As a man of faith I find it interesting to hear people use the excuse of 'well I hear what your saying and all... but that was for then and now we live differently'. With some issues of the Bible (such as ... sacrifices), clearly we read in the New Testament that these are no longer applicable to our lives today. But modern Christians have used the same mindset to explain away many other things about the Old and some times even the New Testament!
I have a very good friend who I have known for most of my life. We were raised the same way and have on most things agreed. However I was a little surprised at his reaction to my belief that polygamy is still supported by God. (Granted I didnít believe that he would accept it, I was just surprised at how he explained it away) To him the Old Testament is no longer valid and has little meaning to our modern life. He believes that once Christ came that he did away with all the old teachings and the law that can be found in the books of the Old Testament. I was rather surprised to hear this considering Christ's words on him (Christ) not doing away with the law but to fulfill it. He went on to say that polygamy was a sin during the Old Testament, and that there was no good reason to want more than one wife. He clearly indicated that to do so was sexually impure and also against the will of God. Also of interest was his comment he made after I pointed out the scripture where Christ himself used polygamy in a parable. And that for the most part polygamy was practiced in the western world for many years after the death of Christ. His argument was that it was practiced by people (he didnít use the word but the impression was poor people in Africa) of lesser means in third world countries. I asked if he felt that we were above them in spiritual terms. He clearly felt uncomfortable and commented that no he didnít think so. He had little explanation for the arguments I put before him and as the conversation continued he began to have less and less to say. Finally the conversation ended when he used this simple yet meaningless tactic. He agreed that it was possible that in the Old testament days it may have been 'ok', but now it was no longer the case because modern women could never accept such a thing and would never submit. And of course the ever present 'that was for then this is for now' excuse.
What I have come to discover is that many other Christians (especially Baptists) feel as my friend does. The main reasons for his beliefs lie in the teaching environment here in America. If you watch a US based TV news program for any length of time you will almost get the impression that all that really matters in life exists within the borders of this country. As such we teach by example in our churches that our spiritual belief is unparalled thought the world. As anyone from another country can attest, Americans can be selfish, ungrateful and at least arrogant. At some point we will have to wake up and realize that we do not have a monopoly on truth and the love of Christ. Just because someone doesnít attend a certain denomination does not mean he or she is going to hell. Yet that is the implied belief that is so prevelent in todayís church. I have studied this issue and many others like Headcovering and I have found that the modern church has begun to almost supplant itself in the place of God. We are taught to look to the pastor for everything and listen to his guidance. If we read something in the Bible and differ with the pastor then according to the modern church then we must be wrong. But missing in this equation is God. We should be seeking God for truth not having our faith in Church or a pastor. In this line of thinking the church has begun to almost be a social club. If you disagree with the believed doctrine then in some churches they will ask you to leave. What happened to seeking God? At what point did Church become a club of like-minded people that only existed to make people feel good? In my short years I have attended many different dominations and found mostly that they have few differences. Many are focused on financial growth of the church itself or in some cases just the happiness of its members. Gone is really the true intent of gathering in the first place. To save the lost, grow in our faith, and encourage and help others who are in need. However today what the church is teaching is that we can go to church sit in front of the pastor for 30 minutes a week and absorb all we need from God. If we are to grow and continue to learn we must SEEK the will of Christ and study His written word ourselves. This does not lessen or invalidate the need for coming together with other Christians. But it seems to me that in many ways we have bought into a belief that all we need is to follow the pastor and we will be ok. If we do so arenít we placing the pastor as a lord above us and between Christ and us
It seems to me that in many ways we (In America at least) are preventing many Christians from growing in their faith. What this translates into is that many choose only enough faith to be saved. There is so much that awaits us in the word if only we seek it. I am only now beginning to realize is that to follow Christ is not a easy path. If we truly are seeking the will of Christ then we can expect hardships and persecution aplenty. In so many churches today we teach that if we learn something and it hurts or causes hardship then it must be sin. How wicked is it for us as the body of Christ to hold others back and preach only enough word to get someone saved? How many will be deceived and turn away from Christ because we as the body have placed comfort and ease above truth. We are afraid to preach the full word because others will turn away or persecute us.
I know I am VERY much guilty of only seeking enough faith to get me saved. I was so comfortable in my shell and not learning. But now that I have seen for myself the truth of polygamy, and many other things I cannot turn back. (Granted I still fail from time to time) I want to continue to learn and grow in the spirit. I hope that any of you who are reading this will take a serious look at your beliefs and ask if you are holding back from Christ. Are you afraid to turn over parts of your life to him? Are you afraid what others will think of you? I was and still am afraid of the dangers ahead. But I have faith in Christ that he will watch over me and lead the way.