The Christian’s Proper Response to the Homosexuality Movement–Part 4

Vote Against “Gay Marriage”

In America, we have the amazing privilege of actually being a small portion of our government. But with this privilege comes the question of what we will do with the political movement that seeks to make homosexual marriage legal. Most conservative Christians would probably impulsively respond to this question by voting against laws to pass “gay marriage.” But let’s think through this, considering it is no light matter.

If homosexuality isn’t primarily a political issue but a spiritual one (see next point below), why should we be concerned with homosexuality on a political level at all? Isn’t it irrelevant whether homosexual marriage passes? If homosexuals already have the political right to practice homosexuality and live together with their homosexual partner, why should we disallow them from being seen as married in the government’s eyes? Are the said “government’s eyes” that important to us? There are several Christian moral standards that are not regulated by law for which Christians are not trying to push legislation (i.e., sex outside of marriage, lust, greed, using the Lord’s name as a curse word, homosexual practice, etc.) Is it the Christian’s duty to try to impose Christian ethics on others through the political realm? And if so, how do we determine which of our views we should seek to put into law as legal requirements? All of these questions are extremely good reasons not to immediately assume that we should vote against “gay marriage.”

However, although I believe “gay marriage” will eventually be legalized (and we’ll have to deal with it), and although homosexuality in the political realm is not our primary concern, and although becoming overly involved in this political debate can actually hinder our witness, I believe that as Christians who hold to the Bible as our sole authority of faith and practice, we should vote against the legalization of “gay marriage” and for the preservation of marriage as between one man and one woman. Allow me provide you two reasons why.

The first reason is love for God (Matthew 22:38). As American Christians who have been bestowed by God with the privilege of being able to govern our country (to at least some degree), we are responsible to God for how we steward this responsibility. By voting against “gay marriage” or for the preservation of true, Biblical marriage, we honor God by honoring His institution of marriage.

Notice that I called marriage “His institution.” Since God created man and woman, and since He created the institution of marriage, God is the only one who can define what marriage is. And He defines it in His word as between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:23; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:24-32).[1]

And therefore, in light of this scriptural reality, same sex marriage is actually not possible, seeing that marriage is by definition, as provided by God who created marriage, between one man and one woman. “Homosexual marriage” is an oxymoron.

In sum, my point is that although our nation will most assuredly and eventually abandon the Biblical, God-given definition of marriage, I believe as Christians we have the personal responsibility to uphold it with as much political influence as we have been given. So, my reasoning isn’t actually politically driven, but theologically driven—will we personally honor God’s truth about marriage even if no one else does?

The second reason is love for others (Matthew 22:39). Allow me to explain. Although our culture would have us believe that supporting “gay marriage” is a loving act, it is actually quite unloving to support or even remain silent and be passive concerning a practice (if not repented of) that excludes your neighbor from the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).[2]

Although our culture would disagree, God’s way is far better than our sinful inventions. And when I say “better,” I’m not talking solely about the fact that God’s way is moral, ethical, righteous, and holy. I’m talking about the fact that God’s ways are far more satisfying, far more fulfilling, and far less damaging and hurtful. As Al Mohler says,

Our confidence is that God condemns those things that will bring his human creatures harm and commands those things that will lead to true human happiness and flourishing.

In other words, we understand that the Bible condemns all forms of sin because our Creator knows what is best for us.[3]

Just a sampling of David’s words in Psalm 119 shows us this reality.[4] But he states this truth most pointedly I believe in verse 129.

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.

In other word, God’s commands aren’t just the right way, they are the “better” and “best” way (i.e., heterosexual, monogamous, Christian marriage is the “best” for sexual, emotional, and relational satisfaction and successful parenting). Supporting that which is contrary to God’s way (i.e., “homosexual marriage”) is therefore unloving.

Remember that Homosexuality is Ultimately a Spiritual Issue, not a Political One

If we think that our primary fight is to make sure gay marriage doesn’t pass, we our blind to the real issue. News flash, gay marriage will eventually pass and we’re going to have to accept that. But as Christians, our primary concern should never be politics. If we think that we lose the battle on the day “gay marriage” is legalized, we’ve missing the primary target. And if my being a political snob is hindering my ministry to homosexuals, my priorities are really messed up.

Honestly, comparatively speaking, who cares about whether a political law passes or not when we have actual human beings at stake who desperately need to be saved from their sin and the wrath of God.

Be careful not to become overly consumed with homosexuality as a political issue. Don’t ignore people for politics.

Don’t Simply Be Pragmatic or Moralistic; Evangelize

If all we do is tell people to avoid homosexuality (or other sexual sins) we have missed the point. If all we do is tell people to abstain from homosexual activity because satisfying one’s sexual needs in the confines of monogamous, heterosexual, lifelong marriage is far better, far more satisfying, and far less problematic, then we are simply being pragmatic (arguing based on what “works” the best) and have missed the point. If all we do is tell people to refrain from homosexuality because God says it’s wrong, we are simply being moralistic.

Now granted, pragmatism and moralism actually do have some value to them because they tell us what works best and show us what is ethical. But left alone, they are dead-end roads. Pragmatism will never meet one’s ultimate need—being made right with God. If all we ever do is preach ethics, we are only preaching condemnation; we are telling people what they ought to be doing—a standard which no one can ever measure up to perfectly.

In other words, if all you’re trying to do is to get people to stop being homosexual, first of all, you’ll fail, and second of all, you’ve missed the point–their greatest need. The law doesn’t convert anyone. We must preach the Gospel of God’s forgiveness in the cross of Jesus Christ.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:11, “and such were some of you.” In other words, the Corinthian church was made up of ex-perverts, idolaters, adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, thieves, drunkards, revilers, swindlers, etc. But upon repentance they were readily incorporated into the Corinthian church. And such should be the mindset and goal of our churches, as opposed to staying at arms distance.

To denounce same-sex intercourse and then stop short of actively and sacrificially reaching out in love and concern to homosexuals is to have as truncated a gospel as those who mistake God’s love for “accepting people as they are” and who avoid talk of the gospels transformative power. It is to forget the costly and self-sacrificial work of God in our own lives, past and ongoing. . . .[5]

Notes

[1] As John Piper rightly states,

Marriage is created and defined by God in the Scriptures as the sexual and covenantal union of a man and a woman in life-long allegiance to each other alone, as husband and wife (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:23; Matthew 19:4-6), with a view to displaying Christ’s covenant relationship to his blood-bought church (Ephesians 5:24-32).

John Piper, sermon entitled “’Let Marriage Be Held in Honor’ — Thinking Biblically About So-Called Same-Sex Marriage,” delivered on June 16th, 2012 at Bethlehem Baptist Church. <http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/05/30/the-church-and-homosexuality-ten-commitments/&gt;

[2]

We must not be intimidated here. The world is going to say the opposite of what is true here. They are going to say that warning people who practice homosexuality about final judgment is hateful. It is not hateful. Hate does not want people to be saved. Hate does not want people to join the family. Hate wants to destroy. And sin does destroy. If homosexual practice (and greed and idolatry and reviling and drunkenness) leads to exclusion from the kingdom of God — as the word of God says it does — then love warns. Love pleads. Love comes alongside and does all it can to help a person live — forever.

Piper, “Let Marriage Be Held in Honor.”

[3] Al Mohler, “My Take: The Bible condemns a lot, but here’s why we focus on homosexuality” on CNN Belief Blog, May 21st 2012

[4] For example, Ps 119:1-3, 14, 17-20, 24, 29, 35, 47, 52, 54, 56, 62, 66-68, 72, 77, 86, 92-93, 96, 97-104, 105, 111, 127-128, 130-131; 162-165, 167, 172.

[5] Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001), 492.

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7 thoughts on “The Christian’s Proper Response to the Homosexuality Movement–Part 4

  1. Again, as I commented in the Part 3 posting, there is a tendency to dance around the actualities of the gay life throughout these posts. This is detrimental to the effectiveness of these articles. Yes you mentioned the true inerrant words from the Bible on the issues of sin but you have not really gotten your hands dirty with the real things that go on in the lives of gay men and women and expanded on them. Why? I’m having a tremendously hard time finding correlation and thus writing off these as possibly being irrelevant.

    Concerning legislative attempts and how we can join in and vote! These words of advice should be met with extreme caution because it is becoming more and more clear that our country is less a democracy and more so a militaristic dictatorship. I won’t go into great detail but the military industrial complex, increasing police state, fraudulent voting on last three presidential elections, contradictory and inaccurate information on what actually happened on 9/11 and most recently the Obamacare bill that may very well have been an under the table, coercive act to force justices to condone the universal mandate. So concerning the idea that voting may or not be conducted honestly anymore, it would pose as less of a necessity for us as citizens to rush to the polls to vote in our moral choice–not to say we shouldn’t altogether, but do consider the possibility of other powers/evils that be.

    Many Christians are changing their stances on gay leadership and most recently the Presbyterian denominations. This goes to say that many Christians believe a person can have a gay orientation and even possibly a significant same-sex other and still function and be redeemable. When a person takes their sin, confusion and whatever to the cross, God will respond to that confession and honor the person’s commitment. One gay person I know feels convicted that he should continue his gay relationship and still faithfully worships the Lord. Oh well… Perhaps we should be silent in our political decisions on the matter and live out lives that are pure and blameless on the inside and see where that takes us.

    The kingdom of God is at hand! When we come into the saving knowledge of God, we are brought into that kingdom. It is a living, thriving community of believers. Everywhere. His spirit lives within them and convicts them of their sin. People who practice their sins are living out of the community. Ultimately people need Jesus and his love because only he can restore them. There are not a lot of people who live out restorative lives, myself included at times, but that does not mean we should not thrive to live in the spirit and bring people into that genuine community (i.e. not necessarily the church community as a compartmentalized society in one’s schedule but as a missional community). When we are living out the Great Commission it would make sense that we would be making all kinds of friends, maybe even gay ones, or those nasty liberals (hehehe) and our lives may glimmer the faintest reflection of Jesus and this will undoubtedly attract someone to this salvation.

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  2. In regards to you first paragraph, my goal was not to provide an anthropological resource but a Biblical resource. Could one benefit from a resource that deals with the “actualities” (as you say) of the homosexual lifestyle? Definitely. But that wasn’t my point in writing this series. I believe this response should sufficiently answer your puzzlement.

    There’s much more I could respond to in your comment, but I’ll try to stay on topic… except for one divergent remark. When you say, “not necessarily the church community” I would challenge you to read the book of Ephesians and come away with such a low view of the church. The Church is God’s eternal purpose, Christ’s bride whom He purchased at the cross, Christ’s body whom He created, whom He loves, whom He purifies all for the glory of God. The Christian life is by definition communal. Just a side note.

    And I’m sorry Zach, but I was just picturing you saying paragraph 2 to me in person… Ah, I miss hanging out with you.

    But finally, I would throw two verses at you to challenge what I feel like is your “missing link,” the key weakness in you points. My discussion with “Threnody” in part 1 of this series addressed this issue as well. I will copy and paste what I said to him here:

    “You (Threnody) also say, ‘a Christian homosexual need not repent of his homosexuality to gain entrance to heaven, for his eternal destiny is assured whether he lives in “sin” or in holiness.’ On the contrary, I would certainly disagree. This is a grave misunderstanding of the broader concept of salvation. Scripture is clear that those who turn from their sin (i.e., homosexuality) and trust in Christ and His saving work are made right with God, and in that sense ‘saved.’ But salvation is much more than that. Salvation continues in the inevitable process of spiritual growth and my main objection to you remark concerns that ‘inevitable process of spiritual growth,’ which in theology we call sanctification. This is a broad topic that I cannot address here in full, but I will say briefly that scripture is clear that those who are genuine believers will produce spiritual fruit and good works and will progressively do battle with sin–continual and ongoing repentance. 1 John 3:6, 8a, and 9 will suffice for sake of brevity: ‘No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. … Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil … No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.'”

    Zach, 1 Corinthians 6 is clear that homosexuality excludes one from the kingdom of God. In other words, one who practices homosexuality without repentance is not a genuine believer. They don’t show the fruits of repentance.

    However, Paul also states in 1 Corinthians 6 that “such were some of you (that is, the Corinthian Christians).” In other words, those Corinthians who repented of their homosexuality and turned to Christ by trusting in His saving work were saved.

    True faith entails repentance.

    Thanks Zach. I truly do appreciate your thoughts.

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    • Does your response (paragraph 1) sufficiently answer my puzzlement? Not entirely, and I say that with a genuine earnestness, Kirk. It is absolutely necessary for us to know these people and the problems while reiterating the truth from scripture. By ‘know’, I mean we need to learn about sexual orientation, our friends who live in the closet and out of the closet, the media and how it creates a prison for those in and out of the closet (I’m sure you know what I mean by this–as it permeates anyone into a false belief about the underlying nature of the lifestyle.) You say you weren’t trying to go “anthropological” with it but I’m not asking that exactly. I just feel there is need for true examples.

      I’ve mentioned a lot of what may seem to be dismal testimonies (to you, perhaps) on gay people who are in this thing for life, however, I have heard and seen testimonies of people who HAVE left the lifestyle behind and been married with kids for years now. Not to say they still do not struggle with the residue of the gay lifestyle or appear to be gay (not that appearances matter), but my point being that a true orientation shift can occur–although most of today’s psychologists might deem me ‘out to lunch’ for saying that. Most science and talk speak volumes against the notion that one can leave their orientation behind.

      The Exodus Ministry (I believe it is called) was under fire in the recent film “Religulous” where Bil Maher skillfully criticizes, once again, another homosexual-turned-straight individual by saying how the facts are against him. That many gays revert back to their gay behaviors. On a ministerial level, we ‘pray the gay away’ and go after the behavior…because after all, the Bible and that verse in Corinthians is condemning behavior, not orientation. But what this leads to is not a heart change but mere temporarily showmanship.

      Paragraph 2 Response: Easy on me, I used the term church community but was specific in that I mentioned “compartmentalized/scheduled” church community. By this I mean Christians who exercise their faith and everything they believe in on just one day and one hour of the week. They hide behind intimidating church walls and dogma. I am attacking the credibility of the westernized view of doing church and I do not feel the tiniest bit of remorse for doing so. You are absolutely right in saying that the Christian life by definition is communal. I think we both agree on that and we probably both agree that there is an expanding gap between the church as a remote community and culture today.

      When Christians show up at a pride rally (see picture here http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/pictures-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity), I think we are at the tip of the iceberg in bridging that gap concerning communal Christianity on this issue in particular. It may seem like an uncomfortable idea and it would most likely force us to leave the padded church pew (Heaven forbid!), and we may be seen by a fellow brother in Christ who will then condemn us for attending such a sinful celebration–but it is the idea of confessing our sins, the sins of the church’s past, and letting the gay community know that we are a movement of love and that they are invited to share in it with us.

      Kirk, I miss and love you. I wish this was all in person and less formal and we could wear fluorescent t-shirts and give high fives whenever one of us came up with something intelligent. I always knew you would become something great and lead something revolutionary, and here you are being a beacon of truth on the web. We need more people like you provoking discussions on the hard topics!

      Regarding your second-to-last thought on spiritual growth: I think this is where our divergent patterns of thought meet and you have brought to my attention a super valid point. We need to not only initially find Christ (and that’s all good) but be continually filled with his Spirit that breeds sanctification (growth) in our lives.

      1 Corinthians 6:9 says wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God. He then goes on to give examples of wrongdoers but does not, for time sake, go into every type of wrongdoer under the sun. He gave the example of homosexual practices but this follows the mandate that all wrongdoers are not recipients of the kingdom, thus by practicing a sinful pattern that could be repented of, one is not receiving the kingdom. Regarding, “[it] is clear that homosexuality excludes one from the kingdom of God,” I would say that you are correct but that certainly this is not the only sin or the most outrageous or one that is elevated on a higher plateau of severity than the others. Yes, true faith does involve repentance.

      I will continue to pray for wisdom for myself in these matters relating to the homosexual lifestyle and it’s incongruities with the Christian life of newness and growth. I feel a burden for the gay community and want to help them and want to be challenged. My personal conviction as of right now is to be friends with people who struggle with any and every sexual sin and let the holy spirit do the rest. I think that truly many gay people are afraid of Christians and not God because many gays pray and worship from a safe distance, but I say this can be avoided if we would take down the walls that you mention so clearly in your Part 3 article and become sensitive to their needs and the needs of the gospel.

      Thank you for challenging me and for taking my thoughts into consideration. I can’t wait to talk to you in person someday again.

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    • I love the spirit of this post. Not that I agree with everything, but the humility of your discussion is excellent. That is what this is all about– growth for all of us!

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    • Zach,

      1st paragraph – Again, your point is excellent. I completely agree. However, the purpose of my series wasn’t to do that, as I said. Personally, I am a student of the Bible. I feel comfortable presenting what the Bible has to say on the issue. However, I would not be one to write a sociological article on homosexuals or the homosexual community, at least at this point. But your point still remains and I honor it. However, I would add, and I’m sure you’d support me when I say this, providing Well informed posts on the homosexual community would be far more difficult than it may appear at first. It’s one of those “easier said than done” things. You see, and I think you’ll agree, everyone is different and so every homosexual is different. Therefore, the informed research you speak of would not necessarily be best found in a blog post but in actual interaction with homosexual people. This would help avoid confusions, stereotypes, misunderstandings, etc. So, writing posts of that nature probably wouldn’t even be that beneficial because homosexuals are not all the same obviously. It would require too much generalization to be significantly beneficial. Bug again, your point remains valid.

      Thank you for your clarification in your second and third paragraphs. However, could you explain what you mean by your third paragraph in greater detail? I don’t believe I’m catching everything your saying.

      And Zach, I too watched Bill Maher’s documentary. Very interesting. I recall that encounter you mentioned. I’ve also watched several other documentaries on homosexuality and how it relates to religion, etc. None of them have been from the Christian perspective. I like to watch them so I can become more informed on the way others think. My wife, however, gets annoyed when I want to watch a documentary. 🙂

      Paragraph 4 – Sorry for coming down on you with such fervor. Thanks for clarifying. I just thought you were getting all emergent on me. 🙂

      From this point out, I’ll summarize my comments as such: I really appreciate everything else you addressed from paragraph 5 down.

      I look forward to seeing you soon too, potentially at your wedding.

      P.S. – One of my campers called… He said you look like a Pharisee today.

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  3. Third paragraph explanation: “Praying the gay away.” Sounds like such a valiant exercise (or should I say exorcise??? “Demon of gay, get out of him/her/it!”) Oops, I’m joking again, sorry. But the idea of praying away any sinful behavior and skipping the necessary change of heart is kind of missing the point. Some may say that when you physically go forth with a habit your mind and heart will follow but well…sure, yeah. Just looking at the many gay people who are told to change so as to look like a Christian rather than to be one and this is not real. It is not truthful. It is appalling and sad for anyone to urge a person to be hypocritical and not do the hard part.

    So praying the gay away is cheap. It is almost fraudulent. Let the person encounter their own need for change and for healing, on their own time, when they feel they need it. When they have genuinely felt the convicting power of God. We’re so quick to offer a measuring stick to see that people are fitting the status quo of Christianity in any type of church subculture (be it suburban mega-church, hipster/indie, emergent, catholic or any other type of church culture).

    Paragraph 4: Of course I was being emergent. Hahaha, I actually know really nothing about emergent churches- I just have heard things. I could “say” I’m emergent just to sound trendy, right? 🙂

    Did you ever watch that doc called “For the Bible Tells me So”? It ends up in a very liberal stance but it is probably the only one I’ve watched besides “Fall from Grace” which is about that lovely little Wesboro Church in Topeka Kansas (See one of my facebook profile pictures from last year. Their church signage message said (and I quote) “Fags doom nations.”)

    P.S. Your camper is dead on! I owe him a dollar now.

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  4. Thanks for the clarification/explanation.

    And yes, I have seen both of those documentaries. I’ve watched several so they start to blur together after a while, but I recently watched the one about Westboro. I knew who they were before though. Let’s just say their response is NOT the Christian’s proper response to homosexuality.

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