Theology


We rightfully bemoan the rise of the gay hermeneutic in which Christians are reinterpreting the Bible to allow for committed same-sex relationships, but has anyone ever stopped to think that what these liberals are doing to the homosex texts we “conservatives” have already done to the divorce and remarriage texts?  We have mangled Jesus and Paul’s teachings to allow for divorce for reasons other than sexual immorality, and to allow those who have divorced or have been divorced without grounds to remarry because we don’t think it is fair for people to be unhappy or alone.  We understand the strong desire to be in a loving, sexual relationship.  Our emotions become the motivating factor for reinterpreting (or ignoring) what would otherwise seem to be a pretty straightforward condemnations for most divorces and remarriages.

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“Heresy” is a word that gets thrown around rather loosely these days.  We will cavalierly declare someone a heretic because their views on eschatology differ from our own.  It’s famously been said that “heresy is what you believe, while orthodoxy is what I believe.”  But heresy is not the same as error.  Not all theological errors or false doctrines rise to the level of heresy.  A heresy is a belief held by a confessing Christian that is sufficient to damn their soul.  To charge someone with heresy is not merely to say that their theology is wrong, but that it is so wrong that they do not qualify as a Christian and are not saved.

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Lifestyle Evangelism3Jesus charged his apostles – and by extension, his church – with the great commission.  The mission he gave us involves both the proclaiming of the gospel as well as the discipling of those who put their trust in Jesus.

If we are honest with ourselves, the American church is not great at either proclaiming or discipling, but we are doing worse on the proclaiming end, and it’s only getting worse.  As our culture becomes increasing secular and as Christians increasingly buy into the notion that our faith is to be kept private, we are becoming increasingly reluctant to proclaim Jesus.  There are a host of reasons for this, but I am not concerned to analyze them at this point.  Instead, I want to focus on the type of evangelism we are opting for in its place.  Some have called it “lifestyle evangelism.”  Lifestyle evangelism entails the notion that the way we live our life is the best witness of Jesus.  Our lives are a living gospel.  This form of evangelism is summed up in the apocryphal quote attributed to Francis Assisi: “Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.”

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In light of my recent post regarding religious freedom, Lowder with Chowder has a great video talking about this issue.  He illustrates it by showing what happens when a supposedly homosexual man asks a number of Muslim bakeries to bake him a same-sex wedding cake.  The end is great too.  He addresses the idea that people should not go into business unless they have no conscience or are willing to violate their conscience are willing to provide their services for any purpose.

CohabitationCohabitation – the politically correct term for what used to be called “shacking up” – has become very common in our day.  Nearly 8 million opposite-sex couples live together today, compared to less than 1 million 30 years ago.  Nearly 10% of all opposite-sex couples are cohabiting, and over half of all first marriages are preceded by a period of cohabitation.

How did we get here?

How did cohabitation go from being illegal in all states prior to 1970 and held in moral contempt by society at large to being so ubiquitous and accepted today?  There are several reasons:

  • The sexual revolution removed the moral stigma of premarital sex.
  • Our culture has moved from a culture of traditions and social conformity to a culture of individualism and personal gratification.
  • We shifted from a deontological view of morality to a pragmatic and relativistic view of morality in which any activity that does not cause harm to others is morally permissible.
  • The recognition of the fragility of marriage, and a corresponding fear of divorce.
  • The rise of feminism which rejected the traditional roles played by married women. Cohabitation promised personal autonomy and more relationship equity.
  • The increasing economic independence of women made marriage less necessary for them. And men, who are generally more fearful of commitment, supported the arrangement since it still provided for their needs of sexual gratification and domestic support.[1]

Cohabitation is not what it seems

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Some people value Christian ethics, but deny that Christianity itself is true. This makes no sense. The truth of Christian ethics is directly dependent on the truth of Christian metaphysics. If Christian metaphysics are mistaken, then the ethics that flow from those metaphysics have no basis in reality (on the Christian worldview).

Granted, it could still be the case that Christian ethics are still true in toto or in part, even if Christian metaphysics is false. But in that case, they are true in virtue of the truth of some other metaphysical worldview or meta-ethical system. So why continue to embrace these ethics as CHRISTIAN ethics if their truth is grounded in something other than Christianity? It’s one thing to affirm that Christian ethics are true even if Christianity isn’t, but it’s another thing to subscribe to Christian ethics as CHRISTIAN ethics while denying that Christianity is true.

SinMany Christians wonder whether God will forgive them for intentional sin – particularly premeditated and habitual sins.  It’s easy to believe God will forgive us for accidental sins, but not for sins that we plan out in advance or choose to do over and over again.

So, will God forgive such sins?  Before we answer that question we should be clear about what God thinks of these sins.  He hates them because He hates all sin.  Sin is contrary to His holy nature.  Sin ruptures God’s relationship with us, and this grieves Him.  He has given us the power to choose righteousness (Romans 6; 8:1-4), and yet we choose unrighteousness instead. (more…)

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