I am using with permission this week an article written by my friend and fellow Vanguard Presbytery pastor, Al Baker. It deals with a subject, LGBTQ+, that was one of the primary issues that led to the formation of this new denomination. I am sure that each of you will appreciate it also. You can receive his weekly articles by sending him an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org So, here goes:
A recent survey of students at Brown University found that 38% of them identify as LGBTQ+. That is more than double the number of students who identified in like manner in 2010. I preached with my friends Geoff Kirkland and Tom Raborn at my first Gay Pride event in St. Louis in 2018. What immediately struck me was how many of the vast hordes attending the event were in their twenties or younger. And the phenomenon of “transgenderism” is now “hip and cool” with teens and twenty somethings. You no doubt know kids who grew up in your church, who gave strong evidence of true saving faith, but who now announce on FaceBook and Instagram that they are proudly homosexual. Some of them may say they still believe in Jesus and that they are very happy to still follow Him.
I was recently listening to a lecture by the great Welsh preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, on “The Permissive Society,” in which he makes a distinction between sin and perversion. I think his position makes sense Biblically. He says that sin is natural, that since we are all born sinners, sin is the natural result of our unregenerate state. Of course, sin is rebellion against God, breaking His law, but when a person sins there is still some degree of guilt associated with it. There is an awareness that something should be done about it. Permissiveness, however, is unnatural. Permissiveness flaunts, glories in, and exalts anyone who engages in wickedness. Permissiveness knows no shame. Permissiveness and perversion go hand in hand. Lloyd-Jones draws a distinction between sinners and perverts, and no doubt what we are seeing at Brown University and everywhere in our culture is not natural. It is unnatural. It is perversion. These people may correctly be called “perverts.”
How did this happen? First of all we need to realize that our present age is not the first time we have experienced perversion. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, is highlighting the perversion so prevalent in his day. Romans 1:18-32 is a vivid, accurate, and sordid portrayal of life then. We have witnessed this many times before, not the least of which was the first third of the 18th century in England. However, beginning in 1735 and lasting for thirty years or so, God poured out His Holy Spirit on the preaching of men like George Whitefield, Gilbert Tennent, Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Davies, Howell Harris, and Daniel Rowland. As a result hundreds of thousands of people were born again and became sincere followers of Jesus. Historians have long opined that the Great Awakening, as it was called, saved England from the horrific French Revolution which within ten months (September 5, 1793 to July 27, 1794) sent at least 40,000 people to the guillotine.
How did we get here in 2023? No doubt Alfred Kinsey (1894 to 1956) is a major catalyst. He founded the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University and wrote Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). His so called scientific research was flawed and he quickly moved from observation to moral, or more accurately, immoral speculation. His goal was to remove what he called “sexual repression” from which, according to Kinsey, most “religious” people in the western world suffered. We now know that he was a pedophile of unspeakable wickedness. His sin was more than sin. It was perversion. By the late 1950’s most of the intelligentsia who taught in our colleges and universities embraced his wicked world view. It was not long before newspaper publishers and television and cinema leaders joined the parade toward perversion.
Now with social media our children are inundated repeatedly, all day long with perversion. Unless your teen or twenty something is “living on another planet” he or she is exposed to a steady stream of perversion by merely living in this world. The perversion is pervasive. So, we should not be at all surprised by what we are seeing with our younger people.
What shall we do? I have answered this question in some degree already, writing over the last two weeks on using the Bible as a tool to engage our Post Christian kids with Biblical truth, trusting the Holy Spirit to draw them to saving faith in due time. What else can we do? I wish now to speak to the preachers, to those in the pulpit and in the streets. We must preach the whole gospel and nothing but the gospel. Stay away from politics. Eschew psychotherapy. Don’t nuance (to make vague) gospel truth. Preacher, you must begin with a full orbed doctrine of God, stressing His holiness, authority, power, and sovereignty, driving home the truth that all men everywhere are accountable to Him. You must preach the Imago Dei, man is created in the image of God. Man is not an animal. This, of course, is what Kinsey believed. After all, if man is an animal then he is no better than a dog or cat and sex can be had with anyone and anytime, without restraint. Man, however, is the crown of God’s creation. God has made him a little lower than Himself (Ps.8:5). Preacher, you must preach the law of God, understanding that you are to wear the hat of a “covenant prosecutor” like the prophets of old. You are to bear down with the law of God, stressing that all men everywhere are engaged in evil deeds continually, and consequently man is under the just wrath and condemnation of God. You must proclaim the folly of man, as witnessed in Romans 1:18-32. Man professes to be wise, meaning he thinks he is smarter than God. Man says, “I know best. I must jettison the old ways which enslaved me unnecessarily in guilt and shame.” Preacher, from there you tell the pervert and sinner alike that because he thinks he knows best, God has given him over to a threefold judgment. “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts in impurity. God has given them over to the degrading passions and perversion of homosexuality. And since perverted man has refused to acknowledge God any longer, God has given them over to reprobation, to absolute and total depravity.
Then, and only then, can you put on the hat of a defense attorney by offering them the only One who can and will deliver them (1 Tim. 2:5). Only then will man be able to embrace with sincerity the blessed gospel of grace, that unless he is born again he will not see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). When the Spirit of God begins to move on the perverse man, he then will discover that the kindness of God and His love for mankind has appeared. Then and only then can he say, “God has saved me, not on the basis of deeds which I have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:4-6).
Preacher, is this your message? If not then repent and begin afresh and anew to preach Christ crucified and nothing else. If so, then stay at it, no matter how few are listening to you. After all you will stand before the awesome judgement seat of Christ and give account of your life and ministry.
1 “Nearly 40% of students at Brown University identify as LGBTQ+”, New York Post, July 10, 2023
2 MLJ Trust
3 J. Wesley Bready, England Before and After Wesley: The Evangelical Revival and Social Reform.
Dewey Roberts, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Destin, FL
Please mail any donations to: Vanguard Presbytery, PO Box 1862, Destin, FL 32540. We are thankful for all donations of every size.
NEWS: Vanguard voted on July 10, 2023 to call Al Baker as the Director of Church planting for Vanguard Presbytery. He was required to resign his position as Chairman of the Missions Committee since he is now under the supervision and direction of the Presbytery. Vanguard is building up and will build up primarily through new church plants and, especially, in areas where few evangelical Reformed churches exist. Church members tend not to be as concerned with the denomination as long as they can find a church that preaches the Gospel. Thus, where few such churches exist, reformed church members become more interested in Vanguard Presbytery. Thus, I think Vanguard Presbytery will grow in ways just the opposite of how the PCA grew. The PCA started in the south and branched out across the nation afterwards. Vanguard will become stronger in areas where the existing reformed churches are already progressive and LGBTQ+ permissive. Thus, we need a Director of Church Planting to oversee those works, but we also believe as a denomination that all mission work is to be initiated at the session/congregational and Presbytery levels where those works can be properly overseen. We do not allow boards and agencies at the General Assembly level because those boards effectively become the tail wagging the dog and result in hierarchy. Presbytery will still need to meet and define a job description and duties for Al Baker and we will do so.
Also, Presbytery voted last Monday evening to start an online seminary. There are many things to do to make it everything it should be. One recommendation I will be making as a member of the committee appointed for the seminary should require that all students read the best books on each subject of study.