The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has denounced the Apostle Paul as mean-spirited and bigoted for having released a slave girl from demonic bondage as reported in Acts 16:16-34…“Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness. Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it. It gets him thrown in prison. That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!,” the presiding bishop said…She concluded her sermon by stating that we are not justified by our faith but by our respect for diversity.
(Diversity, Not Jesus, Saves, Says Presiding Bishop)
Salvation by Diversity?
Diversity can be a very good thing. Different cultures. Different perspectives. Different styles. Different races. To celebrate and respect diversity is commendable. But there is a limit – compromising truth in the name of tolerance and celebration of diversity.
We can choose to respect someone and their views that may be different than our own. We can respect someone who holds to a belief system that is different than our own. But tolerance and respect do not mean condoning, accepting, and validating a false belief; especially at the cost of the Truth.
It is cause for lamenting when Christians in general compromise Scripture; but it is deplorable when a person who is supposed to be shepherding the flock of God calls it evil to release someone from demonic bondage instead of celebrating the “diversity” expressed in that form of “spirituality.” It is sickeningly sad to see evil called good and good called evil, especially when such twisted thoughts come from behind a pulpit.
As Christians, we are called to stand with the truth and for the truth of the gospel, even when some call our good news evil since it doesn’t “celebrate diversity” to the extent that some in society demand. Yes, there is such a thing as celebrating diversity – and the Bible does so – but there is a clear line between celebrating diversity and placing diversity over doctrinal truth.
As a couple of writers have noted in regards to this so-called sermon, “This is quite possibly some if the most delusional exegesis I’ve ever read in my life…I’m sorry, but this sermon is not a Christian sermon.” And another, Rev. Bryan Owen rightly pointed out, “What’s happening here is the exploitation of a biblical text in service to a theopolitical agenda. Given what she says in the first paragraph I’ve quoted from her sermon, the Presiding Bishop suggests that anyone who doesn’t buy into that agenda – anyone who holds to the traditional, orthodox understanding of such matters – is likewise afflicted with the same narrow-minded bigotry as Paul, and thus in need of enlightenment.”
As Christians, we are called to be lovers of the truth. A mark of spiritual maturity is standing for the truth, even when it is unpopular. A sign of spiritual maturity is learning how not to be drawn in by the siren-song of political correctness, but being “those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14 ESV).