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Pray for the Bennetts in Australia as they with God's help and for His glory are seeking to establish: Western Plains Baptist Fellowship, and Gilgandra Baptist Fellowship as New Testament Baptist churches.
 

HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCHES

ACCORDING TO MARCUS BORG

Missionary David C. Bennett, D. Min.

Preacher, does your blood boil when you read articles or hear interviews of someone deriding the truth and authority of the Scriptures? Or do you get more upset when your football team loses a game? I believe Dr. D. M. Lloyd Jones was correct when he said "I have the impression that this modern generation of Christians does not like the negatives." I also believe there are many present day fundamentalists that do not like negatives as well.

Are we living in a generation where those who would identify themselves as a fundamentalist never get perturbed by anything (at least enough to speak out against it) and by all means possible try to avoid all controversy? These fundamentalists would never mention names such as Paul did when he boldly stated "Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred."

Many fundamental preachers believe that as long as they preach the Bible and stay true to orthodox doctrine their people will not stray. However, in todayís ease of communication Christians are bombarded with all brands and doctrines over the television, radio and internet. Your, my people watch these programmes and it is left to us as preachers to expose these teachings if unbiblical. When we speak forth the truth in exposing the apostate and false teachers we are in good company. The men of God of old were always bold in their pronouncement against false teaching and often named names. Elijah was bold in speaking to King Ahab when he answered Ahabís question by saying "I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim." 1 Kings 18:18.

Silence is not always golden and therefore I will not keep silent concerning religious apostasy as given on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation web site THE RELIGION REPORT for 26 February 2003. It is a two part series entitled HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCHES which originally was aired on National Radio. This is the first part of a two part series. And only the first part will be dealt with in this paper. The ABC reporter is Stephen Crittenden and he speaking to American professor Marcus Borg. I have emphasized certain statements by underlining them and then making comments as I deem necessary.

Again I say my blood boiled when I read this interview but my heart ached for these lost souls without Christ. Religious but lost! They read the Bible but miss the One "altogether lovely" and therefore will miss Heaven.

Spurgeon said "It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him does not alarm him in the least." That is also true of apostasy and apostates. We hear "religious" men say things we know are Scripturally untrue but to be positive we say remain silent. May that state in which we may find ourselves cease and todayís true fundamentalist cease their silence and begin to speak out and put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. If we fundamentalists keep silent now it will be said of the next generation that "they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith." God is still seeking men who will stand. Psalm 94:16 "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?" May it be you, and may it be me.

HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CHURCHES, PT. 1

Stephen Crittenden: Marcus Borg is Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University. He is a member of the famous Jesus Seminar, and the author of numerous best-sellers, including The God We Never Knew, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, and most recently Reading the Bible Again for the First Time.

Editorís Comment: The "famous Jesus Seminar" began in 1985 with thirty "scholars" and today is composed of more than two hundred people who have one purpose and that is to question the words, works and person of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the Jesus Seminar web site we read "The renewed search began with the first meeting of the Jesus Seminar in March 1985 when founder Robert Funk addressed the assembled scholars in Berkeley, California:

"We are about to embark on a momentous enterprise. We are going to inquire simply, rigorously after the voice of Jesus, after what he really said.

In this process, we will be asking a question that borders the sacred, that even abuts blasphemy, for many in our society. As a consequence, the course we shall follow may prove hazardous. We may well provoke hostility. But we will set out, in spite of the dangers, because we are professionals and because the issue of Jesus is there to be faced, much as Mt. Everest confronts the team of climbers."

Editorís Comment: Oh for an army of fundamentalists that would set out to stand for the Truth found in Godís Word in spite of the ridicule from the "professional" intelligentsia. Yes, I believe in a literal six day twenty four hour creation! Yes, I believe in a literal Adam and Eve in a Garden! Yes, I believe the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ was and is necessary for manís redemption! The intelligentsias do not believe those vital doctrines but we fundamentalists do!

The Jesus Seminar web site states that "The Seminar meets twice a year to debate technical papers that have been prepared and circulated in advance. At the close of debate on each agenda item, Fellows of the Seminar vote, using colored beads to indicate the degree of authenticity of Jesus' words or deeds. Dropping colored beads into a box has become a trademark of the Seminar."

Can you imagine voting on the words and deeds of Jesus Christ!? These two hundred "scholars" need to read and believe by faith what the Lord Jesus said in John 20: 29 "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

Founder Robert Funk is an apostate to say the least. The following is an edited portion of what he thinks of theology and the Lord Jesus Christ. I have edited portions of his statements of unbelief for space but the import can still be grasped and gasped at by those who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Theology

The God of the metaphysical age is dead. There is not a personal god out there external to human beings and the material world.

The doctrine of special creation of the species died with the advent of Darwinism and the new understanding of the age of the earth and magnitude of the physical universe. Special creation goes together with the notion that the earth and human beings are at the center of the galaxy (the galaxy is anthropocentric). The demise of a geocentric universe took the doctrine of special creation with it.

The deliteralization of the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis brought an end to the dogma of original sin as something inherited from the first human being. Death is not punishment for sin, but is entirely natural. And sin is not transmitted from generation to generation by means of male sperm, as suggested by Augustine.

Christology

We should give Jesus a demotion. It is no longer credible to think of Jesus as divine. Jesus' divinity goes together with the old theistic way of thinking about God.

The plot early Christians invented for a divine redeemer figure is as archaic as the mythology in which it is framed. A Jesus who drops down out of heaven, performs some magical act that frees human beings from the power of sin, rises from the dead, and returns to heaven is simply no longer credible. The virgin birth of Jesus is an insult to modern intelligence and should be abandoned. In addition, it is a pernicious doctrine that denigrates women.

The doctrine of the atonementóthe claim that God killed his own son in order to satisfy his thirst for satisfactionóis subrational and subethical. This monstrous doctrine is the stepchild of a primitive sacrificial system in which the gods had to be appeased by offering them some special gift, such as a child or an animal."

Editorís Comment: All doctrine is important for there is no minor doctrine. Adam and Eve, original sin, personal God, and the blood atonement are all precious vital Bible doctrines! Albert Barnes rightly says "The doctrines of religion are closely connected, and are dependent on each other--like the different parts of the human body. One cannot be corrupted without affecting those adjacent to it, and unless checked, the corruption will soon spread over the whole."

Mr. Funk have you read Romans 3:24, 25 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood..."? I am sure Mr. Funk has "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1Corinthians 2:14.

Did your blood get just a little warm while reading Funkís unbelief? If so you may be a true fundamentalist! Those statements are not those of a believer. What is sad is that people like this get a hearing! Now listen, and listen carefully, what this man is saying will someday be taught in some "fundamental" schools if the Lord tarries. I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet but I know man and I know history to some extent. I remember when some Michigan pastors were in conflict with Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary concerning a professor who did not believe in a literal hell. One would have thought dismissal from teaching in the Seminary would have been immediate and swift but that was not the case. Mark my words, it will get worse!

One of the two hundred "Fellows" of the Jesus Seminar is the "Executive Minister" of a "church" in Melbourne, Australia. The web page for the church states "It is a place which affirms and encourages the best expression of who you are and who you can be, through relevant theology." Under the pastorís leadership this church according to the web site has "adopted a liberal and progressive theology, that sits on the forefront of readical thought with Dr Robert Funk, Bishop Holloway, Bishop John Shelby Spong, and Rev Don Cupitt." These men read or have read the Scriptures to some extent but by denying the Scriptures these men are listed as those "who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace."

You are known by the ones you hang around with so it is said; well just listing Spongís name says a lot. But note the emphasis on "who you are" and "who you can be". This is the wrong emphasis but it is that same emphasis of many evangelical and "fundamental" churches today! Much theology is man centered rather than God centered! Relevant theology and radical thought really mean unorthodox and liberal unbelief.

Crittenden continues: Marcus Borg is a moderniser, he talks about taking the bible seriously, not literally. And you might be surprised by his message: that biblical fundamentalism in America is on the decline. He says the bible has become a battleground between liberals and conservatives, with the same people lining up together over three main issues: the creation myth in Genesis, the nature of Jesus, and homosexuality.

Editorís Comment: As with most philosophizers there is a lot of double talk. Bible believing people take the Bible seriously for it is Godís written Word to man but we also take it literally. Dr. D. A. Waite says "When the plains sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, but take every word in its primary, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise."

Borg was brought up as a Lutheran but is now Episcopalian. If you know anything about the Episcopalian Church it is apostate to the very core. The Epicopal Church in the USA is a part of the Worldwide Anglican Community with its head being the Church of England. Borgís wife is an Episcopalian "priest" and according to her "He's been looking for Jesus all his life." We would say to Mr. Borg to read Isaiah 55:6 "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." and Hebrews 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Borg in his autobiography says that; "By the end of childhood, the ingredients of what I now call Ďthe popular image of Jesusí were in place. I saw Jesus as the divinely begotten Son of God who died for the sins of the world, whose message was about himself, his saving purpose, and the importance of believing in him. John 3.16, that verse memorized as a preschooler, expressed it perfectly. ĎBelieve in Jesus and you'll go to heavení was my childhood understanding of the Christian gospel.

I believed in that image of Jesus without effort. I now understand why it was so easy. I received this image in what I have since learned to call the state of the Ďfirst naiveteí or Ďprecritical naivete.í This is the childhood state in which we take for granted that whatever the significant authority figures in our lives tell us to be true is indeed true. But this state of childhood belief was not to last."

Is this not chilling and sad? Borg knew the terminology but he never knew Christ personally! How many young people in our "fundamental" churches have verbalized (and I emphasize verbalized) a belief in the Lord Jesus without any conviction of sin? How many young people have been taken through a "prayer" and told they are saved? Saving faith as defined by Spurgeon is "made up of three things- knowledge, belief and trust." Bible salvation is by grace through faith and nothing of you for it is the gift of God. I believe that and preach the same and yet should we not look for fruit coming forth of that profession? Are we afraid of being called a "legalist" if we say as James "shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." It is not our faith that saves but the One in whom our faith is placed. He, Jesus Christ is the object of saving faith! It is He who is "the propitiation for our sins" and bore "our sins in his own body on the tree" and so it is now Christ that "liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." It is therefore God which worketh in us born of His Spirit to do works not for salvation but because of "so great salvation". The Philippian jailor had faith in Christ which resulted in his taking those two singing preachers "the same hour of the night" and washing "their stripes" and then being "baptized, he and all his, straightway." Then that same jailer who had earlier beaten these two preachers "brought them into his house" and "set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." From that jail incident and the previous river preaching service in which Lydia was saved was formed the local church at Philippi! Professions of faith resulted in the formation of a local church! Are the young people who are now adults, who made professions of faith while young; are they active for Christ in our local churches?

It will be seen that Borg and the other "Fellows" in the Jesus Seminar are "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2Timothy 3:7.

Marcus Borg: It just seems very clear to me that thereís statements in the bible that speak against homosexuality, that are culturally relative to their own time and place. And within the United States, there is a growing awareness that the bible itself is not an infallible product that comes straight from God, but is the human product of these two ancient communities, Israel and Early Christianity Ė and that the bible tells us how these people saw things, not how God sees things. Now, thatís an emerging awareness thatís very strong in mainline denominations in North America.

Editorís Comment: Is the statement made above saying "statements in the bible that speak against homosexuality, that are culturally relative to their own time and place" true? Not according to 1 Corinthians 10: 5- 11 "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

One purpose for which God gave the history of Israel in the Old Testament is for us to learn from their (Israelís) examples.

Does the Bible come straight from God? In the Old Testament "thus saith Lord" is repeated 413 times! 2 Timothy 3: 15-16 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2Peter 1:21 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

There are forty six verses that say "God said" and four that says "God saith". Eighty verses within the Scriptures state "it is written". Dean John Burgon (1813 Ė 1888) said it is "the sacred writings alone" which "speak with a voice of absolute authority." THE CAUSES OF CORRUPTION OF THE TRADITIONAL TEXT Volume II page 14.

Stephen Crittenden: Marcus, here in Australia I think we tend to have a sense that American fundamentalist Christianity is fairly unsophisticated about the bible; what you seem to be saying is that a real paradigm shift is in fact going on?

Marcus Borg: Exactly. And fundamentalism I would say, is very unsophisticated about the bible, despite their allegiance to it. Fundamentalists treat the bible as Ė in Karen Armstrongís memorable words Ė as a kind of "holy encyclopaedia in which you can look up information about God". But itís important to realise that fundamentalism and biblical literalism are declining in the church in North America.

Let me give you some very interesting, simple statistics, theyíre on biblical literalism. In a Gallup Poll taken in 1963, 40 years ago, 65% of the respondents identified themselves as biblical literalists. That same poll taken 39 years later in 2002, that figure was 27%, so biblical literalism in the church in the States has declined from 65% to 27% over the last 40 years. One of the reasons the fundamentalist voice is so loud is because fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals to some extent are aware that theyíre losing the battle for the bible, and hence the stridency in their existence on biblical infallibility and errancy and absoluteness.

Editorís Comment: These statistics should not surprise us regarding the society in which we live for we know from Scripture that evil men will wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. Peter in his second book and third chapter verses 3 -7 tells us "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."

Are we losing the battle for the Bible? Firstly we fundamentalists must remember "the battle is not yours, but God's."! Secondly it is "God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ." Spurgeon well said "The Bible is a harbour where I can drop down my anchor, feeling certain that it will hold. Here is a place where I can find sure footing; and, by the grace of God, from this confidence I shall never be moved."

Stephen Crittenden: Is the culture war that weíre describing basically a culture war going on inside Christianity, or is it also a war between Christianity and the world around it, outside?

Marcus Borg: It certainly is a war going on within Christianity itself, and within the States. The big split, of course, is between the mainline denominations, within which Iíd include the Catholic church, and on the other hand conservative, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. And a fair amount of Third World Christianity would side with fundamentalist and conservative evangelical Christians on the question of biblical authority and the absoluteness of the biblical laws. But the church in North America is very much divided, almost right down the middle on this, and within the mainline denominations the more progressive wing of the church is winning that culture war, and moving really quite quickly. A couple of denominations already are performing the equivalent of gay and lesbian marriages, theyíre often called the blessings, or something like that rather than marriages, and a couple of denominations are right on the verge of publicly affirming the gay and lesbians in committed relationships can be ordained.

Editorís Comment: Any "church" or denomination of "churches" performing such deeds as marriage of man with man or woman with woman are apostate. The Bible clearly speaks against such things in Romans 1: 24- 28 "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient."

Stephen Crittenden: Well indeed you have some very interesting statistics on this, donít you, in terms of what American Catholics think about homosexuality.

Marcus Borg: Yes, it is interesting, because right now the hierarchy of the church is speaking out very strongly against homosexuality of course, in part because of the scandals. And so the attitudes of lay Catholics are very interesting. A couple of figures, these are from a Newsweek poll of a year ago: 44% of US Catholics approve of legally sanctioned gay marriages; 39% would be willing to accept a gay priest in a committed relationship; and 51% would attend a church with an openly gay priest, not necessarily in a committed relationship of course. Thatís roughly 50% across the board in a way, or close to 50% of US Catholics having a very open and affirming attitude towards gay and lesbian people, including gay and lesbian people in the priesthood, well maybe not lesbian people in the priesthood yet, because we donít have women priests, but you get the point.

Editorís Comment: This is why Bible believing people should obey the Scriptures with regard to separation. Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority is a prime example of getting into bed with others just because one agrees on some moral issue such as abortion etc. Roman Catholicism is conservative on some issues such as abortion but as time passes because it is a corrupt system that conservatism will change with the times.

1 Timothy 4: 1-3 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marryÖ"

Because the Roman Catholic Church forbids marriage for its clergy there is rampant sodomy within its clergy. 1Corinthians 7:9 "But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."

The Episcopal and High Church of England is just the corrupt Roman Catholic Church with married clergy.

Stephen Crittenden: Yes. Look, you say the bible is key, you say that in a way thereís a paradigm shift going on between an older view and a newer view, the older view having become unpersuasive for many people over the past 30 years or so. You also say that thereís a kind of a constellation of issues right at the heart of this issue of biblical authority: Genesis and the creation story; the nature of Jesus; and homosexuality. And that the same people tend to be lining up on the same side about all three issues.

Marcus Borg: Yes, and one of the reasons for that, or perhaps the major reason, is that fundamentalists and many conservative evangelical Christians see the bible as a divine product, therefore whatever it says has the quality of absolute truth, because it comes from God, and in the modern period they have tended to interpret the bible literally, and so the whole issue of creation versus evolution becomes an issue of biblical authority, whereas I donít see it that way myself at all. I think evolution as people were saying 150 years ago, is Godís way of doing things. But the really flashpoints for the debate are central issues of modern life, evolution versus creation, and then a biblical sexual ethic versus a more, for want of a better word, permissive sexual ethic, and then the nature of Jesus, whether he literally was God in human flesh. So much of biblical fundamentalism is really about a literalism of factualities and a literalism of absoluteness. The emerging paradigm says No, itís like the Scriptures of all religious traditions, a human historical product.

Editorís Comment: According to 1Timothy 3:16 "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." John 20: 26-28 "Öthen came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God."

For the born again believer the Scriptures are authoritative for faith and practice and not merely "a human historical product."

Stephen Crittenden: Well before I come to get you to give me the kind of liberal picture, can I ask you to stand in the shoes of the conservative bible Christian on the issue of homosexuality, and can I ask you to explain from their position your understanding of why it is that what we call a permissive sexual ethic would undermine biblical authority?

Marcus Borg: Well the bible from that point of view is a divine product, it comes from God, as no other book does. And therefore it tells us how God sees things. And the bible in several places clearly says that homosexual behaviour is wrong, and if we want to set that aside weíre taking a kind of cafeteria approach to Christianity, where you choose the things you like and reject the things that you donít like. But that would be inconsistent with seeing the bible as the revealed will of God. So whatís at stake is: can we trust the bible or not? Both the Old Testament and the New Testament clearly state homosexual behaviour is wrong, theyíre basically silent on lesbians, by the way, but then it is a book written by men for men in a way. But in any case the Old Testament has one law specifying that homosexual behaviour is unacceptable to God. Itís in the 18th chapter of Leviticus, 18:20, and then two chapters later, the penalty for it is specified, and the penalty is death. And that tells us how strongly God disapproves of homosexuality. Again, Iím taking their point of view here.

In the New Testament there are several passages that refer to homosexual behaviour as unacceptable.

Editor: At least he admits when he says he is taking the fundamentalistís point of view that there are several passages referring to homosexual activity as unacceptable. However, either he was mistaken or the typist was but the reference in Leviticus should be 18:22.

Stephen Crittenden: Nothing in the Gospels of course, nothing that comes out of the mouth of Jesus himself?

Marcus Borg: Right. All the references that have been understood as against homosexual behaviour in the New Testament are in writings attributed to Paul. And in three of the four instances, most likely what is being disapproved of is pederasty, that is homosexual relationships between an adult male and a pre-adolescent boy. You donít have to be a redneck, we would say in the States, to disapprove of that. The Gospels themselves are silent, though I donít think thatís very significant. I donít think homosexuality was an issue in the Jewish homeland in the 1st century, and Jesus as a 1st century Palestinian Jew was talking about things that mattered in that place, in that time. I do think that the manifest inclusiveness of Jesus means that he would have accepted homosexuals, Iím confident of that as a scholar who has spent 40 years studying the historical Jesus.

Editorís Comment: 2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." The words of Jesus are no more or less authoritative than other Scripture. But, what saith the Lord Jesus concerning this matter of sodomy and worldly lifestyles?

John 3: 17, 19 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Men continue to love the darkness of sin which includes sodomy.

John 15: 18-19 "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." When a person comes to faith in Christ they have nothing in common with the values of the world, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

John 17: 14-17 "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." The Word of God is truth and His Word in the Old or New has nothing good to say concerning sodomy!

Mark 10: 5, 6 "And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." Note the Lord said male and female. Then the Lord Jesus follows with "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh." Mark 10:7, 8. Sodomy is not in the plan of God!

Mark 7: 20- 23 "And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Sodomy would certainly fit into these words of our Lord.

Luke 17: 27-30 "They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." Sodom was destroyed for the sin that was rampant within its gates.

These Scriptures indicate Jesus had something to say about worldly sinful living which includes sodomy. The world system has always accepted sodomy along with other vile sins but our God has never accepted sodomy.

Stephen Crittenden: You talk about the importance of context, and can I just amplify this, that youíre really saying that what weíve come to define as homosexuality in our translations and so on, isnít what St Paul meant.

Marcus Borg: Thatís right. In that world, there really were not committed gay and lesbian relationships such as there are in our world. They were much more casual, and in a way exploitative, involving oftentimes slaves or children. And so taking into account the 1st century context, basically what Paul says is irrelevant for our time on the subject of homosexuality.

Editorís Comment: Is that right? 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

These Corinthian believers were adults and had been saved out of the sodomite lifestyle as well as having been saved from other sinful lifestyles. They were now "washed" in the blood of the Lamb from the filthiness of sins such as fornication, adultery, sodomy, thievery, drunkenness etc. Praise God that which reformation cannot do regeneration can and does!

Stephen Crittenden: Does Christianity in fact represent a move away from a tribal religion with a tribal morality? Is Christianity in a sense, even though St Paul takes on a lot of things that he doesnít like in the Greek cities that heís visiting, isnít Christianity right from its beginning, a cosmopolitan religion?

Marcus Borg: Yes, it is. Christianity can be understood as a universalisation of Judaism, meaning that Christianity in many ways for the first three centuries, saw itself as an extension of Judaism but with the boundary between Jew and Gentile broken down, and the breaking down of that boundary also broke down the other traditional boundaries of that world, the boundary between sinner and righteous, the boundary between pure and unclean, the boundary between rich and poor, and by extension I would say, the boundary between straights and gays. I think that Christianity is intrinsically in terms of its origins, and inclusive religion that shatters the social boundaries that are created by human beings.

Editorís Comment: What a load of unbelief. Those heathen in the Old Testament were much like the heathen in the New Testament and those "heathen" living among us today. They saw the God of Israel just a god among many. 1Kings 20:28 "And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD." They had their tribal gods but the Creator God, the God of Scripture is THE GOD and He has said "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me." There is One God not many gods, and One Way of Salvation. John 14: 6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

I have not a clue what Mr. Borg is talking about in breaking down the boundary but I know through the Lord Jesus Christ and His death and the shedding of His blood on Calvary there is no longer a distinction between Jew and Gentile, circumcision and uncircumcision. Ephesians 2: 11 Ė 19 "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God."

Stephen Crittenden: Marcus Borg, and his book is called Reading the Bible Again For the First Time.

Thatís all this week. Next week: Anglican bishop, Michael Ingham, of New Westminster in Canada, on why heís agreed to bless same-sex unions.

Editorís Comment: A "Professor of Religion" is all Mr. Borg seems to be from what I have read. He does not portray himself as a possessor of the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour from sin.

You might be saying what does all this have to do with me a Bible believing Christian? Sadly it has much to do with you and me. We need to always be on guard for the person that "thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

An example of where conservatives and fundamentalists may be heading is seen in 2Timothy 4:10 where we read that Demas who was once a faithful "fellowlabourer" had now forsaken Paul and Luke "having loved this present world" and "departed unto Thessalonica." Love for the world takes many forms.

With the wall of separation between the world and the church being broken down ever so quickly and where many activities were once forbidden and preached against are now accepted. Social drinking is accepted in some "fundamental" circles. Divorce is debated by some and accepted by other "fundamentalists". It is probable that someday soon this sin of sodomy will be accepted by the "fundamentalists".

Oh no, that could not happen! It would have been inconceivable to me twenty years ago that "fundamental" churches and missionaries would be having drama and dance in the church but it is happening today! Why not sodomy?

Is it not conceivable that Demas could be accepted as the pastor of many "fundamental" churches today? In fact he would probably climb the ecclesiastical ladder faster (yes, even in the "fundamental" groups there is a ladder to climb) for distancing himself from negative name calling troublemaking short sighted Paul. Unlike Paul who did not desire to be on any board or council and couldnít if he had wanted to be, Pastor positive thinking, pat everyone on the back, forward looking, letís try anything to get a crowd, Demas is chairman of the BIBLE BELIEIVING BAPTIST GETTING ON WITH THE JOB PRESTIGE LOOK AT ME COUNCIL.

Can you not hear the cries of the faithful? What if Pastor Demas does like a social drink? He only drinks wine at his meals? What if Pastor Demas is divorced and now remarried? He can now speak from experience! What if Pastor Demas is bisexual? What of it? God loves us all doesnít He?

Pastor Demas is loved by the community and is asked to speak at local functions of importance. Through this he is able to share the Word. Pastor Demas through his positive ministry is a member in good standing of many Baptist Colleges and Seminary boards. He is so good with the young people in the colleges because he is so positive and down where they are. This positive attitude just oozes from him and is contagious. Pastor Demas has a positive ministry and he loves the Lord. Just look how our church is growing!

We could go on further but I think you have the point. Borg, Funk, and the other "Fellows" of the Jesus Seminar are what I would call off the wall. Why would anyone write papers and meet twice a year to debate things concerning a Person and a Book they do not believe?

Did these "Fellows" begin this way? I donít know but it must be emphasized it is essential for faithful fundamental preachers to expound the Word and expose error and the teachers of error.

My concern is within fundamentalism when will the time come "when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."? Will getting the numbers any way we can be that road to apostasy? Will pleasing the flesh through drama, dance and music be the inroads through which Satan leads "fundamentalists" further into error, new evangelicalism and eventually apostasy?

In the May/June 2002 Faith Pulpit Dr. George Houghton of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary had an article entitled ANOTHER LOOK AT THE NEW EVANGELICALISM. The article well presents todayís fundamentalists and their open acceptance of new evangelicalism. I have emphasized some points by underlining them and have made some comments as well.

ANOTHER LOOK AT THE NEW EVANGELICALISM

Dr. George Houghton

Faith Baptist Theological Seminary

"Today, as we are now in the twenty-first century, and a few generations separate us from the beginnings of the new evangelicalism, there are some from within fundamentalist circles who are saying, ĎNew evangelicalism was at one time a reality, but today it is non-existent (or at least, not a formidable foe any longer).í Is this really accurate? The answer to that is an emphatic, ĎNo!í The issue is not the term Ďnew evangelicalism.í Terms come and go. The question is, ĎAre the issues and attitudes raised by the new evangelicalism gone?í And, again, the answer is an emphatic ĎNo!í

This is seen today in several areas.

(1) The rapid rise of the church marketing movement from the early 1990s to the present with its emphasis upon relationships and experience, drama and contemporary music, to reach and hold people. The Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, has a Willow Creek Association of many other churches (into the hundreds) which are following the Willow Creek model.

Editorís Comment: Faith Baptist Theological Seminary is a "partner" with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC). There is at least one GARB Church which is a member of the Willow Creek Association. You may read more concerning this in my paper WHERE TO FROM HERE? at www.Bennett.BibleForToday.org.

(2) The positive response of evangelicals to the programs and ministry of Robert Schuller and his Crystal Cathedral.

Editorís Comment: Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church has spoken at Schullerís conference at least a couple of times. Therefore the GARB church that is a member of the Willow Creek Association is associating with Schuller through that association. It is a very thin line we walk my friends.

(3) The broad acceptance (or at least toleration) of the Contemporary Christian Music movement and rejection of fundamentalismís personal separation standards, so that Charisma magazine (April 1997, 26ff.) could write that "British Christians Use Techno-Dance to Reach Youth." Their article talked about alternative worship services, evangelistic night clubs and "a revolutionary Christian dance movement." In describing this, the article said "strobe lighting, smoke effects, DJs, dancers, Celtic music and tribal rhythms were served up for this worship feast. The trend can be found everywhere."

Editorís Comment: The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism is a "partner" with the GARBC. I received an email from an ABWE missionary in answer to an email of mine asking if they were involved in drama and dance on their field. His answer was "So, we believe that we have a unique opportunity to train up a generation in some of these areas. So, we are doing specific training in music, drama, creative writing, puppets, graphic arts- painting, sculpting, movement/dance." (Emphasis added by DCB). This is from a missionary that serves with a mission board that probably still considers itself as a "fundamentalist" mission agency. Where to from here?

(4) The influence of the apologetic writings and lecturing of Dr. Hugh Ross, who teaches that the earth is billions of years old, and began with a "big bang," that death and degeneration existed in the beginning and have continued for billions of years, and that neither the fall to sin nor the flood resulted in significant physical changes in nature.

(5) The positive attitude of many evangelicals toward the charismatic movement, especially as it is seen in the signs-and-wonders movement.

(6) The acceptance of religious teachers and institutions which have not held the line on belief in eternal punishment. Fuller Seminary modified its doctrinal statement in this area, and individuals like Clark Pinnock have opened the door to people hearing the gospel after death and having a chance to respond positively, or hell being viewed as annihilation.

Editorís Comment: Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary some years ago had a professor teaching hell was not literal.

(7) The hearing being given in evangelical circles to "the openness of God" concept which rejects His absolute foreknowledge, among other things.

(8) The toleration by some evangelicalsóespecially in academic settingsóof deviant sexual lifestyles, particularly homosexuality.

Editorís Comment: I personally believe it is not many years before these "deviant sexual lifestyles" will be accepted by some who consider themselves fundamentalists today.

(9) The willingness of evangelical publishers to publish works which allow for aspects of higher critical views of the Bible, including redaction criticism, in interpreting the life of Christ in the Gospel accounts.

(10) The broad acceptance of the Promise-Keepers movement, even though it tolerates working with Roman Catholics and has strong charismatic overtones.

Editorís Comment: In the Biblical Discernment Ministries for 2/2003 there was a paper entitled GENERAL ASSOCIATION OF REGULAR BAPTIST CHURCHES (G.A.R.B.C.) FROM SEPARATION TO INCLUSIVISM. This paper stated the "GARBC's huge Blackhawk Baptist Church in Ft. Wayne, Indiana held a Promise Keepers Men's Ministry Leadership seminar 10/28/94-10/29/94; the church's pastor wrote a letter to BDM in which he strongly supported Promise Keepers and its mission." Many within the GARBC would claim to be fundamentalists and yet keep their churches in fellowship with others who will and do participate in Promise Keepers.

(11) The willingness of major evangelical leaders to sign their names to the "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" document, and still others to sign the later statement entitled "The Gift of Salvation." While recognizing traditional differences (including sacramentalism), there is the willingness to call each other "brothers in Christ."

(12) The belief by some evangelicals that the Head of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, is an evangelical.

If those attitudes and issues do not seem to be of such concern today, it is only because the new evangelical position has become mainstreamed into many Bible-believing circles to the extent that speaking against them puts one in a rather small minority. Issues such as ecumenical evangelism are still very significant today, but we hear little about them because many whose voices might at one time have spoken out in opposition have been quieted by a changed or at least a relaxed position. The new evangelical attitude has become so prevalent that one may be tempted to tolerate it as inevitable and normal."

In closing perhaps more so today than at any other time should fundamentalists "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1Peter 5:8.

Yours against apostasy and for Biblical truth,

David C. Bennett

David C. Bennett, Titus 2:13
 

 
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Missionaries David and Pamela Bennett

The Bennetts Serving the Lord in Australia Since 1979.

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