* Well, unless the sin is, like, really really big and the fight might actually cost you something.
Ideas have consequences.
Imagine, if you will, that I—as a husband and a father—believe that “things will continue to get worse and worse” in my home. I have continually taught my wife and children that their behavior will continue to get worse and worse until Jesus returns to rapture me out of the home. If I truly believed that every aspect of our home life would get “worse and worse,” wouldn’t it then follow that I would become comfortable with the idea of surrendering certain areas of our home life? Should I—since I firmly believe that it is inevitable that our home will just get “worse and worse” that I should surrender our, say, television over to the enemy? Or maybe I should just surrender our family worship and give that up entirely, figuring that things are just going to get “worse and worse” anyway?
Would you call me a wise, loving and—dare I say—Christlike husband and father if I just decided one day that the sin is going to continue to dominate my home life to the extent that I just need to go ahead and surrender to the enemy certain areas of our home? Should I declare that “the war is over when it comes to the purity of my marriage and the souls of my children.”?
The answer ought to be an emphatic “NO.”
Imagine, if you will, that I—as an employee at my place of work—believe that things will continue to get “worse and worse” at my workplace. Maybe business is down, or maybe business is up, or maybe business has remained stable; the point is that no matter how business is currently performing, I still believe that conditions at my workplace will continue to get “worse and worse.” Should I begin surrendering certain aspect of my job? Should I simply throw up my hands—since I believe my workplace is going down the proverbial toilet—and simply give up doing certain tasks that I have been performing faithfully over my years of employment?
Would you call me a good employee if I began acting out on my pessimistic presuppositions and just pulled out of certain tasks entirely as I prepare for the end of my workplace? Should I simply declare that “the war is over when it comes to the quality of my work performance and maintaining my integrity at the workplace.”?
The answer, once again, ought to be an emphatic “NO.”
With these illustrations in mind, I give you this quote from Southern Baptist Pastor Jimmy Scroggins when he addressed an audience of Southern Baptist Pastors at a pastoral gathering at the SBC headquarters in Nashville, TN last month:
“We’re all in agreement that the culture war is over when it comes to homosexuality, especially when it comes to gay marriage.”
So now, it seems, that many pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention are not merely toying the idea with complete surrender, they have embraced it fully. Should, though, any of us who have followed the Southern Baptist Convention for decades really be surprised?
Dispensational premillennialism has been the eschatological system that has prevailed in Southern Baptist life for most of the denomination’s existence. Simply based upon my personal experience, I have heard it taught countless times that our culture will continue to get “worse and worse” until—as demanded by this eschatological system—the Church is “raptured out” and the “great tribulation” begins. Given the presuppositions of this system, is a widespread surrender on cultural issues really that much of a surprise? After all, to fight all the harder against sin in our home, sin in our churches, sin in our workplaces, and—yes—sin in our culture, would be to work against the inevitable tide that will bring about nothing less than the second coming of Jesus Christ Himself.
But wait. What Christian—regardless of his/her eschatological presuppositions—would say that surrendering the war against personal sin, or surrendering the war against sin in our churches, or surrendering the war against sin in our workplaces is something that should be embraced? Going back to my illustration, what would Pastor Scroggins say to me if I told him “my wife and I are in agreement that the family war is over when it comes to sin, especially when it comes to pornography.” Would he remember what he stated about the culture war against homosexuality and say “it’s okay, brother. I’m with you on that.”
I’m unsure as to why many Southern Baptist pastors seem to be softening their stand against homosexual marriage. Perhaps some of these pastors have apostatized from the faith. Perhaps some of these pastors are steeped in compromise. Perhaps some of these pastors honestly think that—since that dreaded monster called “Worse and Worse” has popped his ugly head out once again—they really just need to lay down their arms and let the enemy have this one.
Let me make my stand as clear as I know how.
By the grace of God, I will not surrender in the battle for the purity of my marriage and for the souls of my children.
By the grace of God, I will not surrender in the fight to perform my professional duties in a way that honors God and exalts Christ (and that is a daily battle, I can assure you).
By the grace of God, I will not surrender in the fight to keep my local church a church that loves our community and honors Christ through joyful obedience to His word.
And by the grace of God, I will not surrender the culture war when it comes to homosexuality, and especially when it comes to gay marriage.
Sin has broken us as a people. Sin has gotten into every area of our lives and into every facet of our thinking. Sin has broken us sexually.
Adultery. Fornication. Pornography. Homosexuality. These are symptoms of our sexual brokenness. Jesus Christ has come to make all things new. He has come to make broken sinners new. He has come to make broken families new. He has come to make sinful cultures new.
If your eschatology forces you to make the conclusion that Pastor Scroggins has made, don’t raise the white flag in the face of the enemy. Don’t walk away from the culture, hunker down in your church, and wait for the rapture to come. Don’t look at the scourge of homosexual marriage in our nation and think “the tides of social change are entirely too big for Christians to overcome.”
Instead, rethink your eschatology. Read your Bible. Believe that the Great Commission isn’t just about saving souls from hell, nor is it just about fighting sin in your home, your work, or your church. The Great Commission is about discipling nations.
Discipled nations look different than non-discipled nations. Nations that are being discipled will eventually do away with the perversion of marriage.
Don’t join Pastor Scroggins in his surrender. Pick up your Bible, get on your knees, and fight the good fight of faith.
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