Over the past several years, Christians across the world are being persecuted at an increasingly alarming rate. The Supreme Court’s latest blow to Christians in America will likely open a Pandora’s box of religious persecution. Many proponents of the Court’s opinion on gay marriage have pointed to the First Amendment as promise that religious clergy will not be forced to join same sex marriages. To those individuals, I would simply point to the Second, Fourth and Tenth Amendments. Over time, the Court and Congress have shredded each of these Amendments, so why would anyone believe the First Amendment is sacrosanct? Regardless, as a Southern Baptist minister, I wanted to clear up a few general and widespread theological misconceptions.
1) A follower of Jesus Christ is a Christian; most Christians are not followers of Jesus Christ.
2) The passages that have to do with Christ and the apostles warning us not to judge have to do with not pridefully considering ourselves better than others as we judge ourselves more righteous and deserving of God’s favor than they. It has nothing to do with calling sin sin in whatever form it may be.
3) Yes, God is love. But He is also just. If there is but one word that we could use to describe God, it would be “Holy”.
4) God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that God does not want us to be happy if happiness is defined as that temporary situational-based feeling that we experience when we are fulfilling our own carnal desires, but he does want us to be joyful as we follow Christ with all of our heart soul and mind.
5) As followers of Jesus Christ, we no longer live in brokenness and defeat; we are no longer enslaved to sin. We have been restored and are enslaved to righteousness as co-heirs, friends, and brothers/sisters of and with Christ.
6) Christ-like love requires accountability, not blind acceptance. Love cannot be separated from joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Love is not independent of righteousness. Tolerance is not love, in fact, it is the antithesis of love.
7) There is a great difference between committing a sin and then repenting, and intentionally living in a continually sinful fashion. A follower of Christ simply cannot do the latter.
8) Sin is simply rebellion against God. We cannot decide what is or is not sin. Only God can.
9) God’s truth is not relative, nor does it change with time or man’s ideals. It is absolute and solid.
10) Just because we are elect and secure, we do not have the freedom to live sinfully. In fact, if we truly are elect and secure the thought of doing so would repulse us.
Bonus: While many, including myself, are sounding alarms (rightfully so), we must also remember one simple fact and find comfort in it: Our heavenly father is the ultimate law of the land. Do not fret over the “law” of mere men.