This week, Joe Carter of the Gospel Coalition published an article on their website entitled “When did idolatry become compatible with Christianity?” In his article he wonders when it became acceptable for Christians to “embrace and endorse homosexual behavior.” His answer is that there is no specific date, but it is part of a wider idolatrous movement in the church. He characterizes the issue like this:
At its root, the issue has more to do with idolatry than marriage, since same-sex marriage could not have advanced in America if believers had not exchanged the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for the God of faux-love, cultural acceptance, and open theism.
This idolatry, he says, takes two forms. The first is essentially libertarian. Some Christians believe that because we live in a pluralistic society, and we do not have anything but a religious objection to marriage equality, we can’t really say it should be illegal. Carter says to do so is to replace
Jesus’ commandment—”You shall love your neighbor as yourself”—with the guiding motto of the neopagan religion of Wicca, “Do what you will, so long as it harms none.”
The second form of idolatry is essentially just liberal theology he doesn’t care for. He says that they have “completely rejected the authority of Scripture and embraced the idol of open theism, a god who changes his mind over time.” He proceeds to use Rob Bell as a punching bag, which is becoming a pastime for Reformed theologians, I think.
He concludes that Christians who agree with him (as opposed to the idolatrous Christians who don’t) need to speak up. He concludes:
We fear that if we point out too clearly or forcefully that you can’t both serve God and endorse sin that they may leave our congregations. We seem more concerned with losing the volunteer for the Sunday morning nursery or the regular check in the offering plate than we do with the souls of those in open and unrepentant rebellion against God. We seem more worried about the judgment of the kids in the youth ministry than we do with the judgment of a wrathful and holy God. We are so troubled by the thought that same-sex advocates will fall away from the faith that we fail to see that they’ve already rejected the faith of historic, orthodox Christianity and replaced it with an idolatrous heresy—one that is as destructive and hateful as any that has come before.
I don’t need to tell you that I have problems with this article, but let me outline them.
From Dr. Charles Negy in the Huffington Post Religion section…
Assuming my speculation is accurate — that gun zealots in the U.S. tend to be religious and conservative — I wonder if they ever pause to ask themselves what would Jesus do in reaction to the sporadic, yet persistent incidents of violence in the country. In addition to advocating for more peace, compassion and assistance for those who are disadvantaged, would Jesus advocate for better gun control and a reduction of gun ownership as ways to mitigate violence? Or would he advocate rushing out to purchase more guns, including automatic assault weapons? I wonder if Jesus would encourage all citizens to carry concealed weapons, or if he would propose that school teachers be permitted to possess guns in the classrooms?
I don’t think it’s a useful exercise to claim your perspective in line with the perspective of Jesus too often, but I think some of these questions are important. I’ve found the question “What is the Christian response?” to be divisive, but perhaps “What is a Christian response?” is valid. I just see a significant disconnect between harping on supposed Second Amendment rights and the Gospel. Rationally, I don’t see why anyone needs an assault weapon and I have no problem at all in making them increasingly more difficult to obtain … but do your religious convictions play a role at all in where you fall on this issue, as well?
Is the question, “Would Jesus buy an automatic assault weapon?” a valid one? What’s the answer and what impact does that have on our lives and policy-making?
On Monday night, former Governor Mike Huckabee was on the Daily Show (see Hulu for the episode, dailyshow.com for the extended interview). He talked with Jon Stewart on a whole range of topics from the GOP’s problems with people of color to the exact nature of biblical allusions to fire. It was in the latter exchange that something interesting happened. Stewart aired a commercial Huckabee produced for this past election cycle.
Stewart proceeded to ask Huckabee if he thought that not voting Republican meant that he was going to hell. Huckabee explained that the allusion was to testing something by fire. In no way was it a reference to hell. The commercial mentions abortion, traditional marriage, and religious freedom as votes that will matter in eternity. When Stewart asked Huckabee why only these issues featured in the commercial, Huckabee said something interesting.
He chuckled and said, “Well, we only had sixty seconds.”
It stuns me that these are the only issues Christians can supposedly care about. Are they important? Yes. I think they are so important that we should talk about them a lot. We have different views about them and we should try to find out why. But what about all of the other issues facing the United States?
What about poverty?
What about child hunger?
What about foreign aid?
What about foreign wars?
What about racism?
What about the criminal justice system?
What about education?
What about healthcare?
What about immigration?
Do none of these things matter to us? As long as we’re pro-life insofar as abortion and euthanasia are concerned, we don’t need to care about what happens in between. Unless, of course, the in between issues happen to concern someone else’s sexual orientation. Why is that?
When did we get to the point where we chose these issues above all others? When did we get to the point that only having sixty seconds meant we talked about this? When did we get to the point where we didn’t care about poverty, children, and education?
If you had sixty seconds to address the nation, what would you talk about?
I thought this version of Mitt Romney was interesting. I’ve never seen him that passionate about anything. To see him defending his religious faith (even it being different from mine) was illuminating and even encouraging in a way. I’ve always found Romney to be a bit robotic, but you see a real genuine side of him here, even if it’s a bit angry and frustrated (perhaps rightfully so, I haven’t seen the whole interview).
Via The Pangea Blog