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Ray Rooney, Jr.: “Act Like Men”
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 3:04 PM

Does love conform to all ideas and ideologies?  The obvious answer is “Of course not!”  Love cannot conform to any kind of ideology that includes the subjugation of others (Nazism, Communism, racism, etc.).  It’s easy to identify things, systems, people, and ideologies that oppress and subjugate others in objective and tangible ways.  Take away one’s God-given “unalienable Rights” (Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…see the Declaration of Independence) and you know quickly that love will not conform to whatever or whoever is doing the taking.  Love cannot conform to those who make it known that for whatever reason they imagine they are somehow superior to others.  Those things are obvious and I don’t know of anyone, who wants to be taken seriously, who advocates that love should accept and conform to processes that are so clearly harmful to others.

But what about the things that are less obvious?  Things that take a certain amount of spiritual acuity to discern?  On the surface, adultery seems to be a choice that two consenting adults make that has little bearing on the well-being of others.  Not so on two levels.  First you don’t have adultery unless there is a spouse. Consequently, the well-being of the spouse is being attacked.  Additionally, one or both of the adulterers often have children.  Do you know how confusing and painful it is for a child to find out his/her mother or father is involved with someone else?  Even for children it is not hard to guess what the ramifications for the future are.  The second level, of course, is the spiritual level.  Nowhere in the Christian Bible where adultery is mentioned is the reader permitted to assume God approves of the act or that the participant’s relationship with Him is undiminished as a result.  The Apostle Paul was adamant about the damage done by unfaithfulness (to God, self, and spouse) when he said, “the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” and then implies far worse when he continues with “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within” and erases all doubt when he concludes with “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-19).  Love simply cannot be made to conform to the decision of two people to satisfy their lusts outside the bonds of the covenant of marriage (which is clearly understood to be between a man and a woman). 

Why then, are so many of today’s Christian pastors and denominational leaders so intent on selling us the lie that the love of God absolutely conforms to the relatively new idea that homosexual relationships are a valid means of expressing covenantal love?  That there is no harm being done in what is obvious (society) and less obvious (spirituality)?  Christian love doesn’t embrace everything because not everything is holy.  Not everything is beneficial despite all the arguments from government and religious leaders that it is.  True love is not only a proponent of what God deems good for humanity but is also an adversary of all that undermines the Incarnate and inscriptured Word. 

“Let’s all get along” may be the clarion call of those who wish to legitimize sin (of any sort; not just homosexuality) but it is not a reality that is reflected in the Bible where it involves the spiritual life of believers.  For instance, Christ Himself said that love must involve a decisive choice: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30 ESV).  To choose Christ is not only to embrace something but also to stand against something else.  Love doesn’t embrace everything.  It actually opposes some things.  Remember in Matthew 6:24 Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.”  Love cannot be reconciled to everything and everyone.  Why then, are so many of America’s religious leaders counseling Christians to go ahead and get on board with any kind of sinful behavior?  Because it is inevitable that a majority of our neighbors are going to accept it?  As I recall, Noah stood virtually alone in his beliefs and practices concerning what constituted holiness and righteousness.  There are also a couple of narratives in the book of Daniel that speak to this (the lion’s den and the fiery furnace).  The sheer volume of people who promulgate a certain belief or behavior in no way intones that it is holy and therefore to be celebrated as an act of love. 

It is time for the Body of Christ (especially in America) to learn to stand against some of what is being advocated as love.  It is time for today’s Christian to prayerfully consider Paul’s rhetorical questions

What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2 Corinthians 6:15-16).

It is unfortunate that many are choosing to interpret Scripture in such a way that would condone any kind of sin.  It is heretical that Christian leaders are teaching that Love requires acceptance of behaviors that are clearly detrimental to both society and the soul (not to mention definitively identified as sin in the Bible).  Homosexuality is certainly not the only form of sexual immorality.  But I don’t hear religious leaders calling for the legitimization of adultery, fornication, incest, or bestiality either.  My greater concern is for all those who think whatever a Christian leader says must be right and true.  I would advise those for whom warning bells are going off as their pastor or bishop tells them God approves of any form of sexual immorality to read the letter to the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29.  It is a warning against accepting as normative any kind of sexual immorality.  Yet in addition to the consequences spelled out for twisting the love of God into such a thing that would advocate immoral behavior is a word of encouragement for those in the region “who do not hold to this teaching” (verse 24).  “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations…” (verse 26). 

God’s love is not revealed by how many cultures, people, and behaviors we are willing to embrace.  Rather, the Apostle John said, “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”  It is not an act of godly love to embrace our neighbor’s sinful behavior.  The silence from Christians driven by being fearful of what sinners may say or think of us for standing against what we know to be sinful behavior is not an act of love but cowardice.  Consider this word from Paul as he winds down his letter to the Corinthians,

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

You see, love is not the antithesis of standing firm or being strong by taking a stand against something.  It is time for the Church to act like the Church.

 

Ray Rooney, Jr. 

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