Thanks to Julie Roys of Moody Radio and WMBI in Chicago for her gracious words in this audio commentary today about the dual missions of Christians on the homosexual issue: ministry and truth-telling. The original conversation on Moody Radio to which Roys refers occurred April 15 on WMBI’s popular morning show. Morning host Mark Elfstrand interviewed Andrew Marin of the Marin Foundation and Moody Bible Institute Professor of Urban Studies John Fuder about their shared ministry of “immersion” evangelism in Chicago’s “Boystown” homosexual neighborhood; LaBarbera called into the program.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Andy Marin and Peter LaBarbera. They’re two very different men pursuing two very different missions. But both serve the same God.
Andy Marin serves as president of the Marin Foundation; Peter LaBarbera, as president of Americans for Truth. The Marin Foundation builds bridges with the gay and lesbian community. Americans for Truth erects fences to contain the influence of that community. Some may see them as opponents. But in reality, Marin and LaBarbera simply represent two sides of the same coin. Marin emphasizes God’s love; LaBarbera stresses God’s truth. But both do God’s work.
Fortunately, LaBarbera and Marin understand this reality and don’t fall into the opposition mentality that plagues so many believers. Too often, Christians with such divergent calls fail to see they’re on the same team. They’re like an offense unable to see that the points their defense prevents matter every bit as much as the points their offense scores.
Marin and LaBarbera, however, demonstrated remarkable maturity during a segment on the Morning Program last week. Marin was discussing his ministry to gays when LaBarbera called in. Some might expect LaBarbera – given the antipathy gay activists express towards his work – to chide Marin for cavorting with the enemy.
But LaBarbera rightly understands that his struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil. Gay activists are not our enemies. They’re victims of the evil one – deceived and in need of the same redemption God’s granted every believer. That’s why LaBarbera could bless Marin’s work. And he could thank God that Marin is engaging people in spiritual discussions who otherwise never would talk to a born-again believer.
Similarly, Marin praised LaBarbera for his work, reminding listeners that this defender of truth – quote – “takes the bullet for all of us.” Understandably, LaBarbera may make Marin’s work more difficult. By opposing the gay agenda in politics and schools, he’s angered many gays and lesbians and possibly made them more resistant to the gospel. But Marin rightly understands that Christians can’t remain silent while the culture capitulates to Satan’s schemes. For the sake of the family and our children, we must fight for decency.
LaBarbera functions as a soldier for God’s kingdom and Marin, as an ambassador. And fortunately, neither goes to unbiblical extremes while pursuing his particular call. LaBarbera refrains from nasty rhetoric and tempers his arguments with civility. And Marin, while expressing God’s love for gays, continues to call homosexual acts sin.
Certainly, gays may reject one and embrace the other. But Christ followers should support them both. For Moody Radio, I’m Julie Roys.
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