The Truth Will Set Us Free!
by Bill Martin
I have to confess it has been a painful couple of weeks. I have watched people I know mock faith-filled protestors in Alabama, as a Ten Commandments statue is hauled away to the back room of a courthouse.
I listed to a friend describe how several alleged gay men jumped, beat and kicked him, after a Pastors sermon on Gods view of homosexuality.
I watched a west side Lutheran Church and school evacuate after a bomb threat was phoned in. The caller was outraged over the church's stance opposing same sex marriage.
I also talked with a friend, I thought was Christian, telling me the Bible was basically made up.
Let me try to tackle all of this beginning with 1 Peter 3:15 which teaches us to "worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it."
So let me explain.
The Bible is not merely a textbook for knowing our faith; it is a guidebook for life. Knowing basic Christian doctrine is critically important if you want to share the gospel. The word Gospel means "good news" and we should want others to experience God's tremendous gift of salvation.
In 2 Timothy 3:16 we are also taught "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right."
Scripture, in other words, is the final authority.
So the Church is right to make a stand against homosexuality. It is a sin in the Old Testament; Leviticus 18:22 "Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin." and it is a sin in the New Testament; 1 Corinthians 6:9 "Don't you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals."
Let me also say at this point, we need to share the Gospel with respect and love. Hate is an emotion and it is a sin too. Homosexuals don't have a corner on the sin market. We need to look at own lives.
That is why so many people ask a very legitimate question: " Why are so many Christians judgmental?"
Mathew 7:1 is often quoted and misquoted: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." (I know that you have heard that or used it before.) However, the theology behind this scripture is that while some judging can be sinful other judging can be righteous.
With sinful judgement the judge is a hypocrite. He or she appears to righteous but is not. They are preoccupied with the sin of another. Jesus identifies such self-righteousness saying in Luke 18:14. "For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored."
Righteous judgement differs because once the judge is aware of his own sin and judgement from God, he can understand another's sin and help him/her deal with it. God makes provision for spiritual judging but with Christ's love and the direction of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the only way we can reach God. Acts 4:12 "There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them."
If we really want to live as Christians (and I do) and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (and I do) then we should not duck in our responsibility to point out spiritually destructive behavior. It is what being in a family, the family of Jesus Christ, is all about? The great command is to love our neighbor, James 2:8 "Love your neighbor as yourself." Is not this an important part of true Christian love?
Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." When it comes to our own relationships lets remember tolerance can be destructive but the truth will set us free.
A final thought: It has come to my attention that Marc's has dropped Connection Magazine after complaints from a Muslim Pharmacist and what I believe are other non-Christians. Remember it is your decision to pick up a Connection and read it. You also have the option not to. Because of this attack on our faith, I would respectfully ask you to consider taking your Christian dollars elsewhere. I will no longer be shopping at Marc's. Please call Marc's on behalf of Connection Magazine at 216-265-7700, and ask for Marc or Janet. Please voice your concern before your voice is no longer heard.
Bill Martin is a multiple winner of Emmy and Associated Press Awards for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. He was also inducted into the Ohio Television/Radio Hall of Fame in 1999.