By Elder Arnie Suntag
We live in a world today where it is virtually impossible to make a statement that challenges social or political ideologies without offending someone or drawing the ire of political activists, ultimately opening the door to personal attack, vilification, and censure. So many have become caught up in the pervasive, albeit brilliant, maneuverings of the mainstream media that their discernment and ability to reason for themselves has been all but unraveled. Thus, in tackling the subject of this article, I expect to be condemned regardless of the validity of the points it raises. Let’s face it – this is simply human nature. And, in a hypersensitive and often vindictive society, it has become routine fare. Nonetheless, without running the risk of sounding pompous or arrogant, my comments are not a matter of opinion, as some might argue. They are based upon Biblical principles and, while some pundits would argue that these need to be modified or eliminated altogether, I urge the reader to consider them carefully before rendering judgment. The commentary may not be what you expect.
I want to preface my comments by saying that my wife and I have family members who are LGBTQ and they are very dear to us. We love them and do not criticize or condemn them. I realize that this little preamble may not be enough to satisfy those who are militant about the subject, but it is nonetheless a fact. What our loved ones do in their lives is between them and the Lord. God gave each one of us freedom of choice so that we could decide between the practices of mainstream society and the tenets of Christianity. There are many professed Christians who maintain an LGBTQ lifestyle and it is not the purpose of my commentary to treat them any differently than our family members. That having been said however, I do want to present two straightforward assertions in an effort to debunk the erroneous views of Christianity held by many in our world today. Perhaps they will, in a small way, offset the suppositions and rationalizations that are incongruent with our faith. If those reading this article are offended, I strongly suggest they take the matter up with God himself rather than to shoot the messenger. I am merely citing Biblical principles, for better or for worse.
Some time ago, the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Alicia Johnston, a pastor with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, were thrust into the mainstream. Announcing her bisexual lifestyle, Ms. Johnston resigned from her position due to what she said was a disagreement with the church’s teachings. She referred to a statement from the church’s website which says that “sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman” and that the church is “opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.” Whether these statements are a reflection of Biblical principle or not is apparently irrelevant. What is relevant for Ms. Johnston is what she appears to consider an unfair practice. The implication is that the church should be more flexible and understanding – more like Jesus, who sat with the publicans and sinners. Johnston asserts that the church does not affirm LGBTQ people for who they are. A story which aired on NBC News goes on to imply, using Johnston’s comments, that a position such as that held by the Seventh-day Adventist Church is discriminatory and should not be tolerated in today’s changing society. After all, true Christianity embraces all people regardless of their practices or beliefs, right? Perhaps we need to take a closer, more objective look at this modern-day paradigm.
Although some may desire to argue the point, one belief that most Christian denominations have in common is that the Bible is the inspired word of God. The Bible says that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). It is a view held by millions of Christians around the world. This does pose a bit of a dilemma, however. The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality and what we refer to today as the LGBTQ lifestyle. So, how do we negotiate this allegedly flawed and unreasonable depiction of life in today’s world? Simple. We just eliminate it. As we have done over the past century with many other Biblical principles that do not jive with the values and morés of a modern society, we simply discount or rewrite the offending scriptures so that they fit into a more acceptable contemporary framework. In fact, over the past century, we have systematically deviated from Biblical principles that had stood as pillars throughout centuries of human history. We have abandoned proven practices related to health, agriculture, economics, and many other facets of life in this world. And without getting into a lengthy dissertation on these principles, the fact is that our society is now paying an enormous price for this departure from what were once considered commonly accepted principles, unbeknownst to those who have not studied them.
Today we stand at the forefront of a battle to revamp the institution of marriage – a Biblical principle that dates all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Through political activism, laws have been enacted not only to change the way we perceive sexual identity, but ultimately to dictate to the masses that the LGBTQ lifestyle must be embraced under penalty of law, even if it stands in dire contrast to Biblical teachings and nullifies one’s ability to exercise freedom of conscience – a fundamental right upon which this nation was founded. Few realize that this is a replay of the French Revolution which, as many who have studied history know, is one of the key factors that led to the proliferation of atheism. Indeed, those who are spearheading this effort today are the antitypical progenitors of a movement to replace Biblical principles with societal values and norms developed through man’s own reasoning. The pundits would argue that we live in a different world today and therefore many principles found in the Bible are outmoded, biased, and unreasonable in a progressive society. They would vehemently insist that we must be politically correct, taking into account the sociological changes that have occurred over the past century. The preceding notwithstanding however, doesn’t the Bible tell us in Isaiah 46:10 that God knows the end from the beginning? In other words, the Almighty already knew that our society would metamorphose into its present state, regardless of how one chooses to qualify it.
That being the case, why then would the Lord have included such harsh statements about the LGBTQ lifestyle in the Bible? Was he simply having a bad day when he provided the inspiration for such writings? Was he serious? Did he intend for such principles to be less applicable in our modern age? The answer is one that most of us do not want to hear, particularly when scripture condemns some aspect of our own behaviors: God means what he says (Hebrews 4:12-13). He always did and always will. We can rationalize it any way we choose, but the fact remains that the Bible refers to the LGBTQ lifestyle as a sin and an abomination to God. Our society today now holds a different view, however. That is, the LGBTQ lifestyle is an acceptable counterpart to the heterosexual lifestyle and should be placed on an equal footing. Anything less would be discriminatory, inappropriate, immoral, and of late, illegal. So, how do we reconcile these two opposing viewpoints? The answer is, we can’t. That is, unless we rewrite or completely delete the Biblical references that many Christians professedly believe to be the inspired word of God. Are any of us in a position to actually do that?
The Bible explicitly addresses this subject: “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:19). Furthermore, the Bible is very clear about those who profess their Christian alignment, but engage in practices that are contrary to it: “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). Those who choose to stand in open defiance of Biblical truths are none of his, according to the Bible (Romans 8:9). As you read these statements, please remember – I did not write them. If you take issue with them, your only recourse is to bring it to God in prayer. The pundits, in another slant on the preceding, may choose to argue that men wrote the Bible thus leaving the door open to contradictions, biases, and material error. This would suggest that there was no inspiration by the Holy Spirit. But if we take that tack, it raises the specter of denuding the Bible of its validity entirely. Furthermore, if we buy into this hypothesis, how could we possibly determine which portions of the Bible to keep and which to throw away?
As it stands, the Ten Commandments upon which our entire legal system is based (among other things), has already been diminished to the Ten Suggestions by a society that has voraciously adopted its own theology. We are creating a paradox that will ultimately result in the replacement of the Bible with the so-called wisdom of human beings, just as it did during the French Revolution. It is interesting to note that the French Revolution is considered by historians to be the focal point for the development of modern political ideologies including liberalism, socialism, and secularism, among many others. There is no question that it was a harbinger of the events to come during these challenging times in our world. It is even more interesting and rather startling to note the admonishment made by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). Are we following the principles that society has established by its own reasoning, or are we obeying the heavenly directives that have been widely accepted by diverse populations over the course of many centuries?
The Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is God’s inspired Word manifested in the flesh. If we endeavor to alter the Bible, it would essentially be the equivalent of doing a makeover of God himself. Indeed, we would be creating a new god altogether – one that fits our enlightened modern thinking. This is essentially what many are attempting to do. The myriad sociopolitical movements that have surfaced in recent years are challenging long-standing Biblical principles, suggesting that we should not take them seriously because they do not mesh with contemporary societal values. Does this mean that we should not take God seriously? It does not stop there, however. Bible-believing Christians who challenge the political rhetoric that has fostered a kind of global cognitive dissonance are being characterized as fundamentalists – a term with deeply negative connotations in the world today. They are accused of being divisive and fomenting dissention with their out-of-step theology. And therein lies the problem.
Most Christians are afraid to stand for the Biblical truths they profess to believe for fear of being labeled as radicals and accused of hate speech – which can potentially impose certain serious legal consequences. It is ironic indeed when you consider the fact that tens of millions of Christians gave up their lives during the Inquisitions because they stood in solidarity to protect the principles contained in the very same Bible their descendants are gutting today. Most Christians today have no idea who their forefathers were or the trials they suffered on their behalf, thus burying their legacy even further under the seemingly immovable rubble of political rhetoric. If this does not conclusively illustrate a subversive effort to systematically eliminate a faith that has stood through great trial and tribulation over many centuries, I do not know what does.
What most do not realize is that the political doublethink promulgated today, particularly over the past couple of years, is nothing more than an effort to create uniformity and conformity in a troubled society. If every individual can be maneuvered or coerced into accepting principles that are inherently antithetical, such as those highlighted in this article, the marginalization of an Almighty God will be accomplished and a new era of enlightenment will be ushered in, just as it was during the French Revolution. It is a kind of ecumenism – not just in a religious sense, but in a political sense as well. It is designed to promote a one-world system that transcends all religious beliefs and political ideologies. After all, it is far easier to assert control over a society where everyone is on the same page than it is to broach the challenges of diverse or contradictory schools of thought. Adolf Hitler knew this principle quite well. Whether we realize it or not, movements such as those that embrace the LGBTQ agenda could, if left unchallenged, eventually herald the birth of a society that is right out of the collected works of George Orwell.
The fact is, we all have the freedom to choose. God has given each one of us the ability to decide whether we wish to follow his principles, or to live life in our own idiom. When we choose the path that God has ordained for us, we draw closer to him. When we make choices contrary to God’s directives, we are without a doubt negotiating a very slippery slope. But let’s go a little deeper with this point. Many living the LGBTQ lifestyle claim that it is not a matter of choice for them but rather due to circumstances over which they have no control – that their lifestyle is genetically ingrained.
While we can showcase many scientific and psychological studies to support this claim, one unfortunately inescapable fact remains: God does not make mistakes. That is why he is God. If we even suggest the contrary, then we do not comprehend or appreciate the personage and power of the Creator of the Universe. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and therefore infallible. If we suggest anything less, we do not know God. We are marginalizing and discounting him – relegating him to a box created by contemporary reasoning that has little to do with Christianity. It is, after all, the process of rationalizing that opens the door to taking liberties with virtually every aspect of Biblical counsel – a process that has been insidiously underway for a long time.
The plain and simple Biblical truth is that God created us, he made us male and female, and he provided a roadmap for how we should form and conduct intimate relationships. Of course, we have the freedom to choose otherwise and can arbitrarily rewrite the script to our heart’s content, but it does not alter the underlying fact that the Bible – the inspired word of God – clearly delineates the principles that encompass human sexuality and behavior. We do not have the luxury of taking poetic license in rewriting, rephrasing, or revamping these principles, despite vehement protestations to the contrary by many in our society. If an individual chooses to believe something diametrically opposed to Biblical counsels, it is entirely their prerogative – but it will not change Biblical truth. It is fairly cut-and-dried. We cannot define Christianity – Christianity defines us. If we profess to be Christian, it means that we are followers of Christ who said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The implications of this are patently obvious.
As I said at the beginning of this article, I am not stating an opinion – I am merely echoing the principles presented by the Bible – principles that I have come to accept as the basis of Christianity, whether they are convenient for me or not. Furthermore, I am not here to analyze or rationalize God’s reasoning or to find ways to circumvent his directives. It is also not my intention to in any way disparage or discount the feelings of those who follow the LGBTQ lifestyle. That, in itself, would not be Christ-like. However, the truth must be promulgated by those who have chosen to follow the tenets of Christianity (Matthew 28:19-20).
Granted, it is for many an inconvenient truth. But, if we begin to modify or discount what the Bible has said for centuries on end – surgically excising the parts with which we do not agree, it will not be long before we create an entirely new religion – one that bears little resemblance to Christianity. It will be a religion based on secular principles that comply with the ideals and standards of a politically correct society. Just as it was during the French Revolution, there are many today who would rather give credence to the Goddess of Reason, than to the God of the universe. It is indeed a replay of history, and I for one would not want to get caught up in the conundrum that is bound to result from outwardly challenging the inspired word of God.
About the author: Elder Arnie Suntag is the founder and president of Walk of Faith, an organization that conducts seminars and educational series on health and disease prevention and provides outreach services to the community.
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