March 6, 2009

It is not the purpose of this website to give sermons, exegete Scripture or to do a Bible Study.  However, in light of the many social changes taking place in our civilization, e.g. Redefining marriage, pedophilia, polygamy, and incestuous relationships, I feel compelled to point out that the Bible gives us warning of the digression socieity takes when it moves further and further away from God.

There are many social issues beyond the subject of same-sex marriage which prove that our culture is in decline.  Among these are the decaying of our ecological system, the forced recognition of other cultures on America rather than mandating the recognition of our culture on those who would move into our country. 

Then, there is the secularization of our culture with more emphasis on human accomplishments and government intervention to aid in the lives of special interest groups.  There is also the legislation of protecting a minority "class" (notice I didn't say "race"). 

Finally, there are the many cases of litigation against businesses and persons who, desiring to practice their religious beliefs, are forced to keep their religion to themselves and provide services to those these "protected classes."  The so-called "protected classes" infringe on a person's conscientious objections and superimpose their base desires on society at large. 

As an example, I merely cite the case of Catholic Charities in Boston and San Francisco having to end their adoption services altogether rather than be compelled by anti-discrimination laws to place children with same-sex couples. In the Boston case, Catholic Charities was prepared to refer same-sex couples seeking to adopt to other providers, but that was not sufficient. 

I believe this and other infringements on religious liberties can be explained from a cursory reading of Paul's letter to the Romans, found in the New Testament.  Let me quote from chapter 1, verses 18-32.  Please pay close attention to the bold print and the three items underlined within this text.

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

 24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful passions. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

 28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Within the bold print did you notice that this seems to describe our time?  Our culture?  Our society?  Hoping to keep this article brief, I would be wrong not pointing out God's three-fold relinquishment of humanity found in verses 24, 26, 28.

First, God gives those who reject  Him over to the desires of the heart.  When God is said to "give over" it denotes a deliberate act of resigning control over what is passed on.  This basically means that if you want to do your own thing, He won't stop you.  The result is the heart will turn away from what is right to what is thought to be the best.  The right is not always what we think is best.  In the Bible, the heart is picturesquely the seat of the emotions.  Put in today's context God is handing this culture over to the freedom from Him for which it yearns.  The desire to be independent of God in achieving its end shows itself to be nothing higher than the desire for degrading impurity.  Society, then, is emotionally wrapped up in doing its own thing!

Second, God gives those who want to believe a lie and serve creation instead of the Creator over to shameful passions.  How does one "serve" or "worship" the creation?  Are we talking about Animism?  Pantheism? Panentheism?  Not necessarily.  Included in the creation are items like sexuality, business, pleasures, even the government.  In America today, there is a craving for government solutions to everything from poverty to the right to privacy; from civil rights to protection from God (i.e. religion).  So, we see people who would rather government enact laws to protect them from religion (read religious bigotry) and this becomes a passion! 

It is interesting that in light of this Bible passage, Paul goes beyond the general things like pleasures into specifics like homosexuality.  Today's society is finally coming to grips with the demands of the gay community to be  "acknowledged as a special class," to be "protected," and to be given special privileges and civil rights which heretofore throughout all of human history has been within the purview of one man and one woman - marriage.  To have one's passions degraded and become shameful brings on a God-forsaken character.  And when character is compromised, society is on the brink of disaster.

Third, God gives those who seek after their own passions over to a depraved mind.  Here and for the last time, Paul emphasizes the direct link between humankind's rejection of God and its disordered state.  When a man's mind becomes "depraved," it means that man has now been set free from God!  Psychologists and Psychiatrists are always intrigued by the power of the mind.  As a Licensed Professional Counselor and one who has many graduate hours in psychology, I can truly state with measured certainty that "when the mind goes, so goes the character." 

The character of American society is a never ending downward spiral toward the state of depravity.  Mankind may have by and large come to the place in which it sees no room for God in the world - that God doesn't exist, or worse, that God is irrelevant.  Well, according to the Roman letter we've been considering, this truly typifies depravity at its worse.  Three times Paul says "God handed them over" and this underscores the point that in striking free of God's immediate control, mankind has not escaped God's overall ordering of His creation. 

The simple fact is that man cannot escape his own nature and the nature of the world as God made it.  It is God Who has handed our society over to its desires and the endless pursuit of its satisfaction.

Just remember man's "freedom" to go his own way still leaves him within the limits set by God, whether he rejects God as real or simply tries to ignore Him.

I offer these thoughts since I am free (right now) to speak out on the decline of our society and the ending of the traditional values under which we once lived.  In a few years, I might not be able to say these things without repercussions. 

Since the freedom to practice religion is under threats today, I do foresee many lawsuits coming for those who preach from passages like these.  The end result of a depraved civilization (in this case) is that Civil rights will prevail over Constitutional rights (like the First Amendment) as redefined by a depraved court.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.