FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 17, number 25, June 28, 2018
“. . . and the Lord was angry with Israel.” -Numbers 25:3
Preaching at Pride Fest 2018
I had the privilege on Saturday, June 23, to preach the unfathomable riches of Christ at Pride Fest 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. A local television station reported that at least 300,000 took in the weekend festivities of music, games, and the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday morning which followed the inner faith worship service. Along with twenty or more brothers and sisters in Christ from two local Bible churches and nearby Baptist churches of the Reformed persuasion (no PCA folks joined us) we set up in three locations to preach, pass out gospel tracts, and to engage anyone in the gospel who showed interest.
I was not surprised at how vile and perverse the people were. There were several instances of frontal nudity, male and female both. Further, I was not surprised at how antagonistic and hateful the people were. We told them repeatedly that we were not there to protest anything or anyone, that we go to all sorts of big public venues like the Super Bowl, NCAA championship games, etc, that this is just another venue we use to proclaim Christ. Nonetheless, the resistance to the gospel and the unwillingness to take a gospel tract (there were some who listened and received a tract) was over the top.
However I was not prepared for the vast number of young people (at least 80 to 90 %) who were present. That was indeed shocking to me.
It is pretty clear that the millennial generation has bought into the notion that homosexuality is cool or at least should be accepted, that we have no right “to tell people what to do about sex”. The homosexual train has left the station, my friends. The younger generation has bought in big time. I am not saying, of course, that all millennials have bought in nor am I saying that all are actually engaging in homosexual perversion. Nonetheless it is generally accepted in their culture. “What’s the big deal?”, they ask.
It is always the case that we must live our lives by God’s infallible, inerrant, and inspired word, but an even stronger case for this must be made in light of the present infatuation with the perverse practice of homosexual intimacy. We all know homosexuals who are very nice neighbors and capable work associates. Your children in high school or college know homosexuals who do not want to bother anyone. They simply want to live the way they wish. Due to the normalization of perversion in our day, along with the growing belief in transgenderism, homosexual perversion is mainstream.
But what does the word say about sexual sin in general and homosexual sin in particular? In Numbers 25, after Balaam refused to curse the people of God, Balaam told Moabite King Balak that he might want to urge the Midianite women, who were now pagans, to seduce the sons of Israel (Numbers 31:16, 2 Peter 2:15, Revelation 2:14). That they did and twenty-four thousand people died from the plague, twenty-three thousand of them in one day (1 Cor.10:8). And while the leaders of Israel were standing by the tent of meeting, weeping and confessing their own sin, a Hebrew man came with a Midianite woman in broad day light, and entered the tent to engage in sexual perversion with the woman. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the priest, in holy indignation, entered the tent and ran both of them through with the spear, apparently while they were in the very act of their perversion, and thus stopped the judgment of God on the people.
We find also that Yahweh commanded His people to kill every man of Midian. Furthermore, all the boys were to be executed, along with the women who seduced the sons of Israel. They could keep the girls for themselves, meaning that since there would be no Midianite men to marry, the Israelites could do so when they became of marrying age.
God calls homosexuality an abomination (Leviticus 18:22). Yes, the heterosexual activity of adultery, fornication, pornography, and lust are all sin, and will send the unrepentant sinner to hell, but these are not as heinous as homosexuality. We know that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexual sin. Furthermore, Jude 7 says that Sodom and Gomorrah and the cites around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. God severely punishes homosexual sin. God severely punishes anyone’s sin, if they choose not to repent. The wrath of Almighty God is upon every unrepentant, unregenerate sinner, and the only thing keeping him out of hell this very moment is the mere good pleasure of God.
So, why was I preaching in St, Louis at the Pride Fest 2018 event? Why did my brothers and sisters in Christ spend their Saturday afternoon amidst such debauchery? After all, we knew most would not listen, that most would be antagonistic. We did so because we love God and His Son Jesus Christ, and we love sinners. We did so because Jesus died for sinners of all kinds—the moral ones, the religious ones, and yes, even the perverse ones. We told them that we believe in a big God and a big Savior and that that big God and big Savior can change anyone, forgive anyone. We know God’s word always accomplishes its purpose (Isaiah 55:11, 2 Cor.2:16). We know we are to preach even if no ones listens (Ezek.3:10,11).
But is this kind of preaching effective? Why not get to know homosexual neighbors and work associates and hopefully draw them to Christ over the long haul? That’s great. I have no problem with that at all. I pray and hope that you are befriending homosexuals whom God has brought into your life. Yes, by all means do so, and I hope your churches will pursue a truly Biblical ministry to homosexuals, and if you do please consider the best resource I know in this regard, Harvest USA, led by my friend John Freeman and Tim Geiger <harvestusa.org>.
God has always used the preaching of the word in the open air to get the truth out to as many people as possible. Note that the Old Testament prophets were open air preachers. So was Jesus and His apostles. Most of the recorded sermons in Acts were preached outdoors. Open air preaching has been going on for three thousand years. Some say, “Well, times have changed. People don’t like this sort of thing today. Friendship evangelism or one on one is the way to go.” My friends, people have never liked open air preaching. The prophets were killed for such preaching. Jesus’ preaching was hated by the religious leaders. Paul’s preaching at Ephesus resulted in a riot. Ditto his first missionary journey while preaching at Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe where he was beaten with rods, stoned, and left for dead. People mocked Whitefield when he preached in the open air, throwing human dung and dead cats at him.
I am happy for any kind of Biblical evangelism which seeks to reach the lost, including any kind of evangelistic efforts to reach homosexuals. Going to Pride Fest events to preach Christ crucified, not to protest, but to proclaim the excellencies of Him who can forgive, deliver, and transform anyone whom the Spirit regenerates, is still vital today, as it has always been.