Test Everything. Even What the Pastor Says.

I’ve seen the following like 3-4 times today on social media:
lies

We are told to test everything against scripture.   Ladies and gentlemen this little piece of propaganda does not hold up under testing.  As a matter of fact, I’m highly skeptical a Christian pastor ever said these things or that a Christian even wrote them.  There are things that tip you off.

1) Only  ‘a few passages’ of scripture say homosexuality is a sin.  It wouldn’t matter if it was only one passage or 200 passages.  The bible lays out all sexual sins plainly.

2) The ‘pastor’ references the old testament consequences of divorce (stoning) using it as automatic grounds for dismissal (as a misunderstanding of the old testament always is).  But he didn’t refer to Jesus’ own words against divorce (Matthew 19, Matthew 5)

3) “The Bible doesn’t say anything about the consequences of a homosexual lifestyle.”   …really?  There are definite consequences in scripture.  Granted, there are times when it is specified and there are passages in which it says “sexual immorality” which includes homosexuality.  Some of the consequences are listed in the following passages: Romans 1:26-32, Jude 1:7-8,  1 Corinthians 6:17-20.

4) The ‘pastor’ then tells us Christians we are trying to ruin people’s lives.  This is obviously a distorted picture of the gospel and our relation to sin and God’s design.  Sin ruins lives.  Always.  Would you have people dive into hell if only they could be happy but for the fleeting moments they are in the air?

5) Love thy neighbor and that’s it!  That’s all folks!  Nothing else!  Let’s take a look at the whole passage Matthew 22:36-40.  There seems to be more there than just love your neighbor.  We are not to love our neighbor at the expense of loving and following God.  That wouldn’t be love anyway.  It would just be patronizing.

6) Then the coup de grace is we’re told to support ‘equality’ with a smile.  Again, are we to celebrate depravity?  Are we to lead people to their own destruction?  No.  That’s not the call, and that’s not what loving your neighbor means at all.

Here’s the deal, christians.  We are to love our gay friends.  We are to be neighborly.   We are to be genuine about these things and not pretend to be loving and then turn around and whisper destructive things behind their backs.  But… our culture has a hard time with loving someone and not supporting them.  We are not to celebrate their (or anyone else’s) sin or their success in sinful pursuit.  To do so is to celebrate a person’s plummet to hell.   “How can you say they’re going to hell and say you love them??”  A) They choose hell by not choosing Christ.  I don’t condemn them. I cannot, I have no power to condemn. They condemn themselves by turning from repentance and from Jesus.  B) Are we to ignore scripture in this regard too?  Ignore that Jesus referred to hell many times?  I am against the preaching of ‘fire and brimstone’ to try and get people to convert to christianity.  That doesn’t mean hell isn’t a scriptural reality.  That doesn’t mean it’s an aspect of our belief to ignore.  Love and acceptance will always prevail in winning people’s hearts, but we have to remember why we’re trying to win those hearts.

Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  Truth is in the Word.  Test all things against it.

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‘Love the Sinner, but Hate the Sin’ is Garbage Theology

I’m writing this primarily to my Christian friends, but my non/anti-Christian friends feel free to read on. It is often said that we are to “hate the sin but love the sinner.” I want to address this exegetical error in the wake of the supreme court decision and the resulting spread of this phrase by Christians.
The first question is; Does God hate the sin but love the sinner? Answer: No. He hates the sinner.

Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,”

Hosea 9:15, “All their evil is at Gilgal; indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.”

Check out this link for more: https://carm.org/does-god-hate-anyone
Also, John Piper’s opinion on this is really worth listening to: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/god-loves-the-sinner-but-hates-the-sin

God is Holy. He cannot bear sin in His presence at all. As Piper points out in his short response above, this makes the salvation that He brings all the more astounding. His Grace that much more amazing. For, though He hates us who do iniquity, He takes us and by His love makes us “the apple of His eye” (Piper). God is not constrained paradox. People ask the elementary school question, “Could God make a stone so big he couldn’t lift it?” The answer is; yes He could miraculously make that stone. And then He could equally miraculously lift it. God hates the sinner. And God takes the heavy, stone heart of that sinner and turns that heart to flesh (Ezekiel 36:26) and makes him into that which He loves.

Second question; Should WE hate the sin but love the sinner.  Answer: Is that even possible for us? Are we holy such that we should or even could justly hate the sin? Hating someone else’s sin just makes us ignorant of our own sin. “Look at them! I can’t believe he would do that! Ugh, I hate that.. oh, but I love him.”  There is nowhere in scripture a call for us to hate another person’s sin.  It says in several places that we should hate evil. That is a call for us to turn OURSELVES from evil.

9Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21, ESV)

If you’re discouraged by the supreme court ruling and the state of what people call “marriage” then the best thing you can do is live righteously in your own marriage or in your own singleness.  You don’t need to celebrate the unrighteousness and depravity of others, but neither do you need to go spouting off at the mouth condemning people who you have no place or power to condemn.  I preach this to myself most of all.  Gentleness and self-control are fruits of the Spirit that I struggle with daily.

Let us not turn away from the truth of sin and the fact that God hates it and sinners.  But let us care most about the sin in our lives so that we can be effective light in a place clouded with false gospels and news that would be good if not for the lies disguised in it.

All Truth, One Truth

Hello everybody, I’m a Christian.  I believe in Jesus and the truth of the Bible.  Not just that, I believe in the inerrancy of the original Biblical manuscripts and that it is the Word of God written by men via the Holy Spirit (it is ‘God-Breathed’).  I also believe that evolution is scientific fact.  It happened, it still happens, end of story.

There.  Now people on both sides of the argument think I’m nuts.

We should all be able to agree about one thing; there is only one truth.  It is incorrect to say that the Bible only answers religious questions and science answers everything else.  That cannot be true since both say things about the origins of our universe, our planet and us.  One overrides the other at our flippant choosing depending on what worldview we’ve bought into?  That doesn’t make sense at all.  So, what do we do when it seems as if the things we observe and detect contradict what the Bible describes?  Do we reject science and cling to dogma?  Do we throw out ‘man-made religion’ in favor of empirical truth?  Truth is objective, not subjective.   This means that what is true and actual is true regardless of perspective.  That’s awesome!   It means we Christians should not be afraid of concepts like evolution, because the truth that says God made all things is the exact same truth that says organisms change over time even though the sources of these truths are different (Although, technically God is the architect and maker of our intellect and everything we scientifically observe so the sources are the same…)   Jesus is truth and all truth leads to Him.  ALL truth.

The point is this; if there is one truth, then there is no need to reconcile evolution and the Bible.  If the goal of science is to reveal truth about our existence through empiricism and the Bible is truth revealed by revelation and there is only one truth, then the two cannot ultimately contradict.

As humanity has fallen deeper into the rabbit hole of knowledge and technology we tend to forget or even ignore how much we actually do not know.  It is true in science that for every question answered many more are produced.  We don’t know even close to everything there is to know about genetics and inheritance.  I am not saying that our lack of answers to certain scientific questions are or have to be answered by belief in God (ie, god of the gaps).  What I am saying is there exists a disconnect in knowledge between what the Bible says is true about our origins and the conclusions we are able to draw about origins based on observation.  A disconnect, not contradictions.  Part of that disconnect exists as a lack of scientific knowledge and part of it exists as a lack of theological knowledge.  This is exacerbated by secular scientists who in an effort to push their worldview interpret data having already assumed that worldview to be true.  It is equally aggravated by pastors and even Christian scientists who try to turn their back on the data and say evolutionary biology is wholly false. This disconnect turns into conflict when Christians, pastors, and Christian scientists elevate their ability to understand and interpret the Bible to the same level of inerrancy as the scriptures themselves, and when secular scientists allow their opposing worldview to affect their ability to interpret their own data. Data is numbers, it will never lie.  But how data is collected and interpreted is very pliable in the face of one’s philosophy, and the same is true of Scripture.  This needs to be remembered by both scientists and pastors alike during discussions about our origins.

My hope is that as Christians and non-Christians discuss such important issues as where we come from and why we are here there will be no fear from either side and a discussion/argument can actually occur rather than juvenile bickering or derisive comments towards one another.

Remember, if our common goal is to look for truth then the buck stops at Jesus.  Every time, all the time.

 

 

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Tony Svarczkopf for help in editing and honing ideas.