By Lewis Willis
“Study” is such a noble thing (2 Tim. 2:15). One would like to rejoice when learning that a “study” was underway, or has been conducted. However, in our 1991 world, 6 ‘study” has become an unsettling concept. It usually means the students have concluded that the Bible does not mean what it says, and they have come up with some new and better ideas than God set forth in the Scriptures. One such “study” is the subject of this article.
Several major denominations have committees studying the subject of sexual relationships, with a view to issuing new policies that will govern those denominations and their teachings on this subject. Every news publication which I have seen has had something to say about these studies some have written on it repeatedly. The Akron Beacon Journal (4-22, 4-27 and 5-4, 1991) covered the subject extensively. Following are some quotations from these articles.
A national committee of Presbyterians are “recommending the denomination rid itself of sexual taboos and view sexual relations as a God-given gift to be enjoyed by everyone, including single men and women, homosexuals and lesbians and responsible adolescents. . . The majority report attacks the sexual attitudes of the church and this country . . . It questions the importance Americans place on marriage … and says that maturity, not marriage, should determine when teens engage in intercourse. . . The church should endorse new family structures, including same-sex couples. . . Homosexual and lesbian couples should enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples. . . The Presbyterian Church has viewed marriage as a prerequisite to sexual intercourse and considered sex outside of marriage a sin. Those beliefs must change, or the church will be seen increasingly as irrelevant to most people’s life styles. . . The United Methodist Church . . . has tentatively decided to recommend dropping its condemnation of homosexual practice. . . The report says it is wrong to condemn non-marital sexual activity as unacceptable simply because it falls outside a particular formal, institutional pattern. . . A reformed Christian ethic of sexuality will not condemn . . . any sexual relationship in which there is genuine equality and mutual respect.” Four local preachers were interviewed, seeking their reaction to the reports. Three out of four – 75 percent – were pleased with the recommendations of the study committees.
Our world is engaged in promiscuous sex on a scale likened unto that of Sodom and Gomorrah and Grecian paganism. Sex outside of marriage is so rampant that the religious world is moving toward sanctioning it and eliminating all condemnation of such godless activity. People, young and old, are being told that they have a “right” to engage in pre-marital and extra-marital sexual relationships, including homosexuality, and no one has a “right” to condemn such. These churches, thinking they have a right to change God’s Law, are passing formal laws and rules so that such activity does not affect their “fellowship” in those churches. If the views of some brethren in the Lord’s church are adopted regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage, it appears that new “rights” will be granted to some in churches of Christ. At least, you will hear less condemnation of those in marriages condemned by the Scriptures. If it is wrong to condemn men such as Homer Hailey, teaching false doctrine on this subject, as Ed Harrell has said, how can we charge those who practice their teaching with sin? What we should do is teach people the truth, and tell them that if they practice error they cannot be in fellowship with God or his people (1 Jn. 1:6-7).
We, in churches of Christ, have no more right to re-write God’s Law respecting sex and marriage than the denominations have. An effort is underway in denominationalism to eliminate the sins of fornication, adultery and homosexuality. If their concepts are adopted, these abominations will become acceptable practice. If the teachings of some brethren are followed, there will be many in the fellowship of the church who have had multiple marriages – with divorces acquired for any cause – and the rules will be rewritten so that they will not be “condemned” for their practices.
Brethren, the Scriptures still teach that marriage is the only honorable place for sex (Heb. 13:4), that fornication and adultery are sins which will prevent entrance into heaven (Gal. 5:19-21), and that homosexual acts are unnatural, lustful and wrong (Rom. 1:2627). No “study” by a church committee can change that truth! The sanction of sin by well-known brethren does not turn it into righteousness! It is time for the religious world to tell its liberal leaders they have gone too far. And, it is time for some brethren to learn that the church will not tolerate their efforts to do the same thing denominations are doing. It will happen only if faithful brethren take a stand!
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 14, p. 421
July 16, 1992