Do you really think that the same Jesus that said “Ye without sin, cast the first stone,” is the same Jesus that says we should change a person just because of his/her sexual orientation?
They have felt this way all the their lives—since early childhood. Could you change your heterosexuality? I speak from my soul—what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me is that organized religion, and the Bible are far from perfect, and that we as responsible Christians must learn from the bible stories-take the moral/lesson of the story to heart. It does not necessarily mean that it is true or actually took place. I realize that this is blasphemy for some of my Christian kin, but this is what is in my heart after much prayer and thought-what the Spirit has revealed to me. I say all this to let you know that quoting to me from the Bible makes no difference because I don’t take it literally or out of context. Surely, people do not like their religion “messed with,” but I ask you to step outside of your organized religion comfort zone for a moment, and in a calm place way down deep inside your soul, and ask yourself this question.
The Church—which is not a building or organization, but “people”—is to group together (or organize themselves) for “the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ” (Eph. 4:12-15). The beautiful metaphor of the Church as the Body of Christ implies One Head-Christ. Thus, the Body is to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Any body has one head, one mind, sending coordinated signals to its members. What is that unity of faith, that knowledge of the Son, that One Mind?
Luke tells us that the Berean’s listened to Paul speak and then “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). The Scriptures are the only source of objective Truth. It is a “single source” (unity of faith) to which each church member can appeal to hear the same thing. Luke did not say that each Berean looked deep inside and the Spirit convinced him that Paul was right. The word “Canon” or “Canonical” (common English words applied to the Bible) comes from a ruler or standard, against which something is measured. We have a Cesium Clock housed at the U.S. Naval Observatory, that is the Time Standard against which every clock in the world adjusts itself for “true time.” The Bible is the Divine Standard against which every thought must be brought captive. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-5).
I fear that as sincere and emotionally satisfying as statements like “I speak from my soul-what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me” and “this is what is in my heart after much prayer and thought—what the Spirit has revealed to me” are; there is no way for you to discern what “spirit” is speaking to you. What you describe as “from the Spirit” does not conform with the reason Christ sent the Spirit to us when He ascended into Heaven. Jesus said: “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26). And further, “He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.....I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak....All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:7-15). This last statement in verse 15 is a clear involvement of all three of the Persons of the Godhead involved in Revelation.
Satan disguises himself as a messenger of light (“angel” is from the Greek word angelos, which means “messenger”—either human or heavenly) (2 Cor. 11:14). His intent is to deceive, appealing to human reason and senses. John cautions believers in his First epistle “not to believe every spirit, but test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). He indicates how to test saying: “He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). To “hear us” they must have had specific words. Those specific words are introduced in the first three verses of the Epistle: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” These things we write to you. This writing is a “revealing” of the Truth. Let’s look at the nature of Revelation.
There are two types of Revelation—General and Special (you won’t find these words in the Bible, but they are good expressions to convey Biblical concepts). Each is a revealing by God, in a loving desire to express His Attributes and Words of Life (i.e., Himself) to His creation. If God does not reveal it, we cannot know it. This comes from His attribute of Self-Existence. By General Revelation we mean that by simply looking around and considering God’s creation, we can see reflected some of God’s Glory. David, in his famous Nineteenth Psalm, exclaims: “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Paul uses this declaration as his primary authority to say to the Romans: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but because futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:19-21). It is precisely this reason that no human can ever stand before God and use the excuse “You never told me You existed.” However, General Revelation only reveals enough to convict us. Only God’s Special Revelation, His very Words, discloses things about Himself and His plan that are specific to our relationship with Him.
Timothy reveals that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” reveals several important truths. First, it is “all Scripture” being referred to, which is a specific reference-up to that time-to the Old Testament and those gospels and letters written by the Apostles earlier than Timothy’s letter. Secondly, these “writings” (the word translated “Scripture” is graphe from which we get graphics, and is also translated “writings”) are literally “God-breathed.” English translates this as “inspired,” but the word is much more descriptive as to action. This is the Greek word theopneustos being out-breathed by God. The Bible’s self-testimony is that it is literally God’s Words. Everyone has the right to testify in their own defense. Jesus takes the stand: “‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45). So, all of the Old Testament-as written-are confirmed to be about Him, to be fulfilled by Him.
With the above in mind, I would like to address what I feel is the most serious of your email comments. It carries the most potential of affecting the quality of your spiritual life. You said: “I speak from my soul-what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me is that...the Bible [is] far from perfect.” I can state absolutely that this is false, and not from the Holy Spirit at all. I know this because Titus 1:2 clearly says that God cannot lie; and, the Holy Spirit-fully God-is the One who superintended the writing of the Bible. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 2:19-20). The reason this view, that the Bible is full of error, is so serious is that it totally undercuts any way of ever knowing what is Truth. Who now determines what is true and false in the Bible? The reader becomes the final arbiter of Truth. The Bible, in its final understanding, is then only what seems correct and reasonable to the reader’s mind at that time. This sets such a person adrift on a sea of opinion, feelings, emotion, and self-deception.
In fact, such a view is precisely the sin of Adam and Eve. It is making a personal decision to move God aside as the final authority, and usurp that position personally, declaring “I will be like God.” Satan, having declared just that (Isa. 14:14), used his own self-deception to tempt Adam and Eve. Notice that the ploy he used was to question God’s word given to Man and Woman in their perfect created state. Satan asked, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’“ (Gen. 3:1). Eve replied, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’“ (Gen. 3:2). But, God had not said anything about “touching.” God had said, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’“ (Gen. 2:16-17). Maybe God really didn’t want the best for her and was hiding something. Satan exploited this doubt and reassured her: “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4). It was now left to Eve’s emotions and reasoning to enter the Serpent’s net—”So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Gen. 3:6). She believed a deceiver and decided that God must not have really meant what He said.
It is critical to understand the Hebrew language’s meaning behind “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in Genesis 3. It is common for Hebrew to employ a figure of speech using metonymy (i.e., two bookend ideas to convey the meaning of the concept in between). Here it is “moral choice.” Thus, the real essence of sin is indeed “becoming like God” by moving the locus of the standard for morality from Him-His Word-to oneself. Immediately upon Adam usurping morality from God, his perfect relationship with Him was broken, and he died spiritually. Corruption also entered mankind with the inevitable result of physical death and decay. Neither of these consequences were immediately apparent to Adam and Eve; thus, for the moment, Satan’s lie seemed like “truth.” This is not some allegorical story with a message. Christ Himself fully believed that Adam and Eve were real people, and that sin entered mankind as a direct result of man assuming God’s prerogative. His lineage is traced back to Adam in Luke 3:38. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees saying: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar; and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me” (John 8:44-45).
Another Biblical example of Satan misusing Scripture is found in the temptation of Christ in the wilderness (cf. Matt. 4:1-11). In each of the four attempts by Satan to play on Jesus’ humanity (He was tired and hungry after a forty-day fast), his tactic was to offer a short-cut to acquiring early something that God the Father was going to give to Christ anyway. As God, Christ could simply have acted on His own volition; however, as Son, He limited Himself to only doing the Will of the Father. Jesus’ obedience to exactly follow the revealed Word of God was His great triumph and our great model. He consistently replied back to Satan’s seductions: “It is written....” The counterattack from Christ was to appeal to the written Scriptures. Paul addresses the Corinthians about this very thing: “That you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. And what do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:6-7) When you say that you do not take the Bible literally, then you are approaching it in a way that you approach no other letter or magazine or book or conversation. The Bible was written to be simply understood by the reader.
The critical question is do you believe God and His Word; or, do you believe your own understanding? If the former, then you allow the Bible to explain itself. If the latter, you toss out what does not pass personal approval. This issue is not a minor one. Paul has cautioned that “now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Cor. 13:12). It is quite dangerous for us, whose knowledge is incomplete, to sit in judgment of One Who says He is Truth and Wisdom. In fact, no one can know God, or anything about Him, unless He discloses it Himself. When we begin to “imagine” what God is like, based on some good feeling down deep that fits with what we want Him to be, we have just made an idol. This is so serious, because now the god we believe in is not the God who is offering us Truth. The Psalmist records God’s warning: “You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes” (Psa. 50:21).
I believe you are a sincere individual seeking to understand God in your life. I have spoken directly and frankly with you in the same manner that the Scriptures do to all of us about Truth and our response to it. I hope this email has been of benefit. I thank you again for the time you invested in considering this response. “Speaking the truth in love, may [we] grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ” (Eph. 4:15).