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Monday, May 16, 2016

New Legalist?

I've noticed over the last few weeks that there have been quite a few that have joined the ranks of us legalists.  I couldn't tell you who they were if I wanted because I don't keep track of the names, but they are there in all of their Old Testament referencing glory.  Maybe they have been closet legalist all this time and the coarsening of the culture has brought it out in them.  I suppose that the growing depravity may have urged them to look a little deeper for some clear unmistakable language from the bible itself and before they knew it they had blown the dust off of their Old Testaments and buried deep in the law they found a mostly forgotten precept.

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

I have seen this verse posted numerous times over the last several weeks most of the time it has been a photograph right out of the Old Testament itself, as if to say, Look what God says here!  Of course the precept is not a new one but an ancient one.  It is really just a small piece of the puzzle that comes together in the Scripture related to gender distinction.  God created man male and female and from that time on laid down principles and precepts to maintain a very clear line of distinction.  God did not want there to be confusion in this area.   God is not the author of confusion.  Wherever we find confusion, of whatever sort, we can know that it is the handiwork of man's own wisdom.

I have not seen to much commentary accompanying the aforementioned verse.  I guess that's because it doesn't need much commentary.  It is admittedly pretty clear!   I also suppose there has been a renaissance of interest in this clear Old Testament precept because of the recent lack of distinction being made in the policy/political arena related to bathrooms and such.  Who is suppose to go in which bathroom?  A question that probably just three years ago would not have stirred much controversy.  But now it has and does.  A man can identify as a woman and have access to the women's facilities, and I suppose the other way around as well, but for some reason that does not seem as threatening; and probably not as likely.

So we are driven into a corner of having to defend the clear gender distinctions that exist.  After, saying that's crazy, everyone knows better than that, what's this world coming to, and host of other statements that belie our frustrations we resort to scripture.  Even God says, "neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."  There that settles it!  God said there is a difference.  God said a man should not wear a woman's garment.  God said a man should not identify as a woman.  A man is suppose to be a man and dress like a man!  A man is suppose to go in the men's bathroom!

This has been a long time coming folks!  This didn't just happen over night.  It has happened at a minimum over decades.  Remember when it was funny to watch Flip Wilson dress up like a woman. And what about that guy on MASH.  I never really watched that but I know there was a character that cross-dressed.  Made for great entertainment I suppose.  I know there have been others.  I guess it's not so funny any more!

I am reminded of Romans 1 where the Bible provides a quite expansive list of unrighteous deed that can be committed and having given the list the chapter concludes with these sobering words, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

The sin we laugh at may become the sin we have to live with!  Proverbs 14:9 declares that "Fools make a mock at sin."

I wonder if there are other areas over at least the last five or six decades where we have unwittingly or possibly brazenly blurred the distinctions between the sexes.  This is not the kind of confusion that comes up in a night.  The seeds of it or sown in a culture over much time. Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  I'm wondering if the same is not true of nations.  Whatsoever a nation soweth, that shall it also reap!

Back to the new legalist.  I was being a little, OK, a lot sarcastic.  I've been referencing Deuteronomy 22:5 for the past 26 years as a pastor and for a good ten years before that in my other ministry opportunities.  It has, in many circles, become quite unpopular to do so.  Thank God I'm not in a popularity contest.  Deuteronomy 22:5 does say and I believe that it is a moral precept that "neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.  As you may have noticed the last two times I referenced the verse I broke in the middle of it with the word "neither".  So the verse actually says something else.  The first part says, "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man."  That actually doesn't need a lot of commentary either!

It is interesting that believing the second part of the verse apparently does not make you a legalist but believing the first part does?  This is a great mystery!  But with enough mental gymnastics just about anything in the bible can be explained away.
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