What about mutual respect and tolerance?!

What about mutual respect and tolerance?! 2015/07/04

by Dr. Isak Burger

The legalization of gay-marriages for the whole of America has been in the spotlight during the recent past. South Africa had of course gone this way almost 9 years ago.

While the majority of Christian denominations as well as some other religious groups and traditional communities in South Africa hold a view contrary to same-sex “marriage”, they were relatively undisturbed when the Civil Unions Act was enacted in November 2006.

Not so with individual Christians. There have been and currently are several cases before the courts and with the Human Rights Commission filed against local churches, Christian ministries, colleges and businesses because of alleged discrimination against gay persons.

The unconditional acceptance of gay persons and their lifestyle has become the most politically correct stance in the West today. Anyone who is not in agreement or maintains a different position based on their Biblical convictions is labelled “homophobic”, bigots, right wing fundamentalists and narrow-minded. Pitifully, valuing diversity and tolerance, both characteristics of an open and democratic society, is not reflected by such unfounded accusations.

The AFM maintains that all people have the common qualities that make them humans and in that sense, are equal. God loves all people and all are made in His image and are worthy of dignity and respect. Every citizen also has an equal right to freedom. But not a freedom that allows people to do anything they want, nor can freedom for some mean limiting the freedom of others.

Freedom of thought, opinion, conscience and religion is every citizen’s right. And for this reason, we have a reasonable expectation that the Biblical convictions and values of the Christian Church including individual believers must be respected.

However, a tendency seems to exist amongst the gay-community to be intolerant of the Church. There is a high level of intolerance of people who confess they once were gay but are now delivered and healed by God – in some cases for many years. Sadly, alternatives to LGBTI orientations are interpreted as “harassment” and “hate” against gays, even though the individuals seeking healing from unwanted same-sex attractions are merely exercising their freedom to reaffirm their gender.

A UCT student, Zizipho Pae was recently suspended from the SRC for merely expressing her Biblical beliefs on the US Supreme Court ruling on her personal Facebook page. She was threatened, abused and called the most despicable hateful and vile names by gay activists for exercising her freedom of speech. Her SRC office was trashed and Scriptures on her walls ripped up. Gay activists occupied her office and photographed themselves semi-naked and in lewd poses. They also called her scholarship funders and demanded they stop funding her studies. Incredibly, these are the same people demanding tolerance, equality and respect.

While we recognize every person’s individual autonomy in regard to sexual choices, we maintain the view that not a single Scripture in the Bible endorses the gay-lifestyle. If others are comfortable with ignoring the Scriptures, so be it! But as far as the AFM is concerned, we have to bow before the will of God as revealed in Scripture. We consider this more important than being politically correct. If need be, we will take the stand of Martin Luther – “our conscience is subordinate to the Word of God, we cannot do different, so help us God.”

The mainstream media including editors and journalists must refrain from imposing a liberal and “politically correct” viewpoint on the Church. The Church is guided by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit and not by the opinions of those in the media who often are ignorant of the Scriptures.

Realizing that there are some of our own members who have to deal with a gay inclination, we are not unsympathetic and insensitive towards people experiencing same-sex attractions. We do, however, believe there is hope and victory in Jesus Christ for everybody. We pray God will give us the wisdom to address these issues with the dignity, love and respect it deserves.

For more information contact:

Dr. Isak Burger
President
Apostolic Faith Mission
afmgs@mweb.co.za
Cell: 0832298906

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