Christian leader and seminary president John MacArthur, last seen ignorantly saying racism doesn’t exist in any “authentically evangelical church,” wants Christians to know that it’s okay if their religious views are offensive to outsiders. In fact, they should be offensive. If they’re not, then surely they’re doing Christianity wrong.
During an interview, author and conservative personality Ben Shapiro asked MacArthur how he addresses certain “difficult Scriptures,” pointing in particular to passages addressing homosexuality.
MacArthur, who is leader of Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, California, and president of The Master’s College and Seminary, said that while there’s “no getting around” the fact that the Bible clearly identifies homosexuality as a sin, it’s important to understand it’s “not some kind of sin that leads the parade and is separated by light years from all other sins.”
“The whole purpose of the Christian message is to confront the sinner’s sin so you can call the sinner to repentance and forgiveness,” he continued. “The sinner doesn’t like that.”
Acknowledging that such a perspective is considered offensive by today’s standards, the pastor asserted that his goal “is to offend everyone.”
The early church fathers would likely be surprised to learn that their faith is characterized by the issue of homosexuality: an issue that did not exist then in the way it does today, because the concept of sexual orientation was virtually unknown. In fact, the word “homosexuality” did not make its debut into the English language until the late 19th century and wasn’t used in Bibles until the 20th century. So homosexuality was only recently a hot-button issue among conservative Christians.
All that aside, I agree with MacArthur, to a degree. Christianity is offensive. It was offensive in Jesus’ day, not because it condemned certain behaviors and attitudes, but because of who it included in the Kingdom. One of the most scandalous aspects of Jesus’ ministry was the way he allowed “undesirables” to touch him and eat with him at his table — something that intentionally disrupted societal order.
By far the most scandalous aspect of the Gospel, which shows up time and again in Jesus’ parables, is that real power is found in weakness and poverty: the rich must sell their possessions and serve the poor among them in order to discover the Kingdom of God. More scandalous yet, the ones who rank last in importance on earth are the ones who will be first in heaven.
MacArthur may be scandalized to realize, then, that today’s analog for the Samaritans are the LGBTQ community.
(Screenshot via YouTube)