I’m regularly refreshed by Dr. Al Mohler’s blog… and today was no exception. His post deals with the question “What would Luther do?” regarding the issue of homosexuality today. The author he cites, Mary Zeiss Stange, makes the claim
“But would the man whose break from Roman Catholicism involved a revolutionary rethinking of the role of sexuality in human relationships take such a negative view of homosexuality today? Most probably, given the way his theological mind worked, he would not.”
I love how Mohler addresses Stange’s claim in this article. I also appreciated reading this little nugget from Luther,
“Is it not certain that he who does not or will not believe one article correctly (after he has been taught and admonished) does not believe any sincerely and with the right faith? And whoever is so bold that he ventures to accuse God of fraud and deception in a single word and does so willfully again and again after he has been warned and instructed once or twice will likewise certainly venture to accuse God of fraud and deception in all of His words. Therefore it is true, absolutely and without exception, that everything is believed or nothing is believed. The Holy Spirit does not suffer Himself to be separated and divided so that He should teach and cause to be believed one doctrine rightly and another falsely.”
Here’s why this quote matters to me:
Mohler’s article is dealing with a non-Christian professor who has decided that Luther would adapt with the times. But there are people who make a very strong claim to be devout Christians who say the same thing (especially in the Emergent crowd)! I was in a discussion last week with someone who very much seems to be a Christian who made the exact same argument about Paul and Luther that Professor Stange makes,
“Like his role model Paul, Luther was a product of the social prejudices of his time and culture…”
Thus, when our culture has “evolved” to a higher level, our interpretation of God’s word must reflect this evolution. Ultimately, though, such a mentality adds nothing to an accurate interpretation of God’s word. For if the text we affirm to be God’s word cannot speak clearly against mere social prejudice in Paul’s time, who are we to make it into a document that does so in our era?
On the contrary, in Paul’s day, just as in ours, there were people who believed the Bible to be God’s word (both orthodox Jews and Jewish believers in Jesus) who avoided homosexuality since it is directly against God’s command, and men who, like Nero, “burned in their desire toward one another” (Rom 1:27). Paul is not merely encouraging people to live godly lives, while slightly biased in a certain way based on his culture; rather he is speaking authoritatively and precisely as he isolates homosexuality as a sin (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Titus 1:8-11).
All that to say, I encourage you to read Mohler’s post.
“I see there is danger of my being drawn into transgression by the power of such temptations, as the fear of seeming uncivil, and of offending friends. Watch against it. — I might still help myself, and yet not hurt myself, by going, with greater expedition, from one thing to another, without being quite so nice.”