The Coming Evangelical Divide

The following article is posted here by permission of the author, Ray Pritchard, of the Keep Believing ministry. The original article can be found here.

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The Coming Evangelical Divide

by Ray Pritchard

evangelical divide

The evangelical movement is about to divide.

 Nothing could be clearer.

 It’s true that we have often disagreed over things like church government, views of the Second Coming, baptism, lifestyle habits, worship style and musical preference. But those differences, though deeply felt, were intramural debates over secondary issues.

 This time we are going to divide over a primary issue.

It is isn’t just about homosexuality or even about gay marriage, though that is the most obvious factor. When all the cards are out on the table, it will be clear that we have divided over biblical authority. Some of us will say, “We accept the 2000-year-old teaching shared until recently by every branch of the Christian movement that God designed marriage for one man and one woman.” We will also say that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sin. And we will continue to insist that homosexual behavior is always sinful.

Evidently not everyone will agree with us.
That includes some folks who graduated from our leading Christian colleges and seminaries.

For a variety of reasons, they will insist that the church has been wrong about this for 2000 years and that we must extend Christian fellowship to openly homosexual men and women. They must be allowed to join the church, sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, and if they are otherwise qualified, they could be chosen as deacons, elders and pastors.

As Al Mohler has recently insisted, there is no middle ground on this issue. We aren’t going to be able to paper over the difference or to “agree to disagree” as if this issue is like disagreeing on the timing of the rapture or whether or not we should sing more hymns.

This is a deal-breaker.
Can’t we all just get along? No, we can’t.

The people who argue for full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church are going to go one way, and the rest of us are going to go another. This will mean splitting denominations, leaving churches, and in some cases, it will divide families.

No one can be happy about the very real pain involved.
But better that we should separate than stay together and pretend at a unity that does not exist.

A few years ago I would have thought that most evangelicals would stay true to the biblical teaching about marriage. Today I will hedge my bets on that issue. We hear seductive voices calling us to “rethink” our position while other influential leaders admit to “struggling” over this issue. Clearly those voices are having an impact.

But in one sense it doesn’t matter. The people who think it’s okay for two guys or two girls to get married and then come and lead Awana on Wednesday night will never be accepted by the rest of us.

We aren’t buying what they are selling.

Because our culture has shifted on this issue, the price for fidelity to biblical teaching is rising all the time. Christians who openly stand for one man-one woman marriage will face increasing opposition in the days to come. It may be that we will be the ones leaving some churches because we are the minority.

So be it.

The divide is coming and in some senses is already upon us.
We all get to decide where we will stand.

You can’t straddle the fence forever.
Pastor, you’ll have to take a stand.
Church leaders, you’ll have to take a stand.
Christian friend, you’ll have to take a stand.

Years ago I heard Don Cole say that “it is better to divide over truth than to unite around error.” He was right, and because of that we will soon be going in different directions.

 

6 Comments
  1. – Maybe it’s more about a new ruling for a 501c3 tax exemption.

    Whatever,
    I believe Jesus when He said there’d be the separation of
    ‘Wise Virgins’ and ‘Foolish Virgins’. – Matt.25

    So a divide is inevitable anyway isn’t it?

    Charisma-Mag has limited me again.
    So I couldn’t reply to you.

    • The parable of the virgins is after the 2nd coming of Christ – so there is no division that this applies to prior to the second coming. You must look at the context to understand the passage.

      I don’t know what you have done to get blocked over on the Charisma site. I have taken very strong stands contrary to what Charisma believes and have never been blocked.

      You must have done something that was considered abusive – because they don’t moderate comments before they are posted.

  2. The ‘divide’ might be man made rather than God made.

    Coming from a parent who’s child has married the same sex, my views have changed a bit in harshness towards them. They are a hurting people and we need to love them, and they need Jesus and born again like anyone else.

    But I don’t think this normal or natural just to clarify.

    The Word does say in the last days men will leave the natural use of the woman Rom 1:27 so in effect this marriage issue is fulfillment of scripture.

    For this to be a division, it is only if we allow it to be.

    I think we need to address adultery, divorce, and remarriage first before tackling homosexuality.

    God does allow divorce.

    • Tom,

      The divide should never be about harshness, but about biblical truth.

      This isn’t about loving sinners, this is about condoning and accepting sinful lifestyles – and this is the trend that is growing and leading to the divide, which is already well underway.

      I would suggest that Your assessment of tackling certain sins before homosexuality is misguided – and that those you list, along with others, should be a concern whenever they take place in the fellowship.

      At the same time, in Romans 1, Paul’s discussion of the downward spiral of humanity into the abyss of sinful lifestyles makes it clear that homosexuality is the ultimate bottom of the spiral – meaning that if the pattern of history holds, reaching the bottom of sin’s death spiral immediately precedes God’s widespread judgment against not just individuals, but whole cultures, societies and nations.

      Jesus said that Moses allowed for divorce because of “hardness of heart.” While God may allow for divorce, it would be under a very narrow set of conditions.

  3. David, I’m really blessed by your website and your stand on Biblical integrity.

    I viewed the SCOTUS’ decision on same-sex marriage as a critical turning point in this country’s history, as if we haven’t been careening pell-mell into a morass of rebellion against God for decades. The day SCOTUS’ decision was announced was a day of mourning for me.

    The second huge turning point was the finalization of “The Nuclear Deal”. America has now abandoned Israel, who now stands alone in the world with the very small exception of an insignificant trade deal inked with Canada.

    I’m deeply conflicted. I mourn more profoundly for my nation at present than I have at any time before and to a degree unprecedented. Yet I am looking up, clinging desperately to the “blessed hope” of the impending removal of Christians just as Jesus promised in Jn 14, and confirmed by a host of other Scriptural passages, both in the NT and the OT.

    Interestingly, as the United States as descended into its anti-God, amoral and pagan morass over the last few decades, the dispensationalist belief in the pre-trib Rapture has rapidly fallen out of favor and those who still look for our Savior to rescue us “from the coming wrath” are not only far fewer in number but also loudly persecuted–within our very own churches.

    I don’t need Blood Moons or Shemitahs to tell me that the time is very, very close.

    Keep looking up!

    • Dr. Ady,

      Thank you for your kind comments.

      You are exactly right when you note the attacks on dispensationalism.

      Just yesterday I was corresponding with someone who asked me to review a book they’ve written concerning dispensationalism in the context of the post-modern mind.

      I would like nothing more than to see a revival of traditional (i.e., Ryrie, Walvoord, Pentecost) dispensationalism as a response to the Neo-Calvinist Covenant Theology that is overtaking many historically sound Bible colleges, seminaries and churches. Time will tell how much of a contribution I and others who are like-minded will succeed.

      Concerning the SCOTUS decision – I’ve been giving this some thought. It really changed nothing – or very little. Yes, it may have “tried” to redefine “marriage” – but that definition is already set in stone, as it were, by God. That which is an abomination in God’s sight would have continued no matter what SCOTUS decided. When looking at it from that perspective, it pales in comparison to Roe v. Wade – resulting in 58 million children murdered since 1973.

      Yes, I agree that we will be rescued from the coming wrath of God prior to Daniel’s 70th week – but as we look around the world, we see just how bad the wrath of man and the wrath of the Enemy can be before God gets directly involved with the breaking of the first seal. I don’t say this with pessimism or fear – but I do believe American’s have been more than realistically optimistic that they will be preserved from hardships that have faced Christians at various points in history throughout the world.

      Our hope is in the Lord – not our immediate circumstances. In that we can rejoice.


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