Speaking up for the marginalised
Perhaps I was a little harsh & did not explain myself clearly in my previous post on the 2 points I disagreed with Dr Chew about (nothing against him, I’m sure he’s a nice man, but he’s human too, with 2 views I disagree with) . So now i’ve taken sometime to elaborate, in reply to a couple of comments. Thought I’ll post it up here too.
On speaking up on disturbing teachings
Indeed, I think the listeners need to listen & discern & think critically. I think in reality, the church is made up of a great diversity of people. People who enjoy thinking and researching and questioning. People who have great amounts of respect and trust in their church leaders who have spent years at theological school. People who are incredibly psychologically and emotionally vulnerable and searching for salvation. People who are deeply insecure and looking for someone to love and accept them, and finding that in God. Because of this diversity, there will always be people who will be receptive to any message at all. Thus the responsibility of the person who teaches (James 3:1)
That said, every teacher, no matter how good, will not be perfect. Sometimes we don’t realise it until someone points it out to us. And so I think it is equally important for us to voice out teachings we are disturbed by, while of course, being aware we could ourselves be wrong too.
This was also why I was deeply impressed with Dr Gwee’s writing during the AWARE saga, when he pointed out to everyone, what he perceived was right and wrong, and how so many of us benefited from his writing as a result.
Martin Luther started the Reformation , not by staying silent or simply moving to another church. He wrote and spoke. He had no blog, but he nailed his 95 Theses to the door.
Jesus did not stay silent; He spoke up when he felt the leaders were teaching things outside of what the Scripture talked about.
I think all of us need to do the same, because a lot of times, many others have the same doubts but fear to voice out. When one person starts the conversation going, we may find that we are carrying burdens we don’t have to.
On non-traditional families, and on procreation
Indeed I believe the Bible affirms our desire to have children & considers it a blessing to have children, through it’s oft-qouted Genesis teachings.
I would applaud any preacher who quotes those verses, and affirms the listener’s desire for having a family. However, “the danger is that the mainstream population, its socio-cultural norms and ethos, will dwindle and diminish down the generations.” is not a Biblical principle. It’s all fine only if a preacher makes clear when he is presenting his own views, and when he is speaking from the Bible. It’s easy for listeners to be confused, if it is all said while he stands in the pulpit.
It would be even more wonderful, if the preacher also called on Christians to support each other through encouragement, through helping one another with family needs, through helping poor families provide better for their families. Because families are a blessing from God.
But to ignore Paul’s affirmation of singlehood, and to use those verses to make people feel less worthy or contributive because they are single/divorced parents, or choose to be childless, is unacceptable, IMO.
Think about how a woman who has an accidental pregnancy, decided to heed the Church’s teachings & keep the baby instead of aborting it, and doing her best to then raise this child, despite the prejudice and lack of govt support. How would she feel, after heeding the teachings of the church, to have the country’s Church leader then tell her that people like her are causing the decline of morals in the West?
Think about how a man who desperately tried to save his marriage but who’s unfaithful wife walked out anyway, abandoning his children, and how he tries his best to raise them not to hate their mother, only to have the Church leader turn around and tell him that divorce people like him are causing the moral decline?
Think about the woman who decides to remain single and childless because she has 2 aged parents and 4 grandparents still alive, to take care of, so that her brother can have more for his own children. How would she feel to have people tell her that she is disobeying Biblical commands to have children and that she was sinning because the decline in birth rate is going to erode social norms?
Think of the homosexual person, who decided that his pastor’s Biblical interpretation was right and homosexuality wrong, and so decided to remain single his whole life, rather than being in a gay relationship — which would piss off God supposedly, or being in a straight relationship — which would piss off his wife. How would he feel, after making this decision for the love of God, to have the church leader imply that people like him were contributing to “the danger that the mainstream population, its socio-cultural norms and ethos, will dwindle and diminish down the generations.”
These people may be in the minority, they may be in the fringe, they may often be overlooked
But I hope people remember also that the Bible talks about how God values even a singular person.
8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
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