When we continue to identify our position in Christ with a particular sin, we are in essence denying the redemptive efficacy of Christ’s atonement. What miraculously reborn believer wishes to announce or imply such an affirmation? Denying the redemptive efficacy of Christ’s atonement assuredly rates equal to the heresies of the past that were so soundly resisted by the Church.
Church, Christians, —regardless of branch of the Church—we are in a battle, a battle never dreamed possible in our age. It is a battle that is being fiercely fought by the invader and, sadly, ignored by many church leaders, leaving their flocks very vulnerable. The early Church once transformed a pagan world (Acts 17;6); however, today the pagan world is transforming the Christian Church. What a turn of events.
How so, you ask? Unfortunately, to not a few, it’s something considered benign and something quite subtle as well. It doesn’t appear to compare to the great doctrinal heresies of the past, e.g., tenets addressing the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which were soundly resisted by godly men and women as they stood on God’s powerful divine revelation in his Word. And what is this new heresy that we must now fight? It is all about identity.
We find its beginning with those who were practicing, struggling with, or promoting homosexuality. They claimed that they had been spiritually recreated by their new birth by the power of the Holy Spirit, yet they declared themselves identifying their brand of Christianity by the very sins and temptations they experienced beforehand. They claimed they had been redeemed and forgiven. Yet they rename some particular form of sin they once experienced or practiced with a euphemism, with the gravity and seriousness of that particular sin being diminished to the status of a faux pas, a foible, a mere flaw or tendency. Thus, they can call themselves “gay Christians.” Who can deny it sounds clearly and simply benign? However, God never treated homosexuality as benign, in the old covenant or the new covenant. It is one of the those sins modified by the harshest of adjectives and modifiers, as seen in the letter to the Christians in Rome (see Romans 1:18-32). It’s impossible to ignore the gravity of such sins, even as great effort is exerted to skew the Romans passage’s clear meaning and magnitude.
Many Christians come to Christ with a background of other sexually related sins, fornication, adultery, pornography, etc. Through repentance they cease any such practices, and never identify their new, transformed life with their former sinful propensities. It is unthinkable as well as shameful to identify the miracle of saving grace by what God declared as offensive to his holy character. How incredulous that it is not treated as shameful today. For over 2,000 years, Christians never identified themselves with the sins from which they had been delivered.
Sadly, this unthinkable identification with a sinful disposition is no longer limited to homosexuality alone. The door has been opened to other perversions to God’s creative intent, such as non-binary gender ideologies.
The statement above, “It doesn’t compare to the great heresies of the past that were doctrinal tenets…” may not be accurate after all. Why? When we continue to identify our position in Christ with a particular sin, we are in essence denying the redemptive efficacy of Christ’s atonement. What miraculously reborn believer wishes to announce or imply such an affirmation? Denying the redemptive efficacy of Christ’s atonement assuredly rates equal to the heresies of the past that were so soundly resisted by the Church.
This battle is real; it is not insignificant. Church leaders, are you faithfully warning and protecting your flock from such an epic error? Are you lovingly arming and educating your flock to protect them from such perversity? Too many Christians have been taken hostage already to worldly passions masquerading as truth. Remember your obligation not only to teach God’s truth but to protect the sheep of your flock. As one shepherd has said, “Along with knowing the flock, leading the flock, and feeding the flock, a fourth biblical function of the visionary shepherd is to protect the flock. Sheep are in constant need of protection.”
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” Acts 20:28-30 (NASB).
Helen Louise Herndon is a member of Central Presbyterian Church (EPC) in St. Louis, Missouri. She is freelance writer and served as a missionary to the Arab/Muslim world in France and North Africa.