“For the word of God is living and active….Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Gender roles, gay marriage, abortion, immigration reform, gun control, health care, climate change, racism and terrorism: These are nine of 2017’s hot button issues that many people assume are beyond the scope of the Bible. After all, how could a 2,000-year-old book contain answers to questions surrounding our complex issues in modern society? When we subject the Bible to a relevancy test, doesn’t it come up short?
Not at all. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s put God’s word to the test with three of these hot button topics.
Hot Button Issue #1: Gender Roles. Gender is, without a doubt, a popular topic of conversation in colleges, political circles and in the media. Many universities across the nation, including UCLA, are now offering courses and even majors in Gender Studies. In recent months New York City leaders have begun publicizing that the city now recognizes thirty-one different gender identities including bi-gendered, cross dresser, drag king, drag queen, femme queen and gender queer. (If you don’t know what half of these genders are, that’s probably a good thing.)
But what does the Bible say about gender roles and gender expression? Well, obviously the Bible’s gender list is much shorter and less complicated than the Big Apple’s list. Passages like Genesis 1:16-28 and Genesis 2:20-25 indicate that God created two distinct genders: male and female. A person need not wonder, “Am I a male, a female or one of twenty-nine other options in between?” According to God’s Word, each person is either one or the other. And our gender identify, gender expression and marriage choices should fall in line with our biological sex. In our postmodern culture these insights seem too simple and narrow-minded. But they are just as true and applicable today as they were 2,000 years ago. These Scriptural insights should be included in our public discussions about gender without being shouted down as “homophobic.”
Hot Button Issue #2: Gay Marriage. It’s been twenty years since Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet in a Time Magazine exclusive and announced, “Yep. I’m gay.” That was, without a doubt, a watershed moment in American culture. It sparked a more passionate effort to mainstream homosexuality and turn the tide of public opinion on homosexual marriage. Although Californians went to the ballot box in 2008 and approved Proposition 8—defining marriage as being “between a man and a woman”—it was struck down in federal court. And on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans on homosexual marriage were unconstitutional, paving the way for gay marriage to be legal in all 50 states.
But what does the Bible say about gay marriage? As you probably know, the Bible never addresses the subject of “gay marriage” directly. And the reason for this seems clear: From a biblical perspective, the term is an oxymoron. Simply put, a person must choose one or the other. The Bible is clear in Genesis 2:18-25 and Matthew 19:4-9 that God created marriage as a life-long love relationship between one man and one woman. These verses rule out the legitimacy of homosexual marriage. (And polygamy for that matter.) In addition, verses like Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27 make it clear that homosexuality is deemed by God to be a perversion of His created purpose for sex. Our culture would do well to revisit God’s blueprints for marriage and sexuality.
Hot Button Issue #3: Immigration Reform. This was one of the biggest topics on the 2016 presidential campaign trail. Over the past two years there has been much discussion about a border wall, sanctuary cities and restricting visas from certain terrorist hotbed countries. Many of these discussions have become very heated, and Christians haven’t stayed above the fray.
But what does the Bible say about immigration reform? Well, Old Testament passages like Leviticus 19:33-34 and Exodus 23:9 emphasize that in ancient Israel immigrants were to be loved and treated as native-born citizens. So, it’s safe to say that God expects every Christian to treat every alien (legal or illegal) with compassion, kindness and love. However, verses like Romans 13:1-2 emphasize the importance of obeying the laws of the land. Taken together, these verses indicate that Christians should advocate for immigration reform that is both compassionate and law-abiding. Lawbreakers must be treated with kindness while the rule of law is upheld.
Yes, the Bible has always been, still is and always will be the most relevant book on the planet—providing timeless principles that can be applied to any contemporary problem or challenge we face. Sadly, most people find shouting, cursing and name-calling to be preferable to embracing the countercultural insights of Scripture. Without a doubt, our nation would be in a much better condition if we truly believed and acted upon the wise words of Ronald Reagan: “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”
Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit www.fccvv.com and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.