A good friend sent me this link yesterday (watch the short video at the bottom of the page). It is an exchange between CNN’s Piers Morgan and Pastor Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life) of Saddleback Church. In this interview, while discussing homosexual marriage, Mr. Morgan posited that it is time for an amendment to not only the US Constitution, but also to the Bible in support of same-sex marriage. His comments include the indictment that the Bible is “basically, inherently flawed” and out dated.
Pastor Warren’s rebuttal is honorably true to Biblical inspiration. He says it is not the Bible that’s flawed, but rather, human opinion, because it is in a constant state of change. That’s the right answer. If there is no timeless, set standard of truth, then each society is free to assume or decide what is true and what is not. The slipperiness of this slope is devastating. By this standard one would claim that slavery was morally “right” when it was agreed upon by the majority of our society. But when the majority shifted, slavery became “wrong.”
Or maybe it’s not society that decides, but rather, some higher truth that reigns within us. Perhaps it is the good of the common man, or the overarching process of human evolution. By this standard, one would claim that if an individual is acting in a manner that is supportive of the common good of man or advancement of the evolutionary process, then the action is “right.” The difficulty with this standard is obvious: Who gets to decide? If each individual is left to decide for himself or herself what is morally or ethically “right,” then all human agents can justify any act of violence by appealing to their own reigning moral compass. I’m sure that the sick minds who committed the mass murders in our country over the past few decades had justified their acts of violence in this manner; they felt justified according to their own moral compass. If it is the evolutionary process that drives morality and/or ethicality, then we end up with eugenics. This worshipping of the evolutionary process is what drove Hitler’s Naziism in the early part of the last century.
The interesting thing about Morgan’s argument is that by suggesting an amendment to the Bible, he is not doing away with the problem of a higher standard of morality. He is simply redirecting worship of the Eternal God (made known through the Bible) to worship of self (made known through the human conscience)…
- Morgan says the Bible is fundamentally flawed. But the Bible says human conscience is fundamentally flawed (Rom. 3:11).
- Morgan says the Bible is outdated and current human conscience should set the standard for morality and ethicality. But the Bible says God’s Word is inspired by God and infallible (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pt. 1:20-21), “eternal, fixed in the heavens” (Ps. 119:89) and that human conscience throughout the generations is scarred by degrading passions (Ro. 1:26).
So here’s the thing: Piers Morgan is 47 years old and socially accepted homosexuality in our culture is even younger. But the Bible was penned over the course of 2000 years using 40 different authors from varying social statuses and ethnic backgrounds and it has been protected and preserved for almost 2000 years since its final words were recorded. Amending the Bible to fit our current cultural passions is a sin against God (Rev. 22:19) and a crime against history.
On a more logical note, amending the Bible would not solve our problem. For there are those who appeal to the “higher authority” of nature to argue against homosexuality. There are those who appeal to the “higher authority” of evolution, inward conscience, or even longterm societal good to argue against homosexuality. All of these arguments are arguments from below, so to speak. They begin with humanity’s understanding and feelings and proceed from there. But the Bible constantly warns of such faulty, shifty reasoning (Jer. 17:9, Ps. 14:12, 16:25, Ro. 1:18-32, etc.).
There is a more dependable, more constant argument, though – it is the argument from above. It is not a standard that will always appeal to our feelings and desires because it, unlike our consciences, is not flawed. This is the standard of God’s eternal authority – revealed to us in His Word, the Bible, and preserved and protected for thousands of years. God inspired the biblical author James to write, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (Ja. 4:1). He continues in vs. 2-10:
You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Submitting to God means acknowledging His authority and the eternal truthfulness of His revealed Word. James says that at first this feels like grief – mourning and wailing. The message of the gospel is offensive: You do not have what it takes to be righteous enough to earn heaven. You must trust Jesus as Savior to accept the gracious gift of life He offers. Otherwise, you will remain lost and dead in your sins, eternally separated from God. That is humility. But when we humble ourselves in this way, God lifts us up.
The pridefulness of human conscience tells us that homosexuality is okay – because “this is what makes me happy.” But the Bible tells us that homosexuality – just like the long list of other sins (murder, lying, adultery, theft, idolatry, etc.) – is a sin against God and can never produce true happiness. In fact, what parades as happiness while satisfying the degrading cries of our flawed, sinful conscience will end up being our destruction in the end… both individually and societally.
Piers Morgan is wrong. The Bible does not need an amendment. It needs advocates.
Grace and Peace,