The Improvisation of Our Sexuality is Idolatry

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“For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” – 2 Peter 2:18-19 (NIV)

“Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers.” – Proverbs 22:28

When Christian leaders redefine a clear scriptural commandment which prohibits sinful behavior into something that is no longer sin—a darkness that is greater than before the compromise took place begins to pervade that community. To not love our neighbor—no matter what his or her sexual orientation—is truly a great darkness. But, to remove the ancient boundary stones and legitimize that which God declares as idolatry, is an even greater darkness.

In an effort to build bridges into the lives of the hurting, many Christian leaders are removing the ancient boundary stones of truth and are redefining Scripture. They like to tell us that most Christians are Pharisees and don’t love the lost the way they should. This may be a true statement. But, when God clearly says something is an offence against His righteous standard for godly living and that He will judge the wicked who persist in sin, it does not give us permission us to remove these truths from Scripture because our culture is offended.

In Colossians 3 Paul says: “So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God)” (Colossians 3:5, AMP).

Although, this verse is not an all-inclusive list of actions and sins which describe idolatry, the Amplified version gives powerful insight into human manipulation and selfishness. We see how easy it is to elevate our sensual passions and greed above God’s standard of holiness—to stake out a place of self-imposed morality where we worship our money, sexuality and pleasures above God. This is what God calls “idolatry.” Sometimes it is difficult to take a spiritual term like idolatry and find a clear, practical definition that helps us understand the full implications of its meaning. But let us try to dig a little deeper.

We know that the Bible declares God as the Originator and Owner of all creation. Therefore, He has the right to be honored and worshipped as such. Some argue that God is egotistical in that He demands our worship. However, the Scripture is clear that God is loving, and His requiring our devotion and worship above anything else is actually what is best for us. Yes, it comes to us as a command; but it also comes to us as loving guidance as well. This love is like a father commanding his son or daughter to listen closely to him when they cross a street. He is not demanding something from his children in an egotistical restrictive way; he is requiring their obedience to protect and bless them. God requires our worship because He knows our weakness is to forget about His reality and replace Him by elevating things on this earth over Him.

As we look deeper into this word idolatry, first Samuel is very helpful. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23, KJV). Samuel—Israel’s High Priest—is rebuking King Saul for his selfish actions (he made up his own agenda and offered unholy sacrifices to keep his men from deserting him on the battlefield). This passage offers a powerful insight into the definition of idolatry. Here we see that rebellion and stubbornness are directly linked to it.

Idolatry is not just worshipping an ancestral god at a God-despising altar. It is cobbling together a personally improvised standard of rebellious living that ignores God’s clear will. King Saul cobbled together the Holy covenant sacrifice of animals on a spiritual altar with his governmental kingship to get the voice of God to speak. He did all this so that he would have the confidence to go into battle with his demoralized and diminishing army. He was not a priest and was not authorized by God to sacrifice. His role was to lead; the priest’s role was to hear. He was mixing and matching God’s will for his selfish agenda. He was improvising the perfect will of God into something unholy because of his impatience with God’s servant, the High Priest.

This account reflects our current Christian generation. We improvise the Word of God to fit our generation because we are impatient with God to truly convert the sinner. We make the standard something the sinner is comfortable with hoping he or she will accept the Gospel. But we forget that the Gospel is an “equal opportunity offender.” The Gospel offends everyone—including the Christian Pharisees, the social standard manipulators and the improvising theologians.

It is the last of these that grieves the heart of God the most. There are those who “stake out” an unbiblical position concerning sexuality and look for Scriptural nuances to support their position. These most dangerous improvisers lead many astray while promising freedom.

Therefore, anyone who chooses to improvise sexuality by changing the will of God from covenant marriage between a man and a woman is manipulating God’s will and is committing idolatry. This includes heterosexuals who live together, those who have multiple partners, those who are bisexual, those who are homosexual and those who are transsexual. Every sexual expression that is lived outside of covenant marriage between a man and woman is an improvised lifestyle and falls into the category of idolatry.

Here is an even scarier truth. Just because you are married in a Biblical, covenant marriage doesn’t mean you won’t still manipulate your partner and turn your sexual relationship into idolatry. Paul says that we are not to treat our Christian partners the way the unsaved do their partners. “That each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6, NIV).

Finally, when we look at Romans 1, it is easy to forget that Paul is linking the issue of idolatry with the improvisation of sexuality. Those improvising theologians who are defending homosexuality forget that Paul is talking about worshipping the “created” over God (he is not just singling out homosexuals). Sexuality is merely where the greatest battle has always existed in regards to false worship. Man wants to improvise regarding his sexuality on all kinds of levels—and God is clearly saying this is idolatry.

Paul says: “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised.” (Romans 1:24-25, NIV). We don’t have to go any further. There is a dangerous game afoot; it is improvising the holy standard of God’s Word to fit our generation’s selfish agenda. Don’t let anyone fool you. Guard your hearts against this idolatry.

Passing On What We Really Believe

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We have a generation so tunneled into their own myopic view of a pleasurable life that they can’t make heads or tails of what they believe in. Many can’t see if there are any benefits of the character traits of their own worldview for others. I’m thankful that in the Western world we allow different beliefs to exist and mix, and sharpen and challenge each other. But I don’t think we do honest critical analysis to see which ones work and which ones are inferior—simply producing self-centered fatalistic people who don’t care about anyone else.

Recently I heard a call-in show where the caller hinted that Christians who encourage their children to follow God at a young age are close to being “child abusers” for not giving their child his or her own freedom to make a choice about faith.

This whole notion of it being “abuse” to push your beliefs on or influence your child about what you, as a parent, believe is total hog wash. An atheist ought to raise his kids as the best atheist he can if this is what he is convinced is the right way. If this is what, through all of his life experience, he finds to be the most meaningful and strategically “healthy worldview,” he should pass it along to his children.

Instead, it should go more along the lines of: parents or guardians are “abusers” if they are not convinced of life values and have nothing important to pass on to their children. Amoralists may say it is a form of elitism and pride to influence the faith of our children—that we should all walk in a wishy-washy moral equivalence to really have a healthy culture. However, having children undirected and void of values by well-meaning, open-minded parents who give them no backbone or foundational values is more abusive than parents who are convinced there are certain values that are better than others.

Honestly, who walks through everyday life purposefully and deliberately having no values, beliefs and convictions of what is right and wrong? Who are those who go around seeking to follow a worldview that “doesn’t work”? Or, people who could say: “I want to follow something that hurts others, and opens up gateways of bondage and injustice to my friends. This is the worldview that I see as healthy.” Or, “I have lived thirty five years and there is nothing I value, I haven’t learned anything about life, nothing works, everyone is selfish and it doesn’t matter how we live our lives.” If this is the worldview that some parents have in raising their children, I would call that child abuse.

So, if the atheist is truly convinced that he is right, let him push his convictions on his children. In fact, if he is convinced that he is right, he is irresponsible to not push his convictions on his children. If he is not training them, through the lessons he learned as an atheist as to why being an atheist is far better than being a Christian, then he is neglecting his role as a leader and parent. Also, if a neo-Nazi is convinced that his worldview is the best out of all those out there and he doesn’t try to influence his children to become neo-Nazis, then he really doesn’t believe in being a Nazi.

That is why Christians should live with conviction and certainty in their faith. If they are convinced that this is truly the way of life—handed down to them by God—then they are not abusing their children, but performing their parental duty to those who live under their care and are loved by them. They should raise their children to think on their own, but to also be influenced by the experience gained from others. Critical analysis should be part of everyone’s life. But it is a responsible parent who takes the convictions of their own life and passes them on to their children for them to also live them out.