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Confronting the Arguments for Homosexual Marriage

July 24th, 2015

Confronting the Arguments for Homosexual Marriage

Introduction:

Foundations make a difference. The foundation of every human society is the home. The inspired author said, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Heb. 13:4). Today we have people who are attempting to redefine marriage. We are not required to honor false definitions of marriage – only God’s definition.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you call a horse’s tail a leg, how many legs does he have?” The answer was, “Still four, because calling it so does not make it so.” I am not prone to quote politicians, but I thought the response of former Governor and Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee was right on target when he said after the U.S. Supreme court decision, “The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity.“

As followers of Christ we are called to honor marriage and to consider the marriage bed pure, but this only applies to God’s definition of marriage – a life-long, faithful relationship between one man and one woman. This means that we must also warn against the poor substitute that is being offered today for God’s definition of marriage. But as we teach God’s Word and His moral standards, we also must acknowledge that we are a community of grace. Whether you are personally struggling with homosexual desires, or a close friend or family member is struggling, let me assure you that we choose to minister to people compassionately and redemptively in all sorts of situations. We are all sinners and are able to stand only in the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

The International Baptist Convention is seeking this year in our annual meeting this November to pass seven resolutions on social issues that proclaim a biblical position. You can find a copy of these in the foyer. I was privileged to serve as the chairman of the committee, along with Erik Nielsen of Copenhagen and Bob Hnat of Hannover.

Here is what we have written about homosexual behavior and homosexual marriage:

Homosexual Behavior and Same Sex Marriages:

Out of His love and for His glory, God created human sexuality as a tender expression of love and intimacy between husband and wife. The Bible consistently teaches that marriage is a God-ordained covenant union between one man and one woman for as long as they both shall live. Secular definitions of marriage contrary to God’s definition will prove to be harmful to individuals, families, and society at large, and are dishonoring to God. There are many complex reasons a person may have homosexual desires. Homosexual behavior, however, whether man to man or woman to woman, is consistently identified as sinful behavior in Scripture and it is not in accordance with God’s original plan for human sexuality. Likewise, same sex marriages are morally wrong because they promote homosexual behavior and reinterpret the nature of marriage and family. They are a contradiction to a male-female complementary relationship and undermine God’s original creation. As ministers of Christ we pledge ourselves to minister lovingly and redemptively to individuals and families dealing with these issues. All people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are to be loved and valued. Genesis 19:1-11; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Judges 19:16-24; 1 Kings 15:12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-10

Why is God so strict on this matter? Why does He judge the sexually immoral? Why does He say that marriage should be honored? Why does He say that the marriage bed should be kept pure? Why does God care about these things? It is because marriage is the foundation of human society.

Imagine a building foundation made of solid concrete and steel. The building stands tall and securely because of the elements in the foundation – steel, aggregate, water, and cement – and the building rises ten, twenty, thirty, fifty stories high. Then one day someone says that we are inconsiderate for limiting the elements to only these four, that we should also be open-minded and include other things into the building foundation. So we say that we did not realize that we were being unkind and had no intention to be so closed-minded, so we substitute lime for cement, wood for steel, oil for water, and all sorts of inferior kinds of materials for aggregate. And we lay the foundation with these materials, and we construct another tall building. Would you like to live in that building?

This is what is happening in today’s world with marriage. God created male and female, and founded the first home as the foundation of human society. In the wisdom of God the first institution of society is not the state, not the schools, not even the church – it is the home, with a complementary relationship between man and woman as husband and wife at the center. Now people are saying that we are too selective with the materials for the foundation of human society. We should not just have male and female marriages, but male and male, and female and female, and upon this foundation we will build modern society.

Even a simple view of this matter should be able to see that it is an effort to take the mother out of the home, and what is home without a mother? Or to take the father out of the home, and what is home without a father? The original design of God was a complementary relationship between the sexes at the center of the home. A man can never be as good a wife to another man as a woman can. A man can never be as good a mother to a home as a woman can. A woman can never be as good a husband or as good a father as a man. This should be self-evident truth, and to some people it is, but to many in today’s world it is not.

How does the Bible answer the claims of homosexual community today? There are four claims of the homosexual community: homosexual lifestyle is “gay,” a harmless alternative sexual orientation, a genetically inherited characteristic, and even compatible with the teaching of Scripture. My contention today is that these four claims are false, and I will try to show why I believe this is the case. The arguments for homosexual behavior and gay marriage have put their eggs in these baskets, so we have to deal with them.

· The misrepresentation of the genetic argument

· The Scriptural teaching on marriage

· The Scriptural teachings of homosexual behavior

1. The misrepresentation of the genetic argument

Christ said, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female?” (Matt. 19:4) However the modern pro-homosexual movement says that this is not how people are being made today. Today God is creating them male, female, and homosexual.

The press, of the last twenty years, has misrepresented studies to find a link between biology and homosexuality. The two studies that are usually referred to are (1) by Simon LeVay, who did brain research, and (2) by Dean Hamer, who did gene research.

The LeVay study was done in 1991 on 41 different individual bodies, and it is important to note that many medical studies are done with very small samples. Normally, statisticians want a sample of at least 1,000 random individuals, or 900 at the least, but medicine is different, especially when you are dissecting human brains – it is hard to find specimens. LeVay said that in his research he noted a slight difference in the brains of homosexual men, a claim that other well-noted biologists have questioned. But it was far over-blown by reporters who did not understand what he was saying.

Levy clarified the misunderstanding and said of his own research: “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are ‘born that way,’ the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work.”[1] So, the Levay study, admittedly, did not find or prove a link between biology and homosexuality.

The Hamer study was done in 1993 on genes, using 40 pairs of homosexual brothers – again a very small sample. In his report he used words in summarizing his research like “suggest” and “seem to indicate” that there may be a genetic connection to homosexual orientation. Not solid proof, only a possible hint of suggestion. The press went wild with assumptions that it had been proven. Der Spiegel published an article, “Gen für Homosexualität Entdeckt,” (“Homosexual Gene Discovered”) as did other magazines. However, within the scientific world there were doubts. In 1995 Scientific American, published an article saying that Hamer excluded data from the research that did not match his results, bringing into question the science he was claiming.

Two other major studies, 2002 an Australian study and 2008 a Finnish study, done with larger samples, were unable to duplicate either of these results. Both studies concluded that environmental factors, experienced individually played the larger role in developing a homosexual orientation.[2] Martin Dannecker, Professor für Sexualwissenschaften in Deutschland, said, „Alle in der Vergangenheit angestellten Versuche, die Homosexualität biologisch zu verankern, müssen als gescheitert bezeichnet werden.“ Meaning, “All past various attempts to anchor homosexuality to biology must be called failures.”

Finally in 2010 Der Spiegel published, “The homosexual gene that has been postulated, despite extensive research, cannot be found.”[3] Notice the wording still holds out the possibility of the homosexual gene being found in the future. This shows that they have faith. It is typical of the world to present themselves as people of science and to say that we Christians are people of faith. But in examining the evidence, we see clearly that they also are people of faith. They place their faith in the idea that the biological proof is out there, if it just can be found, even when there is no evidence to prove their assumptions. So do not think that we Christians are the only ones who exercise faith. The difference is that our faith is well grounded and well founded upon historical experience and the examination of our claims by virtually every generation of humanity since the resurrection of Christ.

The absence of any scientific evidence of link between biology and homosexual orientation must be made today because many people still assume that there are biological causes for homosexuality. There is no credible evidence that they are just “born that way.” I believe all healing of a wrong orientation in life, from a Christian perspective, must start at the point of accepting the sovereignty of God in the act of creation. This is the “sovereignty argument,” meaning that If God in His sovereignty has made me this way, then I can live this way. Healing is also based on the work of re-creation in Christ Jesus, that we are new creations in Him and now have new futures and a new orientation in life.

It is interesting that when the Sovereignty Argument worked against the homosexual movement, they argued against it. However, when they thought they could use it, “God made me this way,” to defend their lifestyle they were quick to embrace it. Now that the scientific efforts to prove a genetic or physical link to homosexuality exists have been dubbed failures, and social influences are now emphasized as the greater influence. It is clear that God did not make them this way, but the influences of society had much more to do with it.

The understanding that homosexuality is not caused by biology is important but this does not change everything, for still the causes of homosexual orientation are usually not entirely chosen by the individual. They are the result of human behavior, and not due to a biological reason, which is the position of Scripture. In Romans 1:18-32, the Apostle Paul argued that when people abandoned the worship of God, who is Spirit, for the worship of idols, that this led to the degrading of the husband and wife sexual relationship, resulting in sexual immorality. This sexual immorality resulted eventually in homosexual behavior, clearly identified as immoral.

This means that the biblical position – that homosexual behavior is the result of the actions of people within society itself, both by influencing others toward the lifestyle and by individuals personally choosing to be involved in it – squarely aligns with the reality as we know it today. The biblical perspective is that this was never the plan of God for human sexuality nor is it helpful to society or harmless to society.

2. The Scriptural teaching on marriage

Marriage is a complementary relationship between a man and a woman committed for life to one another, Gen. 2:18, Deut. 22:5, Matthew 19:4-5. The Bible teaches us the uniqueness of each gender. Both and each are created in the image of God. This means that there is an element of femaleness in God, which should be no surprise to us, and certainly is no heresy. Out of His own character God fashioned the woman to complete what was lacking in the man, to be a complementary partner. “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18).

The words mean that the woman was to complete the man, that she was neither inferior nor superior to him, but a partner. The idea is found here of the complementary nature of marriage and home, including both male and female components of the human race. And when the work of creation was done, the testimony of scripture was: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). And then God saw that His creation “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Though God is never addressed as “Our Heavenly Mother,” it is clear that the woman bears the image of God to the same degree that the man does.

It was in the wisdom of God that He designed homes to be at the heart of human society, the center of which was to be a heterosexual, loving marriage in a lifelong commitment to one another. From this union would come children who would be brought up with love and discipline. This way every child would grow up with a healthy exposure to the opposite sex, and they would be prepared to be faithful and loving spouses themselves, as well as loving parents.

Homosexual marriage is to have a home without a mother or to have a home without a father. The home is built around the mother and the father, and to attempt to create a home where one of the genders is intentionally absent is a corruption of God’s intended design. The complementary nature of God’s creation or sexuality is lost and part of God’s plan is missing from the home. Of course, there are many other traits of healthy marriages and families. Sadly it must be admitted that many heterosexual marriages have failed, and, I believe, it is only after decades of incredibly high divorce rates that the idea of homosexual marriage has become acceptable to some.

Having grown up in a home where my father abandoned us I am keenly aware of the tragedy of fatherless homes. I saw my mother have to become the man of the home because the man had vacated his position. I have personally seen the results of divorce and a child growing up without a father or mother and is not good. The clear testimony of historians is that the best of all worlds is where a loving relationship between husband and wife is the anchor reality of the home, and from this relationship spring children who are loved and taught discipline, morality, and self-respect.

I have to confess that the two institutions that I never thought I would have to defend – namely motherhood and fatherhood – are now being cast aside as unnecessary. All that matters now, we are told, is partnership between two adults. But let’s be clear on how tragic this is for the world, that we have lost the perspective of the importance of both mother and father. This is beyond godless, it is plain foolish. If we were wise we would admit our failures, repent as a society and return to the traditional family as the center and foundation of human society.

3. The Biblical Position on Homosexual Behavior

In the New Testament churches there were many former homosexuals, but there was also a clear rejection of homosexual behavior. Homosexual behavior was viewed as sinful and was associated with several other sins (1 Cor. 6:9-10), about which it was written, “The wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God,” and then naming certain sins – sexual immorality, idolatry, prostitution, robbery, greed, drunkenness, slandering, swindling, in addition to homosexual behavior. Like all sins except one, it was forgivable by God if someone would repent and believe in Christ.

About these sins and the people who commit them, Paul wrote: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). So homosexual behavior was considered sinful behavior, along with others – not the unforgivable sin, but a sin nonetheless. Homosexuals were not exceptional sinners – no more than others – for the New Testament teaches that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but can be, through repentance and faith in Christ, justified fully through the grace that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24).

What are the objections from the world about the biblical teachings? Actually, some even from within the Christian community – whether they are true believers or not, I am not sure, but I suspect some are but many are not – say that we have misunderstood the Bible. Their complaints and suggested interpretations are not at all well-grounded in Scripture. It might be more honest for them to simply say, “We don’t believe the Bible,” and leave the church, but instead they have tried to remain in the Christian community and give new interpretations to old texts. Here are some of their ideas:

· The Bible doesn’t say very much about homosexual behavior

· Jesus never directly addressed the issue of homosexuality

· Homosexuals were persecuted by the church so we should repent ourselves and accept them.

· It is only the Old Testament Law that condemns homosexual behavior

· The passages are misunderstood and the words wrongly translated. The condemnations are really against (a) homosexual rape, or (b) pagan idolatry and the pagan practice of homosexual encounters in their idolatrous religions, or (c) only against homosexual promiscuity and not homosexual marriage.

Let me answer the first four quickly:

First, the argument that Bible does not say very much about homosexuality: That is true, but it says enough or we wouldn’t be having this discussion, and what it does say about it is very clear. So this argument carries no weight whatsoever.

Second, the argument that Jesus never directly addressed homosexuality: This argument has no real credibility because enough was said elsewhere in Scripture against the practice. Christ’s public ministry was among Jews for the most part, and among the Jews homosexual practice was clearly forbidden. Jesus dealt with the moral issues that were at hand in His public ministry. Yet as soon as Christian missionaries went into the Gentile world, the issue came to the forefront, and they clearly addressed it, stating it was wrong.

Third, the argument that because of the previous persecution of homosexuals we should accept this behavior: It is true that in some times and places in history homosexuals have been persecuted by the church. But please remember that so were the various free churches persecuted by the state churches and especially the Catholic Church. Anytime in history the church turned to become the persecutor of anyone, it became an apostate church. History shows that in the history of the state-churches, it was typically the unholiness of the state that dominated the church, and not the holiness of the church that dominated the state. I confess as a member of the free church, which endured much persecution itself, I am always a bit annoyed when we of the free churches (Baptists mostly) are blamed for the acts of the people who persecuted us. But, more importantly, the fact that the matter was harshly dealt with does not remove the scriptural words against the practice. In the history of crime and punishment in general, many archaic and cruel practices were used in the past against all sorts of immoral behavior. Today we have changed the way we deal with crime, but we still uphold certain things as wrong. So this argument does not hold any real weight or we would also have to abandon punishment of almost any crime due to the abuses of previous punishments.

And, for the record, this discussion is about morality, not about criminality.

Fourth, the argument that only the Old Testament Law was opposed to homosexual behavior, and those laws are now all obsolete. First, this is simply wrong in its facts because homosexual behavior in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was condemned in Genesis 19, before the giving of the Mosaic Law. Secondly, the homosexual behavior is part of the moral law, not the ceremonial law, because it is said to be an abomination to God (Lev. 18:22). And if someone doubts this, the next verse condemned bestiality, for the same reason, that it was an abomination to God. The moral laws are those ethical principles and rules of human behavior that are relevant and in effect for all generations. And thirdly it was upheld as sinful behavior in the New Testament in multiple places.

So let’s examine what the Bible says.

Genesis 19:5-6: Homosexual behavior was called a “wicked thing,” centuries before the Mosaic Law was given. In the story of Lot and the two angelic visitors, the men of Sodom surrounded his house and demanded to have forced sex with his guests. Certainly rape of any nature is sinful, but the context shows the sinful perversion of sex, and hardness toward one another. That Lot offered the men his own daughters was a despicable thing for him to do, but it shows us the nature of the immorality described – a homosexual perversion of heterosexual relationships between husband and wife.

Leviticus 18:22 (NASB) states, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” And Leviticus 20:13 says essentially the same. In the Mosaic Law it was called an abomination, something God hates. This means that it is part of the moral law, not just the ceremonial law.

Deuteronomy 22:5 states, “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.” Cross-dressing was also forbidden. Clearly men and women share many things in common: both are made in the image of God. “In Christ is neither … male nor female” (Gal. 3:38), so there is equality in the church. Yet the trend today to blur the distinctions, or to make men womanly or women manly, is contrary to the will of God.

Deuteronomy 23:1 forbids making someone a eunuch: “No one who is emasculated … shall enter the assembly of the LORD.” Though in the New Testament we read about the Ethiopian eunuch coming to Christ, still the practice of making people eunuchs, and we also see in this passage an application against female circumcision. Bruce Jenner has basically made himself a eunuch, not a woman – less of a man, not more of a woman. And, by the way, this is also the text that Christians use to say that female circumcision is wrong; although the passage is about male mutilation, it has an application in female mutilation as well. God intended men to be men, and women to be women.

Furthermore, if it is argued that a man may do this to himself, or a woman to herself, then what is to prevent someone from arguing that a parent can also do this to his child? Within the basic code of biblical ethics lies this principle: genders should remain as they are – undamaged and unmutilated. Even among physicians, the Hippocratic Oath still carries considerable weight here: “First, do no harm.” It is the idea that a human’s body, as made by God, should be respected for what it is, and not seen as a mere scientific experiment. The biblical teaching against someone becoming an eunuch is a safety clause for all of human society.

In Acts 8:26-40, we have the wonderful story of the Ethiopian Eunuch who was converted to Christ and saved, and baptized as well. So in the New Testament eunuchs were included in the assembly of the church, just as in the Old Testament a eunuch could personally still believe in God. His presence was rejected from the assembly to discourage the practice, not to reject the individual himself. A believing transsexual can also receive Christ and be included in the church, as can a repenting homosexual or murderer or any sinner. The free grace of God in Christ covers us all, but it is through the path of forgiveness, not through denying that wrong is wrong.

Society today has applauded Bruce Jenner and others like him for spitting in the face of biology and saying, “I want to be a woman and I will become one.” Of course, he has not become a woman. He has simply had himself mutilated. “Sex Change Regret” is another topic that should be revealed – that many people who have had “sex change” operations regret having done so. (See http://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jul/30/health.mentalhealth and http://www.sexchangeregret.com/research.) Once the surgery is performed, there is no going back, no chance of other therapies. The wild media frenzy over Jenner will prove eventually, I believe, to be a mistake, one that will encourage people to have surgeries they will live to regret – and perhaps a new group of law suits against those who influenced them to have them. Either way, we will all stand before God in judgement and have to give account of our actions.

Romans 1:26-27 describes homosexual behavior as a sign of the moral and spiritual decay of human society. This is the point of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of Paul’s description of human sinfulness in Romans 1:18-32, that human society has slowly and consistently moved further and further away from God. The phrase, “God gave them over” is repeated three times. Due to idolatry, because they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles,” God “gave them over to sinful desires” and specifically to sexual impurity (1:23-24). Due to exchanging the truth of God for a lie, “God gave them over to shameful lusts,” and here is specifically mentioned lesbianism and male homosexual behavior (1:26-27). And since they did not even retain the knowledge of God, God “gave them over to a depraved mind,” filled with every kind of wickedness (1:28-29).

1 Cor. 6:9-11: Two words are used in this passage to describe homosexual behavior: malakoi and arsenokoitai. 1 Tim. 1:10 uses the word arsenokoitai. Malakoi or malakos is translated “effeminate” (KJV and NASB) and describes the passive relationship in male to male sexual intimacy. Arsenokoitai is a combination of arsen meaning “man” and koite which describes sexual intimacy, and describes homosexual behavior. They are listed in a vice list with other sins. We can understand the reason both of these words were used – not to confuse, but to clarify that it was wrong also to be a passive partner in a homosexual relationship.

So the very consistent and clear biblical teachings about homosexual behavior is that it is contrary to the will of God. As we read in Romans 1, it was a sign of the depravity of civilization. We read in Genesis 6:11 that violence was also a sign of human depravity, so homosexuality does not stand alone as the one and only sign. But its presence and widespread acceptance in the first century Mediterranean cultures showed the moral depravity of those societies.

The response of the believer in Christ must always be to repent and let the Spirit lead us to see where our sins and our moral weaknesses are. The truly repentant one will seek to be committed to Christ fully and completely.

One final objection

A longtime friend of mine in correspondence said that she thought that homosexuals were just born that way, and that the Bible, though it was at one time “God’s Word,” has now so many mistakes in it that it is undependable. Unfortunately, she spoke for many people. And she is wrong on both counts.

My question is: What possible documented evidence could she point to as proof of these assumptions? Intelligent people do appeal to facts, historical evidences or scientific experiments to prove their points. They do not depend on groundless assumptions, rather they seek to examine them and to prove them. It must be stressed that if the reliability of the Christian Scriptures is important to a non-believer, this issues is a thousand times more important to a believer.

As I have already written, there is no credible biological evidence that homosexuals are “born that way.” Their orientation is the result of the failure of human society, not a biological bias implanted by the Almighty.

But on the Scriptures being filled with errors, what evidence is she referring to? What proof does she have? To hold such a position would be credible if one could dig up or produce genuine ancient copies of biblical texts which were copied significantly different. If she found, for examine, a copy of Leviticus that showed places where additions had been made, or earlier copies which had fewer words, etc.

She cannot produce them because they do not exist. The record of textual evidence is that the Scriptures have been copied carefully for they were believed from their earliest days to have been the inspired Word of God. Mistakes, additions, editorial clarifications, etc., those few that do exist are identified ruthlessly and none of them change the message of the Bible. Christians above all people want to hold in their hands the true Bible of the ancient world, and work to make sure that the copy we have is true to the original documents.

And we can find such assurance from numerous sources. And there are many researchers who have verified the reliability of the Bible. For example, as long ago as 1895 Sir Frederic Kenyon, the former director of the British Museum, wrote:

It cannot be to strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain: especially is this the case with the New Testament. The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of earls translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church, is so large that it is practically certain that the true reading of ever doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book in the world.[4]

According to apologist Josh McDowell, with regard to the New Testament alone, over 20,000 ancient manuscripts verify its reliability.[5]

There is no proof whatsoever that the passages of the Bible that deal with homosexuality were added later. They were part and parcel of the original scriptures. The only thing to decide is whether or not we believe them.

What are we to do about this?

· Compassion and understanding: I believe the problems that we are dealing with in our day will be resolved by those who are patient and kind, not by those who are angry and mean-spirited. The origin of a homosexual orientation in someone’s life is not something that is easy to explain or to always understand. The homosexual orientation – the individual has very little choice about this – is not what is condemned but rather the actions are condemned.

· Help people deeply – prayer, love, patience, deep inner healing are needed. Most people with a homosexual orientation did not get there all alone, and they will not get out of it alone either. So we need to come along side of people in love and humility and patience.

· Pray: As in all the work of Christ we find ourselves very limited in ourselves. In fact Christ said “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). So we must pray and seek to pray and to live in the Spirit. The Spirit of God brings wholeness and healing.

· Get tough: We also must take a strong and clear stand on this issue, and get tougher than we have been. We can expect opposition, accusations, challenges – and this is the time for tough people to love genuinely.

· Deal with our own personal issues as well: If a homosexual deals with his own sinful nature and sinful desires, so do we all. The materialist has a materialistic orientation that leads to self-centeredness and greed. The dishonest person has an orientation of fear and insecurity that leads to hiding behind lies. The superstitious person has a false teaching he has never confronted and moved away from. All of these, and every believer in Christ, struggles with something. We each must submit our lives before Christ and seek to live for him. The church that will be effective in today’s world must be the broken church, broken and then healed again by the love and grace of God to live for Him wholly and freely.


[1] http://discovermagazine.com/1994/mar/sexandthebrain346

[2] http://www.dijg.de/homosexualitaet/wissenschaftliche-studien/fakten-hinweise-wenig-oeffentlichkeit/

[3] Ibid.

[4] Frederic Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1895) online edition. https://archive.org/details/ourbibleandanci00kenygoog

[5] Josh McDowell, More Than a Carpenter (Wheaton, Illinois, Tyndale, 1977). P. 48.

The Bible and Human Sexuality ,

On Homosexuality and Marriage

June 27th, 2013

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Romans 1:18-32

This week the Supreme Court of the United States of America in a 5-4 split decision stated a new legal position in America. In striking down the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), on the argument that it unfairly discriminated against homosexual couples, the court took a major step in the move to legalize and legitimize homosexual marriages. As the ramifications of their decision are explained in the next few days and weeks and even years, we will understand more what this means legally for America.

But spiritually and morally there is little debate about the significance: America has joined the ranks of the most liberal elements of world societies in the attitudes of its people – including populace, politicians, and judges. This is a move consistent with what has gone before, a move away from the biblical moral code and a move toward elevating the individual human being over God.

This is a departure from the traditional long held belief, that the bedrock of any society is the family, defined as man and wife and their children. It is also, I believe, a failure of the conservative evangelical community who, for whatever reasons, failed to connect with the majority of Americans on the importance of this issue. Content to take a hard stance, that set up straw men and women and ridiculed them, rather than to engage with compassion and concern the issues of homosexuality, our church leaders, both Catholic and Evangelical, failed. The ancient approach to homosexuality for its opponents has normally been to mock and threaten and shame, making it a stigma, probably out of some fear on the leaders’ part of its appeal to them. This bullying technique to discourage the practice has backfired, and made the public sympathetic to the plight of those with a homosexual orientation.

Or, another approach, is to completely give into the practice and consider it anywhere from okay to a matter of personal choice or to even a preferable orientation and practice. And this seems to be where we are headed.

But the concern I have as a Christian relates not only to America but to all of the West, that we have now enshrined above all other interests and values the right of the individual to pursue whatever he or she desires to pursue. The words of Thomas Jefferson, “pursuit of happiness,” seem to be the only moral consideration that anyone has any longer. Now the credo is “I have the right to do whatever I want to do regardless of how it might affect anyone or everyone else.” There is also the very strong hint of the state using its role to control, not to influence, but to control moral matters.

Within some limits we would all agree on the freedom of some personal choices, but to entirely dismiss the individual’s obligation to society as a whole, to exalt individual liberty over all other values is an absolute moral degradation of the highest degree. Within some limits, we would also agree with the government’s role to lead, but in this situation, as Justice Scalia in the minority and opposing position described, this is tantamount to declaring heterosexuals “enemies of the human race.” Now any moral and religious conviction, even those that our nation was founded upon and whose values serve as our heritage, if they stand in the way of the individual to do whatever he wants to do, if they call to a higher moral code that the “I-want-what-I-want-right-now” motivation of a newborn baby, is seen as cruel and mean-spirited.

But any moral code, any religious conviction that does not raise us up to consider the will of God and the benefit to others is an empty profession. In my generation we have taken what was assumed to be the bedrock of all societies – marriage and family – and now made it superfluous, and almost declared it as evil. Perhaps in a round about way, this type of thinking is simply just payment on the past sins of slavery and Amerindian genocide, and who knows what inherited common guilt was brought over centuries ago from the Continent, that gross immorality has so imbedded itself in our natures and cultures that we are simply reaping the results of our plantings. Certainly this is true to some degree, as the text above from Romans indicates. At least this is due to the long legacy of high divorce and the so-called Sexual Revolution that has poisoned so many of our values.

If we dismissed God from the picture entirely and had a discussion on the basis of Systems Theory alone, we would have to come to the point that it is dangerous to change so much in one generation, without considering what effects this will have on our society. One change affects other elements and we are going down a road that we are not sure where it leads. Even the most base atheist could or should be able to understand that. But they don’t, which leads me to the same conclusion as the Apostle Paul, that in some way or another all rebellion against moral standards is rebellion against God. There is a deep resentment against traditional morality and a significant line has been crossed legally in this instance.

We already condone the killing of the unborn, and now we re-constituted what marriage is. What is next? What is the next step? We removed sexual intimacy from the marriage relationship, monogamous heterosexual parents from the family, so what is next? These things appear superfluous to many, that sex is like drinking a glass of water, but I believe it is more than that. Sexual intimacy between man and woman is not just some thrill that God gave to the human race, rather it is a gift to the marriage relationship that builds intimacy, love, affection, sensitivity, and trust between husband and wife, that in turn blesses the family and the children of the family. What will we lose, what have we already lost as a society, by separating sex from marriage?

There will be a result. Look into the statistics of crime and the backgrounds of criminals. You will see their pasts awash with divorced parents, sexual addictions, pornography, and cruelty. It is no accident that these things are connected to one another, as the passage above indicates. When people stubbornly insist on going their own way, God allows them to do so – He has created us with a limited freedom of will and desires us to willfully come to Him. When we stubbornly refuse, he “gives us over” to our lusts so that we might learn the results of our rebellion and the depth of His wisdom. So America is now the prodigal making its way to the pig pen. The party will end one day when compassion runs out, and we will find our society groveling in the mud pits of immorality, wistfully hoping for a way out. We can relate to the lament of the Prophet Isaiah who wrote of the moral conditions of his own day: “We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows … justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:9-14).

Is there hope? As long as there is someone willing to share the love of God, there is hope. As long as there are people who are seeking to win others to Christ and people who are taking the high ground of moral behavior, there is hope. As long as the Word of God is allowed to be proclaimed, as long as Christians are committed to loving and caring for others, there is hope. So long as the government does not take our children away from us and educate them against the will of the parents there is hope. The striking down of the DOMA is just a legal matter and live is lived, at least at present, in families and homes, not in the courts. Homosexuals do not reproduce and if we can build strong, good families, strengthen marriages, we will find the tide turning.

And we should pray, for this battle must be fought first and foremost by God Himself. In the Isaiah 59 passage we learn that God was appalled at that time that there was no one who intervened for the moral condition of society, no one who prayed for His will to be done. So, we should make prayer an integral part to this our response to this issue, and intervene for the problems of our societies. We will not live long enough to see all problems eradicated in society, so it must be God who leads, and He is doing so. We should follow Him in love, in compassion, and in the solutions He gives in His Word to this world’s problems. We must show compassion to all people, for it is compassion that is most appealing. They tactics of hate and anger do not work for they are not of God. Love is of God. Taking clear moral stances is of God. As we follow our convictions that arise from God’s Word, we will find that He will give us the grace to make a difference here for His name and for His sake.

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