Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:1-10
In a few short years, here in the United States anyways, we moved from President Obama saying he was against “Gay Marriage”; to no longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act; to the the Supreme Court deciding such marriages are legal across the country; to Transgenderism being the celebrity cause. “Get on that progress train!”, they yell.
I think many of us are left wondering, how did we get here? Well, it all starts in a Garden. I mean, right?! It all starts there, believing God was holding out on us and that we could be like God. God promised then and there He would save us: “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Then Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, comes and gives his life as a ransom for many, laying down his life to save us, with the Resurrection as indestructible evidence. Then the pouring out of the Holy Spirit as proof he had risen to Heaven to the Right Hand of the Father.
But the world is still a broken and tattered place. Things are murky, secrets are kept and lies are told and dirty deeds are done to destroy lives and profit others. These things, as Christians, haunt us. We would like our societies to be more just. And somewhere along the way, some people started to think we could actually bring the perfect world into existence.
Now, to be fair, this idea is a universal human desire. Plato’s Republic is a philosophical tour de force of Justice and how to build the best governmental structures possible. History is replete with regimes and men trying to create the perfect order. Nationalized Socialism (Nazi’s) and Communism (Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union, Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, Mao in China, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Angola, El Salvador, etc) both derivatives of Marxism, being histories most recent bloody attempts of making perfect that which is imperfect, this side of Heaven. We would do well to not forget these lessons of history. That major lesson is not, we know better now. The lesson is, let us with care and great caution seek to improve that which our imperfect fore-bearer’s bequeathed to us, their imperfect children.
The current battle left to us is this en vogue idea of structural racism. Racist people built the structures, therefore they continue to reinforce racism. These structures, they argue, must be torn down and replaced with new ones that aren’t built by racists. I can only assume they mean they themselves will do this as the enlightened elites. The presumption here is that those who came before us weren’t trying to make a better system. Their other presupposition is that they, the enlightened elites, are without any sin of their own and could therefore create a “better” system. “Do the work” they will tell us. If we only try hard enough, we can understand. Hence my phrase “Structural Pelagianism.”
noun CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
- the theological doctrine of Pelagius and his followers, in particular the denial of the doctrines of original sin and predestination, and the defense of innate human goodness and free will.
It’s that “innate human goodness” part I’m focusing on. Any structure or system built by humans will always have something wrong with it, because we have something wrong with us. And those who inhabit that system will always be imperfect, ruining even a perfect system. We seem to think that if we can just build the right system, our problems would go away. The truth is those problems lie within us, something only Christ can, by his Spirit, resolve. And only the return of our Lord will bring about a perfect system. Christ will sit on His throne and all will bend the knee.
The idea of systemic racism can also lead you to believe the problem doesn’t really lie within you, that the system is to blame. “That bad system is the problem, it isn’t really my true nature. I’m really actually a decent person, something else must be the explanation for what is wrong with the world. I wouldn’t purposely make the world worse.” Unfortunately, scripture will tell you otherwise. “There is none righteous, no not one.”
Christians, of all people, should be more circumspect about our ability to improve things. Get married. Have some children. Raise those children. Then get back to me on our ability improve society, for it certainly obliterated my own fantasies of shaping the world order.
Part and parcel with this is what I’m calling Sexual Gnosticism.
- a prominent heretical movement of the 2nd-century Christian Church, partly of pre-Christian origin. Gnostic doctrine taught that the world was created and ruled by a lesser divinity, the demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit.
It’s this idea of a special knowledge, a secret and hidden knowledge that Christ gave only to select followers, they had the “true way.” Playing off the heresy of innate human goodness, Christians are looking within themselves for God. What are my desires and tendencies? If I’m basically good, then if I do those things I must be doing what God wants. The sexual revolution has added the extra twist of, “what makes me Horny?!” Then they proceed to create a whole identity around whatever strikes their libido’s fancy.
The ancient teachings of the Church on sexual morality are as valid as ever. Medical treatments can hurt as they heal, but they do heal. Cleaning a wound can be very painful, but how else will you prevent infection and a far worse injury? If a bone was broken and started to heal in the wrong position, re-breaking and setting the bone is the best treatment, as cruel as that sounds.
The truth is, we are all profoundly broken. We are twisted in on ourselves, not knowing our right hand from our left. It is our bounded duty to teach the truths of Scripture to all Christians.
And again let us affirm the ancient creeds and that Divine Gift: Only the Good News of Jesus Christ, crucified on a Cross, is able to save us from our sins and eternal separation from God. Come and see that the Lord is good.