Monday, June 30, 2014

What authority determines your course?

telescope observing night sky
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Timothy 4:1-18

TO CHEW ON: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables." 2 Timothy 4:3,4

Such a time has come for the church, especially over the issue of blessing same sex marriages. Numerous books have lately come out by professing Christians that are pro same-sex unions (see this Publisher's Weekly article).

Writers of these books usually argue that Bible passages that speak clearly against homosexuality* have been misinterpreted and are saying something different than what they seem to say.

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has put together a book (God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines**)) refuting one of these books (God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines). In Mohler's book, Mohler and four other theologians speak to the arguments Vines makes.

In the chapter titled "What Has the Church Believed and Taught?" Denny Burk quotes liberal theologian Luke Timothy Johnson who, to his credit, is one who admits that the Bible doesn't come out favoring same-sex relationships. In fact, he names the authority that proponents of gay marriage are really following. He says:

"I have little patience with efforts to make Scripture say something other than what it says, through appeals to linguistic or cultural subtleties. The exegetical situation is straightforward: we know what the text says. But what are we to do with what the text says? … I think it is important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. And what exactly is that authority? We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us" (quoted in God and the Gay Christian - A Response to Matthew Vines? p. 54)

More and more churches and individual Christians that hold to the traditional interpretation of the Bible on contentious issues like gay marriage are being pushed into a corner by the powers of political correctness and public opinion. In this context it's really important that we settle for ourselves (corporately and personally) who and what our authority is in these matters.

Do we set our course by the Bible's authority or are we too heaping up for ourselves fables (new authorities like experience)? We need to determine to set our course by the true North Star of God's word, not the flashy satellites of experience and public opinion that orbit the sky of our culture.

PRAYER: Dear God, in these times when the authority of Your word is being questioned, help me to stay true to it and You. Help me to live my life by Your standards, not the standards of the society around me. Amen.

* Bible passages that speak about homosexuality are: Genesis 19:5; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; and 1 Timothy 1:10. 

** Download the free pdf of God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines HERE.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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