Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Could we meet God's standards?

The following letter to the editor appeared in today's The Greenville News. There are several misrepresentations in the piece (for instance, the three individuals from the group did not ask permission to come on the campus to discuss homosexuality and the Bible), but that isn't the point on which I would like to comment.
Could we meet BJU's standards?

The calendars of two great religions were in alignment as Christians observed Holy Week, leading up to Easter, while Jews were celebrating Passover, a reminder of mankind's continuous struggle for freedom. In the middle of this week of intense religious focus a busload of representatives of Soulforce arrived in Greenville.

Soulforce, dedicated to freedom from religious and spiritual violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, was here to visit Bob Jones University. However, our BJU neighbors drew back their welcome mat and actually caused three individuals from the group, which had asked permission to come on campus to discuss homosexuality and the Bible, to be briefly arrested for trespassing. BJU explained, "We intend to defend Scripture as the Christian's authority for life and belief." This incident provides a textbook case asking the question WWJD (what would Jesus do)? The supporting presence to Soulforce by my good friend Rev. Donna Stroud was probably as compassionately correct a response to that question as anything said that day.

I'm not sure WWJD, but to be consistent with BJU philosophy my modest proposal to that institution of higher learning is that at a minimum their entrance gate guards have a full list of high-profile biblical moral offenses that would bar any visitor from entry to their grounds, including do you honor your father and mother, not murder, commit adultery, steal, lie or covet? I realize this policy might severely restrict the number of admissible campus visitors, but at least BJU would be more properly defending Scripture.

Then let's search our own consciences; could we meet those entrance standards?
Richard S. Berger
First, it should be pointed out that the group was not kept from entering the campus because they are homosexual. Had the individuals of the group wished to come to the campus to visit the Museum and Gallery at Bob Jones University, attend an arts program, or chapel they would have been welcomed. It was the activist organization and its intent that was refused an invitation. So, right off the bat, the writer's premise is unfounded.

Had an activist organization seeking to promote adultery, hooking up, dishonoring your mother and father, or any of the other issues the writer mentions approached the school in this way, they would have been met with the same response.

Believe me, there are plenty of sinners at BJU. I know there is at least one because I am there. Perfection is not a prerequisite for entry.

The greater question is "Can we meet God's standards?" "What would Jesus do?" The writer asks. Well, what did Jesus say? He didn't just speak out against sexual sins -- He said that even if a man lusts in his heart he was guilty of sexual sin. He didn't just speak out against murder -- He said that if you have hatred in your heart for someone, you have murdered. Certainly, He ate with "sinners and publicans," but as much certainty He did not condone their sin.

Bottom line, we can't meet God's standards. We are all sinners in need of a Saviour. Jesus was the salvation for each of those "sinners and publicans" who sought Him. He made the standard incredibly high for us and then He turned around and met that standard for us. The only thing we need to do is accept that salvation and when we do, it changes our lives.

What should be our response? Because of what He has done for me -- He took my place. He bought me with a price. He "owns" me. -- I should seek to live a life as close as possible to His character. How do we know that character? It is through His revelation of Himself to us -- the Bible.

How can that desire be put into practice in this case? We recognize that God in the Bible defines homosexuality as sin. I should not view someone caught up in that sin any differently as I would someone who is a glutton or a gossip. At the same time, I cannot take part in something that would positively promote homosexuality, gluttony, or gossip.

Most of all, I must search my own heart and ask, "Jesus, if you see any wicked way in me, please forgive me and give me a heart that will seek to lead me to a life consistent with Your character."


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