So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
Relate: I’ve recently had the opportunity to do two online classes on Old Testament survey. The first class covered Genesis through 2 Kings. The professor approached the material from a form-critical perspective. This means he believes the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, were actually written or compiled by four different authors. These are the Yahwist, the Elohist, the Deuteronimical, and the Priestly authors. I won’t talk too much more about that here, but a simple google search of “JEDP” will give you plenty of material if you want to learn more about this theory. Personally, I don’t agree with most of what this approach would claim, but the class was still worth the time. The professor had a very respectful view of scripture. I can see how someone could accept this perspective and still believe scripture to be inspired and authoritative.
The second class covered the wisdom and prophetic books and was taught by a different professor. This “teacher” used the critical approach and it was done in poor form. Forget about the inspiration of scripture. He goes far beyond rejecting out of hand the idea of the miraculous. The very idea that there is a God seems to him to be “silly.” No matter where we were in the text, this professor took the worst possible interpretation of what the author was saying and ran with it. At least a half dozen times over the course of the twenty some odd classes he said something along the lines of, “This author is saying x, but we are much more sensible than that these days.” I have never seen someone prop up and then shoot down more strawmen in a single course than he managed to do.
React: I really wish I could say that this professor’s attitude and outlook on scripture was an outlier. Unfortunately, in the modern West, it is the norm. There is an arrogance in our day to believe that we are the height of civilization. We are not just technologically superior to our forebears. We are also philosophically, morally, ethically, and theologically far more advanced than any other point in the past. Like that professor, our modern culture has the arrogance to say over and over again, “They used to believe x, but we are much more sensible than that these days.”
I think there is no single area where this mentality is more evident than in the areas of gender and sexuality. When it comes to gender, biology no longer matters. A person is whatever gender they want to be. And those options are not limited to just male and female. Anyone who disagrees with this must be either a bigot or hopelessly stuck in the past. With regards to sexuality… the very idea that I would pull these verses from Romans 1 out of the daily reading must mean that I am a homophobe. Unless I can “prove” that Paul didn’t mean what is clearly written and understood then I have no choice but to agree that was a bigoted member of the White European Patriarchy. (Let’s just ignore the fact that he was actually Asian and from a Mediterranean or Greco-Roman, not a European, culture.)
Culture is not the ultimate authority of what is right and wrong. We have it backward. We are saying, “Scripture might be saying x, but we are much more sensible than that.” What we should be saying is, “Culture might be saying x, but scripture is much more sensible than that.” Our culture and society are not the height of civilization. A thousand years from now, should He tarry, historians will look back at our time and wonder how on earth anybody could possibly have believed x. But a thousand years from now scripture will still be just as relevant as it is now and as it was thousands of years back when it was first written. God’s word is authoritative. We are not.
Help me to follow You. In our world and time, there are so many conflicting voices. There are so many who are claiming that Your ancient scripture has no relevance for our modern times. They are saying we are much more sensible than that these days. But those voices are illogical and inconsistent. Half of what they are saying today will be different tomorrow. Your Word does not change. Help me to follow what You say and obey what You command no matter how “quaint and illogical” the world might say that idea is.
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