“Hold Fast Our Confidence”!
Adult Bible Study Fall Quarter 1997

1. Transparency 5/1 “What’s Right And What’s Wrong!” As  current
society is surveyed this question is frequently asked. It appears that we are in a general confusion regarding basic moral issues. The issues that once were unquestioned and clear are now debated and no consequences is found that identifies any act as “immoral.” 

 a. Read the following quotes which illustrate the “moral fog”   that has enveloped our society.
  1) “I did not abstain from premarital sex. I was raised in a secular, Upper East Side Manhattan liberal home and now I’m a quasi-religious conservative. I wish I could say that premarital sex was morally wrong. Sometimes I think its OK. It’s very hard to send young women to college and tell them that are going to be investment bankers and lawyers, and yet they can’t have sex. Plus, we don’t want people to get married too early. More often than not, though, premarital sex is a bad idea” (Lisa Schiffren, U.S. News and World Report, May 19, 1997).

  2) “I used to complain to my mother, who is a liberal, about how boyfriends seemed commitment shy. And she would say, ‘Well, why buy the cow if milk is free?’ . . . I didn’t kiss the man I’m dating now until the seventh month. He respects and values me a lot more than the men I dated in college, when I was a lot more casual with my body” (Jennifer Grossman, U.S. News and World Report, May 19, 1997).

  3) CHRISTIAN WOMAN magazine, Sept/Oct 1997 reported on a Newsweek survey (9/30/96). Only 50% of the American public believe adultery is wrong because it is immoral; 25% because it can destroy marriage; 17% because of the danger of disease. “According to this report, only half of America believes extramarital sex is wrong and as little as 15% see it as a reason not to vote for a person running for public office. In this country, we have become accustomed to seeing and hearing about infidelity” (50). 

  4) An educational curriculum, designed to help give student’s personal values, distributed a questionnaire asking participants to rank their “preferences.” A wide variety of questions asked students to commit themselves to positions that ultimately led to moral neutrality. Commenting upon this survey one said, “Liking yogurt is placed on the same decision level as liking premarital sex or mercy killing or abortion.”

 b. This confusion has a dramatic impact upon the believer.   Brainstorm ways that this “moral fog” affects the believer in: 

  1) Bible Classes/Sermons

  2) Upholding cherished values of right/wrong

  3) Church discipline

  4) Communicating family beliefs/values to children

  5) Inter-family situations involving moral issues

 c. Discuss 1 Corinthians 5:1-6:20. How did the “moral fog” of Cor-
inth impact the Christians in that city? What emphatic points did Paul make that apply with equal force to our modern society?
2. Transparency 5/2 “Morality Adrift!”  Societies often become a-
drift in their morality because the anchoring standard has been cast loose. Such is historically validated. The Scriptures confirm that once society throws off the restrictions of Heaven’s morality, then moral confusion/chaos results. Examine these texts and see how they teach this point: Jeremiah 23:13-40; Hosea 4:1-5:15; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16.
 a. What points are shared in common in these verses? 
God’s standards are replaced by man’s standards; God’s wisdom is replace by worldly wisdom; Purity is replaced by sin; Calamity and chaos replace peace and tranquility. Each present a confused society.

 b. What is the root cause for the rejection of God’s stan-  dards?
Man’s pride! Satan deceives man into thinking mortal wisdom is better than divine wisdom (cf 2 Ths 2:2-12). Such was the problem in Eden, Babel, and all other scenes where mortal wisdom sought to overthrow God’s wisdom. Man always thinks HE knows better than God!

 c. What words describe the society’s future which rejects God’s will? 
Destruction! Ruin! Confusion! Uncertainty! The moral fabric which holds the society together is unraveled by those libertines seeking “freedom.” 

 d. What lessons are found for modern man?
The only enduring way is for a society to follow God’s standards in morality! We must reject the world’s wisdom even though it is appealing. We must be courageous and resist the temptation of Satan to compromise God’s standards.  We must realize that decisions based upon “feelings” and “emotions” always lead to tragedy.

3. Transparency 5/3 “Satan’s Tools For Moral  Collapse” 
How has Satan encouraged the lapse in moral convictions in our society. The current moral disarray is the consequence of the philosophy of modern culture (see lesson one). Worldly philosophy has joined with a pagan educational emphasis. This demonic union has resulted in the perverse morality that is rampant in our society. Notice how this union works to corrupt God’s morality.
 a. Worldly Philosophy
We live in a society that has accepted the validity of “plastic truth.” No where else is this as visible as in moral behaviors.  Society has been deceived into believing that nothing is certain; nothing is absolute. People have been told to trust feelings and follow the subjective guidance. All focuses upon SELF. Morality is perverted by SELF and the self-centered emphasis has corrupted the standards of right and wrong. In today’s society the concept of “truth” is defined by personal preferences -- “What’s right today is wrong tomorrow; Joy in France, in England sorrow.” Consequently personal “opinion” has now been elevated to the status of “truth.” Pluralism has been accepted as the general belief and demands that no belief/practice/idea be condemned (except those which advocate objective right/wrong!). Accordingly, “personal truth” is known only through existentialistic feelings (which varies in each person).

 b. Worldly Education
Broad acceptance of the worldly philosophy has been a carefully orchestrated educational effort. In summary, those living in our society have been “educated out of morality”! 

  1) This was the goal of Humanism which elevated mortal man
above the biblical God. Humanist tenets state that man, the individual, is able to establish the boundaries of “rights”; there are no objective standards upon which beliefs, attitudes, and actions may be judged. Humanism rejected the concept of God and thus elevated man to deity.

  2) Whenever man eliminates the concept of God from life,
then all barriers of morality are removed. Commenting upon the disastrous impact of this, Thomas Warren notes, “If there is no God, then it is no worse, ethically speaking, to stomp a three year old girl to death than it would be to stomp a cockroach to death.”

  3) The “values clarification” educational movement utilized
the entertainment media avenues and educational sources to propagate its amoral precepts. Entertainment has long cast the immoral as the “underdog” that is scorned by snobbish, self-righteous characters. It is responsible for placing traditional Christian values in a negative light while it advocated the most perverse beliefs in the heroic settings. Entertainment often places Christian values in a false dilemma where if one follows biblical values s/he will bring grief and harm upon those in immoral situations, and the audience is manipulated to “feel” sympathy for the immoral! The educational sources have used the nation’s schools to preach the libertine philosophy of total freedom from any restraint and self-gratification. “Parenting And Family Life Skills” curriculum have been the means of furthering this disintegration of national morality. In a 1976 instructional manual for teaching school children about values, the following counsel is found:

   a) Discussion should encourage expression of individuality
... Value statements may be seen as alternatives rather than correct answers.

   b) The result should be an atmosphere of acceptance
wherein students feel safe even though their ideas are not universally accepted.

   c) The purpose of the discussion should not be to arrive at
a single answer to a problem. The teacher should work to keep the issues open rather than to seek consensus.

   d) What will result when teachers follow this prescribed
formula and allow moral issues to be discussed with expression of any comment and no consensus reached as to the ultimate right/wrong of the situation?

    1) Any immoral position can be advocated and support-     ed and nothing of the value of the position can be      judged. 

    2) A generation has grown up believing that there “are
no correct answers” to moral issues -- the answer depends upon how one feels at the time it is experienced. Thus, it may be “right” to murder another for a pair of expensive tennis shoes; to cheat on an exam in order to pass; etc. The result will be that no one is responsible for actions because the actions are done in response to the factors surrounding the person (i.e. “I’m not to blame -- HE made me do it!”  “Homosexuality is not a choice and one is ‘unfair’ to condemn it!”  “You should not ‘judge’ me!”).

    3) It subtly coerces all to follow its compromises. Threats
against those who are “non-conformists” are cruel and vicious. Those who take vocal, public opposition against the advocates of moral neutrality are branded as extreme and legalistic. 

    4) Note: The heartbreaking fact is that often the worldly
philosophy has invaded the hearts of Christians and they have accepted the worldly education and compromise convictions! Should we relent in matters of basic morality? Should we accept the “no absolute” standard of morality? Are we to see all immorality as only a matter of “personal taste”?

4. Transparency 5/4 “Confused Morality In The Church!” The con-
fusion of society’s moral standards is understandable. However, the fact that confusion has subtly crept into the believers’ hearts seems absurd to suggest.  However the “clarification” of basic moral values has redefined the moral sphere of the church -- an incredible, unbelievable, but true fact!
 a. The Causes:
  1) A compromised perspective of God -- many do not see Him    as the Omnipotent Sovereign.

  2) A subjective standard -- many wish to follow “feelings”    rather than fact; “heart” instead of head.

  3) A lack of spiritual knowledge -- many have grown up with-
out maturing in the Faith! (cf. Hos 4:6; Jere 23:16). The criterion used is a worldly spirituality based upon a corrupt biblical text -- they do not know what the Bible teaches and do not want to know because they prefer the world’s interpretation! (Cf. 2 Pt 3:16-18).

  4) A worldly wisdom that interprets God’s commands -- many
are resting in vain philosophies for their confidence. Worldly wisdom has its unique way of explaining away basic Bible morality (i.e. adultery). It thrives in stirring up more and more questions, that are never answered, that cast suspicion upon the moral absolutes of God. It appears these “Intellectuals” are always searching for the “loophole” in God’s morality and are quick to denounce anyone who advocates an unchanging moral standard.

 b. The Issues:
Here are a few of the more commonly attacked moral issues of the Bible. These have become the targets of those seeking to “clarify” moral values in the Lord’s Church. 
  1) The concept and definition of “adultery” serve to illustrate
the amazing way cultural philosophy has invaded the thoughts of believers.
   a) There is no human relationship that is more sacred, intimate, and critical to society’s stability than marriage. The marriage union was formed in Eden by Divine decree and those who enter into it are bound by strict guidelines. As long as marriage remains honored, the culture thrives. One of the first indicators of cultural collapse will be a confusion regarding marriage. Since the prevailing cultural philosophy is aggressively hostile to all factors which provide a secure anchor to values, it is not surprising that “traditional marital values” have been aggressively attacked. The surprise arises when one discovers that cultural philosophy has subtly invaded and persuaded some Christians to ignore the historic, biblical values attached to marriage. One begins to hear from believers that “freedom” should be extended to those who are doomed to an “unfulfilling” marital relationship. In order to grant this “freedom” there must be a re-definition of Christ’s teaching in Matthew 19:9.  Look and see how cultural philosophy has influenced the meaning of “adultery.”

   b) Here are some of the more recent “re-definitions” with
a brief explanation of each view. It will be noted that as these positions are explained they reflect the confusion that dominates our society -- contradictions, wilful ignoring of basic facts, wresting words to suit their purposes. These positions well illustrate the “plastic truth” that William James introduced to the religious world!

    1) It is an “emotional infidelity” of one of the spouses.
This has re-defined “adultery” to mean that one is justified in divorce if s/he has been involved in a marriage where “emotional” attachments were broken. Thus one can divorce for “adultery” if s/he has suffered “emotional infidelity” and re-marry without sinning. The one who was responsible for this “emotional adultery” can apologize and re-marry another without sinning. ANSWER: The Greek meaning of “adultery” refers to the physical, sexual relations. The Greek term is MOICHEIA and unquestionably refers to illicit sexual conduct of married people. There is NO allowance for re-marriage because of “emotional adultery”! Such sounds good but it is “plastic truth” molded to fit the situation and allow feelings to direct decisions (i.e. use of the “second level” philosophy).

    2) It is being “unfaithful” in areas of marriage other than
the sexual area. This view teaches that marriage is a covenant agreement which requires inter-action between spouses in many ways (not just sexual). Emotional, spiritual, sexual, and mutual duties with one another are required. One commits “adultery” by breaking the covenant agreement in any number of ways (not limited to sexual). Failing to provide for a mate’s needs emotionally, spiritually, sexually, financially, socially, etc., is “adultery.” One can thus divorce his/her mate for “adultery” (not satisfying the needs in several areas) and re-marry. The spouse who was guilty of this “adultery” is able to apologize for not meeting the other’s needs and then re-marry another without violating God’s marriage laws (cf Mt 19:1-9). ANSWER: Such teaching contradicts our Lord’s words.  As noted above, “adultery” is a specific word for sexual infidelity in marriage. One might not be faithful to the marriage covenant by irresponsible finances or by not fulfilling duties but this unfaithfulness IS NOT the same as sexual unfaithfulness! God does not recognize (approve of) any divorce “except it be for fornication” (Mt 19:9). The “plastic truth” of Post-Modernism cannot change the absolute Truth of Scripture!

    3) It is only the first act of sexual intercourse. Thus one
“commits adultery” only once. One can thus “repent” for the first act and continue in the relationship with God’s full approval. ANSWER: One can “live in sin” (Ep 2:1-3). Specifically, one can “live in adultery” (cf Col 3:5-7). The phrase “committeth adultery” (Mt 19:9) is in the present tense. This denotes “linear or continuous action.” Literally it means one commits and keeps on committing! One thus BEGINS the sin of “adultery” by the first act of sexual intercourse and CONTINUES the sin of “adultery” until s/he ceases sexual intercourse! The truth of this is evident as one substitutes other sins for adultery. When does one cease being a liar? A thief? A drunkard? 

    4) It is not committed by those in the world for only the
Law of Christ defines it. It is contended that Christ’s marriage law of Mt 19 does not apply to those in the world and thus the non-Christian is not guilty if s/he divorces for a cause other than “adultery” before s/he becomes a Christian. It is further contended that one can be married and divorced many times prior to conversion and only at conversion does Mt 19 begin to apply. ANSWER: The principles of marriage apply universally! Christ looked back to the beginning of creation (“in the beginning...”) not to the start of the Mosaic Era. God’s marriage laws apply to everyone whether they are believers or unbelievers!

    5) It refers to breaking the covenant vow (divorcing or
leaving the mate). Those upholding this view admit the lexicons, encyclopedias, and language tools of past centuries are WRONG in their definition of “adultery.” It is suggested that if we “re-plow the linguistic field” we will discover that “adultery” is simply “covenant breaking.” In order to “repent” from “adultery” all one has to do is simply tell the Lord s/he is sorry for having broken the covenant with the former mate and promises not to be a “covenant breaker” in the future. If the covenant-breaker is married this apology sanctifies the relationship that was previously viewed as “adulterous.” According to this view, one can abandon his/her spouse for any trivial reason, promise never to do so again, and then enter a new “marriage.” ANSWER: Proponents of this view admit they are without scholastic support. They thus become “law makers” and presume to re-write God’s Scriptures. They abandon absolute Truth for the “plastic truth” of Post-Modernism.

    6) It is the act of divorce. It thus occurs when the former
marriage was broken and the new marriage formed. This view states that one can divorce and re-marry for any reason. This couple can continue in the second marriage without continuing in the state of “adultery.” This is possible because the “adultery” was the breaking up of the first marriage and the forming of the second. Once one “repents” of this breaking and re-uniting, s/he is forgiven and encouraged to remain with the new spouse. ANSWER: As demonstrated above it (“adultery”) refers to illicit sexual relations.

    7) It cannot apply to the New Testament for it was given
prior to the establishment of the New Testament. This position maintains that Christ’s words in Mt 19 were spoken prior to the establishment of the New Testament and there do not apply to our Dispensation. If one removes Mt 19 from applicability to New Testament disciples there is no way one can be guilty of “fornication” after marriage. Therefore our Lord did not speak to this issue and we must allow “the law of love” to decide situations. Of course the “law of love” would never bind one to remain in an unhappy marriage. ANSWER: As noted above, God’s marriage laws apply universally and transcend Dispensations.

    8) There is no regulation regarding it because “fornica-
tion” (Mt 19:9) cannot be committed by married people and this is the “proof-text” used to condemn divorce-remarriage. It is suggested that the marriage regulations in Mt 19 apply to the unmarried because “fornication” can only be committed by “unmarried” people while “adultery” is committed by married people. Since “fornication” does not apply to married people, there should be no judgment on those who are divorced and re-married for non-sexual reasons. ANSWER: This refuses honesty with the Greek language. “Fornication” is from the Greek PORNEIA and refers to ALL illicit sexual situations. It definitely includes “adultery” in its scope! By using the general PORNEIA our Lord was saying that in those marriages where one of the mates enters into any form of illicit sexual activity, s/he thus frees the other from the marriage bond and the innocent is able to re-marry!

    9) It is a “one-time act” from which one will gain forgive-
ness. One cannot “live in adultery.” This view suggests that “adultery” is not a “state” or “condition” but only the initial “act.” Thus those who are guilty of “adultery” need only apologize for the initial act. The adulterous union need not be broken but  an apology should be made for the initial act. It is suggested that one “cannot LIVE IN adultery.” ANSWER: This has been noted above.

    10) The amazing list above demonstrates the impact that
worldly philosophy/education has had upon the basic moral values of the Bible. Such is a tragic discovery! The issue of “adultery” is not the only target of the worldly “plastic truth.” Below are other areas where biblical values have suffered just as much as the marriage covenant.

  2) The Abortion/Euthanasia debate

  3) The permissiveness regarding homosexuality. A preacher
for the Richardson East Church of Christ, Dallas, TX, was quoted in an article on homosexuals: “I don’t think we should pursue a pattern of condemnation. That’s not what Jesus did ... “ He went on to say that he does not believe homosexuality is a sin, “It’s a given -- people do not choose it consciously.”

  4) The impossibility of identifying anything “evil.” Does “evil”    exist in the modern mind? 

  5) The “fear” to voice convictions on moral issues in the    Church/Bible Classes.

  6) The “fluid” concepts of “right/wrongs.”

5. Transparency 5/5 “What Shall We Do?” What are we to do  about modern morality?

 a. 1 Co 5 -- No tolerance! Christians cannot remain silent about
the moral issues of our day. Believers must speak out and re-confirm the biblical values because many are ignorant of them! Why are so many Christians so silent about God’s morality?

 b. 1 Co 6:9-11 -- Offer the Truth! Christians must offer those
struggling in the world an option to the worldly philosophy/education. Why are so many Christians hesitant to offer biblical teaching on moral issues?

 c. Ep 5:3-17 -- Be a beacon of righteousness! Live your life with
a conscious decision that regardless of what the world advocates, you will remain true to God. Be steadfast in convictions so that others who are confused and searching will be able to find stability in you! (Cf. 1 Co 15:58; Ac 4:12-13,20,29, 31; 5:29).

 d. Tit 3:3-7 -- Recognize God’s demands! The true believer can-
not live by “plastic truth.” There is no stability; no satisfaction. Christians must recognize that, as the Sovereign Creator, God has the right to command and expect compliance! Modern man may try to put himself “above God” but in the end he will agree with Nebuchadnezzar (Da 4:34-37). Will anyone dare defy the Almighty God’s moral commands? Why are so many unwilling to admit God’s moral demands?

Copyright 1999 by John L. Kachelman Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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