“Of making books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh” (Eccl. 12:12). The wise preacher was not condemning the writing and publishing of books or the value of study, but he was admonishing us not to lose our perspective of what is most important. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13).
A couple of months ago an Associated Press article ran in several newspapers advertising another book that has been made. This book takes the position that Jesus of Nazareth both approved of and participated in homosexual activity. This is not an original idea, but it is one that is being heard with greater frequency now that our culture is becoming more tolerant of the practice of homosexuality.
People are always looking for ways to validate the choices they or their friends or family members have made. It should come as no surprise that the mindset that enables people to be more tolerant of behaviors, which the Scriptures bluntly describe as vile and shameful (Rom. 1:26,27), also enables them to revise history. Such twisting of the Scriptures by the advocates of homosexual practices reveals that their goal is not mere tolerance of their lifestyle. They are seeking acceptance and affirmation. They want their choice of sexual expression embraced as equal to the union of marriage.
In seeking to justify their choices, practicing homosexuals have typically ignored the scriptural references that condemn their behavior. Another author wrote, “The point is not really whether or not some passage in the Bible condemns homosexual acts; the point is that you cannot allow your moral and ethical decisions to be determined by the literature of a people whose culture and history are so far removed from your own. You must dare to be iconoclastic enough to say, ‘So what if the Bible does say it? Who cares?’” (Robert Williams, Just As I Am, Crown, 1992, p.42).
The cafeteria-style approach to the Scriptures, which allows people to pick and choose what they want and then ignore the rest, is convenient but not very consistent. The Episcopalians' recent efforts to appoint a homosexual bishop makes one wonder if they ever bother to read what Paul had to say about that important position (1 Tim. 3:1-7).
It is one thing to ignore the Scriptures. It is quite another to “spin” them and turn Jesus into a practicing homosexual. To do this takes a perverse imagination. Positive references to strong, loving relationships between people of the same sex (Naomi and Ruth, David and Jonathan, Jesus and His apostles, etc.) are interpreted by a few as homosexual innuendoes. We have raised a shallow generation of people who equate love with sex, and now some of those people are trying their hand at biblical interpretation.
From a purely biological perspective it may seem irrelevant who copulates with whom. Indeed, since many learn from their youth that they are just highly-evolved animals, animal-like behavior should be expected. Still, people have "hang-ups" over things like "consent" and "love" that make it clear that there is more than a biological perspective to consider when it comes to human sexuality.
Just because one has an urge doesn't mean that it is valid to act on it. Just because there is passion and strong desire doesn't mean it is right. There are still laws against prostitution, pedophilia, beastiality, incest, and rape—for good reasons—and none of those reasons are biological. There are spiritual and moral perspectives that must take precedence over the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:16).
The Scriptures plainly warn, “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9,10). Paul writes, “Such were some of you.” Notice the past tense! What happened? They were washed, sanctified and justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (vs. 11). It is ludicrous and blasphemous to suggest that Jesus ever approved or practiced anything in that list. Don't be deceived!
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(From Think Magazine, Vol 34, #3)
There is something quite refreshing about a simple person--and by "simple" I do not mean stupid; I mean, uncomplicated. It is especially refreshing to see a man of simple (uncomplicated) faith. A man of simple faith is not ignorant. His faith is based on solid, credible evidence. But he doesn't argue with God, and he doesn't argue about the obvious. When the evidence is laid out there for him, he simply believes--without doubting.
All true believers in Jesus ought to be people of simple faith. For such people, all their questions are already potentially answered; all they have to do is learn what Jesus thinks about the question, and then they know what they must think...and believe. That is simple faith!
But sometimes people misunderstand what we mean when we talk about simple faith. They seem to think that we are praising a lack of education and ability. And worse, they seem to think that, among Christians, it is somehow praiseworthy to be uneducated and lacking in ability--”After all, the apostles were even said to have been ‘uneducated and untrained’!” (Ac. 4:13).
But please, make no mistake about it: the apostle were not ignorant men! Sure, they didn't have much formal education--as far as the Jewish leaders were concerned. They hadn't attended any religious school, nor had they sat at the feet of some popular Jewish rabbi. But they were not ignorant of religious things, and they certainly were not untrained in spiritual matters. In fact, they had been trained by the greatest teacher who has ever lived; they had been trained by Jesus Christ, and they were led (even inspired) by the Holy Spirit of God.
“So, what's your point, Rick?” Well, my point is: we need to see that there is no special virtue in being simple-not if we mean by this that one is ignorant and uneducated. It's not "okay" to be ignorant or uneducated in the Will of God! Sure, one doesn't have to have much, if any, formal education to be a faithful disciple of Jesus! But that doesn't mean we can be ignorant of God's Will and uneducated in His Word.
We will do well to remember that it is the “untaught and unstable” (NASB), or the “ignorant and unstedfast” (ASV), who “distort” the Scriptures “to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16). There may be some good brothers in Christ who are genuinely limited in their knowledge of the Scriptures, and they may even be limited in their ability to learn what the Bible says. But none of us can ever be satisfied with our lack of education in the Word of God. I'm afraid that some of us may be using “simple” to disguise our own laziness.
No one is asked by God to do more than he has the ability to do. But when we have the ability to improve-to better educate ourselves in the Word of God-we must do it (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 3:18)! If we want the Lord's church to grow in the years yet to come, then we have to challenge ourselves we have to stretch ourselves we have to exercise ourselves-or else the church of tomorrow will be even weaker than the church of today. Vision for the future requires that we push ourselves towards greater spiritual education!
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(From Think Magazine, Vol 34, #3)