I have a regular reader, Stephen, who often comments on our posts. Not always, but many of his comments and disagreements address my stance on same-sex marriage.
I’m not singling out Stephen. His responses are publicly posted on this site. He has been kind, considerate, and often complimentary. For the benefit of all readers, I want to answer some of his questions.
“Could you talk about “cherry picking” Scripture?” Stephen asked.
To “cherry pick” is an American colloquial expression that means to selectively pick the best things in a group. It is picking certain facts to fortify one’s argument while ignoring others that seem to diminish it.
“Cherry picking” Scripture occurs when we take a passage out of context, misapply it, or ignore other plain passages that shed light on the subject. Often people “cherry pick” passages from the Old Testament Law, commanded of Israel in a different dispensation. The Bible clearly states we’re not under the Mosaical Law today! (Hebrews 9-10).
Disagreements over the role of grace, faith, and works often occur when people “cherry pick” passages to support their particular doctrine. Are we saved by grace? Yes! Are we saved by faith? Yes! (Eph 2:8) Are we saved by works? Yes! (Jas 2:14-25). A compete view of the topic teaches that these doctrines are not mutually exclusive in Scripture.
We don’t engage in “cherry picking” on ThePreachersWord to prove our points! We believe what the Psalmist said, “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”
Yesterday, we discussed the word “Scripture.” My main text was 2 Timothy 3:16. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” My exegesis was simple. The Scripture shows what is right. What is wrong. How to get right. And how to stay right.
While I didn’t specifically mention homosexuality in that post, Stephen said, “You just can’t talk about the sin of homosexuality in a vacuum,”
I don’t talk about homosexuality in a vacuum. The same passage that condemns homosexuality, which Stephen admits is a sin, also condemns fornication, adultery, and idolatry. It also condemns thieves, drunkards and extortioners. (1 Corinthians 6:9)
Stephen also asserts “You also have to talk about Christ’s 2nd most important command.” Well, I do! And I have!
Stephen’s reference is to Matthew 22:39 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Actually, this question was answered in a post last year: “How Does the Second Great Commandment Apply To Our Treatment of Homosexuals?” In part, here’s what I wrote:
“The second commandment speaks of our attitude toward others–-friends, family, fellow Christians and even those who may be our enemies. It also applies to our attitude and treatment of sinners. Truth should be spoken in love”(Eph. 4:16).
The Bible says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Col. 4:5-6. NLT)
“Homosexuals are sinners who are in need of God’s saving grace. Just like the fornicator. Adulterer. Or murderer.”
“Now the problem that arises in our politically correct culture is that someone will say that is “hate speech.” Actually, it’s lovingly telling the truth to folks who need to come to Christ for salvation. That is not a violation of the 2nd greatest commandment.”
“The role of the Gospel is to save people from sin. Jesus did not come as a social reformer. Or a political leader seeking overthrow of Rome. Or a community organizer seeking social justice for the disenfranchised in life. Jesus came to”seek and save the lost.” Christianity was born and thrived in a civilization where moral perversity was pervasive, including homosexuality.”
“Our responsibility is to love sinners. Share the Good News with them. And demonstrate through our lives the kindness and compassion of Christ. That is my duty as a “kingdom citizen.”
The problem of “cherry picking” Scripture is too pervasive to end this discussion. Tomorrow we will continue our thoughts. And answer more of Stephen’s questions!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman