Christians Say the Darnedest Things: IFB Preacher Bob Gray, Sr. Explains Conformity to the World

bob gray sr

Bob Gray Sr, retired pastor of Longview Baptist Temple, Longview, Texas

Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The Scripture says “be NOT conformed” rather “be ye transformed.” The secret is the mind and in the renewing of the mind by being transformed and not conformed to this world.

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Someone says, “I’m addicted to movies, pornography, or to internet pornography.” I don’t believe it for a minute! You can quit it right now and walk away from it. It’s not addictive like narcotics or liquor. You can quit that junk if you would produce enough character, decency, discipline and Christianity. The Bible says we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God. God is saying because you are justified be not CONFORMED to this world, but TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind.

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God has given to the Christian a little world within a world with our local church, Christian schools, and Christian colleges. If you are in one of the Christian schools and are living a loose moral life you are a traitor to the cause of Christ, to the school, to the college, to the local church and to your pastor. Nobody ought to ever cause themselves to be expelled from a Christian school because of being immoral loose living, bad music, pornography, or sexual promiscuity. No member of a local church should ever be involved with immoral activity for you are in essence a traitor if you do.

Thus we have a little world within a world. This bigger world we live in is a godless world and we are forced to interact. Some have to interact with worldliness at home, or in a secular business, or a secular school, and unfortunately sometimes there are students in the Christian school who are worldly and you find yourself having to interact with them. However, I would be ashamed of myself if I were thick with the wrong crowd in a Christian school. I’d be ashamed of myself to be thick with the wrong crowd in a Christian college.

Now, we are required in some ways to interact with a godless Christ-less world. May I point your attention to whom this passage was given? The passage of, “be not conformed to his world but be ye transformed” is a passage written to the Christians in Rome. They were corrupt, pagan, skeptical, and a perverted people. The entire environment was not only un-Christian but also anti-Christian. The Bible says this book was written to the saints in Caesar’s household.

We have this admonition, “be not conformed to this world.” What does that mean? It simply means dress like a Christian and not like Paris, or Hollywood, or New York. It simply means males ought to have haircuts that look like a male and not the Beatles or Justin Bieber. God is saying to his people I would rather you have Dr. Lee Roberson as your hero than Arnold Swartznegger. I would rather you have Jack Hyles as your hero than Garth Brooks.

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Paul is saying it is possible to live in the midst of a Roman moral quagmire without lowering your flag of purity. Please listen! That means that it is possible today also to do the same. It is possible today to live in a society controlled by TV, Hollywood, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and the Internet and still live for God via the renewing of the mind.

It is possible to live in this sex crazed, Hollywood infested world, HBO world, Cinemax world, Showtime world, and hip-hop music, and be not conformed to this world. If it is possible for the saints at Rome then it is possible for the saints of today!

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Paul is saying to the saints in Rome man is not to become a creature of his circumstances or the toy of his surroundings, or a piece of clay molded by his peers, but he is saying do not be conformed be ye transformed. It bothers God when his daughters are quick to take up the hairstyles of modern day Romans. It bothers God when any of his children are quick to pick up the modern appearances and so desperately want to be accepted by the modern day Romans.

It probably occurs because God’s people spend more time reading “Glamour Magazine” than the Bible. Young Christian ladies spend more time in “Sixteen Magazine” than in their own Bibles. It bothers God when his sons are so quick to get a tattoo or pierce their ears simply because of the modern day Romans.

God is telling his children they are not to copy this pagan world. There is a difference between dressing appropriately and going gaga over the latest styles and so quick to embrace them simply because we want the Romans to love us. We are not to pattern ourselves after this modern world.

If the world lies on a beach in their underwear then God’s people ought to do the opposite. If the women of this world wear their shorts and man’s apparel then the Christian ladies ought to do the opposite. We are in the world but not of the world!

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It thrills God to see his children around town reflecting Scriptures rather than society. When he sees the boys with decent haircuts and without their pants hanging down to their ankles with their underwear showing. God loves it when he sees his young ladies dressed in modest clothing without a vampire look. I thank God I belong to a church where members dress right and people around town know they belong to Longview Baptist Temple.

— Bog Gray, Sr, Solve Church Problems, Do Not Read This It Could Change You: Conquer the World’s Gravity, January 7, 2017

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7 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    I’m not sure what leads people in to this high level of conformity? Is it fear or insecurity?

    How could we possibly judge someone’s spirituality based in something like dress styles, tatoos or pierced ears?

    Christians should be known for their love, what we’re for in a positive way, not everything we are against.

    But, how to communicate this to fundamentalist brothers and sisters. Why do they reason in this way? I wish that I could understand more deeply, and make a difference.

    Part of the issue for me is that I’m a more shades of gray type person to start with, (this can drive my husband crazy at times) so it’s doubly hard for me to get into someone else’s mind in this whole thing. I really can’t get it. Never could.

    Reply
    1. Lynn123

      Rebecca,

      I like your thought-provoking questions. The answer to your first question is-they were born into it.

      We can’t judge people’s hearts by how they dress, no. We can get a clue to whether they tend to be conservative or liberal in general. Lawyers do it all the time when picking a jury. I read a book that made sense to me re why we are different. It’s “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.”

      I was chuckling imagining you telling a fundamentalist-“Christians should be known for their love, what we’re for in a positive way, not everything we are against.” They would probably think “well, there’s a lot more to it than that.” I think they “reason this way” because they have a basic mindset, a way of viewing what’s important that is very different from yours. It’s like a very conservative person and a very liberal person feeling like the other one came from a different planet.

      Your last paragraph is key, I think. There are “shades of gray” people, and there are “black and white” people. They are both good, but they value different things.

      Reply
      1. Rebecca

        Thanks, Lynn. Makes sense.

        Reply
    2. Matilda

      …I’m a more shades of gray type person..’ Me too. I grew up with a very judgemental mother, she tutted about the neighbour’s curtains being shabby or how infrequently they washed their car. So I think that’s what made me a ‘live and let live’ sort of person. When fundy, I secretly thought that if I believed in a creator-god, why did he create such diversity and variety in every area and then tell us to shun most of it and live in a tiny black and white bubble? He seemed to enjoy ‘shades of gray’….that’s why he made so many shades. My garden has 100 varieties of plant in it, if god loved conformity so much, why didn’t he make every flower a red tulip? Apparently he’s so concerned about my teen’s sin of dying her hair blue, but doesn’t give a damn about world poverty and wars.

      Reply
  2. Karen the rock whisperer

    I’m both fascinated and repelled by the Fundagelical notions of how Good Christians should dress, what entertainment they should consume, etc. It seems very 1950s, Leave It To Beaver sorts of notions. Why on earth would God give a fat rat’s patootie? Why does it matter more that a woman is wearing shorts in the summer heat than that she’s helping sort food at a food pantry? Why does it matter more that a man wears his hair above his collar than that he’s spending three nights a week as a volunteer on a suicide hotline? Because that’s really the impression I get from sermons like this.

    I really loved the last line about dressing right so that people would know you belonged to his church. You weren’t just any sort of garden-variety Christian, oh no! You must advertise that you’re a Longview Baptist Temple Christian, a premium, better-than-the-rest Christian! What extraordinary arrogance.

    Reply
    1. Lynn123

      “what extraordinary arrogance” Yes! There’s definitely an element of “we’re superior.”

      As far as clothing, this stuff makes me think of the Amish. They, too, consider what you wear to be very important.

      I can give my opinion on why they act this way if you want to hear it.

      Reply
  3. Trenton

    I seem to recall Jesus rebuking some pharisees for something similar to what he just preached about.

    Reply

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