Last time, we talked about Steve McSwain’s objections as to what Christians are saying in his Huffington Post article “6 Things Christians Should Stop Saying”. We established the fact that Dr. McSwain and other liberals do not believe in the Bible and are not true followers of Christ because they do not follow the Word of God in its entirety. Liberals also have a false conception of Christ based on their secular humanistic worldview. Therefore, we established the fact that when one has a false view of Scripture they will also have a false view of what Scripture teaches. In addition, we dealt with Dr. McSwain’s third objection which was the exclusivity of salvation. So the following are the next two things that liberals should stop saying.
There Is No Second Coming
Dr. McSwain’s next objection is with the rapture which is the eschatological (end times) view that Christians will be taken by God from the world prior to the tribulation period. First, Dr. McSwain needs to realize that not all Christians believe in the tribulation. There are Christians who have different eschatological views concerning the end times, and there is no need to describe or justify every view since those views are secondary and are not necessary to determine ones salvation.
I believe that Dr. McSwain objects to the rapture primarily because he was a Baptist. He also objects to the rapture because he is theologically liberal, and liberals do not believe in the second coming of Christ. They believe that it is symbolic and not literal. That’s why the majority of liberals want to make the world the best place it can possibly be and bring all other religious faiths together. Liberals believe that any person can live out the principles which Christ taught in the Sermon on Mount (liberals love the Sermon on the Mount by the way) in order to be like Christ. The problem is that no one can live out the principles of Sermon on the Mount unless you are a Christian. Living out those principles on your own power without the aid of the Holy Spirit will end up a disaster (Matt. 5:48). Unfortunately, that is bad news for the liberal.
Secondly, Jesus not only taught the Sermon on the Mount to teach Christian principles, but to expose the false theological system of both the Pharisees and Sadducees. Numerous times Jesus called them hypocrites because their works, prayers, fasting, and giving were insincere and not from the heart (Matt. 6:1, 5, 16, 24). This hypocrisy came from the works based doctrines that they were promoting.
Moreover, another objection that Dr. McSwain seems to have about the Second Coming is that professing Christians seem to make false predictions about Christ’s return. I believe Dr. McSwain is referring to false teachers such as Harold Camping and others who have made similar predictions. The teachers he is referring to are false prophets. The reason why Camping and others are false prophets is because of what Scripture states. The standard for a true prophecy is that it has to be 100% accurate. The Book of Deuteronomy states:
“I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deut. 18: 18-22)
In addition, Jesus said that no one except the Father knows when He would be returning:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matt. 24:36)
Therefore, if anyone ever makes a prediction that Jesus Christ is coming back at a specific time, don’t believe that person. He is a false prophet according to what the Scriptures say. This is something that Dr. McSwain should know if he read his Bible.
Homosexuality Is Not a Sin
Dr. McSwain also makes the false assumption that Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin based solely on what the Apostle Paul said. You see liberals believe that you can separate Paul’s epistles from the rest of the Bible by simply discrediting Paul. Liberals say that we shouldn’t believe Paul because he was a misogynist (woman hater), a homophobe, a racist etc. Some liberals will also say that the Pauline Epistles were influenced by Paul’s own personal opinions and prejudices. They especially have problems with passages in the Bible written by Paul about homosexuality such as those in Romans and 1 Corinthians:
“Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Rom. 1: 24-27)
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6: 9-11)
There is a problem with holding to the liberal’s faulty view of Scripture. First of all, Luke stated in the Book of Acts that Paul was God’s chosen vessel to preach and teach the gospel to the Gentiles:
“Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9: 10 – 15)
If you assume that Paul let his personal prejudices influence his views about homosexuality and other issues then why did God bother picking him as his “chosen vessel” in the first place? Why did God choose Paul to be an author of Scripture? Does God make mistakes? Isn’t the Holy Spirit powerful enough to stop Paul from letting his own personal prejudices get the better of him in writing Scripture? Is God so powerless that He would compromise the integrity of His Word by allowing a mere man get the best of Him? I think not. If you believe the liberal’s point of view, then God is a not only a liar, but weak and impotent as well. That is clearly not the God of the Bible.
Moreover, if you disregard Paul’s writings from the rest of Scripture, you are not only calling God a liar, but the authors of Scripture liars. In fact, both Paul and Peter claim that Paul’s writings are Scripture:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” (2 Tim. 3:16)
“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Pet. 3:14-16)
Liberals will say that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality in the Bible. This simply isn’t true because Jesus spoke on both the sanctity of marriage and homosexuality as well. First, Jesus spoke about the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman when correcting the Pharisees’ view of divorce.
“Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matt. 19: 3-7)
Here Jesus was giving credibility not only to the historicity of the creation account in Genesis, but also the covenant marriage between a man and woman. Further, Jesus spoke about homosexuality by referring to the judgment of Sodom in Matthew:
“Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” (Matt. 11: 20-24)
Once again, Jesus is giving credibility to the historic account of Sodom by using the judgment of Sodom as a warning and example to other cities who faced judgment as well. Sodom was judged for many sins, but especially for the sin of homosexuality as described in Genesis 19.
Therefore, Dr. McSwain’s claims about the Second Coming and homosexuality are without merit since they do not coincide with the claims of Scripture. If you are a Christian, and a true follower of Jesus Christ, you will submit to the entirety of His commands in Scripture. A Christian does not pick and choose what he wants to believe, and eliminate the portions of Scripture which he feels are offensive to him. That practice is the mark of an unbeliever and not a true follower of Christ.
Next time we will deal with Dr. McSwain’s last point and have a few closing thoughts.
(Tony Zabala is currently the Evangelism Coordinator for the Santa Monica Church)