Beyond Will and Grace

Posted on: 01/17/08 8:55 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Beyond Will and Grace. That was the title of a sermon that Bryan Wilkerson gave, posted on Gordon Conwell’s (the Boston seminary) site.

Bryan is the pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA, one of the first mega churches in New England. He is Haddon Robinson trained (Dr. Haddon Robinson is the preaching professor who- may I be so bold to say- wrote THE book on preaching) and he delivers relevant and compelling Biblical sermons (expository for those who prefer that term- I sometimes don’t use that term because it carries negative connotations. For some expository means “boring” and “not relevant.” I would argue simply that if that’s the case, you haven’t heart good Biblical teaching) every week. Phenomenal preacher.

I enjoyed reading his sermon on Homosexuality because he had the guts to do two things:

  1. Talk about the fact that homosexuality, like all sins, is not’s God’s plan.
  2. Talk about the fact that God’s grace accepts people as they are, but transforms us from the inside out. I quote:

 Grace means that people who struggle with same sex desires are welcome to come to God, just as
they are. God doesn’t ask you to or expect you to straighten out your confusion or overcome your
tendencies first. Just come to Him, in the name of His Son, Jesus

Grace means that sexual offenders can be forgiven, whatever that offense has been. Jesus Christ
received in himself the penalty of that sin, so that you don’t have to be punished for it.

Grace means that you can be healed of your sexual wounded-ness, whether it was inflicted on you
by others, or you brought it on yourself. It doesn’t have to haunt your heart and relationships for the rest
of your life.

Grace means that you can overcome whatever distorted, destructive desires and habits that have
been robbing you of real joy and fulfillment. It will take time, and teaching, and practice, and support,
and probably even failure. But you can overcome it, you can be free from it’s mastery over you, with
God’s help.

Grace means that God can change you, transform you, from the inside out. He can enable you to
embrace the sexual identity God has given you, and help you discover healthy, happy, and honorable
relationships with people of the same and opposite sex. It also means that He can so transform you that
you can discover romantic relationships with people of the opposite sex, and even marriage. Not every
homosexual person experiences that complete transformation, but many do, and many are on the way.

Shout out to Bryan.

I touched on this issue a few years back in an article on the web site and took a little heat from it. It’s ironic. I divided the issues, talking about 1. The fact that it’s wrong  2. The fact that we as a church have been responding poorly for years and need to respond like Christ would have responded.

I took heat for both.

I stand by both.

Dare 2 Share’s Greg Stier just spoke at the YS NYWC and made a statement about homosexuality being wrong (the same story he shared in our podcast #3), and he took heat for that. But he still stands by it.

Good for Greg.

Frankly, I think we should always take heat for two things- in this order: 1. Being extra loving and gracious. 2. Choosing to do right, when the world offers us other alternatives.

It’ sad. For years as a church we’ve failed miserably in the area of grace. We’ve been inconsistant, hypocritical and dare I say “hateful” to homosexuals when they are just fellow strugglers. In other words, some of the Christians who are out picketing homosexuals are gossips, cheats, or secretly addicted to porn.

So now the church feels guilty, and instead of changing our attitude of Grace… we’re changing our theology about Homosexuality and saying it’s okay now… after all, that’s more politically correct.

Unfortunately it’s not right.

God’s standard will never cease. And thank goodness, neither will his Grace!

 Don’t forget to love the sinner… you are one!

Tossing Stones at Willow

Posted on: 12/13/07 7:51 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Some of you have seen articles like this one taking cheap shots at Willow Creek while totally misrepresenting them. Not many people are speaking on their behalf right now… allow me.
On one side of a room sits a guy named Bob. Bob has been a Christian most of his life and has little tolerance for those who haven’t. Bob loves tradition and hates change. But Bob’s biggest downfall is… he’s a turd! Unbelievers are repelled from the guy because he comes off snooty in every situation.
Who would you rather look like… a Pharisee, or like Jesus?
On the other side of the room sits a guy named Bill. Bill grew up with a lot of guys like Bob. Bill saw a lot of his friends running from the church because they were scared of people like Bob. So Bill started a church that tried to reach out to people like his unbelieving friends. He preached the Word, but didn’t make people feel dumb in the process. Bill’s church grew very large, led thousands of people to Christ and influenced millions.
Bob grumbled, “This isn’t the way I’ve been taught to do it!” So he returned to his home so he could continue being a turd.
But then something happened.
Bill noticed that many of the people attending his church weren’t growing like they should. Bill realized that attendance didn’t necessarily reflect life change. So Bill did something very difficult. He admitted that he needed to change his model of ministry.
When Bill confessed this publicly, Bob showed up to throw stones. “I told you so!” Bob jeered.
Bob spread stories about Bill, claiming that Bill never cared about life change, only numbers. These convoluted stories were exaggerated and unfair. But Bill was an easy target. After all, he had confessed with his own mouth that his people weren’t growing spiritually as much as they should be.
The ironic thing… Bob’s church is having the exact same problem and he doesn’t even know it. As a matter of fact, the same study that revealed to Bill about the need in his church revealed that churches just like Bob’s are struggling with the same thing. But Bob was too busy tossing stones at Bill to even notice.
Thousands upon thousands of people’s lives have been truly transformed by Christ through Bill’s church. Bill could have let that go to his head. But he didn’t. He noticed a need for growth in churches across the nation, he admitted it and he’s taking strides to change, starting with his own church.
Bob, however… is still a turd.
Don’t be a Bob.
Jonathan wrote this blog in response to this article that feathered through the internet in the month of November. For a more accurate picture of what really is going on, watch this video to check out the research first hand, or this video to hear Bill’s heart on the matter, or read articles like this that summarize some of the facts for you.