Christianity -- Christian Living/spiritual TSA agents


Dear Barbara,

I do hope all is well with you, and compliments of the season!

My question today: what are spiritual TSA agents, please? What does TSA stand for?

Please see the following paragraph (from Christianity Today).
When someone from the LGBT community walks through the doors of the church, our approach is crucial. If our first thought is, Are you going to stop "that" and change? we become spiritual TSA agents. Hypocritical ones, too—erecting moral metal detectors and demanding people empty out certain banned sins before we let them fly.

It seems to be an important concept for the understanding of this article. This issue is highly relevant to the city my wife and I live in now.

Every blessing,


PS A lovely photo!

Dear Simon, Christmas Greetings to you and your family!  

Thank you also for your question.  The article you referenced is a little unbalanced, so even the knowledge that TSA in the United States stands for “Transportation Security Administration” might not make the article any more understandable from a truth perspective.  The TSA is responsible for making sure that people traveling will not be harmed by terrorists, so there is a screening process before the person is able to travel.

The author’s analogy is slanted for effect (as if homosexuals alone are terrorists) and is therefore a poor choice designed to highlight prejudice and cloud the truth with feelings of outrage.

Here’s the problem: In America and throughout the world, there are certain sins that people don’t want to acknowledge are sins.  The author’s first point (a valid one) is that we shouldn’t act as morality police, determining who can and who cannot ENTER a church for healing.  The author’s second point is that we should let people encounter Christ on their own terms and he hints that certain changes never need to happen.  One can have a “gay identity” as their Christian identity.  That is a completely false understanding of the Lordship of Christ.

I like Jesus’ own analogy better.  

Matthew 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

The doctor’s office: It’s there to treat sick people, those people who know they are, or suspect they may be sick.  
•   The doctor’s office is not there so sick people can contaminate other people in the waiting room by hanging out there all the time.  
•   The doctor’s office is not there so sick people can argue with the trained doctor about the narrowness of the doctor’s views of what defines sickness.  
•   The doctor’s office is not there so that sick people with their own ideas about healing can try to convince everyone in the waiting room to try alternative medicines they’re selling instead of what the doctor says.
•   The doctor’s office is not a place of debate.  It is a place to learn of the prescription for healing.

The doctor’s office has a physician.  The Church has the Great Physician, the Healer of everything spiritual.  Therefore, the Church can be a place of healing, but only when the sick person coming (as every human is) willingly acknowledges that the Physician knows what He’s doing.  Our job is to do what He prescribes.  That willingness must exist no matter what our sins are: doubt, idolatry, greed, sex-addiction, alcoholism, homosexual expression, out-of-wedlock heterosexual expression, etc.

The Church is not there so that “gay agendas” of redefining sin can
(1)   overtake a Christian agenda of personal holiness for all people,
(2)   diminish obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ,
(3)   redefine what is right and wrong from God’s perspective and spread that redefinition to others, or
(4)   to force others to capitulate their Christianity to the supremacy of the culture’s ideas.  

Plenty of churches have gone that route and are ordaining professing, practicing, and unabashed homosexuals whose gay lifestyle is displayed as normalized for all to see and to adopt as just another perfectly good cultural alternative.  Those churches might as well ordain professing, practicing, and unabashed sinners of other kinds (proud-to-be-armed robbers, self-professed tax cheats, unrepentant child abusers, publicly known sex traffickers, or those wolves in sheep’s clothing preaching that Jesus isn’t the Savior, the Way, the Truth or the Life, but divine caulk to make it possible for all people to march across the chasm from proud and unrepentant sinner to God’s holy presence for all eternity.)  

You see, once we make truth and morality relative, anything goes.  What many do not want to acknowledge is that someday we will all be judged according to God’s ideas of what personal holiness looks like, that’s the truth.

That’s why the Bible says:  Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism. 12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Our job is not to pass judgment, but it is also not to abandon God’s ideas of holiness.

People devalue obedience to the Lord Jesus and act as if they can just say, Lord, Lord, and not do what He says.  To that mistaken notion, God’s Word says this:  Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

So, to the author of the article, I would say, Let the sinners into the Church, one and all.  But then teach the sinners to obey God’s standard for holy living.

It’s hard living in a culture that everywhere in the world seems eager to deny God, but no matter where in the world we live, God’s Word applies.  And the same Word that tells us of our sickness, is the same Word that gives us hope of forgiveness and salvation.

I hope this helps.  It is good to hear from you as always.  
Blessings to you and your family.
In Christ, Barbara <><  

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Barbara Shafer


Barbara Shafer (Seminary Gal now also at ) I am an Evangelical Christian who is willing to answer faith questions in a thoughtful, researched manner. In particular, my heart`s desire is to assist those who need answers regarding suffering and those seeking to reconcile the Christian faith with the field of science.


I have a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I particularly enjoy apologetics (defense and explanation of the Christian faith) and systematic theology (understanding how the Bible itself supports various aspects of Christian doctrine). Both of these play a vital role in the "nuts and bolts" of evangelism... but the heart of Christian evangelism is love and compassion. A turning point for me was when I experienced the loss of my daughter Julia. Since then, my heart has been to help people who struggle to understand the Christian faith (and those who may be questioning the goodness of God) in light of the problem of evil and suffering. I've been informally answering Bible questions via other Internet avenues for over 10 years- to skeptics and believers alike. Thank you for blessing me with these opportunities.

Master of Divinity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

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