Last Monday, CNN host Don Lemon strutted onto the world’s stage to declare with ex-cathedra confidence that Christian orthodoxy and its 2,000 years of church teaching on sexual dignity, sexual morality and about God himself is wrong.
“I think that the Catholic Church and many other churches really need to reexamine themselves,” said Mr. Lemon, “[Their teaching] is not what God is about. God is not about hindering people or even judging people.”
With all due respect to Mr. Lemon’s superior theological training and ecclesiastical wisdom, it might be wise to consider what the actual teachings of the church are before we toss them on the ash heap of Mr. Lemon’s call for “reexamination.”
Here’s just a smattering of some of what the church has taught for two millennia concerning “hindering people,” “judging people,” and even more importantly, “what God is all about.”
The Apostle Peter defined Jesus Christ as both “God and Savior.”
Saint Paul told us that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.”
After seeing the risen Christ, doubting Thomas declared Jesus to be “My Lord and my God.”
A physician named Luke (who authored the book of Acts and the Gospel that carries his name) taught that “God is now declaring that all people everywhere should repent because He has fixed a day in which Jesus will judge the world.”
The Apostle John taught that Jesus was the eternal voice, i.e., the actual mouth of God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory …” John went on to say, “[W]e have seen him with our eyes … we have looked upon him and have touched him with our hands …” He then concluded, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth … and his word is not in us.”
Mr. Lemon, it seems pretty clear what those who founded the church taught about Jesus and judgment and about “hindering people” and their sin. It appears there wasn’t much ambiguity about what God was all “about.” It sure looks as if the church fathers thought the biblical definition of God needed to be honored and worshipped and not “reexamined” or redefined.
Peter was crucified upside down for this definition. Paul literally gave his head for this definition. Thomas was impaled for it. And Luke was reportedly hanged for it.
But, Mr. Lemon, let me respond to your retort before you even venture it. “That’s what these guys said about Jesus,” you say, “but he never made such claims about himself.”
Well, not so fast.
Jesus said he was the great “I Am.” Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” He said, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” Jesus also told us that at the end of days, he would judge “the sexually immoral [and] everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
Mr. Lemon, it appears that this Jesus is “what God is all about,” and what he said and taught is exactly what the church has been teaching faithfully throughout the centuries. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, these teachings should be obeyed rather than reexamined?
In my book, “Grow Up! Life Isn’t Safe but It’s Good,” due for release on April 13, I offer this:
“We must shake off our self-worship and arrogance. If we think we are God, there is nothing for us to learn, and there is nothing we cannot and should not do. Standing at the river’s edge of culture, we gaze at our own reflection and shout with Narcissistic confidence, ‘Not Bacchus, Apollo, Zeus, or even Jesus, surpasses such allure as mine!’ With god-like arrogance, we deny Copernicus. Theologically we are all now geocentrists. Declaring there is no Son (yes, I spelled that right), we declare ourselves to be the center of the universe. But we can change. We can look to the wisdom of the ages for answers rather than being content with the foolishness of the new and the woke. Our self-aggrandizing navel-gazing may have brought us to the river’s edge, but we need not drown. We can stop gazing at our reflection. We can step back. We can admit we are not God.”
Mr. Lemon, I’d be happy to send you a copy and discuss this with you if you’d like.
• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery). His new book, “Grow Up: Life Isn’t Safe, But It’s Good,” is due for release on April 13, 2021.
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