Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Responding to Homosexuality

not lie with man

by Dennis Pollock

It happens regularly these days. Some well known individual says something critical of homosexuality and instantly there is a media feeding frenzy. Television and radio pundits give grave commentaries, accusing the latest transgressor of being a homophobe, a bigot, or a fool. Researchers dig into his past, attempting to unearth some other crimes he or she has committed in order to give more weight to their condemnations. Sometimes the individual loses his job or sees his business opportunities dwindle; other times the mass of Christian support is of such a degree as to prevent anything more than complaint and expressions of pious indignation and outrage. Finally things die down… until the next such event.

What's with these Christians anyway? Why can't they just live and let live? Since I am one of them, I'd be happy to answer that question. First, we must distinguish between generic, garden-variety, Christmas and Easter attending, don't-take-their-religion-too-seriously Christians as opposed to evangelical, born-again, Bible reading, praise song singing, attend-church-every-week Christians. The evangelicals are the ones we are talking about here. The primary characteristic of an evangelical is a love and respect for the Bible. We don't see it merely as an inspirational, encouraging book – we see it as the very word of God. Believing that "holy men spoke (and wrote) as they were moved by the Holy Spirit," we approach it with a reverence and respect that non-evangelicals could not possibly imagine. It is our inerrant guide for theology, for behavior, and for lifestyle. What it approves, we approve, and what it condemns we likewise condemn.

Opinions and Convictions

Evangelicals are allowed their own personal opinions on things the Bible does not address, but on matters where the Scriptures have clearly spoken, there is no room for opinion. If someone were to ask me, "What do you think about cigarette smoking?" I might tell them that I think it is not a good or healthful practice, but I would never say that God absolutely forbids it. There is not a single Scripture in the Bible that addresses cigarettes. I know some Christians might say that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and since smoking is harmful to the body, therefore it must be sinful and we should strongly preach against it. But in truth there are a great many things that are physically harmful, such as eating doughnuts, lying on the couch all day, and drinking sodas. If Christians were to start making a big deal over every unhealthy practice, we would have a long list to cover!

There are all sorts of issues and questions that the Bible does not address. We can pick and choose our opinions as we like. Hopefully a knowledge of God and His word will give us sound thinking and reasonable opinions. Should a woman marry a man who has no job? Probably not, in my opinion. Should a man take a job which he knows he will hate? Probably not a good idea, unless he is really desperate. It is OK to wear a checkered shirt with striped pants? Maybe – this is not morally wrong, but it is surely a fashion sin. Is it proper to keep a dozen cats in your house? I surely wouldn't want to, but I'm not about to preach a sermon on the sin of multiple cat owning. Is a woman allowed to wear six inch heels? Strangely the apostles said nothing about the length of women's heels! All these things are matters of opinion, and Christians must give others the liberty to make up their own minds.

There are, however other issues where opinions are entirely irrelevant. God has already spoken on these things in His word, and His opinion trumps all others. Is it OK to  have a mistress or two? Absolutely not. Fornicators don't inherit the kingdom of heaven. Is my constant lying really that much of a problem, when I'm such a nice guy otherwise? Yes, it most certainly is. In Revelation we read, "All liars shall have their part in the lake of fire." Must I give some of my money to help the poor? Yes you must. The Bible says, "He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord." And on and on we could go.

What does the New Testament say?

All Scripture inspired

Now let's get back to homosexuality. While the Bible says nothing about striped pants or six inch heels, it most definitely speaks on this issue. Some have decided the commandments against this practice don't matter, since the Old Testament ceremonial laws no longer apply. That might be a good argument if there weren't any New Testament passages on this, but there are. In fact the New Testament prohibitions against homosexuality are so explicit, so blunt, and so forceful, there is virtually no way to hold to both the inspiration of the Scriptures and approval of homosexual practices. In Romans Paul writes, "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" (Romans 1:27). To the Corinthians he writes, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9,10).

Paul locks this issue down so tight, the only recourse for those attempting to defend homosexuality is to suggest that Paul was a primitive homophobe, and that these thoughts were merely the opinions of an unlearned and ignorant bigot. So let us consider Paul for a moment. What are his credentials? Firstly, he was hand-picked by the Lord Jesus to take the gospel to the Gentile world. He had earlier been a persecutor of the Christians until Christ appeared to him and commissioned to serve as an apostle. He established church after church, and won countless men and women to Jesus. He had an anointed healing ministry so powerful that handkerchiefs were taken from his body with enough residual anointing to heal sick people and drive demons out of the possessed. He raised a man named Eutychus from the dead. More than any other apostle, he was responsible for teaching the church the cardinal doctrine of justification by faith. Paul's influence upon the church of Jesus Christ has been so profound and far-reaching that it would be unimaginable to think of Christianity today without him.

This is the man who said that homosexuals will never make it to heaven (along with fornicators, swindlers, drunkards, and others). This is the man whose letters to the churches make up the great majority of the New Testament Epistles. Paul took a serious attitude about sexual sin, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Over and over again he hammered home the theme that Christians are to be sexually pure, telling believers to "flee fornication." In his letter to the Corinthians he took up a local situation which needed addressing. A man was attending church who was living immorally with his step-mom. The apostle can hardly believe that the Corinthian church has not dealt with this. Paul wades in without hesitation, writing, "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1 Corinthians 5:4,5). He goes on to remind them of a previous letter where he commanded them not to "keep company" with sexually immoral people – "not even to eat with such a person." This would apply to homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers, in other words anyone who is sexually involved with someone other than their (heterosexual) spouse.

Such an action may sound harsh to us, but in truth it is an act of love. Radically contrary to current American culture, in the Biblical view sexual sin is a huge deal. It is so big in the eyes of God that the Holy Spirit inspired the Biblical writers to use the most forceful admonitions possible. Rejecting a sexually immoral man or woman from the fellowship of the church is a radical measure meant to call attention to their grave and dangerous condition. People who do silly dances on the edge of a cliff don't need approving smiles and comforting words – they need sober and forceful warnings. Love can do no less.

We can never "get in line."

long line

Most of the worldly voices approving and promoting homosexuality rarely raise the issue of the Scriptures. They prefer to focus upon those who dare to speak against their lifestyle, and call them as many derogatory names as they can think of. Knowing that many millions of Americans still love and revere the Bible, they fear to take it on. But in truth they are demonstrating by their words, values, and attitudes that they have little regard for the Bible or Christianity in general. Some like to suggest that Jesus was a loving individual who accepted everyone. They fail to realize that Jesus was an evangelical – He fully believed and honored the Scriptures, even declaring that "the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). He referred to and believed in the flood of Noah, the creation of Adam and Even, and even the story of Jonah being swallowed by a large fish. Our Lord was no theological liberal! To suggest that Moses, Paul and the other Biblical writers were ignorant, simple-minded men writing out of their own prejudices is to declare that you know more than Jesus does. Those who have never walked on water or raised dead people to life might do well to show a little more respect for both the Scriptures and the Lord.

During the flap that ensued over a recent controversy over homosexuality, a homosexual group spokesman rebuked the latest offender of the homosexuals with these words: "The world is changing, the country is changing… and he needs to get in line!" But we evangelicals are never going to get in that line. Our world may be changing, but amazingly our Bibles never do. When I read the words of Paul today, I am reading the very words my Dad read fifty years ago. And the New Testament he read was the same New Testament that George Washington read over two centuries previously – the very same words that Martin Luther read and taught five hundred years ago. As Christians our consciences, our moral framework, indeed our entire worldview is based on words, thoughts, and values espoused by men as ancient as Moses. The same book that tells us of the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the book that speaks so eloquently about God's love that sent Him to the cross to die for our sins, the very book that speaks of Christ's marvelous resurrection from the dead three days later – this is that which reveals all truth and tells us what is right and what is wrong, what is pure and what is evil. What it approves we shall approve and what it condemns we must condemn. We do not condemn the sinner – that is God's business. But we most certainly condemn the behavior. We cannot do otherwise and be faithful to the inspired Scriptures we hold so dear.

Stain Remover!

Shall we allow the homosexuals in our churches? If this means, do we want them to attend our services, the answer is an unqualified and unequivocal YES! May they come in droves to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit and hear the words of God, that they may repent. But should one come to us and ask to be baptized and join the church, and yet express no desire to repent and change his ways, we must say no. We love them far too much to allow them the illusion that they can maintain their ungodly lifestyle and have a hope of living in the presence of that One whose eyes are so pure He cannot look upon evil (Habakkuk 1:13).

After Paul's emphatic declaration that no fornicators or homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God, we discover a tremendously encouraging word. He goes on to say, "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11). Homosexuality is neither unforgiveable nor irreversible. Some people feel that once one enters into a homosexual lifestyle he will carry the stain of it all his life. Untrue. There is a detergent far more powerful than the stain of homosexuality. It is the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. The same Bible that declares homosexuality to be a sin also tells us, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

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