What exactly DOES 1st Corinthians 9:19-22 mean, anyway?

pretzel face

Ohhhhh, the ways this passage is twisted, and perverted, and turned on its head by the oh-so-hip, oh-so-cool, oh-so-relevant “pastors” of the many seeker-sensitive, non-offensive, cross-less “churches” that pepper the American religious community today. They take the words of the apostle Paul, and they use them as an excuse to perform all kinds of free-for-alls by inviting all kinds of filthy, heathen, Satanic methods into a place that is supposed to be sanctified, consecrated, and set apart for the worship of Almighty YHVH.

And what is their excuse? “See??? Paul said he was ‘all things to all men!’ So take that you Bible-thumping Pharisee!” And we who love the precious word of God and consider ourselves slaves to it, shake our heads and groan on the inside, knowing that one more person has just allowed themselves to be conformed to this evil world, whilst trying to hold on to Christ. So, for the sake of clarity, let us examine just exactly what the apostle meant. Here are his actual words:

1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New King James Version)19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

But, let’s take the attitude of those who would say, Of course they played Marilyn Manson music in church this morning! They were reaching out and being relevant to Marilyn Manson fans! I mean, how else are they going to draw them?” And let’s draw it out to its inevitable conclusion. This is what they would have Paul say–

1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New Seeker-Sensitive Version)For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I may win more; and to the murderers I became a murderer, so that I might win murderers; to the blasphemers, as a blasphemer, so that I might win the blasphemers; to the pornographers, as a pornographer, so that I might win pornographers. To the pagans and Wiccans and Druids, I became a pagan and Wiccan and Druid that I might win the pagans and Wiccans and Druids; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

But is that what Paul was saying? If you think it is, then stop reading right now and go back to reading Rob Bell or Doug Paggitt. Because you will not like what I am about to say. Paul was not saying that he committed acts that were sinful, neither was he saying that he brought Satanic rituals into the church, nor is he saying that we should be conformed to this world so that we can be “all things to all men.”

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“For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions”


This Sunday the fellow that preaches at our little church will be headed for Africa, so I will be filling the pulpit. About the middle of last week, I started to feel drawn to a particular text in Romans. Didn’t know why.

Now I know why (From Christian News Wire, via Slice of Laodicea):

In a lopsided vote, deputies to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church have effectively repealed a moratorium on the consecration of further gay bishops.

Following initial votes in the church’s House of Deputies on Sunday and House of Bishops on Monday, the House of Deputies gave final passage with 72 percent of the vote to an amended version of resolution D025 on Tuesday afternoon. The resolution affirms “that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church.”

The newly-adopted resolution essentially counters another resolution passed three years ago, in which dioceses were urged to “exercise restraint” in the consecration of practicing homosexuals as bishops. The effect of that resolution was to tenuously keep the Episcopal Church connected to the broader Anglican Communion for the intervening three years.

The Anglican Communion is divided over hot button issues like homosexuality and scriptural authority, with U.S. Episcopal church leaders being more theologically and politically liberal than their overseas counterparts. IRD supports a conservative perspective that affirms traditional church teachings.

Romans 1:26-27, 32For 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…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.

When the church stops being the church.

What would happen if you went into your local Carvel, Baskin Robbins, or Dairy Queen and were told that they no longer serve ice cream?

What would happen if you went to your local quickie lube-change location and they advised you that they no longer do oil changes.

What if you went to your local library and the librarian informed you that they no longer lend out books?

Would you not likely wonder why these places remain open if their main staple and reason for existence is no longer offered?

Well, would you believe me if I told you that this is exactly what’s happening in some Western churches? Although these churches left their primary purpose for existence (to glorify God) long ago, they are now ceasing to provide their other main purpose for existence: The preaching of the Gospel.

Welcome to the new age of pseudo-Christianity in which the “church” is no longer in the business of preaching the Gospel or converting souls!

Don’t believe it’s possible? Think it would be like Starbucks refusing to sell coffee? Well, check out the following three examples.


At St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in California, their page on What is Our Mission? boldly declares:

Our emphasis is not on converting souls to Jesus so that individuals will be rescued from hell. Our emphasis is on partnership with Jesus Christ, and our challenge as followers of Jesus is to live our lives his way—believing in what he believed in, loving what he loved, opposing what he opposed.

This is what you get when a heretical, apostate, liberal church is too busy caring for the environment and boasting about being “an inclusive community with open arms and open minds” (code for we ignore God’s clear teachings against homosexuality), instead of following the commands of Jesus and seeking the salvation of men. Hmmm, kind of reminds me of Romans 1:18-32.


At a Calvary Chapel in Nevada, their “motorcycle ministry” has a page with the following:

Are You thinking? “Hey I like to ride [motorcycles] but that Jesus stuff is not for me”. No worries, we offer a safe group riding environment free of alcohol and drugs. We promise not to “preach” to you but please know if you need prayer we can pray with you and if you have any questions we will gladly answer them.

That Jesus stuff“??? We expect the world to speak in such a flippant manner about the sacred and holy things of God, but a church? Seriously, is this any way for a church to be speaking about our Lord and Savior? Could a truly regenerated believer refer to their Savior and the one true Faith with such disrespect? And bear in mind that this is coming from an extension of Calvary Chapel that’s identified as a “ministry.”

Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me the least bit that a “church ministry” that refers to the precious Lamb that was slain (and His Bride) as “that Jesus Stuff” would then have to post the following disclaimer for participants in their church “motorcycle ministry” rides:

* Requirements to join us in an open ride: Maintain Current motorcycle endorsement (not permit), registration and insurance as required by law. PLEASE NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS. Thank You!

Shouldn’t no alcohol and drugs be a foregone conclusion for a “church ministry”? I wonder if Chuck Smith knows about this.

***** UPDATE *****

Since the publishing of this post, Calvary Chapel has changed their candid “Jesus stuff” remark so as to not be so revealing. But being unequally yoked for the sake of hanging out to ride bikes together is apparently still acceptable.


According to The Christian Post, the recent Episcopal gathering in Baltimore, Maryland for the Everyone, Everywhere World Mission Conference had the following startling revelation on evangelism:

On day two of the conference, the Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, an Episcopal missionary and author, spoke about working with Muslims. He urged participants to “bridge this chasm of misunderstanding” between Christianity and Islam by not focusing on converting the Muslim, but rather to form an interfaith friendship that explores the commonality between the two faiths.

Chandler said Muslims who are pressured into converting to Christianity suffer what he calls a “total break with society.” He gave as example real stories of Christian converts from Islam in Senegal who were exiled from their community when they followed Christ.

“They ended up getting Jesus, but the rest of their life was hell,” said Chandler, who had lived in Senegal with his parents who were Christian missionaries.

The Episcopal missionary recommended Christians to use the Five Pillars of Islam to introduce the common religious heritage between Christianity and Islam when approaching Muslims. The central common factor is that Jesus was a Middle Eastern man whom Islam reveres.

So what you’re saying “Reverend” Chandler is that the best way to love a Muslim is to let him die in his sins and burn in Hell forever? Wow, what a noble thing to do.