CultureWatch

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

Culture Wars and Christian Litmus Tests

Feb 20, 2020

Are you a secular leftist or a biblical Christian?

There are certain issues that pretty well define where a person is at, what he believes, and what he values. There are of course various core theological beliefs that one must hold to if one claims to be a Christian. When dealing with basic Christian beliefs in general, you would include things like the deity of Christ, the Trinity, and salvation in Christ alone as some of your litmus tests.

Just in case you are not fully aware of the term, it can have a specific scientific reference, or a broader, more generic one. As to the former, in chemistry it is ‘a test for acidity or alkalinity using litmus’. But it also has the broader usage. Here are three brief online definitions of the latter:

-A decisively indicative test.

-If you say that something is a litmus test of something, you mean that it is an effective and definite way of proving it or measuring it.

-A litmus test is a question asked of a potential candidate for high office, the answer to which would determine whether the nominating official would proceed with the appointment or nomination.

When it comes to Christianity and the culture wars, we now have some pretty clear litmus tests. When a person promotes certain causes or agendas, that is a good indication of where that person is at. In a very real sense, how a person stands on such issues will serve as a very useful litmus test indeed.

Here I want to narrow things down a bit more and look at just two of the major culture war issues of today. And the secular left also sees these two issues as crucial litmus tests for those who are truly on their side. If that is the case, all the more reason for Christians to also take a stand on these issues, but from the opposite side of the fence.

The two issues of course are abortion and homosexuality. My general rule of thumb is this: those who vigorously push these two issues are simply kidding themselves in thinking they are Christians. Yes, some believers may be promoting these things out of ignorance and the like. But the informed biblical Christian cannot support either.

That case I cannot make here. But in my various books I have sought to carefully and biblically make that case, including my 2011 Strained Relations and my 2015 The Challenge of Abortion. Please consult them for the full story on this. But let me look at these matters a bit more.

Consider abortion. The secular left has of course made abortion on demand their major litmus test. All the American Democrat contenders for the presidential nomination of course hold to this. Bernie Sanders and others in the crowded field of Democrats have all made it clear that if you are not pro-abortion, you should not be in the Party. Sanders has said that “being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat.”

He also said: “Is there a litmus test for those of us up here? For me there is. I will never nominate any person to the Supreme Court or the federal courts in general who is not 100 percent pro-Roe v. Wade. Number two, we have got to codify Roe v. Wade into legislation. Number three, we have to significantly expand funding for Planned Parenthood.”

The other litmus test of secular left orthodoxy is of course homosexuality. If you dare to express concerns about this, it is a clear indication that you are a fake, and not a real deal leftist. Your credentials as a progressive MUST include the full acceptance and celebration of all things homosexual.

And as I have documented countless times now, those who do not go along with the homosexual agenda WILL be persecuted and prosecuted. Let me give just one clear example of this. Last year I wrote an article about the Finnish Israel Folau, Päivi Räsänen. In it I said this:

“A Christian member of Finland’s parliament is under investigation after she cited the New Testament on social media to voice her objection to the Lutheran church’s participation in an LGBT pride event.” billmuehlenberg.com/2019/09/16/quoting-from-the-bible-will-get-you-into-trouble/ 

Well, it seems that things are going from bad to worse for her. A new article documents how not only she, but all of genuine Christianity is now at risk in Finland, where homosexuality has become a litmus test for Big Brother Group Think.

The title of the article is ominous enough: “Is Finland About to Make Christianity Illegal? Christian Lawmaker Facing Fines and Prison”. Here is part of that article:

Päivi Räsänen is under two investigations for allegedly defaming or insulting homosexuals. The first after she shared a Bible verse on Twitter last year aimed at Finland’s Lutheran church for promoting the homosexual lifestyle. Räsänen told us, “In my tweet, I directly cited Romans first chapter and verses 24 to 27 and posted the picture of the passages from the Bible.” The passage condemns homosexuality. Finland’s Prosecutor General has now opened a second investigation concerning a pamphlet that Päivi wrote 15 years ago about Biblical Christian marriage, called “Man and woman, He created them.”

It goes on to say this:

Leif Nummela, editor of a Christian newspaper and a Christian TV host in Finland told us, “I thought that this couldn’t happen. It was unbelievable. It was a real surprise. And my first thought was, ‘are they really going this far’?” The Lutheran pastor who published the pamphlet Päivi wrote on Christian marriage is also under investigation. 

Finnish Christian broadcaster, author and theologian Pasi Turunen says this has been a rude awakening for many Christians. “Finnish Christians have lived in a very homogeneous Christian culture,” Turunen said. “It’s been very easy because everybody thinks and believes the same way pretty much and now this has become a completely new situation for us when our faith is challenged.”

Päivi said this all began in prayer when she felt led by the Lord to do something to wake up the national church in Finland on the issue of homosexuality. But she now fears this investigation will make them too afraid to proclaim their faith. “I’m worried that this case, the criminal investigation, might frighten some Christians to hide and to keep silent.” 

The article concludes:

Turunen said, “It raises the threshold of saying anything in the public square and in one way, I see that that’s the purpose of this kind of attack: to put a high price tag on speaking your Christian mind out loud in the society.” If convicted, Päivi could be fined or even imprisoned. And Turunen and Nummela both feel that support for her from Finnish evangelical leaders has been weak. “If we could easily have two hundred thousand Christians saying, ‘this is horrendous, stop persecuting Päivi Räsänen,’ and that would have a huge impact,” Nummela said. 

Turunen said he wishes “that evangelical leaders would be more outspoken and bolder. Otherwise, there will come a time when each of us will be in front of the firing squad.” Päivi says she’s not afraid and believes God has a plan in this for Finland. She said, “I am waiting to see what God is doing, because when He raises up prayers, then we can know that He is doing something.”

In sum, there are two clear morals of the story in all this: One, the world which is opposed to God and his Word knows that certain things must be adhered to – or else. And abortion and homosexuality are definitely two of them. It will not sit by quietly and allow anyone to oppose these two sacramental beliefs and core values.

And two, if the world is so clear on this, the church should be as well. Thus if you find someone who claims to be a Christian yet is a gung-ho supporter of abortion on demand or of homosexuality, or both, you have every right to seriously question their bona fides as a true believer.

These two issues are the hallmarks of radical secular leftism. They are NOT the sort of things any biblical Christian can support and champion. Yes, at the end of the day only God knows those who are truly his, but he has given us both doctrinal and behaviour tests by which to assess people and their profession of faith.

And on both levels, those running with the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agendas clearly fail the tests.

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14 Responses to Culture Wars and Christian Litmus Tests

  • I find it hard to comprehend how acceptance of these two sins is the bar to determine whether anyone (but new converts) *may be* a Christian or not. My, how low the standards have dropped.

  • From a most personal perspective I will say ‘Thankyou Bill’…as this writing was unexpected. I passed the litmus test and am a true Christian.

  • ABSOLUTELY and AMEN Bill!! I have MANY so-called Christians writing to me claiming that I simply cannot be a Christian and disagree with churches that support Planned Parenthood, and the ordination of homosexual ‘pastors’. A global insanity has set in and infected the church on its way through?
    Michael Claydon
    SOUTH AUSTRALIA

  • I had a thought recently (a rare occurrence, but it happens). Luke 1:39-56 describes how Mary, the mother of Jesus, went to visit Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, when they were both pregnant. What if they had both decided to have an abortion?

  • Yes Bill – if GOD’s Word is forever settled in Heaven; if HE is the GOD Who never changes and if HE is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (and HE is!!), then who are we as ‘Christian’ believers, to re-invent HIS Word, (the truth!), to suit the world? Last time I looked the Bible told me we are to be ‘set apart’ – different to the world. Sadly it seems we have allowed satan to divide and almost conquer unity in the churches. I think it was the UN who said that ‘fundamentalist Christians,’ (the ones that adhere steadfastly to the Bible), are the most dangerous people on earth. Ah – if only we had unity. What a force the Church – ‘the Body of believers’ – would be! Thanks for another challenging but timely piece. GOD bless, Cheryl Ciccotosto

  • Thanks Cheryl – quite right.

  • Dear Bill,

    I fully agree that abortion and homosexuality are the litmus tests on whether you can claim to be a Christian or not. Both are against nature. However,the fifth commandment should leave no one in doubt.It says ”Thou shall not kill’ and that includes babies who are fully human but are unborn. Deliberately robbing anyone of their God given life cannot be justified and anyone who tries to claim that it can be are delusional if they also claim to be Christian.

  • But isn’t another Litmus test how people respond to the existence of the state of Israel and how the Marxists and lefties want it expunged?

    But returning the issue of homosexuality and abortion, we have to see that they are not separate but one and the same.
    But It is best when it comes from the horse’s mouth . Queer feminist like Trish Bendix [1] and homosexual Brian Flynn [2] declares that,
    “ABORTION RIGHTS ARE LGBTQ+ RIGHTS TOO”.
    “LGBTQ+ people also often need abortion services…. One 2015 study from researchers at George Mason University found that sexually active lesbian, bisexual, and trans high schoolers in New York were twice as likely as their straight and cis peers to become pregnant or impregnate someone else.
    A 2017 meta-analysis also found that adolescent lesbian and bisexual women had higher rates of pregnancy than their heterosexual counterparts, putting them at greater risk of unwanted pregnancies. – and thus needing abortion clinics.”

    [1] https://www.them.us/story/abortion-access-lgbtq-rights-alabama
    [2] https://www.them.us/story/queer-people-reproductive-rights-ireland

    Increasing numbers of young girls [3] whom one sees marching in gay pride parades [4] are not “lesbian” but simply, as it says in Romans 1, women who give up the natural use of sex, – for having sex with woman and anything -including men – that can satiate their lust. Naturally this results in unwanted pregnancies. They might have multiple sexual acts with other women resulting in no pregnancy but it only requires one midnight fling with one male and they can become pregnant.
    [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2xbkchII3E
    [4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38M4rMJXv-Q

    On top of this, effeminate and emasculated boys (transvestites, transgenders and transsexuals) are now being absorbed into the Girl Guides [5] whose former CEO was Julie Bentley and former head of the Family Planning Association, which for decades has peddled abortion and contraception and women’s rights
    [5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=dYlaWFwfbxE
    [6] https://www.theguardian.com/society/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2012/nov/15/girl-guides-feminist-organisation

    David Skinner UK

  • Nice article, Bill. Thank you. See my last article. It is on the work the church needs to do in regard to the LGBTQ and its inroads into the church. It’s at FaithUnderground.org. No repentance equals no church. I saw this piece on the SENTRY – Salvationists Fighting for Sanctity Facebook page. They are also doing great work.

  • Australia is keeping up with the acceleration of this madness:
    https://www.xyz.net.au/childrens-book-celebrates-homosexuality-gender-fluidity-for-kids/
    Most Christians are ignorant and not informed of where all this comes from: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2007/02/cultural_marxism.html
    I have been doing some reading/research for many years now on who are the organisation(s) funding and driving satan’s work. Unfortunately not good news for Christians.
    The ally we thought we have fighting evil and darkness in this world, is actually our enemy.

  • Saw a post on quora the other day by a pro choice Christian who insisted only God can judge her and only he will tell her she is wrong when she dies. While she didn’t mention it if she is like others it seems she thinks that if wrong she’ll go to heaven God will tell her she was wrong she’ll say she was sorry God will say ok and then she will walk into heaven. They just seem to think abortion is just NOT a big deal to God so a I’m sorry would cover it.

    The other trope I hear over and over is you can’t judge my heart. While true I CAN judge your fruit and am instructed to do so. The you can’t judge my heart seems to be the new judge not lest ye be judged. Too many Christians I have met seem to think we must take people at their word when they claim they are Christian and have no right to question them to see. And some when a person produces bad fruit will just say well we all sin or we all make mistakes. Their Jesus is a passive easy going weakling: a Santa Claus, a genie, and a stoner hippie all wrapped up in one!

    Another thing is it seems generational Christians ones who grew up in the church whose parents were Christian and their parents and maybe even their parents tend to be the one that get complacent and Laodicean while new converts and their children tend to be more on fire and Philadelphian. We have to remember the faith is NOT passed on in the DNA and is NOT just some tradition we hand down it must be passed down to each generation in detail thoroughly. They must for themselves feel the pain of his death the joy of his resurrection the burden of sin and the release of that burden through the acceptance of Christ. If they don’t personally experience Christ have real Christian revelations, sin and the inability to save ourselves etc, then all this is nothing more than a tradition handed down like the ones you hand down because you are Scottish or French or African or Asian or Native American. Nice little things you do but really don’t have much significance anymore. Reagan said in a speech, he may have been quoting someone, freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. that it had to be fought for and passed on. I think Christians would be wise to treat Christianity that way too.

  • Post it on Facebook. The more posts the better!

  • For something entirely unrelated I had to verify what was in a book published in 2016 by someone some may consider a Christian leader.

    He was at church in Kampala and the speaker said “I want to talk about the two greatest threats facing Africa”.

    “Probably corruption and maybe war on terrorism” thought the book’s author.

    The author continues “The two greatest threats, according to this man, were abortion and homosexuality.”

    A few sentences later the author writes “I looked around and wondered how many gay people might be sitting silently in the service and feeling threatened. What would Jesus, who broke down purity boundaries think? How can gay people survive, let alone reconcile their sexuality, with such condemnation?”

    I won’t name the author as he may have repented. However the speaker in Kampala had it right. This man didn’t.

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