But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4)
In a few days we will be celebrating the 245th anniversary of the signing of Declaration of Independence. In 1776 the newly forming nation was taking a stand for freedom from an oppressive government – although the British of the 18th century seem like school bullies in knickers when compared to our Big Brother Government – aligned with Big Tech – today. Still, almost everyone still wants freedom for themselves, though perhaps not so much for those they disagree with – if today’s popular acceptance of Big Tech censorship is any indication. Many people today seem perfectly comfortable with Big Brother control of most aspects of life – and seem quite willing to sell out their American birthright of freedom for free stuff – but they certainly are demanding freedom from biblical morality.
Back in the olden days, you know, 5-10 years ago, there was no question in most American’s mind about what a male or female was. Today, such designations are seen as matters of personal preference based on how an individual feels today. Tomorrow they may change gender and insist that everyone else keep step with their decisions and use their latest pronouns, or else. In a blow to Women’s sports, from which they may never recover, second rate male athletes can “realize” they are transgendered females and walk away with all the marbles at women’s sporting events. No physical changes are necessary at all. Many if not most of these new women have already undergone puberty as a male, giving them a huge advantage in size and strength over those contestants who have been girls all along.
One wouldn’t think people – especially those who fought for gender equality in sports – would go along with these massive and rapid changes, but many people seem to have immediately embraced the change, while many others may need just a little more time to accept such explosive adjustments in their thinking. It is usual in these cultural battles that before long, the majority can be counted on to “get with the program” so everybody can move on to the next ginned up “human rights battle” on the left’s agenda. In a fairly short space of time, the majority of Americans may happily “forget” they ever believed we should consider biological FACTS in judging such an issue. Why follow the science? Oppression is the issue, not biology, right?
So, just where are we as a culture on the transgender issue right now? According to Lifeway Research’s recent article, “Americans Agree With Pastors on Gender Identity—Barely:”
A slim majority of U.S. adults say changing genders, identifying as a gender different than one’s biological sex, is morally wrong.
According to the latest survey from Gallup on morality, 51% of Americans say it is immoral to change genders, while 46% say it is morally acceptable.
Much of this is a culmination of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Astronomical changes in cultural thinking about sexual behavior have occurred in the last 50-60 years. What had been regarded as deviant – or at the very least, outside of the norm – is completely acceptable and accepted today, even among many Christians and churches. But do not make the mistake of thinking the revolution against biblical values is over. It isn’t over by a long shot. There are still “oppressive moral roadblocks” (Satire) in the way of people fulfilling their deepest desires.
Christianity changed the world, turning it decidedly away from paganism and toward the worship and the moral prescriptions of the God of the bible. The church, over the centuries, absolutely transformed the way culture thought about itself, God, and their place in the universe. This included what was seen as acceptable regarding sexuality, the elevation of women out of the status of mere chattel, the value of human life and the care and treatment of children, and much more. Marriage for example, was seen, in Christian societies, as a monogamous union between one man and one woman for life. Obviously, people never lived up perfectly to Christian ideals regarding monogamy, et al, but the ideals were nevertheless honored as right, while other choices were regarded as wrong. Even people who flouted the “rules” often saw their own actions as wrong and often hid immoral behavior from public view.
We all know these “ideals” have been greatly diminished even among Christians today. Non-Christians sneer at such ideals, and many Christians have bought the leftist rhetoric and do not like to be labeled “bigoted,” or seen as being “judgmental” of almost any behavior.
So, over the last 200 years or so, we could sadly say that culture is returning the favor and transforming the church back to the paganism she was born into. This trend will likely continue. In many ways we live on the other bookend of time than did the early Christians. The time we live in now is more like the 1st Century than any other time between then and now.
Marriage today is now culturally defined merely as two people, regardless of gender, entering into a legal union being called marriage. It seems likely that polygamy and polyamory will soon become legal, as the rule regarding “two persons” will be seen as oppression against those who want to include more partners in their union. LOVE, after all, must take precedence over some arbitrary number. The 2017 article, “Will Polygamy Be Legalized in the U.S.?” noted,
Acceptance of polygamy is at an all-time high, according to recent Gallup poll. The survey found 17 percent of Americans say the practice of having more than one spouse is “morally acceptable,” up from 14 percent a year ago and more than double the 7 percent who found it acceptable when Gallup started polling in 2003.
Of course, others are forgoing marriage altogether and simply living together as the whole idea of lifetime commitment becomes less important. One’s personal sexual pleasure has replaced the sanctified act of a holy bond between a man and a woman before God, in which “the two shall become one flesh.” Those who do marry may promise to stay together “as long as you all shall LOVE” rather than the old-fashioned “as long as you both shall live.”
In the First Century culture the church was born into, Roman marriage was not about love or even lifetime commitment. Marriages were arranged for political, financial, or social reasons. It was not as highly regarded as personal sexual fulfillment and as a result, divorce was simple and frequent. Marriage was initiated by simply agreeing to live together and was dissolved as easily.
Roman divorce was as simple as marriage. Just as marriage was only a declaration of intent to live together, divorce was just a declaration of a couple’s intent not to live together. All that the law required was that they declare their wish to divorce before seven witnesses.
Although homosexuality was widely practiced, there was no such thing as “Gay marriage.” The reason was simple. Homosexuality in ancient Rome states:
The primary dichotomy of ancient Roman sexuality was active/dominant/masculine and passive/submissive/”feminized”. Roman society was patriarchal, and the freeborn male citizen possessed political liberty (libertas) and the right to rule both himself and those of his household (familia).
“Virtue” (virtus) was seen as an active quality through which a man (vir) defined himself. The conquest mentality and “cult of virility” shaped same-sex relations. Roman men were free to enjoy sex with other males without a perceived loss of masculinity or social status, as long as they took the dominant or penetrative role. Acceptable male partners were slaves, prostitutes, and entertainers, whose lifestyle placed them in the nebulous social realm of infamia, excluded from the normal protections accorded a citizen even if they were technically free. Although Roman men in general seem to have preferred youths between the ages of 12 and 20 as sexual partners, freeborn male minors were strictly off-limits, and professional prostitutes and entertainers might be considerably older.
One current criterion which separates today’s Western culture from First Century Rome is its attitude about having sex with children. As noted above:
…Roman men in general seem to have preferred youths between the ages of 12 and 20 as sexual partners…
This was not only viewed as normal but part of the process of growing up for the child:
In the strictly hierarchical society of classical Greece, sexual relations between an adult man and a boy were seen as contributing to the boy’s education. ( Pedophilia)
First century Rome can be seen as one “book end” of the Christian era, the point when the Church began. Alvin J. Schmidt’s excellent book, Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization walks the reader through the views of the first century in a number of areas and how the Church challenged and then transformed civilization.
One of the last sexual boundaries to be eliminated in American society is the idea that pedophilia – adults having sex with children – is absolutely “wrong.” In the 1990s we were part of a panel discussion about these sorts of sexual issues at an apologetics conference. We opined that “Gay Marriage” would probably be legal in the next 20 years or so. People were shocked by the idea. One of the questioners than asked about pedophilia. Even at that time, a group in Alhambra, California, The Rene Guyon Society, had as their motto, “Sex before 8 or it’s too late.” Joy pointed this out and went on to say that all we need do to predict the cultural earthquakes of the next 20-30 years is to look back on the great changes in cultural morality in the last 20-30 years. Since homosexuality had been rapidly “normalized” over the previous few decades, we will likely watch the same path followed to legitimize pedophilia within the next 20-30 years. Since pedophilia was so demonized at that time – and still seems to be in most circles, thankfully – people just could not even imagine such a thing ever becoming acceptable or even legal. It is not quite as difficult to imagine anymore.
Wesley J Smith’s National Review Online’s article, “Normalizing Pedophilia 2,” documents the strides being currently made in making sex with children just another sexual preference. In the 2012 article, Born This Way: Sympathy and Science for Those Who Want to Have Sex with Children (warning, this is somewhat graphic) Cord Jefferson writes:
Van Gjiseghem says what he and his colleagues mean by sexual orientation is a person’s inborn and unalterable sexual preference, irrespective of whether that preference is harmful to others or not. Currently, there is no significant longitudinal evidence that pedophiles can be made to not be attracted to children, and thus it can be defined as their orientation. And if pedophilia is a sexual orientation, that also means it’s futile to send pedophiles to prison in an effort to alter their attractions. Doing so is akin to sending a homosexual child off to a religious-based institution that claims it can “pray the gay away.”
The case is being made that the pedophile’s sexual attraction is simply “who they are” and therefore, like homosexuality and transgenderism, we need to have sympathy and understanding, not condemnation. According to the UK Guardian: Pedophiles Need Support.
In spite of legalized pedophilia being a “bridge too far” for many people to even imagine, the push to “normalize the behavior” continues apace and will not stop. Think of all the “bridges too far” that have already been crossed in a comparatively short space of time. Pedophile activists will undoubtedly use the same arguments used to normalize homosexuality. Cue the violins…
- Since pedophiles were born “that way,” and cannot change, who are we to judge them on their lifestyle choices?
- A person cannot help and should not therefore be punished for “who they love.”
- How can an act of love be wrong, as long as it hurts no one? (And the pedophile activists will decide whether anyone is hurt or not, of course)
The age of consent is one of the sticky issues regarding pedophilia, but activists are already working to drastically lower the age of consent for sexual liaisons. In any case, due to the disgust with which so many view any aspect of pedophilia, it may be one of those issues that will have to be completely legalized by the courts, as was abortion and quite a few other leftist issues, before it can possibly be at all accepted by a majority of Americans. But then, people are getting used to the idea of something abhorrent to so many being thrust down our throats without any consideration of or consultation with the “little people.” With the courts routinely bypassing congress and the popular will, and creating so many of our laws these days, what would stop them from doing anything they had a mind to?
Freedom from morality does not provide true freedom. It only brings about another type of bondage. It demands to be served and destroys all it touches. The other choice is freedom in Christ, which delivers us from the bondage of sin.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14)Ω
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