Monday, July 27, 2009

Conflicting Moral Beliefs in the Church and Culture

REFERENDUM 71 UPDATE: I'm certain you have read the report that we were able to deliver over 138,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office Saturday afternoon. We are grateful to all of you who worked so hard and to God for His help.

I was honored to carry the petitions up the steps of the Capitol beside Larry Stickney, Representative Matt Shea, Senator Val Stevens, Rick Wilson and all of you who were there Saturday on behalf of people of faith all across the state.

I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of positive comments of appreciation and encouragement sent to us since Saturday afternoon, for our willingness to continue to stand in the gap for righteousness. Thank you. You may never know how much that means at this particular time.

The next step is to simply wait for the Secretary's office to certify that there are at least 120,577 valid signatures on the Referendum petitions. It will likely take most, if not all of this week. Maybe longer.

We will keep you updated.

I have a sense that we will be facing an intense challenge or assault on this effort in the near future. Please be in prayer regarding these matters.

To view slideshow from Saturday, click here.
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Conflicting Moral Beliefs in the Church and Culture

As we carried the more than 138,000 signatures into the Secretary's office Saturday, we were greeted by 6 or 8 clergy, mostly, if not all Episcopal, standing in silent protest of what we believe and what we were doing.

This, once again, highlights the different views held within the Christian community. The differences between the positions of evangelical conservatives and those of many of the mainline denominations have been widely discussed for more than 40 years.

More recently, we have become aware of differences of positions among evangelicals regarding some of the most important social issues.

How do people who claim the same faith have such divergent views on such important cultural issues?

In some ways it is complicated by personalities, egos, and political pressures within various organizations and denominations, yet there is a single, less complicated belief that is driving the actions of many who are actively trying to influence our culture.

Recently President Obama told a group of homosexual activists, meeting with him in the oval office, that there are those still holding to, "Worn arguments and old attitudes," regarding homosexual behavior.

This cuts to the heart of the matter. And it is tearing the fabric of the American cultural, some Christian denominations, and even some local congregations and communities.

Moral relativism is the belief that there are no absolutes. No right or wrong. Each person decides what is right and what is wrong. Chuck Colson, in his book, "How Now Shall We Live," says this belief---postmodernism, "rejects any notion of a universal, overarching truth and reduces all ideas to social constructions shaped by class, gender and ethnicity."

Here's how the thought process works.

Jonah Goldberg, editor at large of National Review Online and a member of the USA Today's board of contributors, wrote a column in USA Today last August out of his concern regarding some of the comments candidate Barack Obama was making.

My focus is not President Obama, however, he gives us a clear example of the differences of worldview among those who claim Christian faith.

Goldberg references an earlier Obama interview, which was one we have previously commented on. It is a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun Times in which she asks Obama to define sin. He responded that sin is, "being out of alignment with my beliefs."

Therein is the heart of the matter. Christianity has traditionally held that the Bible is God's word and is the basis of a Christian's beliefs. Sin then is being out of alignment with God's beliefs---not our beliefs.

Here's how that difference is responsible for tearing our culture, our churches and sometimes our personal relationships.

Goldberg remembers the explosive fad of postmodernism in the 1980's. I remember that it started much earlier than the 80's and was accelerated when what was then called, "Values Clarification," was introduced into the textbooks of our public education system. "VC" as it was called, essentially advanced the idea that there are no absolutes. It put a new face on an old belief. Relativism. Which is essentially a rebellion against God.

Goldberg says this movement, "Was and is an enormous intellectual hustle in which left wing intellectuals take crow bars and pick axes to anything having to do with the civilizational Mount Rushmore of Dead White European Males."

In the mind of the postmodernist our traditional biblical beliefs of absolutes---right and wrong, true and false, are really just ways for those, in the words of Goldberg, "Pernicious Pale Patriarchs to keep the coalition of the oppressed in their place."

To the postmodernist, truth and reality are socially constructed. So the postmodernist seeks to tear down and remove traditional beliefs, because they privilege the powerful over the powerless, and replace them with new truths more to their liking. More in line with their personal perspective.

This belief claims to liberate society from fixed meanings and rigid categories---like biblical principles. However, they always replace traditional values with new "socially constructed" ones in the form of political correctness.

These beliefs are not liberating, they induce bondage. Patrick Henry once said when people forget God and His principles, tyrants are forging their chains.

The secularization of society is necessary to the success of postmodernism or relativism. This is why we at Faith and Freedom and others are committed to preserving and advancing Judeo-Christian values. They do not oppress, they liberate.

Postmodernism and relativism is really not about others. It is about "me". Why should I conform to "your" beliefs, says the postmodernist to the Christian.

The more society is moved away from eternal biblical truths and the Judeo-Christian values and principles that our Founding Fathers held, the more "new" and "progressive" truths can be introduced.

Truth has then become a matter of perspective.

When the Constitution of the United States does not support a certain social belief , it is declared a "living document" and can mean what ever best serves your agenda.

Once adrift on this sea of "change" we can be "Christian" and still claim that there are many pathways to God, as Obama did in the Falsani interview. We can also accommodate and even celebrate behaviors that are clearly condemned in biblical teaching.

You can claim Christianity, yet deny the absolutes of the Bible on the basis of cultural change and the agent of political correctness which calls for a new "fairness" in our views toward homosexuality, abortion and other important personal and cultural issues.

If you hold to traditional values you will be scorned as someone holding to "worn arguments and old ideas."

Many mainline Christian denominations have been moved away from the beliefs that gave them rise and are now in disarray and decline. This is why.

Biblical Christianity stands on the promises of forgiveness, deliverance, restoration and newness of life in Jesus Christ and eternal salvation, not some kind of so-called love that accommodates postmodernism and relativism.

If we do not communicate this message to our culture, who will? Are we not our brother's keeper?

Evangelicalism has typically held to the fundamental beliefs of biblical Christianity, however as evangelicals pursue new and innovative ways to identify with or not offend certain people groups under the guise of "reaching" them, I think we must be very careful that we ourselves are not "reached" with a view that moves one away from conflict and biblical declarations toward more personal comfort and acceptance by a political correct community.

May God guide His people in these perilous times.

________________
Gary Randall
President
Faith & Freedom

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16 comments:

  1. People who live by God's commands need few public laws. It is the selfish unconverted heart that creates the need for a police state to keep law and order.
    While we are to love all people as Christ loved us, societies must keep in check the moral cancer that will undermine the health of a nation and overthrow it.

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  2. I just left a comment. My town is Bellevue, WA.

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  3. Psalm 9:17
    The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.


    Didn't we see a "forgetting of God" before the trouble came?

    Now I wonder what our future holds. Will we see the end of America, as the billboard on the
    way out of town simply reads "..because they did not choose the fear of the Lord."? or
    "..because they thought government
    without God was the way."?

    Were it not for the grace of God that leads us back to him we would have no future at all.

    May God save this state and nation for his own name and for
    Jesus Christ our Lord, for his good purposes which is for our good and not for evil. His plans are plans of prosperity and righteousness, prudence and good sense. May God bring us into his future by Jesus Christ.

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  4. Postmodernism as we know is - every man does what is right according to his own mind. Clearly, the word of God warns us against this. I remember in my school days being engaged by teachers in the debate over what is right, wrong, and various shades of "gray" as they were fond of saying.

    Perhaps as an adult, one capable of Formal Operations (as Piaget defines this, it is the ability to think in abstract ways), I can reason through right and wrong a little better. As a school child, and a Concrete Operations thinker (needing a logical and real object to consider) this thinking was developmentally impossible for me, although I could "parrot" what the teacher wanted pretty well.

    I submit that is is not only unfair, but immoral to brainwash children with this postmodern doctrine before they are developmentally able to really grasp such concepts. Yet today the schools continue to practice this technique in the guise of teaching kids to think for themselves.

    As an adult, I have also learned that in all my supposed wisdom, I am still not really all that smart, and that the greatest wisdom I know of comes from the Bible - God's word. How could I even compare?! So if I want to be really smart, I compare the issues of today with the Word that speaks for all time. I think that we, as a society, have become so egotistical that we actually think we know better than God and fail to go to his word for answers. Or worse... manipulate the Word to produce the answers we think we want, as some denominations have done.

    As for the little children, how can we as a society, in any good conscience, allow the immoral and confused teachings of these liberal, postmodern administrators to be presented to our babies?! They trust, honor, and even idolize their teachers. If we are to win this battle against the decay of society, we need to address the issues in our own local school boards and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    Time to rise up - people!
    Pray that God will find at least ten righteous men among us!
    God bless you all.

    JW Camano Island

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  5. Gary, who are you labeling as the powerless ones here - the folks who are already have survival rights or the folks who are struggling to achieve them? I'm with Joe Fuiten on this one - what a shameful person you are for wanting to intervene in the lives of two people simply out of a bloated need to stand on your religious soapbox. I highly suspect Joe has had his own conversations with God and decided these types of behaviors are not within his teachings. Maybe you should have your own conversation.

    May God guide you to a better understanding of humanity. Given this evil, money making gig you've embarked upon, however, it doesn't seem likely.

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  6. Gary, thank you for this blog, well said.

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  7. Oh books, newspapers, and magazines that reflect a bias can all be discarded. There is only one book which is strangely enough entitled Biblos, which means book, that we really need to study.

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  8. I am not Episcopal, if anything I am sort of charismatic and I violently oppose Initiative 71. I would like to be able to ask a gay to go to church with me--but guess what impression this initiative has given him about the Christian community. Why aren't we more interested in outreach than legislation? I have not heard one thing that would lead me to believe we will be harmed if the Domestic Partnership bill is allowed to stand. But, I fear that without it, the issue will go to the courts who will "discover" a "right" gay marriage.

    We can disarm the gay community at the same time we reach out to them by leaving this issue alone.

    When I look at initiative 71 and those fighting for it all I see is negativism and rejection. Christ died for the outcasts not the pharisees. So -- why do you want to be pharisee?

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  9. May God bless you and protect you, Gary, for standing up beside Lot in Sodom and Gammorah. You will be hated and persecuted for your stance! These are truly scary times, but they may get worse.

    We love you, gay folks, and we understand that your sin is extremely tough to overcome, but with God's power and grace, you can overcome. Don't continue to give in to it!

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  10. If all you see is hate, I would suggest cleansing your lenses. :-) We love you and don't want your 'religion' shoved down our throats. We also have history to prove that advancing the homosexual agenda (there is NOTHING gay about this lifestyle - I know) does lead to a sinking into despicable immorality. We are to flee immorality of which homosexuality is one of those immoral behaviors.

    Joe actually needs to go back to the good book that he supposedly preaches from.

    jndboyz: loved your post and that is the primary reason I home schooled my little clan. We all need to keep the pressure on the school system.

    By the way, it doesn't take that kind of intellectual endeavor to see that homosexuality is aberrant behavior. Have you read "The Emperor Has No Clothes"? You can't fool a child when the topic is so obvious. Man and man don't go together and woman and woman.

    Don't tell me you can't invite a homosexual to church. I do it all the time and they are of course warmly received. However, they are not going to have special rights above my rights. We are supposed to be in a civil society that maintains order for all not special interests.

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  11. 8:34--who says 'we do not not ask a gay person do church?' I know of two people with a 'gay' situation. No one spoke about it, as we let God handle it, as we accepted them. They ended up being hard workers in the church. Did they stop their deviant life style? We suspect so, but it was never questioned! We concentrated on them as individuals. We are a protestant church, and I cannot speak for other churches, but I am confident they would NOT 'shun' a suspected gay couple, but encourage and accept them in love! That is what we did! In Bible college, in the 60's, I had two friends that probably were 'gay', but there was no issue made over it, as it was between them and God. You see, we that 'stand up for God's principles' are consistently loving them in the Lord, NEVER condemning them! Can you join us with this concept?!

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  12. Well said, 6:15 on 7/28. I want to add that nobody who is caught in sin wants to admit it. Rather, our egos demand that we defend our wrongs rather than repent and turn from them. As a word of encouragement to our brothers and sisters living in sexual sin, everybody has something to repent of, I do not wish to imagine I am better than anybody...

    Still, the point of identifying sin is so that we CAN turn from it. In this matter we have rationalized away the wrong, and gray-ed it up to become sort of ok... and then a little better, and finally a "right" - even a "civil right". How did we get from an obvious wrong - both according to social norms and according to God's own Word, to a so-called civil right??

    If we are so easily led astray - albeit the leading away happened gradually - How in the world are we to discern anything! Moral behavior is not so subjective, there IS a real right and a real wrong. If we do not find our way back to truth, how can we possibly help our lost brothers and sisters to find their way to the Lord? We MUST call sin what it is...SIN.

    To publicly embrace the sin is completely the wrong thing to do. It endorses this behavior and turns morality on its head in favor of niceties. So, YES, let's be nice, but NO let's not give in to a sick and dangerous lifestyle choice. Never forget the explicit nature of what we are talking about here. God is very clear on this matter, both in the old and new testaments.

    No matter how rational it may seem, please remember there is a way to rationalize every sin there ever was. Even this issue - sexual sin - the same argument satan used in the garden is used here... Did God really say that?
    YES he did, and His Word stands for all time.

    One thing I notice is the claim of several homosexual activists (we must think of a better word) is that they like to use the term, "engage in a conversation" a lot - or some such variety of "let's talk about this". That is our first mistake. Just as Eve experienced in the garden, the discussion was not an honest exchange. The motive of satan was always to deceive the innocent. Similarly, whenever you read about gay activists wanting to "have a conversation" with their opponents (us) their motive is to convince us of their view. The frog in the cooking pot... that's all this has been.

    Let us stand strong. Let us not be deceived! If you doubt this, just read your Bible, the easy to understand verses are in Leviticus 17 and 18 and Romans chap 1. And lest you want to argue that Jesus himself didn't write that, Paul did, then think about the exchange with the adulteress.. Jesus' final comment was, "Go and sin no more".

    JW
    Camano Island

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  13. JW you stated some powerful thoughts. I found myself agreeing with most if not all . The concern over this issue is as you see it, that it will hurt the number of the ever decreasing amount of kids having a Mom and dad , it will only re enforce the culture of today. But my view is it is the culture of today that is embracing , or many cases just allowing same sex marriage as the problem . Legislation in a democratic society reflects that culture , we are at the tipping point of being in the minority , actually already are . Actually as a Christian I find that refreshing , consider what this culture allows to be done to the least of us .

    Most people do not see it as that big of a deal. That even yeah divorce is harmful , but my divorce is different . That standards are important , but not that big of a deal to keep them since everyone else doesn't . Our culture has changed , and legislating say same sex marriage one way or the other is not as big of a deal as say some of the other things going on . You pointed the public school system and the pluralism it teaches , sex is ok if condom are used , abstinence is ok if your specific morality supports it , homosexuality is OK if your homosexual, pro life is fine for me but another person has a right to their own view. I agree such beliefs bring upon us really a rather intolerant view in the wrong run ,
    doing what is right only in their own view point, saying Jesus is the Only Way to the Father and the term bigot will come up , usually by the same person who will go on to say Jesus was such a "nice guy" how could you say such a thing . When you are actually quoting the Lord.


    The issue has gotten blown out of proportion in the Christian community . The real issue is we live in such a non committal culture , the only reason same sex domestic partner ships was passed in this state was because the previous President and the record of republicans was so dismal that people voted for democrats . Has nothing to do with the views of the average citizen one way or the other , to me that is the real problem that this debate has high lighted . To the homosexual I would think that is a shallow victory , to the Christian I would think it would just be discernment of what is going on in our culture . God is the same regardless . Thank God.

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  14. To anonymous from 3:45 July 29:

    I like the way you think. I want to add one thing though. I do not believe that our so-called democratic society actually reflects the will of the people. I think it reflects the will of the squeaky wheels.

    As I was out collecting signatures for R-71 I spoke to a LOT of folks. The overwhelming majority were shocked that our legislation had implemented the "everything but marriage" law. The common man does not support this supposedly popular perspective.

    Here is what I think is happening. We - all of us - are scrambling so hard to make a life... earn a living and support ourselves and our families, along with the requisite running to-and-fro for soccer, school, and church. Who has TIME to be politically active? Furthermore, who wants to? what a boring thing to do (with all that free time I DON'T have). Never mind the fact that most people do not believe they can do anything to make a real difference. We leave that up to people like Gary :-) I know I did for, well, pretty much my whole life.

    Now, here we are, standing around with our thumbs in our mouths wondering what went wrong. Our church leaders lack the backbone to be true "Salt and Light" or at least lead a people to be so. Our political leaders are, for the most part, the ones who promise the most goodies. No surprise they are mostly Dems. and I agree the Reps have confused their message in the past years, but there is a return to roots movement happening that is very refreshing.

    This is what must change. We the real people must begin to get involved again. We DO have rights and we DO have influence, especially if we stand together with the banner of Christ held high. I have a right to live in a society that is not a pool of raw sewage, and I wish to exercise that right. Yes, it will infringe on the desires of others who prefer to live in sewage, but in the end it will even benefit them. My son hates it when I impose a curfew on him, but in a similar way, we must all exercise some self control.

    Anyway, I have to run now. Thanks for your reply.
    JW
    Camano Island WA

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  15. I personally have been very stirred, as a born again Christian. The call to "buy the truth and sell it not" is very relevant here! Jesus is the only rock of salvation. Rocks don't change their stance. Homosexuality does kill, as does all sin. A loving parent instructs their children to keep them from pain and strife. How much more will God's instructions save us from things that want to destroy us? Let me encourage you to keep promoting the Truth. Many will hate you for it, but hopefully some will hear the voice of their shepherd and find true salvation.

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  16. I have been fighting this battle since the 70's. Dr. Francis Schaffer wrote the book, 'How Should We Then Live?' and did a movie series on that in the mid '70's. I use to take the projector & movie cans to bring the message to the churches in the Virginia area. That is where I was stationed in the military.

    The point is that nothing has changed in that the major denominations are internally politically driven, most evangelicals are roof top Christians - they sit on the roof top waiting for the Lord to come and claim all this is suppose to happen. Gary, you and many others have it correct. We are to represent the King and the fact that he has called moral government into being. Our salvation is extensible into every aspect of life, culture, politics.... Every aspect of life!

    Our Founder's set this nation in motion with the understanding of the evils of humanity. Now, after 200 years of persistent evil and the last 45 years of the lack of Pastors really understanding their position as leaders and singular commitment to the King of Kings, we have the moral, cultural and political degeneration.

    I am glad you are in the fight. I no longer feel alone at this.

    Thank you.

    Tom

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