Folk Religion vs. Christianity
© 11.16.11 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the November 17 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
I recently took part in an online exchange in which one participant claimed that "only an idiot would suggest that someone chooses to be a homosexual." I immediately responded, "so, you're saying God is an idiot?" At this writing the "tolerant participant" has not yet responded. However I know enough about him to predict he will reply with the assertion that God has never said homosexuality is a choice nor that there is anything wrong with the homosexual lifestyle. The sad thing is, he will most likely claim his view is based on his exhaustive knowledge of Scripture and years of contemplation concerning all things religious.
Nevertheless Bible is clear on this issue: You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is a detestable act (Leviticus 18:22). And again, the apostle Paul says that God's law is a condemning force, for fornicators, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10). In short, there is nothing in the Bible that suggests homosexual practice is permissible. Even if it is true that some people are born with homosexual tendencies there is no biblical warrant for acting upon those desires. Every human being is created with sexual desire but that doesn't mean they have the right to commit fornication or adultery. The presence of desire is not evidence that God has given man permission to do whatever he wants. God demands we manage desire in a righteous fashion. Therefore, we are commanded to abstain from drunkenness, to eschew gluttony and to satisfy sexual desire in a covenant relationship between one man and one woman.
Interacting with worldlings (Charles Spurgeon's term) who claim to know what the Bible “really means” can be frustrating. For every clear biblical point you present in favor of godliness they reply with their own twisted interpretation of the text. In this kind of situation your best bet is to drill down to the basic presuppositions they embrace. Until you pin down their a priori reasoning you will wear yourself out addressing peripherals while making little headway in revealing the foolishness of their worldview.
More frustrating is the widespread problem of biblical illiteracy among Christians. Because of this you may find yourself battling on two fronts when discussing issues with your friends and acquaintances. Expecting an ally in a fellow Christian, you might be surprised to find you are attacked by "Believers" simply because they lack even a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible and react negatively to biblical truth. Rather than base their views on sound doctrine, these "Christians" embrace folk religion - a mixture of traditional Christian belief and superstition.
For instance, I have recently encountered a number of "Christians" who say they accept Jesus as lord and savior but also proudly proclaim their espousal of spiritism or necromancy. In other words, they believe (supposed) communication with the dead is an allowable practice for followers of Christ. The Bible says otherwise: There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in fire, practices divination, interprets omens, practices sorcery, casts spells, or who is a medium, an occultist, or a necromancer. Whoever practices these things is detestable to the LORD, and the LORD your God will expel them before you because of these things (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
More on this next week.