My recent post on the phenomenon of the liberal mainline denominations and their legitimization of gay marriage apparently struck a nerve. It has been met with a minor flurry of nasty comments from liberals in various local online communities-- some of which were either libelous toward me, or were ugly ad hominem attacks.
That is OK. I have been blogging in Greensboro for nearly a decade; and these periodic outbursts on the part of local liberals are fairly predictable.
Interestingly, one comment pulled the "slavery card", directly in relation to the Christian denomination of which I am part. This was very interesting, because at the time slavery was prevalent in the United States, my ancestors were being oppressed as peasants or serfs within a feudalistic system in southern Italy.
One celebrated comment implied that same sex marriage is necessary in order to fulfill Christ's great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. This theological error is understandable; but it is a grave error nonetheless.
God does not grant 21st century humans the right to redefine sin as no longer being sinful. He does not grant 21st century humans the right to declare that immorality is no longer immorality. Yet, this is the kind of hubris-- and the grave error-- that the liberal mainline Protestant denominations have indulged on the gay marriage question. They have decided for themselves that they have the prerogative to redefine sin and immorality according to their own conceptions. They have decided that they have the prerogative to redefine marriage itself.
But what did Jesus say?
"For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23, NIV)
Jesus Christ speaks about sin and immorality in a very negative way. He describes them as products of evil thoughts; and He says that they defile us.
At no point did he argue that sin and immorality should be redefined by 21st century humans. And at no point did he suggest that redefining marriage was necessary or desirable. He had every opportunity to do these things if they were within His will, of course. But He did not.
Jesus Christ also did not suggest that sinful and immoral behaviors should be affirmed and be given an exalted place in order to serve contemporary conceptions of equality and justice.
Some Christians believe that scripture is God's inspired word. And some do not. But throughout scripture, God reveals to us what He believes to be sinful and immoral. And He commands us to love and forgive others, even as difficult as this is to do sometimes. His example is one of grace and mercy, because every one of us sins in various ways.
But He does not instruct us that His revelations regarding sin and immorality should be altered to meet the demands of a politically active group and its sponsors, either within or outside the church.
My post a few days ago had a couple of objectives. I thought it was important to point out that liberal mainline Christianity is among those forces in our society that are taking religious liberty away from orthodox Christians. That is unquestionably true. And I also felt it important to note that these groups had thereby made themselves the enemies of orthodox Christians. After all, it is very important for orthodox Christians to understand who their enemies are.
Recent incidents within North Carolina and throughout the nation support the veracity of the above statements. With the arrival of gay marriage, incidents denying our religious liberty are inevitable; and these will likely increase unless the various political and judicial systems are responsive to our concerns.
Remain mindful that liberal mainline Christianity is not the only ecclesiastical culprit. Contemporary Judaism acts much the same way.
Local voices from such quarters are busy denying that religious liberty is being taken away from orthodox Christians. They are also arguing that further LGBT protections must be passed into law. Such measures would jeopardize the religious liberty of orthodox Christians even more.
There is one great irony. Those within the liberal mainline Christian churches, and even within contemporary Judaism, are opposing their own ancestors' strongly held religious beliefs. What change justified this break from scriptural teaching? Virtually none.
It is somehow difficult to conceive of John Calvin-- the great Protestant Reformation figure and father of Presbyterianism-- arguing that same sex marriage is a Christian imperative. In fact, the mere thought of this is almost silly. And orthodox Jews today still oppose same sex marriage--but they are a minority within Judaism.
I have one final note for Lex, who referred to me as a "Shi'ite Christian". It turns out that Lex might be correct about that. Nearly all Americans of southern Italian descent have Arab Saracenic blood coursing through their veins, at least to some extent. The Saracens controlled much of southern Italy for a couple of centuries during the Middle Ages. I am unsure if they were Sunni, or if they were Shi'ite. Nonetheless, chalk one up for Lex.