Thursday, September 10, 2020

Push Back! - Addendum


There are many questions and related issues that come to mind as people consider the Biblical view of homosexuality. Some of these questions are raised with a sincere desire to understand the truth. There are also many insincere questions/objections raised in opposition to the Biblical teaching on homosexuality. They are insincere because the people raising the questions are not searching for truth, nor are they desiring to arrive at the mind of Christ. Rather, they are biased, having an agenda that they are defending. This was observed when, during the recent elections in Australia, the Prime Minister seeking re-election stated that the Bible could not serve as a guide for social issues since it also endorsed slavery.

In the video below, taken from a broadcast on Australian television, you will see twitter messages appearing on the screen. One mentions that the Bible also forbids the eating of shellfish. The intent of such statements is to cast the Bible into disrepute so that it will appear ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the Holy Scriptures have relevance to today’s social issues.

This is a form of argument that many have embraced in an attempt to discredit the Biblical teaching on homosexuality. Some individuals point to issues in the Bible that are regarded as cruel, unjust, or socially unacceptable, and use these examples to call into question the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality. Some point to the prohibition in the Law of Moses against eating shellfish, or wearing clothes made out of two types of material, or eating pork, or stoning to death a rebellious son, etc., to declare that Christians are not following these laws today. They follow this up by asking why the prohibition against homosexual relationships should be any different. They would accuse Christians of arbitrarily choosing which Old Testament laws they want to adhere unto.

A common aspect of these questions/objections is that they demonstrate a failure to “rightly divide the word of God.” Those who use such arguments are not seeking truth, nor do they care whether they are accurately representing the views of Yahweh, or the teachings of the Bible.

These objections become a problem when the Christians who are confronted with them do not know the Scriptures well enough to give a defense of the truth. Christians are easily tripped up by these objections. In the case of Kevin Rudd, the former Prime Minister of Australia (who lost the recent election), this man professes to be a Christian. His profession of faith is akin to Barack Obama’s statement that he is a Christian and a man of faith. Yahshua said you would know men by their fruit. Promoting homosexuality, a lifestyle that leads to sickness, death, depression, and rebellion against God, is rotten fruit.

None of the objections raised by those advocating on behalf of homosexual normalization are unanswerable. Some issues take considerable reflection to understand aright, and may require revelation from the Father, but He has promised to give liberally to all who ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5).

How would you answer the objection that the Bible treats slavery as a normal social condition? Do you understand why God does not forbid slavery in His word? Several years ago I wrote an article titled Why the Bible Does NOT Condemn Slavery. I recommend it to those who are unable to answer the question.

For those who cannot answer other objections, such as why Christians condemn homosexuality, but may choose to eat shellfish which the Law forbids, I refer you to the book titled Laying Down the Law.

Because the Bible is very clear in its condemnation of homosexuality, those who are promoting, or engaged in, this sinful lifestyle must find a way to discredit the Scriptures. A wide array of arguments have been set forth. Can you give a defense of the Scriptures, or a defense of God? Some may suggest that God can defend Himself, and that a Christian need not do so. Certainly He can do so. Nevertheless, God has appointed believers to be Christ’s ambassadors, representing the kingdom of God to a dark and sinful world. It behooves the saints to gain a mastery of the Scriptures, and to arrive at a mature understanding of the doctrines of the faith.

The apostle Paul stated that a man cannot be appointed as an overseer in the church unless he is able to refute those who oppose the truth.

Titus 1:7-11
For the overseer must... be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced...

The Bible provides numerous examples of Christians who argued skillfully from the Scriptures. Among them were men like Stephen, and Apollos.

Acts 6:8-10
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. And yet they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.

Acts 18:24-28
Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Yahshua... and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he helped greatly those who had believed through grace; for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Yahshua was the Christ.

It is not just church leaders who are called to give a defense of the truths of God’s kingdom. All Christians should apply themselves to growing in the knowledge of God’s word, using it skillfully to give a defense of the kingdom of God.

I Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you...

If you encounter an argument from those who oppose God and His word, what do you do? Do you shrug off the matter and forget about it? Do you glibly reply that some things simply have to be taken on faith? Do you concede with the enemies of righteousness that the Bible is a deeply flawed book? Or do you follow the advice that the apostle Paul spoke to Timothy?

II Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Could your study of God’s word be described as “diligent”? Or are you a slacker? People of God, in this hour of great apostasy and growing darkness in the world, there is no room for complacency. If you do not push back against the darkness, you will be overcome by it. The weapons of a Christian’s warfare are not carnal. The apostle Paul describes “the word of God” and “prayer” as being the chief offensive weapons of a believer.

Ephesians 6:17-18
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit.

A man cannot be handed a sword and expect that he will automatically be a master of its use. The same is true when it comes to developing skill in one’s use of the Scriptures. People are not born skillful in the scriptures. They become that way as they exercise discipline, patience, and a zealous pursuit of the truth. Gaining a mastery of God’s word is no different than gaining mastery in some natural endeavor, such as sport. Some people may have a greater inherent ability, but without discipline, training, and focus upon a goal, all the ability in the world will prove vain.

The Christian has the distinct advantage of having God, the all-wise, all-powerful Creator of the universe, on their side. Those who come to God, earnestly entreating Him to instruct them in truth and to help them gain skill in their mastery of His word, will not be turned away. James scolded the church, saying, “You have not because you ask not.” When was the last time you asked Yahweh to help you gain a mastery of His word? If you ask, He will answer. The Scriptures state:

John 6:45
“It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.'”

I John 2:27
And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

I Corinthians 2:12-13
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

John 14:26
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

If you lack understanding; if you are unable to give a defense of God’s truths, you need not remain ignorant and unskilled. You are constrained only by your own desires. Those who love the truth, and pursue it, will find it.

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Joseph Herrin
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