Homophobic Hate

Homophobic Hate

 The South African social media is currently buzzing with comments about the planned visit by an American homophobic ‘pastor’.HateTopBannerNoWords

By the time you read this article he might already have been banned from entering the nation because of his reported hate speech, but whether he comes or not, the issues he is stirring up still need to be addressed.

I do not have the stomach to spend hours listening to the man’s pronouncements, but the statement of faith of the church he leads gives me enough information to go on for the purposes of this post. Their doctrinal statement consists of 11 clauses, but only two are statements of orthodox Christian belief; the other nine concern fringe rather than fundamental issues. For instance, that the King James Bible is ‘the Word of God without error’, and that ‘life begins at conception’. Three of the clauses are rejections rather than affirmations and one of them reads ‘We believe that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty. [See HERE for the full statement]

The book of Revelation (22:15) contains a statement of those excluded from the fellowship of heaven and its earthly shadow, the church. It reads,

‘Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying’.HCSB
So first off, if we consider ‘exclusions’ then we should not treat sexual immorality differently from the other items in the list. Those who love to lie, for instance, would include a horrendous number of politicians, salesmen, and others. In my opinion, homosexuality would certainly be included in the ‘sexual immorality’ category, but then so would fornication and adultery… oops, there goes another huge percentage of the population.

A second consideration worth thinking about is the supposed duty of Christians to pass judgement on non-Christians and their behaviour. This is just plain wrong thinking because Paul writes very explicitly; ‘What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside’ (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). When it comes to those who profess to be Christians and who seek church fellowship then we certainly have an obligation to correct, counsel, admonish, and even exclude – if all else fails. Paul deals with this in an equally forthright manner:

‘’I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case, you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).
Of course, for me, the model for our attitude towards the perceived sins of others is… Jesus. His attitude towards sexual immorality, in particular, is captured in His interaction with the woman caught in the act of adultery. His final words to her were,
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11).
He neither condemned nor condoned, but instead He saved… and that says it all. In fact, Jesus seems to have reserved His condemnation exclusively for the Pharisees who regarded themselves as the pious servants of God yet were filled with religious hate… men much like the American ‘pastor’ who triggered this article.

Just in case I am misunderstood or misquoted, let me place on record my attitude towards homosexuality:

  • I do not regard homosexuality (and that includes lesbianism) as a natural, normal, or biblically supportable practice.
  • However, I do not regard it as worthy of being singled out and raised into a category of misconduct more detrimental than other practices such as drunkenness, lying, cheating, fraud, bullying, spousal violence, rape in any guise, and so on.
  • I think that people who, for whatever reason, feel strongly drawn to any of these destructive behaviours, but refuse to practice them and seek to overcome their urges, are commendable and should receive my love and support.
  • I do not think that I have any business judging those who are not members of the Christian church, but should rather treat all people with respect and dignity.
  • However, I resist the calls by secular society to regard homosexuality as a natural and normal alternative lifestyle.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand how anyone who is born again of the Spirit of God into a life of following Jesus can be either homophobic or hate-filled, any more than a disciple of Jesus can be anti-Semitic – it seems such an impossible contradiction.
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The strange case of Harold Camping

Published in SATS ‘Pastor to Pastor’

Harold Camping is the Calvinist radio Bible teacher based in California. He has sprung to notoriety by predicting that the Rapture would occur at 6 pm on 21st May, 2011. The day has come and gone and the Christian world is left puzzling over the question of how he could have got it so wrong.

Apart from radically reinterpreting Jesus words, that no one knows the day or the hour, as applying only to the disciples of His time, Camping fell on the sword of his faulty interpretive method. He uses and abuses a method commonly referred to as allegorical interpretation, but he is not the only teacher who does this. Several years ago I heard the leader of a major church group preach on how the twelve gates in the walls of ancient Jerusalem each stood for a particular church age. He went around the gates in a clockwise direction and concluded that we were currently in the age signified by the Dung Gate – phew!

Camping uses an extreme form of allegorization but there are several variants in today’s church, and so it would be useful to examine the issue and come up with a balanced approach to biblical interpretation

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.