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. EspaƱol: 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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Friday, March 1, 2013

Second-Class American Citizenship

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is s...
With his family by his side, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington's 1789 inauguration. VIRIN: 090120-F-3961R-919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the strictest sense, Biblical Christians first citizenship is that of Heaven. This world is not our home, we are just passing through, as the old song goes. Yet, in today's United States, and even a number of other countries, Christians are also being relegated to a second-class citizenship status. Look at the news stories so far this year regarding Evangelical Christians in the news.

  1. Pastor Louie Giglio was scheduled to give the benediction at President Obama's second inauguration. However, gay rights groups quickly found a sermon of his from approximately 20 years ago speaking about the sin of homosexuality. Giglio was subsequently disinvited from the inauguration ceremonies. Incidentally, Giglio was invited for his work with stopping human trafficking. Now, this is a secular event, so something like this should come as no surprise. 
  2. New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow was scheduled to speak at First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas later this Spring. Keep in mind that this is a church and that Tim Tebow is a Christian, scheduled to speak at a church. There was an outcry from gay rights groups about Tebow, a Christian, speaking at this church, because of statements (misinterpreted and taken out of context statements) made by the pastor of First Baptist, Dr. Robert Jeffress. Tebow turns around and cancels, issuing a statement via Twitter, and Jeffress issues a statement via his church website that Tebow will likely speak at a later date. Tebow is applauded by the "rights" groups and attacked by Christian groups, particularily the American Family Association.
So, what is my point in bringing up these incidents from over the past couple of months? As the Supreme Court hears the case regarding whether or not gay marriage is constitutionally protected or not, Christians are being excluded from the conversation. People from both sides of the aisle are arguing for the constitutional protection. What I am not seeing is any religious exemption being put forth. As well, if one is in the public eye, it is unjust and immoral to take any stand or associate one's self with any group that is "anti-gay." This is all while these groups are supposedly speaking about tolerance while being utterly intolerant of one's beliefs. Christians are being marginialized and set aside in any kind of conversation. What we say does not matter and will not matter in the future. We are officially second-class citizens, being put there by the chief himself, President Barack Obama, even though he, himself, professes to be a Christian. Does this sound bad? Not really. Christ said we would be persecuted and we would have to put up with this. He suffered so much more than the discounting of morality. The world exchanges the truth for a lie and all we can do is stand back, watch, and pray.  We cannot succumb to the world in giving in the immoral lie that homosexuality is okay. Too many "Christians" are doing such a thing. We must continue to fight for truth. America has lost it's moral compass. Let's not lose ours.

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