The following are three theological statements and their review from a biblical standpoint. This material was submitted to my university in my senior undergraduate year. The assignment is to review each topic from a biblical reference while citing examples from the Bible. For this document I used the ESV although I usually prefer the KJV.

The Authority of Scripture

Throughout most Christian history, the authority of Scripture did not receive the criticism as it has in modern times. Whether one was a believer, the Biblical worldview was part of the culture until the enlightenment. Believers and society saw God as the authority over their lives. As God was known to be the world’s creator, people saw themselves as part of the creation, and societies in the west built the foundations of their governments on God-given rights. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches believed that God’s truth was found as their interpretation of Scripture formed by their traditions and consensus.[1]

God has given his Son authority over the world in his stead (Matt. 28:18 ESV). While Catholic and Orthodox churches rely on their interpretation of Scripture as inspiration from the Holy Spirit, traditional emerging protestants affirm the inerrant word of God in Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16). Before the emergence of the enlightenment, people saw their role in the world with a clear purpose. In the post-enlightenment period, scientific knowledge received increasing credibility and upended the traditional worldview. Humanity was no longer created in the image of God by default.

Despite the increasing scientific paradigm acting to change perspectives and worldviews, the fact that science could not explain most of the phenomena in the universe went unchallenged by many. God had told his people through Scripture that the continued function and consistent intervention of the divine allow us continued life and even new creations. (Col. 1:17, Heb 1:3). Scripture’s purpose is to define prescriptions on how God wishes his creation to live and their relationship with one another and God. However, we should not “restrict the authority of Scripture to some narrow sphere such as religion and worship.”[2] For Christianity to be genuinely shown, it must be an expression seen in daily life.       

Modern culture sees the authority of Scripture as merely a worldview for those that choose to observe the tradition of biblical infallibility. The post-modernist worldview prevails in that if there is an ultimate objective truth, it is relative to the individual if it exists at all. In the post-modern society, all grand narratives and metanarratives are called into question.[3] Subjective interpretation of reality receives priority over the transcendent. The result is a world that has lost its central history and identity. If God, the universal storyteller, is fictitious or open to subjective interpretation, reality can be questioned.[4]

The resulting cultural effect is the loss of a known future with a transcendent God and the doubt of all authority, including Scripture. The promise given by Christian eschatology is gone along with hope for the future. Postmodernism, pluralism, and atheism have given rise to not a freed lot but a bleak one. Nihilism is not merely the belief in nothing but the unquestioned propagation of evil. Evil prevails when there is no standard to give objective meaning to moral behavior.

The remedy for re-establishing biblical authority can be best realized by connecting to the Gospel’s central message. The message is that God wants a relationship with his creator, and the stakes are high. John 3:16 serves as the push to grant Christians and non-believers that God is not an ancient detached concept. God sent his Son to be the atonement and bridge for all of humanity’s salvation.             Pastor and Christians can serve as reminders that the foundations of our government, human rights, and our now anemic societal beliefs are given to us by a God that is only benevolent and deserving of praise.

Marriage and Family

The next theological statements are covering marriage and family. At all times, the functioning of the family reflects the culture and even the government in which they live. In times of stability and financial boon, the family’s gain impacts the rest of society like no other influence. The basis for human culture and education begins with the quality of the state of the family. The time spent by parents on their children’s moral and practical instruction is paramount to not only the children’s success. However, it proves also to assure a prosperous future society. Marriage contains the unique characteristic of being a relationship that is “absolutely vital, basic, and necessary for the whole social body.”[5]

Old Testament times are oppressive to women and children, with their status more akin to property than persons. Antiquity seems to require a force of control to maintain the unity of the family. However, this is not always reflected in the Bible. In Mal., 2:13-16, the prophet rebukes the sins of husbands against their wives. The decalogue contains specific commandments on the coveting of neighbor’s wives and property. God’s instructions to his creation always confirm the establishment and observance of resisting lustful sin. Adding to the family’s needs is Henry Smith, who wrote a thirty-five exposition on biblical teaching and marriage, focusing on wisdom and love.[6] As we read in Proverbs 12:4, “Does a king trample his crown?”

God values the family as the primary social structure his creation is to maintain. Tracing the lineage of Jesus goes back to Abraham and Adam in a carefully detailed accounting of genealogy. The concept of Jesus as God’s only Son serves as an essential indicator of the intimacy in which God holds his relationship with the trinity. By correspondence, we hold our familial relationships sacred as we hold our communion with God as holy.

Marriage and family are under assault in modern times due to an individualistic understanding of freedom. The experience is “a freedom without responsibilities.”[7] The result is an individual who is both holy and wholly unaccountable. As John Paul remarks, “the result is that every person is “faced with his own truth, different from the truths of others.”[8]

In Old Testament times, the Israelites were responsible for themselves as individuals (Exod 33:17; Jer. 1:5; Psa. 132:1) and as a community (Exod. 20-23).[9] The resulting corporate identity helped maintain the integrity of their group. In current times the melting pot of the United States has at best kept the separation of groups solely based on cultural characteristics. When our commonality does not contain a spiritual link, the secular connections become obscured. Relativism and pluralism serve only to obfuscate the natural divine relationship for which we are designed.

The increasing financial pressures over the later 20th century have also adversely affected the traditional family. With both parents working and often commuting, children are left under the care of others or “latchkey” children who supervise themselves. Without the benefit of responsible supervision and a lack of spiritual emphasis on moral behavior, the consequences are ultimately negative. The meaning that paid or unpaid (household) work receives is taught to the children who will learn these values in monetary terms rather than the quality of life, especially spiritual-moral life.[10]

Through Scripture, we receive the assurance of God’s desire to establish a relationship with his creation. We can best obey this instruction by modeling our ties to our families as sacred as well. Christians receive the call for regeneration and adoption implicitly in the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:5-13) and receive instruction to display their Father’s character (Mt 5:9,44-48). The Christian application to the dissolving of the traditional family is to live by example. Only through our actions, directed by the Spirit, can the family regain its rightful influence on society.

Gender and Sexuality

The third theological statement is on the role of gender and sexuality. God’s creation is fundamentally relational. According to his eschatological plan, God created Adam and Eve to share dominion over the Earth as equals. The two sexes are meant to be in a union to propagate humankind and share the fruits of God’s creation. Both sexes are Imago Dei (the image of God) and share equal responsibility and accountability to God. Male and female are to become one flesh (Gen. 2:24), and when they procreate, the relationship of man, woman, and child is a typology for the trinity.

The nature of the relationship between wives and husbands is in Ephesians 5:21-33, which lists the requirements of each sex to live in honor, respect, and love. The synergistic complementary relationship has spoken through Scripture. Husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25), illustrating further typology which signifies the union of the sexes as holy to God. After Ephesians lists the requirements for wives and husbands and other familial relationships, we find that now we must put on the “whole armor of God” (Eph. 6:11) to challenge and stand to evil. God meant for man and wife together to have the power to resist the schemes of the devil.

Scripture defines Christian sexual moral ethics with the goal of positive outcomes in human relations. By following God’s mandates, we avoid the exploitable conditions that lead to sexual sin. Humans are creatures created by God, so we must understand our creator via his revelation to understand ourselves.[11] When humanity strays from God’s plan, we forget or rationalize new definitions according to cultural norms. Humanity is God’s final creation, so crucial that we were God’s last act of creation, only then did God rest (Gen. 1:31-2:3). Unlike other life, we are to be in fellowship with God, and this communion requires discipline toward lustful desire. Our gender defines our principal life’s role in our relationship to each other and God. Only humanity receives the distinction of gender before creation. “God created man in his own image; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).

Modern challenges to traditional gender roles are manifold in western society. The post-modernist view of subjective reality and morality offers a more tempting and prone to temptation alternative, particularly for young adults. Preferred personal pronouns proliferate via social media and social circles, sometimes even compelling speech. The biological distinction of the two sexes and the terms male and female are now a choice rather than genetically determined.

Young people are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure and conform to the prevailing attitudes that encourage random sexual encounters and a “hook-up” culture. The result of loose sexual morals and practice leads to shame, anxiety, depression, and even PTSD in cases of sexual assault.[12] Beste goes on to relate how the shallow default objectives of temporary relationships affect people’s self-esteem. Many feel ashamed of their desire to possess a long-term loving relationship. Given the prevalence of adverse outcomes in gender fluidity, a valid response encourages those who question their sexual identity to seek answers for the cause. Is the source a genuine physical lust (which can be controlled) or another psychological issue buried in their subconscious?

Therapy sessions and discussions with a pastor-counselor are critical not to make short-term decisions with long consequences. A peer group for young people has never been a reliable barometer for advice since the best counsel can come from those who have experienced a similar issue. God’s plan for human relationships defaults to male-female because the sexes complement each other and can best stand against the principalities.

See also: What is Truth?

         [1] J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.), 17.

              [2] John Frame, “The Bible’s Authority.” In Lexham Survey of Theology, edited by Mark Ward, Jessica Parks, Brannon Ellis, and Todd Hains. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018.)

[3] Anné H. Verhoef, “How Can the World Regain Its Story?: Post-Modernism and the Need for Story and Promise,” Grace & Truth 29, no. 2 (August 2012): 28–46

              [4] (Jenson 2010:33)

              [5] Michele M Schumacher, “The Meaning of Freedom and Redefinition of Marriage,” Logos 18, no. 3 (2015), 118.

              [6] Joel R Beeke and Paul M Smalley, “Puritans on the Family: Recent Publications,” Puritan Reformed Journal 10, no. 2 (July 2018), 231.

              [7] Michele M Schumacher, “The Meaning of Freedom and Redefinition of Marriage,” Logos 18, no. 3 (2015): 113–122.

              [8] Ibid, 114.

              [9] Raccah, William. “Sociology and the Old Testament.” Edited by John D. Barry, Et al. The Lexham Bible Dictionary. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.)

              [10] Maureen Perry-Jenkins and Naomi Gerstel. “Work and Family in the Second Decade of the 21st Century.” Journal of Marriage and Family 82, no. 1 (02, 2020), 427.

              [11] Joshua Steely, “Designed for Flourishing,” Evangelical Review of Theology 43, no. 3 (July 2019), 218.

              [12] Jennifer Beste, “Jesus at a College Party,” Christian Century 136, no. 4 (February 13, 2019), 31.