Late Sunday morning June 12, my wife asked me if I had heard about the Orlando terrorist massacre. I hadn’t.
Over the next 48-hours I heard almost everything that could possibly be said about it, including a statement by the North American president of my own church. At best, the statement was a well-meaning but puzzling contradiction in terms and at worst it was a social justice campaign for the ideological legitimacy of LGBT tribalism. You decide.
Donning copyeditor hat . . . From an editorial perspective using the word “hate” five times in 230 words is overworked. Though I agreed with the first usage of it, I thought the second usage was grammatically redundant and came off as staccato. My opinion. If your opinion is better—just go with that. The statement also claims to speak for the North American total of Adventism, so if that includes you, listen up. Here is what you are saying:
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America is heartbroken as we mourn the loss of innocent lives in the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. We extend our deepest condolences and prayers for the 50 people killed, the 53 wounded, their families, loved ones, and friends. We also pray for the community of Orlando and the heartache and sadness they are experiencing as a result of this tragedy.
“We strongly denounce the hate that led to this mass shooting. This type of senseless violence has no place in this country or in this world. It is appalling that these lives were tragically cut short because of hate. We pray that God’s love will comfort and console the victims’ loved ones whose lives have become a nightmare overnight.
“As Christians, we strongly believe that hate, for anyone, brother, sister, friend or enemy, comes not from God, but from the father of evil himself, the devil. We must condemn all expressions of hate, from speech to deadly violence. All of the women, children, and men in this world, regardless of whether they worship, live, or love like us, are children of God.
“We are assured that, in the end, love will win. We know that one day hate and evil will be no more. Until that day, we will continue to pray that communities in this world can live their lives without fear.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13, NIV).
While I applaud the statement for decrying violence and its lamentation of evil, Jackson lacks the resolve to identify Islamic terrorism as Omar Mateen’s motivation for massacre. Furthermore, in the last paragraph he includes “speech” as an expression of hatred. Caution: In the political-correct leftist world, Bible truth is hate speech, but not Imams crying for blood and death. Decrying “hate speech” while overlooking the Islamic aspect of this massacre is political-correctness walking among the corpses of obvious truth. Not good, or wise—giving the times we are in.
Identifying the shooting victims as “children of God” in the last paragraph fails to make a necessary distinction. We should have compassion for every human, respecting the image of God stamped upon their existence. In the process, we must also acknowledge that adoption into the family of God is from wrath to grace (Ephesians 2:3), and from unrighteousness to righteousness (1 John 3:7-10). That realization motivates us to rebuke the confusion of sin and to mourn when opportunities for repentance are cut short by murder.
We must not assess people falsely. We are not to condemn people to hell, and we are not to eulogize them into heaven either. Both are a miscarriage of judgment! The Word identifies only those who individually choose to be governed by God as the “Children of God” and further describes them as “doing righteousness” (Romans 9:8; 1 John 3:10). All people are candidates for the kingdom, but not all are the “children of God.”
Lastly, and possibly most troubling is the statement “or love like us.” This is a common term used by those who see homosexuality as genetically fixed, or as an acceptable alternative to biblical sexuality. It is likely (giving the context) that Dan Jackson is referring to the LGBT consortium and the unnatural “love” that defines them (Romans 1:26-29; Jude 7). If he is identifying these deviant lifestyle individuals as children of God, tremendous disservice is done to the cause of Christ and to the work of the Advent Message. An even greater disservice is done to captive homosexuals desperate for truth to be spoken in love.
We may call it many things but we cannot in good conscience call it love. Deviant “love” is not love at all, but a deconstructed substitute. Moral deviancy wounds people at their inner core—their heart. Thus damaged, their spirits can only choose between two roads. The road of repentance & freedom, or the road of axiological rebellion & destruction. Do we love them enough to help them find restoration beside us in the Great Controversy? Advent Christians will either be a bulwark against political correctness or we will adopt it as our own, banishing truth to the darkened dungeon of capitulation—replacing it with a note that reads “I’m Sorry Our Bible Said Such Mean Things.”
Our job is not completed until sitting beside us in church worship are ex-LGBT’s who entered through the same door that we did. That door is marked “Repentance, Freedom, and Victory.”
“He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor” (Proverbs 21:21).