Sorry I didn't answer your question. I think there are two different points, one, there are some sins that are worse then others, and two, culture defines some behavior. On the second one, maybe ask Scott. But I agree that some things in society are cultural and we as Christians need to be wise in deciding these things. Some things are clearly moral issues. Everything in not cultural!
One example of an intertwined issue is the way women dress. It is moral for Christian women to dress appropriately based upon the instruction in the bible. However, in culture, what is provocative in one culture is not in another. In some cultures, women feel no need to wear a top, in others it is considered provocative to show leg. I think this is the sort of thing Scott is saying. But what I am saying is the moral point that women should not be out to seduce men at church, is true. How that get's worked out is cultural.
Regarding fornication, it is very clear what that is. There is no gray area the way Scott is trying to paint it in my opinion. This is clear from the intention of the writer, the common historical interpretation and can be seen as a common moral standard seen in other cultures.
Thanks for the comments, Tony. You made your position clear. I am not sure I agree with you, but I get it.
From my perspective, you can put your position and Scott's position on a cultural relativism continuum. Obviously you lean more towards literal interpretation and Scott leans more towards the context of culture. I would fall somewhere in the middle, but perhaps a little closer to Scott.
Here is why:
It is foolish for Christians to try to present the God of the Bible to unbelievers using a literal interpretation. There are just too many weird things (for lack of a better descriptor). How do we take Jesus' warning about lust or the teaching on fornication literally, but the whole pluck your eye out thing figuratively? How can we basically drop the whole Old Testament as a different dispensation or Covenant and then claim teachings from Psalms and Proverbs? How can we say "love thy neighbor" When Jesus wasn't exactly friendly with the Pharisees?
These are simplistic examples, I know. But the bottom line is context is king. The context of the Bible is profoundly influenced by the culture of the Bible. As a result, there are gray areas. Where the Bible is gray, so should we.
Have you done the word studies on "fornication"? Have you checked more than a few lexicons? If not, I suggest it. You might just find some shades of gray.
I agree, if you define "literal" that way. When Jesus said the sun rises in the east, it would be wrong to interpret that to mean he is making a scientific claim that the sun revolves around the earth. We need to strive to know what the author and speaker meant by their words. The closer we get to that, the more correct we are. If you define "literal" to mean that the word of God, as it is meant to be, is literally true, then I agree. If we determine that when the writers were speaking they meant that fornication includes sex outside of marriage, then and only then, it is imperative that we agree with that. I think it is clear that is what they meant.
I think what Scott was saying is even if they meant that, times have changed and we need not follow that law anymore. OR at the very least, it is no big deal. This is dangerous, first, it opens the door to every man being right in his own eyes. Regarding the examples you give above, either, your understanding of the items is off, or, the bible has no authority at all, there is no way for a middle ground. I suggest working through an understanding of the issues. Jesus was pointing out that all are under a sinful nature when compared to the holiness of God, Jesus is God. Jesus spoke in metaphors and some metaphors are actually literal and some are not. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out which is which. And regarding love, apparently the new age definition of love meaning "you never disagree", is wrong according to the example of Jesus. Love must be different then that.
Going through these things can lead us to deeper understanding of truth. To dismiss the bible as culturally irrelevant is a huge mistake.
2 Peter 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.
21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 2:1 ¶But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2 Peter 1:16