In a recent letter to the Editor of the Adelaide Advertiser there was a telling caption, “Fun Not God”. In it the writer expressed his desire to be allowed to do what he wanted to do without any rules or restrictions from the Bible… after all we only have one life and itʼs short enough…. The sentiments belong to those who have no hope in a future life or belief in the resurrection. The great apostle Paul describes such a state of mind thus, “Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor 15:32). These words are taken from Isaiah, and epitomise the attitude of the faithless within the walls of Jerusalem at the time of the Assyrian invasion (22:13). Todayʼs generation craves “freedom” without realising that what they seek makes them slaves of sin and death. We should not be surprised at the hedonism we witness, and the decadence and godlessness which follow. In his description of the perilous (ʻgrievousʼ RV; ʻterribleʼ NIV) last days, Paul forewarns us of what we can expect: “… men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim 3:1–7). Every facet mentioned is true. We have in this remarkable description of our days a precise and exact description of them; which is in itself a proof of the veracity of the Bible.

In another headline in The Advertiser (18/7/03) there was further evidence of gross moral decay, affecting, not society in general this time, but one of the major churches. Under the heading, “Church votes yes to gay ministers”, the following appears: “The Uniting Church faces a split after it yesterday became the first mainstream church in Australia to openly allow practising homosexuals to become ministers”. This is astounding news and indicates just how great the moral malaise is in the churches. It is true that a great many Uniting Church parishioners and congregations have risen up in protest at the decision taken by its national assembly in Melbourne. Subsequently the Anglican Church also faced the same problem.

The strange thing is that there should ever be a question about Godʼs view of such a practice. The decision, it is said, was taken after much prayer, meditation, and with an air of righteous liberality, that the church will not deny membership to any who are ʻbaptisedʼ! Presumably what relationship they are in is of no consequence to the church!

It is one thing to pray to God for guidance when decisions are being made, and another to ignore the clear teaching of Scripture. It is in fact an insult to God to ignore His Wordʼs clear guidelines for acceptable living before Him: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa 8:20). Godʼs view is clear beyond dispute. From the salutary judgment of Sodom (Gen 19) to the proscriptions against sodomy in the Law (Lev 18:22; 20:13; Deut 23:17), and from the removal of sodomites by righteous kings of Judah (1 Kings 15:12; 22:46) to the solemn warnings in the New Testament against such vile and repugnant ways (Rom 1:26–27; 1 Cor 6:9), Godʼs position is made known. In fact in Judeʼs epistle we are told that the judgment on Sodom is warning for all time: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (verse 7).

We do well to remind ourselves of the Divine view of sodomy. This designation is in itself a reminder and a warning. The very prevalence of evil in our world makes it less exceptional, and conditions our acceptance. We need to keep close to our Bibles, and to daily immerse our thinking in the pure, cleansing waters of its teaching lest we compromise our principles and affections. Who would ever have believed 50 years ago that homosexuals could be not only acceptable in Christian congregations, but even ordained to lead and teach! And one is only left to wonder with what sanctity marriage is viewed in the church? With marriage breakdowns as prevalent as they are, and bizarre relationships extant everywhere, what principle is the church upholding in these respects? There is a great need to uphold the teachings of Christ and the apostles, for failure to do so provides precedents, and opens the floodgates to evil! And once compromise has been allowed, reform is difficult if not impossible.

There is great need for vigilance today. Elders in the ecclesias need to be diligent and watchful. Young peopleʼs activities deserve our interest and scrutiny. We live in a frightening and dangerous world in which our principles and practices could so easily be overthrown. We cannot afford to mix with the world and its pleasures. The pressures upon our young people, and indeed the ecclesias, will not get less. We know that darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the peoples, and that our Lord will come at such a time as we think not. “Let us gird up the loins of our minds and be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:13)

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:11–15).