With the murder of several Asian women by a known churchgoer, many evangelicals are pointing fingers at where the blame lies. Is it the church’s patriarchal stance on women and squeamishness on sex that has degraded women into dangerous Jezebel’s, luring unsuspecting “mama’s boys” into the pit? Is it “white evangelicism,” which has essentially othered those of different ethnicities in centralising the church’s identity in whiteness? With so many public failings of the church lately, it’s easy to point fingers at the church and church culture. However, this finger pointing ignores some crucial truths of the nature of man.
The problem is sin. Not “white evangelicism” or the church’s “patriarchal teachings,” as I have seen some fingers pointing. The second problem, I would venture, is Biblical illiteracy. There are many people sitting in church pews today that are not saved and have no understanding of the Bible. This problem mainly falls at the feet of the church and the greater need of expository preaching and discipleship. It’s Biblical illiteracy that leads a young man (according to his statement, although race may yet be a factor) to kill women to purge himself of sexual sin, misunderstanding the command to “if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29). It is Biblical illiteracy that has led to people genuinely believing (even being told by pastors and those in leadership) that 2 Cor 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” referred to the fact that people of different skin tones shouldn’t marry. It is Biblical illiteracy that has led to people believing that the “mark of Cain” (Genesis 4:15) was blackness. Or the curse of Ham (Gen 9:20-27) justified slavery. All come from a deeply topical misunderstanding of the Bible that have been perpetuated from some pulpits due to the nature of sin. However, there is the other side of Biblical illiteracy that states that “trans women ARE women and trans men ARE men,” ignoring completely God’s original design for men and women (Genesis 1:27). It is Biblical illiteracy that equates looting and burning to Jesus flipping over tables, ignoring the commands against theft (Exodus 20:15). It is Biblical illiteracy that has taken God’s command to “love one another” (John 13:34) to mean we must condone and even celebrate ungodly lifestyles, ignoring the truth of 1 Cor 6:19: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” We must love all sinners (as I am one too) without accepting their sin. We live in a time of Pharisaical Christians, but also in a time of Pagan Christians, of which Romans 1 says, “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” So I agree that there are some serious failings of some churches here, but I think we must admit when we have let ungodly influences infiltrate our understanding of Scripture and understand that what we see is a fallen world full of sin and sinners, attributable to all regardless of gender or ethnicity, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 6:23.