Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Hideous Hypocrisy

In 1 Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul challenged Timothy with these words, "... I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." Without attempting an exhaustive exposition of the passage, the essence of the passage is a staunch reminder of the important marriage between sound doctrine and sage behavior. In short, when doctrine is amended so is human conduct. In like manner, when morals and ethics slip so does sound doctrine. The church of Jesus Christ is to be the ground for both sound teaching and corresponding behavior.

Sadly many churches and denominations have long since forgotten or ignored Paul's admonition to Timothy. This has evidenced itself in a thousand different evils. One prominent illustration of this is seen in the current debate around same-sex marriage. In South Africa, where I currently minister, it never ceases to amaze me how many churches are quick to take up the saber against homosexuality and same-sex marriage, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the many heterosexual sins in their own midst.

This prompted me to respond to a recent article in The Cape Argus by The Marriage Alliance against same-sex marriage ( same-sex marriage was recently legalized in South Africa). Though I agreed with most of what was touted in the article, I still took exception because of the blatant hypocrisy of most churches who ignore a myriad of other sexual sins in their own pews. A lack of sound doctrine has produced pews filled with convival instead of revival.

The following is what the paper printed of my response:

Dear Editor,

Though I whole heartedly agree with Errol Naidoo (Allowing gay marriage will undermine the foundation of our society, 07-06-06), as a pastor I must demur. Sadly, I know there are many churches that inconsistently and selectively maintain the biblical standards of sexuality and marriage.

On the one hand there are churches that will fight tenaciously against same-sex marriage and homosexuality. Yet, on the other hand they are hypocritically undermining the same God ordained institution (marriage) they piously profess to preserve.

It is nothing short of crass hypocrisy for churches and pastors to hurl polemics against homosexuality and same-sex marriage while entertaining fornication, cohabitation, adultery, and easy divorce in the pew. What is even worse is when a church turns a blind eye to their pastor in the pulpit, who is guilty of the same ( One can be forgiven of such vice, but the consequences of such failures render one disqualified from the ministry).

Ironically, by maintaining this double standard, the church at large is contributing to the demise of the very institution it seeks to save. Until God's people, both in the pew and pulpit, consistently apply all that God has to say on matters of sexuality and the sanctity of marriage, how can we expect His blessing in this realm? After all, "Judgment begins at the house of God"!

My point is simple, if the church is to begin winning this most important battle, then we are will have to consistently wed sound doctrine to sanctified morals. Until that is done "Ichabod" will be the only echo we hear being whispered down our corridors of the church.

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