Greg introduces his latest STR University course, sharing two reasons why many professing Christians seem confused on controversial issues.
in 2015, Bruce Jenner walked across that stage in Hollywood wearing that beautiful blue gown to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for having come out as transgender, and soon after that, we began receiving emails and texts about me responding to that event. The reason was that Christians in our community were a bit confused about the whole thing. I was surprised because I didn’t see any reason for confusion. And my team said, “Why don’t you make a video and respond to it.” I didn’t think we needed to, but I went ahead and did that, and here’s what I said. I said Bruce Jenner is confused, but that doesn’t mean we need to be confused—and I realize that Christians are confused on a number of things that they need to be instructed on to clear the air. So, I want to clear up Christian confusion, not just on the gender issue, but on four additional controversial issues. I want to show that confusion for Christians on these issues is completely unjustified since the Bible speaks with crystal clarity about each one.
In Stand to Reason University’s Five “Easy” Issues course, you’ll learn, one, why Jesus being the only way is biblical bedrock. You’ll also learn the one Bible passage that you need to make it perfectly clear that abortion is a violation of the sixth commandment against murder. I’ll help you also see that since Jesus was not confused about gender, we don’t need to be confused either. I’ll also clarify God’s good purpose for marriage, something every society understood from the beginning of time, even without God’s Word. And finally, I’ll clear up any confusion you might have about God’s take on sex.
Lately, I have been mystified by and distressed by a trend that many of you might be aware of and, quite possibly, many of you might have been taken in by. Unfortunately, this trend has to do with these five issues that seem hard because they’re so controversial but turn out not to be difficult at all if we simply take God’s Word seriously. Many who identify as Christian seem to effortlessly embrace ideas completely at odds with a biblical understanding of reality. These more liberal or progressive Christians tend to be, for example, pluralistic regarding salvation. Jesus is true for them. He’s their way, but that doesn’t mean he has to be everybody’s way. They’re sexually active as single persons or maybe even as married people outside of marriage. They tend to be gay-affirming and supportive of alternate sexualities. They’re comfortable with gender fluidity. They’re okay with same-sex marriage, and frequently they are pro-choice. So, in sum, many Christians are confused on salvation, abortion, gender, marriage, and sex.
I’ll tell you why I’m distressed. I’m distressed because they have fallen into a trap that Paul warned about in Colossians 2:8. He says, “See to it that no one take takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men...rather than according to Christ.” In other words, there’s a way the world sees things, and there’s a way Jesus sees things, and Jesus got it right, and the world got it wrong. I’m mystified because there’s no good biblical reason for this. Scripture speaks with clarity on the issues that I just described. There’s no biblical ambiguity on any of them. There is no real cause for Christians’ confusion. So, I simply don’t understand this on biblical grounds.
Simply put, on a host of culturally charged moral and spiritual issues, faithfulness is not theologically complicated. Why, then, are many who claim to be Christians foundering on fundamentals so frequently? I think there are two reasons. Here’s the first one. It’s clear that many Christians are just untutored in the basics. I mean, to them, Christianity is simply about believing in Jesus in some vague sense and loving people in a can’t-we-all-just-get-along kind of way. That’s where the theology begins, and that’s where it ends. This is one of the reasons that I wrote the book The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between. It’s meant to lay a foundation of the Christian worldview so Christians can build upon it in a sound and accurate way and see the world the way Jesus sees it and not be taken in by the way the world sees it. This brings me to another issue.
The reason that this is so appealing to people to go in this direction is because these ideas are very enticing. This is why Paul warns us. It’s easy to fall prey to the world’s view because of the rhetoric and the pressure. That’s why Paul says, “Be careful. Do not be taken captive.” But there’s a second thing going on here. Many Christians—and especially among the younger generation—sadly seem to care more about what their friends think about them than what Jesus thinks about them.
Now, each of these failings is dangerous on its own. In combination, they are spiritually deadly. That’s what I want to talk about here and bring clarity to you regarding. And, by the way, I will not, here, as I often do, parse out clever ways to persuade others of God’s point of view on these issues. I’m not going to do apologetics. I want Christians to see the simple biblical facts for themselves, and maybe clarity will lessen the confusion and breathe the courage needed to face the cultural pressures that they’re going to face—that we face.