Monday, December 18, 2017

“Beams” are neutering Christian morality

Another Biblical verse misapplied out of context

3“Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when the beam is in your own eye? 5You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”


I recently attended a beautiful Christmas musical event at a local Presbyterian Church affiliated with the liberal PCUSA denomination.  After the program’s conclusion as I was passing through the narthex I paused to ask one of the parishioners a question or two about the church.  I already knew its liberal denominational affiliation. But I know that sometimes local churches deviate a bit from precise denominational positions and wanted to know where this church stood.

I asked, “is this church considered ‘liberal’, ‘middle of the road’, or ‘conservative’?”  She answered “middle of the road – it follows the guidance of the denomination.”  I followed up with, “how would you describe “middle of the road.”  She answered, “well, we don’t discuss the social issues like gay marriage and homosexuality.  We understand this area around here isn’t very culturally diverse.” 

From that brief exchange I gleaned that her church doesn’t discuss those topics because the area is too conservative for a liberal church to discuss the liberal biases of the church, so they just avoid discussing the topics.  Yup, the parishioners and area are just not open minded and tolerant enough to sing the praises of GLTBQ options.  Bottom line:  The culture dictates the teaching.  Don’t offend anyone.

A bit later I discussed my brief encounter with a Christian friend.  After mentioning the parishioner’s response to my question, I added, “it appears that Presbyterian Church prefers to ignore a fairly large segment of Biblical teaching.  She responded, “is that a beam I see in your eye?”

Wow!  Well, shut my mouth.  I just heard a stereotypical response reflecting the attitude of todays modern church.  It is this:  Because we all have “beams” in our eyes, we dare not discuss the value of Biblical morality or the role of the church in admonishing immorality.   No sirree, Bob.  It is all “grace” and good times. 

This attitude ignores quite a lot.  It ignores half of what the Bible teaches and what the churches used to teach, but teaches no more:  The relationship between sin and grace.

Without acknowledgment of sin there can be no grace.  We dare not discuss the types of sins we commit for two reasons:  1)  We all have ‘beams’ in our eyes, and 2) We may offend someone, and the Lord knows, we can. not. do. that!

So let’s ignore sin – let’s not discuss it.  It still exists, but there is no need to remind ourselves of it.  Let’s just use the generic term “beam.”

When the Church stops talking about sin, it may as well close its doors – as many are doing.  And we wonder why crime, drug use, and immorality are on the rise.

Are we using our “beams” as a poor excuse to neuter Christian morality?  It appears we are. 

Rather than assume that verse means that we are never to judge because of our own shortcomings, it is better to interpret it as intended.  The essence is:  (Interpretation 1) Clean up our own act before we are critical of another’s act.  It does NOT mean (Interpretation 2)":Hey dude, keep quiet about that trash, we’re all doing it. 

Liberal churches and liberal Christian thought are now preferring Interpretation 2.

Oh, by the way, let’s forget about these verses:

Romans 15:14

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Psalm 141:5

Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.

Luke 17:3

"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

1 Thessalonians 5:14

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

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