For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. - 1Corinthians 15:9 (ESV)
The America-worshipping Christian universe went apoplectic again this week. The cause du jour this time was a Kentucky county clerk named Kim Davis, who refused to issue same sex marriage licenses. This of course would be a major story if Kim Davis was a waitress or department store manager but she is a County Clerk. You know, the people who get paid to issue marriage licenses. Citing her religious beliefs, she lined up with the absurd bakers in Oregon and the florist in Washington in thinking that they have a Biblical right to break the law. As someone who reads the Bible frequently let me assure you they do not have any such mandate. Now before everyone gets in an uproar I am not saying that if a law requires you to break a command of God in your life you must obey the law. Not at all. If the Supreme Court had declared that Kim Davis must personally marry Kim Jones, then by all means she should say no. THAT would be an example of being forced to violate your religious beliefs. She is not being asked to do that. She is being asked to do her job. If she feels so conflicted she should quit her job or work politically to overturn the law. We must understand that the genesis for Mrs. Davis' stand, as well as the bakers and florists who preceded her, is not righteous. It is rooted in a very poor understanding of the Bible and what our role is as Christians in these end times. Ms. Davis is quoted as saying that she fears going to hell for violating a central teaching of the Bible.
I feel bad for Mrs. Davis for she has been taught so poorly. There is no central teaching in the Bible about the sins of others. There is no transference of sin. We will all stand before Christ alone. Mrs. Davis will not be standing there with all the people she may have issued licenses to who were in sin -- whatever that sin might be! This of course begs the question; does Mrs. Davis check the sin status of all of her heterosexual couples? Is she making sure they are not already living together? Is she making sure there is no former adultery? If not then her actions are also hypocritical and while there is no central Bible teaching regarding being held accountable for the sins of others I can point to a plethora about the disdain God holds for hypocrisy. By her twisted logic, she is guilty of whatever sin the couples she is giving a license to are committing within their relationship. Ignorance to these facts does not absolve her. Sin is sin. But she has been taught that she is somehow responsible for the sins of others when the Bible makes no such claim. While I can understand Mrs. Davis simply being poorly taught what is more disappointing is the rallying cry from the religious and political world as if her cause is righteous. Never mind that her actual religious affiliation is with the Jesus Oneness movement, which believes that you are not saved if you were not baptized in Jesus name only. Never mind that if anyone bothered to check the background of Mrs. Davis, they would find there is plenty that Jesus has delivered her from within the very realm she is now being so moral in. Deliverance that ought to lead to humility, not jamming your pious thumb into the eyes of unbelievers.
You see Kim Davis has been married four times. She first divorced in 1994. She gave birth to twins five months after that divorce but they were fathered by the man who would become her third husband. If you are confused it gets more confusing because her second husband adopted the children. I guess none of that matters now since she divorced both of them and is now happily married for the fourth time. Now, all of this happened before she came to Christ, which supporters are correct to point out. While that technically does not make her a hypocrite, she just ends up looking like one anyway. The larger point again is the lack of humility. The key verse today reveals the humility of the Apostle Paul. He always considered himself the least of the Apostles. This despite evangelizing nearly the entire known world, starting countless churches, and writing three quarters of the New Testament. Of these I am the least. Why? Because I remember where God found me. Because I once persecuted the church. Our humility as Christians begins with never forgetting where God had to go to find us. I remember the bar He found me in. Paul remembered persecuting the church. Mrs. Davis should have remembered the three divorces and associated sins. Especially since she is dealing with marriage related judgment. Do you think the cause of Christ is advanced here? Do you think these glaring contradictions are lost on the world? Absolutely not. Just another case of those wacky Christians and their double standards. As if that was not bad enough then pastors and public figures come out in defense of the indefensible. Just like they did with the Oregon bakers and the Washington florist. An opponent from the ACLU summed it up as follows:
"What I would say is she is entitled to her personal religious beliefs, but she cannot impose them on others through her job as a public official."
Sorry beloved but this is an accurate statement. Our freedom of religion does not give us freedom to demand that others must comply with our beliefs and that is exactly what Davis is trying to do here. You can disagree with the Supreme Court but the remedy is not to break the law. Once again, if she is so conflicted, she has the personal right to quit her job too. She could even file a lawsuit if she wanted to. This stand is not about Jesus Christ. It is about Kim Davis, whether she intended it or not.
That brings us to the two main groups of people who drive this madness and they are both from the church. The first are people who are taught dominionist theology. This is taught for example at IHOP, Saddleback and Bethel Churches. This false theology teaches that we must prepare the earth for the second coming of Christ by taking dominion over the earth. They identify seven mountains that must be conquered. This type of teaching is often targeted at the youth, which both IHOP and Bethel desperately try to market themselves to. They actually believe that Christ cannot come back until our work is done here in assuming dominion. The problem of course is this is nowhere in the Bible and in fact the opposite is true:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. - Revelation 21: 1 (ESV)
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. - 1Peter 2: 11-12 (ESV)
Why would the Bible implore us to be pilgrims and sojourners in this earth if we were supposed to take dominion of it? Why would God clearly indicate this world is passing away and there will be a new earth if we are supposed to take this one over? No beloved. Dominionism is as false a doctrine as there is out there. Yet it appears that Mrs. Davis has been taught some of this. There are many who believe this heresy who see the issues in Kentucky and Vermont as opportunities to take ground in the dominion war. It is a war in their own minds however. God does not instruct us to take ground but rather to turn our other cheek. We are supposed to be spreading the Gospel to the very people we seem so upset with in these stories. How profoundly and Satanically sad.
The second group of people however is the larger group. I know this will rub many the wrong way but there are simply too many self-proclaimed Christians who actually worship this country as their god, or at the very least as their idol. Look, if you want to make the argument that sending Mrs. Davis to prison is over-reach I am with you 100% but those are carnal arguments. Not Christian arguments. Instead of pointing to Leviticus we ought to be pointing to the Constitution. Instead of standing on a pious soapbox we ought to be engaging constitutional law scholars. There is nothing wrong with making legal arguments that there should be a way of protecting everyone's rights but dragging Jesus into it is just muddying the waters. We are asking for people who think the idea of God is foolishness to trust His Word. That is simply not going to happen.
There is a moment in the Bible where it says that Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. The next time we see Lot he is living in Sodom. Like Lot before us, we too have pitched our tent toward America/Sodom. We need to be honest about this. We like her sin. We like her excess. We like her arrogance and pride. We like her money and possessions. Somehow, perhaps consciously unbeknownst to us, we ended up living in her instead of merely admiring from afar. We packed up the tent and moved in. We piously sanitize what we know is filthy before God. The excess becomes a sign of God's favor. Money and possessions are dismissed away as the blessings of God upon our lives. Arrogance and pride? Nah, we are merely standing up for our religious freedoms. Sin? Real simple. We deny it until we are caught and then we cry before the cameras and weep. Knowing that all of the other sinful Christians will come to our defense and say -- judge not! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! Her first three divorces have no relevance to her stand here! And the world laughs and laughs. And the bigger picture everyone forgets is the Gospel does not get preached and thus no one is saved.
Beloved, I know this is not an easy topic for many. It is often hard to come to grips with the idols in our lives. The truth is thought the Bible never instructs us to stretch out our judgmental fingers at the world and scream sinner! It says we are supposed to bring them the Gospel because only the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is a false narrative of revivalism that says if we can just make the unsaved behave better then God will stay His wrath upon this country even though the Bible is clear He will not. There is a reason why the Bible says that this world is not our home. We should not even be found pitching our tent toward it lest we find ourselves living in it. When we do we end up fighting for it instead of the cause of Christ. All that has been talked about since this story broke is Kim Davis. All that has been maligned is Christianity. That is not the fault of an unsaved world that does not know any better. It is the fault of the body of Christ that ought to.