Today a friend mistook “Gay conversion Therapy” for what Christians call “conversion”. Following is part of the conversation.
OK so many things I don’t know. So I read about conversion therapy. I understand both sides of the fence. From your standpoint since Christ saved us all…sinful behavior does not exist. And yes we all sin. And yes we all a little hypocritical. On the flip side of that coin…although I could identify myself as a pig…but I am not a pig and no matter how I want to be one I CANNOT be one. I saw a white woman on tv that has been news for a while because she said on her job application that she is black. She is white with NO black ancestry. She was fired from her job because it required one of black race to hold the job. She firmly maintains that she is black because she identifies with the black race. This is how ridiculous we have become. Laying aside all religious nuances…we CANNOT be what we were not created to be. We can WANT to be but it is physically impossible for me to be a man. Does it go against gods design…yes. Does he love me if I try yo be something else…yes.
So the question is..is there ANY sin on the face of the earth that separates me from God? Is there a thing called SIN that exists if anything I could ever think about doing is OK with God. Is sodomy OK. Is pedophilia OK. Is emotional and physical abuse OK? We know they aren’t in our society but what about in the eyes of God? Is everything just OK. I know that society as a whole has degraded to an all time low. Is that because we have opened the floodgates and perversion is ok now. And because perversion is OK people are becoming more like animals with rampant sexual preferences that are becoming the new norm like sex with animals etc. Chaos is increasing . Murders are increasing. We must lock everything up because thieves are everywhere. There’s no restriction on anything so people feel free to express the most vile actions. Is this because as the bible states than we are waxing more evil. We have become Sodom and Gomorrah. Is it because we have decided there is no such thing as sin.
My Response to this dear Christian sister.
Absolutely not! Most Christian denominations are just as opposed to sin as they ever were, the problem is that they just cannot agree on what things constitute sin. Long hair? Mixed bathing? Homosexuality? Slavery? The Amish believe that Baptists sin – the Baptists think that Presbyterians teach heresy (sin), the Methodists can’t agree among themselves whether to ordain Gays or not, they ALL are SO confused about what constitutes a “sin” that they have divided themselves up into multiple thousands of splinter groups, ALL claiming that the same Holy Spirit has led them to such highly divergent positions that some of them would gladly re-enact the middle ages practice of killing any dissenters.
And finally, when fundamental evangelicalism ruled the USA, we were gifted with a Civil war (so much for brotherly love) and some hundreds of years of Slavery. We killed off most of our indigenous peoples – sin? We made treaties we had no intention of keeping – sin? And all of this was done in the name of Jesus.
May I offer the following?
(1) There is “wrong” and there is “sin. They are 2 very different things in my opinion.
(2) Sin is relative.
(3) Was sin conclusively dealt with at the cross or wasn’t it?
(1) There is “wrong” and there is “sin. They are 2 very different things in my opinion.
Wrong, for me, is that which is our actions against other humans, or against the legally instituted laws of the land. Wrong is highly relative. The laws in China are quite different than those in the USA. What may be right in the USA is wrong in China. Personally, when people ask me why “God allows kids in Africa to starve to death” I say, God DOESN’T allow that, YOU do! Meaning to say, that until we do everything that lies in OUR power to rectify abhorrent conditions in the earth, let’s not even bother to bring God into it because our collective lack of action is patently wrong. Not sinful perhaps (though I think it is in the light of Isa 58) but certainly manifestly wrong.
If I speed down the highway it could be argued by some that that is a sin. (Nothing funnier than seeing a Pastor with a radar detector on the dash. LoL) If I then crashed into a car full of children and killed some of them, I have undoubtedly wronged my fellow humans. Theologians will argue over the “sinfulness” of the action, but NO-ONE will EVER question the assertion that what I did was bad, BAD WRONG!
When we pull the power cord on someones life support when a firm diagnosis states that imminent torturous death is the only alternative … sin?
For me, “wrong” and “sin” are quite different. A Christian could, quite properly, I think, argue that all sin is wrong, but not all wrongs are sin
(2) Sin is relative.
The Bible indicates that sinS are the the actions of a human that are either against God, or against God’s commands. The Bible further indicates that siN was an inherited condition from Adam to the whole human race regardless of individual sinS. Differentiating between the noun and the verb is pretty important. (The Book of Romans is a fascinating study in this.)
I know that my suggestion that sin is highly relative will anger some, but consider please:- “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. ~ (Rom 14:22-23 New King James Version)
This whole 14th chapter of Romans is about harming a weaker person in the faith with our tossing around our freedoms. Paul says elsewhere that all things are lawful, but not all things are expedient. You don’t hear that much preached, do you?!
What if I feel free to smoke? Wrong? you bet, foolish even, but is it a sin? As I understand Paul here, ONLY and ESPECIALLY if by doing so I trip up a brother by causing him to stumble. That stumble may only be making a self righteous religious zealot angry, but my actions have caused them harm (becoming angry).
So here we have a curious situation, where for some, smoking is most surely a “sin” while for others it is not.
Again, “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. For smoking, read eating meat offered to Idols, drinking etc etc
This is something we will never hear preached in a church, because it is too slippery for most controlling Pastors.
(3) Was sin conclusively dealt with at the cross or not?
It has always struck me as passing curious that Christian doctrine generally maintains that we can fall become separated from God by sin EVEN AFTER Jesus died for our sins. Catholicism talks about dying in mortal sin which without a last confession and the last rites, pretty much guarantees we will have a torturous trek ahead of us through Limbo, Purgatory and so forth, before we will ever see the pearly gates if at all. Protestantism teaches various degrees of a similar thing wherein when we get “born again” then ALL our sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus, and we stand pure before God. BUT … and there is ALWAYS a but it seems … IF we sin the next day then that sin becomes conditionally effective in separating us from God. God wont’t hear your prayers is another layer of this conundrum. No one could ever explain to me how if God couldn’t hear my prayers with unconfessed sin in my life, how He was EVER going to hear my confession of sin.
Given that the pre-cross Jews had to confess their sins only once a year, where modern Christians need to confess their “sins” continuously, the Jews were far better off, no?
To the best of my understanding, here are four key components of what occurred at Calvary.
a) Redemption from the transgressions that were under the first testament.
The NT book of Hebrews (probably penned by Paul) was written to Jews, and it contains this little nugget; Heb 9:15 … Christ is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. So the first thing achieved at Calvary was redemption from the transgressions that were under the first testament.
In other words, unless you ARE a Jew, and lived either during OR before the crucifixion of Christ, this has NOTHING to do with you.
b) Reversal of the imputation of sin to all humanity into the imputation of righteousness to all humanity.
Romans 5:18 states “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
Antagonists of this claim use a number of arguments to refute what is perfectly clear in the Bible they claim is inerrant.
(i) The Greek word ALL in the first part of this verse is not equivalent to the word ALL in the second part of this verse. The weak minded fallacy of this is seen in that (i) Both words are precisely the same word in the original Greek text, and (ii) it is also the same word used earlier in Romans when Paul says that ALL have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. These charlatans would have their cake and eat it too.
(ii) IF Adam by his action placed all humanity under sin and Christ by His action made only a FEW people righteous, then we can draw no other conclusion than Adam was far more effective than Christ; or, conversely, Christ was so much weaker than Adam.
So the second thing achieved at Calvary was to replace the imputation of sin upon all humanity into the imputation of righteousness upon all humanity.
c) The birthing of a brand new, never before seen, completely New Creation.
2Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. The word “creature” in the original Greek text, means ‘species’. As the last of the ADAM species, or as the Bible puts it, the Last Adam, Jesus, died, all humanity was placed in the body of Christ and born again into a completely new species.
If these Biblical claims are correct, then Calvary amounts to some sort of pinnacle in relations between God and man, and as such deserves our complete appreciation of it’s intent, content and portent. This might best be summed up in the words of Hebrews 4, which tells us to enter into the same rest that Jesus has entered into by discarding our works as any entry to the New Creation.
Further, it astounds me that while the LAW was ONLY ever given to Israel, modern Christianity insist that it applies to gentiles as well. This to me, is such a step away from Biblical teachings and logic as to be absurd in the least, and manipulative fraud at the most. Nowhere in the Bible is it claimed that the sins of the gentiles were addressed at Calvary – in fact Hebrews is quite clear in stipulating that Jesus died for redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament – the first covenant – God’s covenant with the Jews, NOT gentiles. If we as gentiles had NO old covenant with God, then we were simply left out.
Lastly, permit me to address the issue that initiated this conversation at first.
Conversion therapy for homosexuals.
The largest conversion therapy “clinics” in the world have shut their doors after apologizing to their clients. One of these, called “Exodus” was a mainstay of fundamental evangelicals.
Some will call it sin, some won’t. All I will say is that is highly amusing to myself to see people text proof their favorite memes without adequate contextual Bible study, and flout it as “Thus saith the Lord.”.