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At least three churches in Kentucky hosted a festival late last year and billed it as an event where “children can partake in activities like jewelry making and a scavenger hunt.” This LGBTQ pride event also featured a drag show.
In times past, you would never hear of a church sponsoring a gay pride event, much less throw a drag show into the mix. But that was then and this is now. These days, there are many churches that have tossed aside biblical theology. These churches have adopted an approach to biblical interpretation that ignores the plain teaching of the Bible, and substitutes naturalistic relativism in a way that allows them to make the Bible say anything they want it to say. And what they want it to say is that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable to God.
While homosexuality is the latest non-biblical thing to be accepted by theologically liberal churches, it is certainly not the only one. We could make a nice little list of beliefs and behaviors that fit into this category. Many of these churches accept, and even promote, abortion. And instead of teaching salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, they look at salvation through a collectivist lens and promote social welfare and social justice as the very purpose of the church.
So, exactly what goes into the normalization of immorality? How does that happen?
First, you have to come up with a way to interpret the Bible that allows you to get around what the Bible actually teaches. These folks have done that by creating an interpretive model that doesn’t treat biblical literature as the kind of literature it actually is. Rather they treat the biblical text as figurative. With that approach, people can make the Bible say pretty much anything they want it to say.
The second thing that goes into normalizing immorality is to determine what immoral behavior they wish to justify. Of course, that means that there is some other authority source being exchanged for the actual teachings of the Bible. This other authority source, then, becomes the source for interpreting the newly identified “figurative language” of the Bible. Interestingly, this other authority source is virtually never overtly identified. In fact, those who use this method are often unaware themselves that they have made this substitution.
You may wonder about the dynamic which allows that to happen. Actually, it is not too difficult to figure out. Unless a person has ever studied worldview concepts, their own underlying worldview beliefs are mostly unconscious. They have in their mind a way that they evaluate what is real vs. what is fantasy, and their understanding of reality is merely assumed to be true. After all, everyone knows fantasy when they see it, right, and merely dismiss it without even thinking about it. Thus, anytime they come across beliefs that don’t agree with their worldview beliefs, they merely deem them to be fantasy and dismiss them out of hand. So, if they believe, for instance, that homosexual behavior is okay, then when they read in the Bible where it is called immoral, they conclude that there must be a different way to interpret that passage – and that is exactly what they do. Rather than get their underlying worldview beliefs from the teachings of the Bible itself, they get them from societal norms, then interpret the Bible through that lens.
The next step in normalizing immorality is to actually figure out a way to justify it using the Bible itself. Since you can’t do that by interpreting the Bible based on what is actually written in the text, they develop a different interpretive model. The way they do that is to cherry pick verses out of context that appear, on the surface, to support their own beliefs, then claim that their beliefs come from the Bible.
Once that step is taken, they have totally deceived themselves into believing that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is normal. From there, they go on to live their lives “as if” their beliefs are true – not even realizing that they believe something that is not true. What you have to realize is that people who have normalized immorality in their own minds honestly and truly believe that what the Bible calls immoral is actually moral.
One more thing. We have used homosexual behavior in this blog as an example of how this works, but the approach applies to any other immoral behavior people want to justify. It works for fornication and adultery (After all, how could something that feels so right be wrong?). It works for cheating and stealing (After all, how could a God of justice look down on people trying to even out the economic inequities that exist in the world?). And we could go on and on.
Those Kentucky churches honestly thought they were doing the Lord’s work by being inclusive with their gay pride festival. And the only way they will ever come to think differently is for them to get their heads in actual reality by coming to know Christ.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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