Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2
Unfortunately, there are Christians today who walk in craftiness and handle the word of God deceitfully. They distort scripture to say things people want to hear. A big example is Joel Osteen. He only speaks of how God will bless you so that you can "live your best life now." While God certainly wants to bless us, he also said that we will be persecuted and hated for following him. This is certainly true up to today. At least Osteen holds to biblical truth that homosexuality is wrong in God's eyes. This is a hot topic these days and some Christian scholars are jumping on the bandwagon to say "scripture isn't clear on it, so who are we to judge?" One of these is Dr. Rick Lowery who recently wrote an article in the Huffington post. There are red flags in the first sentence, but I want to concentrate on what he says regarding scripture:
"I assume that most of us -- whatever we think about same-sex sex -- wouldn't favor executing sexually active gay men. But on what basis would we make the decision that Leviticus is right about sex but wrong about execution? How do we decide what to keep and what to ignore when we use Scripture to make moral judgments? Why would we say that it's an "abomination" for a man to lie with a man, but it's OK to wear a wool-blend suit, have a tattoo, eat hybrid fruit or have marital relations when the wife is in the "unwell" part of her monthly cycle -- that is, the days of her menstrual flow plus seven days of purification after that? "
What gospel is this pastor following? We make these decisions based on the gospel of Jesus Christ and his covenant of Grace. Jesus speaks on this concerning the laws in the old testament, that it's not about what you wear or eat that is important, but the matter of the heart (Matthew 15:11; Matthew 15:17-20). We know that humans are sinful by our fallen nature and nothing can cure it (Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10) This is why we need to be spiritually born again through faith in Jesus (John 3). Even David understood that God didn't care for sacrificing animals, but that it pointed to the importance of true repentance and obedience to the Lord (Psalm 32:1-5; Psalm 51). He recognized that we are born into our sinful nature and that God desires truth in our inward parts (our heart, Romans 2:29). The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the Lord would clean the hearts of His people through a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33). Jesus told the Samaritan woman that God seeks those who worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). As for marriage, Jesus confirms what God sanctioned in the Garden, which is that marriage is for one man and one woman (Matthew 19:3-8). Concerning the adulterous woman, Jesus tells her to "go and sin no more." He recognized that her action was sin. There is so much that Jesus clarifies in terms of the purpose of the law that I'm surprised that this "bible scholar" can't see that. Rather, he chooses not to see it and twists the word to mean what he wants. The apostle Paul warns of this in his letter to Timothy when he says, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, [because] they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn [their] ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." (2 Tim 4:3-4). This is why we have so called Christians like Rob Bell, and Episcopalians who have accepted homosexuality. Mr. Lowery calls his judgement biblical when in fact, it is not.
"we should read every Scripture through the lens of a biblical story that reveals a God who creates human beings in the very image of God so they can share power in the world (Genesis 1:26-27), who says "it's not good that the human be alone" (Genesis 2:18)
Mr. Lowery judges humans pre-fall (Genesis 1:26-27) and assumes that God ordained that humans can be with whomever they want as to "not be alone." God clearly laid out what He intended for us humans. He made man and woman in his image, woman was made to be a helpmate/companion to Adam. God sanctioned marriage when He said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) He did not say, "man shall cleave unto his wives or man shall cleave to man." The purpose for the creation of man, was to have communion with God. There was an order in relationship and that was God is the head of man and man of his wife. When the Messiah Jesus came, he fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17). It is impossible for us to fulfill God's standard of holiness. The law was a tutor that pointed to Christ (Galatians 3:24; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 10:1).
My fellow Christians, be not deceived. When the disciples asked Jesus the signs of the coming kingdom that was the first thing he said. He told them that false prophets would arise and we have a lot of those. From the Gnostics and Judaizers in the early church to the seventh day adventists, Catholics, Unitarians, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Islam, the list is quite long. Be a Berean and study the scriptures (Acts 17:11), rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).