In this edition of “Theology & Culture” (T&C), we are continuing a discussion that began in our last blog. We talked about pastors, in my opinion, overstepping their place as shepherds when it came to the decisions made by people in their churches on whether to be vaccinated or not.
As a pastor I support whatever decision people make. I may have my opinion on this issue, but I also believe people that desire to honor God need to be encouraged to do what is best for them and their families when it comes to this decision.
We also discussed briefly the gender identity crisis issues that are front and center in our culture. We noted that our gender is given to us by God, and that we are male and female (Gen. 1; Matt. 19). Our DNA determines whether we are a boy or girl, not what we choose to identify as.
We mentioned that people who struggle with who they are (gender wise) make up a very small percentage of the population and most outgrow this inward battle over time. But with culture working hard to cause confusion over this, trying to make it appear normal to question who we are, we as believers need to teach what God says about gender and help our kids and others celebrate who our wonderful Creator has made them to be (Psalm 139:13-18).
And finally, we discussed the border crisis and took a brief Biblical look at immigration, which is not wrong in and of itself (see the previous “Theology And Culture”). There is a right and wrong way to handle people wanting to come to America.
There is nothing unethical with expecting those who are part of a country to have to be vetted, along with being interviewed, and asked to follow the laws we have on the books for those wishing to live here. Asking them to obey the government (Romans 13) and go through the proper channels is not being racist or uncaring. It is using wisdom.
In this edition of “T&C” we want to continue discussing our culture, government and some of the ethical issues we are dealing with as believers that are front and center in our world today. One of the things that parents are dealing with is the overreach of government into the life of the family.
When the Democratic candidate for the office of governor in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe (he lost the election), stated that parents should not have a say in their children’s education, he set off quite a firestorm. This is part of the agenda of a socialist worldview. They want to control every area of our lives, including basically telling parents to keep out of their children’s education, that they in fact know what is best for our kids. In reality, they want to educate them in their warped worldview.
This has backfired around the nation. Conservative parents are running for school boards, making different choices for their kid’s education, and basically are reminding people that their children are just that, their children.
As Christians, we know that ultimately, the responsibility for raising our kids belongs to us. Many passages in Scripture remind us of this. In Deut. 6:4-9, God told the Israelites to help their children learn about Him via life lessons and the world around them, along with teaching them the truth of Who God is.
Ps. 127:3 tells us that our children are a heritage of the Lord. What a gift we have from God. As a church, Oakridge is here to assist parents in teaching their kids the truths of God’s Word, but also recognizing that we are not the primary voice when it comes to helping kids grow up. We want to do our part, but we know the mandate God has given to parents when it comes to children.
As a Christian parent, grandparent, or concerned citizen, be aware of what is going on in whatever setting your kids are being educated or influenced. If led by God, run for the school board. Make your voice known. Or find other ways to be involved. They are your children, and God wants us to decide, with His leading, to do what is best for them.
If any entity, government or otherwise, is promoting and influencing our kids in a way that is contrary to truth, then we cannot be silent, just as with anything else happening in society. Parents are the ones who choose what is best for their children’s education, not capital hill.
Let’s change gears for the rest of this edition of “T&C.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whatever we do in our lives, we are to glorify God. That covers all of life. This is why it is important to know why we believe what we do when it comes to doctrine, ethics and morality. A Biblical worldview is so vital because as followers of Jesus, our lens by which we make decisions is His infallible Word.
One of the challenges is at times trying to determine based on our study of Scripture, where we should stand on issues that we face as Christians. Some seem clear cut, while in other cases there are differing opinions. In some situations, those opposite views are not spiritually earth shaking, but in some instances, they can be.
The following are just some of the topics that as Christ followers, we might need to at least have an idea of where we stand on them from a Biblical point of view. Some of what follows comes from other sources as well as my own. Here is a list of some topics to think and build your study from:
** Abortion/the beginning of life - I believe the Bible teaches that life begins at conception (Ps. 51:5) and that the child in the womb is a human (Jer. 1; Ex. 21:21-25; Lk. 1:41). This, in my opinion, is America’s holocaust, the killing of the unborn.
** Government - What does the Bible say about government and our support of it and when should we disobey it? (there are different opinions on this). Scriptures include Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Mt. 22:15-21; Ex. 1:15-22; Dan. 1; Dan. 3; Dan. 6; Acts 5:29.
** Religious freedom - The “free exercise” of religion includes life outside the walls of the church, which we should be able to live according to our consciences (Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 3:16; Acts 5:29; Daniel 3:13-20; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
** Self-defense - There is debate on this within Christianity. Did Jesus forbid any form of defending ourselves or moving out of harm’s way. Mt. 5:38-42 must be read in context. Here are some other passages to consider as well (1 Sam. 19:10; 2 Cor. 11:32-33; Luke 4:29-30; John 8:59; 10:39; Luke 22:36-38; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). I believe there is Biblical support for protecting ourselves but each person must make this decision based on their understanding of Scripture, even when it comes to owning a firearm.
There are many other topics we could consider. The goal is to encourage us as we face different issues as believers that we look to the Bible as our guide when it comes to decision making. This is so important in our world today as we navigate life’s journey.