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The state of Society reflects the state of the Church Created on 8 December 2017

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Introduction ,

Of course, the first response to an honest reflection of the state of society or the state of the church (or its members) normally is "who are you to judge?". In short, I am not judging anyone as far as allocating any punishment to them in the eternal sense - this is exclusively God's prerogative. However, I am attempting to distinguish that which is Scriptural from that which is unscriptural, or the 'godly' from 'ungodly', as the Holy Spirit through the Bible says we should do. For example: Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. (1 Corinthians 5:5-7).

Apart from the obvious distancing from the morally corrupt within the church, let us note that we are doing this not for ourselves but for Christ ("for indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us"). Purging the "old leven" is an instruction - purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump. Lastly, note that purging is of a professing believer, not an unbeliever. The obvious conclusion is that the Church is made up of believers only given that Paul also teaches that Christians ought not to run away from the unbelievers in this world[2].

In this article, I make the point that:

1) God sees the work of the Church as a continuation of the ministry of Jesus on earth. We are His "body"[1] , and

2) that what is commonly referred to as "church" is failing dismally, and that the dismal moral and spiritual state of society is a function of the failure of what is called "church".

The Mandate of the Church - the Body of Christ

As foundational Scripture on this issue, I refer Ephesians 3:8-13: .... to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.. Therefore, what is God's specific intent with the Church? "that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places."

Sidetracks to the Christian faith

Mankind loves to 'major on the minors' and 'minor on the majors'. We love to change God's priorities to fit our own, and we love to use God's word to justify our choices in life. The reason for this is the rebellion of our earthly nature. It is hard to progressively give up your will and let God have His will for you. In truth, there are some (if not many) in 'the church' who are not Christian at all. They may be good church members and they may be well-educated lecturers, and they may be 'good people', but they have never personally met the living Christ and they have never handed over their will to Him. They have not died to to themselves in order to be raised with Him [3].

As for genuine Christians, like disobedient children, we get distracted or sidetracked by our own desires. As I see it, here are some of the most common distractions to the Christian faith:

  • Vicious religious resistance: The Bible makes it clear that Christians should purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened, and the Bible does teach not to have fellowship with unfruitful works but rather to expose them[6] . What it does not say is to undertake vicious attacks on the character of those perceived to be in the wrong. Apart from the ungodliness of these vicious attacks, the problem with these kinds of unbridled, zealous initiatives is that a false accusation may in fact be leveled against a true servant of the Lord, and, in so doing, the purposes of God are not served. I have written an article on this which you may find here.
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    Why does the Church get it so wrong?

    First let us understand the 'atmosphere' or prevailing socio-political climate in which we find ourselves. Elements hereof may be found in years gone by.

    The establishment of the institutional church

    Following the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which was convened by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, the Christian church ceased to exist as a loose association of believers and adopted the organizational, hierarchical and financial modeling provided by the Roman Empire. Moreover, whilst Constantine himself did not make Christianity compulsory, his sons did, which move infused a 'false faith' amongst church members who wished to comply with the Roman authorities. At this time, as I see it, the Church got 'hijacked' and was consumed by a secular/Pagan state structure - one that exists to this day. Though Christianity spread far and wide, it's defense against error was severely diminished because the foundational principal - charity - to a large degree made way for motivations underpinned by a desire for 'growth and prosperity'.

    Image result for constantine church Importantly, the establishment of the institutional church deviated from Scripture in one very significant way; whereas before, the Church functioned through the leadership and God-given authority of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, these 'ministry gifts' now made way for the establishment of a 'consolidated church officialdom' - what we call "Pastor" or "Priest" or "Reverend" today. Supposedly your and my pastor or priest today posses all these ministry gifts, only that the Bible actually teaches that "some" will be Pastors, "some" will be Teachers and so forth.

    The implication is that where those who have received the gift of Pastor try to fulfill the gift of Teacher or Prophet, they fail miserably and no-one knows the difference - not even them.

    Enter false doctrine on a large scale given the compulsory conversion to the Christian faith under Roman rule.

    Educated fools

    Having established that seniority in the church (read years of service and submission to the Roman Empire) determines the authority of an individual in the church, those generally more educated advanced to higher levels in the hierarchy. The Catholic Church also took forceful and positive steps to withhold the reading and interpretation of the Bible by 'ordinary citizens' so that only the priesthood had access to "God's Word". This they did by banning the translation of the Bible into a language other than Latin. An abuse of Scripture for 'morally justifiable' reasons was inevitable, and so led 'Christians' into further error.

    Such error remains to this day by the RCC having retained practices such as the veneration of a mere human being - Mary - as well as practices such as "praying to the Saints" - an adaptation of the Roman Pagan practice of praying to various gods; as an illustration, instead of praying to Neptune - the god of the Sea, Catholics would pray to Saint Brendan of Clonfert who is also referred to Brendan the Voyager.

    Partly correct Reformation

    Enter a Catholic priest called Martin Luther, together with Zwingli, John Calvin and others and the birth of the "Reformation" - a rebellion against obvious Catholic error and an attempt to rectify false doctrine. This represented a dramatic turnaround towards right church doctrine - righteousness through faith. Still, whilst the Reformation made major inroads towards correction, it did not succeed in restoring the original Church pattern of Church authority being a function of a person's character - not academic qualification - and his/her God-given ministry gift; Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. This pattern has remained to this day where Teachers still trying to Pastor and failing terribly, and Pastors still trying to Teach and failing terribly. The problem is exaggerated by the financial modeling of the institutional church which relies on overhead expense through fixed property, full-time workers and variable costs including cleaning services, printing, telephone connections, etc. There is little wrong with organizing a gathering if only the completeness and truthfulness of the teaching given is not at the mercy of church member financial contributions in order to pay for ongoing - fixed and variable - expenses.

    Philosophy replacing the Holy Spirit

    The New Testament calls the message which Paul preached and the letters he wrote "the Word of God". There may be a side of us thinking 'why did God not made things a little easier for us living in the 21st century'; why did He not explain in clear terms what we ought to do as and when the culture of the day changes or violates the biblical standard?

    But, that is exactly the point, isn't it? If you believe that God knows all things, then you have to believe that He knew way in advance that the culture which we find ourselves in today would be different to the culture in which Peter and Paul and Jesus found themselves 2,000 years ago. So then, the further question needs to be asked; why did God not teach us how to interpret the Bible given today's (secular-driven) culture? The answer to this question is actually very easy: The general culture of the pagan Roman culture in which Christians found themselves 2,000 years ago - like today - also was quite different to the biblical standard. In fact, it was - and needed to be - quite distinct. Yet, God did not in any way expect them (the early Christians) to depart from His standard in any way whatsoever. So, the idea that "things have changed since the biblical narrative and therefore Christians need to change with the times" is totally void of any basis.

    As a side issue: It is likely that the influence of the thoroughly patriarchal society within Roman culture in the years following the first Apostles, particularly after 325AD when Emperor Constantine became intimately involved the 'running of the Church', is the very reason why women were marginalized in Church and Christian circles at large. This attitude spread as the gospel spread. What we find is that it seems as if it became the norm that women would no longer be considered important or useful in Church affairs. Of course, apart from Apostleship (having authority over men (refer 1 Corinthians 11:1-2) and Teaching (refer 1 Timothy 2:12-15), women should play no lesser role than men in the Church.

    The take-away: So, what we see is that reasoning for 'the Church to catch-up with the times' is baseless. New Testament society at large had the same level of sexual immorality and idolatry 2,000 years ago than what we have today and still the Apostles taught that, 1) women should not teach or have authority over men, and 2) sexual immorality will bring the perpetrator to damnation.

    We know that general society in the time of Peter and Paul was sexually very immoral - Christians lived amongst practices of adultery, private sex clubs, group sex, bestiality, prostitution, homosexuality (which was encouraged by the Roman leaders), idolatry, and the like. All of this was going on, yet God did not change His standard. Instead, He demanded loyalty to His Kingdom.

    Pagan Roman society even embraced androgyny - Androgyny is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics.

    How did this change the way Peter of Paul or Jesus' teachings were interpreted? Answer: it was the very existence of these practices amongst Christians which in part led to passages like 1 Corinthians 5 and 1 Corinthians 6 being written:

    Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

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    The idea that we need to read Paul's dire warning about homosexuality differently because 'times have changed' is designed to be accepted by those who have chosen to pursue their own will and not the will of the Lord. Now compare this with what you will find taught in churches, Bible Schools and Seminaries alike, as I disuses below.

    The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom which at the time operated (and still operates) quite differently to that of the rest of the 'world' is distinct from the world, it does not seek to "stay relevant" like a club does. So serious was God in having Christians uphold His standard that He allowed Christians to be slaughtered to prove their faith. They were killed in the name of Jesus because they refused to 'sink to the carnal, earthly standard' which they were incentivised to adopt. But what do 'Christian' leaders do today? Instead of preaching non-conformity to the world, they teach the need for a changed biblical standard in order to conform with the socio-political environment that surrounds us. Read about this kind of teaching below and decide for yourself whether or not a Christian message is really being taught?

    In Mark 4, Jesus says the following: If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear, meaning, 'if you are serious about wanting to understand my Word, then make sure you pay careful attention'. A casual reading of the Bible will not do. But I am afraid that is as much as some people will do while leaving the 'heavy lifting' in understanding Scripture to the 'intellectuals'. Some of these "intellectuals" should rather be referred to as the 'intellectually dishonest'. These are people who choose to believe the Bible as true, relevant and updated when it talks about salvation. But when it comes to upholding God's standard, then they choose to believe that the Bible to be 'out of date or irrelevant'.

    Problems in understanding the Bible

    So, Christians have always struggled to understand the Bible right. Here's the issue though: the problem is not with what God is saying but with what we are hearing. Our hearing is colored by our prejudice, rebellion and lack of interest. Over the ages mankind has tried to 'eliminate human prejudice' in the reading of Scripture, but we have failed every time simply because the Bible needs to be "spiritually discerned", not literately interpreted. Primarily, it is not a literary work. It is a spiritual truth.

    Here are some of the other reasons why we are hearing different things when reading the Bible:

    If you are not sure what all this means, read here please. Paul explains that the "natural" person cannot hear God: the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (v14). The word "natural" is translated from the Greek base word for soul ("psuche", or "psychikós" as is used in this passage). Psychikós simply means 'that which is of the soul'. So, Paul teaches that an understanding of God's word for Psychikós-people happens through the lens of their "feelings, desires, affections, and/or aversions". So, what this does is it subjects their understanding of a biblical passage to mercy of what is 'emotionally palatable' to them. When things seem "too harsh" to them, they dismiss the truth of it. When things seem "unfair" to them they dismiss the truth of them, because God's objective truth - for them - has become inferior to their subjective feelings.

    This is very important to understand as it will help you unwrap why "born-again, spirit-filled Christians" can at times act very carnally: They may indeed be born-again, but they move out of their soul, not their spirit. Therein lies their error in reading Scripture. Note, if ''psychikós born-again Christians' get the interpretation of the Word of God wrong , how much worse more will non-Christians be in error and how much worse will their teaching it be?

    Note how atheist activist Dr. Richard Dawkins acknowledge that [most] "sophisticated theologians" do not believe that the Bible is true.

    Consider how Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou - Head of the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter - in the same panel discussion as him, makes the same argument as Dr. Richard Dawkins, an atheist, that the Bible is "myth". Then consider a layman in the audience saying this: "I believe the Old Testament is true because Jesus believed it was true."

    Read another article here; Is your Pastor saved?

    These are some of the reasons why people differ on what exactly God meant with any one particular verse. Note also that the very reason Paul was writing his letters were to correct false teaching or a misapplication of what he had preached earlier. You can see that the 'Christian world' we live in is likely riddled with error.

    So, given the great differences in interpretation today, enter 'the need for "Hermeneutics".'

    From the history in the development of the church as an institution, it should come as no surprise at all that error having entered the scene early-on in Church history has been compounded over time. And so, Christianity - recognizing that something was amiss - adopted secular means to interpret what they needed to understand - enter Hermeneutics: The beginning of ancient hermeneutics as a more systematic activity goes back to the exegesis of the Homeric epics. This was a method of nonliteral interpretation of the authoritative texts which contained claims and statements that seemed theologically and morally inappropriate or false (Tate 1934). Such exegetical attempts were aiming at a deeper sense, hidden under the surface—hypónoia, i.e., underlying meaning. Allegorisis was practiced widely from the sixth century BCE to the Stoic and Neoplatonistic schools and even later (Scholz 2016: 18ff).

    Richard Beck (see image below) believes that Christians cannot possibly learn to hear the Holy Spirit for themselves. Regardless of Jesus' teaching that they can (and should), Richard seems to believe that they cannot because people often say 'This is the clear teaching of Scripture' and then they end up differing over what exactly the Bible meant with that particular Scripture. On the face of it, it looks like a fair argument, except that Richard likely has not considered the reasons given above why people differ in their interpretation of the Bible.

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    So, long before the Bible was compiled, non-biblical scholars started developing a system or technique to understand what lay 'under the surface' of any given text. This they called Hermeneutics - a man-made literary technique to interpret man-made written text. The problem with using Hermeneutics for interpreting the Bible is obvious:

    1) whilst all other text is man-made, the Bible is inspirited by God. As such, it is not a man-made document. Sure, it was written by men, but the character of it, and their thoughts when writing it originated from the Holy Spirit. Christians believe this to be a fact as John states in John 1 - the Word was with God, and the Word was God. It ought to be a simple conclusion that a God-inspired document cannot be interpreted by a man-made lens (Hermeneutics). Yet, to this day, new styles of Hermeneutics are invented and used by Theologians.

    2) the extent to which a Christian uses Hermeneutics to be taught regarding the way and the will of God is the extent to which one does not use the Holy Spirit to do so. Thus, it is a denial of the need and the ministry of the Holy Spirit (refer Jesus' words in John 14:26).

    I suspect that many people who believe they are born again and Spirit-filled are in fact not born again nor Spirit-filled. This is on the back of erroneous teaching as to what these concepts mean. Read here if you are unsure. Then, when they cannot hear the Holy Spirit, they believe it cannot be done (any longer) and thus find alternative ways to interpret the Bible.

    Humanism and a shifting focus towards personal legal and moral rights

    Christian humanism is a variation of 'pure Humanism' - here are some verses that depict God's thoughts on the issue.

    Since slavery was abolished in 1807 with the help of prominent Christian - William Wilberforce - individual "rights" have become more and more pronounced within the general political and socio-economic discourse. Whilst the Bible - and the New Testament in particular - never diminished the value of women in relation to men, a deviation from Scripture by the church saw women marginalized from Church activities. Modern tendencies towards Feminism has sought to redress these imbalances which have split over into a pursuit of the individual rights of countless 'minority groups' including children, people holding alternate systems of faith, people holding alternative views on sexuality, and so forth. These initiatives or sub-movements have seen - or have been driven by - theologians and scholars re-interpreting Scripture so as to make sense of changing values/norms. In this regard, the Bible is seen to have pursued an "unfair" patriarchal system which is out of step with modern society.

    Increasingly, what has for centuries been deemed ungodly and 'not God's way' is being accepted as true and godly into so-called Christian circles on the basis that it is "unfair to discriminate" or "judge" the wrongdoing of others. Thus, an out-of-place-premium is placed on tolerance of all ills, sins and iniquity (not 'inequity', which is something else). Instead of adopting the biblical requirement, the idea that "love covers a multitude of sins" is put forward to deny any need for upholding a moral standard required by Scripture. The doctrine of "Free Grace" basically says that once you have proclaimed your faith in Christ you can do as you please - there will be no consequence because Christ covered all your sins, even the unrepentant ones. All such theories are - you guessed it - derived from various forms of philosophy and Hermeneutics. Image result for apostasy christian secular

    In secular society, the idea that we all have our own rights suggests that I can live out my own pleasures and preferences without anyone dictating a different standard to me, or, worse, I can live out my pleasures and preferences and the government should accommodate me. In the United States today there is a movement which campaigns for legal sexual relations between men and under-aged boys. Such ideas are no longer absurd - our society has become obsessed with 'progress'. LGBT campaigners find themselves part of this milieu and 'Christian' teachers endorse it (LGBT) - see below. All of this because humankind demands 'progress'. But progress towards what? Progress towards apostasy[8] - professing Christians falling away or abandoning Christianity. This has started happening some years ago already though it may not be visible to the naked eye, for some of these have remained "in ministry" or a 'church leaders', now spreading a message contrary to Scripture.

    Denial of Jesus' authority is a denial of the Christian faith

    Central to the theme noted in Humanism above is the active and widespread assertion that the order of authority within Christianity - which Paul teaches as a 'timeless constant' in 1 Corinthians 11 - no longer applies. But this is heresy. It is not overtly preached as "the order has changed", but the implications of modern teaching sees it that way.

    In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul teaches:

      1. God is the head of Jesus
      2. Jesus is the head of man
      3. man is the head of woman

    To understand this passage as a 'cultural regulation meant for biblical times only' - as more and more people do - is to suggest that the order in which God allocates responsibility and demands accountability has changed over time. In other words, 'God changed His mind about how His order of authority works - men should really not be the head of women because the world we live in does not want that any longer.

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    But if 1 Corinthians 11:1-3[9] is denied (as per its modern application) then it cannot be argued that Jesus is (still) the head of man and that the Father is (still) the head of Jesus, because where one part of God's order is denied, the whole structure of the order is denied, and where you deny His order of authority you deny His Kingdom. You cannot conveniently strip out part 3 of the order without affecting parts 1 and 2. That would be intellectual dishonesty.

    So, we need to decide whether or not we want to be intellectually honest and whether or not we want to really serve our head - Jesus. Where godly authority is denied, godly order is denied and the godly way is denied. Where the godly way is denied, there is no truth in such a setting because Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life"; "God's truth" and "God's way" always go together.

    The pursuit of Power and Money

    The Bible makes it very clear that God does not want His people to suffer lack [10]. It also makes it clear that above not suffering lack, God wants to build godly character in people [11]. So, where there is an accumulation of wealth for the sake of 'showing off God's grace', the pursuit of godly character is forsaken. Moreover, wherever the message preached on a Sunday is at the mercy of financial contributions by the members, one can be sure that some level of truth is compromised. Because, in effect, the people within the congregation, generally speaking, want the preacher to serve in an inoffensive way and sometimes the message of God is just that - offensive[12] .

    All these things - and others - have served to dilute the message of Christ to mankind.

    The Historic significance of Christianity

    For nearly 2,000 years, Christianity has been a key theme for the Western world. Through-out the ‘new world’ – New Zealand, Australia, parts of India, South America and Africa – the Christian faith has enjoyed some or other part in establishing a strong and sustainable new nation or a civilization. The Encyclopedia Britannica lists the “Founding Fathers” of the United States as ‘professing Christians’ . By this measure alone, Christian values have had an enormous bearing on the direction of mankind in history, even if is only by way of Buzz Aldrin being reported as having taken communion shortly before stepping on the surface of the moon .  

    For the most part, the ‘new world’ has flourished – taking the lead economically, politically and even technologically. At the same time, for the most part at least, the Western World has primarily embraced the Christian faith. Christian terms, standards and rules have been taken up in Law and social norms such as celebrating Christmas and Passover have been part of the establishment of Western society in the new world since the very beginning. In many parts of the world like Australia, being sworn in as a member of Parliament or new citizen to the country still require the person in question to take an oath whilst having the option (as is the norm) of putting your on the Bible and/or by saying “So help me God.

    Therein lies the problem through; whilst the intention certainly is to honor God in the promise being made, the Bible on two occasions makes it quite clear that a Christian should newer swear on anything at all – not even (or especially not) on the Bible .

    Is my country really ‘Christian’?

    The Lord’s prayer is said at the commencement of Parliament. Australians celebrate Christmas and Passover (together with Halloween and ANZAC Day) as culturally significant days. There are many Christian schools around. Hospitals have chapels and so too have schools and prisons. Courts have Bibles and so too do Justices of the Peace – those qualified officials who certify authentic documents and facilitate the taking of an oath.
    But the mere fact that the practice of swearing on the Bible in making an oath was established in a so-called “Christian country” whilst the Christian Bible itself clearly prohibits such a thing highlights one of three things:

    Note that Jesus makes the following point about swearing on anything at all, let alone swearing on the Bible: But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.[7]
    Did you get that? Jesus calls it ‘an evil thing’ to swear on the Bible. So, it is a serious matter - not a trivial matter at all. And so, it should tell us that we as a people find ourselves in one of the above three categories, if not a combination of the three.

    Australia’s Yes / No vote on ‘Same Sex Marriage’

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimate the number of professing Christians in Australia at around 51% in 2016. This is down from 96% in 1901 to 76% in 1971 to 68% in 2001. Clearly the trend is downwards, and accelerating. It took 100 years from 1901 for people thinking they may be Christian to drop from 96% to 68% in 2001 (a 28% drop - 2.8% per decade). But it has taken 15 years from 2001 to drop from 68% to 51% in 2016 (15.5% per decade).

    Recently Australia voted for or against the legalization of homosexual marriages. The vote can and should be seen as a measure of the extent to which Australians at large embrace the teachings of the Bible. In the end, despite major campaigning, the Yes-vote prevailed with 61.6% or 7.8 million votes . This past week legislation was passed in the Australian Parliament to legalese homosexual marriage. This is the decision Australia has taken.

    As a No-voter and despite the Bible’s clear condemnation of homosexuality, I hold no ill feelings or condemnation towards Yes-voters. Their business is theirs. Nevertheless, the size of the Yes-vote does show how many people today are in fact guided by the plain reading of the Bible – at best 38.4% of eligible voters (adults). This number includes people who are not Christian but whose system of faith rejects Christianity as well – mainly Muslims – as well as those who objected to the Yes-vote on cultural or educational grounds but who do not at all identify with the Christian faith. So, the actual number of Australians who are guided by the plain reading of the Bible is much less – perhaps around 15 - 20%. From these numbers, clearly, Australia - despite its Christian tradition and value system - is not a Christian country, and never has been. Because a Christian is not defined by a value system but by having personally encountered Jesus Christ and submitted their will to His in faith.

    And that is where we get to see that even the professing church in Australia is not submitted to the revealed will of Jesus who is the Word of God and represents the will of God.

    Christian approval of Homosexual lifestyle and marriage

    My own federal member of Parliament – in his own words, a “practicing Catholic” - changed his stance on this matter once he found out that his daughter was in a homosexual relationship. It was a difficult decision for him, I'm sure. But here's the thing - Christianity absolutely requires that the professor of the faith serves God before serving man. Others have gone to great lengths to promote the idea that God endorses homosexuality – some teaching at Theological colleges and other institutions of learning, like Robyn J Whitaker who is a Bromby Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Trinity College and a lecturer at the University of Divinity and whose teaching was published by Australia’s government-funded broadcaster. She is also an ordained minister in the Uniting Church of Australia (Reformed):

    “Serious Christians cannot ignore the Bible. They can, however, make sure that they interpret it with all the tools available to them, that they examine their own biases, and stop over-simplifying the issues. The Bible offers a wide variety of marriage arrangements, many of which we no longer condone. It never condemns same-sex marriage, partly because it simply does not address the issue directly. It does, however, give us an ethic to guide how we treat one another: an ethic based upon God's generous love and a profound concern for justice.”

    Note how she describes herself as a "serious Christian", yet denies the NT teaching for the need for the Holy Spirit to teach what is plainly written in Scripture. Her argument, like that of others, goes as follows: ‘The Bible should be taken seriously. But you cannot rely on the Holy Spirit to help you understand it - you need "tools" (read man-made techniques and philosophy) to interpret correctly what it says: given that the Bible does not explicitly prohibit homosexual marriage it should be embraced on the grounds that God wants love and justice.’ Robyn denies what is plainly written in favor of applying her preference in Hermeneutics - a man-made science or discipline in interpreting man-made literature. The flaw here is obvious.

    This logic is so absurd that it may well be re-phrased as follows: ‘Therefore, given that the Bible does not explicitly prohibit the smoking of Marijuana it should be embraced on the grounds that God does wants all people to 'have peace'.

    Of course such thinking is ridiculous! So we see is that professing Christians and professing Bible teachers choose to believe something which the Bible makes abundantly clear is unacceptable for believers to engage in: Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

    By arguing that homosexuality and sodomy is fine by God - as Ms. Whitaker does - she also, by implication, argues that fornication, idolatry, adultery, covetousness, drunkenness, extortion and revelry are fine with God because the list of prohibited habits or life choices includes all of these. Ironically, Ms Whitaker complains that people "over-simplify issues" [in the Bible], yet reduces her pronouncement on the issue of homosexual marriages to 13 words: "an ethic based upon God's generous love and a profound concern for justice". Stupendous hypocrisy.

    Robyn Whitaker may herself be deceived or indoctrinated by false teaching, or she may not be a Christian at all. I do not know. I don't judge her - it is not my job. But I do judge her teaching, as I should. If the biblical standard was to be applied here by the likes of Paul, and if indeed she is Christian, her fate may well have been that of the one found in 1 Corinthians 5 - Paul's teaching in it being a prelude to what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6 quoted above. Being in direct violation of Scripture, the promotion of homosexuality by way of teaching Christians so is demonic. I am not saying that the author of such teachings is of the devil or has a demon (though the chances are there), only that what they teach most certainly is not of God.

    Elsewhere I have written about William J. Webb, PhD (Dallas Theological Seminary). Webb is is a theologian, ordained Baptist minister and former professor of New Testament at Heritage Seminary, Ontario. At the time of writing, he is an adjunct professor at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto. Webb is an academic. Webb is known for developing the "redemptive-movement" hermeneutic in his book Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis (2001). In his book he basically argues that changes in the norms and culture of mankind necessitate an adapted interpretation of Scripture. Simply put, where mankind chooses to deviate from what the Bible teaches, then the reading of the Bible should adjust to align with new societal norms. As such, homosexuality should in time be accepted in the church because society is going that way.

    Prince George

    How about this 'Church of England Leader' - the Very Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth - who encouraged his congregation to pray that Prince George would turn out to be a homosexual so that the 'Church' in the United Kingdom may come to accept homosexuality as an biblically acceptable lifestyle?

    This is completely bonkers! Yet, intelligent people eat it up and dish it out in greater measure every year. As is the case with any other form of Humanism that has crept into church doctrine, this teaching says that 'Man dictates to God what is acceptable and what is not'. It denies the sovereignty of the living God.

    Hypocrisy in the 'church' (Catholic this time)

    'All those riches [held by the Catholic Church] is meant to give glory to God.' - Catholic Bishop. Really? Bishop! Sorry, but no! Read a Bible nearby please. Whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17). How is it that more than a billion people see this rank hypocrisy and still subscribe to the ' doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope'?

    Conclusion: sick Church = sick society

    Okay, so we see that ministers of faith as well as men and women who teach ministers of faith within the institutional church in an increasing way publicly deny what is plainly written in Scripture. What then about God's specific intent with the Church referred to above - Ephesians 3:8-13? Well, where Christians are being led away from what is taught simply in the Bible, the "manifold wisdom of God" will not be " - Paul calls it - made known to principalities and powers in the heavenly places", will it? That much is clear.

    We know that in the example of Paul being shipwrecked, God saves and protects people simply by the presence and obedience of 2 or 3 genuine Christians. Significantly, though the vast majority of the people on board of Paul's prisoner ship were not Christian, but decidedly Pagan, the Lord saved every life on that ship on the back of Paul's personal obedience and instruction; 276 people saved when 1 Christian obeyed.

    This, I believe, is some sort of proxy to what is going on in society; As believers in eternal life, we must accept that entering the Kingdom of God and bearing His fruit is Man's greatest pursuit: Where Christians are taught correctly, they are more likely than not to obey God correctly. And where Christians obey correctly the fruit will be evident in society. From this, the opposite is true also. Where Christians are taught error - as some in the institutional church has done prior to and during the recent same-sex marriage debate in Australia, society is moving away from God's protection and blessing (see Paul's shipwrecking above). Note the diminishing numbers of Christians in Australia which I quoted above. I am not saying God punishes the world through natural disasters, etc. What I am saying is that Lord holds the Church responsible for what is going on in the world. There is a massive difference in focus.

    The fact that true Christianity (not mere 'church' membership) in Australia and the rest of the Western world is retreating fast - thus, the fact that there is apostasy in action right in front of our eyes - is the very thing that says 'leadership in the Church' is either failing or not of God. Alternatively, those who should be in the ministry (teaching, correcting, pastoring, leading as a separate and distinct gifting) are not there, and those who are there, should not be.

    ... the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:10-19, NKJV)

    Let us pray for Christian teaching and pastoring to be in line with the guiding of the Holy Spirit and that teaching His Word will be done by those chosen by Him and not by those chosen by people.

    Footnotes:

    [1] Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Corinthians 12:27) [back]

    [2] I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. (1 Corinthians 5:10) [back]

    [3] Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4) [back]

    [4] If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:17) [back]

    [5] Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8) [back]

    [6] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11) [back]

    [7] But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne.” and James 5:12 – “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment. (Matthew 5:34) [back]

    [8] Now in regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to meet Him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be quickly unsettled or alarmed either by a [so-called prophetic revelation of a] spirit or a message or a letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] come.  Let no one in any way deceive or entrap you, for that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first [that is, the great rebellion, the abandonment of the faith by professed Christians], and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction [the Antichrist, the one who is destined to be destroyed],  4 who opposes and exalts himself [so proudly and so insolently] above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he [actually enters and] takes his seat in the temple of God, publicly proclaiming that he himself is God. (1 Thessalonian 2:1-5, AMP) [back]

    [9] Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:1-3) [back]

    [10] 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9) [back]

    [11] And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8). Therefore, abundance is given so that we may fulfil God's instructions to us individually in doing His will on earth. [back]

    [12] 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? (Matthew 23:33) [back]

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    Please consult the Bible and test what is written here. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in this area. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not Scriptural. Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.

    "Even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

    Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me."

    (John 12:42-44)

     

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