The Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy perfectly encapsulates the decaying spiritual state of many churches in the West today that are sadly embracing unsound doctrine and outright blasphemies.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths,” he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
Pastor Alistair Begg’s sermon this week regarding this very issue went viral for addressing the failings of Christian teachers today who have lost their reverence and convictions regarding God’s Word.
Many “pastors” and teachers have indeed risen to popularity by compromising the authority of God’s Word and twisting it to support forbidden practices such as homosexuality.
Former popular mega-church pastor Rob Bell said in a 2013 interview, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
“I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work,” he said, in reference to Christians who hold true to God’s Word regarding homosexuality.
Bell also told Oprah Winfrey in a separate 2013 interview that “the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense.”
It is refreshing, then, to see uncompromising pastors speak passionately in defense of the Word.
Begg, the senior pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, delivered the second part of his sermon series “God Gave Them Up” on Sunday. “Like Adam and Eve, we turn our backs on God whenever we exchange His truth for the devil’s lies,” the church’s website said in its description of part one.
He began by reading from Romans 1:26-27: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
“We are not free to tamper with the Bible,” Begg told the congregation. “If you simply choose the parts of the Bible you like and reject the parts that you don’t like, then you don’t believe the Bible, you believe yourself.”
“We’re not at liberty to rewrite the Bible to accommodate godless perspectives on abortion, on euthanasia, on same-sex marriage, on transgenderism and more,” he said. “We’re not.”
The pastor made the important point that God’s Word is what we as Christians must use to determine if something is of God or of the world.
Bell’s dismissal of the Bible as “2,000-year-old letters” embodies Begg’s thesis that Christians are losing their reverence for the authority of God’s word.
“The danger,” Begg said, “is an increasing danger that those who should know better are losing their convictions, not about sexual matters, but about the authority of the Bible.”
“The struggle is actually about the authority of the Bible — about whether God actually said what he said, and whether he meant what he said when he said it, and whether his promises are trustworthy, and whether his warnings are to be taken,” the pastor said.
He said everything we’re battling as Christians today started with what one could call the world’s first “fact-checker,” Satan, who made Adam and Eve question God’s Word.
“In all of these things, it is all from the garden of Eden,” Begg said. “The evil one came and said, ‘Did God really say? Did he really say that?'”
The pastor said “the same bullet is in his gun” now.
This is a clip from Alistair Begg’s sermon today on homosexuality from Romans 1. So grateful for his courage. pic.twitter.com/UKpF5fXbR3
— Becket Cook (@becketcook) December 5, 2022
Begg addressed the question of how Christians should treat LGBT friends and family members.
“Some people have decided the way to handle it is by admonition,” he said, “so you just simply stand up and keep telling them, ‘This is terrible, this is terrible, this is terrible.’ Some people decide, well, they don’t say anything at all, just let it go.”
“Neither is a possibility for a Bible-believing Christian,” the pastor said.
“What happens to homosexual people, in my experience, is that there are they are either reviled or they are affirmed,” Begg said.
However, he said, “the Christian has to say, ‘We will not treat you in either of those ways. We cannot revile you but we cannot affirm you. And the reason that we can’t revile you is the same reason why we can’t affirm you: because of the Bible, because of God’s love, because of his grace, because of his goodness.”
Begg ended his sermon with a prayer: “Lord, please help us with this stuff, both in understanding it, believing it, taking it to heart, sharing it, living in the light of it. But thank you that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”
Pray for more leaders like Pastor Alistair Begg to fight the good fight and not be ashamed of the Gospel but to proclaim it boldly.
I would also advise Christians struggling with these new-age blasphemies to meditate on Galatians 1:6-8: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”
Be wary of who you allow to influence your beliefs, and cling to the Word of God.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.