What is Christianity? Just Talk?
A recent article in the Dallas Morning News suggests that Christianity should just be talk. Of course, the writer of the article didn't say it that way, but that's clearly what she was affirming. Let's just discuss our differences, be polite, and let's not get upset with one another. And above all, let's not say that one of us is right and one of us is wrong. Let's agree to disagree, let's have dialogue, let's reach across the chasm--let's just talk.
Here's what happened. Michael Piazza, the so-called "reverend" or "pastor" of "Cathedral of Hope," accepted an invitation to speak with a group of 50 "pastors" from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Now, Michael Piazza is a sodomite, and "Cathedral of Hope" is the largest homosexual "church" (talk about an oxymoron!) in Dallas, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is a conservative religious group. They're probably considered "fundamentalists" by most because they do believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that is to be taken at face value. So it's rather surprising that they would invite a homosexual to speak to them. But they did and the newspaper article commended them for their open-mindedness, or at least their willingness to talk things over with people with whom they disagree. The underlying thought of the article was that we ought not to condemn each but agree to disagree. Of course, that's been the cry of denominationalists for years--go to the church of your choice, you go to heaven your way and I'll go my way, that's your belief (or opinion), and here's mine, there are no absolutes, and so forth. But now this each-to-his-own kind of thinking is being applied not only to "beliefs" but also to morality and ethics (even though there is no substantive difference between belief and conduct). If we can agree to disagree in our "beliefs," then why can't we agree to disagree regarding our conduct?
Contrary to popular thinking, beliefs are just as important as conduct (there's really no separating the two), and just as there really is right and wrong, there really is truth and error. Compromises in doctrine will inevitably lead to compromises in ethics. If beliefs are not all that important, then religion is not all that important--in fact, it is nothing more than "talk." And that is exactly the view that many people have of religion. Let's just talk about right and wrong, truth and error, but let's not draw any conclusions, because if we determine that some things are right and some things are wrong, then someone's sure to be offended and we will no longer have "dialogue." And that's what religion is all about, in their minds--just "dialogue."
So the Lutherans were commended in the article for "reaching across the chasm," for "keeping the dialogue going," for merely "expressing differences," for understanding that we all interpret scripture "through different "lens" (which is another way of saying we cannot learn absolute truth because of our biases) and so forth.
So the Lutherans and the homosexual had their meeting where "no one expected minds to change." And guess what? No one's mind changed! Nor was the truth defended nor immorality condemned. But everyone left "feeling pleased with the meeting." I'm sure they did.
But do you read about this kind of meeting in the Bible? No, not at all. When Zerubbabel and the Jews who had returned from Babylonian captivity were rebuilding the temple, the "adversaries of Judah and Benjamin" approached them, saying, "Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do." Who could turn down a amiable request like that? Not writers for the Dallas Morning News, I'm sure, but Zerubbabel did: "Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God: but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel" (Ezra 4:1-3). Zerubbabel accurately and courageously recognized that there were irreconcilable differences between the Israelites and the Samaritans. Nehemiah, in his efforts to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, face the same problem Zerubbabel did. His "enemies," when they saw that they could not stop the work by force or intimidation, turned to more subtle means. "Come, let us meet together," they pleaded again and again, but Nehemiah wisely refused, knowing "they thought to do me mischief" (Nehemiah 6:1-4). In the New Testament we read more about "confrontations" than meetings. Did Jesus reach out to the woman taken in adultery? Of course, but He also told her, "Go and sin no more." Is that what the Lutheran "pastors" told the licentious pervert? It doesn't sound like it. Jesus and John the Baptist called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites and snakes. That's some way to "reach across the chasm"! Paul wished that those insisting on circumcision would "go beyond circumcision" and mutilate themselves! (Galatians 5:12) Now that's some dialogue! Paul did not tell Timothy to keep lines of communication open with Alexander the coppersmith, who did Paul "much evil" (II Timothy 4:14).
No, Christianity is not talk. It's learning the truth, accepting it, and living it. Let us not compromise!