Jimmy Carter and â€˜The Eldersâ€™ To mark his 89th birthday, former South African President Nelson Mandela announced the launch of a global Council of Elders, a group boasting the alleged sagacity of nearly a thousand yearsâ€™ life experience and the belief that it can save the world. Backed in part by the resoundingly effective United Nations, â€œThe Eldersâ€ is the brainchild of businessman Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel.
This is a continuation from the last post concerning Joel Osteen’s interview with Piers Morgan on CNN. If you have not read the first post, please read it first to gain context for the rest of this post. You can read it here:
Now, to some of the things Joel Osteen says that I believe as Christians we must be careful not to say because it conveys the wrong idea about what it means to be a Christian.
“I’m not against anybody. Or if people want to live together, that’s up to them. But, my faith, when we say marriage, I mean, I think about it, Piers, and all through the Bible there are, you know, hundreds of marriages but none of them are shown as between, you know, the same sex. And, again, I’m not against anything but I just believe that’s what the Bible teaches . . .”
This answer has many problems. First, we need to stop say that it is “my faith.” When we speak like this, we are implying to people that everyone is allowed to have a different belief system. It is not “your faith” or “my faith.” It is what God’s word says. Osteen had done well using the word “scripture” but then backs down to “my faith.” Such wording leaves the idea that another person could read the scriptures and get a “different faith” that would allow homosexual marriage. Osteen probably did not intend this, but we need to see what the world hears when we speak like that. The answer was simple. When the scriptures say marriage, it is never shown between the same sex.
But I am upset with all the backpedalling he does in that paragraph. “If people want to live together, that’s up to them.” This sentence makes it sound like he is okay with same sex individuals living together as long as they do not get married. I hope that is not what he meant and I assume that is not what he meant. But his words left the impression that one can have a “domestic partner” as long as one does not get married. In the same way, society has glorified “living together” or “cohabiting” rather than a man and woman getting married. However, any sexual contact or relations between two people who are not married to each other is a sin. Between two people of the same sex this is called homosexuality in the scriptures and between two people of the opposite sex it is called fornication or sexual immorality in the scriptures. Marriage is only between a man and a woman and only a husband and wife can engage in sexual conduct, according to the scriptures. It is not okay for people to live together in a sexual relationship, regardless of the two genders.
Further, why is Osteen saying, “I’m not against anything?” Why backpedal like this except that you are trying to soften your stance? You are against something, Mr. Osteen. You are against homosexuality and same sex marriage. Don’t be fearful to say that! To be a follower of Jesus means a person must be against all kinds of sinful activities that are condemned in the scriptures. Don’t say that something is a sin and then turn around and say that you are not against anything. Saying such things is a way to try to not alienate people, but the word of God alienates. The way for Christians to present this message is not to say that “I am not against anything,” but to say, “This is not my personal teaching. This is what God says. This is not my faith. This is what the scriptures teach.” We need to show people that this is not some personal opinion of ours. We are not promoting our personal faith or personal message. God’s word says homosexuality is a sin. That is why we believe what we believe. We are against homosexual activity and same sex marriage because God told us to be against it since he is against it. When we cave into language of “my faith” or “my beliefs” we are implying that another person can follow God and have a different belief.
The scriptures are the absolute truth which cannot be changed, whether we like it or not. Homosexuality, sexual immorality, and adultery are sinful because God says so in his Word. That’s the answer we must give when people ask for the reason for our hope and the reason for what we believe.