Pastor's Corner: Christ vs. Culture

Pastor's Corner: Christ vs. Culture

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I enjoy my Saturday mornings, as most people do. Time to do “whatever” is on the list. As a normal part of my Saturday, I look forward to the Times-News and the section entitled “Pastor’s Corner.” Most of those readings are delightful. However, on one recent Saturday, I was dumbfounded, to put it mildly, and angered at the offense against Jesus and the Scriptures. The author made “Jesus” into some sort of cultural junkie who goes with the flow and embraces all sorts of sin and lifestyles. He gave the impression that culture defines Jesus, and that as time and culture change, so does Jesus. The picture he left is that Jesus is your “home boy.”

Really? Where did he get that? Not in the Bible. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it ever say that your sins, which God has declared to be an abomination, unholy and unrighteous, are acceptable. Nowhere does the Bible say it is OK to live sinfully. Sin is sin; it is as God determines it. It always has been and always will be. Culture does not, nor can it, change the eternal Word of God. Just because the culture, or even a pastor, says a particular sin named in the Bible is OK, it does not make that sin OK. Sure, in the eyes of the people it brings harmony. But not with God.

Sin is what separates us from God. He is the righteous and holy God who is right to judge and can be counted on to judge sin. As sinners, we love our sin and do everything to protect it. Yet that protection does not change God’s truth on the matter, let alone lessen His righteous condemnation against that sin on that great day of judgment. The word “sin” is from the Greek word hamartia. It means to miss the mark of holiness. It is a hunters’ term that has the idea of missing the bull’s eye in an archery shoot. It means that we as sinners will never even come close to living the holy life that God requires for reconciliation and entrance into Heaven. It is the same meaning and idea for the Hebrew word for sin, hhatah.

No matter what time or culture one lives in, Jesus and God’s Word are the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is sufficient for one’s salvation and reconciliation to God. That is the reason Jesus came in the first place — to atone for the sins of sinners. In Luke 5:32, Jesus says, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” The Apostle Paul acknowledges this truth in 1 Timothy 1:15: “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” Paul recognized, and so do I, that we are sinners who need a Savior and a Lord who will have authority over our lives so we can be forgiven and reconciled to Him. That is the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the love that Christ demonstrated while He died on the Cross (Romans 5:8). And if Jesus were present today, He would hang out with sinners as He did in New Testament days — not for acceptance, but to tell them of His grace and forgiveness and to call them to His holiness. Jesus always checked the heart of the sinner with truth (see John 8:1–11, where Jesus doesn’t condemn an adulterous woman but does tell her to leave her life of sin).

Then the question is raised in the article about what “family values” have to do with Jesus. My simple and clear answer is: EVERYTHING. Not only has Jesus, the second person in the Godhead, defined family as it was instituted in Genesis, but He gives us great truth on how we then will live out the roles He has established in the family.

The author of the column then rambles along to point to some sort of soft, playable, and pliable Jesus who would embrace all sorts of sins and those who do them. He even attacks different cultures and accuses them of being the reason why some of these other perverse lifestyles are not accepted as the norm today all in the name of “love,” a love of his own definition that is non-judgmental and never impedes on someone’s sinful lifestyle. It is not the type of love seen in the Bible. Jesus’ call is to repent and believe in Him. To repent means to turn from your sins and trust or have faith in Jesus as your Savior, as your Lord. What marks that conversion? Fruit. The sinner, now redeemed, walks in obedience to God’s Word and only to God’s Word. The fruit is seen in a life that loves God and not one’s sin. It comes out in the “fruit of the Spirit” of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:16–26).

Now you have to imagine that, as a pastor who believes in the authority of the Bible and the God who wrote it, I was not only appalled but utterly offended that one who calls himself “pastor” would re-invent Jesus to fit either his beliefs or others’ sinful choices. I have never called out a past article in the “Pastor’s Corner,” even if I disagreed with the author’s points. In this case however, because it maligns Christ and the Scriptures, I will not stay silent. This isn’t an issue that two people can sit down and come to some sort of compromise. This is a hill to die on. When it comes to Jesus and His salvation, this pastor will die on that hill.

Dr. Bear Morton shepherds Christ’s flock at Magic Valley Bible Church, 204 Main Ave. W., Twin Falls. The church has a Christian book store that may be of help to you — open from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, go to


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