|Volume 21 Number 9 September 2019||
In Acts 9, we are told about the conversion of Saul. He had spent a few years doing everything he could to destroy the church. He went into Christians’ homes and dragged them out. He put them in shackles and brought them to prison. He was in total agreement when Stephen was stoned to death. He agreed when other Christians were given death sentences. He received letters of authority from the High Priest and the Sanhedrin to go to Damascus to arrest Christians.
As Saul was nearing the city of Damascus, Jesus appeared to him. He was instructed to go into Damascus to find what he needed to do to obey Jesus. Our Lord told him to find a man named Judas who lived on Straight street and stay there. The irony of the man’s name cannot be missed. Judas was the name of the apostle who betrayed Jesus. This was not that Judas, because that Judas killed himself. Yet, Saul was going to be converted in a house owned by a man named Judas. Saul was in a house on a street named Straight. Saul was not living a straight and a righteous life. He was living a crooked spiritual life. However, he was about to be straightened out.
There is an interesting passage in the Old Testament that Saul would have known. One wonders if, during the three days he was waiting and praying in Judas’ house, he thought of it. Isaiah 42:16 reads, “And I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Saul was literally blind and waiting to be healed, but he had also been spiritually blind and was about to be healed of that as well.
Study your Bible. Learn what God wants you to know. Be straight and not crooked. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
Man Does Not Have the Authority
Donald R. Fox
Mankind has individual authority to choose many things. The following thoughts are guided by western culture and general USA standards of right and wrong. Further, Christians hold that the Bible is the complete authority over the dictates of mankind.
A few examples will help us understand. A young person may consider becoming a doctor or any other honorable profession. We understand such things, and we also make judgments concerning such choices. For negative unprincipled pursuits, one could choose to be a killer for hire, a bank robber, a child molester or a rapist. Such are not acceptable and are sinful. There are restrictions and guidance to what I can do and cannot do. It is never right to do wrong.
During September 2015, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church visited the USA. He was well received by great numbers of people and heads of government. He made many speeches. The television news networks covered his travels, speeches, etc. in an excellent manner. The masses of people were delighted to view and to hear the Pope. Throughout the Pope’s visit, much emphasis and discussions were aimed on Roman Catholic doctrines and teachings. If I understand rightly, I would like to address only one recent Catholic Church teaching. I am talking about homosexuality and related moral issues. The Catholic Church seems mixed-up or is struggling to gain former gay Catholics back to previous relationships with the Catholic Church. There is a great difficulty to accept or find some way to solve the gay problem for Catholics.
A Struggle to Solve the Gay
Problem within the Catholic Church
What does the Catholic Church teach about same sex attractions and gay marriage? Are homosexuals welcome in the Catholic Church? Some men and women who struggle with same-sex attractions wonder if there’s any hope for them to be welcomed in or back to the Church. The answer to that question is an unambiguous “yes.” (“Homosexuality”)
Catholic teaching on homosexuality, which prohibits sex between two people of the same gender, is black and white. On the ground, though, how this teaching is applied is much murkier. Individual bishops and pastors decide if children of same-sex couples have a right to baptism or to attend Catholic schools, leading to disparate policies. Some Catholic institutions offer health insurance to spouses of gay employees, while others fire openly gay teachers or organists. Catholic hospitals and, in some cases, Catholic bishops have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality, while others have condemned them. (O’Loughlin)
Man Cannot Go Beyond What
Is Condemned in the Word of God
Man cannot approve as right what God has appointed as sinful. There is only one solution, a return to the Scriptures.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:22-27 KJV)
“Shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind…” (Leviticus 18:22) is a reference to the shameful vice today called homosexuality. It was an “abomination” in the eyes of God when Leviticus was written, and so it still remains today. Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown for this evil, and it may be received as certain that the judgment of God will surely fall upon those who practice it, and eventually upon any society that apologizes for it, allows it, and consents to it. Indeed, in the sudden appearance of a brand new disease, called AIDS, (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) which arose out of the homosexual community and most frequently occurs among practicing homosexuals, and for which no cure is known, leading almost inevitably to death, there may be the cutting edge of just such a heavenly judgment as that which moved Sodom and Gomorrah into oblivion. Very learned physicians have repeatedly warned the whole nation of the potential threat of this home-born killer. Churches which accept the conduct mentioned here as an “acceptable life-style” have absolutely forsaken their trust as custodians of the Gospel of Christ! God condemned this departure into wickedness, and He still condemns it, no matter what churchmen or churches pretending to be “Christian” may say to the contrary. (Coffman)
Friends, since we are all free moral agents, and we all have the power to choose right and wrong, whom will you obey? Do we obey and submit to the teachings of Almighty God or to man and his concocted rules and doctrine?
Coffman, James Burton. James Burton Coffman Commentaries on the Bible. StudyLight.org. 21 Aug 2019. <https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/view.cgi?bk=2&ch=18>.
“Homosexuality.” CatholicsComeHome.org. 21 Aug 2019. <https://www.catholicscomehome.org/your-questions/moral-issues/homosexuality/>.
O’Loughlin, Michael. “Gay Catholics: Welcome in the Church or not?” Crux. 18 Sep 2014. 21 Aug 2019. <https://www.cruxnow.com/life/2014/09/18/gay-catholics-welcome-in-the-church-or-not/>.