(by Greg Trimble gregtrimble.com 6-20-14)
Too many people are neglecting what is in the scriptures and trying to “customize Christ”. You can’t do that…seriously.
Too often we read a few scriptures that make us feel good and then omit everything else that we know about Jesus that might make us feel bad. Some have bowed down to modern trends and allowed themselves to be manipulated by the media and false teachers. Too many people are looking for a religion that is easy. In the world, we are offered instant salvation and taught about a Christ that accepts everyone just the way they are. There is no difference between our day and Isaiah’s time when the people asked him to “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10) Instead of looking for a Church that teaches truth, many are on a quest to find a church that can satisfy their innate desire to worship God, and yet at the same time, live the lifestyle that they want to live regardless of how ungodly it really is. Some consider it a great feat to find a church that allows them to live how they want to live, and still feel like they are worshipping God.
I don’t care whether you’re Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, or any other type of Christian…one thing is for certain. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a ‘buffet’ that you can compile your perfect plate from. There is no salvation in building your own religion or customizing Christ to suit your needs and wants. The popular trend is to determine how you’d like to live your life and then to conform Christ to that lifestyle. It is done by appealing to Christ’s infinite love and mercy. But you can’t just go around rehearsing that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8) and then be done with it. John 3:16 is awesome…but it’s just one verse! God wouldn’t have given you all of those other verses if he didn’t want you to read them and apply them. The “customize Christ” movement is in full swing.
At the base of this movement is the feeling that Christ was so loving and accepting of everyone, that He would never stand for any kind of exclusion or discrimination. This could not be farther from the truth. Yes… it is true that Christ loves everyone and yes it is true that we should practice the doctrine of inclusion, but Christ was far from accepting behaviors that were not in accordance with the commandments. He didn’t come to this earth and just “accept people” and let them act however they wanted to act.
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” he said in Matthew 10 verse 34. He continues, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” In another place in the New Testament He even says, “I never knew you” as he spoke about people that were unwilling to repent and live the commandments. How and why will “a man’s foes be they of his own household?” Because Christ asks you to take a stand. He asks you which side of the line you’re going to be on…and you prove which side you are on by “keeping the faith”. Everyone and everything is not “ok” or “accepted” by Jesus Christ. All are loved by Him, but our behaviors have the power to leave us standing at a door in which He will not open.
Does that sound all-inclusive?
If Christ were walking the earth today preaching the same things He was preaching back in His day, people would be flying off the handle. He’d teach hard things. Draw a line in the sand. Tell people He loves them. Ask them to repent. Maybe even get mad and turn over some tables. (Matt 21:12-13) Then they’d call Him a bigot. Self-righteous. Un-accepting of others and their way of life. They would “go away” and start their own form of religion like so many of them did while he was preaching in Israel. The question you have to ask yourself is the same question He asked His apostles. “Will ye also go away”? (John 6:67)
People get mad at the LDS Church, it’s leaders, and Mormons across the world for trying to defend some of the basic commandments. I am amazed at the sort of heat the LDS Church gets for its stance on homosexuality. Christians inside and outside of the Church label Mormon doctrine as old and outdated, and in the same breath say that Mormons don’t believe in the Bible. Nothing in the Book of Mormon says anything about homosexuality.
But guess where it is visibly forbidden?
Paul tells the Romans, in the Bible, that “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:26-27) In the Old Testament homosexuality was one of the primary reasons for the downfall of Soddom and Gomorrah. And again, Paul states that it is a man that should be with the woman “in the Lord”. (1 Cor 11:11). That was Biblical doctrine before it was ever something that needed to be addressed by the modern Church. Consider the woman taken in adultery in John 8. The Savior did not condemn her… but he also didn’t condone what she did. He loved her and He forgave her, but He also meant what He said when He told her to “go and sin no more.” The forgiveness of Christ should not be misinterpreted for acceptance.
Mormons aren’t trying to be exclusive or discriminatory toward anyone. If they are…then they are not living their religion. Elder Quentin L. Cook stated, “As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”
We should be “loving and compassionate” but we should never allow ourselves to believe that Christ just accepts us how we are. That was never in the program. He’s always asked us to change, to repent, to get better, and to overcome the things that we struggle with. When we quit trying to align our wills with God, and start trying to get God to align His will with ours…that is when we start to lose our way.
Many people are taking the equality and fairness argument to the extreme, assuming that Jesus is accepting of everyone and everything. It’s just not true according to the scriptures.