Liberal Libertines (Part 2)
As you may recall from last week, I was working with a young man who had left our church for a contemporary church that was, in his words, “fun.” Because I didn’t want him to slide into apostasy among the lazy, lay-about Christians at his new church, I told him in the sternest tone I could muster that there is nothing “fun” in the Bible. The Word of God focuses instead on unquestioning obedience, extreme spiritual caution and spotless separation from the world. I quoted from the great preachers of the Bible like James, John, Paul and Peter, who railed against sin and called God’s people to holiness and separated living.
His response was typical of those who have fallen under the thrall of postmodern libertinism, liberalism and general heresy. He said:
I see that you have taken my meaning of the word ‘fun’ to mean something different from what I really meant. I did not mean that I was looking for ‘fun and games’ in church. I was looking for a church that was enjoyable rather than simply bearable. At best.
I am very happy at The Agora because there is far more grace and Christian liberty in their worship, teaching, and Christian service than what I found in Pharisee churches. On the whole, I have found most Pharisee churches to be legalistic and condemning instead of loving and encouraging. Not only that, I found your church is even stricter than others in the Pharisee denomination as indicated by your recent e-mail.
Except for the evident pride I took at being known for the strictest church in our denomination, I was gravely disturbed by this young man’s response. I wrote to warn him not to use his liberty for an occasion to evil (Galatians 5:13). He clearly needed to know that there are biblical limits to our Christian liberty. I told him that Christians were indeed free in Christ, but that didn’t mean that we are free to do anything we please. We are NOT free to:
- Commit fornication (I Corinthians 6:16-18)
- Be involved in uncleanness (I Thessalonians 4:7)
- Join the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11)
- Be drunk with wine (Ephesians 5:18)
- Allow corrupt communication to come out of our mouths (Ephesians 4:29)
- Allow any filthiness (II Corinthians 7:1)
- Be involved with anything that has the appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22)
- Love the things of the world (I John 2:15-17)
- Befriend the world (James 4:4)
- Dress immodestly (I Timothy 2:9)
Unfortunately, his rebellious heart continued to deceive him into thinking that The Agora was a godly church. This is what he wrote back:
I have been going to The Agora for more than a month now and you will be pleased to know that neither I nor anyone in my family is fornicating with anyone in or out of the church. Nor are we involved in any uncleanness or unfruitful works of darkness. You will also be thrilled to know that no one at our church has been drunk with wine. I can assure you that I have never heard any corrupt communication come out of anyone’s mouth, neither have I seen anyone allowing any filthiness or being involved with anything that has the appearance of evil.
I do not love the world.
I am not a friend of the world.
I do not dress immodestly.
I want to thank you once again for your concern, but as you can see, I have not falling into sin. My liberty has not caused me to lose my spirituality. As you know from your reading of I Corinthians 6:12-13; 8:1-13; 10:23-24 and Romans 14, we are free in Christ. More importantly, we are also free from being judged by other Christians like yourself.
This young man is clearly deluded by his own sophistry. What he fails to realize is that these verses do not exempt him from judgment of any kind. He may think he is free to live any way he chooses, but this is certainly no part of the New Testament message. Despite his claims to the contrary, I am sure Gaius is abusing his liberty in order to satisfy his carnal desires.
The only thing our liberty frees us to do is to be obedient to the Bible. His gravest error is to think that he, a mere layman, is capable of deciding for himself what the Bible says. He is clearly allowing his own fleshly desires to affect his interpretation. Because I am able to take an objective, dispassionate view of the Bible, he should trust my enlightened and informed interpretation of the Bible over his own misconception of what the Bible says. My devotion to godly living assures me that I will not be led into wantonness and profligacy, so I can provide righteous guidance. Taking this Biblically-mandated responsibility to be a shepherd to the sheep, I wrote him to warn him one more time of his immanent peril. I will let you know next week how he responds.
The inspiration for this post can be found here.
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