I read an article today called “The Problem With Assuming Liberal Christians Hate the Bible.” The title intrigued me, so I read the article. I know the author didn’t write the article to me, but this post is my response, just in case anybody cares (see the title of my blog). I agreed with some of what he said, and disagreed with other things.
First of all, I understand that there are many views on biblical interpretation, but I’m going to operate on the basis that you can’t believe in literal interpretation AND that the whole Bible is an allegorical book of nice stories that don’t apply to modern life. You have to pick one of these positions.
The article starts with a discussion about how the author just wanted to relax in the Jacuzzi when he was accosted by a fellow traveler. From his description of the other guy, we can infer that the author believes this man to be (in order of implication): old, fat, redneck, and stupid/inconsiderate. The other guy then assumes that since the author was speaking to ministers, he himself was a conservative. I agree with the author that people should not assume that those who identify themselves as Christians have the same political views as other Christians you know. We could just leave it at that, but the author goes on.
He “outs” himself (see what I did there. Little joke.) to the NASCAR fan as a supporter of “gay marriage.” I found his use of the words “…marriage for all people…” to be interesting, given that polygamy and incest are still illegal. I think his purpose could have been better served by simply stating “…marriage for both LGBT and straight people…” He then states that he thinks God would be “proud of California.” In order for God to be proud of California, God would have to approve of homosexuality. I fail to find any passage of Scripture that states God is “proud” of gay people (or any people, really).
The author relates a comment from the seminary president which states basically that Christians who support gay people haven’t done a good job of convincing other Christians that you can be a Christian and support LGBT people. I will simply say Christians should NOT support the practice of homosexuality because homosexuality is sin, and God directs us to hate sin (Psalm 97:10). I want to state right here that what the author says flippantly (hate the sin/love the sinner) is a foundational precept of my faith: we are ALL sinners. So I am to love people who practice homosexuality in the same way that I love people who practice adultery, lying, stealing, gluttony, and unbelief (the worst sin).
Then the author makes the statement that “Liberal Christians love the Bible.” I can accept that liberal Christians love the Bible for a given value of “love.” In other words, I can accept that you can support abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, gun control, and open borders immigration, and still love the “idea” of the Bible. But, in my view, to say that you love the Bible is to say that you accept the Bible as the Word of God; the sole authority for faith and practice. And in my view (and the view of most of my conservative Christian friends), you can’t think that the Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice and still support homosexuality, baby murder, sick people murder, etc. Many liberals give lip service to the Bible, but they do not truly make changes in their lives based on what the Bible says. They think their own opinion is of greater value than what the Bible says. If the Bible says something that goes against what they think, they figure out how to interpret the Bible so that it doesn’t disagree with their view. I can give examples.
And here I will correct an error of assumption the author is making: Conservative Christians do not think the Bible is “…a set of timeless golden tablets that says all that needs to be said once and for all about everything of importance.” We believe the Bible is specific in some areas and gives general principles in others. Here’s an example: the Bible doesn’t say “don’t’ smoke cigarettes,” but it does say in I Corinthians 10:31 that we should glorify God in everything we do. Therefore, since cigarettes harm the body and are offensive to many people, it’s probably more glorifying to God to not smoke.
I want to state categorically here that I love LGBT people. I want the best possible outcome for them. I want them to repent of their sin and join me in seeking to follow God through the teachings of the Bible. I stand against those who would hurt LGBT people physically or do evil to them. I wholly repudiate the Westboro Baptist Church, Shirley Phelps-Roper, and their ilk.
But the author’s contention that liberals support the practice of homosexuality BECAUSE of the Bible is anathema to me. I cannot possibly disagree with this statement any more than I do. It would be like saying all skydivers hate heights. I cannot believe that someone has a correct interpretation of the Bible and still support homosexuality.
We conservative Christians don’t believe “…God has no problem tightening the screws on the abused and the powerless…” We believe God loves all people and wants each person to come to a proper view of their own sin before God and receive His forgiveness as provided by Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. After salvation, we believe God wants people to live for him and not for themselves. This means that we should continually examine our lives and see in what areas our behavior, thoughts, and words disagree with what God states in the Bible, and change those things in which we fall short. One of these areas is homosexuality.
And so, to my liberal friends who are trusting Christ alone for forgiveness and are headed to heaven as a result, I would say that, in my view, there are two possibilities: either you aren’t interpreting the Bible correctly or you aren’t truly a believer. I don’t see how someone can say they love the Bible, and go against what it teaches. This is the equivalent of saying you love the Emancipation Proclamation while buying more slaves. May it never be so.