One of the harms is that he has created a backlash. I see some who defend those Silva attacks not because they agree with the person or group but because they are driven to be a defender. While I think this is noble, I don't understand why they jettison truth along the way. Others embrace the accused because they simply do not want to be associated with the ugliness they perceive among Silva's ilk. Sadly, they haven't sorted out that truth can still be upheld in a loving way.
Coincidently, I just read Silva's QUEERMERGENT ADELE SAKLER AND EMERGENT VILLAGE while a friend of mine just did an on-line interview with Adele Sakler. In Silva's post, he rightly builds on the postmodern innovator's rejection of knowable truth. For some reason, because we cannot know all truth the postmodern has decided we cannot know any truth. Since they now suppress the truth (Rom 1.18), it is a simple step for them to embrace sin (namely homosexuality - Rom 1.26-27).
Sakler boasts about McLaren, Rollins, and others who have helped her question Scripture and thereby enable her to embrace her sin.
In 1997 I moved to Los Angeles and began living a double life as a Christian and as a gay woman. I began to read Brian McLaren and found him writing things I had felt inside but was very afraid to express outwardly to anyone. In 2002 I went to Northern Ireland to do a DTS (Discipleship Training School) with YWAM.
I met the great Peter Rollins and we developed a great friendship. His teachings and writings on postmodernism and Christianity radically shaped how I viewed my faith. I could no longer hang onto certainty with regards to interpreting scripture. (Online source)
Sakler writes more:
Evangelicals are hyper-concerned with pointing out how being queer is a sin, and that the Bible explicitly denounces homosexual acts. Trust me, I get it all firsthand. But I’m not buying the rhetoric. I disagree with what I have come to consider outmoded and out-of-context religious interpretations. (Online source)
That caused me to wonder if I am "hyper-concerned" with this but then I realized, only in reaction to the onslaught of ideas trying to pervert God's truth. I do not seek these out. I do not mention it except when I find it in the course of my normal reading. And these days it seems the attack on Biblical truth is everywhere.
Note Sakler's enlightened state. The position that homosexuality is sin is to her "rhetoric", outmoded and out-of-context religious interpretations. Wow.
But now to my friend's interview with Sakler. In fairness, I stopped 34 minutes into the 71 minute interview but I didn't sense it was going to change course. In the interview I hear my friend say some concerning things. I sense he desperately wants to model the heart of Jesus but in doing so made some off-target points.
First my friend is learning to "love people without an agenda" because "Jesus accepted me as I am". While I get the 'spirit' behind this he misses the point. Yes Jesus loved him, suffered and died for him while he was still a rebel sinner. But Jesus had a clear agenda, he did this to (among other things) redeem us from lawlessness, to purify us, and make us zealous for good works (Titus 2.14). Jesus then instructed us to do the same. That is, go love the sinner but do so with an agenda (Matt 28.19).
My friend's message is that love is unconditional but he confused unconditional love with us not having a mission, i.e., an ultimate goal. He reinforced this wrong thinking by stating that we all have "junk in our lives" and spoke at length about sin in the church which he and Sakler (1) identified as hypocrisy and (2) as justifying homosexually as consistent with Christian living.
First, yes we have sin. Even as the redeemed, we sadly still sin. But we call it that. We do not embrace it and state that it is who we are - lashing out at those that dare call it sin. My friend infers this by calling it "junk". But the homosexual is not calling homosexuality "junk". They are saying it is ok. Why my friend misses this is beyond me.
Contrary to 1 Cor 6.9-10, my friend and Sakler believe there is nothing inconsistent with "being gay and having a relationship with Jesus." Sakler states that "no one can judge me except God" and that she is "saved by grace". God has already spoken on the matter in if she were saved by grace (which is the only way for all of us), then she would see that. She would read 1 Cor 6.11 as a promise not as "outmoded and out-of-context religious interpretations" used by fundamentalists to beat up others.
Second, it's interesting that they want to say that the homosexual "Christian" deserves kindness and understanding but the Christian struggling with some other sin is "hypocritical". So are these things sin or not? And is the person in sin struggling or hypocritical?
Finally, if I'm struggling with sin, it seems they would have me embrace it rather than speak out against it. Does that make me a hypocrite? Well, that depends on my heart. If I'm honestly wrestling to overcome and simply speaking God's truth on the matter, than no, I'm not. But they don't seem to see this.
Sakler proclaims in regard to her homosexuality, "I'm great with it and fine with it ... and God embraces me ... I'm the happiest that I've ever been." She throws out the Bible as a story that has and needs to change through the generations and accepts her 'story' as the truth - the error of the postmodern (although not new at all) mind.
I could go on but it's basically more of the same. Bottom line, I get - and respect - my friend's compassion. But I'm deeply concerned with his ultimate approach to this sin. In contrast, I also just read John Starke's An Open Letter to Adele: A Response to Queermergent. I found Starke most compassionate in that he spoke kindly yet upheld truth. To speak kindly at the cost of truth is not compassion, it is fear.
Starke challenges Sakler (and McLaren and Rollins) with, "We should not base our knowledge on what we can know but what God has made known to us.
In response to Sakler saying, "There were more important things in kingdom living than where we go after we pass from this world to the next, like poverty, AIDS, the environment, etc." Starke writes:
I believe you have made an "over-correction" to the Church's neglect of these social concerns. There are "other" important things in kingdom living like poverty, AIDS, etc, but the ultimate remedy to these things is the hope that we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not our efforts to remedy them in this life. Just the simple truth of "what does a man gain if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?" should speak loudly to this. If we look to remedy the poor and sick without remedying their sinful condition, we have only prolonged their suffering.
I agree with him. And I love his closing challenge:
Please repent and stop what you are doing and approving of at Queermergent. Consider the consequences of your practices and your hearty approval of the practices of others. You say, "About 2.5 years ago I FINALLY came to terms with my sexuality. I found peace with myself and with God." Finding peace with God is not coming to terms with yourself and concluding what is or is not acceptable in life. Finding peace with God is only found in the Gospel - the forgiveness of our sins through the cross of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). Please don't abandon the Gospel. The peace, reconciliation, love, and community you and others are blogging about at Queermergent can be found at local any YMCA or community center. The peace, reconciliation, love, and community you speak about is not Christian, because it is not centered around what God has done on our behalf. The hope for change from homosexuality and any sin in this life is not to (as you put it) "pray the gay away" or even making your best effort to be straight. But the hope for change is found in trusting in the power of the Gospel because it is the power of God.
I encourage my friend to continue in love but to add a balance of truth.