I’ve been spending lots of time recently with college and post-college age young adults. Most of them are good kids, from great Christian families. But, what I’m hearing is alarming.
Many of them are buying into the new super-virtues-tolerance and fairness – the new definition of Christian love being taught by a new breed of young, influential pastors. And, here’s why every parent and grandparent needs to be aware of this hybrid and distorted view of biblical love.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:21
“Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the father who sent me.” John 14:24
Jesus couldn’t be more clear. The way to show we love God (and others) is to obey him. It isn’t enough to simply think wonderful, warm and thankful thoughts about God. I love it when our children or grandchildren run up to me and hug me. But, when I ask our grandchildren to do something and they do it, not fully understanding why, it also tells me they trust me and love me. God is no different. In fact, to say that his commands or the Bible’s teachings are unfair is to question the very nature, wisdom and character of God himself.
But, that’s exactly what is happening. Young adults, even Christian young adults are rejecting some clear teachings of the Bible, such as the prohibition against homosexual, sexual relations and gay marriage, among others because these teachings appear to them, to be unfair and intolerant.
Here’s their reasoning; it is unloving, intolerant and unfair to deny homosexuals the joy and comfort of marriage. We know the Bible appears to prohibit same-sex, sex. However, since we know God is a God of love, the writers of the Bible either didn’t get that teaching from God, or God gave that command thousands of years ago apparently to address some homosexual abuses at that time. In either case, it is archaic and embarrassing for Christians in the 20th century to believe that homosexual marriage is a sin. We don’t blame God, but only the traditional interpretation of what God said.
By the use of this logic, these Christians actually consider themselves to be more loving, and therefore better followers of Jesus, than traditional conservative Christians.
My view of this issue
I personally do not believe it is a sin to be attracted and tempted to a person of the same sex. However, it is a sinful consequence of the fall. Therefore, I will fully embrace any gay Christian who is committed to celibacy in the same way I’ll fully embrace and expect any unmarried, hetero-sexual person to be celibate. One reason I’m against gay marriage is because implicit in marriage is de facto, the right, even the obligation to have sex. Blessing same sex marriage is the same as blessing same sex, sex, which is a sin.
You may or may not agree with me. However, if not, as a parent or grandparent you better be able to articulate what you personally believe the Bible teaches and why – unfortunately, the short answer given to past generations, “That’s what the word of God says.” While true, that advice is not viewed as a prime example of religious intolerance and cultural ignorance. So, I hope you have a position on this subject that is true to the Bible, intellectually honest and gracious. Being “gracious” is terribly important in this debate. It doesn’t mean agreeing with them, but voicing your concerns sensitively and with kindness.
Make it a point to have a discussion with your children or grandchildren to discuss it. The tidal wave is coming. Prepare for it! (See my June 20, 2012 blog, The Danger of Loving Others too Much, for more thoughts on the issue of homosexuality.)
So the litmus test for love has become tolerance and fairness, not the teachings of scripture. And, this isn’t the end of it. I was meeting with another group from a local Christian college and they asked me, “Do you believe it’s wrong for heterosexual, unmarried Christians to have sex?” I was stunned that they’d even ask the question. So, I responded with a question of my own. “What does the Bible say about that?” Their answer was even more surprising. “Well, some students are saying that if we got it wrong about homosexuals, could it be we also got it wrong about pre-marital sex?”
Seriously, this isn’t the top of the slippery slope anymore. It’s a runaway toboggan. Unless by the power of the Holy Spirit we are intentional about having honest, conversations with our children, many will buy these arguments, because they appear to be so loving.
Check out comereason.org for an excellent source on how to talk to your children about all kinds of issues. I also keep a copy handy of 5-Minute Apologetics for Today, by Ron Rhodes. It’s full of excellent, one page biblical explanations for many contemporary topics.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Question: How have you seen these super-virtues play out in conversations with your children or grandchildren, or do you have any resources you’d recommend to others?
Following Jesus in Real Life