Hartland

Institute

Declining Moral Values

Apr 20, 2012

Colin Standish

Since the end of World War II, there has been a decided, alarming change in the moral values of Western society. Until World War II, morality in the Western world had been, to a large extent, consistent with biblical principles. Even those who lived in immoral relationships rarely tried to defend their antisocial behavior. Premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual and lesbian relationships, and divorce were at least seen in a negative light.

By the time we reached the 21st century, to a major extent, this had vanished. Indeed, those who still held strongly to Christian morality were branded as narrow-minded, void of love, and exercising bigotry. Instead of rejecting immoral practices and behaviors, society began to consider them alternative lifestyles. If this had been limited to those who practice these sins in the secular world, it might be understandable. But society has greatly influenced many people in the Christian world, who now believe that God desires us to accept such sinful behavior. Before going further, I must mention that we should not despise those living in sin. We should seek to “put our arms around them” and encourage them to live a life in harmony with the godly principles which have, in the past, protected marriage, family life, and society.

On May 15, 2011, the Los Angeles Times published an article entitled “A More-inclusive Church,” written by a Presbyterian minister. Most of us have come to understand that the word “inclusive” today means accepting the immorality that may be found in the world and in the church. This ordained minister pastors a church in West Virginia. He had once adhered to biblical principles of Christian morality, but sometime ago he faced the issue of his church electing a known lesbian to become one of their elders. In the end, the majority of the members concluded that they were wrong in their previous stand, and that the stand of the Presbyterian Church was wrong.

All but a few members came to agree that Christ would approve them ordaining this lesbian as a church elder. So, the said lesbian became an elder in their church. The pastor reported that this decision brought many of the estranged Christians in the area back to the church, and he spoke of great growth in the membership. However, there were members of that church who refused to continue worshiping there and withdrew their membership. It was implied that these members were not Christlike.
Certainly, Christ showed His love for the immoral. The stories of Mary Magdalene, the woman caught in adultery, the Samaritan at the well, and Rahab give us examples of Jesus’ love and compassion. He set the perfect example. Christ loved the sinner, but He also hated the sin. His words, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” sum up the Christlike principles in dealing with immoral behavior. John 8:11.
Jesus’ compassion for the sinner is the reason why He died on Calvary. Not only did He have compassion for the sinner, He earnestly entreated the sinner to “sin no more.”

Many congregations in our beloved Seventh-day Adventist Church have abandoned Jesus’ principles. They may express a great “love” for the sinner—and they should—but they ignore or condone the sin! What a contrast from Christ’s principles. Christ provides grace and power to overcome sin and restore the character of the repentant one.
No one can be truly content living in sin. It brings guilt and disharmony—especially among family and friends. By example, it leads other people in the way of Satan. Some of our churches openly endorse the lifestyles of members practicing immorality.

No true Seventh-day Adventist, no true Christian, can ignore, condone, or endorse a lifestyle which is clearly against the Word of God. Let each one of us pray daily for power and strength from Christ to live a moral Christian life, and that we will also help others gain the victory Christ gives over all sin. May this be the blessing of every reader.

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