All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)
I did it again! I got baited into one of those ‘go nowhere’ conversations with a troll about same-gender relationships.
I consider it important to stay informed about the controversial tug-of-war in the United Methodist Church concerning same-gender relationships. Without coming down on either side for the moment, this issue has been dividing the United Methodist Church for decades. I got drawn into the discussion online because I read several clergy sites to monitor the discussion surrounding new developments.
I actually despise controversy, but I’m studying the battle lines which have been drawn in order to preach/teach on it in our church (coming soon!); sometimes the vitriolic acidity of the conversation helps my blood boil!
The conversation went something like:
She: We need to follow the Gospels, and not someone like Paul.
Me: Pardon me?
She: Paul hated women.
Me: Paul wrote a huge portion of the New Testament. Paul wrote to Timothy that ALL Scripture is inspired by God. I think I would re-think that part about throwing out directions to a pastor about pastoral responsibilities, written by God’s inspiration.
She: Paul didn’t write the Gospels. That’s all we should be following.
I don’t know what school taught this pastor to “pick and choose” verses of Scripture, rather than apply the whole counsel of God to her ministry. But she obviously brought her prejudice to the Scripture, rather than allowing the Scripture to correct her prejudice. She opted for what she knew and felt rather than what God said.
And that is the point. We all have many choices facing us every day. Some are of the “what do I have for breakfast” variety; some much more weighty – decisions about spiritual life and death, family, sex, community and vocation.
It has been said that all of life is an illustration of Scripture’s wisdom, and all of Scripture illustrates and should inform life. That’s not a circular argument; it’s perspective. And that perspective is gained when we accept the truth of God’s statement through the apostle Paul, that ALL Scripture is inspired.
And IF we accept that, then the only sane pathway through life’s decisions is to make them in light of Scripture and eternity.
In other words, if you believe the Bible, you will behave according to the Bible’s standards. It’s called integrity…being whole…saying what we really mean, meaning what we really say. And being at peace inside, and with others, whatever comes – because the outcome is truth.
Poet James Russell Lowell wrote about being satisfied with truth, no matter what everyone else will believe and do:
You will have choices today. Whatever choices you make, you will also live-with; so choose wisely. God is standing by, keeping watch above his own.