Friday, December 25, 2015
The Siamese Sins: Low View of Scripture & Failure to Discipline
An alarming snapshot indeed but not a surprising one. I wanted to comment on a few of these and then briefly point out what this sort of folly and vanity exists in the first place. Notice that groups like the Assemblies of God, the PCA, an Southern Baptist all witnessed either a significant increase in those accepting of homosexuality and/or have a very high percentage that accept it. The Assemblies of God experienced a remarkable 62% increase in just 7 years. The SBC experienced a whopping 30% increase over the same timeframe. And I have no earthly idea what is going on in the PCA but it cannot be good. I have always held the PCA in high regard but clearly the elders are neglecting more than their share of responsibilities when 49% of their members believe that homosexuality is acceptable.
This is what happens when you have weak men in the pulpit and weak elders and deacons in leadership. Weak reactions to homosexuality lend credence to Christians (supposedly) who are waffling on this issues. The preacher must thunder away without any hint of softness on these issues. He cannot afford to stammer, shutter, and fumble over his words when discussing the blatant sexual sin that is homosexuality. He cannot appear to be weak in any way. Loving yes, but firm, resolved, even extremist where this culture is concerned. We are beginning to discover which men are called as shepherds and which ones are hirelings. The hireling wilts, stammers, stutters, looks for a way of escape. He wants to please men and God. His worse nightmare is controversy. His is not a godly shepherd. He is not only a poor excuse for a shepherd, he is even a poorer excuse for a Christian and even a worse excuse for a man. Where are you O man of God? These numbers indicate we need you something fierce!
Now, a look at the second bit of information and we begin to connect the dots. If you want to understand why it is that the top survey is what it is, you need to look no further than the bottom survey. You can ignore the top lines in the graph for the most part. If you really want to know peoples' opinion of the Bible, just ask them if we should take it literally, not if they think it is the Word of God. The latter expression has become so nebulous it provide nearly nothing of meaningful value when used. But when you ask people if you should take the Bible literally, now you are asking them something. And make no mistake about it, this is not a literary question. This is not a poll for scholars. This is a poll of the common folks. Literally to them means something far different than literary devices. And here we see that the views of Scripture are, as we would expect, extremely low. You see, I can believe that the Bible is the Word of God without taking that statement literally. In other words, it isn't literally the Word of God. And yes, if you don't believe me, go test my claim.
The point I am making is simple. The Church can ill-afford to bring in new members and retain old members that adopt the sort of thinking expressed in this survey. If Bible-Believing Churches want to protect themselves and thrive for Christ, they must insist that members hold to a high view of Scripture consistent with historic Christian orthodoxy or be removed from membership. Nothing less will do. Second, the Church must insist that members affirm a Christian ethic, to include sexuality, or be removed from membership. Nothing less will do. No you cannot be a member of a local genuine Christian community and hold a low view of Scripture. No you cannot be a member of a local genuine Christian community and affirm homosexuality. The solution is simple. For the godly shepherd and the godly congregation, this is not too difficult. For the man pleasers and the culture lovers, such a task seems daunting. I would suggest you close you doors. If cannot hold to a high view of Scripture and affirm the Christian ethic, regardless of how embarrassing it might seem to our blasphemous culture, then please close your doors and stop calling yourself a Christian because your not!
Finally, Churches need a reaffirmation process annually for all members. Members need to understand that if they depart from the confession that governs their membership, it could be grounds for excommunication. Furthermore, they have an on-going obligation to disclose any such changes to the elders. Additionally, they need to positively reaffirm the confession no less than annually in some way shape or form and they need to do so formally. This will protect the integrity of the memberships of local congregations.