For anyone who has been at The Gathering for any length of time, you know that I am regularly on the proverbial soap box regarding the absolute nature of Truth regardless of how normative the current culture speaks to the contrary. There is right and there is wrong. Right doesn’t become wrong over time nor does wrong become right. Certainly, living in a postmodern world, that claim is suspect if not outright rejected, but that is where I stand…which is the problem. Let me explain.
Those who claim to be Christ-followers, living according to the Scriptures (which, I argue, is the only way to BE a Christ-follower…another item apparently up for debate today) are regularly and systematically being challenged on where we stand on “cultural issues” due to the constant changes in what is considered acceptable, tolerant and even criminal (explore some of the “hate-speech” legislation that has come out recently).
Al Mohler has written an important article which needs to be read by everyone because everyone must determine where they land on these and other social issues:
The times now demand our most careful and biblical thinking, and they demand our clearest conviction matched to a missiological drive to reach the world with the Gospel. We must embrace the truth with the humility of a sinner saved only by grace, but we must embrace it fully.
The pressure is mounting for pastors and churches to very clearly define what they believe. Are we going to cave into cultural pressure and redefine right and wrong because taking a stand is hard and is painful or are we going to lovingly but with determination resolve to stand on the Truth of God as revealed in Scripture? By the way, there absolutely IS a way to be both loving and determined at the same time and those who argue that to stand against something is necessarily to hate those who embrace that something are simply wrong. That is a false argument. Every individual walking the planet, both outside AND INSIDE the church, have sin issues of various kinds that must be dealt with directly but compassionately. To follow the logic of the aforementioned argument to it’s conclusion, then, is to say that taking a stand against anything, whether it be something as heinous as murder to something as prevalent as gossip and slander, is to hate the individual who commits it (including the very people who are doing the hating!). Obviously, that is absurd.
So, where do you stand? Is your resolve to obey the absolute Word of Truth without feeling the need to redefine what is clearly written? To abandon ideas of modern interpretations of ancient truth in light of new societal circumstances? To lead in positive cultural change or to follow the cultural winds wherever they blow, adapting your beliefs as you go? If you have chosen the latter, where do you stop? What is your guide or even your authority other than yourself (which, unless you’ve never been wrong about anything in your life, you are not a very good standard to rely upon). Is it the culture; the collective masses that inerrantly determine what is good? That’s a dangerous place to rest your eternal fate. Or do you decide to stand or fall on the determination that a sovereign, all-knowing God has the power and desire to reveal Himself and His desires to a people of His choosing and that that revelation is what we know as the Bible. That is where I choose to stand.
To be sure, things could go badly in taking such a stand. It is not popular and if you choose to take a similar stand, you may be ridiculed as a close-minded bigot, a hate-monger or worse. Someday in the not-so-distant future, you may even be imprisoned for your stand. Jesus, Himself, said, “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I simply don’t see where there is an option. I must choose to follow Christ according to what He has revealed (including the compassionate way in which He treated all peoples) so that if someone rejects Christ, they are at least rejecting the REAL Jesus as found in Scripture.
Put another way, how much must we hate people that, if we KNOW the Truth, change the Good news that communicates the only way in which one can be saved from the Holy wrath of a Holy God leading to a watered-down, hedonistic message and a false sense of eternal security?
I may or may not like the way God has chosen to do things; I may or may not wish that there were other ways or that I were free to act or do whatever I wish and call it “good”. The choice, though, is not mine if I want an eternally right relationship with the one, true, living God. I don’t have that freedom. I am not God. Neither are you.
“…and having done all, to stand firm.” (Eph. 6:13b)