Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CA. Pastor Weighs in on Abortion, Homosexuality, Woods' Buddhism

Southern California pastor Greg Laurie took on some "hot button" issues from the pulpit on Sunday, covering everything from capital punishment and homosexuality to Tiger Woods' apology.

Commenting on the professed faith of pro golfer Woods, he stated, "Here's the problem with Buddhism: they don't believe in a personal God that is there to forgive a person."

He cited Stephen Prothero, a Boston University professor on Buddhism, who said that in the Buddhist tradition "no matter what Woods says or does, he is going to have to pay for whatever wrongs he's done."

"There's no accountant in the sky wiping sins off your balance sheet, like there is in Christianity."

Woods on Friday confessed to serial infidelity and said he'll return to the Buddhist teachings that he drifted away from as he tries to regain his balance on life.

Buddhism, however, does not offer forgiveness, Laurie pointed out. But "Christianity says there is a personal God there to forgive you who sent His son to die on the cross and pay the price for your sins so you can indeed be forgiven."

The brief comment on the famous public apology served as Laurie's introduction to his sermon on Christian worldview.

The well-known evangelist believes Christians are often labeled as "bigoted" for expressing their faith or taking a stand on certain issues. One example he cited was when Fox anchor Brit Hume was blasted for suggesting that what Woods really needed was a relationship with Jesus Christ to be forgiven. Amid such persecution, Laurie sought to convey to his congregation the importance of thinking and living biblically and basing their beliefs on what the Bible teaches regardless of what "we feel is right."

Hitting some of the most controversial and widely debated issues, Laurie asked the congregation not to respond to the hot topics "emotionally" or "logically" but biblically.

Having a biblical worldview means believing that there is a living God and that He has revealed Himself in Scripture, the Harvest pastor explained.

"We accept that we have absolute truth from God," he said. "The objective is not to conform the Bible to the changing culture but to conform the changing culture to what the Bible teaches."

On the topic of capital punishment, Laurie pointed to one of the Ten Commandments – thou shalt not kill. The Bible, he said, doesn't condemn all killing. Self-defense, sometimes war, and capital punishment are justifiable, he said.

"I believe in capital punishment," Laurie stated, though he acknowledged there are "good people" on both sides of this debate. "And I believe the Bible teaches it."

Regarding abortion he stressed that the Bible does not give an unclear word on when life begins.

"Life begins at conception, not at birth," he stated. "This is absolute. Each child is created by God and should be given a chance to live."

Indicating a "no exceptions" stand against abortion even if the life of the mother may be in danger, Laurie said just as a mother would instinctively lay her life down if she sees her child about to get hit by a car, she should do the same when it comes to having the baby.

Homosexuality is another clear-cut issue, the evangelist stressed. The Bible is very clear: homosexuality is not in God's order, he said.

"God is not anti-gay. God is anti-sin no matter how it is expressed," he stated, adding that people are not born gay.

"I will acknowledge that as a person who is born with a sinful nature you might be attracted to members of the same-sex," he noted. "I would also acknowledge as a person who is born a sinner you might be more prone to issues of addiction. But having said that, all of these can be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit.

"You were born a sinner in need of a savior who can change you and help you live the life He has called you to live. That's the answer."

"We're all sinners," Laurie reminded the congregation. "I'm not standing here today as some pompous preacher looking down on everyone. We've all broken God's commandments in some way shape or form. We all need forgiveness. He offers it graciously and lovingly if we come to Him."

HT: The Christian Post


ExPatMatt said...

Tiger Woods is (lapsed) Buddhist. Brit Hume essentially came out and said; 'your religion is wrong, mine is right' and he was rightly castigated for his presumptuous arrogance. Not exactly persecution (considering some of the actual persecution you have highlighted on this very blog, at least), it was just rude.

No, there is no personal, forgiving God in Buddhism. That's because Buddhism and Christianity are two different religions. When Ted Haggard had his 'issues' it would have been extremely rude for the Dalai Lama to go on TV and say that what Ted really needed was to do some meditation in order to get his karma sorted, wouldn't it?

"The Bible, he said, doesn't condemn all killing. Self-defense, sometimes war, and capital punishment are justifiable, he said."

Or if God specifically commands it, of course. And the capital punishment that is justified in the Bible, isn't that Old Testament, pre-Jesus capital punishment? Shouldn't that now be obsolete?

""Life begins at conception, not at birth,"

Doesn't the Bible say that 'life is in the blood'? A fetus has no blood for the first few days after conception; so is it alive yet?

"he stated, adding that people are not born gay."

He clearly doesn't know many gay people then...

Interesting article.

Anonymous said...

"Laurie asked the congregation not to respond to the hot topics "emotionally" or "logically" but biblically."

This is one of the reason Christians wear their "stupid for Jesus" shirts with such pride. Don't respond "logically" but "biblically"???? Really? If responding biblically is not logical, you are breaking God's rules for thinking and it is therefore NOT biblical.

If the bible and biblical world view is not logical, it is worthless.

Maybe he misspoke but I doubt it. the tension between thinking and Christianity is a strong one and continually encouraged by these types of statements.

Think logigally, think emotionally, and only then will you be thinking biblically.


Robert Tewart said...

I think I can clarify this Cad. The bible tells us to Provers 3:5 tells ut to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding."

It also tell us in 1 corinthians 18 that "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

In God's economy and standard of truth, it makes perfect sense, but trying to look at something from a worldly, emotional or intelectual (we tend to think we are so smart) point of view is left lacking. What I think in my heart and mind may make perfect sense to me, but if God's word says otherwise, I have to go with that.

Anonymous said...

Robert I certainly like your take on it much better than Lauries'. What you have presented is fair. However, what Mr. Laurie did was pit the bible against logic. Again he says don't think logically, think biblically. That's really a contradiction. That is the same as attempting to pit righteousness against the bible. It can't be done. If that was not his intent, then a better choice of words was in order. But knowing Christians across denominational boundaries his statement is pretty consistent with Christian belief. And that is intellectual knowledge is not compatible with Christianity.

But because words mean something and represent non material truths I will have to further disagree:

1. Thinking logically does not equate to leaning on our own understanding. Logic is not a creation of man or philosophy, it belongs to God just like the laws of science are not created by men but discovered. When Jesus declared that He was the Truth, He drew a line in the sand between truth and falsity. How do we arrive at the truth if there are no rules for getting there? We can't! God is not only the standard of righteousness but He is also the standard for right (logical) thinking.

2. As far as foolishness and things making sense in our own minds (contextually non believers) logic is as objective as Gods standard of right and wrong. Making sense to me and something being foolish are subjective and I don't think we can honesty consider those things logical.

Gods word will NEVER oppose logic. God cannot be illogical anymore than He can be unrighteous. Its simply not possible. So we never have to worry about accepting something "biblically" and it not also be logical. So to make a distinction between thinking biblically and thinking logically sets Christians up for failure. This is why most, not all but most Christians when really pressed can only respond with "thats just what I believe". The modern church is not in a good state.

I think your take would certainly apply to the Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and George Smiths of the world no doubt.