“Grant me, O most loving Lord, to rest in Thee above all creatures, above all health and beauty, above all glory and honor, above all power and dignity, above all knowledge and subtilty, above all riches and art, above all fame and praise, above all sweetness and comfort, above all hope and promise, above all gifts and favors that Thou canst give and impart to us, above all jubilee that the mind of man can receive and feel; finally, above angels and archangels, and above all the heavenly host, above all things visible and invisible, and above all that Thou art not, O my God. It is too small and unsatisfying, whatsoever Thou bestowest on me apart from Thee, or revealest to me, or promisest, whilst Thou art not seen, and not fully obtained. For surely my heart cannot truly rest, nor be entirely contented, unless it rest in Thee–Amen.” (Thomas a Kempis, quoted in Great Souls at Prayer, 14)
Like many Protestant denominations these days, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (a small denomination that broke off from the SBC during the conservative resurgence) is considering whether to ditch what God has said about homosexuality in favor of our culture’s standard.
This is not really surprising coming from the CBF, but reading an article about the discussion they’re having over this issue did bring something interesting to my notice. Consider this statement, describing the goals of the CBF committee on this issue, in the words of denominational communications representatives:
“The committee has sought to faithfully hear and feel the Holy Spirit moving among the priesthood of all believers and focused on holding opposing viewpoints on matters of human sexuality in tension to develop a third way forward.” (reported from Baptist Press, via the Southern Baptist Texan, November 2017 issue, p.6)
There are actually several interesting observations one could make about that statement, but to grab just one, it is a curious thing to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit precisely on a matter where you are rejecting what the Spirit has clearly said. The Scriptures are God’s Word, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21, NIV).
The Scriptures are not vague about the issue of homosexuality. The Holy Spirit has not been ambiguous or sent mixed signals about the issue of homosexuality. It sounds so pious to say, ‘we are seeking the guidance of the Spirit on this issue’, but if what you’re doing is rejecting what the Spirit has said and asking Him to kindly affirm what you want to hear, it turns out to be a lot less reverent than you pretend.
It turns out to be rejection of God’s truth in favor of what you want to believe. We call that idolatry.
With the Thanksgiving holiday past, we come now upon what our culture thinks of as the Christmas season, but what is really, at this point, the Advent season—the season of anticipating Christmas, waiting for Christmas.
This is not recognized in our society because, as a rule, in modern society we do not like to wait. So the Christmas music on the radio begins before Thanksgiving! But when you think about it, there’s something to be said for waiting. When we wait eagerly for something, when we look forward to it expectantly, when we relish the anticipation, we have prepared ourselves to better appreciate it when the time comes.
Christmas, after all, deserves to be appreciated for all its wonder and glory. We anticipate Christmas and have a season of waiting—an Advent season—because we know what Christmas is really about, and that it’s a celebration worth anticipating year after year.
When the angel of the Lord came to the shepherds on that first Christmas, he said “I proclaim to you good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10, CSB). How very true. Good news; there has never been better news. And the joy of this news is so great that we can celebrate it for all eternity.
The wonder of Christmas is this: God the Son became a man in order to save us from sin and death and reconcile us to God. When we were lost in darkness, God sent His Son to be our light. When we were helpless and hopeless, God reached down to us with the gift of forgiveness and life.
Delight in this season of expectation, as we look forward to celebrating once again the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.