Juggling and Justifying

Ta Ethne was recently part of a panel discussion concerning the acceptance of homosexual congregations among the Christian community. Involved in the panel were 5 different Baptist denominations (American, National, Cooperative, Reformed and Southern), representatives from different 7th-Day Adventist congregations, and an Anglican priest. 3 different nationalities (Cuban, American, Virgin Islander) were represented. Also present was a pastor in a local Metropolitan Community Church, who was giving her reasons for inclusion into mainstream Christiandom. Without going into all of the discussion, which would take up multiple columns, I want to focus on one particular issue. During the discussion, the MCC pastor (a self-professed lesbian) gave her interpretation of Romans 1:26-27. In her understanding, the natural affection was the affection for another of the same sex and it would have been unnatural to love someone of the opposite sex. In this way, she believed Paul supported her lifestyle in this passage. In other words, she believed that  the verses condemn the act of going against what a person’s natural sexual orientation really is (which is a whole different debate for another time.)

A quick look at the Greek text shows us clearly what Paul is referring to:

The Greek for “natural function” are φυσικὴν χρῆσιν,  phusikan krasis.

  • “natural” – phusikan, 1) produced by nature, inborn, 2) agreeable to nature, 3) governed by (the instincts of) nature1
  • “function” – Only two instances in N.T. Rom. 1:26,27.  χρῆσις, εως, ἡ use made of anything, usage; more specifically of sexual intercourse function, sexual useI

It was disheartening for me to hear this and not have another church leader call her out on her twisting of Scripture. The MCC pastor was juggling, twisting and redefining words to try and justify a lifestyle and getting away with it because no one else had the guts to say, “You are wrong. You are not interpreting Scripture correctly.” Unfortunately, we live in a society where “tolerance” trumps truth. If you are going to sin, sin. Do not compound the sin by trying to justify your actions through a deliberate misuse of clear, Scriptural teaching. I fear for the churches the other leaders represent. If they could not face this without compromising, they will not face any error in their churches. More than ever we need pastors and leaders who are committed to godly principles and not afraid to stand for the truth. Pray for Ta Ethne as we continue to train leaders worldwide in how to stand on Scripture.

Free Audio Resources

Here at Ta Ethne we are happy to announce a free audio book giveaway to celebrate our first anniversary since our re-launch! We have 5 free copies of 3 resources: The Quest, Is Jesus Enough? and A Heart Hungry to Worship. 15 free copiesin all,  from Audible.com for our supporters. If you would like a free audio book, simply follow these steps:

1) Send us an e-mail at taethne@outlook.com with the subject Free Audio Resource

2) Let us know your 1st and 2nd choice of books

3) If you are one of the first 15 to respond, we will send you the redemption code and link for you to download your book from audible.com

4) If you are not an audible.com member you can still redeem the free book, you will just need to sign up for a free account (you can use your amazon.com and link them)

5) Download and enjoy your free book

 

If you are not one of the first 15 we will send you an email thanking you for supporting us and put you on a list for the next free giveaway.

Believing in Jesus doesn’t make one a Christian

I had an interesting conversation with an individual the other day. This person had grown up outside of church but was introduced to Christianity as a young adult. He joined a Reformed Presbyterian congregation but left to enter the Disciples of Christ as a minister. Continuing on in his spiritual journey, as he called it, he soon left that denomination behind and entered into process theology. Process theology, in a nutshell, believes that as we grow in learning about God, God grows in learning about us. In other words, God becomes as we think about him – we create him, in our image. The man I was talking to said he no longer believed the Bible was inspired by God, that it was just man’s beliefs about God, full of contradictions and mistakes. He went on to describe how his journey had led him to the Dali Lama and Buddhist truths. At this point the conversation took an interesting twist. He stated, “I am still a Christian.” I asked how he could claim that.

“Well, I love Jesus. I believe he was a good man, a wise teacher, a great example of God’s compassion and love.”

I replied, “So does a Muslim. Jews also will grant you that. I even have agnostic and atheist friends who believe Jesus existed and was a moral man. Deluded, maybe, but real and a good humanitarian. That is a far cry from being a Christian. A Christian believes Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Chosen One of God who brought salvation. Christians believe Jesus was Divine, God’s Son, our Savior. You, sir, are not  Christian. You are a Deist well on your way to becoming a Buddhist, but you are not a Christian.”

This man I was talking to did not like to be told that. He was not being honest with himself. He started tossing out words of wisdom from Buddhism and Hindi philosophy to show how those beliefs were superior to my “limited understanding.” I used Paul’s writings to Corinth to show that all those same things were found in the Bible he had rejected.

In the end, I left him with a thought. I told him, “There is a world of difference between going on a journey and admitting you are wandering around lost in the woods.” His “spiritual journey” had left him wandering with no anchor. He had a mish-mash of so many beliefs that he was confused and yet, at his core, he was afraid to admit he had completely left Christianity behind. He wanted the safe comfort of a womb, recreating and redefining Christianity to suit his new beliefs without realizing and admitting what he truly was – a theologically bankrupt soul. Those who make God in their own image, as this man has done, find that they have no God at all.

New Resources Available

The newsletter for July will (hopefully) be up this weekend, but the news of our newest resources can’t wait! Dominoes: A Dynamic Commentary on Jude has been released in print. It is available from retailers such as Amazon and it is also available in digital form for the Kindle.  Just as exciting is the news that Dominoes is under production in audio form. When completed, it will become available on iTunes and Audible.com.

On another note, The 180 Project is underway and while the project will take a while to complete, we believe it will be a valuable resource on the subject of biblical repentance. Stay tuned for more information of upcoming events and grab yourself a copy of our commentary on Jude.