back to Homepage

Between the Dock and the Boat (Part 3)


When we as Christians seek to merely treat the wounded spirits of gays but not apply the healing truth of the gospel, we are no better than a doctor who holds the hand of a patient with a severe kidney infection but prescribes no treatment. If we have a doctor who merely held our hand but nothing else, he or she would be brought before the state authorities for malpractice and rightfully so. Treatment for a kidney infection is not a joyful event; the antibiotics prescribed create all kinds of other issues and side-effects but these must be weathered that we might be healed and whole.


Soul healing is hard and sometimes harshly painful for us. Soul healing is surgery, it is powerful medicine. Those who would merely commiserate with same sex attracted individuals and affirm their moral choices are potentially abating in damning their souls to hell. Grace and mercy is sometimes the razor sharp edge of a spiritual scalpel. Affirming a person’s personal rebellion against God is never kindness, compassion or grace. We have put a diamond point on the issue but as a conservative commentator famously said, “Truth isn’t mean; it’s truth.”2


What it boils down to is first of all do we accept the Scriptures on face value based on what it says or do we deny them due to social and cultural expediency? That really frames the question as to who defines our worldview. Is it defined by God in the Scriptures or by us and our opinions?

Some will look at the scriptures and say, “Well, I don’t believe it means that” or “You can’t take the Bible literally,” Why do people not want to take the Bible literally on certain points? To be sure, a literal interpretation requires careful balance with the rest of what the Bible says, along with historical, cultural and hermeneutical analysis of the text. You can find people today in churches who when they examine the prohibitions against same-sex sexuality in the Bible will reject those for various reasons but interpret 1 Corinthians 13 literally. They would also take literally the prohibition against stealing, adultery and murder.


Frankly, and most often, the issue is not do we accept a literal interpretation but the question is do we want to obey. This word of God is a sharp sword that can lay our desires and motivations open coming and going. The truth is inconvenient because we do not wish to obey it.


We do not wish to obey because it runs counter to our own personal wisdom or desire. We know, deep down, that we cannot willfully and continuously engage in some particular behaviors and call ourselves “Christian”. “I cannot give this or that behavior up; it is too much of my identity,” some would say. We can easily find ourselves in the place of the rich young ruler who was not willing to part with his possessions, his true sovereign, to follow Christ. (see Mark 10:17-22)


Those who are unwilling to heed the clear teaching of Scripture on issues of sexuality have to ask themselves as to whether they truly believe what the Scriptures teach or not; are they taking and choosing what they want to hear. Do we adopt the prevalent world-view of our culture or do we believe and act upon something all together different? What has the final say in our lives? There is no other way to parse this; when it comes to our behavior when it comes to our sexuality and our marriages either Christ is Lord or we are Lord. But know this; every human heart has a throne and on that throne there is only room for one. Either Christ sits on the throne of our heart or we sit on the throne.


Who sits on your throne? This is the key question where there can be no evasion because it decides the course of our present life and our destiny to come. On the great issues of our day we have to make a choice as to whether we will act consistent with a biblical worldview or not.


If you have ever been boating, if the boat is moored to a dock, you have to step off the dock to get into the boat. You cannot stay in that position indefinitely; you either have to stay on the dock or get in the boat. If you try to stay in-between, the shifting of the boat and the change of the tides will make a decision for you and you get wet.


In some sense, the analogy of the boat and the dock can be representative of the kingdom of God and the kingdom in opposition to God.

We are not afforded the luxury of attempting to stay in both God’s kingdom and this world. We are confronted with the challenge made to Israel by Elijah, which God shall we serve? Who defines what is right and moral for us? Who is our moral arbiter? Who do we really serve? There are cultural issues in our day that truly define for us who we serve and who or what is truly our sovereign.


In a way that is far larger than we can adequately express, the most crucial question we can face as people living in this world is what we shall do about the next. To go back to our analogy we cannot for an indefinite period of time ponder our options and choices. We must choose, we must choose where we shall reside. Will we reside on the dock, or in the boat? Will we reside in heaven or hell? And, importantly, how shall we live before we embark on the boat.


Perhaps no other issue has more short-term and long-term impact for the church today than the issue of homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism and same-sex marriage. This is an Elijah issue for us; it cuts to the heart as to what we consider biblically true and where our allegiance resides. Sociological change is happening at the speed of a bullet and leadership must be a present, not past-tense, occurrence. Currently, our government, our media and educational institutions are all increasingly advocating acceptance, even celebration of same-gender sexuality and marriage. This advocacy must be examined and challenged. That advocacy or acceptance of same-gender sexuality and marriage is growing in various churches is reason enough for a careful parsing.


The faithful body of believers must ask ourselves whether we will bow to the dictates from the cultural, governmental and educational ‘elites’ or will we look to Scripture as the guide to our life and practices. The Church must make choices because the tide is changing and it is increasingly impossible to straddle the dock and the boat.


I am not homophobic (which is a pejorative term bandied about to cower those who have issues with homosexual behavior) but in a good way I am God-phobic. By that I mean that Jonathan Edwards was correct. To wit, we do not want to become sinners in the hands of a righteous judge against sin and rebellion on that fateful day before the Great White Throne of judgment. More people would do well to develop a healthy fear, or deep abiding respect of Yahweh, the great merciful yet just sovereign. Every person will give an account. God is under no requirement to tolerate sin; he delays judgment only due to a mercy that calls us the repent and turn from sin towards his son.


Is it too hard, too narrow to follow Christ?

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14)

The path heavenward is a narrow roadway, a mountain trail. Conversely the road to hell is a six-lane highway. That anyone travels the mountain trail is an act of God’s gracious mercy; it is not a cause for any sense of pride or personal accomplishment. We cannot look at those on the six-lane highway with any sense of self-righteousness.

It is not a cause for pride or arrogance towards those who walk the other road. 3 This Christian life is a gift given of mercy, the changing of our broken souls for a larger vision of a better, far country. This is the grace of God poured out into our lives, to make us new, to cause us to hunger for that which is not broken and tainted by sin. We are changed that we might, in Jesus’ own words, hunger and thirst for righteousness. Any goodness in us is transplanted from heaven and not of our own. So we look at those around us, also broken, with grace and compassion.

Compassion looks for healing; compassion brings us to Christ and does not leave us as he found us.


1. There is mounting evidence showing that same sex attraction is not necessarily genetic. Genetic studies of twins are calling the whole issue of genetic driven homo and lesbian sexuality into question.


2. William Briebart


3. For many of us that have sinned in this area there is much to repent of and we must speak into these issues with humility. There are those who’ve implied that a person who has been divorced has no moral authority on this issue. Well, that is interesting. The thought behind that assertion is that grace and moral authority will be granted to gays and their supporters who have transgressed but not straights who have transgressed, which is strange. The scriptures teach, and honest self-assessment affirms that we are all sinners who have missed the mark. Only the insane consider themselves perfect and faultless. This puts the hetero and homo-sexual person on the same level ground of imperfection or what we call, sinfulness. If all persons are imperfect this places the issue in a different light.


Technically speaking, or more to the point theologically, an imperfect social divorced liberal who considers gay ‘rights’ important has no higher ground morally to stand on than another who does not—in of themselves alone. Practically speaking, if a divorced socially liberal Christian spouts off about the evil of wars, or the need for some form of social justice, they do not have any more moral right to condemn others who take an opposing view; they are just as broken as the other and all of our righteousness is as filthy rags anyway.


It seems that the New Hampshire bishop, Gene Robinson, a homosexual, is planning to divorce his ‘husband’. This raises the question as to whether he looses all rights to discuss same sex marriage if he is (if you will pardon the saying) a gay divorce’. Given that Robinson left and divorced his wife to pursue a relationship with another gay man, it strains credulity to think how he ever had any shred of moral high-ground to speak on this issue to begin with.


Moral authority does not begin and end with man. Moral authority begins and ends with God. To grasp morality, to grasp salvation, we must go to the moral authority of God’s book.



Copyright © 2014 Brian Bailey, Author