|Volume 24 Number 12 December 2022
Undermining the Authority of God
Johnny O. Trail
Humankind is constantly faced with choices that may take it further from serving God or bring it closer to Him. That having been said, we must determine how we will function in life. We can operate on our own whims or live according to God’s will for our lives.
Just recently (2021), the Christian Chronicle published an article regarding the church’s response to homosexuality. For just a moment, consider what was revealed in the article. The article featured a woman named Sally Gary who shared her views regarding her lifestyle choice. The article states:
Fifteen years ago, Sally Gary started a national ministry called CenterPeace. The goal, as Gary shared at events and seminars across the U.S., was to help Churches of Christ show love to the LGBTQ community. Gary, who grew up in the Tenth and Broad Church of Christ in Wichita Falls, Texas, detailed her personal journey in her 2013 memoir Loves God, Likes Girls. For most of her life, the Abilene Christian University graduate did not challenge traditional Christian beliefs on marriage. “I just told my story of how hard it is to grow up in church, wanting to be faithful, when nobody would talk about this difference in sexuality,” she said. But last fall, Gary, 59, revealed that her understanding of the Bible had changed. During a virtual CenterPeace conference hosted by the Highland Oaks Church of Christ, Gary’s home congregation in Dallas, she announced that she had moved to a fully affirming position in support of same-sex marriage. She also said she planned to marry her girlfriend, Karen Keen. The two exchanged vows in December. (Ross)
Certain individuals were interviewed for this article who seemed perfectly fine with affirming same-sex marriage and homosexuality. Some of our brethren have lost all morality and reason! Just because someone affirms something as morally acceptable does not make it so! This topic has already been settled in God’s Word (Romans 1:18-32). “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Romans 1:26-27 NKJV). It is a sin that will condemn one’s eternal soul unless he or she repents.
Homosexuality under the Old Testament Law was labeled as an “abomination,” and the penalty for committing such a sin was death. Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” While the Law of Christ does not require that one forfeit his or her life, anyone who practices homosexuality without repenting of it will be eternally lost. Note 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which reads, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Nonetheless, human wisdom seeks to destabilize things that are settled already by God and recorded in the Scriptures. It is presumptuous to believe that we have a right to make a determination that undermines God’s authority in any matter, especially one that is clearly a violation of Scripture.
In 2009, a Christian Scholars Conference was held in Nashville that included Jared Cramer, a presenter associated with a denominational church. In response to this conference, the Spiritual Sword published an article by Wayne Jackson in which he contemplated, “What possible justification could Lipscomb University and its affiliates have for arranging and/or supporting a program that embraces a defense of this debauched level of moral irresponsibility?” (Jackson 43). Jackson observed that Cramer’s…
…defense of homosexuality is a response to an increasing number of questions he has received regarding his position on this subject. Incredibly, the author asserts that any discussion of homosexuality “is shallow until a person actually engages in an actual relationship with a person of a different sexual orientation.” The main proposition the author attempts to argue is that there is nothing “wrong about a faithful, loving, monogamous, same-sex relationship.” He says, “I fail to see what it is about homosexuality that declares it as inherently evil.” He dismisses the biblical data with a cavalier wave of the hand and his personal assertion that some of the scriptural condemnations are “conditioned by time and culture.” Thus, they are not relevant to today’s gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered phenomenon. Other texts, he maintains, address “abuses” rather than loving homosexual liaisons. (Jackson 43)
Sadly, this trend is not external to the church. Any person who approves such behaviors and seeks to shield them with the misuse of Scripture is a false teacher. First Timothy 4:1-2 reads, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”
While endorsing the sin of homosexuality is troubling, the greater concern is how we have treated the sovereignty of God in directing His people. When one starts to sacrifice his morals, Truth is the first casualty of spiritual warfare. God’s Word is the objective, once revealed (Jude 3), forever relative truth that sanctifies obedient souls. “Sanctify them by Your truth: Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Any departure from the Truth is tantamount to denying Christ through the rejection of His words (Hebrews 1:1-2), as well as rejecting the New Covenant, which was sealed with the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:29).
Since we have the all-sufficient Word of God, we have no authority to contradict what the Holy Spirit has stipulated in the Scriptures. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). While the thought of affirming homosexuality and same-sex marriage is troubling, a valid and underlying concern is the malicious treatment of God’s Word and His authority.
Jackson, Wayne. “Where Do We Stand on Homosexuality?” Spiritual Sword. Alan Highers, ed. Vol. 40, Number 3. Apr 2009: 42-44.
Ross, Bobby Jr. “To Affirm or Not? That is the Question. As same-sex marriage gains increasing societal acceptance, how should Christians respond?” Christian Chronicle.27 Jul 2021. 28 Nov 2022. <https://christianchronicle.org/to-affirm-or-not-that-is-the-question/>.
[Editor’s Note: Apostasy is as old as mankind itself, beginning in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Likewise, apostasy occurred in the first century church, too, being a significant contributor to the penning of the New Testament epistles. Waywardness of some congregations (and Christians who comprise them) from near the inception of the Lord’s church through the present spawned the Catholic Church and other departures from our Lord’s ideal for His church (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 4:2-4).] ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]