I have a few opinions I would like to make known/clarify.
1.) I am a follower of Christ. I accept the gift of grace and mercy that God the father has offered me through the sacrifice and crucifixion of Christ Jesus, the one true Son of God.
1.A.) I am not perfect. I am not an ideal Christian and I stumble and fall just as easily as everyone else. The difference is that I humbly acknowledge my faults, my weaknesses, my failures, and short comings and look to God to cover me with his unfailing grace, love and mercy to overshadow my past mistakes and purify me from sin, and lead me in his truth toward righteousness.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
2.) I vote on principle, not party. It just so happens that the vast majority of principles and beliefs I hold lean toward the more conservative party. Am I in support of the ban on gay marriage in the state of North Carolina? Yes.
3.) I believe that a moral conscience of right and wrong stems from the knowledge of God’s perfection, and our strivings to leave behind humanity’s imperfection. To not know God is to not know morality. I also believe that in denying the absolution or supremacy of God, one is affirming either existentialism, or hedonism in its stead, and thereby exalting the imperfect over the perfect, contradicting their own worth and value in this life.
4.) I believe that marriage, or holy matrimony, is precisely that- Holy, and sacred. It is not a commitment to be entered into lightly, or conditionally, or contradictory to its definition in scripture.
5.) I believe that to encourage or advocate same-sex marriage is a direct contradiction of the Holy Bible, the word of God.
6.) I believe that Christians who divorce for any reason other than infidelity or abuse are breaking the covenant of marriage, and are equally guilty of sinning against God’s holy covenant of marriage.
7.) I believe that by making foolish and uneducated comments, and blindly quoting scripture makes protestors and non-believers cynical of the credibility and validity of the Christian faith. To quote Ravi Zacharias*, “Any belief, no matter how sincere, if not reflected in reality is not a belief; it’s a delusion.” If you claim Christianity as your foundation of beliefs yet your life does not directly reflect said declaration, you are delusional. You can not choose the bits and pieces of scripture you want to believe. The Bible must be taken in its entirety, and not a la carte.
8.) I hold fast to the belief stated in 1 Timothy 3:16-17, that “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Again, all scripture, not simply bits and pieces as we see fit.
9.) If declared Christians do not understand why it is they believe what they claim to believe, it is worse than not believing at all. We, united as one in Christ, will never be taken seriously as Christ followers by non-believers as long as we continue to make blind, foolish, and thoughtless statements and declarations that we attribute to our “faith.”
10.) “But to the wicked, God says: ‘What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face. Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue: He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:16-23
What right do non-believers have to blindly, mistakenly, and out of context quote scripture to confirm or validate their non-Christian beliefs? The Bible says quite clearly, they have none. In James chapter 4, James states that what causes our quarrels in this life is our selfish desires, vein conceit, and backward motives. You can not sin in the name of God and call it righteous. You just can not. James goes on to call his audience an “adulterous people.” Does he mean literally, people guilty of marital infidelity? At first I thought so. But now I realize that he meant mankind as a whole as he goes on in verse 4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend to the world becomes an enemy of God.”
James was saying that mankind was being unfaithful to God. I believe that we have largely turned our backs to this passage because it elicits discomfort, and wrong-doing on our behalf. But that’s what James was trying to point out- that when we become hypocritical in our faith, we cheat on God; we dishonor the most important and sacred relationship of all.
So while I’d like to point out to non-believers their twisting and manipulating the words of God in scripture to justify their sinful and worldly desires, pleasures, beliefs or ideals, I would also like to call out all the Christians who are denying non-believers the chance to see God’s glory in your lives, through practicing your faith through your daily routines, words, and actions, and instead portraying hypocrisy.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:21-23
This is a call for a reflection into your faith. These are simply my beliefs and opinions. If you don’t like them, that’s too bad. I will not apologize for standing firm in what I believe. I do not intend any disrespect. At the same time, I’d ask any commenters to please be respectful in your responses and take into consideration the points I’ve made previously.
* Also, my notes on the quote from Ravi had gotten dripped on by coffee and were slightly unclear, so if I am mistaken in my quotation, please, correct me.