Archive for the ‘Morality’ Tag

Don’t Let Freedom Lead You Astray   Leave a comment

Sometimes it seems as if the Christian movement is divided between two camps. On one side, you have the Frozen Chosen, who have 157 rules for how you should dress on Sunday and keep track of who is a “sinner”. On the other hand, you have the Freedom in Christ group, who smoke cannabis and have multiple sexual partners and will insist that Christ doesn’t care about any of that.

The truth, according to the apostle Paul is somewhere in the middle. The Frozen Chosen are the Pharisees of our day, but the Freedom in Christ crowd is far off the mark as well.

Everything is lawful,” but not everything is beneficial“Everything is lawful,” but not everything builds others up. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Image result for image of christian fellowship mealYou’ll notice that Paul is using some popular Christian quotes again. We discussed this in an earlier lesson. Bible scholars believe these were sayings that circulated in the churches, particularly the Corinthian church, in that 1st century and they were being used somewhat like aphorisms and to excuse immoral behavior.

Paul had just warned the Corinthians (and by extension, us) to flee idolatry. Eating food sacrificed to idols meant nothing to the Christian, because God is not knocked from His throne by the stump of a tree sculpted and painted to look like something else. As Christians, we have essential freedom in matters of morally neutral things, but … BUT … our behavior must be tempered with concern for others in the body of Christ. If our freedom is going to be expressed through Christian maturity, it must be concerned with the spiritual benefit to others.

That word “edify” means to build up or strengthen. It’s a word from the vocabulary of building construction. Paul used it in his letters to describe the strengthening of Christian character in ourselves and other people. When we’re faced with a decision about a particular practice, we must first ask ourselves if we have the right to do it. I would say if it’s not forbidden by Scripture, absolutely we have the right. We still need to take a pause and ask the next question. “Is it profitable and edifying. Will this activity build people up, both ourselves and others?” If the answer is “yes”, then we can participate with full abandon.

Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s. If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to goeat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience.  1 Corinthians 10:24-27

Our freedom is going to express itself in serving other people. Our thoughts should always be directed to other brothers and sisters in Christ. We should desire to sacrifice for others. The issue of freedom balances two extremes. Some feel the attitude should be “I don’t care what anyone says about what I do. I’ll do as I please. I operate on the principle of grace and am free to do as I please.” This attitude approaches libertinism. On the other hand, there are others who live in a spiritual straight jacket, afraid to do anything without a sense of guilt. There must always be a balance, but if you’re going to screw up, err on the side of putting your spiritual family members first.

Liberty in Christ will always triumph over legalism. Paul majored on our freedom in Christ. He said it doesn’t matter what we eat, including food offered to idols, because neither the taking of it nor the abstaining from it will have any effect on our relationship with God. All food is a gift from God. Paul encouraged Christians to enjoy life, to not be overly scrupulous. What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

Paul dealt with how Christians should behave when invited to a unbeliever’s home. My parents would have approved of his advice. Eat what’s put before you. The Corinthians shouldn’t make an issue of the origin of the meat or food they were eating. They should eat all of it. Eating a piece of meat that was offered to an idol will not defile the Christian. What defiles the Christian is participating in heathen worship. If eating a piece of idol-meat does not defile the Christian, there is no need to make an issue of it. This simply exercises an overly-sensitive conscience and introduces an unnecessary affront to the hospitality of the host. Paul implied that living out this freedom means that we’re going to have evangelistic entrée into people’s lives. There are nonbelievers who will invite us into their homes, and we have complete freedom to eat with them, whatever they put before us. Paul’s solution to a potential violation of conscience is “Don’t ask!” To the extent that we’re willing to do that, we’re reflecting the life of Jesus, Who ate with tax-collectors and sinners (Matthews 9:10-11). If we are legalistic, uptight, self-righteous, self-protective Christians, “holier than thou” types, our non-Christian acquaintances won’t want anything to do with us anyway. We’re not even going to get invited to their homes. But if we live a life of freedom and openness, that will attract them to Jesus.

But if someone says to you“This is from a sacrifice,” do not eatbecause of the one who told you and because of conscience I do not mean yours but the other person’sFor why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscienceIf I partake with thankfulnesswhy am I blamed for the food that I give thanks for? 1 Corinthians 10:28-30

Paul raised a hypothetical situation in which you’ve been invited to a non-Christian friend’s home, and one of your Christian friends is there who has a weaker conscience. They are offended or confused by the freedom with which you’re indulging: “Didn’t you know this is idol food? Are you sure you ought to be eating this?” Paul suggested that we might decide to refrain from eating the meat so as not to risk leading that younger brother or sister in Christ into sin or confusing their conscience. Paul made it clear, however, that even though we may choose to modify our actions for the good of the weaker brother or sister, we are not to adjust our own conscience. Their weakness ought to make us very gracious, merciful, and sensitive toward them, but the legalism of the weaker one shouldn’t make us feel condemned or influence us toward legalism in our own lifestyle. Paul defended his freedom to partake of any kind of food, especially food that he knew is a good gift from God, and receive it with gratitude. He refused to be fearful about what other people thought of him. He was not going to be controlled by that.

So whether you eat or drinkor whatever you dodo everything for the glory of God. Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also try to please everyone in all things.  1 Corinthians 10:31-33

Paul moved to summarize the entire (three-chapter) discussion. He indicated this with the use of the word “then” (oun). As a general principle, believers should do everything “for the glory of God”—and Paul particularly mentioned here eating and drinking. To do something for the glory of God means to reflect God’s glory in the way we live. We ought to use our liberty carefully and selflessly to glorify God. Our eating and drinking should bring glory to God, not to cause conflict, to honor a demon, or to undermine the faith of weaker brothers and sisters. Paul’s desire was to live out his freedom in Christ, partly because of its evangelistic potential for the sake of the Gentiles and the Jews who didn’t yet know Christ, and partly so he could have an influence on the church of Jesus Christ as an apostle. His concern was having an attractively inoffensive lifestyle of freedom. Paul had already acknowledged that some people were offended by the gospel alone, but he didn’t want his own life to bring offense to the gospel in the eyes of anybody, Christian or non-Christian. The real fear here was that legalism, being controlling, would somehow be the offense that would keep people from the Lord Jesus. His desire was to try to live without offending in any direction, always thinking of both honoring Christ and affecting other people in how he lived. And Paul always looked in both of those directions.

I do not seek my own benefitbut the benefit of manyso that they may be savedBe imitators of mejust as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:33b-11:1

I’m sure there were people who thought Paul was a man-pleaser (Galatians 1:10). His concern was that his life would be attractive so that they would be drawn to Jesus in him. “Saved” in this context probably includes Christians and means saved in the wide sense of delivered from anything that keeps someone from advancing spiritually (see Romans 15:1-3). Paul is not content simply to live his life as an example for the Corinthians to emulate. He actually instructs them to become “imitators” of him. (4:16). For Paul, as an apostle of Christ, it wasn’t just a matter of preaching and teaching. It was a matter of living out the truth that he taught. In many of those cities Paul went to, he would be the first and only Christian they would see. So watching him live his life was very important for them to understand the reality of the gospel.

Paul asks every one of us to live a consistent Christian life. Do you want to properly balance freedom and restraint? Do you want to be in the world and not of the world? Do you want to have a positive spiritual influence in your community, but not allow that community to mold you so you compromise what’s true and what’s right? Do you want to live a balanced life, not being driven by the extremes of legalism or selfish license? If you do, then imitate Paul. He tried to imitate the selfless life that Christ lived. Glorify God in what you say and what you do and in the attitudes of your heart. As Paul later explained in Romans 7, results aren’t perfect, but we’re only human, so trying our best is good enough.

Why Morality Matters   Leave a comment

I wrote this back in 2014, but the concepts are timeless so, enjoy.

American psychotherapist Perry London (author of Behavior Control) admitted that, if man is a machine (and he believed we are), it is meaningless to speak of good and evil or moral responsibility. We are no more than computers on legs that procreate and we don’t accuse computers of criminal behavior. If man is no more than a complex physical organism, a relative of the rat and whale, why do we hold men responsible for their actions as if any of us were moral agents? London argued that good, evil and moral responsibility are imaginary, but he also recognized that we seem to need those concepts to live meaningfully. He then went on to suggest ways of programming people to create a better society.

Yeah, by his own admission,  better is a meaningless term in his philosophy, but let’s think about his theory for a moment. All human societies have a common factor in seeing good and evil as distinct and people as moral agents. Yet, in the western world today, we see the terrible fruit of a philosophy that denies a distinction between good and evil. In our society it’s deemed okay to slaughter unborn babies. While we recognize the horror of, say, the Cambodian killing fields, we don’t recognize that we are not far off from them.

“Where the insane reversal of value lies is in the belief that notions like “purity” or “corruption” can have any meaning outside an absolute system of values: one that is resistant to the tinkering at will by governments or revolutionary groups.  The Cambodian revolution in its own degraded “purity,” has demonstrated what happens when the Marxian denial of moral absolutes is taken with total seriousness by its adherents. Pol Pot and his friends decide what good is, what  bad is, and how many corpses must pile up before this rapacious demon of  “purity” is appeased.

 

In the West today, there is a pervasive consent to the notion of moral relativism, a reluctance to admit that absolute evil can and does exit. This makes it especially difficult for some to accept the fact that the Cambodian experience is something far worse than a revolutionary aberration. Rather, it is the deadly logical consequence of an atheistic, man-centred system of values, enforced by fallible human beings with total power, who believe, with Marx, that morality is whatever the powerful define it to be and, with Mao, that power grows from gun barrels. By no coincidence the most humane Marxist societies in Europe today are those that, like Poland and Hungary, permit the dilution of their doctrine by what Solzhenitsyn has called “the great reserves of mercy and sacrifice” from a Christian tradition. (D. Aikman “Cambodia: An experiment in Genocide” TIME, July 31, 1978, pp 39-40)”

That passage was written only 35 years ago, yet we in the West now regularly denigrate the sentiment that Christianity might prevent genocide while increasingly in America, thinkers pretend to have forgotten the fairly recent fruit of atheistic Marxism. Christians are told we should be embarrassed by the doctrine of judgment, that our acceptance of the notion of good and evil is naïve or foolish.

On the contrary, Christianity should rejoice in the doctrine of judgment as one of the glories of the faith. All people feel in their hearts that some things are right and some are wrong, even though we may be unable to explain why we feel that way. The Christian can say with confidence that there is a difference and we can identify it.

We should not be reluctant to admit that real evil exists. God’s character is one of perfect goodness, justice and holiness and defines for us what is good and right. All behavior must be measured against His character. The law of God is written on the heart, but the heart can become confused or hardened, either by cultural traditions or an individual’s sinful choices. All men’s ideas can be checked against God’s character and law. The Christian stands on firm ground when confronted with the immorality of those in power … whether they be elected in a democracy, wielding authority in a dictatorship or expressing their will as the 51% majority of a western society where morality changes with the consensus of the day.

Posted January 8, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Morality Is Indispensable for Liberty | Becky Akers   1 comment

Becky Akers

Found on FEE

Morality Is Indispensable for LibertyThose stodgy Founding Fathers! Not only did they study hard, work harder, and marry one woman for life, they also insisted on – get this – morality. As in obeying the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and the basic moral teachings of the Bible in general. So strongly did they venerate morality that they frequently observed its unbreakable link with liberty. They believed that moral people alone remain politically free.

John Adams, for example, claimed, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

“While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued.”His cousin Sam agreed. “Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.” Indeed, he feared, “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”

Singing the same song was Charles Carroll, one of the Declaration’s signers:  “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time…”

And George Washington considered morality so necessary to freedom that he spoke at length of their connection in the Farewell Address that capped his career: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”

Clearly, the generation that overthrew the world’s most powerful – and corrupt – empire to establish a new, freer country considered Biblical morality essential to their endeavor. But why? Exactly how do strong ethics enhance liberty?

Washington mentioned one obvious reason in his Farewell: “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?” By extension, those in elected or appointed positions might not respect their oaths of office, either.

Reflexive Thievery

If these were the only times morality protected freedom, we might dismiss the Founders’ veneration of the former as overblown. After all, few of us will find ourselves in either political office or court … wait. I forgot that every American commits three felonies per day.

But even with the police-state criminalizing most of our behavior, lying under oath isn’t nearly as widespread as another sin that enslaves formerly free people. By far the worst threat to liberty springs from the reflexive thievery, a.k.a. socialism, permeating modern culture and politics.

The idea that my property belongs to me alone has become as quaint as “Thou shalt not steal.”That admirer of America, Alexis de Tocqueville, shrewdly analyzed socialism inhis classic rebuke of it in 1848: along with “an incessant, vigorous and extreme appeal to the material passions of man” (i.e., greed) and “a profound opposition to personal liberty and scorn for individual reason, a complete contempt for the individual,” socialism is “always … an attack, either direct or indirect, on the principle of private property.”

Americans today have so completely converted to socialism that mighty few folks even recognize, let alone condemn, that “attack … on the principle of private property.” Rather, they reason, “I need or want it, and you have it, so you must give it to me.” The idea that my property belongs to me alone, and that no one else has any right to swipe even a penny of it, to restrict my use of it, or to dictate how I employ it has become as quaint as “Thou shalt not steal.”

In fact, Americans have redefined “steal.” It now means, “Acquiring property from another person yourself rather than waiting for government to acquire it on your behalf.” So long as the recipient doesn’t wind up in jail, he will eagerly accept anything politicians “redistribute” to him from his family and friends.

Even folks who would never dream of robbing a man at gunpoint of a third of his income, good Christians who attend church and read their Bibles, see nothing wrong with plundering their neighbors via government. Especially when they favor the loot’s alleged recipients (soup kitchens and other “faith-based” programs, foreign aid to Israel, etc). Few worry any longer whether an act is moral; instead, they assume that if it’s legal, it must be OK.

Policies of Plunder

The predatory and “graduated” tax code that allegedly takes “from each according to his ability” to finance Obamacare, food stamps, Section 8 housing, unemployment, Social Security, etc., is obvious socialism. But many, far more insidious instances abound. And in all of them, American morality is not only dead but so deeply buried that these examples disturb hardly any consciences.

Too many Americans applaud plaintiffs who sue innocent entities as shrewd rather than larcenous.A legal doctrine called “joint-and-several liability … states that damages can be obtained from co-defendants based on who is capable of paying, rather than who was found to be more negligent.” Looking for “deep pockets” so that small inconveniences or even injuries can be parlayed into megabucks often means the wealthiest person or corporation near an accident is held responsible, even if he bears little or no blame. Too many Americans applaud plaintiffs who sue innocent entities as shrewd rather than larcenous.

Since World War II, New York City has compelled landlords to subsidize tenants’ rent through its execrable rent-control laws. This legislation decrees how much rent landlords may charge, the amount – if any – by which they may annually raise it(despite whatever increases in real-estate taxes or in the cost of water and sewage the City has imposed that year), and how long the tenant may inhabit his apartment—even if the building’s owner prefers another renter or wishes to sell or renovate his property. This corruption pits landlords against tenants so thoroughly that occasionally the former plots to murder the latter in the hope of regaining his rights. And though rent-control authorizes tenants to cheat landlords, it bites the swindlers, too, by ensuring that New York’s supply of housing remains dilapidated, scarce, and stunningly expensive.

Once accustomed to living off their landlords – or the taxpayers, via Social Security, Medicare, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, etc., ad nauseam – voters elect socialists to continue their gravy train. They happily sell our liberty for lower rent and free food. Shameless in their thievery, they prove the Founders’ maxim that only a moral people remains free.

Source: Morality Is Indispensable for Liberty | Becky Akers

Does It Have To Be?   Leave a comment

aurorawatcherak

This is my public policy post on this subject. I’ve actually said this before in different words and the more I hang out with anarchists, the more I find myself agreeing with them.

The Bible is very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin. It follows that the commitment ceremonies gays insist upon calling “weddings” are public declarations of ongoing sexual immorality. The Bible tells Christians to FLEE sexual immorality because it corrupts our relationship with God. It is worse than other sins because it involves our own bodies. From those two facts, I judge that God is telling Christians that we may not encourage the homosexual activity of other humans. For the sake of our own relationship with God AND for the sake of the homosexuals we come in contact with, we must NOT participate in their commitment ceremonies, even as an unwilling caterer, photographer, florist, etc.

The Bible…

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Posted April 19, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Disintegrating World   2 comments

This will be a series. Check out the links at the bottom as they come.

We live in a world that is disintegrating, so why are we surprised when our world shows its rotten parts?

God created the universe to be perfect. You can discover that truth scattered throughout the Bible, but it’s actually in the first verses in Genesis. There was no death. Death is a function of disintegration. Logically, if the world God created was not subject to disintegration, it was perfect.

But that state of perfection soon ended. God didn’t do that. Even Satan didn’t do that, though he played a part. Human beings did that. Eve listened to Satan’s lies, but the Biblical account makes it appear that Adam was standing right there.

Mankind had a choice. God created mankind with the ability to make a choice. God placed Adam and Eve in a garden where all their needs were met and He gave them ONE rule to follow so that they would have a freewill choice in how they wanted to live their lives. God placed a tree amid all the other trees. He told them about it so there was no surprise, no secret plot to mess them up. They had a choice.

Eat of any plant in the garden, but that one and you’ll live forever in this beautiful garden and have face-to-face relationship with God, Who is absolute goodness. But don’t eat of that tree because you will lose your life when you do. Enjoy the garden I have you. The price of staying here is obedience to my ONE rule. Genesis 3

We don’t know how long it took for Adam and Eve to screw up the great deal. I tend to think it wasn’t really long. Satan … or maybe it was just Eve’s self-will … began questioning God’s purpose in keeping the fruit from them. God wasn’t telling the truth about the consequences. God was keeping them from hidden knowledge. The fruit was good to eat. What could it hurt?

A lot!Adam and Eve didn’t physically die when they ate the fruit, but they died in all the really important ways. They were cut off from their relationship with God and thrust into a world of decay. Their own bodies began to decay. They blamed each other. They raised a murderer. Their damaged genes were passed onto their offspring to the whole of mankind.

Adam and Eve didn’t physically die when they ate the fruit, but they died in all the really important ways. They were cut off from their relationship with God and thrust into a world of decay. Their own bodies began to decay. They blamed each other. They raised a murderer. Their damaged genes were passed onto their offspring to the whole of mankind.

We lost perfection, but we didn’t lose the memory of perfection. We want the world to be perfect. We rail against the rot in the world, we are puzzled by human beings who act in fallen ways. We know things should be different, but the vast majority of us have no knowledge of why things are not what we dream them to be.

We want a bent and damaged world to pick itself up and act like the perfect world our ancestors sacrificed to their self-will. When that doesn’t happen, we blame the one Being who didn’t cause this mess – God.

Mankind screwed this up all on our own. God has provided a way for the world to be returned to perfection == If we will believe Him and lay aside our self-will to accept it.

More on that in future posts.

Disintegrating World (this post)

 

Posted March 5, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity, Uncategorized

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What Does God Have To Say About It?   4 comments

Quick recap of prior posts here and here.

The question of the legitimacy of the homosexual lifestyle is a question of what God has to say about it. If there is no God, then there is no right and wrong, and it doesn’t make any difference what lifestyle you choose—the persecutor of homosexuals is morally equivalent to the advocate of homosexuality. But if God does exist, we can no longer base our moral stance on our own opinions. We have to find out what God thinks on the issue.

Okay, God doesn’t hang out at Barnes & Nobel waiting for someone to ask Him what He thinks on a given issue. Christians look to the Bible and the Bible says God forbids Christians to engage in sexual immorality, which includes homosexual acts.

Here’s the reasoning:

  • Christians are obligated to do God’s will.
  • God’s will is expressed in the Bible.
  • The Bible forbids homosexual behavior.
  • Therefore, homosexual behavior is against God’s will and is wrong.

To resist this reasoning requires that you either deny that God’s will is expressed in the Bible or deny that the Bible forbids homosexual activities.

We are talking about behavior here, not orientation. This is an important distinction. Being homosexual is a state or an orientation. A person who has a homosexual orientation might not ever express that orientation in actions. By contrast, a person could engage in homosexual acts even if he has a heterosexual orientation. The Bible condemns is homosexual actions (behavior), not having a homosexual orientation. The idea of a person’s being a homosexual by orientation springs from modern psychology and may have been unknown to people in the ancient world. What they were familiar with was homosexual acts, which is what the Bible forbids.

There are enormous implications in this distinction. The whole debate about whether homosexuality is something you were born with or is a result of how you were raised really doesn’t matter in this discussion. Your orientation is not the crux of the matter. It’s what you do with it that matters. Some defenders of homosexuality are very anxious to prove that your genes, not your upbringing, determine if you’re homosexual because then homosexual behavior is normal and right, but the Bible doesn’t allow that option. Just because you’re genetically disposed to some behavior doesn’t mean that behavior is morally right. Some researchers suspect a genetic predisposition for some people to become alcoholics. My husband would be one of those. He does not get an excuse from the Bible or from society if his drinking disturbs the peace. He’s expected, if he can’t control his drinking, to abstain from alcohol so as to prevent misbehavior. The sober truth is that we don’t fully understand the roles of heredity and environment in homosexuality and it doesn’t really matter. Even if homosexuality were completely genetic, that fact alone still wouldn’t make it any different than a birth defect, like a cleft palate or epilepsy. That doesn’t mean it’s normal and that we shouldn’t try to correct it.

People don’t generally choose to be homosexual. Many homosexuals testify how agonizing it is to find yourself with these desires and to fight against them, and they’ll tell you they would never choose to be that way. The Bible doesn’t condemn a person because he has a homosexual orientation. The Bible condemns homosexual acts. It is perfectly possible to be a homosexual and be a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian.

Just as my sober husband stands up at an AA meeting and says, “I am an alcoholic,” so a homosexual who is living straight and keeping himself pure ought to be able to stand up in a prayer meeting and say, “I am a homosexual, but by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, I’m living chastely for Christ.” I have heard that statement and was pleased that the Christians there welcomed the speaker as a brother in Christ.

But, does the Bible forbid homosexual behavior? The Bible is so realistic! You might not expect it to mention a topic like homosexual behavior, but in fact there are three in the Old Testament and three in the New Testament where this issue is directly addressed. In all six of these passages homosexual acts are unequivocally condemned. Then there are all those passages dealing with marriage and sexuality which have implication for this issue.

  • Leviticus 18.22 — It is an abomination for a man to lie with another man as with a woman.
  • Leviticus 20.13 — The death penalty is prescribed in Israel for such an act, along with adultery, incest, and bestiality.

Sometimes homosexual advocates make light of these prohibitions by comparing them to prohibitions in the Old Testament against having contact with unclean animals like pigs. Just as Christians today don’t obey all of the Old Testament ceremonial laws, they say, we don’t have to obey the prohibitions of homosexual actions. The problem with this argument is that the New Testament reaffirms the validity of the Old Testament prohibitions of homosexual behavior, as we’ll see below. This shows they were not just part of the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, which were done away with, but were part of God’s everlasting moral law.

We know homosexual behavior is a serious sin in God’s eyes. The third place where homosexual acts are mentioned in the Old Testament is the Genesis 19 description of the attempted gang rape of Lot’s visitors by the men of Sodom. God destroyed the city of Sodom because of their wickedness.

The New Testament also forbids homosexual behavior. In I Corinthians 6.9-10 Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be decieved: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” The words in the list translated “men who practice homosexuality” refer in Greek literature to the passive and the active partners in male homosexual intercourse (I checked this with two Greek scholars I know).The second of these two words is also listed in I Timothy 1.10 along with fornicators, slave traders, liars, and murderers as “contrary to the sound teaching of the Gospel.”

The most lengthy treatment of homosexual activity comes in Romans 1.24-28 where Paul talks about how people turned away from the Creator God and begun to worship false gods of their own making:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Liberal scholars have done acrobatics to try to explain away the clear sense of these verses. Some have said that Paul is only condemning the pagan practice of men’s sexually exploiting young boys, but that ignores the clear wording in verses 24 and 27 that these homosexual acts by men were committed “with one another” and in verse 26 where he speaks of lesbian homosexual acts. Other scholars have said Paul is only condemning heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts, not homosexuals who do. That interpretation is contrived and anachronistic. Remember that it was only in modern times that the idea of homosexual or heterosexual orientation developed. What Paul is condemning is homosexual acts, regardless of orientation. Given the Old Testament background to this passage and what Paul wrote in I Corinthians. 6.9-10 and I Timother. 1.10, it is clear that Paul is  forbidding all such acts. He sees this behavior as the evidence of a corrupted mind which has turned away from God and been abandoned by Him to moral degeneracy.

The Bible is very forthright and clear when it comes to homosexual behavior as contrary to God’s design. It is sin. Even if there weren’t all these explicit passages dealing with homosexual acts, such acts would still be forbidden under the commandment “You shall not commit adultery.” God’s plan for human sexual activity is that it is reserved for marriage: any sexual activity outside of the security of the marriage bond—whether pre-marital sex or extra-marital sex, whether heterosexual or homosexual—is forbidden. Sex is designed by God for marriage.

Someone might say that if God intended sex for marriage, then just let homosexuals marry each other and they would not be committing adultery, but that completely misunderstands God’s intention for marriage. In the creation story in Genesis, God made woman as a suitable mate for man, his perfect, God-given complement. Then it says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” This is God’s pattern for marriage, and in the New Testament Paul quotes this very passage and then says, “This is a great mystery and I am applying it to Christ and the church” (Ephesian 5.32). Paul says that the union between a man and his wife is a living symbol of the unity of Christ with His people, the Church.

Viewed in this light, homosexual behavior is a mockery of God’s plan. It flies in the face of God’s intention for humanity from the moment of creation.

No, Jesus never specifically condemned homosexual behavior, but He also did not specifically mention lots of things which we know are wrong, like bestiality or torture. His silence does not mean he approved of those activities. What Jesus does do is quote from Genesis to affirm God’s pattern for marriage as the basis for his own teaching on divorce. In Mark 10.6-8, He says, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh. Consequently, they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

For two men to become one flesh in homosexual intercourse would be a violation of God’s created order and intent. He created man and woman to be indissolubly united in marriage, not two men or two women.

The Bible makes itself clear, so there can be no argument that the Bible allow some wiggle room on homosexual behavior. It is sin, according to the Bible. But maybe Christians are required to follow the Bible or maybe the Bible as we have it does not reflect the true will of God.

We’ll look at that.

Who Am I to Say?   7 comments

Okay, so I put my foot in a sink hole last week and they’re hating on me at the Alaska Dispatch News. How dare I not walk in lockstep with the modern LGBT agenda! I am such a hater!  Read Part 1 of this series.

Christians can’t duck this issue anymore. Those of us who reject the legitimacy of the homosexual lifestyle are routinely denounced a homophobic, intolerant, even hateful, which results in tremendous intimidation concerning this issue. Businesses are being forced into bankruptcy or reeducation classes and some churches have even endorsed the homosexual lifestyle and welcome those who practice it to be their ministers.

It’s not just happening in liberal churches. Evangelicals Concerned is a group of people who are to all appearances born-again, Bible-believing Christians and also practicing homosexuals. They claim that the Bible doesn’t forbid homosexual activity or that its commands aren’t valid for today, being just a reflection of the culture in which the Bible was written. These people can be orthodox about Jesus and every other area of teaching; but they just think it’s Biblical acceptable to be a practicing homosexual.

So who am I (or you) to say that these apparently earnest Christians are wrong?

Good question! Who are we to say that they are wrong? This question raises an even deeper question, which we’ve got to answer first. Do right and wrong really exist? You see, we get it backwards often. You have to know that there really is a right and a wrong before you can determine what is right and wrong.

What is the basis for saying that right and wrong exist or that there really is a difference between these two?

Traditionally, Americans (not just practicing Christians) have answered that moral values are based in God. God is by His very nature perfectly holy and good. He is just, loving, patient, merciful, and generous. Everything good comes from Him and is a reflection of His character. God’s perfectly good nature issues forth in commandments to us:

  • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength.
  • You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
  • You shall not murder, steal, or commit adultery.

These are examples of right or wrong based on God’s commandments, which are not arbitrary but flow from His perfect nature.

This is the Christian understanding of right and wrong. There really is such a being as God, Who created the world and made it so we can know Him. He really has commanded certain things. Christians really are morally obligated to do certain things (and not to do others). Morality isn’t just in your mind. It’s real. When we fail to keep God’s commandments, we really are morally guilty before Him and need His forgiveness. The problem isn’t just that we feel guilty; we really are guilty, regardless of how we feel. Even if my seared conscience, dully by sin or justified by a government edict, does not feel guilty, I am guilty if I have broken God’s law.

What Hitler did was sin regardless whether he or his society thought it was right. Chattel slavery is still wrong regardless if the slaveowner or the society he lives in thinks of it. Murder is still a sin even if the killer feels like he’s doing something right. It’s wrong because God says it is wrong, regardless of human opinion. Morality is based in God and are unaffected by human opinions.

There are people who will argue over that because it is a foreign concept in western society today. I estimate that the majority of people today think right and wrong are matters of taste, not fact. Moral values are given the same weight as Baskin Robbins flavors. I like World Class Chocolate. My husband loves Coffee. We can both be right. What’s the problem? It’s just a matter of opinion. I choose to cheat on my partner, you do not. We can both be right and all is well … until my partner divorces me anyway.

If there was no God, these people would be absolutely correct. In the absence of God everything is relative. Right and wrong become relative to different cultures and societies. It’s all up to the flavor-of-the-decade zeitgeist. Prominent American philosopher Richard Taylor, who is not a Christian by the way, makes this point very forcefully.

The idea of . . . moral obligation is clear enough, provided that reference to some lawmaker higher . . . than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can . . . be understood as those that are imposed by God. . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation . . . still make sense? (Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), pp. 83-4)

Taylor went on to write:

 “The concept of moral obligation is unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain, but their meaning is gone. … The modern age, more or less repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver, has nevertheless tried to retain the ideas of moral right and wrong, without noticing that in casting God aside they have also abolished the meaningfulness of right and wrong …. Thus, even educated persons sometimes declare that such things as war, or abortion, or the violation of certain human rights are morally wrong, and they imagine that they have said something true and meaningful. Educated people do not need to be told, however, that questions such as these have never been answered outside of religion.

This non-Christian philosopher understands that, if there is no divine lawgiver (God), then there is no moral law. If there is no moral law, then there is no actual right and wrong. They’ve just become human customs, perhaps balwarked by human laws that vary from society to society. Even if we all agree on them, they’re still just human inventions that will evolve … or devolve …eventually.

If God does not exist, right and wrong do not exist and anything goes, including homosexuality. Atheists should have no problem defending the legitimacy of the homosexual lifestyle, but that’s where a new problem arises. Many defenders of homosexuality don’t want to be atheists. They especiallly want to affirm that right and wrong exist, so they make moral judgments about their fellow citizens.

“It is wrong to discriminate against homosexuals.”

That’s a moral judgement, but not one solely relative to a culture or society. They would condemn a society like Nazi Germany which threw homosexuals into concentration camps along with the Jews and other “undesirables”, and when Colorado passed an amendment prohibiting special rights for homosexuals, Barbara Streisand called for a boycott of the state, saying, “The moral climate in Colorado has become unacceptable.”

These kinds of value judgements lack meaning unless God exists. If God does not exist, anything goes, including discrimination and persecution of homosexuals. Murder, rape, torture, child abuse … none of these things would be wrong, because without God right and wrong do not exist. Everything is permissable.

So in order to make moral judgments, we must affirm that God exists, but then our first question reappears in front of us. “Who are you to say that homosexuality is wrong?” We can put the question to homosexual activists now. “Who are you to say that homosexuality is right?” If God exists, then we cannot ignore what He has to say about the subject. The correct answer to “Who are you to make moral judgements?” is now to say, “Me? I’m nobody! God determines what’s right and wrong, and I’m just interested in learning and obeying what He says.”

So, if I’m a Christian or want to pretend to be one, perhaps I need to look at what God says on the subject.

Continued here.

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