By Request

I have been startled, and alarmed, by the rapid swing in our culture to endorse same-sex marriage. What was, until recently, a contentious issue is now mainstream and public figures are rapidly repositioning themselves to get on the kinder side of popular opinion. In coming days the Supreme Court is going to consider the future of California’s Proposition 8, the controversial amendment to the state’s constitution that protects traditional marriage. The amendment has some powerful challengers, including the Justice Department, and the future of marriage is very uncertain.

We Christians, who view life through the lens of Scripture, are finding this new cultural landscape alien. What we have learned from the Bible about human sexuality is no longer the accepted norm—it is quickly becoming anathema (cursed). So I was not surprised when a friend emailed me and asked for some advice. He asked, “How do we, as Christians, handle the growing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle?”

Oh, how I wish we could speak about something else, but this topic seems to dominate our nation’s attention. It cannot be avoided, so this is my advice:

1.      Anchor yourself in the Bible

The Bible plainly sanctions marriage between a man and a woman. It is equally clear in its prohibition of homosexual behavior. Some homosexual advocates have worked hard at reinterpreting the relevant passages to validate their persuasion. Their interpretive efforts are agonizing and those more honest in their camp concede that the Bible forbids homosexuality. They simply choose to ignore scripture.

We have no such luxury. As ‘people of the Book’, we must be familiar with the biblical standard. And when we speak with others, we must reference the Bible. Those we are speaking with may not endorse God’s Word, but in fairness to them, let us be clear about our foundation.

(see Lev 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:9-10)

2.      Understand sin

The most vexing line that I hear being repeated by many homosexuals is that “God made me like this”. Their assertion is that their natural inclination is ordained and approved by God. I respectfully object. Homosexuality is a sin (based on Biblical truths) and sin is not of God.Just because a person has a predisposition towards a certain behavior doesn’t make that behavior good. It is widely acknowledged that those whose heritage includes substance abuse are likely to be susceptible to the same abuse. But this doesn’t make drunkenness noble; it simply means that this person has a proclivity that they must battle.

Sin corrupts the whole being and this includes sexual appetite. Many practicing homosexuals say that same-sex attraction is all they’ve ever known, and I completely believe them, but I don’t concede that this drive was God’s original design. Their desire is a consequence of being corrupted by sin.

3.      Preach the gospel

The gospel is the good news that Jesus died as our substitute to absolve us of guilt and rescue us from sin. Those who believe are promised eternal life—a new life that begins at the moment of conversion. This means that the gospel liberates us from the consequences of sin in real time. While old appetites may persist, they no longer have dominion over us. Since Jesus is sufficient in every way, we who abide in him, can now say ‘no’ to sin and ‘yes’ to righteousness.The gospel is the good news that God is changing things for the better, and that includes you and me. We who believe are being transformed by the renewal of the Holy Spirit. By God’s power in us, we are new creatures (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Homosexuality is a sin, but like every other sin, it is powerless against the gospel.

BreadI have no delusions about the popularity of what I have written. These convictions are regularly mocked and repudiated, and if you speak them, you may receive a harsh response. That’s okay, just be sure that what you say isn’t said harshly. We have no moral high ground here—we are just beggars telling other beggars where we found bread.

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10 thoughts on “By Request

  1. Eugene, for some time now I have come to believe that Satan has messed with mankind’s genetic structure. When we find that diabetes is inherited, or some other disease is within our genes, it’s a sure bet that God didn’t design us that way. Therefore, whether a disease/malady is inherited or not, it is a product of our having been born into sin. Your words are true and to the point.

  2. I have certainly recently seen a “turning of the tide” as it relates to same sex relationships in general. I have not had the occasion to encounter any individuals involved in same sex relationships, but if and when I do, I know how I can speak the Word effectively. Thank you Eugene for the blog.

  3. Thank you for this truth, especially today with Prop 8 going to the Supreme Court again. I find that many of my facebook and instagram friends are making the red eual sign their profile picture in support of “equal love” .. it honestly sickens me because many of these are people I grew up with in church. They have been lead astray and I hurt for them. I am unsure what to do though — comment on their picture with a bible verse? Stay silent on social media?

  4. How sad that you would consider those who disagree with you with a general brushstroke of “mocking and repudiation.” You unfortunately fall prey to the very spirituality and logic you seek to espouse. You use words that that paint the picture of those you disagree with as people who seek “popularity” versus actually possessing authentic beliefs. You assume your Christianity, especially your interpretation of it, to be more genuine than the faith and centrality of those who disagree with you. Ever since I met you, you have bifurcated the world. You bifurcate science and God, as if man’s gains in psychology and other sciences are somehow nefarious and always skeptical because they operate in a world separate than the one God created. You bifurcate the need to use language correctly with your position as a pastor. As if somehow communication, psychology, empathy, interpersonal relations, proper supervisory and employee relationships, and more are relegated to the back burners of life. And you don’t even bother to weigh not only the value of the perspective of those with whom you disagree, but you frame their arguments and perspectives differently than they themselves frame them. The same sex marriage argument, on the part of homosexuals, is not entirely about “marriage.” That word is a term that has been co-opted. A man and a woman, even a conservative Christian like yourself, must go to the CIVIL courthouse to sign paperwork for the logistical pairing of human lives in terms of enjoying and sharing benefits, status under tax and civil codes, owning properyy together, etc. When we go to a church or any place or manner under our GOD and make our promise to each other, then we are talking about marriage. The first one is a contract, the second one is marriage. Homosexuals are fighting for civil, contractual rights in a world that has co-opted and confused the word marriage with that logistical benefits contract, which can be broken anytime any two people want to. Putting asunder a marriage agreement under God is a wholly separate thing. But you do that a lot Eugene. You look at anyone who does not espouse your specific Christian beliefs with a sad, judgmental eye that suggests, “So sorry for you, but you just don’t have life right and so therefore I can re-frame YOUR argument in MY words.” You consider wildly influential aspects of humanity, like psychology, to be scientific mumbo-jumbo when in fact, family of origin and other psychological issues are drivers within humans. You leave no room for God’s creation of psychology. You misuse language and incorrectly frame arguments, and then stand back and declare that you have not because you are a pastor, because you have authority of some kind, because of your prominence or position. When a homosexual claims to be so from design, whether that winds up being the ultimate “truth” or not, you don’t even give them the courtesy of understanding the argument they just made. Disagree with homosexuals, that is fine. Believe that homosexuality is NOT God’s design for humans. Fine. But to say, in the same debate, that what THEY are saying is that they have a “predisposition” is to just plain miss-hear, miss-understand, and miss-represent. Maybe what you see as repudiation and mockery is something else. Maybe it is people standing up to your way of communicating specifically. Maybe it is people pushing back against the tyranny of your inability or unwillingness to recognize (not agree with, merely, recognize) their framing of an issue. If you want to put yourself out there on the Internet and incorrectly frame other people’s frames, then walk in the aftermath of doing so – which will involve other humans operating in communicative, psychological, inferential, spiritual, and hermeneutical ways that just might wind up looking like opposition, but being as valuable as yours. And maybe these perspectives, beliefs, and ways of approaching issues and the complex world were given to me and others by, brace yourself, the same God who gave you what you have. There may be some people who curse or get angry at how you feel, but to sum up homosexuals response to your Christian stance against them as their having “anathema” is just so wildly and irresponsibly simplistic. And you are better than that, you are smarter than that. But I fear you are not more empathic than that.

  5. Eugene,
    I am thankful for your post. Having served with and sat under several pastors who faithfully avoided issues of the day, your willingness to speak Truth in love is refreshing. I am always encouraged by the respectful way you address significant issues as well as the clarity of purpose evident in the things you say.
    I also feel fortunate to have such plain illustration of the conflict we will face when we seek to live out the wisdom you shared.
    Looking forward to continuing conversation.
    Blessings,
    Andrew

  6. I can attest to the sin nature of homosexuality, having a friend who struggles with those very desires, and yet he himself has said that he knows the truth is not that the desires are from God, but that they are his sin nature distorting his view of relationship. I see him struggle with it, and know that that struggle is no different than my own struggle against lust or pride. Simply because we feel predisposed towards something does not mean that it is what we were created for. A great weapon of our enemy which we must be aware of is that of twisting our perceptions of the truth; He tried it with Jesus in the desert and failed. Know God’s word, know his truth.

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