This last week the Pope, in an interview published in a Jesuit journal, La Caviltà Cattolica, and republished in America: The National Catholic Review, suggested that the Roman Catholic Church should not be obsessed over abortion, gay marriage or birth control. The Pope posited that doctrine should not be pursued over and against love and serving the marginalized. One may often hear a similar sentiment even in evangelical Christianity. Or perhaps the way it is put is that homosexuality and abortion are being treated as the unpardonable sin over and against other sins that are perceived as tolerated or practiced in the church.
While it is true that the pharisee and hypocrite are alive and flourishing among us, there is something in such accusations that shows an ignorance of what the Church is. The Church (and by that I mean both the Church universal and its local expression) is the Body of Christ, the visible expression of the Kingdom of Christ, the household of faith, and the household and church of the living God. In this last role especially, the apostle Paul calls it “the pillar and support of the truth.” (I Tim 3:15b, NASB). In this role we are the defenders and maintainers of truth, God’s truth, and we can’t pick and choose our battles because we can’t pick and choose which truths are important and which are not. Because ALL truth points to, and is supported by, THE truth (i.e. God Himself), an attack on any point of truth is an attack upon all truth.
Our job, in the defense of truth, is to bolster up and rally upon any point where truth is under attack, lest the enemy break through the lines and then attack us from both the front and the rear. During the early church, the Christians would not worship Caesar as their Lord but Christ alone as Lord. During the time of the German Reformation, Luther stood against the popish religion that attacked the free Gospel of Christ. During the English Reformation, men died at the stake because they would not admit a mediator between God and Man other than Christ (i.e. the necessity of a priest). They also would not bow to wine and bread or the legitimacy of the Mass. This is where the world chose to attack and here is where our forebears in the faith would not give, not one inch.
In our time the vanguard of widespread evil is an attack on the image bearer of God by devaluing human life in legitimizing abortion and euthanasia, and upon the Triune character of God by debased sexual and marital relations in homosexuality, transgender and same-sex marriage. All sin is worthy of eternal damnation because all sin is against the majesty and glory of a Holy God, but some sins more directly repudiate the character and nature of God. God Himself points to murder as rising up against God through His image bearer (Genesis 9:6). He especially marks out fornication and adultery as worthy of special attention in judgement (Hebrews 13:4). Homosexuality is pictured as the lowest sin of those reprobated — given over to sin — when they fail to acknowledge God (Romans 1:18-27). The bible doesn’t address transgender directly but does picture gender, and its distinctions, as good and given according to God’s wisdom and abundant generosity. One can not seek to change their gender without a direct assault on that wisdom and generosity.
And so the battle is joined where the lie insists that it is the truth, and a Christian can not shrink back or cower where this battle is joined. Martin Luther put it this way:
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.
“Wherever the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.”
And Christ puts it this way:
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” — Revelation 21:8, NASB, emphasis mine
In preaching the Gospel, we must also preach the truth. And the truth is that abortion is murder, euthanasia is also, homosexuality is perverse and can never be considered the basis for the covenant of marriage, and to declare oneself transgender is to repudiate God’s goodness and wisdom at its very core. We are all sinners and we need a savior who is Christ the Lord.