohler also noted that 60-70% of men in churches are viewing pornography every week. It is an epidemic. Author C.S Lewis has noted that pornography increases drive but decreases satisfaction.
2). What about sexual identity? Our identity is found by being made into the image of Christ at salvation. We are created with sexual desire. When people talk about orientation, the discussions centers around a pattern of expressing one's desire.
3). What about same-sex attraction? Before the 1870's, people talked mainly about gender as being male or female. After the 1870's the psychological community began to talk about orientation. Because of sin and our fallen world, our internal emotional world oftentimes does not line up with the reality of human beings made in God's image. Though some people don't have a choice when they have same-sex attraction, they do have a choice in how they respond. Our primary responsibility is not to change someone's identity, but to give them the gospel. The gospel will transform their hearts and minds. Whatever we behold, we become.
4). What about hate speech? We have to be aware of people who would like to suppress certain forms of speech that oppose their worldview. (1 Peter 2:5-9)
A Gospel that does not include both the challenge and subsequence experience of a transformed life is not the Gospel.
As the conference drew to a close, Dr. R. Albert Mohler gave the closing plenary sermon out of Romans 1. In his message he pointed out how often we see fallen man "exchanging" God for something else of far lesser value. (Romans 1:23,24,25,26,28). In short, we are seeing our culture as a whole exchanging God's truth for a man made lie. The one quote that stuck out in this writer's mind was when Dr. Mohler quoted thinker Theo Hobson: "3 things must be in place for a moral revolution:
a. That which was condemned is celebrated
b. That which was celebrated is condemned
c. Those who won't celebrate are condemend"
As Dr. Mohler closed his message, we were reminded that we have the most effective message in the world - the good news of Jesus Christ - the Gospel. Thus let's shine the light of Jesus, the love of God and the life-changing power of God's word to our gay and lesbian neighbors and 21st century culture while upholding the unwavering message of God's word.
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