Sammy Rhodes: Stop Genuflecting And Preach the Gospel

It’s really hard to see a fellow brother in the LORD, Sammy Rhodes, genuflecting all over himself about the tragedy in Orlando. Rhodes is a fellow PCA pastor for RUF at the University of South Carolina.  He goes to great pains to “confess his sin” of not doing enough for the LGBTQ crowd, as if, somehow he and all of Christendom, are really guilty for what happened in Orlando. It seems Mr. Rhodes is only a few steps away from abandoning all principles of the gospel in order to openly embrace gays, their lifestyle, and all that they want.

The sad reality in his words, besides giving himself over to emotionalism, is that it sounds like he is abandoning the one actual tool he has at his disposal for reaching the LGBTQ crowd: preaching the gospel. All other attempts are nothing but window dressings in the Twin Towers.

In the wake of the Orlando shooting (which doesn’t feel like a strong enough word), amidst the shock and grief of how broken the world can be, one thought particularly convicted me. Honestly it was a tweet from author and lesbian Támara Lunardo: “Straight friends, especially you Christians, please know: We hear your silence so loud.”

I’ve been part of that silence. I’ve (often) cared more about my theology appearing “correct” and orthodox than I have about loving millions of LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

This is my attempt at an apology. I’m speaking mainly for myself, although I hope I’m not alone.

Please forgive us that it took Orlando to open our eyes to the pain we’ve caused by our silence and indifference. Our eyes should have been opened so much sooner.

He starts out making an apology for himself, then quickly includes “us.” I really don’t wish to be a part of this, for it buys into the premise that what took place in the Orlando night club last week, is “our” fault. It is not our fault. It is the shooter’s fault and the religion he follows. We are not responsible for the actions of this Muslim, or any other Muslims’ endeavors into terrorism. They are responsible for their own actions.

As for Mr. Rhodes eyes being open, maybe that is a good thing. Islam has only been killing gays for the last 1,000 years or so, along with Christians, and Jews, and anyone else who hasn’t bowed the knee to their false religion.

Please forgive us for not standing with you against the evil of hate. As if somehow you deserved that hate.

How do you propose doing that Mr. Rhodes? And exactly how are gays standing against hate? Haven’t you noticed the rash of attacks on Christians by gays, either in bakeries, photography establishments, or other areas occupied by Christians? Haven’t you noticed their hatred toward us because we dare to preach God’s word? Haven’t you noticed the vitriol against those who stand for the faith like the owners of Chick Fil-A and Hobby Lobby? Exactly how is the LGBTQ crowd standing against hate Mr. Rhodes? Please, tell us.

Remember, the aroma of what we are. To them, we are the aroma of death. They don’t exactly want us hanging around because the Spirit convicts them of their sin. We don’t have to say a word.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

Given this truth, are you saying we should punt who we are so we can band together with the sinner? And are you willing to actually share the gospel with them? Or do you just want to stand with them symbolically, kind of like you are standing with your theology, symbolically. If so, let me ask you this, what fellowship does light have with darkness?

I wish you would have stopped there, but you don’t. You continue on in your emotional, but thoughtless and theologically devoid blather.

Please forgive us for not supporting you in the face of injustice and inequality, not just as fellow Americans, but as fellow image bearers of God. We’ve worshipped our own comfort and rightness more than we’ve loved you.

This really reveals your hand. We should not be seeking equality for gays. We should be seeking their repentance from this wicked lifestyle, which is sinful, an abomination to God. So standing with them, and supporting them, is only affirming them in their sin. Remember, you took vows to preach the gospel, uphold the Westminster Confession of Faith, and nowhere are you called upon to stand with sinners in a fight for equality so that they remain in their sin.

Mr. Rhodes, you really need to think about what you are saying in this post, and repent of it’s thoughtlessness. I’m really quite surprised that you are an RUF minister, leading our college students in the gospel. Do you truly believe in the gospel? If you did, then you would think more clearly about what your are saying. I know you may be crushed at the death of the 49 people in that bar in Orlando. It is a sad event. But to make Christians, your brothers and sisters, the Bride of Christ, out to be the ones who are wrong, is clearly misguided. Then to say that you are sorry for not standing with the LGBTQ crowd in solidarity in their fight to be treated equally is really not your calling. We don’t want them to stay gay. We want them to repent, believe, and be saved.

Please forgive us for all the jokes and opinions so arrogantly spoken, making you undoubtedly feel less human and more alone. We’ve been so careless with our words.

Well, maybe you have been careless. Maybe you have joked about the gay lifestyle. But remember, the jokes about the gay lifestyle were part of Hollywood’s plan to make the gay life acceptable to us. Remember Friends? Ross was divorced because his first wife decided she was a lesbian. It was part of the gay agenda, used to make homosexuality more acceptable and mainstream. So put the blame where it belongs, in Hollywood, not on the Bride of Christ.

Please forgive us for talking at you more than listening to you. For hiding our tragic lack of humility behind the Bible. For being more like Job’s counselors than anything resembling Jesus.

Again, your assumptions are far off base. As those called to preach the gospel, we are to listen to His word, not the words of sinners. We don’t seek their counsel (remember Psalm 1). Our calling is to preach the word and pray that God gives them ears to hear. We are not called to sit and listen to them complain about how we won’t accept them in their depravity. What parent ever puts up with that kind of thinking when dealing with children? Sorry I disciplined you for stealing, son. I guess I just need to listen to you better in your excuses for stealing.

Remember Mr. Rhodes, the Bible actually condemns homosexuality. We are not called to listen to the sinner give excuses about their sinfulness, but are called to call them to repentance. Do you remember that repentance?

I really can’t cover every one of your errors, Mr. Rhodes. Your words are insulting, thoughtless, and careless, but I will allow your last words to close out this post:

I know these words fall short. But my hope is they could be something like the starting place of repentance, at least for me. Come Lord Jesus. 

Yes, you are correct. You need to begin in repentance, but not for the reasons you state. You need to repent for your betrayal of the gospel. You might want to start there and quit acting like the church hasn’t done enough to make sinners feel welcome in their sin.

UPDATE: For further reading, Carl Trueman weighs in with Zero Sum Game: What Is An Apology? Key Quote:

There is much to commend. It is good that he is apparently abandoning his habit of telling anti-gay jokes and of quietly using pornography – at least, that seems to be the only fair reading of an apology offered ‘mainly for myself.’ Most of us, I hope, did not need Orlando to help us stop doing those things. I would suggest it is also appropriate to confess such things to his congregation, elders, and presbytery too. If he is really speaking mainly for himself, that is.

That should help us understand how absurd Mr. Rhodes post truly is.

SECOND UPDATE: Reformed University Fellowship, the college ministry organization of the Presbyterian Church in America, to which Mr. Rhodes belongs to, put forth this statement yesterday in an attempt to distance themselves from Mr. Rhodes statements:

“Reformed University Fellowship joins with the wider church and world in grief and shock over the events in Orlando, Florida. The murder of 49 people by a man inspired by hate and moved to terror is tragic. We mourn over the loss of lives and grieve with their families and loved ones. We also recognize the shooter targeted the LGBT community as focus of his hate. We reject that hate and intend to do all we can to not only mourn with them but to extend every amount of love and sympathy to the LGBT community.

We expect all our Campus Ministers as compelled by the love of Christ to model this in their life and work.

As a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America we also maintain without reservation the church’s position on sexuality. Specifically that the biblical standard of sexual ethics is fidelity within heterosexual marriage or chastity outside of such a marriage. And in bringing the whole counsel of God to students on campus, this biblical ethic is clearly taught and practiced.

We expect all our Campus Ministers as compelled by the same love of Christ, and as a matter of integrity and fidelity, to assert, maintain and defend this view.”

I’m glad they have taken some sort of stand.

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8 thoughts on “Sammy Rhodes: Stop Genuflecting And Preach the Gospel

  1. Wow. You absolutely nailed it again. It’s bad enough when unbelievers assign blame for the shooting to us, instead of the Islamic terrorist who did it, but when a fellow believer does the same…shame on him.

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  2. This seems so typical nowadays. I personally think that such genuflecting is based on one’s perspective and reveals a lack of faith. Consider this: Were the fifty lives in that night-club more precious in Rhodes’ sight than the thousands killed in the womb on that same day? I think not, but for Rhodes it would seem so. But what’s the difference between the babies killed and the bar patrons? I think all those who are quick to run to the microphone and vomit their displeasure owe us all an answer to that one question; what’s the difference… I mean besides the murder of the babies being legal and all? And I think I know the difference, and it can be found in Revelation 12:10:

    And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

    The accuser of the brothers accuses day and night. What does he accuse us of? Hatred of gays for one. So it depends on who one is listening to how they respond. If one listens to those who are dead in their sins, who are following the course of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, well then he’s going to hear accusations. That’s all he’s ever going to hear.

    So what do they do in response to these accusations? They begin to preach a different Gospel that goes something like this: “We’re not really like that!!” But such sermons fall on deaf ears, not because we are really like that, but rather because we’re worse than all “that”. (Matthew 5-7) But our response ought not ever to be to apologize in the face of disasters, but rather to look to our Master and do what he did. And he gives us a great example:

    And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    Jesus gave us two examples here. One seemingly random thing, like say a flood or tornado, and one which was an act of evil, like say a Muslim shooting up a crowded joint. Jesus dosen’t wring his hands over the matter. His response is the Gospel. “You Repent!”.

    I think it takes a lot of faith to live in this time and respond in such ways. It takes no faith at all to express anguish with those who are anguishing, a thing by the way that I think we ought to do. But it does take faith to express your anguish over that which Satan loves, like the millions of babies butchered and sold for parts; or a culture that votes for such things to continue happening. I anguish every day over the state of things, the legalized murder, the destruction of the family, and preachers like this who’s ears seem more inclined to Satan’s accusations than God’s Word..

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  3. Kudos Danny. Well said. And I’m glad you used the Siloam passage. I did in my initial response to the article on FB. But forgot in my displeasure with Mr. Rhodes.

    Btw,, RUF has issued as statement in response to Rhodes post. They are trying to distance themselves from him.

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