I have been troubled in my soul with the morality of our nation and would like to share a few thoughts with you from two of my favorite authors in Church History: (1) Martin Luther; and (2) Clive Staples Lewis (AKA – “Jack”).
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefields besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” – Martin Luther
What are the moral issues we face today? Should we as Christians sit back and do nothing? Should we only be concerned with our own private morality? Should we never discus moral issues with others because they might be offended?
C.S. Lewis had a few thoughts on this in Book 3 of “Mere Christianity”, chapter 1:
He introduces the idea about morality by saying there are two ways in which the human machine goes wrong:
“One is when human individuals drift apart from one another, or else collide with one another and do one another damage… The other is when things go wrong inside the individual – when the different parts of him…either drift apart or interfere with one another. You can get the idea plain if you think of us as a fleet of ships sailing in formation. The voyage will be a success only…if the ships do not collide and get in one another’s way; and…if each ship is seaworthy and has her engines in good order…if ships keep on having collisions they will not remain seaworthy very long. On the other hand, if their steering gears are out of order they will not be able to avoid collisions…”
“But there is one thing we have not yet taken into account. We have not asked where the fleet is trying to get to… And however well the fleet sailed, its voyage would be a failure if it were meant to reach New York and actually arrived at Calcutta.”
“Morality, then, seems concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonizing the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for: what course the whole flee ought to be on: what tune the conductor of the band wants it to play.” (pp. 71-72)
People object – if it’s not harming anyone else, then why does it matter – why impose morality on them?
According to Lewis – This person is only thinking of the first concern of morality – harmony and fair play – to which CSL says:
“You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society. That is why we must go on to think of the second thing: of morality inside the individual.” (p. 73)
“But I do not think we can stop there either. We are now getting to the point at which different beliefs about the universe lead to different behavior… Remember that religion involves a series of statements about facts, which must be either true or false. If they are true, one set of conclusions will follow about the right sailing of the human fleet: if they are false, quite a different set… He quite understands that he must not damage the other ships in the convoy, but he honestly thinks that what he does to his own ship is simply his own business. But does it not make a great difference whether his ship is his own property or not? Does it not make a great difference whether I am, so to speak, the landlord of my own mind and body, or only a tenant, responsible to the real landlord? If somebody else made me, for his own purposes, then I shall have a lot of duties which I should not have if I simply belonged to myself.” (Pp. 73-74)
In summary, morality is concerned with: (1) relations between humans; (2) what’s inside each individual; (3) relations between humans and the creator who made them & His purposes for humankind.
“We can all co-operate in the first one. Disagreements begin with the second and become serious with the third. It is dealing with the third that the main differences between Christian and non-Christian morality come out.” (P. 74)
Friends, why do I write this?
For two reasons, firstly, but not most importantly, because I read in an article from the family institute that 39% of Protestant Christians are in favor of “gay marriage” (http://www.rttnews.com/1886648/acceptance-of-gay-rights-becoming-new-norm.aspx?type=gn&Node=B1). Christians, if we get this wrong, we do not understand the Bible and more specifically we do not understand Jesus’ own words about marriage and immorality (Matt. 19:3-9; Matt. 5:27-30; & John 8:1-11).
Secondly and primarily, I am concerned for the moral climate of Christians in our nation. This is a call to personal repentance and commitment to purity for any Christian reading this Pastor Chat.
I quote again C.S. Lewis – “You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society. That is why we must go on to think of the second thing: of morality inside the individual.”
Think about it – how does this relate to you and your devotion to Christ and moral purity?