I ALWAYS READ these kinds of news stories with a certain incredulity.
It’s kind of like watching old re-runs of The Twilight Zone.
All of those low-budget, black and white episodes make for interesting, even provocative, fiction, but they’re obviously neither true nor believable.
Well, the story which currently haunts my thinking isn’t fiction, but reality.
It seems the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. is on the verge of altering its stance on how it defines marriage.
Less than a year ago, the group voted in its General Assembly meeting in Detroit to officially embrace gay unions.
In order for the vote to become formally accepted, a majority of the denomination’s 172 presbyteries have to now vote in favor of this new provision.
Incredible as it may seem, Amendment 14-F has been thus far embraced by 79 of 116 regional assemblies.
That means that at the Presbyterians are just mere 7 votes away from adopting homosexual “marriage” and amending its Book of Order from being uniquely between a man and a woman to any two people—male or female.1
It is as if I am back in the 60’s watching late night, three channel, Twilight Zone stuff.
“This just can’t be true.
How can any church endorse blatant immorality?”
Back in my grammar school days, Rob and Laura Petrie (e.g., The Dick Van Dyke Show) couldn’t even sleep in the same bed on TV.
And now, only a generation or two later, one faction of the Presbyterian Church is working hard to accept and promote rank perversion.
When is Rod Sterling finally going to step out in front of the TV screen and tell me that this is just an elaborate, satirical hoax?
Dear readers, as we ponder the ramifications of what is happening within one religious group today, permit me to stimulate our hearts and minds even further:
By what AUTHORITY does any group get to vote on whether or not to accept what the Bible teaches on ANY issue, including and especially marriage?
There is not a single passage or principle in Scripture that delegates that right to any collective. Jesus has ALL authority, not man (Mat. 28:18; Phil. 2:10-11; Col. 3:17). We are to preach and carry out His will exclusively—and no religious group (including the church of our Lord) has the right to alter, amend, or legislate in the realm of doctrine or living (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; 1 Pet. 4:11).
The Lord Himself cast the deciding vote on marriage “at the beginning” (Gen. 2:24; Mat. 19:4-5). His will is not, nor will it ever be, subject to change or man-made modification (Psm. 119:89; Isa. 40:6-8;1 Pet. 1:25).
The apostle Paul said “avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead more people into more ungodliness” (2 Tim. 2:16 ESV). Watch it—false teaching (babble) inevitably results in false practice (ungodliness). Friends, it is simply not possible to believe wrong and then live right before God. Doctrine and living are bound together (Phil. 1:9-11)! It is not “either or”, but “both and”.
Paul also spoke of some who “strayed” from the faith (2 Tim. 2:18). How does a group get from “one man and one woman” to either two men or two women? And the obvious answer is—because they stray, incrementally, piecemeal, a little bit at a time—and no one steps up to censure these obvious deviations from the revealed will of God.
But an even more difficult question also ought to prick our conscience, brethren. Many Presbyterians have remained deathly silent for far too long and now the denomination is about to rush headlong over the precipice of moral integrity and into the abyss of hedonistic relativism. How do we prevent the Lord’s church from doing the very same thing today? I increasingly hear of “gospel” preachers, who in their quest for numerical growth, say that they will not preach on subjects like marriage, divorce, and remarriage because doing so may “divide families.”2 Forgive me, but that kind of thinking smacks of cowardice at the least, and pragmatism (Col. 2:8) at the worst. Our liberal Presbyterian friends would be proud. Decades of silence from their pulpits have brought the denomination to where they may soon, in all good conscience, worship with and fellowship those who openly and unabashedly practice what God calls abomination (Eph. 5:11-13; Isa. 5:20).
I am of the conviction that if we are not extremely careful, we are not far behind the denominationalists. Think about it. How can we consistently condemn the open practice of homosexuality within the Presbyterian Church, but not also condemn the open practice of adultery within the Lord’s church? Think about it:
If we tried to convert a couple from San Francisco who practiced homosexuality, wouldn’t we insist that they repent of their sin first? If they legally kept an adopted child, would we say we can’t preach on homosexuality because a child is involved?
If we tried to convert a Tanzanian Maasai who practiced polygamy and had multiple children by two or more wives, would we not insist that he repent of his sin first? Would we baptize and then fellowship a man who openly practiced polygamy and refuse to teach him the biblical elements true repentance (Ezek. 18:2-23; Mat. 3:8; Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19; 17:30; 2 Pet. 3:9) because he had kids (cf. Ezra 10:10-11)? The “God would never split a family” doctrine is patently false.
Now if we won’t fellowship homosexuals who might have an adopted child, and we won’t fellowship the polygamist who has many children, how can we consistently fellowship the adulterer who also has children…?
We simply can’t excise passages such as Matthew 19 from our Bibles like King Jehoiakim who cut out the Word with a scribe’s knife (Jer. 36:23). We can’t teach that repentance is necessary for sins like stealing, but not for sins like living in adultery (2 Cor. 7:10; Col. 3:7).3 On the contrary, we have a divine mandate, because we love souls, to warn others of the perils associated with all sexual sin—and judge those who are doing so (John 7:24; cf. 1 Cor. 5; Rom. 16:17).
Here’s my point. Once we begin to compromise the truth in one realm, we inexorably compromise it in another and yet another—just like the Presbyterians—until we’re not only accepting sin, but endorsing it ourselves.
Let’s stand together, and let’s stand up for what the Bible teaches about sin and repentance—however difficult it may be. This is not The Twilight Zone.