That the church in the West is going down the tubes at an alarming rate should be evident from the fact that I even have to pen a piece like this. Of course every Christian knows that fornication is wrong – or at least they should know. But as more and more churches go apostate, and more and more believers run with how they feel instead of what the Bible teaches, nothing can be counted on any longer.
As churches and church leaders fully water down the gospel and push having your best life now, or Jesus is your buddy, or live an “authentic” life, or don’t get hung up on rules and regulations, we will see this happening more and more. Obviously the various “progressive” churches and the “emerging” churches have gone in this direction.
But increasingly evangelical and Bible-believing churches are heading this way as well. So many church leaders are so afraid of charges of being intolerant and unloving and legalistic that they have thrown the Bible out and just latched onto the world’s values and agendas.
So we end up with so many folks who say this – or at least have this mindset: ‘Hey, who am I to say that fornication is wrong? Who am I to judge? The only thing that matters is love. We need to go beyond rules. Besides, Jesus accepted everyone just as they were, and we should too!’
If you think all that sounds like utter rubbish, you would be right. But this way of thinking is now rife in our churches. And I am not just being theoretical here. It really is happening all around us. Let me offer a concrete example of this. I just received a comment from a distraught mother.
She said her daughter is a pastor’s kid who was home-schooled in a conservative and biblical home, but she now attends a progressive church. And she has decided to move in with her boyfriend, and now believes that the Bible is open to all sorts of interpretations and cannot be taken literally.
Worse yet, the daughter says that the notion of sexual immorality does NOT apply to committed long-term relationships. The mother says the daughter still loves Jesus, and concluded by pleading with me for a good response that she could give her daughter.
Wow! How would you reply to a concerned mother such as that? What would you say? I of course was asked for my help, so I sought to provide that. What follows is what I said in response:
Thanks ****. This is so sad to hear, and I really do feel for you. But sadly there would be many others like her. She is of course just using her shoddy “understanding” of Scripture to make excuses for her sin. This happens all the time as we know. The simple truth is, sexual faithfulness in marriage and abstinence outside of it is the clear biblical norm.
Since sexual unfaithfulness is so often used as a picture of Israel’s sin against Yahweh in the Old Testament, just image him saying: “Yes my people, you can go right ahead and worship other gods – as long as it’s a committed, long-term relationship with just one false god. That is just peachy. But you cannot have a lot of short flings with a bunch of pagan gods. That is a no-no.”
And if these progressives who no longer believe the Bible respond by saying that this is from the Old Testament, and therefore not relevant, we simply remind them that the very same imagery is used in the New Testament. For example, Revelation 19:2 (as but one example) speaks of God who “has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” The same term is referred to here, and God does NOT approve of it.
And lest this trendy church tries to tell us that Jesus is just a tree-hugging hippy who is into a vague and amorphous “love” that accepts everyone and everything, we need to remind the false shepherds there that God is praised here for bringing judgment on the unrepentant sinners and evil nations. Indeed, it is none other than Jesus who is doing the judgment. Simply read a bit further on in Revelation 19 – verses 11-16:
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Moreover, when we have a verse such as 1 Corinthians 6:18 which commands us to “flee fornication,” (or “flee sexual immorality”), there is no hint at all of this meaning only short-term sexual sin, and that long-term committed sexual sin is just fine. Talk about reading into the text something that is just not there. Talk about making cheap excuses for sin.
Plenty of other verses can be appealed to here. Just four more:
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness…
Ephesians 5:3 But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints
1 Thessalonians 4:3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Unfortunately, when people want to sin, any excuse will do, and the Bible will be the first thing they attack and seek to discredit. So the problem goes further than simply running with lousy biblical interpretation. And if this “church” is teaching these blatant falsehoods and promoting all this sin, then your daughter needs to flee from there as much as she needs to flee from her sexual sin.
Lastly, it may be hard to hear this or say this, but we know that if a person is living in known deliberate defiance of God and his commands, then it cannot be the case that they love Jesus. Jesus himself repeatedly made this crystal clear. Consider five passages from the gospel of John:
John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
John 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
John 15:10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
And so many other gospel passages say the same thing:
Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
So this is all rather serious business as you full well know. It is hoped that she will realise this as well. Whether she is just really deceived here, or in fact does know the truth but is ignoring it, she needs to make a choice. Which does she love more: Jesus, or her sin? She cannot love both of course. It is one or the other. She needs to make a choice.
It is always tough when a family member or loved one turns away from the faith and decides that sin is preferred over obedience and faithfulness. That is always so very painful to go through. But I will keep you folks in prayer. And hopefully other readers here will do just the same. Bless you.