Forbidden Loves

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God does not approve of loving everything.  Some loves are forbidden.  Consider the following scriptures that indicate this important truth.
First, Matt. 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  Jesus states that you cannot serve the God of heaven and the god of mammon at the same time and in the same place.  The god of mammon represents the idolatry of materialism.  If we love God, we will despise the god of mammon.  Love for mammon is forbidden by love for God.
Second, John 3:19-20, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”  Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12).  The light represent truth and righteousness.  Those who love darkness, hate the light.  If you love the light, you will hate darkness (evil).  You cannot love both light and darkness at the same time.  Love for darkness is forbidden by love for the light.
Third, I Tim. 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  Love for money is forbidden by love for righteousness.  Love for money is part of the idolatry of mammon.
Fourth, I John 2:15-16, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  Worldliness is condemned by John.  Sinful actions constitute worldliness.  Love for the Father forbids love for the world including its lusts of the flesh.
Fifth, Rom. 1:26-27, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”  The affection involving sexual attraction and conduct of one man for another man or a woman for another woman (commonly called homosexuality) is a forbidden love.  The objects of the affection are forbidden by God and the affection is called by Paul a vile (dishonorable passion) affection.  Also, Paul calls the sexual attraction a “burning in their lust one toward another.”  What is sometimes called love is not love.  It is dishonorable passion involving the lusts of the flesh.  This is a form of worldliness and constitutes a forbidden love.  There is no way to make homosexual marriages “honorable” when in fact they involve dishonorable passion and forbidden love.  Love for God forbids this type of dishonorable passion.  The marriage of a man to another man or woman to another woman is a sinful act that places both souls in peril.  Love for neighbor is violated whenever we act in such a way as to put another’s soul in danger of condemnation from God.  The sins of men and women put Jesus on the cross.  He died to redeem and to reform each of us.  Redemption involves forgiveness.  Reformation involves sanctification which is separation from the world for a holy purpose.  If we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, we will not violate His Will nor crucify afresh the Son of God by sinful conduct.
Love for God is the first and greatest commandment.  “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment” (Matt. 22:37-38).  Love for God is violated when we love that which God forbids!

Social Engineering

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Social engineering is the engineering of consent.  It is a means of bringing about changes in values and beliefs of large numbers of people over a relatively short period of time.  Dr. Samuel A. Stouffer director of the Laboratory of Social Relations, Harvard University, said, “it was a good working rule that people’s attitudes are more easily reached through their emotions than through their intellects” (Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, p. 221).
One way social engineering is accomplished is through media saturation.  Media critic, Todd Gitlin, argues that media images and soundscapes have become so accessible in restaurants, in homes, at school, and on the street that they combine to become a constant, forceful flow–a “torrent.”  The presence of media in society has grown into “an accompaniment to life that has become a central experience of life” (Todd Gitliln, Media Unlimited, Popologetics, p. 159).  Further, we have become supersaturated with media, we have become addicted to the emotional and sensual “hit” that media offers.  We have become an easily distractible people–a people who are easily bored, easily mollified.  We yearn for what media offers: disposable feelings.  We don’t pay attention to the content of the media because it has become the wallpaper of our lives (Popologetics, p.159).
Here is a warning for Christians.  We must not allow the various forms of media that we experience to determine our beliefs and values.  We must engage all media forms (movies, television, radio, music, newspapers, magazines, books, advertising, etc.) with critical discernment and intentional choices guided by the truth of God’s Word.
One area of concern is entertainment or recreation.  Many of the forms of media just mentioned are experienced when our guard is down.  We are most vulnerable when we are pursuing a good time.  Sinful amusements and entertainment can be vehicles of social engineering.  When the lusts of the flesh are engaged and emotions are activated, one’s thinking can be altered.  “Sinful amusement exploits, addicts, degrades, and dehumanizes, and so twists and distorts the original playful element of God-given shalom” (Popologetics, Ted Turnau, p. 148).
Social engineering has been used to change public opinion regarding homosexuality.  Regarding homosexuality, the emotional argument has been forceful.  Humor, sarcasm, and pathos have been used to change hearts first and then change minds.  Humor has been used in sitcoms on television.  Sarcasm is used to expose supposed homophobia or bigotry.  Pathos has been used in movies to generate sympathy for homosexuals when persecuted by others.  The change that has taken place is one of the most dramatic in human history.  Homosexuality which was once condemned by many is now glorified by many.  We have witnessed the power of the media over the past fifty years to affect social change.
The problem is that homosexuality is a sin in the sight of God (Romans 1:18-32; I Cor. 6:9-10).  This eternal truth cannot be changed by social engineering.  It cannot be changed by political will.  It cannot be changed by the American legislative system.  God’s authority supersedes man’s authority and we ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

Same-Sex Marriage

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President Obama says his position on same-sex marriage has evolved.  He now believes that same-sex couples should be able to get married.  He is the first sitting president of the United States to back same-sex marriage.  Among other things, he states, “And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others, but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated” (Corbett Daly–CBS News blog, May 9, 2012 quoting Obama who referenced his wife’s influence on his thinking about this issue).  I would like to make the following observations concerning this historical position by the president.
First,  his position redefines marriage.  The biblical view of marriage involves one man and one woman entering a covenant relationship that is intended to be for life (Matt. 19:1-9 and Rom. 7:1-3).  The marriage relationship is ordained by God and governed by God.  Homosexual marriage violates God’s design for marriage (Gen. 2:18-25).
Second, his view distorts scripture.  The Golden Rule is stated by Jesus in Matt. 7:12.  The Lord says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  Jesus positively affirms the law of love as the basis of responsible treatment of human beings.  Love rejoices not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth (I Cor. 13:6).  Love takes no delight in the sin of homosexuality. Love rebukes sin and seeks to turn men away from it to God. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11).
Third, his view reveals he does not believe homosexuality is a sin against God.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:9-10).  The phrase, “abusers of themselves with mankind” is a reference to sodomy or homosexuality.  Paul lists ten classes of individuals who are characterized as unrighteous and homosexuals are among them.  He goes on to say, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:11).  All sinners can be saved from their sin through the power of the love of God and the cross of Jesus Christ!  This is good news.  Sinners must repent and turn to the Lord in order to be saved (Acts 2:37-39; 3:19).  Love seeks the highest good of others.  The salvation of their souls is the most important thing.
Fourth, his view on a moral issue has evolved.  The president has changed his view on homosexual marriage.  Why the change?  Why now?  Truth does not change!  Whenever a person is guided by the truth, he/she stands on principled conviction.  The president’s faith is changing to conform to cultural and political pressures rather than spiritual conformity to God’s Word.  Change away from God is never good.  Should we seek to please men or God? (Gal. 1:10; John 12:43).
Fifth, his views will influence many people to be accepting of a moral evil.  Whenever evil is normalized by government, it is always destructive not productive.  “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20).  A woe is a warning of judgment by God.  “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34).


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Dan Gilgoff reported recently in CNN’s online Belief Blog that columnist Dan Savage stands by comments on ‘bull**t in the Bible.’  The column appeared on May 1, 2012.  Savage is a gay-rights activitist.  In a recent speech on bullying, Savage made the remark that “we can learn to ignore the bull**t in the Bible about gay people.”  The remarks were made at a conference for high school students during which some students walked out.  When the students walked out, Savage remarked, “It’s funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansay**ed people react when you push back.”  Later, Savage apologized for that specific remark in Sunday’s blog post, writing that his word choice “was insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong.”
I would like to make some observations regarding this incident.  First, Savage was clearly disrepectful of his audience and insulted many of their values and beliefs.  These students will never forget this incident.  It is one of those memories created that defines the debate about a moral issue like homosexuality.  Second, Savage blasphemes the Bible.  The Bible is God’s Word.  It is the voice of God to man.  Consequently, Savage blasphemed God.  The word blaspheme means “to speak against that which is holy.”  Savage manifests blatant disrespect for God’s Word.  Perhaps that is why he advocates sin against God.  Third, Savage manifests blatant hypocrisy.  He says he is against bullying and then turns around and bullies others who disagree with him.  He held a positiion of authority and totally destroyed his integrity as a speaker.  He is no longer credible.
The homosexual issue is being pressed by many today.  The push is one to legitimize this sin in our culture and throughout the world.  Swearing at the Bible’s teaching does not alter what God has said.  Consider a few thoughts from scripture.  “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:26-27).  This is one of the passages that Savage denigrated in his speech.  Vehement protestations will not change the truth of God’s Word.

Gay Issues Divide Churches

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     The Episcopal Church is undergoing a split due to differing views on the Bible, gay relationships and other issues.  The theologically conservative Diocese of Forth Worth voted recently to split from the liberal Episcopal Church.  This is the fourth diocese to do so.  The others are Pittsburgh; Quincy, ILL; and San Joaquin, based in Fresno, CA.  About 80 percent of the clergy members and parishoners in the Texas disocese supported the break in a series of votes at the diocesan convention.  The vote is the latest fallout from the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, V. Gene Robinson ( –Texas Diocese splits from Episcopal Church, by Rachel Zoll).    
     Is it possible that what is happening in the Episcopal church will happen in other religious groups?  The answer is, yes!  The gay issue is a moral issue for many religious people.  This moral issue, like others, tests us as to whether or not we will walk in God’s Ways.  The apostle Paul clearly identifies homosexuality as “unrighteousness.”  He writes, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived:  neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”  (I Cor. 6:9-10).  Paul lists ten classes of sins in these passages.  The phrase, “abusers of themselves with mankind” refers to sodomy or homosexuality.  Homosexuality is unrighteousness.  Paul also identifies homosexuality as uncleanness and as vile affection in Romans 1:21-27.  If we uphold God’s truth, we identify homosexuality as a sin against Him.  As with any sin, it can be overcome and forgiven by God.  In I Cor. 6:11, Paul states, that some in Corinth participated in these sins in the past, “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  They were converted, changed, and transformed by the power of God.  Consequently, they ceased these sinful practices and enjoyed fellowship with God and the spiritual blessings in Christ. 
     Does the gay issue threaten to split churches of Christ?  Recently, David Lipscomb University hosted the Christian Scholars Conference (June, 2008).  During this conference, Jared Cramer presented a paper.  Cramer is currently affiliated with the Anglican (Episcopal) movement (working toward priesthood).  The paper was titled, “One New Humanity: Reconsidering Homosexuality in Light of the Ecclesiology of Ephesians.”  Cramer affirms that there is nothing “wrong about a faithful, loving, monogamous same-sex relationship” (  –David Lipscomb University and the Christian Scholars Conference, by Wayne Jackson).  Now, each of us is confronted with a test of truth.  Is Cramer or Paul correct?  What will you believe?  Who will you follow?
     As homosexuality becomes more pervasive in our society, it will become more divisive.  Whether or not it becomes a divisive issue in the churches of Christ remains to be seen.  Hopefully, Christians will stand upon the truth of God’s Word and reject homosexuality as a moral evil.