A great apostasy and falling away is taking place in the Christian church today, and there are many contributing factors to this. Big ticket items would include: a wholesale rejection of biblical authority; a loss of an awareness of the holiness of God; wilful rebellion in the pews; theological liberalism in the pulpits; and acceptance of the world’s standards instead of God’s standards.
One of the chief ways in which all this is playing out is the homosexual assault on the churches. And it is not happening by accident either. Decades ago cultural Marxists specifically targeted churches, along with other centres of power and influence, seeking to undermine them from within.
And homosexual activists have been very busy as well, rewriting the Bible and history in order to push their false gospel on the churches. And sadly many churches have capitulated to this onslaught. Indeed, just two weeks ago I wrote about how the Presbyterian Church (USA) sold its soul to the devil as it decided to reject 2,000 years of Christian consensus and embrace homosexual ordination:
Almost like dominoes, a number of liberal denominations are beginning to fall in this area as well. Just two days ago news reports appeared describing how the Presbyterian Church of Scotland is quickly heading in the same direction. And these two denominations are not the only ones.
Indeed, they join others which have given up the ghost decades ago now. The Episcopalians in America and the United Church in Australia are two other clear examples of spiritually and theologically sick denominations which seem to be headed on the way out.
As to the Scottish situation, here is how one press account covers the story: “A minister in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland says he will likely resign after the denomination moved one step closer to allowing the ordination of openly and actively homosexual clergy this week, with indications that they will even explore the blessing of same-sex unions.
“‘We have capitulated to society. … It’s a sad day for Scotland,’ Rev. Roddy MacCrae, the minister of Glenelg and Kintail on the westcoast mainland, told Christians Together. ‘I’ll probably be one who will be leaving the Church of Scotland, and over the next few months I’ll be working that out.’
“‘My problem is that our witness is weakened. Society knows that we’re wavering from left to right and we have no moral voice,’ he added. The denomination’s governing body, known as the General Assembly, had instituted a two-year moratorium in 2009 on ordinations of those in same-sex relationships and on public discussions of the issue. On Monday, they voted 351 to 294 to ‘consider further the lifting of the moratorium’ and created a theological commission that will prepare a report on the issue for the 2013 meeting of the General Assembly.
“The theological commission will also consider ‘whether ministers should have freedom of conscience to bless civil partnerships and possible liturgy for such occasions’ notes a press release from the Church of Scotland, also known as the Kirk. The General Assembly also voted to allow those homosexual ministers and deacons ordained before May 2009 to now be given pastoral responsibilities.”
As to the PCUSA, one American theologian and pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church said this about their ongoing schism: “It didn’t happen overnight. The new schism over gay ordination is the culmination of three decades of evangelicals battling the progressive tide, arguing that biblical authority is on the line. In the 1970s, Northern Presbyterians (United Presbyterian Church USA) adopted a statement that ‘self-affirming, practicing homosexuals’ are not eligible for ordination to church office.
“The Southern Presbyterians (Presbyterian Church in the US) adopted a similar policy the next year. These two denominations united in 1983 to form the current PC(USA). After ongoing debates in the ’80s on human sexuality, including homosexuality, in 1993 the weary Presbyterians decided to call a three year voting moratorium on issues related to the ordination of gay and lesbian members to church office.”
He continues to explain how the process has unfolded, and then looks at the bigger picture: “When I was a young ministerial student studying at a mainline Presbyterian seminary I read Don Williams’s 1978 book, The Bond that Breaks: Will Homosexuality Split the Church? and I recall wondering if homosexual ordination would find acceptance among Presbyterians during my lifetime. Now, more than 30 years later, I have an answer to my question. But as a historian, I believe it is a mistake to focus our attention on how the church has dealt with this issue over the past three or four decades. The long view that church history offers is often the clearest perspective of all.
“And church history is crystal clear: Homosexual practice has been affirmed nowhere, never, by no one in the history of Christianity. The church fathers insisted that doctrine and practice must be tested by Holy Scripture. In addition to careful exegesis, another test was catholicity, that is, what has been the universally accepted scriptural interpretation passed down in the church. When novel teachings were shown to fail both the careful scrutiny of Scripture and the consensus of the orthodox Fathers, heretical ideas were doubly condemned. In the 400s, Vincent of Lerins expressed it this way:
“… if anyone wishes, to detect the deceits of heretics that arise and to avoid their snares and to keep healthy and sound in a healthy faith, we ought, with the Lord’s help, to fortify our faith in a twofold manner, firstly that is, by the authority of God’s Law [Scripture], then by the tradition of the Catholic [universal] Church. …[W]e take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.
“Christianity is a tradition; it is a faith with a particular ethos, set of beliefs and practices handed on from generation to generation. The Christian tradition may be understood as the history of what God’s people have believed and how they have lived based upon the Word of God. This tradition is not only a collection of accepted doctrines but also a set of lifestyle expectations for a follower of Christ. One of the primary things handed down in the Christian church over the centuries is a consistent set of lifestyle ethics including specific directives about sexual behavior.
“The church of every generation from the time of the apostles has condemned sexual sin as unbecoming a disciple of Christ. At no point have any orthodox Christian teachers ever suggested that one’s sexual practices may deviate from biblical standards. Concerning homosexuality there has been absolute unanimity in church history; sexual intimacy between persons of the same gender has never been recognized as legitimate behavior for a Christian.
“One finds no examples of orthodox teachers who suggested that homosexual activity could be acceptable in God’s sight under any circumstances. Revisionist biblical interpretations that purport to support homosexual practice are typically rooted in novel hermeneutical principles applied to Scripture, which produce bizarre interpretations of the Bible held nowhere, never, by no one.”
One is reminded of what Paul says to the Corinthians: “No doubt there have to be differences [or heresies – KJV] among you to show which of you have God’s approval” (1 Cor. 11:19). It is testing times like this where the wheat and the chaff become more easily distinguished.
As the days grow darker, both in the world and in the church, those who will take a stand for biblical orthodoxy will pay a price for doing so, but at least they will become clearly distinguishable from those who are compromising and selling their souls for the latest trendy social agendas.