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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Biblical Truth vs. Cultural Norms

English: West face of the United States Suprem...
English: West face of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Español: Edificio de la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos en Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In my Missiology classes in college, we often talked about contextualization and applying Biblical truths to those cultures we were seeking to reach with the Gospel. Most cultures have norms that are not Biblical. This was one of the reasons that God ordered the Israelites to wipe out the peoples they encountered on the way to the Promised Land. He knew that should they allow the peoples to integrate or influence the Israelites, they would disregard His Law He had given them. Of course, Israel did disobey and they were influenced by the peoples they did not wipe out. They did not wipe them out as a result of giving grace to them. It was purely for selfish reasons.

Fast forward 4000 years from the Israelites and you have the culture of the United States of America. This next week, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the status of homosexual "marriage" in the United States. In recent years, we've also seen churches denying Biblical truth in favor of "acceptance" of homosexuals into their congregations. Some of these churches have suggested that because cultural norms have changed, the churches should change. They have used arguments seemingly from the Bible to suggest that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and that it's just love as the reason that homosexual "marriage" should be okay. In my missiology classes, this was called syncretism, not contextualization.

One example often used is the woman brought before Jesus by the Jewish leaders. She had been found to be in adultery and they were demanding that she be stoned according to their law. Jesus asked for those without sin to cast the first stone and then he proceeded to tell her that he did not condemn her. This is where most of the "Christian" homosexual activists stop. Jesus also told her to go and sin no more, however. That is perhaps the most important part of the story. Incidentally, this story is found in a section of Mark that is not found in the earliest manuscripts. That's beside the point, as it is still being used against a full exegesis of Biblical truth.

Another point often brought up is that Jesus never spoke against or condemned homosexuality. In all honesty, that really is a silly argument as it's an argument from silence. If churches never spoke against the issue of abortion, would that make it right? Incidentally, not speaking up, allowed it to be argued in front of the Supreme Court in 1972, making it "legal".  Abortionists attend our churches, as do homosexuals. There is a denial of Biblical truth in these churches as they choose not to confront sin, but allow culture to tell them what is right and wrong.

Rob Bell recently came out in favor of homosexual "marriage." This was no surprise to me as it followed from his denial of Hell a few years ago. John Shore is another author who is also in favor of homosexual "marriage." His support also followed from a denial of Hell.  In short, what I am seeing is that those "Christians" who are suddenly in favor of homosexual "marriage" have also justified their beliefs by denying that there is a final judgment for those who do not trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior. They have become universalists. President Obama is a universalist and can be seen to be that by his statements. Nearly every church that homosexuals are accepted without condemning of their sin are universalist churches. Several denominations are exceptions, obviously, such as the Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Presbyterian (USA) denominations.

In short, in order to arrive at the conclusions that "Christian" homosexual activists have arrived at, they must deny the very reason that Jesus Christ came. That is, that he came to rescue people from the judgment and wrath of God. All of God's wrath toward sin was poured out on Christ in order for those that trust in him would have their hearts changed to be like him. However, if one denies that their is a judgment, then there is no reason for Christ to have come. Cultural norms have overridden Biblical truths in this case. Let us stand on Biblical truths. There is nothing wrong with cultural norms where they do not contradict Biblical truths. But we must be careful not to allow our human emotions to override those Biblical truths. We can love and respect homosexuals and others different from us without denying Biblical truths and I think we will be more respected for it.
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