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The Cart Before the Horse: Romans 1
|"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. "|
With many relevant passages on homosexuality in the Bible, we find often within the conservative Christian culture one unison voice of interpretation. Yet, when hearing other aspects of interpretation, one realizes that maybe we are missing the primary intent of the passages in question.
With Romans 1, we find many conservative Christian leaders commenting that homosexuality leads to pagan idolatry or is directly tied to it. But, the question is, "Are they putting the cart before the horse?" or "Are they missing the primary point of Romans 1?"
Maybe for you, it seems clear as day. You read Romans 1 and it says, "men with men working that which is unseemly". And we find men turning from the Creator to worship creatures instead. So, it appears to be cut and dry to you.
For me, though, recently. I was reading Romans 1 and noticed how infused the whole topic of idolatry was to the text. Further, I noticed how much circumstancial evidence there was pointing to "temple harlotry", rather than homosexuality in general (idolatry & sex acts, rather than orientation). So, I realized, maybe spiritual harlotry is the main point of the passage, and sexual conduct plays a second place role? Maybe it is really about your orientation towards God (pardon the pun)? Do you worship the creation or the Creator?
Maybe our spiritual outlook is main crux here? Many are worried they will lose the homosexual debate, while missing the point of the passage. Is it not idolatry that is the main sin here? What is the root of the problem here and should the intensity be against idolatry?
I see this often in the church - a misidentification of sin. Is it sex and violence that are the sins? Or is it really adultery and murder? Is it woman should not wear jewelry? Or is it their focus should be on the inward heart? Should a man never drink alcohol? Or is it a man should always have self control, as a fruit of the Spirit?
Could it be that the Devil realizes all of this? What is post modernism? Isn't it attacking this very weakness in conservative Christianity? The weakness is misidentifying the root of the problem by minimizing spiritual sins and overemphasizing physical ones.
What is missing in conservative Christianity? I believe there is a huge blind spot in much of conservative Christianity. A blind spot that the post-moderns have been working in for a long time. I believe it reaches far past the homosexual debate and into how you understand scripture and form your worldview.
I believe it is a result of two age old heresies at work: gnosticism and marcionism. Both have influenced Western Christian thought for sometime, even very sound Christian churches. They have done so under the radar through definitions of words. Many Christians are unaware of how commonplace it is to find gnostic and marcion leaning definitions of biblical terms within Christian books and materials. I discuss some relevant examples here: How Biblical Terms Impact Your Beliefs
To give you an example, consider the term "adultery". Now, the commonplace definition of adultery is "unlawful intercourse with another man's wife". However, do you realize that adultery also refers to "idolatry"? Where one has "unlawful intercourse with a false god", cheating on your Lord and Savior. Yet, we are told that all you need is to trust in Jesus as your savior. Yet, is it not required for him to be also your Lord? So, we can see this false understanding of the gospel comes down to people not even defining the term "adultery" properly. As we are the bridegroom of Christ and we are not to cheat on our Husband. Yet, what we find is very few discuss this and are more often interested in finding ways to make every sexual thought, interest into "adultery" and making up as many rules as they can. Does this not remind you of the Pharisees of Jesus' time. Did they not make many rules based off God's few commandments and miss the whole point of being true to God? Gnosticism teaches that the physical is evil while the spiritual is good. Marcionism rejects the Old Testament and says the God of the New Testament is different. With terms like adultery, note that the physical evil is overemphasized, while the spiritual meaning has been lost. Further, note that many seem to ignore the meanings of sexual sin from the Old Testament and almost exclusively define from the New Testament. This I believe shows the influence of gnosticism and marcionism on biblical definitions of certain words today.
What we are seeing here is a blindness to spiritual harlotry today. We see it in western society in general. No one is immune, particularly the Conservative Christian. We have churches worshipping oneness, rather than God. Prosperity preachers preaching the exact opposite of scripture, but few bat an eye. After all, isn't the main sins googling nude photos or watching violence on television?
Or, perhaps, the real sins of the church are allowing all manner of pagan influence into their midst? Christian yoga? Perhaps the Emergent Church? Christlam (claiming the god of Islam is the same as the Christian God)? Maybe you have not heard of any of these?
The church has been drinking the kool-aid for decades now. It has accepted this idea of "personal truth" and "political correctness". Western liberal culture teaches that we, Westerners, are the reason the world is full of ills. We have also been taught that our logic and reasoning is the answer to everything. Yet when this worldview failed, the psychology of humanism remained, even in the church. From the ashes of Humanism arises post-modernism. It showed the humanist that even his assumption of logic was just an assumption. Just another belief. And since humanism failed miserably, we now move onto post-modernism. Welcome back pagan Rome. Perhaps Christianity will conquer Post-Modernism, like it conquered Rome?
No, the problem in your church is not keeping up with the Joneses. The real problem is allowing idolatry in your midst. Is it homosexuality that is the problem? Or is it perhaps spiritual harlotry that leads to cursory sins?
Are you misidentifying the problem? Is the problem really Christian women dressing to seductively? Or is it more likely your acceptance of secularism in your work place? Taking God out of that component of your life. Putting God in that little God box when you drive off to work in the morning?
What caused the German church to fail during Hitler's reign? Was it because Christians were playing cards and dancing? Or perhaps was it a result of not allowing God full reign in their life? Taking God out on Sundays only or maybe during prayer time daily. Could it be, they allowed lies to be adopted? To let too much of the world into their churches?
So, is it really homosexuality that Romans 1 is addressing? Or is it perhaps the spiritual harlotry in your own church? And with Sodom and Gomorrah, was it gay sex that was the problem? Or perhaps abuse and treating your neighbor in an evil manner? Do you listen to prosperity preachers? Maybe Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven materials? Did you know that Rick Warren now teaches those of other religions can make it to Heaven? Perhaps Rob Bell, books like The Secret, The Shack or others? These books teach heresy.
Is not idolatry rampant in Protestantism these days? Could anyone deny this? So, really, where is the problem? And do you have a solution? Will you continue to worry about your daughter's hair length and "R" rated movies? Or perhaps the "PG" idolatry and secularism taught in your daughter's schools?
Will you sit idly by? The Devil enjoys working while you sit idle. As with any cancer, it must be removed from the body. And the Body of Christ has been blind to its cancer for many years now. Will you be a good surgeon and help remove the sin in your midst?