Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Theological Inconsistencies

I love the Colbert Report.

But as funny as it often is, I am not ignorant of the fact that it is a show that uses humor to try to push a liberal agenda, and I am sure that as with The Daily Show, it will become more painful and angering to watch as we get closer to the election year.

I was watching yesterday afternoon, and they were playing a rerun of a recent show where Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was promoting her book Failing America's Faithful: How Today's Churches are Mixing God and Politics and Losing Their Way. She stated that her main point was that the church has become too concerned with the three issues of abortion, homosexuality, and stem-cell research, and has forgotten the feeding of the poor and helping those who are hurting.

What really caught my attention is that she said "Nowhere does the Bible talk about abortion, gay marriage, or stem-cell research. Nowhere in the Bible is stem-cell research specifically mentioned, but caring for the poor is." She put A LOT of emphasis on the fact that these three issues are not mentioned by name, yet the evangelical church has rallied around them.

From there, Stephen Colbert quoted a verse that I cannot find specifically find. It had components of Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:24-28, regarding homosexuality, but mentioned God putting them to death, which I cannot find. Leviticus says they shall be cast out, and Romans says they "receive in themselves the penalty of the error that is due them."

Townsend got this knowing look on her face and proceeded to explain how there were issues back then that were different than now and should be treated differently. She used slavery as an example, saying that there were verses in the Bible that seem pro-slavery, but our fathers during the Civil War understood that the Bible was for freedom and justice.

A person could've gotten whiplash just listening to how quickly she went from "Christians shouldn't be dealing with issues that the Bible doesn't literally speak about" to the completely opposite stance of "we don't take the verses literally that are there."
Now, the author's view is that Christians in the churches need to stay in their churches and be active in insisting that the churches return to the role of caring for the poor and having mercy on them. The book description states: "individual actions can return our churches to their traditional role as shepherds to their flock. "

Kennedy-Townsend's first error is this: the main role of the church is to administer the Word and the Sacraments. That is - it is to faithfully preach and teach the Word of God faithfully to her people and to grant the forgiveness of sins through the Bible, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion. The main purpose of the Church is to nourish its believers in the one true faith. Then it can go on to providing for the needs of believers and unbelievers alike, as they are led by God.

The Church holds to God's Word, and if there is something in our society that is so clearly against God's Word then we are supposed to proclaim that it is wrong, and we definitely as a body of believers, are not supposed to embrace it, but to do what we can to counteract it. Killing helpless babies in the womb of its mother is destroying God's creation, and Scripture does speak to it. Psalm 139: 14-16, for one place - it talks about how God regards us as precious even when he was knitting us together. And to prey on our unborn children in the name of science is just a further descent into that evil.

That is not to say that we should focus ONLY on these things, but the idea that the church is fixated on these issues to the exclusion of all else (even the politicized evangelical movement) was a brazen exaggeration on her part, as well. And to indicate that there is no relationship with our faith and what we do with our bodies, especially when it goes against the Scripture is also a convenient lie. The Bible is clear that if we are wilfully rejecting Scripture, we are willfully rejecting God, and you can feed all the poor in the world, but if that only comes from the figurative goodness of your heart and not from a desire to serve the God who considered sin to be so serious that sent His only Son to die on the cross because it was the only thing that could destroy sin's hold on us -- then we are still damned to Hell.

We fight for the babies because they are being denied the chance to be baptized, to hear God's Word and be saved. They cannot fight for themselves. We fight against the normalizing of homosexuality because God's word doesn't just call it a sin, but call it an abomination and specifically says that is not what man was meant to do.

Something Kennedy Townsend doesn't acknowledge is that it is because of a desire for mercy that we speak out against these things. We want to bring healing and God's forgiveness to those who have had abortions. We want to bring healing to those who seek to have relationships that are outside of God's order, because we do not believe that this is good for their everlasting souls. And we do not want to see a culture that is joyous and glorious fall apart because they prey on their own young. We seek to show God's love, but we cannot do so without pronouncing God's judgement.

And we fight against these evils because we cannot quote God's Word as authority in one instance, and expect to have anything to stand on when in the next breath we say that it is irrelevant.


3 comments:

Designated Knitter said...

Amen.

Sniz said...

Right on!!!!!

Ewokgirl said...

Very beautifully stated.