In the past several months, we have witnessed tremendous surges in the tides of cultural conflict between current, politically correct thinking and those who defend the Biblical definition of marriage.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 ESV).
Not only are courts battling it out, but also churches, church leaders and some entire denominations are caught up in this systemic typhoon with two very different-minded factions. One side claims to be “in step” with the times and proposes that they are in keeping of the “spirit” of the Law if not the “letter.”
The other claims that the Bible is authoritative for not only warm-fuzzy words of encouragement, but also for living life at large, even to the extent of shaping our society’s morals and laws.
The implications of this debate are astonishing. Indeed, it is evidence of the bottoming-out of our social conscience that it is even being debated at all in various government levels and certainly within “spiritual” organizations.
Please be aware that the Scriptures in the Bible very clearly describe certain kinds of sexual relationships as unacceptable … extra-marital, incestuous and others (see Leviticus 18:1-30) … not to mention homosexual (see Leviticus 18:22).
For those who say that such commandments were shaped by the moralities of the day in which they were written so that the prudishness of the people might be appeased, keep in mind that God gave these commandments to a people who had not yet really ever heard such teachings. Prior to the giving of these commandments and even as they migrated north through the Canaanitic tribes, they were surrounded by people who “saw nothing wrong with it.”
But the Lord had called them out of the immorality of the world to walk with Him in a new kind of life … characterized by His holiness.
For those who believe that such commandments were given at a time when God was still administrating Law and not His grace (and that, somehow, He just winks at it now as if it’s no big deal), consider that unrepentant homosexuality is described after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension as a sign of someone who is not interested in walking with God on God’s terms (see Romans 1:26-27) and has been given over to his natural mind. Truly, this is merely the bitter fruit of exchanging “the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:25).
Please let us understand the horrific implications here. What is really in question is the authority of the Bible: Is it or is it not God’s Word? If these passages can be cut out and said to be totally irrelevant to our society and individual needs, then the whole of Scripture has just been lost to us. If those passages are suddenly unreliable, the meaningfulness of all the rest of the Bible has been destroyed.
When we look at parts of it we don’t like and say, “That doesn’t really apply to our society today,” it is a terrible hypocrisy to then say, “Oh, the Bible is just so encouraging to me.” “Pick and Choose” theology is a poison that may spread slowly throughout the body of God’s church, but it is a poison nonetheless and it only brings death.
I am not personally a fan of controversy for the sake of controversy, but I am very interested in people knowing that God’s Word has relevance for them … for their spiritual destiny, for their present pilgrimage, for the relieving of the burden of their past and the bestowing of hope and freedom for their future. Because I am so interested in it, I seek to admonish people to take to heart what God has to say instead of dwelling in the camp of spiritual denial.
“Jesus loves me. This I know … for the Bible tells me so.” He gave His Son so that you and I could receive His gift of forgiveness and life through faith. He gave us His Word so that we might understand what it is He plans to accomplish in the world and in our lives.
If you or I dare to take pot-shots at parts of His message that “don’t fit the times,” we’re putting holes in the whole message and we’ve sacrificed our only hope on the altar of Self. And it doesn’t matter in the end what a human judge says about the matter when the Judge of All will hold us accountable for believing His Word and obeying it.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV).
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.