It is said of the sons of Issachar that they ‘had understanding of the times to know what Israel should do.’ It was written in a time of flux and change, at the time when David was becoming king of Israel. They knew two things –
1. They had understanding of the times in which they lived. So should we!
2. They knew what the people should do. So should we!
In this letter, we will look at the times in which we live and in the next letter we will consider the what we should do, in view of living in a different world. All of this in the light of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage.
RECOGNIZE THE NEW NORMAL
America has changed. It is no longer a nation built on a biblical foundation. We now have ‘a post Christian society.’ We have a new generation that believes whatever they want to believe and do whatever is right in their own eyes.
The new normal embraces –
1. Relativism – i.e. no absolutes, no right or wrong, no standard of truth and morals.
2. Humanism – i.e. man rules, as opposed to God being the one who is Lord over all.
We now have a ‘secular humanistic society.’ Dutch Sheets describes this great humanistic society this way, ‘When our nation embraced this philosophy, the Bible became merely a historical book of ‘suggestions,’ and the Constitution became nothing more than a historical document of old ‘ideas.’ Both became ‘outdated’ sets of values, appropriate for generations past, but not relevant for today. Therefore, we needed to create our own guidelines, beliefs and boundaries, which, of course, would always need to be evolving. The problem with all of this is that in reality, a changing standard is no standard. This has led to mooring-less chaos, unbridled sin, lawlessness, and rebellion. As occurred in Israel’s early history, most Americans are now doing what is right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25). America is adrift in the devastating sea of self-desire, self-adulation and self-rule.’
We need to recognize the new normal and in turn, realize we, who believe in the Bible, are becoming a minority in society today.
When ever you embark on a new pathway, you have never been down before, you never know what you will encounter. So too, as America embraces gay marriage, you can anticipate unexpected consequences. Almost immediately, a man with two wives (one lawful, the other not), filed for a marriage certificate to marry the second one. The action was anticipated in the statements made by the dissenting Supreme Court judges.
If love and commitment is simply the basis for marriage, where does all that end? I leave that to your imagination. It will of course effect many Christian businesses, who will be forced to serve gay weddings or risk a substantial fine (recently there was a fine of $135,000 against a Christian bakery of wedding cakes in Oregon, that would not bake a cake for a lesbian wedding.)
The consequence of all this is that religious freedom will come under attack. It’s already happening in Canada. Check out the illuminating article by Dawn Stefanowicz entitled ‘My Father was Gay, Why I Oppose Legalizing Same Sex Marriage,’ written before the Supreme Court ruling. It has consequences for you and your children. She writes, ‘For example if you teach your children that same-sex sexual relationships are wrong and that every child has a father and a mother, and that only man-woman sex in marriage is allowed, you run the risk of thought police questioning your beliefs, especially if your children discuss these subjects in the classroom. Consequently, parents experience state interference when it comes to moral values and teachings about family, parenting and sex education in schools. Also, children are deprived of knowing and being raised by both their biological father and mother since same-sex marriage allows for children to have same-sex parents where at least one parent is unrelated to the child.’
Who knows the extend of the consequences that will come in America in the days to come. It could involve eventually the withdrawal of tax privileges for contributions to those churches who refuse to perform gay marriages.
JUDGEMENT WILL COME
Many people don’t like to talk about the possibility of judgement coming to America. What we need to recognize is that there are at least three kinds of judgement that can come on people and nations.
1. Direct Actions by God – We see this with Noah and the flood and also the plagues that came upon Egypt in the time of Moses.
2. The Result of Sin – Dutch Sheets notes that, ‘Most “judgements” are simply the inevitable and automatic results of disobeying God’s word and principles, not God’s direct action. Sin has inherent wages (Romans 6:23). To believe we can escape those ramifications is as foolish as believing we can defy natural laws. Without oxygen, we will die, wishing otherwise will not change this. Likewise, breaking God’s laws will bring painful consequences to us.’
3. God Lifting His Hand of Protection – In many cases, judgement comes as God lifts His hand of blessing from a nation that has turned its back on Him. This happened with Israel in Bible days and many would believe that’s what lay behind the attack of 9/11 (See Johnathan Cahn’s book The Harbinger/Also read all of Romans 1).
That is why as a nation, we need to turn back to God as stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We need a spirit of repentance and it has to start in the church.
UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS IS A SPIRITUAL BATTLE
Paul recognized this dimension of life: It’s not primarily a political battle, or a legal battle. It is a spiritual battle. He wrote, ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).’
The world is getting darker and it will not change simply by shouting or in angry protests. We have to fight with spiritual weapons, including prayer. Thank God there is, today, a groundswell of prayer rising up amongst God’s people. Prayer changes things.
THE BATTLE IS OVER THE BIBLE
In recent times, some who claim to be evangelical believers, have argued that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. But the Bible, from Genesis onwards, states that marriage should be between a man and a woman and it explicitly condemns homosexual activity; the bible is a heterosexual book.
At least some proponents of gay marriage are acknowledging this fact at last. World Magazine reported, ‘I appreciate the honesty of Emory University professor Luke Timothy Johnson, who teaches courses on the New Testament and acknowledges that he and liberal seminary colleagues “do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good . . We are fully aware of the weight of scriptural evidence pointing away from our position, yet place our trust in the power of the living God to reveal as powerfully through personal experience and testimony as through written texts.’ (Gays and God, Article by Marvin Olaskey, World Magazine, July 19, 2015)
As I said, at least he is being honest and not trying to make scripture say what it doesn’t say. However, you can’t have two different authorities. Either the Bible is right or it is not. You can’t pick and choose.
There is coming a major division within the church, even within the evangelical wing of the church. It will involve whether you believe and accept the authority of scripture or if you believe a subjective experience can overrule the objective truth of the Word.
Things may look bleak at this time, but let us not forget that God is still on the throne and He is still in control. As I have constantly stated, Isaiah 60:1-2 tells us that the world will get darker and darker, but the glory of God will be seen in His people. Let’s be a people that carry His glory to a dark world in need of the light and truth of His word.
Links to Articles
Article – My Father was Gay, Why I Oppose Legalizing Same Sex Marriage.
Article – Gays and God