August 2020 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10, ESV).
When churches try to spread faith and hope without being tied to Scripture – which points to Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) – they are spreading false hope, which may cost their congregants eternally. Pressure to ignore or redefine Scripture is currently most evident in one area in the church.
Apologist Dr. James White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, is among many Bible scholars who discern that denominations that gradually collapse on sexual ethics and morality do so because their view of Scripture had already collapsed. This continued until they no longer even had a gospel.
“When you see the dead, mainline churches boarded up in our communities, churches that, 50-60 years ago, were not in that condition, that is the reason,” said White in an interview with American Family Studios. “They’ve abandoned the firm foundation of Scripture until the only thing left is for people to believe what they want to believe.
“If you’re not worshipping your Creator, you’re going to end up worshipping yourself, and that becomes a vicious cycle that can never bring you fulfillment. It will always bring you down. It will never build you up.”
Clinging to sin
Here’s the battlefront: Can someone claiming to be in a saving relationship with Christ willingly cling to sin while simultaneously clinging to the forgiveness of Christ?
Can wrongly dividing the Word, e.g. simply changing one verb from past to present tense, determine the fate of souls?
“The demand is being made within the church, and the demand’s being made outside the church to alter the tense of the verb in 1 Corinthians 6:11,” White explained.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, ESV, emphasis added).
This issue of verb tense, “were” above, brings us to the same tension Eve faced when the serpent asked, “Did God really say … ?” Instead, the question now comes from those wanting to reshape scriptural meaning in order to impose the affirmation and inclusion of LGBTQ behaviors into and onto the church – behaviors God calls sin.
The meaning of the original word is so important, White believes. It can even be used as a test for the plethora of books which want Christians to submit to the LGBTQ agenda. This agenda has tried to force Christians to either acquiesce to or accommodate what God calls sin all in the name of love and acceptance, even though the Bible shows God’s holiness does not ever tolerate sin.
Mankind treats itself with cruelty by calling sin – what God calls evil – good. It is worse when it is done within and by the church.
“The apostle made it very, very plain that the moral content of the law continued to be normative. Any book you read [about LGBTQ and Christianity], you need to look at how they deal with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and see if they’re honest about that,” said White.
Redeemed from sin
He continued: “If you read a book that stops and doesn’t go into verse 11, if you don’t get to the redemptive element of it, well, then you’ve lost the whole point of what Paul is saying. And that is, that this is not an unforgivable sin. He says to the Corinthians, such were some of you, but there’s been a radical change.”
“It says ‘such were some of you.’ It is past tense. I’ve examined all of the manuscripts that we have available for 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6 just to make sure. There is no evidence whatsoever of any manuscript anywhere that would say ‘such are some of you.’ Paul introduced a fundamental disjunction between the practice of these acts and what it means to be a Christian. You’ve laid those things aside. This has to do with how we identify ourselves. This has to do with the Revoice Conference. This has to do with all of these things.”
The pressure is from both inside and outside the church to “get along” by just changing the tense of the verb. For example, the Revoice Conference is a nonprofit group of “conservative gay Christians” pushing the church to affirm the LGBTQ agenda via such changes to scriptural meaning. It’s just a small thing, LGBTQ advocates say.
“But what if you change the tense of a verb in John 1:1?” White asked. “‘In the beginning was the Word.’ What if you simply change that from what’s called the Greek imperfect, which means the Word has eternally existed in the past? What if you change it into the tense which would mean the Word came into existence? If this were allowed, you’ve completely changed the faith of Christianity.”
“The thing that really concerns me is that people are developing a theology that is not in accordance with what God says creation itself would require,” White said. “They do this even though same sex attraction would be fundamentally disordered, a confusion. They’re developing a theology that says ‘But as long as you have it, we can sanctify it. We can make it something that is seen as a gift from God.’
“I see a fundamental degradation in the Christian community when we no longer use God’s standards as a determinative factor. Society is telling us that this is a make it or break it subject – that they are going to put maximum pressure on us. So, we have to have a maximally strong foundation at the exact same point of the approach of society. We have to know why we believe the things we do.”
White concluded with a challenge: “This requires a really deep theology of Scripture, as well as a belief that God is the one who made us. The real power of the Christian message is found in the positive definition it makes of who God is, what marriage is, what sexuality is, what its purposes are, the goodness of maleness and femaleness. That is the positive aspect culture wants us to deny.”
But God’s truth is still true. Good is never evil, and evil is never good.
More insights from Dr. White
Dr. James White is director of Alpha and Omega Ministries (aomin.org) and is featured on In His Image, an AFA documentary to debut in October.
▶ The Reliability of the New Testament is a 69-minute DVD that reveals the culture’s fallacious arguments against the New Testament and helps believers learn how to defend its integrity.
▶ Reaching Muslims with the Gospel is a 67-minute DVD that helps Christians understand the five pillars of Islam, what Muslims believe about Jesus, and the arguments Muslims use against Christianity.
Both DVDs are produced by AFA Cultural Institute series, available at afastore.net or 877.927.4917.