Last week, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted at its General Assembly to change the definition of marriage from insisting it is exclusively between a man and a woman to between “two people.” Thus, the denomination paved the way for its pastors to perform same-sex weddings.
In the wake of that decision, here are a few takeaways that come to mind:
1 – Infallibility and inerrancy matter
If you want to know how healthy a church is, ask the elders this one simple question: “What does the Bible mean to you?” The answer to that question will tell you all you need to know about the spiritual condition of that local church and its trajectory going forward.
For far too many professing believers, infallibility and inerrancy are not essential. And we see what happens as a result. If the world can convince enough believers the Bible is not reliable for determining truth (and they have done a good job at that), then any doctrine is up for grabs, including the really important ones. And, once enough radicals deem a tenet of the faith unpalatable, it can always be jettisoned in favor of something more flavorful. Take, for instance, the Old Testament prohibition against homosexuality (Lev. 18:21–22; 20:13) and Paul’s condemnation of the practice in the New Testament (Rom. 1; 1 Tim. 1:8–10). Fairly clear, right? Well, not to the theological liberal. They dismiss this prohibition against homosexuality by suggesting the Bible is insufficient to equip people in all generations by arguing the biblical writers were unaware of same-sex orientation.
So, essentially what this means is that Jesus unwittingly condemned homosexuality when he reaffirmed the entirety of the Mosaic Law. Likewise, the Spirit who inspired the writers to pen God’s truth was unaware that many years later homosexuals would arrive on the scene with their same-sex orientation. Who knew?!
2 – This is the first of many barriers to tumble
Anyone who thinks the LGBT crowd will be mollified with a recognition of “same-sex” marriage in its “fight for equality” is sadly mistaken. This is merely the beginning. Remember, same-sex marriage only focuses on the “L” and the “G.” There’s still quite a few letters that follow.
Don’t think for one minute the polygamist, bi-sexual, or person who engages in “inter-generational love” will be satisfied until he or she is afforded the same “rights” as homosexuals. And, indeed, once those challenges to orthodoxy surface, upon what rational and consistent basis will society (or the church for that matter) say no to those individuals? Once the church capitulates to the viewpoint that the Bible is silent in regards to marriage, there is no room for prohibiting other forms of behavior.
The next phase of the assault on traditional marriage will be the number two. Why two? The PCUSA denomination is quite certain the Bible does not teach us marriage is between “a man and a woman.” However, they are certain it is between “two people.” But why are they so certain it’s just two?
3 – The “love” argument trumps all others
The underlying premise behind much of the discussion revolves around the word “love.” Proponents of same-sex marriage insist that “loving, committed couples” have just as much right to marriage as heterosexual couples. But what they fail to see is that love cannot be defined apart from or separate than God, defining it merely in human terms. We know what love is because God defines it for us—in the Bible. Love—in all its forms—must be defined according to divine standards and not human standards.
But this does not stop the world from taking the love of God and turning it on its head to say God loves us in our bad behavior (which is true) but doesn’t care if we continue to sin (which is not true). But that’s not the God of the Bible. Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, but neither did he permit her to continue in her present lifestyle. Instead, he commanded her to “sin no more” (John 8:11). Jesus was doing the loving thing by telling the woman that her actions would ultimately lead her own destruction and ruin. That’s true love, but you’d never hear the world frame it in those terms.
4 – Seminary training matters
The PCUSA as a denomination did not evolve overnight. It took years of apathy and disdain for traditional views before it was manifested in last week’s vote. Without educational leaders committed to the authority of the Bible, we cannot expect seminaries to produce pastors faithful to the entirety of God’s Word. One must first have a high view of Scripture in order to remain faithful to the teaching contained in Scripture. And, as witnessed last week, those seminaries who produce pastors and theologians who no longer adhere to the “fundamentals of the faith,” have no foundation to withstand the onslaught of liberal ideology.
All of this is to say that it’s sad to witness churches who were once faithful be led astray by the world, calling evil good and good evil. But that’s exactly what is taking place. Yet, we shouldn’t be surprised. It is the natural end for an organization that, at its highest levels, has not been committed to the authoritative voice of God in toto.
I can’t help but think about that line in the children’s song about Joshua’s conquest in Jericho: “. . . And the walls came tumbling down!”