- Posted May 13, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
First let me say, I still hold to my Christian faith. I still maintain my ordination as a minister of the Gospel. I am also the son and grandson of men who were fundamental, conservative, Evangelical, Pentecostal preachers. I cut my teeth on the back of the church pews.
The first time I read the Bible from front to back I was 5 years of age. Since that time I have read the Bible from cover to cover many times. I truly believe in "studying to show yourself approved by God". I am a firm believer in "rightly dividing the Word of Truth". I stand for the reliance that all Scripture is given for "doctrine, reproof and instruction in righteousness" or right standing with God.
Yet, if I am honest and if the Christian community is honest...especially the clergy...there is a malignancy that is growing of people using selective religiosity...not religion, but a sense or air of being righteous, but not grounded in reality. Too many within the Christian community have become as the saying goes, "so heavenly minded, that they are of no earthly good."
What do I mean?
People in the pews and those who claim to be Christian, but without benefit of a church or affiliation tend to take one verse and exalt it into a commandment while ignoring another verse, rationalizing that it does not apply today. People will snatch a line or two from the Bible, but leave out the words before and after, which changes the context and meaning.
Under Christian theology there are 2 covenants or testaments. The one was the covenant between God and mankind before the coming of Jesus. The second is the new covenant established by Jesus between God and humanity. Under Christianity we are now in today's world under the second covenant and not bound by the "law" or the first covenant.
The Old Testament is the blueprint for the first covenant. The New Testament is the plan for the second covenant.
Paul, who wrote most of the books of the New Testament, said that we are no longer enslaved or shackled to the old law, which was a schoolmaster, but now are free under the new covenant. He also stated as did Jesus that if we take and bind ourselves to one part of the law or first covenant, we are bound to obey all of the law or first covenant.
In the current debate over whether to allow same-gender couples to enjoy the same rights and benefits of opposite-gender couples, Christians often keep referring back and drudging up admonishments and rules condemning and against homosexual activity. That's well and good except these same Christians ignore or fail to live by the rest of the first covenant rules and regulations. By doing this according to Jesus and Paul, those Christians are sinning and in danger of their salvation for not living up to the standards of the full first covenant.
If you are going to pull out Old Testament verses and saying those still apply then you must also then abide by the law that calls for stoning to death a disobedient child. You must also then advocate death for those who commit adultery. You must also preach and call for the rounding up every Wiccan and every witch and fortune teller in the nation and put those people to death.
If you are applying the Old Testament rules, you must not marry anyone from another country, but the country of your birth. You must eat no pork. You can't munch down on shrimp, lobster. You must turn and pray toward Jerusalem every day.
You have to make sure, if applying Old Testament strictures, that your clothes are made with the same thread. You must make sure your hair is trimmed and combed per a precise code.
There are so many more rules, laws if you will, that you must abide by. But instead too many Christians are using selective religiosity and claiming that it is Christian doctrine and teaching, which flies in the face of what Jesus and most of the writers of the New Testament preached and taught.
Selective religiosity was the sin of the Pharisees.
Have you forgotten what we each were taught in Sunday School?
"Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart."
Have you forgotten the lesson of David?
He was a usurper, a thief, a renegade, a murderer, an adulterer...and yet, it was written that he was a "man after God's own heart". He was chosen to be the royal seed that would produce the Christ Child. David was the apple of God's eye.
The best words that fit the current discussion come from Jesus when He said, "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone."
We are all versed and can recite John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life".
But we forget the next verse. "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
If Jesus didn't condemn, then its past time for Christians to turn off their condemners.
Jesus also said, "You hypocrite, first get the splinter out of your own eye before you try to get out the 2x4 in your brother's eye."
When the question came up about the converts of Paul who were not Jewish, the Apostles meeting in Jerusalem said the gentiles were welcome into the fellowship. The Apostles also said the only restrictions on the gentile Christians were to refrain from eating blood, abstain from fornication and from eating meat offered to idols.
The Apostles meeting at this first council of Jerusalem did not place any of the Mosaic Law or Old Testament rules and strictures on the non-Jewish Christians. So why are Christians today trying to add burdens that are not based on doctrine applied by the Apostles?
Those who would deny blessing to monogamous, same-gender couples do in essence deny those Christian couples the right and ability to obey the ruling of the Apostles that they abstain from fornication.
What happened to obeying the verse that tells us to help the brothers or sisters we find in fault back into the fellowship with prayer, guidance and love?
Should we not, as Christians, make sure there are no roadblocks to these monogamous, same-gender couples to being able to fulfill their duty of abstaining from fornication by granting blessing to their union?
From the Cornfield, it's time to rid the nation of selective religiosity. It's time the Church acted like the Bride of Christ instead of being puffed up and too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.
Remember Peter being told directly by God when Peter became full of religiosity about going to the gentile Cornelius' house?
"That which God has made clean, don't you call it unclean."