The article below is taken from a comment on the blog in Feb 2016.
On Sunday, the 31st of January 2016, Greg preached that gossiping is as sinful as living in a Homosexual relationship or watching Pornography. Greg said, “gossip is as bad a sin, if not worse than any other sin.”
Greg said in God’s eyes every sin is the same and he questioned the church why we hate homosexuals but not the gossipers and why we condemn pornography but love to gossip.
To answer Greg’s question, some of us don’t hate homosexuals, maybe Greg does; but if God’s word says that homosexuality is an abomination, to disagree with the Bible, would be to disagree with God. Irrespective of what Greg (or the world) says, we rather agree with God; for to do otherwise is idolatry and promoting idolatry is the seriousness of Greg’s error that Sunday morning. If someone we loved were living in a homosexual relationship, not to tell them that God loves them and wants them to repent from their sinful lifestyle, would be the sin against them and God.
According to Greg, all sins are the same, and God hates each sin equally. Greg’s statements are true is some sense, but it is very subtle, very poisonous and very wrong in the sense that Greg presented it. He claimed that in the same verse where God condemns homosexuality as an abominable sin, ‘gossip’ is also there. For Greg that settled it, “gossip is as bad as any other sin.” Greg did not quote the verse, so we don’t know for sure which verse he is referring to, again showing his lack of preparation. We can only guess that he may have been thinking about one of the following verses.
16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to 1 Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
But there is no mention of homosexuality in the above passage, so Greg cannot be referring to that verse. It’s more probable that Greg was referring to the 1 Corinthians 6 passage. Let study the passage and understand what apostle Paul was teaching the believers in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 6: 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! (*Remember who wanted to do that? Greg did!*) 7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men; 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Paul admonishes the Corinthians believers for taking fellow Christians to court. He then reminds them of their sinful past and teaches them about the seriousness of continuing to live in sin. Living in sin is very different from falling in sin. We will continue to fall in sin till the day we die, but living is sin is different, it is a blatant rebellion and rejection of God, His Word and it is idolatry. Living in a homosexual relationship is ‘living in sin.’ This is the distinction that Greg failed to understand.
Greg equivocated on the word “Gossip” to mean slander. At one point, he implied that anyone who talks about him is gossiping, regardless of whether it’s about his misapplication of Bible verses or his spending significant amount of church’s money on trivial things.
Is Slander the same as Gossip?
According to Greg, it is; but slander is spreading lies with the intent to destroy someone’s reputation; gossip is repeating a matter – not necessarily with evil intent.
Gossip: idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others
Slander: A malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report.
As defined by Dictionary.com
Is gossip good? No, it’s not; but clearly, the two are different words with different meanings. If Greg categorises any repetition or discussion about what he does or preaches as “gossip”, then that very act of repeating what others are doing falls into the category of gossip. So in expanding the meaning of gossip to include talking about anyone and in condemning it, Greg condemns himself, because he was also repeating what others were doing and so by his definition, he is a chronic indulgent gossiper. To extend it still, he is the same as a homosexual or a porn addict (since these ‘sins’ are all the same to him.) Should people then refer to him as the ‘chronic gossiping pornography loving homosexual pastor’?
If gossip was done with an evil intent, even if the matter spoken about is true, then we can agree that it is a sin, but if what happened to a person is used as an example to teach or admonish someone else or if we repeat a matter out of concern to pray for a person, then it is not sin. It is much like wearing clothes; it can be done modestly or immodestly; while we all wear clothes, some could wear provocative clothes with wrong intentions which cause someone to fall in sin, making the immodesty a sin. Just as gossip when carried out with evil intent and mixed with lies, becomes slander, which is, of course, a sin. But is gossip a sin as grave as sexual sins such as adultery or homosexuality? Let’s continue reading the passage that Greg (most probably) was referring to.
1 Corinthians 6: 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[b] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.
What are the dangers of preaching that sexual sins are the same as gossiping? In his false comparison, Greg lessened a grave sin to a common act, and he changed a usually innocent common act into a grave sin. He equivocated on the meaning of gossip to mean slander, condemning the people who are openly talking about his shallow understanding of God’s Word. He allowed for the youth to excuse themselves and take (sexual) sins lightly. The reasoning and justification that would be held in a young person’s mind could go along the lines of, “Well, if my pastor or my parents gossips and that is same as fornicating, then it’s alright to fornicate.”
Could we trust a pastor who justifies porn addiction, a terrible sin which is ruining marriages all over the world? Can we trust a pastor who seems to be openly promoting the LGBT agenda?
Are all sins the same?
If Greg had said that God hates all sin, he’d be right. God hates all sin because God is Holy. It is the only attribute of God that the Bible describes in the extreme superlative – Holy, Holy, Holy. This means that any sin will warrant a banishment from God’s presence or in other words, each sinner deserves to go to Hell. But does God institute different punishments for different sins? In other words, does God categorise sin and punish various types of sins with varying severities? He absolutely does! God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for gossiping! As far as the Bible tells us they were destroyed for their perversion of what God created – i.e. the perversion of physical union between a man and a woman which was allowed only under the banner of marriage. The very word ‘Sodomy’ is taken from behaviour that’s associated with the people of Sodom. Bible Historian also tells us that Sodom was also known child sacrifices. Does this not tell us that life and sexuality as God created and intended it is sacred and violation of it more abhorrent than some other sins? The Bible even tells us that there is a sin that does not lead to death. 1 John 5:17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
Thus, differentiating between the gravity and types of sins.
If we study the Old Testament, we see there are different degrees of punishments for different sins and offences. We see that for some offences, the punishment is death while for others, it’s just a monetary penalty.
And in the final judgement, we know that we will be rewarded or punished according to what we have done.
Revelation 20: 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
Let’s examine what Christ has to say on the matter.
Luke 12:47-48, “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, 48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
As we can see, Jesus taught that there are degrees of sin.
So, why would Greg preach that pornography and homosexuality is a sin as grave as gossiping? Is it a justification of his weakness or someone he knows – whatever be his reasons, it compromises God’s Word, and it compromises the church. It also has huge implications on current political issues. The church is meant to be a light to the world; we are meant to show the world the right way, even at the cost of persecution. ‘Same-sex marriage’ is possibly the most contentious issue at the moment. Many politicians have a stronger biblical stance than Greg and are courageously speaking up against such lifestyle. We should not allow for the pastor to create an excuse for sin and make light of God’s Word.
Greg has crossed many lines in the past, and with the passage of time he is getting bolder and revealing more of how compromised he is; but creating a back door and justifying homosexuality and pornography is just unacceptable for any Christian, much less a pastor.
Shame on him and shame on the leadership for standing by him as he leads the church down a path of destruction!