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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

No You Are NOT Being a Berean

Dec 4, 2018

I had an interesting discussion on the social media with a gal who claims to be a Christian but seems to have absolutely no problems with homosexuality. Someone had reposted my article about another Christian celeb selling short the gospel, especially on that hot potato issue. That piece can be found here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/12/02/no-jesus-did-not-accept-all-people-all-faiths-and-all-behaviours/

So this gal came along and made it clear that she was not too pleased with my article. For affirming what Scripture says about the issue, she accused me of being “dogmatic:” Isn’t it interesting how theological liberals always accuse those who take Scripture seriously of being dogmatic, even as they dogmatically push their liberal dogmas!

And she came out with more howlers: “Our job is not to discern and judge sin.” It isn’t? Hmm, I must have been reading the wrong Bible for all these years. Mine clearly says that we are to do just that – beginning with ourselves, and then with the rest of the Body of Christ.

Then she proudly asserted that it is “unlikely that Bill has done any research” on the matter of homosexuality. I assured her that with three books and 900 articles on the topic, I might have done a bit of research on these matters. But she kept pushing her hobby horse.

She insisted that we must have a “rounded perspective” on this matter, and we must not stick with a “surface reading” of Scripture. Oh good grief. I said that basically no one for 2000 years ever questioned the fact that homosexuality is a sin as clearly stated in Scripture. Now the homosexual activists are actively seeking to rewrite the Bible and get Christians to doubt their own beliefs.

I also said one might as well argue that we need a “rounded perspective” on if Jesus is God, or if adultery is wrong, or if the Bible is just a human document, etc. That is simply to deny biblical Christianity and run with theological liberalism. I said that if she was serious about a “rounded perspective” she might grab some of my books.

I also offered three articles on this for her to peruse. It seems she did not bother to look at them, and she said that she was not too keen to “read books written by an author who sounds as though he sees a Berean approach as apostasy.” Oh dear. So now she was appealing to the Bereans to push her theological revisionism!

For those not in the know, the Bereans were praised for holding up all teachings to the light of God’s word. We find this recorded in Acts 17:11: “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

This is how I replied to this gal:

Sorry but there is absolutely nothing Berean about Scripture twisting and denying core biblical truths. Next thing you know you will be telling me we should give the cults a full hearing in the interests of having a “rounded perspective”. Sorry, no biblical Christian operates that way.

We are warned plenty in Scripture about those with itching ears and those carried away by every wind of doctrine. So please do not flatter yourself in thinking you are some sort of noble Berean. There is nothing virtuous or commendable or biblical about rejecting the clear teachings of Scripture concerning human sexuality and other crucial issues.

I do not mean to be curt here, but these are extremely serious matters, and far too many folks have been led into grievous error, and even to a lost eternity, by those pushing this ‘all theological ideas are equally valid and should be given a fair hearing’ nonsense. Um, no they are not, and many lead straight to perdition. What was that saying about ‘a lot of open minds need to be closed for repairs’? Blessings.

I must say, I have heard a lot of distortions of Scripture over the years, but this is the first time I heard someone claim the Bereans actually were known for running with the latest human fads and trends. It is the exact opposite of course: they refused to listen and believe someone – even the esteemed Apostle Paul – until they were first assured that all that was said fully lined up with Scripture.

The Berean approach was never to urge theological relativism and claim that all views contained some truth, and we should just chill and listen to everyone. The church never would have made it beyond the first century if it had adopted that ludicrous and fully unbiblical mindset.

They were rigorous in searching Scripture. They believed that they should “test all things” as Paul commands us (1 Thess. 5:21). They knew that ravenous wolves would come in and seek to destroy them as Jesus warned (Matt. 7:15). They knew that they had to guard their beliefs and their practices as Paul urged (1 Tim. 4:16).

But this gal, and so many like her, actually see this as being narrow-minded, dogmatic, inflexible, and somehow not very Christlike! Go figure. She thinks it is somehow a good thing to let every point of view get an equal hearing, and that anything goes.

Sorry, it does not work that way. Yes, we should be open to testing and correcting our beliefs. And yes, certainly on secondary doctrinal issues there can be room to move, and a place for debate and discussion. But on primary doctrinal beliefs we do not just vote on them or flip a coin.

They are non-negotiable, and we easily move into error, apostasy and heresy when we play fast and loose with core biblical teachings. And I fully take it that the biblical teachings on the issues of God’s intentions for human sexuality are among those core teachings. Mess with those and you end up in real chaos.

And that is just where we are now at with the theological revisionists. They are seeking to rewrite the whole of Scripture to justify and promote their sin. And too many clueless Christians have hopped on board this hell-bound bandwagon.

For those who want to know about how to refute these oft-heard revisions of Scripture, let me point you to my first book on homosexuality, Strained Relations. There I spend a good part of my book dealing with all this. It is the same old tired nonsense that has been refuted time and time again.

And I urge all of you to be a Berean – a true, biblical Berean. That means making sure the Bible is your touchstone and point of reference on all things. It does NOT mean being so open-minded that you no longer believe in anything or stand for anything.

[1134 words]

17 Responses to No You Are NOT Being a Berean

  • The reason why many people now disrespect some Christians is because they essentially stand for nothing and actively go against teachings of the Bible.

  • It is time that we separated the wheat from the chaff in that to speak with LGBTIQA+ – especially lesbians is not only a waste of time but a test of our faith.
    In the present battle against the LGBTIQA+ agenda where I have been charged with infringing the Anti Discrimination Laws of NSW 1977, I was engaged in a telephone conversation with a person from the Anti Discrimination Board and I said to her – before we go on, are you a lesbian? The person responded – That is irrelevant. I said – not to me – answer the question, the person said – what I am has nothing to do with it. I reiterated – are you a lesbian or not? The person responded – I’m not going to answer that. I responded – then I/m not going to talk to you and hung up.

    John Abbott

  • Dear Bill
    How thankful I am for your courage and determination to share the Truth & that you have not been completely shut down. I’m not on Facebook, so understand problems there. I need to read your words to correct my own life, so by the grace of Almighty God may you continue to write as you do, helping me among others, God Bless Bill Muehlenberg

  • Pastor Muhlenburg, it appears that apologetics need more than ever to be included in teaching and preaching.
    Those who doubt God’s Word are more likely to be led astray, as are those who do not know God’s Word.

  • I’ll even make it easy. You don’t even need to be as faithful as the Bereans and look things up for yourself. Here we have two Apostles and the words of God Himself all saying the same thing.

    1Ti 1:8 But we know that the law is good if a man uses it lawfully,
    1Ti 1:9 knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous one, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
    1Ti 1:10 for fornicators, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine,
    1Ti 1:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

    2Pe 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, He condemned them with an overthrow, setting an example to men intending to live ungodly.
    2Pe 2:7 And He delivered righteous Lot, oppressed with the lustful behavior of the lawless.
    2Pe 2:8 For that righteous one living among them, in seeing and hearing, his righteous soul was tormented from day to day with their unlawful deeds.
    2Pe 2:9 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust for a day of judgment, to be punished,
    2Pe 2:10 and especially those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise dominion. They are darers, self-pleasing; not trembling at glories, speaking evil.

    1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers, nor homosexuals,
    1Co 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
    1Co 6:11 And such were some of you. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

    Lev 18:1 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying…

    Lev_18:22 You shall not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination to God.
    Lev 18:23 And you shall not lie with any animal to defile yourself with it. And a woman shall not stand before an animal to lie down to it. It is a perversion.
    Lev 18:24 Do not defile yourselves in any of these things. For in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out before you.
    Lev 18:25 And the land is defiled. Therefore I visit its wickedness on it, and the land itself vomits out those who live in it.
    Lev 18:26 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, neither the native, nor any stranger that lives among you.
    Lev 18:27 For the men of the land who were before you have done all these abominations, and the land is defiled.
    (MKJV)

  • Well, there you go again, Bill, being all dogmatic and discerning and judging sin. What have we told you about that? If you would just lighten up, go with the flow and engage in serious coddling, acquiescence, and downright brownnosing, this kind of chastisement wouldn’t follow you around. You most certainly would cease being sent to FB gulag. What are we to do with someone like you who refuses to bend and take the easy, comfortable way out? (Most assuredly, brother, some will think I am serious in this comment). Hang in there, Bill, prayers on your behalf are daily brought before the throne of God.

  • I guess I am just a bad boy Marissa! Bless you.

  • Thank you Bill, men like you encourage us to be salt and light, and to read the Bible.

  • Hi Bill, thank you for another well researched article. Michael Weeks pretty much spells out the consequences for this abomination we call homosexuality. I would like to add Lev. 20:13. God through Moses declared that the action of the perpetrators was detestable, and both would be put to death. I feel sorry for the “progressive gal” whose feelings have been “hurt” by your articles. We can only hope and pray that The Holy Spirit will prompt this poor deluded individual to sit down and really read, and really take time to meditate on what God has declared right throughout His Word on this topic. Bill I’m going to award you a Gold Star for your outstanding patience with these recalcitrants, blessings, Kel.

  • I was just reading Genesis 19 this morning, and remembered the theory that Sodom was punished for “in-hospitality”.
    Being very Berean (not) I have looked at my phone and the seven translations of vs 5 and v7.
    The KJV v5 is very proper “that we may know them”.
    Sounds like it wasn’t in-hospitality but too much hospitality was the problem.
    But horrors; five of the 6 modern translations talk about having sex.

    In v7 Lot pleads with his neighbors in terms of not to do “evil” or “so wickedly”, or “this bad thing”.
    So much for the theory.
    It doesn’t even stand a chance as a theory.
    Perhaps as a thought bubble it might last for a second or two.

  • I wonder if your adversary was one of those that threatened, openly ridiculed and sought to have our Australian doctor (Chinese origin) de-registered for having the temerity to state ( during the gay marriage “discussions”) that a child is entitled to have a biological mother and father. I wonder. I suppose it’s just another period in history when Christians are persecuted for upholding their beliefs.

  • Great word and very well written my brother. I agree with you 100%. Thanks for standing strong in scripture and with the Lord. God bless, protect, strengthen, and empower you to press on.

  • Devil’s advocate time. If per the logic of the gal it is not our job to discern and judge sin, how are we to know if what we do is pleasing to God? And if a surface reading – by which I presume she meant a literal reading (unless context\other verses make clear a different approach is required) is to be avoided in favour of a rounded perspective – by which I presume she means something which factors in modern values and interpretations of the period and passages in question, might that not open up a can of worms in regards to other passages?

    Deuteronomy 5:17 Thou Shalt Not Kill (KJV)

    Now while the command prohibits killing (other versions say murder) Scripture also prescribes killing for particular offences e.g. homosexuality. If this gal contends that a more rounded perspective would remove homosexuality from the list of sins, then could it not also be argued that a more rounded perspective would also remove killing from the list of sins? As noted it is prescribed in the OT for various things. Could not a Devil’s argument thus be made that opposition to killing people is mere dogma, that it is not our job to judge and discern wrongdoing and that it is not wrong even today to kill homosexuals in obedience to God’s command?

    (/Devil’s Advocate Argument)

    While I’m really not that comfortable with the logic I list above, doesn’t it simply parallel what this gal argued? What grounds does she have to debate it, other than personal\relative views?As I say it seems to me that the gal is opening up a dangerous can of worms by veering away from a literal Biblical view.

    (Not sure if you’ll post this given the argument might be a little too dangerous!)

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