In light of the spiritual climate of our current culture, we understand the importance of equipping as many believers as possible to defend the faith, and the specific reasons are varied but important.
In USA Today op-ed column, Baptist pastor Oliver Thomas writes this:
Lutherans, Episcopalians and the United Church of Christ have broken down the barriers for openly gay and lesbian clergy.Presbyterians and Methodists are likely to follow suit. This willingness to reject the authority of biblical passages condemning homosexuality — as Protestant churches did with similar passages on slavery and the role of women — will appeal to a younger generation who see gay marriage as a non-issue and accept their gay and lesbian classmates for who they are — not what some Christians want them to be.
Now stop for just a moment and rethink those words. And as you do remember that this is not an exception—this is fast proving to be the rule! Previous generations of believers held to the common sense notion that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. A younger generation, a generation living in the shadow of the Bible wonders, “What in the world does gender have to do with it?” Note also a far more subtle problem, “A younger generation,” says this Baptist preacher, “Accept their gay and lesbian classmates for who they are—not what some Christians want them to be.” In other words, this pastor cleverly changes the landscape from homosexuality as a behavior to homosexuality as an identity. Even more subtly, he equates the changing opinion respecting homosexuality with changing opinions regarding sexism and slavery. In other words, just as Christians now roundly reject the biblical promotion of sexism and slavery, so too we must roundly reject biblical teachings respecting homosexuality.
Now, the problem is not just that this pastor’s arguments in the paper are inherently flawed—homosexuality, unlike gender is not an identity—nor does the Bible ever promote the practice of sexism or slavery. In fact, it was the application of biblical principles that not only liberated Western women, but ultimately led to the overthrow of slavery both in ancient Israel and in the United States of America. The problem is that the vast majority of those who read these writings of a pastor in the paper do not see through the twisted logic of his statements. Instead, they swallow the skin of the truth stuffed with a lie and transform from change agents in the culture to mere microcosms of the culture.
In this milieu, we have to equip God’s people to think biblically, to think Christianly, and be able to discern wheat from chaff and heat from light.