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Archive for June, 2011

Are We All Christian Scientists Now?

Posted by Job on June 17, 2011

Sorry to feature homosexuality in back-to-back posts, but they are in response to a post Is It A New Day For Baptists And Homosexuality? that dealt with the changing approach that many evangelical and fundamental Christians are taking towards the homosexuality issue. Allow me to propose that the “need” to deal with this issue differently is not because of some new or better way to read the Bible that didn’t exist 30 – let alone 300 – years ago, but rather because mainstream society has chosen to view the sin of homosexuality in a different way. And make no mistake: a major reason why mainstream society has moved toward embracing homosexuality is that so many scientists have declared homosexuality to be a natural, in-born “orientation” as opposed to a lifestyle choice. So, the scientists lead, and Christians – along with everyone else – follows.

This, incidentally, includes Christians who take the seemingly orthodox position that being born a homosexual is no excuse, for we are all born in sin, which makes the “born this way” homosexuals as obligated to resist evil as anybody else. I say “seemingly orthodox” because where is the Biblical evidence that anyone is born a homosexual? Are people also born adulterers, thieves and murderers? Is there a “blasphemy gene” or an “idolatry orientation”? While the Bible does tell us that we are all born sinners due to the federal headship of Adam, and that fallen mankind has a sin nature making us predisposed to sin, and that sound Biblical theology lets us know that our lacking God’s perfect attributes means that all who are not God will fall short of God’s standards and thereby sin, where does the Bible say that anyone is born to a specific type of sin?

There is more evidence against it than for it. For instance, though Jesus Christ did call Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him, the “son of perdition”, Iscariot did not betray Jesus Christ because he was “born that way.” Instead, the Bible stated that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ after Satan entered and possessed him! And on the issue of homosexuality, rather than calling this sin a product of nature, the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:26-27 stated that homosexuality is “that which is against nature” and “leaving the natural use of” the body! So, how can one be born a homosexual on one hand, and against nature/leaving the natural use of your body on the other? We only countenance such notions because the scientists say so!

Now if anyone would have an agenda to stand up for science and a need for Christianity and science to be reconciled and integrated, it would be me, an engineer by education who works in technology by trade. Indeed, were science given the highest level of esteem, one that exceeds all reproach, I would benefit in terms of pay and reputation! But despite any personal benefits that I might derive from taking an alternate position, I must endorse the view of John MacArthur when he says that science is not a valid hermeneutic for interpreting the Bible! And as legitimate Christians are Bible-believing and Bible-based, we must choose the Bible over science.

Some say that no such choice has to be made. Why is this belief so common, it must be asked? Why is choosing the Bible over science so much harder than, say, choosing the Republican Party over the Democratic Party (over issues like abortion, homosexuality, school prayer and opposition to communism)? The reason is that in our culture, we have made science into an idol. We look to science, and not to God, for our daily bread! We attribute our wealth and power to our many scientific breakthroughs, which create everything from medicines to keep us alive and healthy to consumer products to drive our economy to weapons that allow us to win wars. And yes, even for many, a religious context is placed on this. How often do we attribute the superiority of our culture to its reliance on science, and then belittle other cultures for being backwards? It is not a far a leap to then state that our culture is superior because of its being shaped by Christianity, while, for example, Middle Eastern culture is backwards because of Islam, or native cultures are undesirable because of animism. It is similar to another idol of our culture, democracy, and yet another – capitalism – and indeed,  the exaltation of science, democracy and capitalism by American Christians is central to the “Americanity” or “Ameritianity” syncretism.

Because of this, few Christians are willing to simply stand up and say “I choose the Bible over science.” Instead, most of us meekly follow behind and adapt to whatever framework the scientists erect, and we strive to find ways where “legitimate science proves the Bible right!” (a major emphasis of apologetics). Case in point: how many Christians are much more comfortable with using psychology to explain moral and social problems as opposed to sin or – gasp! – demon spirits? Thanks to psychology, Christians get to appear “scientific” and therefore “educated” and “respectable” by talking about sin less and less, and about evil spirits practically never.

One should point out that it was not always this way. Science has not always been such a prominent measure of the worth of a society or individual. Indeed, this is a recent phenomenon, a direct result of the absolutely breathtaking scientific innovations that were unimaginable even a few decades ago, plus the similarly unconscionable growth and concentration of wealth and power that resulted. In prior times, people and nations were not judged by their scientific prowess, but by high culture: art, literature and religion. It was the lack of those things, and not of scientific prowess, that caused many people and cultures to be considered “savage”, “barbarian”, “brutish”, “Philistines” etc. That things have changed so dramatically and rapidly is evidence that man’s heart is indeed after mammon, because the way to wealth and power is to build the better mousetrap, not compose the better symphony! We have gone from making it a state priority to sponsor a large, vibrant community of artists capable of making beautiful, Christian-themed music, artwork, architecture and literature because of how those things reflect and communicate God’s attributes to trying to weave evolution into the Genesis narrative because the scientists say so, and done so in an incredibly short time.

Of course, I am not calling for replacing science idolatry with high culture idolatry, but rather to see what both, and in our context particularly the former, for what they are, which is idolatry. Again, go back to the common conceit “science proves the Bible right.” Pardon me, but why should it? For science is every bit the product of fallen man’s depraved nature and all the lusts thereof as is Hollywood. That is a good comparison, because evolution, stem cell research/cloning, weapons of mass destruction, and Stephen Hawking’s insistence that the universe created itself ex nihilo are evidence of the downward spiral of science in our culture just as Hollywood is a reflection of what happened to literature, music and theater. So, there should be no more need to reconcile science with the Bible than an Oscar-winning movie or a Grammy-winning record. (Then again, you have no shortage of preachers seeking Christian inspiration from Hollywood!)

The most that it can be said of science is that it is a product of common grace; that God has providentially used it to show His love for us by giving us things to make our lives better (i.e. medical breakthroughs) and also to fulfill His will (i.e. facilitate the spread of the gospel using everything from roads in the Roman Empire to the Internet today). But just as Satan has perverted other gifts of God through common grace for his own wicked purposes (see culture, religion and government being corrupted almost from the beginning in the Bible) there is no reason for science to be any different. Science is not holy. Science is not under any special protection from God, nor is it afforded any special privileges by God, nor does it have a divine or blessed use by God. The only things that have that special status – the things which Christians should respect and adhere to and center our lives and thoughts around unconditionally – are the supernatural things born of or given by God’s Spirit (John 4:23-24) which include God’s church and God’s word. So then, how amazing that the church is willing to just meekly accept the all out assault on the Bible because of “the science of textual criticism“?

That is why we have to abandon the notion of “all legitimate science confirms the Bible.” It takes the idea that scientists have come together to make this predetermined pact to rebel against the Bible because of a wish to reject God and His authority over their lives. While this is no doubt true in some cases, and while such things as ideological agendas and other biases do indeed exist, the idea that these people are propagating falsehoods and rejecting facts on purpose is untenable. Indeed, such things are unnecessary in the first place. Consider, for example, the text 2 Thessalonians 2:11. I am using it a bit of context, granted, but still “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Combine that with Romans 1:21-22 (which I am employing in slightly better context) which reads “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

As science is the product of fallen mankind’s imaginations, those texts reveal that they do not have to deny the truth in favor of lies on purpose, after the manner of some conspiracy or overt rebellion against Christianity for instance, but rather that they are going to take lies to be the truth. We have no problem applying this to the politicians, activists, educators, economists etc. (especially if they are liberal), so why claim that the scientists are any different? The scientific method is not scripture. Instead, it is totally reliant on the ability of man to perceive the natural world and interpret its results. The scientific method provides absolutely no insight on the supernatural – save to reveal basic things concerning God’s existence and nature, see Romans 1:20 – which is God’s realm and from which God called the natural world into existence in the first place! Also, all of creation isn’t even “natural” per se … what of angelic spirits, and the spirits of men? So, the scientific method cannot even comprehend the supernatural portion of creation, let alone I AM THAT I AM, the uncreated, self-existing Creator! And even with regards to the natural world, the scientific method has real constraints. (For a somewhat whimsical example, see if you can reliably measure how much rain fell in a town in France 1500 years ago. You can’t … there’s this little problem called TIME.)

But the main limitation is man himself. The fact is that even if the scientific method were capable of perfectly measuring the natural and the supernatural, it still wouldn’t be enough! Why? Because man would have to be able to perfectly interpret the results! Not only does man lack the perfect knowledge – omniscience – required to do so, but the limited knowledge that man does have is compromised by the fall of humanity into sin. Now these things are either clearly revealed in the Bible, or can easily be deduced from them. Yet, why do we still go to great lengths to justify science, to try to evaluate the Bible through the prism of science, and to be respected by the world as “scientific”? (While I do intend to visit the “Creation Museum” at some point, one must consider the underlying rationale for pursuing such a venture in the first place!)

The only answer is idolatry. We make the work of man’s hands into idols, and we do this because of our desire to make man into an idol. We put so much faith in science because deep down, we wish to believe that man has more knowledge, more power, more control than he actually does. That – plus the fact that it makes us rich and powerful and causes us to wonder after such things as great telescopes and micro robots – taps into our desire to worship ourselves. Indeed, the increasingly vain quest to validate the imaginations of scientists using the Bible rather than casting them down like 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to (oh had Paul warned of being led astray by philosophers AND scientists in Colossians 2:8, though I should point out that science is very much the traditions of men!) shows our deep-rooted desire to have a religion that allows us to worship ourselves. Interpreting the Bible in light of science allows us to worship God and ourselves at the same time, and it gives the veneer of respectability to our human idolatry! Indeed, it appears to sanctify it, to make it holy and acceptable!

But instead, the opposite is true, for the first commandment, Thou shalt have no other gods besides me”, is still very much in effect, including when the “other gods” is man. The search to try God, to test God, to worship God inasmuch as His revelation will be subject to science is merely humanism. So, though the homosexuality issue provoked my thoughts on the issue, the truth is that the real issue is in fact the exaltation of humanity through idolatry. It is the pride of life, the same which Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden when he told her that the fruit would make her “as god.” Science gives us a way to be “like God” in our own minds, so just like Eve, we eat of the forbidden fruit, and share it with others! From this evil we Christians must turn away.

Science has its many uses, but one thing that it cannot be used for is to deal with human sin. Because God is holy and righteous, human sin must indeed be dealt with by God, the only one capable of acting as a judge in this matter (for unlike God, all humans are sinners and therefore are incapable of justly judging each other). At the appointed time, God will deal with sin by either forgiving it or punishing it. The punishment for sin is everlasting torment in a lake of fire, and this will happen to all whose sins are not forgiven. The only way to avoid this punishment is for one’s sins to be forgiven, and this occurs only for those who have faith in Jesus Christ. So please, stop putting faith in science or any other false idols, gods or religions today, and instead put your faith in Jesus Christ, the One who became fully man while remaining fully God as He had been for eternity, lived a perfect sinless life, died on the cross to pay for sins of others though He himself never sinned, and rose again from the dead. For more explicit information:

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Posted in Apologetics, Bible, capitalism, Christianity, humanism, Jesus Christ, mammon, rationalism, religion | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Homosexuality Double Standard

Posted by Job on June 17, 2011

A common tactic of the so-called “gay rights movement” is to claim that Christians who oppose the sin of homosexuality are motivated by hate and bias (or at best antiquated cultural/traditional norms) as opposed to a desire to love God by adhering to the Bible is the idea that the Bible teaches that all sins are equal. So, if all sins are equal, then why the disproportionate emphasis on homosexuality? The thinking goes: you don’t see Christians condemning gossips, the covetous, or the gluttons, so since “all sins are equal”, the only reason for emphasizing homosexuality is homophobia!

First, this missive is not intended to minimize or mitigate any sin. For example, anyone who would take the position that I am soft on gossips can simply read Proverb 18:21 – Death And Life Are In The Power Of The Tongue! (A perusal of my archives would also reveal my attitudes towards corporate greed, war, patriotism, hatred of the poor, and other frequent stumblingblocks of modern political conservatives, many of whom are also religious conservatives.) Second, this is also not intended to defend or support those who actually do hate homosexuals and use the Bible to justify it, or those who have flawed, un-Biblical doctrines on this matter. But let it be known: the popular idea that “all sins are equal” is wrong. That such an erroneous belief has wedded itself into conservative (i.e. evangelical and fundamental) Christianity, even amongst experienced pastors and learned theologians is shocking. The truth is that one only needs to be familiar with the Westminster Larger Catechism! (These specific questions and answers appear in part 2.)

Question 150: Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?

Answer: All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Now two things. First, this historic Christian document does not deny that all sin, whether small or great, merits the same reward, which is an eternity in the lake of fire.

Question 152: What does every sin deserve at the hands of God?

Answer: Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserves his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.

Second, and more important, the Westminster Catechism’s position that all sins are not equal is not the doctrines of man, but is the doctrine of Jesus Christ! The chief proof text used for this catechism point: John 19:11. “Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” Now this does not merely mean “has committed” the greater sin, but the Greek word translated “hath”, echo, means “own”, or “possess” or “be closely joined to” or in a sense “to be.” So, not only is it possible to commit a greater sin, but to own it, possess it, to be joined to it, or to be defined by it, to be called by its name! And lest we be accused of taking this verse out of context, other proof texts are supplied, see Ezekiel 8:6, 13, 15; 1 John 5:16 (the sin unto death), and Psalm 78:17, 32, 56. To this Confession’s list can be added Matthew 12:31 and Mark 3:29, again the words of Jesus Christ that refer to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. So, obviously, the crimes of betraying Jesus Christ (Judas Iscariot) and of attributing His miracles to the power of Satan (certain of His accusers) and of sending Him to be killed (the Sanhedrin) were worse than shoplifting. Rest assured, the fact that so many Christians adhere to this false belief shows how frightening indeed it is that more people are getting their theology from VeggieTales than catechisms! (Not singling out VeggieTales – at least not right now despite their advocacy of religious pluralism in their Jonah movie, and allegorically depicting Satan as Jesus Christ’s brother in their other movie – or being slavish to catechisms as using it to illustrate the point that so many Christians now rely on “pop Christianity” rather than a serious examination of the faith.)

So, since the idea that it is Christians with the double standard since “all sins are equal” is the one that is demonstrably false because clearly all sins are not equal, there is the REAL double standard, which is how gay rights advocates elevate their esteem of homosexuals above other sinners! An excellent example of this is the column by Southern Baptist pastor (?!?!) Jonathan Merritt in USA Today called Love the Sinner. Now while some Christians – though not nearly so many as claimed – are indeed guilty of a Biblically unbalanced treatment of the homosexuality issue, that does not compare to the far greater percentage of gay rights advocates who extol, glorify and exalt homosexuals as Merritt does in that article! Now again, if “all sins are equal” then where are the people commanding us to love adulterers? After all, it is the same general area – sexual immorality – right? Why all the love for homosexuals and none for the heterosexual adulterers?

But let’s not stop there. Since we are loving homosexuals, what about similar demands that we show love to those into bestiality? All sins are equal, right, so why not? Or what about statutory rapists (presuming that the underage party is consensual)? Why withhold the love from them? And to get away from the sexual sin issue, how about love for the robber barons, the greedy corporate profiteers who run oil companies, tobacco companies, and make weapons for the military? The unethical bankers that destroyed the economy in the 1920s, the 1980s and caused this current recession, or the chemical companies that are destroying the environment? Any sacrificial love for them?

Further still, if the rationale is “all sins are equal”, what about child molesters? Rapists? Thieves? Murderers? Terrorists? White supremacists? War criminals? And so on. No lovers for people like that? Why not? This is why: it is because they don’t believe that homosexuality is sin. In this I am not merely speaking of Merritt, who in his column rejects the idea that homosexual behavior is a choice, and also makes the “as sin is missing the mark, we are all sinners, so instead of rejecting those who choose not to obey Jesus Christ, let us show love to all sinners as Jesus Christ did” bad theology (incidentally, the Jesus Christ that Jonathan Merritt presents IS NOT the one who frequently rebuked and castigated people, including at one point telling an entire crowd that they were the children of Satan!) but a widespread attitude that it is only really a sin if “it hurts somebody” (i.e. theft, rape or murder) or if “society” says that it is wrong (i.e. bestiality). If it is a crime against a person it is horrible. If it is a crime against society, it is terrible. But if it is a crime against God, well then “we are all sinners!”

In this view – and how increasingly common is this view in even evangelical and fundamental Christianity! – what matters is the harm or offense done to man, not a holy righteous God. Man-centered theology! And if the center, the emphasis, is on the creature instead of the Creator, what is the justification for withholding something from man, so long as that “something” doesn’t hurt anybody else and does not vex contemporary mores, whatever they might be? In that context, it is a greater sin to begrudging a homosexual’s desire to experience pleasure than it is for the homosexual to indulge in said pleasure because the former is against man, and the latter is “only” against God. Moreover, it is all about our “feelings.” We “feel” more love for the homosexual than we do for the military-industrial complex CEO or for the neo-Nazi skinhead (or even for the Christian who actually takes the Bible seriously!) so that is what counts!

It is entirely consistent with the worldview that man is the measure of all things. All one has to do to reconcile the humanist worldview with a superficial (and false) reading of the Bible is to come to the conclusion that “all sins are equal before God”, which allows you to define the sins that are “really bad” based on your feelings. It makes you the judge of men (for these folks have no problem judging Christians who have a Biblical view of homosexuality as hateful bigots!) as opposed to God and the Bible that God inspired. But though it is inconsistent, it is still a double-standard.

Please realize that God knows no double standard in His judgment, but relies on a consistent standard, see Acts 10:34. It is equally true that no man was ever able to meet God standard but Jesus Christ, who met it by virtue of being fully God in addition to fully man. Therefore, only those who believe in Jesus Christ and have faith in what He did to them will be considered to have met God’s standard, and this will be by the righteousness of Jesus Christ being freely given to those who believe in Him. However, faith in Jesus Christ is not on our terms, for that is not true faith. Instead, God is God, the sovereign King and ruler, so we must meet His terms! So, no superficial declarations of faith with agendas or strings attached will do. Instead, God only accepts those who truly repent of – meaning turn from our renounce – their sins and believe that His Son paid for and defeated those sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection. So, do not live according to a double standard, no matter the sin or the issue. Instead, have Jesus Christ meet God’s standard on your behalf, and so so immediately!

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Posted in abomination, Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false teaching, hate speech, heresy, homophobia, homosexuality, Jesus Christ, religious right | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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