The Most Controversial Star Article Yet

I thank God for those of you who approached me in love and respect and disagreement over the public dissemination of the Star (Taste & See) article entitled “Missions and Masturbation”. And I am sorry if I put a stumbling block in anyone’s way or led anyone into sin or offended any truly Christian convictions.

Had I written this response last week while the anger of some was still burning so hot against me, I probably would have been far more ready to concede the impropriety of printing that article in the Star than I am now. People I love and respect thought it was a mistake. It may well have been.

But the feedback has taken a dramatic turn since those early blasts. And I have some reason to hope that the prophecy of one “older” member will in fact come true: It will help far more people than it offended. Another veteran of Bethlehem counseled, The truth often hurts; don’t withdraw anything you said.

At this point no one has given me any reason to think that anything I said in the article was untrue. But I am open to that as well. My aim was not to shock anyone, but to expose a great hindrance to obedience in the lives of many young people, and help them overcome it. And I do believe that shut-ins as well as the rest of us need to know what the battles are, so that we can all fight the fight of faith for each other.

I appreciate the tension that exists between the “unmentionableness” of some things on the one hand and the command to expose them on the other (Ephesians 5:11-13). There will always be disagreement, I suppose, about what should be left unmentioned. One person considers the article unfit for the mailman to see. Another takes it to work and shares it as a ministry to others in the shop. We will need a good deal of patience with each other here.

Again I am sorry if I caused anyone to stumble or if I brought reproach upon the church among your acquaintances. I hold no grudges against any. I pray that we will all be thrilled with the grace of God being poured out among us. Wonder of wonders, he really does intend to go up with us to the promised land!

Looking ahead amazed by grace,

Pastor John

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