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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Depressing State of Christian Faith

As I write this piece I confess to being somewhat discouraged and depressed myself about the declining state of Christian faith in America today.  Evidently, I am not the only one who sees faith in decline for Gallup did a poll in May of 2013 in which 77% of those surveyed said they felt religion was losing its influence on American life.  In a poll taken by Harris in November of 2013, 23% of Americans say they are not at all religious.  While that number may not seem that great the most troubling aspect of it is that just 7 years ago that number was 12% so it has nearly doubled in just the past 7 years.  If things continue on as they are today what will that number be in another 7 years?  Only 19% of Americans in the Harris poll were willing to describe themselves as very religious.  America is rapidly becoming a secular nation with no moral compass.

Fewer and fewer people believe in absolute truth today (a postmodernism effect), believe the Bible is verbally inspired and without error, or that man must submit to its dictates or suffer the consequences if he does not.  Sin is now generally accepted and no attempt is made any longer to hide it as long as the law of the land will allow it.  We abort babies (a holocaust), commit fornication (taken for granted these days), and become adulterers thinking God wants me to be happy or else not caring at all what he thinks.  One of the things that has amazed me recently in my own neck of the woods is the push for gay marriage among groups of people whom you would have thought never would do such a thing which illustrates the state of mind of many who confess to be believers today.

One man was quoted in a local paper as saying that there was no scriptural justification for denying gays the right to marry?  I just could not believe that a person who knew anything at all about the Bible could say such a thing as that.  Another wrote that he was a born again Christian and he was a supporter of gay marriage.  Please tell me how a person can read 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and get that we ought to support gay marriage.  "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: 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."  (1 Cor. 6:9-11 ESV)  There is a footnote in the ESV for the phrase "men who practice homosexuality" as follows:  "The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts." 

Now I ask should we Christians be in the business of helping people sin by giving our consent to it and striving to pass laws to promote it.  If the passage above is not enough for you on the subject of God's will in this matter try Jude 6-7, Rom. 1:24-27, and 1 Tim. 1:9-10.  When I wrote on the subject, which I did, one lady wrote in telling me Jesus never said a word about homosexuality.  Is that right?  Did Jesus ever mention Sodom?  Check out Matt. 10:15, Matt. 11:23, Matt. 11:24, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:12, and Luke 17:29.  In most of these passages Jesus is saying with regards to a specific city that it will be more tolerable for Sodom in the Day of Judgment than it will be that particular city.  But I ask the question why does he use Sodom as a standard for comparison?  Was it not because it was infamous?  Had not all the Jewish people heard of what was done to Sodom and Gomorrah and why?

No doubt he used Sodom as a basis for comparison because all were aware of how evil it was and the consequences it reaped as a result.  Jude says Sodom and Gomorrah were to serve as an example "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 6 NKJV)  He gives the reason as well saying they had "given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh." (Jude 6 NKJV)  So don't tell me Jesus never talked about homosexuality.  When you talk about Sodom you are talking about homosexuality.  

And then there were some spokesmen who wrote in to a local paper on behalf of their denominational bodies supporting the move toward the acceptance of gay marriage.  

Yes, I oppose the whole manmade concept of gay marriage and I do so on scriptural grounds but the thing that is even more troubling to me is the loss of faith in the word of God by those who call themselves Christian and yet opinionate that God approves what he has clearly condemned.  In the Old Testament he even calls the homosexual act an abomination (Lev. 18:22, 20:13).  Where is the faith in statements of scripture that cannot possibly be misunderstood?

The words of the Bible seem to no longer have meaning among a certain class of people that would like for others to think they are God fearing.  They speak of love and grace as though the commandments of the Bible can be tossed aside as of no consequence and God be mocked in doing so.  If they decide among men that an act is holy and righteous that overrides everything the Bible has to say about the matter.  Jesus spoke of just such a group when he said, "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men." (Mark 7:8 NKJV)  I don't think any gay marriage advocate will ever have the gall to say that gay marriage is from God but if it is not from God where is it from?  Whose tradition is it?  To ask is to answer.

Eve had trouble accepting the word of God when presented with another option.  Today's generation ought to learn from history or do people ever learn from history?  Sometimes it seems we do not.  Eve set aside God's commandment on the say so of another that it would be okay.  Are we not being told to do the same today?  We are when we deny the words from the passages I have quoted.  Read 1 Cor. 6:9-11 again and then take on the role of the serpent and tell people it will not matter.  Tell them like the serpent told Eve, "You will not surely die." (Gen. 3:4 NKJV) 

For those advocating gay marriage on the basis of love the Bible says, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." (1 John 5:3 NKJV)  You and I as mere men do not have a right to define love when God has already done so.  What are you going to do, are you going to override God?

To endorse gay marriage is a violation of the golden rule and of love.  "Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." (Luke 7:31 NKJV)  I do not want any man to encourage me to sin.  To do that to me is sin against me and it carries a consequence.  "Jesus said to his disciples: 'Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.'" (Luke 17:1 NIV)  Those who are presently encouraging gay marriage are encouraging people to sin and there will be a consequence. 

For those who think the homosexual act is sinful outside marriage, just as fornication is, but would be acceptable to God in a marriage relationship they need to give that a second thought.  There is a difference.  God has never condemned the sexual act between a man and woman as sinful in its own right.  In fact God said to Adam and Eve "be fruitful and multiply." (Gen. 1:28 NKJV)  "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Heb. 13:4 NKJV)   But note the sexual act outside of marriage, fornication, is condemned so it depends on the relationship between a man and a woman, are they married or not?

That cannot be said of the homosexual act between man and man.  That act God has declared to be sinful in itself and that is the big, big difference.  As for marriage the Bible refers to Eve as Adam's wife and thus a marriage designed by God.  Nowhere in scripture will you find God making a marriage between man and man.  Thus such a thing is an invention of men, and of men, not of God.

Postmodernism would say there is no absolute truth thus all my quoting of scripture amounts to nothing with a postmodernist.  That my friends is the day and age we live in and mindset that seems to have captured so many of our people.  Let the Bible as the inspired word of God take a hike.  That is depressing to me to know we have come to that state of affairs.  Faith is now the invention of man, each making his/her own faith, making their own truth, thinking all the while that all is A-okay.  We will see.  We will see.