This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thoughts Regarding Homosexuality

How to lovingly respond to a culture that is increasingly hostile to a traditional morality is difficult.  How to lovingly respond to a culture that eagerly embraces almost every kind of deviation from God's design for marriage and sexuality is nearly impossible. Two Sundays ago, while discussing these deviations, we looked specifically at the issue of homosexuality.  

What follows is not an exhaustive treatise on the Christian and homosexuality.  It simply contains some of my broad, quick thoughts that I hope help us as we think through ways to love others, even those with whom we disagree.

It's not designed to be polemical.  I doubt that those who staunchly disagree with my position will be persuaded by the following. It is designed to encourage believers who wish to rightly respond to one of the most pressing cultural issues of our day.

1. All of us are guilty of sexual sin. 

Before looking at the specific issue of homosexuality, I think it is important to acknowledge that all of us are guilty of sexual sin. We approach this issue not as self-righteous Pharisees but as fellow sinners saved by grace.

To say that we are all guilty doesn’t mean that sexual sin is a primary area of struggle for all of us.  It simply means every area of our lives has been affected by the fall.  Some of us may not even be aware of our struggle with sin in this area.

A person may have some attitudes about sex that they are not even aware are sinful.  For example, the idea that the goal of the physical relationship is to serve our spouse instead of ourselves is a novel concept for some couples.  The husband may not have had that perspective and been unintentionally sinning in that area of his life.

Or, to consider another example, one of the principles from 1 Corinthians 7 is that physical intimacy in a marriage should happen regularly.  Perhaps a husband or wife have gotten so involved in work that they have neglected their spouse.  The husband or wife isn't consciously sinning, but in their practice they are sinning sexually.

2. Homosexuality is condemned in Scripture.

On Sunday, I laid out various passages discussing Scripture’s condemnation of homosexuality, such as: 

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

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Or 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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

These passages are compelling enough for Luke Timothy Johnson, a pro-homosexual Roman Catholic scholar, to write: 
I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. And what exactly is that authority? We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us. By so doing, we explicitly reject as well the premises of the scriptural statements condemning homosexuality—namely, that it is a vice freely chosen, a symptom of human corruption, and disobedience to God’s created order.
The person claiming to be a believer must appeal to an authority other than Scripture if they wish to justify the homosexual lifestyle.

3.  Homosexuality distorts the image of God.

Samuel Shin, writing in the Spring 2005 Trinity Journal, makes the following observations:
[Homosexuality] shatters the intention of God’s divine image in humanity to reflect his glory in the God-ordained relationship between man and woman.  Man and woman are to complement one another, to be his image together. 
Henri Blocher criticizes homosexuality along the same lines. He also finds that homosexuality is sinful because it detracts from the God-given sanction for a man and a woman to represent the image of God together. The “being-with” as he points out, is an integral part of that relationship between man and God. He writes:
We have seen that the being-with of the man and his neighbor reflects (and should serve) the being-with of man and God. If the fundamental being-with is face-to-face partnership with the other sex in diversity, then our proposition is confirmed and sharpened. The face-to-face relationship with the Lord signifies for mankind respect for otherness in supreme and transcendent form and for the primary distinction—that between Creator and creature. Immediately we can understand why the apostle Paul makes a close association between idolatry and homosexuality (Rom. 1:22–27). This sexual perversion as a rejection of the other corresponds to idolatry in its relationship to God, the rejection of the Other; it is the divinization of the same, the creature.
There is enough biblical warrant against homosexuality that we could stop here. The gay and lesbian relationship is one that continues in sin, repeatedly rejecting and distorting the image of God, without any pursuit for repentance and forgiveness. It goes against the standards of ethics and morality set in the word of God. It undermines the very ontological and functional being of God. God is a God of three persons. The Trinity is the perfect relationship, and when God made man in his own image, he created the interconnectedness that would reflect the image of the communion of the Trinity. To break that connection is to shatter that visage, and that is what sin is, the active aggression and opposition to the will of God. However, current homosexual theologians who advocate homosexuality are dependent on arguments against certain biblical passages that seem to clearly condemn homosexuality.
Shin is right and his arguments deserve close consideration.

4. Homosexuality does not bring joy.

Any lifestyle that is marked by a commitment to follow one’s own desires instead of God’s instruction will not by joyful.  I was saddened by some of the research I did regarding the lifestyles homosexuals lead.  

According to PFLAG Phoenix, a pro-homosexual group, suicide is the leading cause of death among young people who identify as homosexuals.  They are more likely to attempt suicide and more likely to abuse drugs (  

This is not to argue that homosexuality causes teens to commit suicide.  The point is that the homosexual lifestyle isn't accompanied by the happiness it promises.  The promise of joy is elusive for all of us who seek satisfaction apart from obedience to God.

5. Homosexual marriage is a contradiction in terms.

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice discusses the meaning of words with Humpty Dumpty.
Extolling the virtues of un-birthdays, Humpty Dumpty says:
'There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents —'
'Certainly,' said Alice.
'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'
'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
Simply deciding that marriage now means a union between two individuals regardless of gender does not make it so. 

6. Homosexuals are not enemies to be defeated but friends to be loved.

Christians need to acknowledge that homosexuals have experienced great pain at the hands of those claiming to be Christians.  Our goal is not to cause greater pain but to love those with whom we disagree.

7. The gospel offers hope and healing for all sexual sins.

We concluded on Sunday morning by looking at the power of the gospel in Romans 1:17-18. 
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
The hope of the gospel doesn’t mean that we will never struggle with temptations to sin.  It means that the treasure of Jesus Christ is sufficient to help us overcome sin itself.  

All of us are in need of righteousness.  This righteousness is freely provided by Jesus Christ through faith in Him alone.

1 comment:

  1. I wish more 'Christians' that promote Homosexual theology would be more honest like the Roman Catholic mentioned. In my experience, those who use the arguments of homosexual theology tend to contradict themselves with their own argumentation and when you point it out to them, they throw out the Bible and appeal to personal experience and personal revelation like the post-modern worldview of today.

    Also, point 3 is very important. It can also be said that it is creating idolatry, by loving the mirror image of one's self identity.

    I haven't read this myself, but Dr. Michael Brown has written a book "A Queer Thing Happened to America" that documents much of the social and statistical information that you refer to in point 4. I've heard him talk about it on his radio show.