More Light Presbyterians are advertising a film about the oppressiveness of Evangelicals:
Let Your Light Shine" will probe the intersecting circles of evangelical Christianity, the gay civil rights movement and activism by queer alumni from Billy Graham's alma mater, Wheaton College! This kaleidoscopic lens will shine a light on the deeply historical and discriminatory roots of evangelical Christianity, and the growing visibility of queer liberation which challenges Bible-based homophobia. The testimonies of LGBTQ survivors from Christian colleges and religious upbringings reveal both the damaging impact of evangelicalism and a spirited resistance to continued religious oppression... (At the More Light Presbyterians site-taken from “Let Your Light Shine,” a film project)
MLP perhaps see the above words as a matter of justice as undoubtedly the Let Your Light Shine film project does, but on closer examination I believe there is more that could and should be said.
First I believe most Evangelicals in the mainline Churches have understood that this time was coming. When the LGBT community felt victorious in the mainline denominations they would push on toward the Evangelical community. And because most in the Evangelical communities comprise a larger group committed to Scripture, the battle, and it is a battle, will be longer and darker. In this context it is easier for progressives to call the ‘other’ names.
But what is the real truth behind the words, “Bible-based homophobia,” and “discriminatory roots of evangelical Christianity?” The problem is the living Word of God and the written word of God. The LGBT community is rejecting both and because they are rejecting both they are rejecting those who belong to Christ. This should not surprise the followers of Jesus; he promised it would be so. But he also promised that he would send the Holy Spirit both as one who convicts and as one who comforts.
Jesus, speaking of the Holy Spirit, said:
And he [the Holy Spirit] when he comes will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin because they do not believe in me; and concerning righteousness because I go to the Father and you no longer see me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. (John 16:8-11)
This is the message the Holy Spirit gives to the Church to give to the world. It has been given in the word of God written. And both that word and the Holy Spirit convict as the word is read, spoken, preached and proclaimed. Jesus Christ is the righteousness the world needs. The righteousness that Jesus bought on the cross is the solution to humanity’s sinfulness. But then there is judgment.
Because the ruler of the world, Satan, has been judged at the cross there is hope in Christ. His victory is our victory. In our union with him we escape the judgment because we bear his righteousness. The Holy Spirit convicts that we might dwell in Christ and not in alignment with the dark powers of sin. And this reminds me of a beautiful part of a C.S. Lewis story, The Great Divorce. It is where the shadows of hell meet the reality of heaven. One shadow is a young man with a red “lizard on his shoulder.
Lewis in his typical way uses the lizard as a metaphor or symbol for a lust that is controlling the shadow. A bright angel asks to kill the lizard and after a great deal of debate the shadowy young man cries for help. “Damn and blast you! Go on, can’t you? Get it over. Do what you like,’ bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, ‘God help me. God help me.’” In the end the shadow becomes a magnificent man who rides away on a brilliant horse-the new creation created from a dead evil lizard. And the person in the story explaining the meaning says:
“What is a lizard compared with a stallion? Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering, whispering thing compared with that richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed.”There is a glory that awaits the repentant sinner. While the LGBT community is busy throwing names about, the King of kings is waiting to change sinners into magnificent creatures, humans covered with the righteousness of Christ. The community of Christ must wait also in prayer with faith forgiving the slander and hate. Jesus is Lord.