Our Stand on Contemporary Issues
The Bible as our Final Authority
Issues change with the day, and the great themes that call for the church's attention are not drawn from the newspaper but from the Word of God. We do not wish to concern ourselves with any issue that will distract our attention from the whole counsel of God. However, the Bible speaks with authority in every area of life.
Where its teaching clashes with the lie of Satan in its current forms, the church must make its unchanging witness heard. For this reason we wish to briefly state where allegiance to our divine King and Redeemer requires us to take a stand on a few issues of our day.
Evolution, Racism, Self-Esteem, Abortion, Divorce, Gender Roles, Sexuality, Gambling and Lotteries, The Lord's Day
The Bible clearly teaches that "In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth" (Exodus 20:11). We take these words literally. The opening chapters of the Bible do not express myths which developed out of man's religious reflection. They reveal God's altogether miraculous work of creating the world out of nothing. They disclose to us the origin of mankind and the beginnings of history. They are foundational for understanding man's original relationship to God, his fallen condition, the relationship between man and woman, the relationship between mankind and the rest of the creation, the meaning of work, and the whole subsequent development of God's plan, including the coming of Christ His Son into the world.
Therefore we consider evolutionary theory to be a lie of Satan aimed at destroying the church. It is driven by anti-Christian religious assumptions, which we believe also lead to bad science.
Contrary to evolutionary thinking, the Bible teaches that God "has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26). The Christian faith has a sure starting point to oppose racism based on the unity of the human race as it originated from our first parents, Adam and Eve. The Christian faith has the explanation for racism based on the fall into sin which has resulted in the selfishness, pride and hatred expressed in racism. The Christian faith also proclaims the only remedy for racism.
This is the Gospel (Good News) which comes to all sinners with the same message, and elevates all believers into the same family by the grace of God. God's saving grace to all races of the earth, with the resulting Christian love among those who believe is the only answer to racism.
Our society is pre-occupied with the idea and language of self-esteem. Where the Creator is rejected in favor of evolutionary theory, this interest may well be interpreted as a quest for personal significance and meaning. It is for the most part futile and misguided. It is futile for any who think that solid and satisfying answers to questions of personal significance and meaning can be found apart from one's relationship to the true and personal God. It is misguided whenever self-esteem or a sense of self-worth is sought without the Bible's answers to the real problems of guilt and bad behavior.
The real concern ought not to be with self-esteem at all, but with true self-knowledge. This involves a knowledge of our sin, not the least of which is an excessive and misdirected self-love. Christians, being saved from the guilt and controlling power of sin, are learning to deny their selfishness and live by Jesus' command to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.....and love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-37). Becoming right with God, and loving others is the Christian answer to our world's obsession with self-esteem.
People are not free to choose to take the life of others created in the image of God. This includes the unborn: "You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:13-14). It likewise applies to suicide of every form and to euthanasia: "From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man" (Genesis 9:5-6).
Marriage was designed by God to last a lifetime. The marriage covenant and union, established by God, ought not to be broken by man. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:6).
Man and woman are equal in the sight of God, and yet God has made them different, each with a distinct function and calling. This applies to roles in marriage: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as unto the Lord.....Husbands love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:22, 25). This also applies to roles within the church: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man" (I Timothy 2:12).
Man and woman are to find sexual fulfillment within the bonds of marriage alone. Premarital sex, homosexuality and any other deviation from God's plan is therefore sin. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).
Gambling and Lotteries
The typical motivation for any form of gambling is the desire to get rich. In addition to the 10th commandment, which forbids covetousness, the Bible says that "those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition" (I Timothy 6:9). There are also other considerations besides motivation which make gambling displeasing to God.
Whether we are rich or poor or somewhere in between, we are required to use our material resources as stewards of God's gifts. Gambling involves an irresponsible use of God's gifts for which we must give an account to Him. It also involves taking advantage of the ignorance and irresponsibility of others who, though unable to afford it, are also willing to throw their money away. In the middle of our gambling society, Christians are called to honest work with contentment and dependence upon God for His blessings.
The Lord's Day
As stated in the fourth commandment, God set apart one day in seven to be "kept" as a holy day (Exodus 20:8-11). Based upon His resurrection on Sunday, Christ as the "Lord of the Sabbath" changed the day from the seventh to the first. However, the moral substance of the law remains unchanged. The fact that the Lord's Day is no longer respected in our society as it once was may not rob Christians of the privilege, nor does it exempt them from the duty of devoting the day to rest and worship.
Granted that works of necessity and mercy are permissible on the Lord's Day, diligent attendance at worship services, devotion to Christian fellowship, and physical rest from work are the essential things that must occupy the day. Obedience to this law of God may limit Christians' job opportunities and cause hardships, but it is a most important point where the Christian witness must be heard and Christian liberation from enslavement to materialism must be demonstrated.
With the many ways in which the views and practices of the world clash with those of the church, there is a temptation to multiply rules that go beyond the Word of God. Thus there are churches with "no smoking, no drinking, no dancing, no television" policies. The list could go on to include rules of diet and dress. In this connection, we conclude this section with a word about Christian liberty. We make no such rules for membership.
This does not mean that the above mentioned areas have nothing to do with Christian living. The fact is that the law of God is much richer and much more spiritual than any such petty prohibitions. It is the Law of God in its entirety, as taught in the Old and New Testament, which we recognize as the only rule for thankful Christian living.
Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God is sufficient to direct Christians in lives of godliness without the addition of man-made rules. Such rules create false standards of righteousness and violate the true Christian liberty of submitting to God's law alone.