Modern Sensualists

Many people today think preachers, and others, are silly and over-reacting when they speak against modern dancing. Perhaps they are ignorant of modern dancing, or know fully what it is, and enjoy it! When one speaks against such conduct one speaks against what was done on last Sunday night’s VMA awards by Miley Cyrus and Lady GaGa. One speaks against the same conduct with Beyonce, Britney Spears, Madonna, Katy Perry, and so many others who rely on base, ungodly, lascivious conduct and filthy suggestive words, rather than genuine singing talent to draw crowds and make millions of dollars. The modern dance that puts two people (not married to each other) together in physical contact (so that their bodies touch each other) is part of this same ungodliness. Much sin may result from the unchaste (unholy) handling (touching) of those to whom one is not married. The Scripture says that it is good for a man not to touch a woman, 1 Cor. 7:1. The context is speaking of those who are unmarried to each other. The conduct of two people of the same gender kissing intimately on-stage also falls under this kind of filthy behavior. The indecent bodily movements (gyrations) that replicate, or mimic, sexual conduct is in the same category. The Christian is to abstain from such! God commanded Israel in Leviticus 20:26, “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” First Peter 1:14-16, commands, “as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” A holy person does not conduct himself or herself as these sensualists conduct themselves on stage and elsewhere.

Galatians 5:19, 21 speaks of the following works of the flesh: “uncleanness” (akatharsia, moral impurity), “lasciviousness” (aselgeia, wantonness), sexual vice of all kinds; indecent gestures; and “revellings” (any kind of riotous or unseemly conduct; carousals). Lasciviousness is the unchaste handling of males and females; indecent bodily movements, filthy words, as defined by Thayer’s Lexicon. Today’s news showed more than enough of the foregoing conduct by people who were featured on the Video Music Awards (VMA) Sunday night. What was done was disgusting and shameful. No one should have viewed the show. Those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Romans chapter 1 describes such evil conduct.

Just think of your own daughter or granddaughter doing such things, or being subjected to such behavior by others. What does it say to a boy and how he looks at women and girls when he sees the conduct of Robin Thicke as he behaved Sunday night onstage? Does it lend itself to showing respect to a woman, or is he influenced to demean women and abuse them or use them only as objects of sexual gratification? It is not so pleasant to think about, is it? I did not watch the television program, but saw a clip online, and as a feature on the news on TV. Young folks (and their parents) need to know that some conduct and some entertainers are OFF LIMITS!

We love our children and want only the best for them. We also expect the best from them. We want them to do well in school and in life. We want them to be faithful Christians and good citizens. Let us, as parents and grandparents, be careful what we encourage our young children to do. Let us be careful about what they hear, how we dress them, where we take them, and what we allow them to watch on TV. What may seem to be “cute” or “funny” while they are small will not seem so funny or cute when they are 16 or 17 years old. And, by that time, they may have formed habits that will be hard to break. Help them to be godly.

But, Is It Ethical?

This article was originally posted on an older blog site January 7, 2009.

Many people may not know what ethics is.  It is sad that little in the way of ethics is being taught today in the public school system due to the great influence of situation ethics or relativism. The sadness is that young people are growing up in many cases with no sense of right or wrong other than to say that if a thing feels right to them then it is right, regardless of any objective moral code or standard.  Let us consider the definition of “ethics.”

Webster defines “ethic” as follows:

1plural but sing or plural in constr : the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation2 a: a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values <the present-day materialistic ethic> <an old-fashioned work ethic> —often used in plural but singular or plural in construction <an elaborate ethics><Christian ethics> bplural but sing or plural in constr : the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group <professional ethics> c: a guiding philosophy d: a consciousness of moral importance <forge a conservation ethic>3plural : a set of moral issues or aspects (as rightness)….

With that group of definitions in mind, I want to ask if the following action is ethical.

A man is laid off from his job in a certain state. Due to the fact that he is laid off he has the right to go the unemployment office in his city or state and ask for unemployment compensation. So far, we see no problem with this situation. But, now comes the big problem or question.

The person who has been laid off from his job in the state of Kentucky or Alabama (the name of a state is simply for example; it could be almost any state) learns that there is a loophole in the unemployment compensation program in the State of Massachusetts. This loophole (which is supposed to be legally closed in January 2009) unintentionally allows anyone from any state outside of Massachusetts who claims unemployment to travel to Massachusetts and claim unemployment compensation from Massachusetts because of the legal loophole. Added to this is the fact that unemployment compensation in Massachusetts is higher than many other states in the USA.  So, a person may, if he chooses to do so, claim unemployment compensation from his own state where he was laid off, then pay a few hundred dollars to fly to Massachusetts and apply for unemployment compensation in that state as well.

If a brother in Christ (or anyone) were to do this, would it be ethical? Would it be morally right to do it? What would be wrong with it? Does the fact that it is legal make the matter right?

Some make the claim that it is not against the law of Massachusetts, therefore it is okay to take money from that state even though one has never worked there. Some reason that if the laws of Massachusetts were written so poorly that the state loses money, then it is Massachusetts’ fault, and there is no wrong done to take advantage of the matter and make some extra money.

In such logic and thinking one may not consider that he may be greedy; or, that he may be stealing, or lying, or violating the spirit of the unemployment laws of Massachusetts for his own personal selfish gain.

Does this conduct and the attitude behind it provide for things honest in the sight of all men? “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men” Romans 12:17. What does it teach the young people who know about those who do this?

Just because a thing may be technically legal (even if only for a short while longer), does being legal make a thing morally right?

In some states gambling,  prostitution, alcoholic beverages and other matters that are known to be sinful are legal. But, is it permissible for one to participate in these things just because they are legal? Certainly not! Just because something is legal does not make it morally or ethically right to participate in it. Does such an activity follow the instruction of Paul in Philippians 4:8?  “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

It is a violation of the spirit of the laws of the state of Massachusetts to take advantage of a legal loophole for one’s own monetary gain when one has never worked in that state. It causes the taxes of the citizens of that state to be raised. It affects the goods and services of Massachusetts towards its own citizens. It fails to apply the “golden rule,” Mat. 7:12. It is possible that seeking to take advantage of this loophole puts one in a position of lying to the state of Massachusetts.

Is it Christ-like conduct to seek to take advantage of another even if “the other” is a government entity? Taking advantage of another is not a Christian attribute. Does such conduct indicate spiritual maturity or a carnal mind? 1 Cor. 3:1-3.

What a shame that some brethren in Christ have participated in this deception and greed!

Sectarianism in the Lord’s Church

A recent post on a so-called “Church of Christ” FB page on which a supposed member wrote: “The Church of Christ teaches…,” and then she went on to make her allegations about what the church teaches. The use of the phrase, “The Church of Christ teaches…” is a denominational concept. The church of the New Testament is not a denomination, but we have many in the church who look upon it as just another one.

The church of Christ does not teach anything. The Bible reveals the mind of God and Christians teach it. The church has no earthly headquarters that issues a doctrinal platform on anything. That is the beauty and uniqueness of having autonomous congregations. These same folks on that FB page claim that we are “patternists” or follow what they call “pattern theology” as though there is something wrong with following God’s divine Pattern, Hebrews 8:5.

Many in the church need simple fundamental education in the basics of the Scriptures. They need to know what the New Testament says about the church and about how the Bible authorizes. Let us keep the church pure in doctrine and in practice. “Speak thou the things that befit sound doctrine.” 1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:3, Titus 1:9; 2:1.

Speaking the same thing and being of one accord and one mind, of one heart and one soul (as we are commanded to do), implies a pattern of thinking and behaving alike, 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Acts 2; Phil. 1:27; 2:2. Otherwise, we have confusion, and God is not the author of confusion, 1 Cor. 14:33, nor diverse doctrines on the same subject.

Biblical baptism follows the pattern of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, Rom. 6. Those who object to “patternism” say they have been baptized as set forth in the New Testament. Paul spoke of baptism as following that “form” or “pattern” of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, Romans 6:17-18. Whether they realize it or not, they are “patternists” in the very matter of baptism. I wonder if they have ever thought about that? And, if so, I wonder if that galls them?

The apostle Peter admonishes Christians, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:” – 1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV).  The word “example” here means, “a writing-copy for one to imitate” (Robertson’s Word Pictures). Thus, a “pattern” to follow!

So, I guess I am a “patternist.” What does that make those who do not follow God’s pattern? “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”  2 Timothy1:13 (NKJV).