Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You have to take a stand

If Jesus is the eternal God (and He is—just as much God as the Father is God and the Holy Spirit is God), and if the 66 books which comprise the Bible are the written word of God (and Scripture is, indeed, the authoritative written word of God), then what the Bible says, Jesus also says. It is a critical error to place the New Testament quotes of Jesus (the words in “red”) in opposition to the rest of Scripture. It’s all His word!

I’m not surprised or overly concerned when non-Christians make the error of separating Christ from, or setting Him in opposition to, His written word. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice…and they follow me” (John 10:27). Not being among Christ’s sheep, of course non-Christians don’t recognize or hear Christ’s voice, let alone feel any compulsion to obey. And they certainly have no problem disobeying! That’s to be expected. But, when professed Christians buy into the fallacious arguments of pagans and ride loose with Scripture, something’s seriously wrong with these professed Christians!

So, Scripture is the word of God (it is also the word of Christ, because Christ is God; and it is the word of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is God). Because Scripture is God’s word (and, notice, I didn’t say it “contains” God’s word, for the entirety of Scripture is God’s word), it carries God’s authority. I can’t say it any better than this quote:

“The first thing to realize is that God’s Word is an extension of God Himself. To hear His words that comprise the whole Bible is to hear Him. To obey His words is to obey Him. To ignore His words is to ignore Him. God ‘invests’ Himself in His words, as Timothy Ward puts it. That is, God so identifies Himself with His words that our response to His words is our response to Him.”

—Jonathan Leeman, Reverberation: How God’s word brings light, freedom, and action to His people (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2011), p. 48.

Or, again, as Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). If you or I don’t (or won’t) follow or obey Jesus—which is synonymous with following or obeying His written word, which is Scripture—then we are not one of His sheep. This is what Jesus said! If Jesus is Lord (and He most certainly is!), then His sheep/followers—i.e., Christians—are obligated to follow Him. That means all our opinions, ideas, feelings, sentiments, desires, thoughts, urges, likes, wants and “felt needs” must bow in deference to the authority of the word of Christ, which is Scripture—all of Scripture. When it comes to God, there are no such things as “rights”. Jesus is Lord! And His people submit to His word.

So, what’s my point? It is this: Some profess faith in Christ who, nevertheless, are all-too-willing to throw the word of Christ (Scripture) under the bus when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. But we cannot do that—and I don’t believe we will do that—if Jesus Christ is truly our Lord. There’s more to being a Christian than just saying you’re a Christian. Those who have placed themselves under the Lordship of Christ have also submitted their views and ideas (and sexuality) to the authority of His written word.

Scripture, being the word of God, bears God’s authority. The heart of the issue is that those who want to justify sin (whether homosexuality or any other sin) are loathe to submit to the authority of Scripture. That’s why those who are busy trying to force acceptance of homosexuality and legalize so-called “gay marriage” are also busy working to undermine the authority of Scripture. Here’s an example I came across just this week:

“Clearly, there are a few Bible verses that involve same-sex acts…but given the modern advent of recognizing the existence of sexual orientation, we must accept the reality that the writers of those verses were in no way trying to, let alone capable of, acknowledging, understanding and addressing homosexual orientation.”

Notice the condescending attitude of this writer (who happens to be a seminary-educated, ordained minister within an old-line Protestant denomination). Does not God know all things? And even if the men who wrote Scripture in themselves “were in no way trying to, let alone capable of, acknowledging, understanding and addressing homosexual orientation,” would not the God who inspired their writings, who guided their minds in the act of writing (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21), have full knowledge of all things?

Those who seek to undermine the authority of Scripture love to say that Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality, therefore He was/is not concerned about the issue at all. In saying this (and in believing it), they reveal their ignorance of both the divine nature of Scripture and the divine nature of Christ. For if homosexuality is addressed in Scripture at all, then Jesus has addressed the issue, because (as I said earlier) all of Scripture is His word.

It is also said that the Bible really does not condemn homosexuality at all, that we’re simply misunderstanding the context of certain passages. But, my friend, no matter what translation in which you read Genesis 19:4-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Judges 19:22-23; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; and 1 Timothy 1:9-10, you cannot interpret these passages to be anything but condemnatory of homosexual acts.

Besides all this, while one can find passages which speak positively and approvingly of heterosexuality and heterosexual marriage, you will find absolutely no passages in Scripture which speak positively or approvingly of homosexuality or homosexual relations, and absolutely nothing supportive of homosexual marriage. Nothing. At all. Why? Because God in no way approves of sin, including homosexuality.

When Satan makes his appearance in Scripture, we find him undermining the word of God (Genesis 3:1ff). Today, when we hear and read of philosophies and arguments which ultimately work to undermine the authority of Scripture as the word of God, the same devil is at work. I don’t want to mince words: This push we see for the acceptance and approval of homosexuality, for the securing of special legal rights for those engaged in a homosexual lifestyle, and for the recognition and legalization of “gay marriage”—both in the wider society and within some churches—is inspired by Satan. Those involved in pressing forward this evil agenda are doing the devil’s work. As I said at the beginning, I’m not surprised at all when non-Christians involve themselves in sinful causes like this. But, when those who profess to be Christian take up the devil’s cause, we should be highly concerned about the true spiritual state of our churches.

So, is what I’ve been writing “homophobia”? Is calling out homosexuality as sin a form of “hate speech”? Not at all! I don’t fear homosexuals (which is what “homophobia” means) and, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t hate anyone, let alone hate people solely because of their sexuality. In fact, calling Christians “homophobes”, “bigots” and “haters” because they are true to their faith is the height of intolerance (ironically, those who talk the most about “tolerance” are usually the most intolerant of people). No, I’ve written this because of love—love for God, love for His word, and love for people, especially those who comprise “the household of faith.” In fact, I’ll tell you what a lack of love looks like: to keep silent about sin, knowing the coming wrath of God, because you fear the disapproval of mere humans. Silence about sin borders on hatred.

This post is primarily directed at professing Christians who continue to remain silent regarding the sin of homosexuality. Some professing evangelical Christians have even gone so far as to lend their approval to homosexuality and “gay marriage”. When, in our craving for worldly acceptance, we cast aside God’s written word by either outright ignoring it or twisting its meaning in such a way as to make it appear God approves sin, in what sense are we really “Christian”? God has made it clear that we are not to add to or take away from His written word (see Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18-19). Our attitude towards God’s written word is a test of the genuineness of our Christianity. To quote Jonathan Leeman again: “God’s Word is an extension of God Himself. To hear His words that comprise the whole Bible is to hear Him. To obey His words is to obey Him. To ignore His words is to ignore Him.”

Christian, you must not remain silent about sin. You must not be afraid to speak up, when given the opportunity. This is certainly not about “reclaiming America” or winning any so-called “culture war.” Who cares about saving American culture! You and I cannot remain silent about sin because GOD is not silent about sin. Stand on His truth, even if you must stand alone. Stand with love, but stand resolutely. Stand because God’s word is right, and everything that stands in contradiction to His word is wrong.

But, for heaven’s sake, let’s be even more vigilant about ridding our own lives of sin. We must practice what we preach! May God help us to do so.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said.

s256 said...

There is nothing wrong with encouraging the acceptance homosexuality and bisexuality in society. It certainly won't hurt anyone. It should be seen as normal and equal to heterosexuality, because it is! A huge benefit to society is that same-sex couples can adopt babies to give them a loving home and family.

wwdunc said...

s256,

There is everything wrong with "encouraging the acceptance [of] homosexuality and bisexuality in society." God pronounces woe on those who give approval to that which He has condemned.

What harm is there in it? "The wages of sin is death"--eternal, spiritual death. There is great harm in embracing and living in any sin.

Homosexuality is not equal to heterosexuality, and it is not normal. Human reproductive biology bears that out.

And, it should go without saying, the adoption of babies by same-sex couples in definitely not a benefit to society. "Sin is a reproach to any people."