In a recent Patheos blog, “Banned by Evangelical Booksellers,” Progressive Evangelical Branden Robertson laments that his book on LGBTQ inclusion within the evangelical community would not be published by his publisher Destiny House. The reason given was that Destiny House was having a difficult time selling the book to Christian distributors. But this is not the reason for this post. Rather, in his blog post defending LGBTQ relationships, he states the following, “There is a major problem within Evangelical Christianity and that problem is that many leaders within Evangelicalism have decided that the Gospel is not truly good news for everyone. For LGBTQ people, the Gospel is not that you are loved, forgiven, and accepted just as you are. Instead, the message is “get straight”, be celibate, or be damned.” Is this the gospel? You are accepted just as you are? The answer is no! The Gospel is about coming to God through Christ just as we are so that Christ can transform us into something different. What we as evangelicals call, “born again.” Born again implies newness, not staying the same. let me offer two biblical examples.
In Isaiah chapter 6, Isaiah, by means of a revelatory vision, is caught up to the throne of God. Immediately Isaiah is aware of something, his sinfulness. As a result, he cries, “woe is me, I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips (6:5).” Immediately an Angel comes to Isaiah placing a hot coal on his mouth cleansing his sin and removing his guilt. This story teaches two important truths; one, we are all guilty before God and in need of atonement. Two, when God cleanses us we are no longer impure and are called to a new life. The second example is in the Gospel of John. In chapter 3 Jesus is approached by a teacher of the Jews in the middle of the night. His name is Nicodemus. Jesus responds to Nicodemus by stating that no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he has been born again. The word used here has the sense of being regenerated, that is, becoming something new. So God does not accept us the way we are, he comes to us just as we are, cleanses us, and then tells us to “go and sin no more (Jn. 8:11). So it is not we who preach a “false Gospel,” rather it is Robertson and other like minded Progressive “evangelicals.”
But Robertson is not defeated, for he states: “I don’t know what the coming days hold. It is my hope that my book will find a new home at another publishing house. But more than that, I hope that God will continue to work to radically uproot and reform his Church on this issue. For me personally, this situation has stoked the flames of passion within me to continue working hard to change the hearts and minds of Evangelical Christians on the topic of LGBTQ inclusion and equality. This situation has stoked my passion for preaching again the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel that proclaims that the Kingdom of Heaven is in our midst and invites all people to join in it’s expansion. The Gospel that calls everyone without exception to the beautiful banquet table of our God. I am more committed than ever to giving my life to preach that Gospel. Because that’s truly good news.”
Therefore, let us also be vigilant for the pure and unadulterated gospel. The one preached by Jesus and His Apostles, the gospel that calls all men and women to be transformed.