“Time is the agent of change. But the truth does not change along with time, because the truth stands outside of time. What was good and holy two thousand years ago is good and holy now. What was debased and evil two thousand years ago is debased and evil now. Our ability or willingness to discern one from the other may have changed, but the reality has not,” writes author Matt Walsh in his 2020 book Church of Cowards: A Wake-Up Call to Complacent Christians. (95) Thus, the truths of Christianity are as true today as they were when Christ walked the earth two millennia ago. Yet today, many people calling themselves “Christian” are implicitly or explicitly denying these truths; in doing so, they are causing great harm to the Church, individual Christians, and themselves. To stem such damage, Walsh calls upon these dissident (really, heretical) Christians to either repent and come back to the fold or at least be honest enough to formally leave the Church they had already abandoned.
Walsh notes that surveys repeatedly report that 75% of Christians in America believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Yet, those same surveys also show that more than 25% (and sometimes even a majority) of Catholics, Mainline Protestants, and Evangelicals support gay marriage, abortion, transgenderism, and other positions that are antithetical to what the Bible and traditional Christianity clearly teach. Walsh then takes a deep dive into the issue of homosexuality, as it is instructive for the other issues. First, he notes that the Bible is clear on homosexuality:
“To adopt any part of the world’s view on the question of homosexual marriage or homosexual acts, you simply have to deny, implicitly or explicitly, the truth and authority of Christianity…There is a full, uncompromising, explicit consensus across both the Old and New Testaments about the nature of marriage and the moral depravity of homosexual acts. Every Christian church affirmed these teachings for almost two thousand years, during which time not one Christian theologian or thinker of any note found, or claimed to find, any pro-gay interpretation of the verses mentioned above [1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-27, Timothy 1:10, Leviticus 18:22, Genesis 19:1-38, and Christ’s teaching that marriage is between a man and woman]. That is because no such interpretation can be found.” (99-100)
Thus, for a person both to claim to be a Christian and also to support homosexual marriage and the gay lifestyle, the person must believe one of three things. First, the person could believe that the Bible is just wrong on homosexuality. But if this true, Christianity collapses upon itself. Walsh writes: “[I]f the Bible contains moral error—and such egregious error—then we have no reason to believe anything else it tells us. If we cannot believe what scripture tells us, then we have no reason to believe that our faith is true.” (100) Second, the person could believe that while homosexuality was wrong in biblical times, it is no longer wrong today. Again, if this is true, Christianity likewise collapses. “[M]oral relativism is incompatible with Christianity because, in the Christian understanding, morality is grounded in, and flows from, an eternal, perfect, all-knowing, and changeless God. If morality is relative, then God is either imperfect and changeable—or nonexistent,” Walsh states. (100) Third, the person could believe that the Bible has always supported homosexuality but it was only the people of today who finally realized this. This belief, if true, likewise causes Christianity to come crashing down. Walsh writes:
“Leaving aside the striking arrogance of such a view, it also supposes that the Bible is so confusing and incomprehensible that even its clearest commands and edicts cannot be known. In other words, the Bible may mean the opposite of what it says, and it may take a couple of millennia to realize this…Anything is possible. And if anything is possible, then Christianity ceases to be intelligible or meaningful.” (101)
Thus, every time a “Christian” comes out in support of gay marriage or the gay lifestyle, he or she is also supporting one of the above three beliefs that directly undermines Christianity. This is why there is such strong opposition from orthodox Christians on this issue. “It is not that we have some obsession with homosexuality, or that we hate gay people. We are simply defending the truth of our faith, which these “tolerant” Christians are directly attacking,” writes Walsh. (101)
Walsh’s analysis of homosexuality equally applies to the other issues where “Christians” dissent from what the Bible and traditional Christianity have taught for millennia. There is always a clear biblical teaching directly opposing the dissenting position, which forces dissenters to support another position that even further undermines Christianity.
Significantly, Walsh notes that Christians who take heretical stances on gay marriage, abortion, transgenderism, and other issues are causing great damage. They are sowing chaos and division within Christianity as the clear teachings of the Bible are being called into question. Indeed, denominations have been ripped apart by these heretical teachings. More ominously, though, such Christians are negatively impacting the eternal destiny of souls by supporting conduct condemned by the Bible. First, they are hurting the unrepentant sinner. Walsh writes:
“It may true that this person [unrepentant sinner] will feel relieved to be encouraged in his wickedness and told that it’s really very good and natural for him to do whatever it is he wants to do. He may be grateful for such an assurance. For now. But the wickedness he partakes in is still destroying him all the same. He is brought closer to eternal damnation all the same. And for us to facilitate this easy and casual descent into the fires of Hell is not compassionate.” (121)
Second, they are harming those sinners who truly wish to repent and live a moral life. “This is perhaps the most neglected group in all of Western Christendom—those who are filthy sinners but who actually want to be holy and need some help and encouragement in that direction,” says Walsh. “It seems that the church has nothing at all to say to these folks, except that they’re wasting their energy and should just relax and go with the flow.” (122) This is a causing tremendous harm as most Christians fit into this second category. Walsh writes:
“The absolute worst thing you can do, then is to feed into or encourage my weakest and most selfish inclinations. The least compassionate response on your part is to agree with the devil on my shoulder…if I listen to you, if I really take your words to heart and convince myself that my sins are not sins, that my wickedness is not so wicked, then one day, I imagine, I’ll be cursing your name forever in the pit of Hell.” (122)
Rather than affirming sinful conduct, we should be encouraging these people to do all they can to heroically live up to the tough—but loving—demands of the Christian Faith, demands that lead to true joy and true life both now and in eternity.
Why do people who claim to be “Christian” hold views that are against what the Bible and traditional Christianity profess? Walsh offers several reasons. First, ignorance. Indeed, many “educated” Christians today know less about their faith than the average illiterate, yet pious, peasant of the “dark” ages. Second, intellectual laziness. As Walsh writes: “[M]ost of these Christians have never made any attempt to harmonize their moral views with the Bible. These modernists have a nebulous sense that there has been some sort of awakening in recent times and now the hardest commands and edicts in the Bible have evolved or dissolved, or that newer and more enlightened truths have finally risen to the surface after centuries buried under the muck of ancient bigotries.” (98) Third, peer pressure. In regard to transgenderism, Walsh states: “[A]s the irrational, anti-scientific, and superstitious belief in ‘transgenderism’ was introduced into the cultural bloodstream by academia and Hollywood, individual Americans, feeling the increasing peer pressure, quickly forsook their knowledge of basic human biology and adopted progressive gender theory wholesale.” (103) Fourth, the desire to avoid looking into one’s own soul. “Helping others overcome sin and temptation would make him [the heretical Christian] uncomfortable because it would force him to confront his own darkness in his own soul, so he says nothing and does nothing, and he tells himself that his selfishness is love and his cowardice is courage.” (121) Finally, simple arrogance. Some of these people just think they know better than the Bible and almost two thousand years of Christian teaching.
So what should people who claim to be Christian but support heretical views do? Walsh minces no words: they should be honest with themselves and formally leave the Faith they actually do not believe in. He writes:
“That is why I encourage Christians like Jen Hatmaker [strong supporter of the LGBT agenda] to drop the act and admit that they are not believing Christians. They do not believe the Bible is a reliable source for moral truth. They do not believe in the Christian moral teachings that were unanimous across every church for almost two thousand years. They do not believe what the Gospels say about Christ’s own words, or else they do not believe that Christ is an absolute moral authority. In other words, they have the same view of scripture, Christian teaching, and Jesus Christ that all non-Christian people do. And they are free to hold that view. Billions of people across the world hold it. I think they are wrong for holding it, but I would never be angry at a non-Christian for being a non-Christian. I do, however, feel anger towards apostates and heretics who lack the integrity to admit to themselves and the world that they are apostates and heretics.” (101)
Several immediate benefits would result from heretics officially leaving the Faith. First, Christianity would benefit as it no longer would have dissenters destroying it from within. Second, the world would benefit as it would have a clearer view of what Christianity really is. Third, the heretics who left Christianity would benefit as they would finally have to confront their own views—and “it is only in such a confrontation that repentance can occur,” Walsh writes. (102)
In his book Church of Cowards: A Wake-Up Call to Complacent Christians, Matt Walsh pulls no punches in confronting alleged “Christians” who support gay marriage, abortion, transgenderism, and other positions that directly conflict with the clear teachings of the Bible and traditional Christianity. He calls these people what they truly are—”heretics” and “apostates”—and laments the great damage they are causing to our churches and to individual Christians. Walsh challenges these people to either repent and rejoin the Church or to be honest enough to officially leave the Faith they had already implicitly abandoned. Let’s hope that they act quickly before more churches are torn apart and more souls are eternally lost.