It still surprises me

Martin Luther identified a theologian of the cross as one who calls a thing what it is.

That sort of clarity seems to be in short supply in the church today. Love for God's truth seems to have been replaced by love for a certain aesthetic of niceness. Indeed, speaking with clarity is downright mean-spirited and ungracious. Our standards for evangelical politeness would keep the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus himself from being welcomed into many of our churches. They simply spoke too clearly, too directly. They identified sin with un-nuanced language. They pointed their fingers directly at transgressors and called them to account. There were prophets who openly mocked the gods of the pagans. They named the sins of God's people and warned them of coming judgment. Jesus described some of his opponents with terms like "vipers" and "white washed tombs full of dead men's bones." He warned of hell more than anyone else in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul named men whom the church should avoid and even remove from fellowship. He used quite colorful language at times. He once invited the Judaizers in Galatia to castrate themselves. Such clarity and sanctified anger is all but absent from the contemporary church.

I'm certainly not pointing this out because I want to tell people to do what Paul told the Judaizers to do. I'm not itching to call anyone a viper. And yet, see what happens when a pastor writes a simple blog post calling for grace and shelter for those who struggle with same sex attraction but clarity on the sinfulness of homosexual acts. He is excoriated by some for being ungracious. Perhaps I am naïve but that sort of thing surprises me when it comes from fellow Christians. Being criticized for affirming what the Bible says by unbelievers? Sure. But to be called ungracious by Christians for affirming the testimony of God's Word and that which Christians have believed for 2,000 years? It still surprises me.

I believe Michael Horton explains well the prevailing sentiment which guides much of American evangelicalism...