There was a letter to the editor posted yesterday in the Bureau County Republican entitled “STD’s and God’s Will.” Interesting title. A couple friends of mine from church brought it to my attention last night and asked me to respond to it. It’ll become clear in the 3 points below that I find it much more God-honoring to respond as a Pastor. I’m primarily writing to believers — those who reject Christ’s Lordship outright will never submit to God’s truth, regardless of how many proofs one provides.
Consider the conclusion in Jesus’ parable about the rich man and Lazarus:
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” —Luke 16:31
Or Jesus’ point in Luke 11:34:
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.”
Okay. As I read this letter to the editor from Darrell, 3 things were clear:
1. He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit, the 3rd Person of the Trinity living in Him.
He can’t understand Scripture and its implications, nor should we expect him to (1 Cor. 2:7-12). God has an infinitely deep mind. In comparison, we have an infinitely shallow mind, so we need God to teach us about God. But that demands brokenness about our sin and humility to admit we need God even to understand the most basic truths about His holiness, justice, and love — which, again, an unsaved person like Darrell lacks. Christians should be reaching out to Darrell, caring for him as their neighbor in whatever way they can, and calling him to confess his sin to God and cry out for the Savior who died in Darrell’s place on the cross.
So no, I’m not shocked or upset by anything written in that article.
2. He is, according to the authority of God’s Word, at enmity with God (Ro. 5:10; Col. 1:21).
Realize this: He’s never going to give God the benefit of the doubt. Men love darkness rather than light (Jn. 3:19), so any light of truth projected towards him will be met with opposition — and in this article, that opposition comes in the form of red herrings, backhanded insults, conveniently overlooked facts, and really, really bad exegesis.
I almost find it humorous, if it wasn’t so startling, that the guy who summarily rejects the Bible as having any authority whatsoever attempts, at the same time, to tell Christians who have taught the Bible for decades, have studied church history, studied the original languages and the historical setting surrounding the accounts HOW TO ACTUALLY interpret the Bible and its sexual ethic. This is quite amazing. With a few Googled verses attached to his already-arrived-at conclusions, he believes he has shattered the Christian ethic started in Creation, verified by the Law and Prophets, agreed and expanded upon by Jesus, reiterated by Paul, and taught by the early church fathers: that God created sex to be between a man and a woman, and within the confines of marriage.
According to him (who rejects Scripture’s validity), maybe one verse in the 66 books of the Bible alludes to it? Again, He considers God his enemy. Why would we expect him to fairly represent God’s viewpoint in the Bible.
3. Darrell believes that, even if an infinitely holy, all-powerful, all-knowing God exists, Darrell would be His judge.
Scripture is clear that, deep down, every human knows God exists through the witness of Creation (Ro. 1:18-22). However, many suppress this truth (hide it, shove it away), because they love their sin (again, John 3:19). According to Darrell, God is unfit, unqualified to use human language and human authors to communicate infallible truths about Himself to humans. This is simply impossible for the Creator of the Universe to do. He can make galaxies out of nothing, but providing us truth about Himself that transcends all of time (which he created), whether in first century AD or 2020 AD, is completely out of the question — to Judge Darrell.
Darrell has also pounded the gavel and pronounced the God of Scripture, and even a caricature of Him (which is slander, if He does indeed exist), as “immoral” on a couple of occasions.
The bottom line: Darrell, in his rebuttal, presupposes that a) God does not exist or b) the god he’s created through his own intellect and reason is the true God.
Therefore, we know that 1) he’s unable to interpret Scripture humbly and carefully because he’s unsaved and without the Holy Spirit, 2) he isn’t simply neutral towards God but actively opposes Him as an enemy would, and 3) Darrell has set himself up as god in his own eyes, therefore he is the Creator’s final judge and arbitor.
Because of all of this, I see no use in doing a Bible study with a person that pre-interprets the Bible according to his own Darrell-made hermeneutic. No matter what I say or what facts I present — no matter what God says or what facts He presents — Darrell has already made himself the final judge. I’m not willing to concede that fact by playing this game, and give another man glory that belongs to God:
“There is only one lawgiver and judge, He who is able to save and to destroy.” —James 4:12
Darrell needs to hear that he is a sinner who has rebelled against God. God has infinitely Holy standards for those who will be in His presence. He needs to hear and believe that the prophesied Christ came, lived the perfect life Darrell couldn’t live, and suffered the perfect wrath and justice of God on the cross 2,000 years ago — exactly what you, I, and Darrell deserve. If Darrell trusts this message to be true for him, he will receive the full righteousness of Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit…and then we can work through some of this stuff.