I’ve been carrying on a discussion in an old post with a fundamentalist, apparently of the “Red Letter” type. These are people who supposedly only do what Jesus says. They’re the kind of “Christians” we find in Barack Obama, who gave that infamous speech saying he supposedly follows the “Sermon on the Mount” (even though the Sermon on the Mount is where Jesus gives some of his harshest teachings).
The post in question was my “Idolatry” post about the insanity surrounding the death of Michael Jackson. Taking my criticism of Jackson’s fans and his work as a criticism of Jackson himself, this individual started off with how “good a person” he was, and the usual garbage about how much money he gave to “charity” (yes, and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett give lots of money to “charity,” too).
More importantly, to my point that Michael Jackson gets far more respect, despite the accusations against him, than any Catholic priest who’s merely *accused*, this person began attacking Catholic priests and the Catholic Church. This person also insisted that “decency” is a matter of personal opinion.
This all led to the person proving himself/herself to be a very left-wing Evangelical, who apparently believes you can do anything you want, so long as you believe in Jesus.
The person claimed to have no concern about historical truth or the Church but merely to follow the Bible. My question of how one can follow the Bible without history or the Church to verify its authority was ignored.
For “Red Letter” Christians, you can basically do anything you want, so long as you call yourself “Christian”: eternal security and all that. If they can find a way to justify behavior “from the Bible,” they’ll do it.
They tell us, for example, that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, that condemnation of homosexuality is a Pauline teaching, not “red letter.”
Not so fast:
“He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5).
How is this “Jesus said nothing about homosexuality”?
Of course, that’s also in context of divorce:
“I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9).
“Red Letter Christians” (and liberal Catholics) try to say the Church’s ban on divorce is “man-made law” or “pharisaical,” yet the Jewish law approved divorce, and it was Jesus who banned it. Jesus also states this teaching as part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:31-32).
Right before the commandment against divorce in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus advocates self-mortification (more on that later), in the context of His condemnation of lust (Mt 5:27-28):
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. ” (Matthew 29-30)
Do we just need to confess Jesus to be saved?
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'” (Matthew 7:15-23
So, right in the context of condemning false prophets, Jesus condemns those who teach that you do not need to do the will of the Father but just call on His Name. He even says it doesn’t matter what miracles or preaching you do. If you don’t do the will of the Father–that is, corporal and spiritual works of mercy, you cannot enter the Kingdom.