How Far is too Far? How Little is too Little?
Galatians 5:24 – And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
There is no doubt that if you are a Christian, or if you know a Christian, that you have heard many of the theologies of Christianity…partly.
I am sure you THINK you know everything about what Christians believe about hell, salvation, justice, grace, mercy, and our stances on homosexuality, abortion, and even gun rights. But I am here to tell you that everything you know is most likely wrong.
That’s right. I said it. You are wrong.
So, Fred, are you proclaiming that you are right?
I hate to sound so crass, but I truly do believe that I have studied my Bible pretty intensely and know that correct Christian theology when it comes to each and every one of those items above as well as many others.
Right now you are probably sitting there thinking that I am really full of myself for claiming that.
Maybe in your eyes I am. In my eyes, I simply view it as confidence.
The Bible did say that the things of God would confound those who do not know Him.
1 Corinthians 2:14 – The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
You see, Christianity is really very simple. Humanity is very hard. We humans beings like to think, overthink, and then think again about something until we create a philosophy about it that fits how we feel at the time.
The difference between Christian theology and philosophy is that Christian theology is based on the timeless truths of Christ while philosophy is based on the inner feelings of a single human. When the philosophy of that single human go viral, then we turn that philosopher into something that either he never intended to be or should have ever been.
We turn the philosopher into a god.
But, Fred, what does this have to do with your topic?
Let me explain with an example.
And I am going to take a very hot button issue: homosexuality.
When the world sees the typical conservative church and many of our talking heads on TV, they see a church that is anti-gay. I truly believe that there are way too many churches out there that are anti-gay. Jesus was never one to discriminate against people for their beliefs. He simply loved on them until they realized their beliefs were wrong.
But we as humanity try to take the Bible, or any other document, too far. We like to spew a Bible verse out of context to demonize people and make them into something that, more than likely, they are not.
If you have ready my blog in since the beginning, you know that my brother was gay. He was also buried with medals from the Catholic Church for his missions that he did with his medical background. At his funeral, my mom, dad, and I were all amazed that he held knighthood in the Military & Hospital Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, and others.
I believe that if we simply cast out those who are different from us in the evangelical church, then we will be accused of being the exact same as the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ time.
Matthew 21:31b-32 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
But then let’s look at the other extreme. And let’s stick with our hot button of homosexuality.
There are those in the world that would say that homosexuality is something you are born with and it is not their choice to be gay. To that I say, “you are wrong.”
And don’t even TRY to use the analogy that you are gay from birth just like the black man is black from birth. That is an apples and oranges analogy. This what is known as a category error. It attributes the property of one thing to something else that does not have that property. Sex, whether homo or hetero, is an action. It is not a genetic condition. Homosexuality is a behavior that people choose to do. On the other hand, being born to a race is not a choice or a behavior.
So how should the church handle homosexuality? Or for that matter, any other sin?
The church is made up of individuals who are on a path to finding Christ. Discipleship is a lifelong journey. If we deny ANYONE the opportunity for the journey then we are clearly not doing what Jesus commanded in going out into all the world and making disciples. Disciples do not start off the journey knowing, or even accepting, all of the tenets of the Christian faith.
Colossians 3:5 – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
But, on the other side of that, the Christian church should NEVER change our beliefs that were given to us by the inspired Word of God, because of some people who do not completely understand our faith disagree with it.
That means that when they expect us to perform a holy ceremony on something that blatantly goes against what we believe, then we need to say no. That means that we need to stick to our beliefs in the books of Timothy and Titus and say no to taking into leadership anyone who is VOLITIONALLY SINNING.
To the church, homosexuality is a sin. And there are many other things out there that are sins. So when I say this, I do NOT just mean homosexuality is the only litmus for this. But for the purpose of our example, we are going to use this.
If someone knows that Christianity believes that homosexuality is a sin, then they cannot be upset when they are told they cannot become a leader in a church when the Bible clearly tells us that ordaining a leader that is living in a volitional sin is not acceptable.
This would be the same if someone is choosing to live with someone they are not married to heterosexually as well.
So let me try to bring this to a close.
2 Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
How far is too far? When the church clearly attacks people for their sin, whether that be our example of homosexuality or something else, then the church has gone too far in enforcing a human version of holiness. Clearly not of God.
How little is too little? When the church bends to the whims of those who are being discipled and yet do not completely understand or accept the views of the God-given church, then we are not enforcing God’s standards enough.
The church has a job to perform. That job is to be the voice of Jesus to a lost and fallen world. That job is to train up disciples of the true and living Christ. That job is to not fall into the trap of being like the Pharisees or Sadducees of Jesus’ time.
That job is to be a light to the world.
Let’s shine that light.
Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven