Tolerance, Embracing And Making Proper Distinctions

Rainbow Bible02When did the definition of tolerance change? It used to mean putting up with disagreeable circumstances or people despite your personal feelings about them. As a child with Cerebral Palsy, for example, I was taught that, even though I didn’t like my leg and back braces, I needed to tolerate them during school hours. I didn’t have to celebrate them. As a matter of fact, I had perfect freedom to voice my distaste for them as often as I wished. But I had to tolerate them by wearing them. Even to church and Sunday School.

Tolerance in the 21st Century, apparently, means something far different. Particularly with respect to the LBGTQ community, tolerance now requires enthusiastic agreement with their lifestyles, even to the point of finding new ways of interpreting God’s Word in order to embrace those lifestyles.

Meanwhile, of course, those who stand firm on Scriptures that call homosexuality a sin don’t deserve any tolerance from society. We must be corrected, marginalized or silenced. Our pastors must be threatened with prison if they preach forgiveness for anyone who repents of same sex relationships. Christians who refuse to participate in same sex weddings have been successfully sued, with some actually losing their businesses because they wouldn’t compromise their convictions.

To those readers who belong to the LBGTQ community, please understand that I (and the vast majority of Bible-believing Christians) accept you, just as we accept heterosexuals who engage in sexual sin. We call your behavior sin, certainly, just as we call premarital sex, adultery and divorce sin, but we affirm that Christ can cleanse you as thoroughly as He has cleansed us.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. 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. ~~1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

Apart from Christ, I am sexually immoral, an idolater, greedy and a reviler. I hardly have the moral superiority to look down my nose at lesbians, transgendered people or homosexuals when I remember my own sins. And if you don’t want the Lord to take you out of your sin, I’ll still accept you. I can tolerate your lifestyle. I can enjoy your company, and might even treat you to lunch in Boston.

But I can’t condone anyone’s sin, regardless of whether you’re gay or straight. I’ll love you enough to say that you need to repent as much as I need to repent. Although I tolerate your lifestyle, I must lovingly warn you that, when Jesus returns, He won’t tolerate anyone’s sin.

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Saturday Sampler: March 26 — April 1

Butterfly SamplerJohn Ellis’ piece in PJ Media, Teenage Boy Sues School Over Transgender Bathrooms is a political article rather than a specifically Christian one, but it serves as a reminder that our culture has chosen a path that degrades most of society. Christians must prepare to be marginalized as a new version of “morality” takes over.

Continuing her series on discernment at Growing 4 Life, Leslie A. writes Learn to Discern: Acknowledging the War. Find out how (and why) spiritual warfare fits into using discernment properly.

Does the Lord care how we worship Him? Rebekah Womble, blogging at Wise In His Eyes, believes He does. Her blog post, The Freedom of Worshipping God’s Way (she spelled worshiping with two p’s, not me), helps us understand why we must avoid self-styled approaches to worshiping a holy God.

Why Bargain With God?, a post that Kennedy Mathis wrote for Biblical Woman, brings back memories of my struggles as a single woman. But the principle she’s learned really applies  to any struggle Christians have.

As you can tell, I appreciate the series on cessationism that Jordan Standridge has been doing for The Cripplegate this month. His latest article, Three Reasons God is a Cessationist, employs arguments I’ve heard before, but they’re not common arguments. Please, if you have any Charismatic or continualist leanings, consider the points he makes.

Cameras Buettel, writing for the Grace To You Blog, says You Might Be A Pharisee If… This essay helps us examine ourselves (and others) more effectively to make sure we remain faithful to the Bible.

Jennifer of One Hired Late In The Day writes Same Bible, different beliefs, showing how the Lord helped her work though a perplexing question. And while you’re on her website, please check out Deconstructing Absurdity: a discernment lesson to watch her tackle a recent Tweet by Rick Warren.

R.C. Sproul posts TULIP and Reformed Theology: Unconditional Election on the Ligonier blog. Appealing to Scripture, he both explains the doctrine of election and deals with the argument that election is unjust.

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He Said, “Look Mommy — I’m Wearing A Dress!”

glory-cloudA few days ago, someone told  me that her three-year-old godson met his mother when she came to pick him up from preschool, greeting her with the words, “Look Mommy — I’m wearing a dress!” Horrified, his mother asked him why he was in a dress. He pointed to his teachers and claimed, “Them gave it to me!”

“Oh no,” the teachers argued, “we gave him a choice. We want our children to use costumes to express themselves.”

My friend said that her godson, if he’s not telling the truth about something, normally changes stories when he’s later asked again. But this time, he firmly stuck to his narrative that the teachers made him wear a dress. Therefore, his parents believe that the school pressured him into wearing the dress, perhaps letting him “choose” between two or three dresses.

It turns out, as I suspected it would, that this little boy attends a preschool that accepts state monies. I pretty much believe that the purpose of giving him a dress was to desensitize him, as well as the rest of the children, to transgender issues.

I do believe public schools have a mandate to normalize LBGTQ orientations. Since Obergefell legalized same sex marriage just over two years ago (it seems like it’s been so much longer!) and Bruce Jenner declared himself to be a woman named Caitlyn, I’ve noticed a greater push to force Americans to embrace these sexual deviations wholeheartedly. And the best way to reach this goal, obviously, is to indoctrinate young children.

And people wonder why I so strongly advocate homeschooling?

As troubling as the attack on Biblical views of gender and sexuality is, however, I have confidence that the Lord has complete control. While He hates the sin engulfing our world today (and please, I mean much more than simply sexual sin), He’s allowing a rise in lawlessness to demonstrate our need for Him.

Is His Second Corning imminent? I hope so. Actually, I really believe it’s probable. But I also believe I would be presumptuous to make a dogmatic prediction. I can, however, assert that the Lord is using our collective sin as a judgment on our culture. Please see Romans 1:18-32 as substantiation for my position.

Certainly I reject the idea of coercing a three-year-old to cross-dress. If I was his mommy, he’d never set foot in that school again! But as reprehensible as the school’s actions were, I don’t wring my hands in helpless dismay. The Lord, even though He hates such perversion, remains completely sovereign. In His perfect time, He will bring His righteousness to us so that all creation will bow before Him, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.

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Saturday Sampler: March 5 — March 11

Lollipop SamplerElizabeth Prata, blogging in The End Time, echoes my sentiments in her article, A note of encouragement: Don’t be discouraged about the Internet. With so much animosity on social media these days, her perspective refreshes me.

If you haven’t been reading Leslie A.’s fascinating series on developing discernment in Growing 4 Life,  please start. This week she writes Learn to Discern: What Is Your Paradigm? What a helpful and insightful blog post!

Oh yes, in my 46 years as a Christian I’ve watched plenty of my friends turn away from Christ. Some of these defections hurt worse than others. So I appreciate Jordan Standridge’s 4 Thoughts About People who Walk Away from the Lord in The Cripplegate this week.

In Not Your Mom’s Prosperity Gospel, Rebekah Womble of Wise In His Eyes discusses ways that evangelicals try exploitative tactics in attempts to manipulate the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t try these at home.

Tim Challies’ piece, Stop Calling Everything Hate, uses good common sense. Although that type of sense grows less common by the day, evidently.

An assignment in her Moral Theology class prompted Kim Shay to write Ethical Adventures for Out of the Ordinary. Writing about the evils of abortion isn’t as simple as she thought it would be.

Challenging the stereotypes of Calvinism,  Steve Altroggie of The Blazing Center writes 5 Reasons I’m A Calvinist. Notice how he roots each reason firmly in Scripture.

Praise God for Michelle Lesley writing Basic Training: The Bible Is Sufficient to remind us that we no longer need personal revelations from God. I wish such essays were unnecessary, but I appreciate people like Michelle who boldly stand for the sufficiency of Scripture.

 

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Saturday Sampler: January 29– February 4

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As an introduction to a new series in his blog, Tim Challies writes False Teachers and Deadly Doctrine to demonstrate the necessity for distinguishing between good and bad teaching.  We live in a time of Biblical illiteracy, and it’s imperative that we inoculate ourselves against deception.

Elizabeth Prata’s essay, Discernment lesson: how secular writers of Biblical material manipulate your emotions in The End Time, sharpens our reasoning skills a little more. She encourages us to compare everything we read,  hear or watch to Scripture.

Going on Facebook and Twitter hasn’t been fun lately, especially for people who support some of President Trump’s Executive Orders. I know I’ve struggled with self-control as I’ve wanted to weigh in on various news stories. So I greatly appreciate Pastor Scott Slayton, who writes at One Degree to Another, for his counsel in 7 Questions to Ask Before Posting about Politics on Social Media.

In her post, Meme Theology Discernment Lesson: How Does God Choose Us?, Jennifer of One Hired Late In The Day analyzes a popular meme that isn’t quite as Biblical as it appears.

Women in Scripture: Lydia, which Persis writes in Out of the Ordinary, takes us through Acts 16:11-15 to affirm God’s sovereignty in bringing people to salvation. Persis brings out details to this account that I’d never been taught before, adding to my awe of how the Lord orchestrates circumstances to accomplish His purposes.

It’s right and proper to encourage women to read and study the Bible daily. But sometimes we simply can’t. Rachel of danielthree18, as a homeschooling mom of a six-year-old with a sleep disorder, understands the dilemma. Her article, How I’m Studying the Bible in 2017, offers helpful suggestions and a healthy dose of grace to those of us who occasionally get interrupted by the demands of life.

Catholics typically defend doctrines like Purgatory and praying for the dead by appealing to the Apocrypha, accusing Protestants of “throwing out” those books. Glen Chatfield of The Watchman’s Bagpipes helps us counter Catholic claims on this matter in his blog post, What About the Apocrypha? Some of his points may surprise you!

Can we apologize to LBGT people for our actual sins against them (and yes, Christians have committed sins against them that require us to repent) without going to the other extreme of condoning their sin? The Apology to the LBGT Community That Needs An Apology by Tim Barnett of Stand To Reason makes an excellent case for showing love by telling the truth about homosexual sin.

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Saturday Sampler: November 27– December 3

squirrel-samplerGlen Chatfield of The Watchman’s Bagpipes writes a  heartfelt and extremely balanced article entitled “Gays,” Lesbians, and “Transgenders” — What Do I Think About Them? Admittedly, it’s probably a longer blog post than it needs to be, but Glen reminds us of some salient attitudes that  Christians ought to hold when discussing homosexuality.

Could you explain the Gospel to an unbeliever? If not, read An 8 Point Summary of the Gospel! by Lisa Morris on her Conforming to the Truth blog. You can even download the material as a free booklet. I love the fact that she presents the Gospel almost entirely from God’s Word.

Stop Excommunicating Yourself from the Lord’s Supper says Josh Buice of Delivered By Grace. His article shows us the difference between Scriptural self-examination and wrongfully disqualifying ourselves from an ordinance that Jesus commands His people to observe.

Excommunication, however, should happen when a church member refuses to accept Biblical correction, as we see in Denny Burk’s post, Why churches may need to excommunicate “affirming” members of the congregation. Although Burk writes specifically about those who minimize, ignore or deny the sinfulness of homosexuality, much of what he says also applies to all forms of false teaching.

On  her blog, One Hired Late In The  Day, Jennifer gives a practical example of how to evaluate things we hear and read through the lens of Scripture. Her blog post, Filtering Ideas Biblically, reiterates the necessity of saturating ourselves in God’s Word.

Jason Vaughn, writing for Parking Space 23, demonstrates how to understand the Gospel narratives in  Context: The Key to Unlocking the Gospels. Okay, I know I harp on the importance of context a lot, but maybe this essay will help you see how reading Scripture in its own context can help us better understand and apply its truths.

Writing for She Disciples, Kimberley Cummings provides Scriptural reasons for Overcoming Empty Optimism as well as Biblical ways to cultivate an optimism that has its basis in the Lord. Because social media inundates us with fluffy platitudes that imply that we can handle the world in our own  strength, this article really needs our attention.

When will evangelicals stop trying to hear God’s voice in addition to Scripture? In Rick Warren: Forget Sola Scriptura, But There is “Plus Scriptura, Pulpit & Pen’s Bud Ahlheim compares Warren’s recent post on four ways God supposedly speaks to Christians with the apostle Paul’s words to Timothy on the sufficiency of Scripture. Ahlheim’s article should be read by everyone who claims to know Christ!

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The Gender Card And The Revision Of Scripture

Woman Asking FramedAs I’ve studied arguments for both the ordination of woman and the evangelical acceptance of homosexual relationships (and I’ve studied both issues separately many times over), I’ve noticed that advocates of both practices use similar types of reasoning. First, they’ll claim that the passages that prohibit these practices reflect cultural biases, and therefore God didn’t really mean for them to dictate 21st Century behavior. Then they’ll twist Scripture by taking it out of context and/or reading things into it.

Currently, I want to limit my discussion to women in church leadership, though at a later date I anticipate addressing the typical relationship between the two issues. To open our discussion today, let me show you just a couple examples of how professing Christians try to explain away 2 Timothy 2:11-12.

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. (ESV)

The website for Brethren In Christ Church (I find amusing irony in the sexist name of the denomination in light of their position on gender issues) offers this explanation:

Paul’s seemingly prohibitive statement about women in public ministry is likely a response or plan of action to deal with women who were new Christians, talented, and endowed with spiritual gifts of leadership, but not yet trained and seasoned for leadership in the congregation. These new Christian women likely were also mixing pagan practices and Christian doctrine. One must keep in mind that prior to this time, only the men had the privilege of learning through formal study. Paul’s assertion in verse 11 that “women should learn” was indeed a new day for the believing woman.
Responding to the women’s lack of training and maturity, Paul therefore declares, “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she is to keep silent (2:12 NRSV). The literal translation from the Greek is, “I am not presently permitting a woman to teach or to have authority over men….” The verb used is present active indicative. It was never intended to be a prohibitive statement or a prescription for all times, places, and cultures. If it had been written for that purpose, there are Greek verbs and tenses which would have been used to clarify the intention. (Source)

The appeal to Greek verb tenses almost convinces me, except for the fact that the apostle Paul based his restriction, not on 1st Century custom, but on God’s original order of creation and Eve’s vulnerability to deception (for this, please see 1 Timothy 2:13-14). And as for  “mixing pagan practices with Christian doctrine,” might I suggest that “Christian” feminism pretty much does the same thing by adopting worldly standards?

A website called Circle Of Christian Women evaluates 1 Timothy 2 in the context of wives and husbands rather than women in general:

1 Timothy 2:12 is not a blanket rule for all women of all churches. If it were, then the women could not speak at all, for the same verse that tells them not to teach also tells them to be silent.

If all women had to keep silent in church, then that would be promoting disobedience to God, for they could not prophesy, pray, testify, sing, exhort, do personal work, or even get saved.

Whenever an interpretation to a verse contradicts the rest of the teaching of the Bible, we know this interpretation is incorrect, for the Holy Spirit will never contradict His own Word.

This is the chief verse that is used to oppose women preaching and yet it says nothing about preaching, nor does it say anything about a public worship or church service. But, on the contrary, this verse is giving instructions to wives as to how they were to conduct themselves in regard to their husband. Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:35, “And if they will LEARN anything, let them ask their husbands at home.” Now he states in 1 Tim. 2:12 that the woman should learn in silence, and should not usurp authority over the man. Paul is dealing with more of a home problem than a church problem.

This verse still applies to us today. It is wrong for a woman to usurp authority over her husband (in church, home, or any place else) as was the case in Paul’s day. She should not try to teach him or speak words that would cause discord and confusion, but should rather be silent and in subjection to her husband.

It is also to be understood that if anyone, whether man or woman, is usurping authority over the God-given leadership of the church, she or he is to be silent, and not to teach, or act in such a way that would create discord in the assembly.

Um, no. 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, if anything, places further restrictions on women in church, and certainly doesn’t soften the impact of 1 Timothy 2:12. This argument just makes no sense, and it completely ignores the context of the verse.Furthermore, their appeal to the “Holy Spirit” makes me suspect some sort of extrabiblical revelation as opposed to believing  that He speaks through Scripture rather than in addition to it.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 flies in the face of 21st Century views on gender roles, prompting professing Christians to find intricate ways of explaining that they don’t really mean what they say. Essentially these arguments, much like the arguments favoring homosexuality and same sex marriage that   currently circulate among evangelicals, reject the fundamental truth that the Bible is both inerrant and authoritative. Of course, they don’t want to openly admit their rejection of God’s Word, so they cleverly bend it to their agenda.

These are only two examples of how “Christians” manipulate God’s Word to justify the worldly practice of women in church leadership. Rather than remaining faithful to Scripture, they twist verses to fit the 21st Century attitude that we must avoid any type of gender distinction (thus tying in with the homosexual and trans gender agenda). And God created binary gender distinctives to reflect Christ’s relationship with His bride, the  Church.  For that reason, we must stand firmly against their human reasoning.

But even more importantly, my beloved sisters in Christ, we must stand for the authority of Scripture, especially when our culture assails it. In our Tuesday posts about the Reformation, we will look at how the Reformers stood for the restoration of God’s Word, even though the Roman Catholic Church preferred their traditions. Now we must stand against a compromised church that prefers politically correct attitudes on gender. We must imitate the Reformers’ faithfulness.

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