Friday, May 11, 2012

Evangelical Erosion

I remember an older book by Charles Swindoll in which he talks about "erosion" and the problem with it. Erosion happens without us ever noticing it until it is too late. Slowly, month by month, year by year, a beach is eroded away. Homes are placed in jeopardy. Roads become swallowed up by the sea. This can happen in anything, and it is happening in theology and biblical circles.

I recently attended a conference held by Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia on "Science and Faith." The speakers were top-notch. The subject was well-covered and documentation was adequately provided. The problem, however, was that one speaker, Dr. Denis Lamoureux from St. Joseph's College at the University of Alberta postulated that although sin is real and that we all need a Savior, sin entered the world NOT through a historical Adam and Eve. Biblical folks, he says, have conflated the message of theology and salvation with an ancient phenomenological perspective. Because the Apostle Paul accepted ancient science and cosmology, his use of Adam to tie him to universal sin is a conflation we cannot make. Human sin simply manifested itself gradually over many generations. No historical Adam and Eve is necessary for salvation theology. He represents a growing tide and trend in the biblical-theological and church world.

Then there came the President's announcement that, though he affirmed the Christian faith, he now believes we must fully accept and bless and make same-sex marriage legal and acceptable. After all, his kids and co-workers who know many gays and gay couples can't be wrong!!! He believes he can maintain a Christian testimony and profession and fully endorse and support gay marriage and gay rights. After all, the Bible was written in ancient times with ancient formulas and ancient problems, such as those referred to in Romans 1. This is not the truth or necessary for today. Again, many evangelicals and seeker-targeted churches, especially the megachurches in this country, will buy into this way of thinking. That I can confess Christ and be a Christ-follower and bless homosexuality and gay couples and people. At the very least, I don't need to make declarations against it.

Erosion! Evangelical erosion is taking place. I predict that in a decade or less, many Christian churches and ministries will view homosexuality as a "choice" and not a "sin." Gay people and couples will be welcomed into our churches, as we now welcome divorced people and couples. Barriers to their service and use in ministry will be dropped. As long as they show a loving spirit, they can become caring deacons and astute teachers. Many will ignore Romans 1 or re-tool it and re-interpret it so that modern gays are not addressed by it. They will still need Jesus, still need a saving knowledge of Christ, still depend on Him for salvation and eternal life. And, some will hope that they might "give up" their gay orientation, but it will not become a requirement or expectation. This is where we are headed. No historical Adam and Eve. No barrier to gays. No problem! Erosion.

We cannot play fast-and-loose with biblical revelation or truth. We cannot have two "rights" and no "wrongs." We cannot say that part of the Bible is O.K. while the other parts are open to modern ways of seeing and believing. Not only will we lose our distinctives and truth...we will lose Jesus as well. Because if I can re-contextualize the Bible to fit my sensibilities, then I can do away with Jesus as the "ONLY" way, truth and life.

It is coming. Erosion. What will you do to stop it??