I know many people who used to identify themselves as Christians and who used to hold what I would consider to be orthodox beliefs about issues of basic Christian morality. That is to say, things whose evilness was understood was never really debated or argued. It was clear – homosexuality is wicked. Premarital sex is wicked. Looking at pornography is wicked. Masturbating is wicked. Lying to others is wicked. Cursing and using foul language is wicked. These were people who believed and would have argued strenuously that these things were not good, but in fact were sinful, and engaging in them was harmful to one’s relationship with the Lord.
But times have changed, and instead many of the people who once were opposed to these things, are now dabbling in them and have come to a place where they loving and enjoy them, and instead of thinking then bad are now calling them good. It really is a bizarre shift in perspective. The couple of times I have broached the subject, the answer I’ve gotten most is some variation of “I don’t care what anyone says, I don’t think it’s wrong.” I think the biggest reason for this newfound mindset is a combination of biblical illiteracy, idolatry, and an unhealthy emphasis on personal subjective emotion, which coupled with a lack of introspection results in the formation of an idolatrous view of God.
Let me tell you how I think it plays out. I think it usually starts off with someone attending church with weak preaching which is very man-centered. It is not focused on Christ and him crucified, but focuses instead on felt-needs and on emotions and how the congregants feel about them. They don’t teach that the bible is an authoritative standard and as revelation from God against which we judge our beliefs, feelings, thoughts and actions, but rather they use the bible to proof text and validate our feelings, thoughts and actions. By doing this they minimize the authority of the scripture and instead elevat our feelings on what the bible says as being more authoritative than the bible itself. Deep, exegetical and expositional preaching that seeks to understand and know Christ by seeking to know and understand what the word says about him is not done, but instead bible verses are cherry picked to give authority to what the pastor says on a matter, and knowing God through the scriptures is relegated to the trash heap. They are not being directed to and steered by scriptures, but rather are being led by “well how does that make you feel”?
Because we are born children of wrath, we are bent and inclined towards evil. Even after our conversion, when we are justified and that double imputation takes place, though we are declared righteous and are no longer slaves to sin, death and the devil, we still have a sin nature that while we now war against, is attracted to sin and wants to engage in those activities. But then you take a woman [or man] who doesn’t know what the bible says, or simply doesn’t care, then the sinfulness of something will not be gauged and weighed by the word of God, but rather by what she thinks and feels about it. So then all of a sudden sleeping with one’s boyfriend is not wrong, because they don’t feel it is. Because the bible is not considered an authority, it is subject to a different and greater authority- herself. Thousands of years of agreed and united historical Judeo-Christian orthodoxy expounding and subject to the scriptures is not binding at all. Rather, a few years of her own opinions supersedes all of that. As a result, the relationship between her and Christ is idolatrous, because she has created in her mind a God of her own making, a God who doesn’t mind that she’s sleeping with her boyfriend, or likes to use foul language, or who think homosexuality is all good and great.
The reality is that these people are achingly ignorant of who God is and what God considers good and bad. Because on what basis does she know anything about God and Jesus? She thinks God is love, but only because she read that in the bible. And so she’ll accept that revelation as true, because it seems good to her, but she’ll deny anything else that she doesn’t like, which is even more evidence of her idolatry. By doing so, she fools herself into thinking she has a relationship with God. And yet she doesn’t know anything about him. She has not studied him and spent time with him and learned all she can about him. God has revealed himself in his word, and if you don’t know what it says, then you might as well be the girl sitting in a tree, watching God with binoculars as he passes by in front of the window, thinking that you are in love with him and that they are in love with you, and that one day you’ll be together forever and ever. That’s what you’re doing- you’re stalking him. You’re spying on him. You are a spiritual creep. Your relationship with God consists of passing him in the hall and admiring him from afar, and yet in your mind, the two of you are practically married. It’s a fantasy!
How did you reach the stunning revelation sleeping with your boyfriend is not wrong? Can you honestly tell me that you reached this conclusion by praying for hours and days and weeks about it? That you came to this conclusion because you combed through the scriptures, poring over the word of God searching for the truth, and that after some time, nestled away in there, you found the answer that God was not only unbothered by you having sex with someone whose not your husband, but that he probably promotes it? No. You didn’t. Instead you reached that conclusion by wanting what you want, when you want it, and by sticking your fingers in your ears and ignoring the clear testimony of Christ in his word concerning it. You don’t really want to know God, because if you did you would be searching his holy word to glean everything you can about him. It’s like reading the third word of the eightieth page of a book and thinking that you have the whole plot understood. If you knew God, you would know what his word commands, and if you loved him, you would obey it, even if some parts of it weren’t attractive to you abd even if it didn’t feel warm and fuzzy. You wouldn’t elevate your feelings aboveGod, and you wouldn’t claim to be good with God while actively repudiating his Word. All it is is active, willful rebellion and clinging to a God of your own making, and instead of actively knowing the one true God, you bow down to your image of God. You’re nothing but a stalker and a theological pervert, and at this rate you’ll never truly know him.