As I read a recent news item, I was reminded of Jesus’ words, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?” (Matthew 5:13). Increasingly the church in the Western world is losing its saltiness. Instead of influencing the culture, we are being so influenced by the culture that we are no longer effective salt in this world. This is growing increasingly clear when it comes to beliefs regarding marriage and gender.
God’s Word clearly teaches that homosexual practice is a sin (Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). For generations the church has recognized this and has never felt the need to reinterpret the clear teaching of Scripture. But now that our culture has almost wholeheartedly embraced and celebrated this behavior, suddenly many Christian leaders have decided that God’s Word needs a supposedly more enlightened update. It isn’t because God’s Word has changed—it’s because many Christians’ attitudes toward God’s Word have changed and because the culture has so infiltrated the church’s thinking that God’s Word is no longer the ultimate authority.
Well, recently two bishops from the evangelical wing of the Church of England “are urging fellow clerics to be willing to rethink traditional ‘interpretations’ of the Bible which condemn homosexuality as a sin.” One of these bishops “said it was time for a ‘reconsideration’ of the centuries-old view of marriage and insisted his mind was ‘open not closed’ on how passages in the Bible talking about homosexuality should be read in the 21st century.”
He has allowed himself to be influenced by factors outside of God’s Word and is reinterpreting God’s Word based on these outside influences.
Now pay attention to the reasons this bishop gives for his belief that we need to be open minded to reinterpreting the Bible’s teaching on marriage. He says that he has been “‘profoundly changed’ by encounters with lesbian and gay Christians” and says, “I have come to believe that we need to change the church.” Notice how his rationale for reinterpreting the Bible’s teaching comes from something outside of God’s Word. His mind wasn’t changed because of the Bible. He has allowed himself to be influenced by factors outside of God’s Word and is reinterpreting God’s Word based on these outside influences. He is making fallible human beings the authority, not God’s infallible Word!
He goes on to note that “some reconsideration of how we should now understand the Genesis perspective on marriage is necessary, as well as exploration on how far that should affect the underlying principles.” He seems to understand that if you are going to reinterpret biblical teaching on marriage this, of course, means that you have to reinterpret Genesis. Actually, in my experience, a reinterpretation of marriage usually follows a rejection of a literal Genesis. Although this bishop didn’t share his views on Genesis in this article, it isn’t likely that he accepts it as literal history.
As followers of Jesus Christ and “doers of the Word” (James 1:22), we cannot allow ourselves to be “children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14). Instead of shaping the Bible with our own thinking, we need to stand solidly on the Word of God and allow it, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to shape our thinking.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.