Monday, June 29, 2015

The Supreme Court, the Bible, The Gospel, some misnomers, and Homosexuality

So much has been written concerning the Supreme Court decision on Same-Sex marriage.  This post is a reaction to that ruling; but only insofar as I have seen and read some horrifying theology and shocking Biblical illiteracy concerning how we, as Christians, react to this ruling. 

So, at the outset I want to say that this post is all about what the Bible teaches.  If you do not believe what the Bible teaches, then this post will most likely do very little to sway any hearts or minds. What I would like to do in this post is clear up some of the more ridiculous things I have read as it concerns the Bible's teaching on the subject of homosexuality.  So, here we go; I want to take them one by one.

Leviticus condemns homosexuality, but it also condemns eating shellfish and all kinds of other stuff; if you are to be consistent, you shouldn't eat shellfish - what do you say to that!

It is embarrassing that I have to write concerning the above statement.  Christians who say such things ought to know better; honestly.  I have actually seen clergy say something of the above.  This is inexcusable.  But to answer this, let us start here.

When you open your Bible's to the contents page, you see that the Bible is divided into two sections - the Old Testament and the New Testament.  This is important.  We do not use the word, "Testament" that often, but where we still use it is appropriate - someone's, "last Will and Testament."  The word, "Testament" is synonymous with the word, "Covenant."  A covenant is a lasting ordinance that comes into effect through death.  For example, I get the belongings of the will when that person dies.  It has long been known that for 2000 years Christians understood that the Old Covenant - the old way that God dealt with people - has been abrogated through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Circumcision, animal sacrifice, dietary restrictions, festivals and Temple celebrations, etc...are all over the Old Testament - and we Christians are not commanded to follow them.  Why?  Because Jesus fulfilled the Old Law and established the New Covenant; hence the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, "Take and drink, this is the New Covenant of my blood, shed for you..." 

So the obvious question is, "how do I know those laws that were only for the Jews living under the Old Covenant, and how do I know the ones that apply to me today?"  An easy answer is if it is condemned as immoral in the New Testament it obviously still applies.  Hence, every condemnation in the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament - because the Ten Commandments were not unique to the Mosaic covenant with the Jews; as Temple worship, animal sacrifice, dietary restrictions, etc...are. 

Which leads me to the next statement.  The New Testament has much harsher language concerning homosexual practice than the Old Testament does.  So let's actually see what the Old - and New - Testament actually reads.

Leviticus 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination."

Romans 1:18, 26-27

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth...[I quote this because the below is part of why, "God's wrath" is coming according to the Scriptures.]

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

1st Corinthians 6:9-10

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1st Timothy 1:8-11

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Jude 1:5-7

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day- 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Please look at and read these Scriptures.  Also, recognize that only the 1st one comes from the Old Testament.  The rest are all New Testament Scriptures.  Yes, many sins are mentioned.  Yes, they are all bad.  However, look at the simple description that the Bible says about homosexual conduct.  It is an abomination, it is the exchange of natural for unnatural. [Please take the time to consider this - every single human that exists - every one - is the result of male and female.  Transgenders, homosexuals, heterosexuals, and whatever else someone is, if they exist and are reading this page they are the biological result of a man and a woman.  Hence, nature - that which is natural - produced you.  To engage in activity that strikes against the biological function of the organs is unnatural.  Honestly think on this - eyes are for seeing, ears for hearing, lungs for breathing, heart for pumping blood....what is an anus for?  What is a woman's egg for?  What are sperm for?  If we use them for purposes other than what they are created - by definition - it is unnatural.] 

Furthermore, we are told that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  We are told that the Law of God was created to condemn sin - of which obviously included homosexual activity, and in Jude we are told that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they went after unnatural desire. [I have read the strangest things about how Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they lacked hospitality...certainly they did but really?  Jude, a New Testament author, just comes out and tells us why they were destroyed.  It is right there.]

I would challenge one person to show me one Scripture - in either the Old or New Testament that showcases an erotic or intimate homosexual union in a positive way.  The only thing I have seen is laughable - when people say that King David was secretly a homosexual with Jonathon, Saul's son.  Not only does no text say this...but if King David was secretly gay then I have a hard time believing he would solicit sex from a married woman simply by seeing her bathe...I do not think homosexual men do this.  So I do throw out a challenge - show me one Scripture that highlights an erotic homosexual desire in a positive light.  There is not one.

On to the 2nd lie.

Jesus never said a thing about homosexuality

This one bothers me for many reasons; not the least of these is that Jesus, by His nature, is God in the flesh.  Jesus was the one that threw fire from heaven on Sodom and Gomorrah and Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Nevertheless, let us simply say this.  Jesus did address sexual sin when He walked this earth in His state of humiliation.  Here in Mark 7:21-23 Jesus says these words:

For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

Now, Jesus condemns sexual sin here actually in three different ways - with a general term, "sexual immorality" and then with the term, "adultery", and then with the term, "sensuality."

How can I know that homosexuality was condemned here?  Well...if you are looking for Jesus to not use a, "catch-all" word to condemn all sexual sin, then I guess you must think Jesus did not address polygamy, bestiality, pedophilia, rape, orgies, and the like; because again, He never addresses that stuff either by name; so using your logic I guess that stuff is okay too right?  Jesus simply says, "sexual immorality" is condemned.  Homosexuality, in all quarters, was considered sexually immoral at the time of Jesus. 

Jesus, of course, tells us the appropriate place for sexuality in Matthew 19:4-6:

He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

Look at the language - Father and mother, male and female, these two - one flesh.  Jesus addressed every other sexual union by limiting the sexual union to one union - the union of male to female, husband to wife.  He states that the man leaves, "Father and mother" because that is the only way a person gets here - by a mother and father.

Of course Jesus addressed it. 

The next misnomer:

Every person is worthy of love

Who said they weren't?  Jesus died for the sins of the whole world that is clear.  Every person is created in the image of God.  Every person sins.  Every person is in need of salvation; and every person was died for by the Christ. 

However, if by the above statement you really mean, "every person is worthy to be affirmed in every desire that they have" then of course I disagree.  I have desires inside of me that are opposite the will of God.  Loving someone does not mean celebrating their unhealthy desires.  This is just crazy.  The Bible actually defines what love is in 1st Corinthians 13 and part of it reads, "love does not rejoice with evil, but rejoices with the truth."  The reason for this is because love is not an emotion - it is a verb.  The term, "I love you" does not mean, "I have strong feelings for you."  That is dumb.  Positive emotional feelings may accompany love - but it is not the summation of love.  Imagine this sentence, "For God so loved the world that He had strong feelings for the world...."  No, the sentence is, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..."  Love is a verb, it's an action.  Love is wanting and working for the best of another; and if you celebrate that which is not God's best for another, that is decidedly unloving.  The above statement misuses the term, "love" and attempts to make it co-terminus with the word, "affirm."  And no - every person's every desire is not worthy of affirmation.  I know my every desire is not.

We are all sinners

Well of course we are.  That is not the point though, is it?  We are attempting to be told that homosexuality is NOT sin.  That is the real question.  The above statement is a smokescreen.  If we all agreed that homosexuality was a sin, then we would know what to do - put those desires before the foot of the cross and ask/receive forgiveness.  The problem with our general culture is we are told that homosexuality is not sin; so to say, "well divorce is a sin, living together outside of marriage is a sin, etc..." my response is, "yep.  You are right.  Your point?"  No one here is claiming those things are not sins and areas of brokenness; we are talking about homosexuality here.  Sometimes one feels like you are in that fight where you say to someone, "I wish you wouldn't leave your clothes on the floor" and they respond, "well I wish you would put your dishes in the sink..."  Umm....okay, but we were talking about clothes on the floor. 

The next misnomer:

People used to use the Bible to condemn interracial marriage, and now they are using it to condemn homosexual marriage...

Let me simply say this.  If I were black, I would be deeply offended by the co-opting of the term, "Civil rights" for what the homosexual agenda is doing.  Our country treated black people like chattle - and we were wrong to do it.  To liken what the homosexual agenda is doing and what the Civil rights fought for by people of color in this country did is laughable.  It is not even on the same planet.

Yet, to address the above statement, here we go.  It has never been that Christians throughout the millennia condemned interracial marriage.  As a matter of fact, while it is true that interracial marriage was condemned by some, "Christians" is true.  But the equal statement is true as well.  "Christians" were in the South holding slaves; but it was Christians that freed them.  Hence, there was not agreement.  It was NEVER agreed upon by Christians - not even slightly - that interracial marriage ought to be condemned.  Within the anals of Christianity, that was a minority opinion amongst Christians. 

Christians did our shame...but Christians fought to free.  Christians did conquer - but we also were the agents of freedom.  Christians have fought amongst ourselves. 

Yes, Christians have done some bad and horrifying stuff; but do you know who stood against them when they did?  Other Christians.  Christians were disagreed with by other Christians.  So the statement above is simply incorrect.  All Christians did NOT condemn interracial marriage.

Yet, for 2000 years not one Christian church, religion, denomination, reformer, etc...ever - ever - ever - argued for the acceptance of homosexuality.  Never. There was no disagreement in two millennia by Christians. 

So let me simply say this - why am I so passionate about this?  Because I love people.  And I believe Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..."

I am angry at the disservice we have done to homosexual people.  We have told them that what they feel is good.  We have told them that their desires are natural.  We have likened their behavior to the natural behavior of husband and wife; and because of this we have told them that they have no need to repent.  Remember, Jesus came to save the sick - not the righteous.  If we actually say that our sickness is righteousness, we will never admit sickness - and therefore never achieve righteousness. 

I get the impression that some Christians are embarrassed by what the Bible really teaches; and so they are attempting to simply look over it or excuse it.  Please stop.  The Bible is what it is.  It says what it says.  If you do not like the Bible, abandon it.  But at least be honest. 

I am passionate because I love God, and I love people, and I want all people to receive the Gospel. 

The Gospel is simple - God loves you.  You sinned.  I sinned.  He sent His Son to die for you.  He did.  He rose again.  If you repent of your sins and believe in Jesus, you will be saved from hell, death, and everlasting condemnation and you will inherit forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and an everlasting union with the Creator of heaven and earth. 

We have to stop telling everyone that what they feel is good, okay, and acceptable.  We feel a lot of stuff that is broken, backward, and evil; and when we do we need to lay that sin at the foot of the cross and receive forgiveness of sins. 

He stands at the ready.  He is standing with open arms.  Yes, come as you are - but do not leave as you were.


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