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Recently I was listening to a podcast of a nationally syndicated Christian radio program. The host, for whom I have no small amount of respect, was discussing the recent developments in the PCUSA and Anglican churches. If you did not know, these churches are apostatizing over matters of gender and Christian marriage.

This host asked when one knows whether to stay leave a denomination that openly condones moral behavior outside the parameters of traditional Christian (i.e., biblical) conduct. Many of the callers to this show echoed the sentiment that a denomination’s affirmation of sodomite activity was good cause to leave that church or communion. The host repeated often how much he found these questions “interesting” and “fascinating,” that he was after an “intelligent” answer to the question. He gave little pointers here and there of his tendency, but nevertheless avoided articulating an answer to the question. In fairness to the host, perhaps he did not consider it his responsibility to tell all his listeners what to do; it certainly seemed like he believed that in the cases outlined above, leaving the denomination was necessary.

What strikes me more than anything else is that this matter of gender confusion, the tolerance of and even ordination of openly unrepentant sodomites, is what finally warrants separation. The host of the radio program himself admitted that doctrinal deviance would have surely preceded a high-handed denial of biblical Christian morality. But the “straw that the breaks the camel’s back” in this instance is not the denial of justification by faith, not the denial that the Scriptures are without error, nor the denial of the substitutionary atonement of our Lord. It was not even the denial of our omniscient God’s knowledge of future events that ignites the fury of Christians. It took female bishops and a condoning of immoral acts. And surely such an ardent rebellion against God’s righteous law deserves the fury of Christians; do not get me wrong. I am struck that these matters of the ordination of crooked clergy and the church’s condoning of certain actions that God has promised to judge are more significant to people that the very doctrines that have presumptively saved them. This is what is being communicated (to me, at least) when the accidentals connected with the current controversy are able to incite action that mere doctrinal deviance did not. Somehow Christian unity was there was the gospel was being denied, but, once certain mores were denied, that unity was no longer there. I believe the moral outrage should have come a long time ago. And it is a sad indictment that it did not.

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