The Church of England has once again failed to give a moral lead to the nation.
Their Synod (parliament) has voted against the Bishops’ recommendation that, in the face of huge pressure to allow same-sex ‘equality’, they should continue to take the traditional view of marriage.
Those within the church desperately trying to honour the clear biblical teaching – that a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Genesis 2.24) – have reached a discouraging impasse.
Is it not time to say: ‘enough is enough’? Undermining the authority of the Bible only leads to heresy within and confusion without. Sure, the watching world sees a church divided, and some would say that is a bad witness. But there are surely issues over which it is impossible to compromise.
Endless debates create much heat, but bear little fruit. What, after all, is there left to debate? If the choice is whether or not to follow Scripture, then the advice from the Apostle Paul is: “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6.17) Those pushing for same-sex marriage are surely touching something ‘unclean’.
At the end of the day, we will all stand before God to give account of the decisions we have made or haven’t made. (Romans 14.12)
The letters to the seven churches of Asia recorded in the Book of Revelation give as much emphasis on teaching as on behaviour – the key doctrines of Christian belief are hugely important.
The Apostle John, in his first letter, reminds his hearers that those who were spreading false teaching had come from within the churches. “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us,” he wrote. (1 John 2.19)
Heresy was a great danger in the early church, just as Jesus predicted it would be in these latter days. When his disciples asked him about signs of the end of the age, the first thing he said was: “Watch out that no-one deceives you.” (Matthew 24.4.)
Yes, Jesus prayed passionately for unity among his followers. It was never meant to be unity at any cost, however, but the sort of oneness about which Paul spoke in his letter to the Ephesians when he explained that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers were there “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature…” (Ephesians 4.12f)
The context is clearly about developing maturity within the body of Christ as disciples learn to walk in harmony with the Word of God.
But because the modern church has failed to give a moral lead on the issue of homosexuality, the entire Western world is now in the grip of ‘redefining marriage’, if that is really possible.
We have seen the same thing happen over Israel. Undermining the authority of the Bible has led to the heresy of ‘replacement theology’, teaching that the church has replaced Israel in God’s affections. As a result, there is very little understanding of Israel in the UK church today, and yet God’s end-time purpose is for Jew and Gentile to work together for the gospel! How far we have fallen behind God’s programme!
Tragically, the church has succumbed wholesale to worldliness, ignoring the Bible’s directive: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12.2)
For example, as the mainstream media demonizes President Trump as a fool and a fascist, Christians will all too willingly pick that up without considering whether the truth may well have been stretched and muddied.
Lynne Patton, a black female executive for the Trump Organization, released a statement last year defending her boss against accusations of being a racist and a bigot, tearfully revealing how she’s struggled with substance abuse and addiction for years. But instead of kicking her to the curb, she said that Trump and his entire family loyally stood by her through “immensely difficult times.”
This was revealed in an article by Liz Crokin, an entertainment correspondent who has been reporting for the past ten years on Trump – especially over his involvement in The Apprentice TV show.
“Trump’s kindness knows no bounds and his generosity has and continues to touch the lives of people from every sex, race and religion,” she wrote. “When Trump sees someone in need, he wants to help.”
Isn’t it time we re-committed ourselves to seeking the truth, perfectly demonstrated in Jesus Christ – “the way, the truth and the life”? (John 14.6)
townhall.com, 13 February 2017, also published by Joy Digital, South Africa ↩
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com