With virtually every passing day, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the Christian church worldwide is faced with a serious moral decline and seems to be losing the battle to retain its purity and integrity.
One of the persistent areas of concern is the acceptance and celebration of homosexuality in the church.
A recent wnd.com report by Bob Unruh noted that Biola University, once considered one of the most conservative evangelical Christian universities in the nation, has announced the creation of a “purposeful, community-focused program” for students with same-sex attractions.
The Web page for the new program, called Sustinere, explains that students with same-sex attractions typically don’t feel free to talk about their experiences and feel unsupported in their community.
The program “will seek to provide a caring and supportive community where students can journey together to live authentically and lovingly with same-sex sexual attractions, orientations, and identities.”
Yet a spokesman told WND the program does not in any way conflict with the doctrinal statement that, in italics and bold-face type on its website, affirms, “Biblical marriage consists only of a faithful, heterosexual union between one genetic male and one genetic female, and Biblical marriage is the only legitimate and acceptable context for a sexual relationship.”
“We’re not compromising at all our position, the Biblical position of marriage,” he told WND, so while the “community” reaches out to those with same-sex attraction, the message will be abstinence and rejection of the lifestyle.
That position however still seems to contradict the stated objective of helping students “…journey together to live authentically and lovingly with same-sex sexual attractions, orientations, and identities.”
The university’s approach is certainly not an isolated one.
The Archbishop of Wales has argued that taking the Bible seriously can lead to supporting same-sex marriage as he defended his acceptance of LGBT relationships.
Dr. Barry Morgan, who will retire in January, used his last address to the governing body of the Church in Wales on Wednesday to deliver a parting shot to conservative critics who said he had been “swayed by the liberal culture of our age” and “ignored Holy Scripture”.
He argued the Bible had more than one view on LGBT relationships as the authors’ stances evolved. He said it was necessary to look at the texts as a whole, and especially at the ministry of Jesus, to understand God’s will.
“Taking the Bible as a whole and taking what it says very seriously may lead us into a very different view of same-sex relationships than the one traditionally upheld by the Church,” he said.
The Archbishop concluded his address by quoting from Amazing Love, a book that urges Christians to embrace LGBT relationships. He said people flourish in committed relationships with one other person.
“Those of us who were or are married have found that to be the case,” he said. “Why would we want to deny such a possibility for those who are attracted to their own gender?”
Ian Paul, a prominent conservative blogger and member of the Archbishops’ Council, told Christian Today Morgan’s comments were “really quite extraordinary”.
He said: “Very many scholars of the Bible, including those who do not agree with the Church’s traditional teaching on sexuality, would be astonished by his statement that ‘the Bible has more than one view on homosexuality’. The few texts that are directly relevant are uniformly negative.
And even the Bible texts themselves don’t even matter anymore in some quarters. A report in early September by Michael Koziol of the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier in a letter to Anglican Bishops:
“If the plebiscite does happen it will be important that Christians – and others – vote according to their Conscience and their view of what is best for society…should the vote be in favor of same-sex marriage, as suggested by the opinion polls, the Church must accept that this is now part of the landscape”.
For those who prefer to stick to the Bible script, though, there’s still some bad news: even the sanctity of the original Biblical texts themselves is under threat. Some Bible translators are now reportedly revising Bible translations in ways that alter the original meanings and interpretations of scripture.
Are these simply praiseworthy attempts to correct or improve the accuracy of the current versions, or do these efforts actually water down or misrepresent the original meanings and intent of the Scriptures?
According to a recent report by Brandon Showalter for the Christian Post, a debate is stirring over revisions made to the final translation of the English Standard Version Bible regarding gender, with one Biblical scholar saying the changes are “potentially dangerous.”
The Crossway Board of Directors and the ESV Translation Oversight Committee said in a statement that the 52 words revised in 29 verses were “the culmination of more than 17 years of comprehensive work by the committee, as authorized and initiated by the Crossway Board in 1998… the 2016 edition is a “Permanent text of the ESV Bible [and will remain] unchanged throughout the life of the copyright.”
“One of the controversial changes can be found in Genesis 3:16 which originally read, ‘Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you’. The verse has now been edited to read, Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”
Northern Seminary New Testament professor Scot McKnight believes the word changes in the newly revised ESV Bible have profoundly negative implications.
“This new translation of Genesis 3:16 suggests the curse against the woman is an act of God (a curse) that seals estrangement, alienation, and tension between females and males,” McKnight said in an interview with The Christian Post.
“Some think they make women rebellious and men authoritarian in response. That is a sad and potentially dangerous interpretation for it gives the wrong kind of males a ready-made excuse for domination,” he added.
Other symptoms of spiritual malaise and growing apostasy are being reflected in other ways around the world. In Sweden, for instance, leaders of the Church of Sweden which is the official government-endorsed religious body say that wearing a cross necklace is “un-Christian.”
This development was recently reported by WND’s Bob Unruh. The story also carried the Church of Sweden view that God has a pro-immigration and open-borders philosophy, and that homosexuals should be low-key so they don’t “provoke” Muslims.
The stunning positions taken by the Swedish church group were uncovered by Nima Gholam Ali Pour, who warns in a report for the Gatestone Institute International Policy Council that the nation is very close to having a “new religion.”
“In Swedish Christianity, Jesus has been reduced from being the son of God, to an activist fighting for multiculturalism and open borders. According to Archbishop Antje Jackelén of the Church of Sweden, Jesus has clear political positions on both migration and integration policies,” Pour wrote.
“The leadership of the Church of Sweden no longer wants to lead a Christian community; they want to lead a general ethical association for humanistic values,” Ann Heberlein, doctor of theology and lecturer at Lund University, said in the report.
“If Christianity in Sweden begins to embrace a doctrine that has nothing to do with the universal world religion of Christianity, Sweden has then invented a new religion,” Pour reasoned.
Regarding Islam, the message is clear, too.
The report continued: “After a French priest, Jacques Hamel, was murdered by ISIS sympathizers in Rouen, France, on July 26, 2016, an initiative started in Sweden in which Swedish Christians took ‘selfies’ with a cross to show solidarity with persecuted Christians. The initiative, called ‘Mitt kors’ (‘My cross’), was started by three priests from the Church of Sweden.
The Church of Sweden, however, criticized it. Gunnar Sjöberg, Head of Communications for the Church of Sweden, wrote on his Facebook page: ‘I really do not know about that. This thing about Christians suddenly wearing a cross as a sign for or against something. It is actually nothing new, but the call seems seditious and un-Christian in the conflicts that already exist.'”
Pour added, “So now, according to a senior official in the Church of Sweden, the call to wear a cross to show solidarity with persecuted Christians is ‘un-Christian.'”
Pour, who is a member of the board of education in Malmo and linked to several think tanks, continued: “This is the state of Swedish Christianity today, and it is not certain that Christians around the world would recognize the religion in Sweden called Christianity. Christian leaders in Sweden have taken Christianity and made it into a religion that serves the political agenda of an establishment whose extreme liberal ideology lacks popular support among the Swedish people.
“If the Swedish establishment wants multiculturalism, then Christian leaders will declare that God says multiculturalism is good. If the Swedish establishment wants a liberal immigration policy, Jesus says that he has always been for a liberal immigration policy, despite the fact that he was born more than 2,000 years ago. Swedish Christianity has become a mixture of madness and deception.”
Finally, a Church of Sweden magazine in Malmo recently stated, “The rainbow in the Pride Flag is also a sign of the promise between God and man.'”
“Really?” questioned Pour. “Not even the most radical gay activists believe that the rainbow in the gay pride flag is a sign of the promise between God and man. For many influential Christian leaders in Sweden, it does not matter what it says in the Bible anymore.
In fact, if you take a step back and look at the overall picture, it is clear that many Christian leaders in Sweden do not worship God; they worship the romanticized, multicultural utopia they want Sweden to become.”
Are all these deviant practices bedeviling Christianity around the world simply a coincidence?
From a prophetic standpoint , we read what God predicted about these last days: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron”(1Timothy 4: 1-2).