Moral Controversies That Have No Right to Exist
My readers may wonder at the title: how is it possible that a moral controversy has “no right to exist?” What do I mean by such a phrase? To what “moral controversies” do I refer?
Let me answer the second question first: the moral controversies detailed in this article are abortion, the failure to execute violent criminals (capital punishment) and sexual sins. Each is current, inarguably serious, and seemingly not resolvable. How do I possibly maintain that they have no right to exist as moral controversies?
Let me illuminate the first assertion now: while it is abundantly true that each of the three controversies just listed exists in our culture, my point in this article is that because the Bible clearly teaches us that each of these is sin and how to resolve them, there should be no controversy!
The typical, two-fold humanistic (and useless!) approach to resolve a moral controversy is
- Ignore the LORD and His Word. (This is the automatic and unthinking reaction to any human problem by those who rebel against the LORD and His Book!)
- "Dialog" and compromise. The proponents of each side sit down at the same table and “dialog”, working to find common ground from which a compromise can be built.
[We all are familiar with our political diplomats negotiating, or the “workings” (yeah, right…) of the US Congress. Using such negotiation tactics for moral controversies is contemptible in the light of the truth of the Scriptures.]
To the extent that people continue to ignore the LORD and His Word, then try to solve their problems, controversies will exist and flourish!
If people sought the LORD and His Law first, then controversies would not be able to exist, at least not once they are biblically confronted and thereby resolved.
The purpose of this article is to show that each of these moral controversies has a clear and direct resolution from the Scriptures and that if those Bible teachings were honored and obeyed, they would be fully resolved and cease to exist.
As the article title teases, a “moral controversy” is an oxymoron. If it exists in the realm of that about which the Scripture comments, it is not a controversy! The LORD tells us through His word how to view the issue: once reduced to its most direct elements, the controversy disappears. What remains is the clear illumination of right and wrong–and what it is that we are to accept and what we are to reject.
It is obvious to even the casual observer that we live in a divided world; our own observations and experiences abundantly demonstrate that fact. In fact, moral controversy is so common that we have not only become accustomed to it, we also tacitly believe that moral/serious controversy will always be with us; resolution is viewed as being practically impossible.
Of course, in a world which has rejected the Word of the LORD it is no surprise that that same world prefers to hang on to its self-serving self-deception by its misguided attempts to solve a problem which should not exist in the first place.
The “culture of controversy” (for lack of a better phrase) is not a democracy, the resolution of said controversy to be settled by majority consensus. It must be settled–can only be settled–in an authoritative and permanent way by the Scriptures alone!
[It is true that not only can each of the three controversies above be resolved, the Bible tells us which "side" will be vindicated during the Great Judgment and which "side" will be condemned and punished.
An additional truth is that the resolution does not depend on man’s reason, philosophy, or support, either now or during the judgment of the Day.
A corollary of these truths is that for those issues which directly or indirectly are not found in the Bible, they are therefore not “serious”. Into this camp are such minutiae as which is the best soda or automobile, the best place to live and the healthiest foods. Such issues are matters of opinion, not morally binding on anyone; these typically are not resolved. You’ll find no comment in this article on such trivia.]
The Bible is the Sole Authority for all Mankind Over All Time
My readers will find this a familiar and biblically well-supported refrain. Whatever extra-biblical “personal truth” that a person may hold is irrelevant.
There are exactly three categories of moral “truths”, only one of which counts:
- Absolute truth is that belief which is supported from and taught in the Scriptures. This is permanent and independent truth which does not in any way depend on human philosophy, intelligence, experience or support.
- A so-called “truth” not established by the Scriptures. These are typically known as mere opinion and may or may not be “true”.
- A so-called “truth” which is contrary to the Scripture. These are lies and error.
[I realize that the three points above are oxymoronic. My meaning is strictly semantic, to make the point how “truth” (lower case ‘t’) is viewed in a fallen world. There can be only a single Truth (upper case ‘T’), and therefore a single moral truth derived from it. Human opinion is analogous to the dross produced when refining pure metals; it floats to the top as slag and is discarded.]
No other conclusions are possible, and therefore all moral controversies can be resolved from the Truth of the Scriptures.
[I’m not here speaking of the ever evolving, often contradictory, declared “truths” of science, math, physics, medicine, etc. We are all familiar with their pronouncements that either may endure or later are declared to be invalid (think tobacco in previous generations or COVID mask mandates today!). These are matters which, in the context of this short article, typically do not have a moral element. Such matters of amoral “science” may or may not be “true” and may never be resolved.
One example, however, is the vital and moral element of the raging creation/evolution debate. (It is irrelevant that many(/most?) identify the debate merely as “scientific” rather than “moral”). However, by my definition above, the Bible is very clear in Genesis chapter 1 that all that exists was created by the LORD alone in 6 days (rather than patently foolish chance of “evolution” over millions/billions of years from "nothing"). Unbiased science will always show that Genesis chapter 1 is unconditionally accurate (cf., the work of the Institute for Creation Research). The assertions of evolution by most secular scientists move the debate into the moral arena because they seek to contradict the Bible’s authority and teaching in favor of their “science”.]
The topic of this article, moral controversy, is enabled by the application of the absolute truth that the LORD’s words are authority. Based on that authority we are enabled to judge controversies once and for all time to state that which is right and that which is wrong. Such resolutions and judgments will be enduring and just while rejecting all so-called resolutions that ignore the Bible by seeking moral compromise.
[EDIT May 2023: I've learned a new term: "based". The statement above is most definitely "based".]
This article is presented in 4 chapters: