Here We Stand

An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage

I have joined over 4,000 people who have added their names on June 26, 2015 to this declaration on marriage. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding marriage, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission posted this statement of declaration. It has been signed by a host of leaders within the Evangelical community of Christianity.

The title borrows from the monumental statement made by Martin Luther as the powers of his day attempted to squelch his proclamation of the gospel. His determined stand placed the Protestant Reformation on bedrock truth and formed the basis for the work God would do in shaping an entire civilization.

This declaration demonstrates both truth and grace. Both are necessary in our witness to the culture.

A Response to Tony Campolo

On June 8, 2015 Tony Campolo released a statement related to those who identify as “gay Christian couples.” Here is the thrust of his statement:

It has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to the place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church.

Tony Campolo: For the Record

Early in my adult life, Campolo was an influential figure. I appreciate much of what he has to say to the Christian community. However, his new thesis is very disappointing. It is not surprising. In fact, I thought he was already at this point. Still it is disappointing.

In supporting his new thesis, Campolo demonstrates a faulty view of the gospel. We certainly can debate the conclusion he has reached, but I would hope that Campolo would realize his conclusion is built on a sandy presupposition instead of the bedrock truth of the gospel.

Deserve a Second Chance?

second chanceRecently a New York Yankees’ fan was asked about the latest apology from Alex Rodriguez. He responded, “Everybody deserves a second chance.”

If you are scoring at home, you know that this chance for A-Rod is well beyond his second. He has already played the second chance card.

But the fan’s statement raises an important question. Do people really deserve a second chance? It may be that when you hear my question, you may think of Jesus’ teaching to Peter when Peter wanted to know if he should forgive somebody up to seven times. Jesus’ response indicated that Peter should forgive far more times than just seven.

However, that misses an important element in the question. It has to do with the verb in the fan’s sentence – deserves. To deserve something means that has been earned. By the very nature of a second chance, the answer has to be that we do not deserve that chance. It implies that the first chance was blown.

That being the case, what we deserve is judgment and/or punishment, not a second chance. Asking for second chance is not to ask for what one deserves. It is asking for mercy and grace. Mercy so that we are not continually punished for blowing the first chance. Grace so that a second chance is provided.

So how do we reconcile Jesus’ teaching to Peter with the idea of a second chance? The answer lies in determining which party is involved in the process. If we are the offending party, we deserve judgment. We ask or even plead for mercy and grace. We do so understanding that we do not deserve another chance. We can place no obligation on the person offended to forgive us.

If we are the offended person, then we have some obligation to extend another opportunity. Not because it is deserved, but because in doing so we reflect the character and nature of Christ. We have received mercy and grace and should extend the same to others.

When we properly understand what is deserved as the offender and the nature of forgiveness as the offended, we will have a better handle on this whole idea of second chances.