Personal Theology vs. Christianity
We could talk for long hours about what’s “wrong” with Christianity today. I would begin any such discussion with the caveat that Solomon was right, there is nothing new under the sun. What so many of us see as contributing factors into the modern secularism of Christianity are not new issues, and not issues that are unique to our generation. God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and so are his created beings – including Satan. Sin is sin. It comes in many forms, and the devil will seek out your weaknesses to break your fellowship with God. What that looks like will vary from person to person, but the roots are the same – Satan.
There have always been homosexuals. Why do you think they are talked about in scripture? Because that sin had to be addressed. There have always been abortions and infanticide – that was addressed as well. There have always been poor people, needy people, sick people. There has always been disease, false teachers, heretics and those who make a living from discrediting Christianity and making a mockery of God. There is nothing new under the sun.
Today I want to address a single issue, that while not new is certainly ‘trending’ among modern Christians. Personal Theology. For the purposes of a working definition for this piece, Personal Theology is the act of molding Christianity around your beliefs, rather than molding your life around Christianity. another way to put it is this: Personal Theology is molding Jesus into the God you need Him to be, in order to continue to live in your current lifestyle without the burden of conviction. I’m sorry – that’s just not possible.
I recently read an article by author ‘Audrey‘ titled, “Seeking Queer Theology and Perfect Love That Casts Out All Fear“, posted on the web site Autostraddle. Autostraddle is a site run by, and dedicated to “progressively feminist online community for a new generation of kickass lesbian, bisexual & otherwise inclined ladies (and their friends)“. At least you know going into it the angle from which every article will be written. Hey, no problem, I get it, and to each their own. While as a person I’m confident the author would categorize as a ‘fundamentalist Christian’, and I completely disagree with the chosen lifestyles that their audience lives on a multitude of levels, I can love them nonetheless, and respect them for who they are as people. Unlike others who find this one sin a hill worth dying on, I see it as what it is – sin. However, what I do find as a hill worth dying on is this: the LGBT community claiming to be Christians, and Christians claiming that this chosen lifestyle is in sync with Biblical Christianity, and that God has no problem with that. I will entrench myself on this issue and so so proudly.
The bible is a book of love. It’s God’s message of love to His creation He made in His image. It’s history, it’s analogy, it’s literal, it’s hyperbole, it’s poetry and prose, it’s music, it picture stories and words spoken purposefully and intently that we too might see the love, come to know Him, and be reconciled with Him. While many people who delve into the study of religion find the bible difficult, it really is simple. Christianity truly is simple. The essentials are essential, the non-essentials are not, but certainly come with opinion, and in everything else in life that scripture does not directly speak to, we offer charity and grace while filtering it through the character of God as revealed to us through His word. It’s really not that difficult a faith/religion to understand. However – when you begin to go outside the essentials, when you begin to laud a lifestyle clearly called sin by God, the author of mankind; and when you begin to say that Christianity allows for, accepts, ‘is OK with’, and even promotes things that it does not, I have to take umbrage. Not only that, but I have to point out is that the Christianity you purport to be a part of – ceases to be Christianity.
In her article, Aubrey goes to great lengths to rationalize, explain, or otherwise translate why we need to disregard thousands of years of biblical interpretation, church history, cultural history etc., that make her feel uncomfortable being a member of the LGBT community and still calling herself a Christian. What she fails to do is show the same rigorous efforts in explaining how she came to these rationalizations, explanations and translations – other than it “feels” right to her.
Aubrey does use three links to explain her point of view. Sadly, but predictably, none stand the test of legitimacy.
The first link goes to the Metropolitan Community Churches organization. The MCC was founded by defrocked Pentecostal pastor Rev. Troy Perry in his Huntington Park, CA living room on October 6, 1968. Its designed intent to create a church organization pandering to the ideals of the gay community – of which the Rev. Perry aligns himself. With a built-in agenda to satisfy his own inner “feelings” with Christianity, he formed his own theology to suit his religious needs, rather than reconciling his life with biblical Christianity – because it didn’t “feel right”. Having been defrocked from a church centered in biblical Christianity, he had to find a new Christianity that would accept him as a practicing homosexual. He could not, so he founded his own church that would.
The second link takes us to the story of another pastor, this one with the Southern Baptist Conference. The article is authored by John Shore who by the way confesses to be a heterosexual, but based on his bio, seems to spend most of his time criticizing the Christian church. In this article titled, “Southern Baptist pastor accepts his gay son, changes his church”, not only has no biblical support for his views, but is misleading to boot. While pastor Danny Cortez spoke about his “struggles” with his faith and the acceptance of gays in the Christian church, he did not “change his church”. As a matter of fact, rather than fight the Southern Baptist Conference with chapter and verse to support his “new-found understanding”, the CHURCH COUNCIL voted to remove themselves from the SBC, and join a denominational work that does not question scripture when it comes to the acceptance of the LGBT community.
The third and last reference link takes us to the web site of a young author by the name of Matthew Vines. Matthewvines.com is a site dedicated to Matthew’s new book, “God and the Gay Christian“, and where you can also see Matthew give an impassioned speech on the subject. Matthew’s site does not show any credentials for his work as he relates his “feelings” to the bible, and is the founder of the Reformation Project, a “Bible-based, Christian non-profit organization that seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. Again, hardly an unbiased source, let alone someone who pronounces to have knowledge of scripture. I wonder what Bible he is using…
There is much said in the content of these three links. But there is also much missing; rebuttal, argument, and source of apologetics and most glaringly – the Bible itself.
Oh, there’s a bible being held in pictures here and there, there’s talk of churches and ‘Christianity’, but where is the biblical support for their new found wisdom with regards to homosexuals? Where is the chapter and verse showing that the 2,000 year history of Christianity and its teaching on homosexuality is wrong? There isn’t any, and this is my problem.
I challenge anyone to show me, using chapter and verse from the canon of scripture, using documented and supported resource material, addressing original language exegesis – where in scripture you find God endorsing, excusing or pardoning the act of homosexual behavior or the choice of a homosexual lifestyle. Why do I so boldly do so? Because it does not exist.
The problem here is not the wrong teaching of biblical theology, it is the replacement of biblical theology with Personal Theology.
This can also referred to as pride.
The “feeling” that Audrey, and in turn pastor Danny Cortez and author Matthew Vine struggle with is not that theologians en masse have gotten it wrong on this subject for the last 2,000 years. They struggle with their feelings because they know that if they are to be accepted as Christians in the churches they grew up in, in the churches that teach the bible plain and simple, and for that matter in the whole of 2,000 year old Christian tradition, that they will have to change their lifestyle – and the do not want to. when it comes to any other subject related to sinful behavior, we call this conviction, which is the job of the Holy Spirit.
One cannot simply re-write 2,000 years of biblical exegesis as wrong because you struggle with “feelings”. Yet this is the path they want to take. young people, and progressives of this generation are taking up this subject with great strength and vigor. They speak loudly and use terms like, ‘hater’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘regressive’ ‘unloving’, rejection, ‘inequality’ ‘social justice’ and ‘civil rights’ to defend their opinions. Sadly, it is working.
Rather than conform their life to the loving and gracious example of Jesus who dies a horrible death to pay for all their sin – homosexuality included, they instead re-write Christianity into their own version of religion, and it ceases being Christianity. Ironically, this act fulfills biblical prophecy when Paul said in Romans 1:21-32:
because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
You see, Personal Theology does not change the truth of God’s word. You might want to change the way you understand scripture, but this ceases to be Theology when you follow the logic of the guys from the TV show Mythbusters, when they say, “I reject your reality and insert my own”. Sorry, television may work that way, but biblical Christianity does not.
I’m really tired of secularism creeping into our Christian church. I’m tired of seeing churches that have been in communities for a hundred years, leaving their denomination roots, roots that their congregants have put it not place through generations, being torn apart because the new pastor from San Diego wants to participate in and officiate over same-sex marriages, leaving a God-loving sand God-fearing congregation grasping for survival, and looking for a new church. I’m tired of church member suing their churches only to have them preach the truth of God’s word and not some liberalized doctrine that is a shell of what Jesus taught.
We must speak up, and speak out against the liberalization of our faith. We must confront these people who call themselves Christians and yet deny the truth of Christianity and ask them to reconcile that.
In this case, these people do not really want to reconcile their feelings and faith to Christianity. They want to reconcile Christianity to their feelings. They want to feel good about being a Christian, while at the same tinge denying Christianity. They want to be told they are perfectly fine living as lifestyle contrary to biblical Christianity because they would rather be accepted by men, than by God. They reconcile this by saying, “God loves me as I am” – when the truth is, God always loves you, and His son diode for you, but He does not love your sin, and begs you to deny that sin, pick up your cross and FOLLOW HIM. Homosexuals who fight this battle in such a manner somehow feel like they are the only ones in the history of Christianity that have sin issues, like they are the only ones that have struggled with addiction, price, rejection. Fact is, each one of us as a Christian has struggled with din, with rejection, with finding a purpose, with addictions.
The only difference, most of us are not trying to run Christianity upside down in order to feel safe and sound in our sin.
I’d love to have the opportunity to debate any opt these three people i mentioned in this post. I don’t want to confront them to debate me, my feelings, their feelings, or their struggles. I want to debate SCRIPTURE. What does God truly say about this subject? From where do you draw the conclusion that Jesus “accepts you” when you chose a lifestyle of homosexuality and flaunt it in front of His followers from the pulpit. I want to debate the means by which they have come to their conclusions, and test those conclusions against the Bible, God’s word.
In closing, please do not think that I hate homosexuals. I despise the idea of it, and am totally opposed to it on moral, religious, legal and public health grounds, but I can so totally love and care about those same people. Just because I disagree with you, does not mean that I hate you.
It is true that God can handle His own fights. It is also true that He has given us an intellect, compassion, and a mandate to make disciples of His word. I cannot do that if i am not able and willing to teach God’s word, and reject those who purport to teach it, but do so falsely. I intend to do just that.