April 02, 2012

Christianity and Homosexuality: Embracing the Fullness of Christ


Recently, I've been rummaging through some articles on the Internet regarding Christianity and homosexuality. There are many voices, but there is not a lot of clarity. I've noticed there is a tendency towards polarity with regard to the truth and love of God. I'd like to briefly review some of the positions I've noticed and then offer my two cents worth.

A homosexual reverend, Mark Sandlin, offers that opposing homosexuality is opposing people, because people are born that way. And that the biblical laws against homosexuality are no different than temporal  dietary laws.[1]

Chuck Colsen emphasizes that Christians should be prepared with a valid answer on the subject of homosexuality.[2]

Tim Keller emphasizes the need for common ground, but downplays the need to plainly state that homosexuality is a sin.[3]

Kurt Cameron has stated on national TV that homosexuality is a sin, but that God loves the sinner.[4]

Here's a very brief summary of my answer:

Christ sacrificed himself in order that we might know the fullness of truth and love. We tend to sacrifice the fullness of truth and love and often miss the essence of Christ.

What exactly do I mean by this?

Firstly, Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross because humanity was spiritually lost and dead. The main problem for humanity has been the sin nature. Because of our sin nature we cannot experience God's presence intimately and understand truth without redemption in Christ. In short, because of the sin reality, we have needed a savior reality. It is only when we are spiritually born again with a new nature that we can fully experience God's truth, love, peace, joy and and the full significance of life.

Secondly, we in our human nature tend to believe that we have all the answers and we know what we need. We tend to exalt ourselves and diminish the word of God and the will of God. We also tend to emphasize verses in scripture that suit our personalities and subjective interests. However, if God exists, then objective and absolute truth exists that can be known and shared. While we as humans may have a tendency to either emphasize God's law or God's grace, God considers them both important. When God presented the Ten Commandments to Moses, immediately thereafter God also said that he wanted to be presented to the world first and foremost as the God of love and grace:

"[God] proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34. 5b-7)

According to God's presentation of the Ten Commandments, we are to emphasize God's love as we present the truth of God's law. If we attempt to sacrifice truth in order to find common ground, then we will be offering a false peace and an inadequate solution. It doesn't matter whether you are homosexual or not. If there is no sin reality, then there is no need for a savior reality. On the other hand, if we attempt to sacrifice love and hold up signs that say "God hates gays," this is also misrepresenting God's nature and His message. It is a sell-righteous approach. Colossians outlines how Jesus represents all that God has to offer, "For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body."[NLT] John 1.14 underscores the fulness of both love and truth in Christ: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."[NIV]

Personally, I would offer homosexuals the following kind of reasoning:

God loves you and desires for you to experience the fullness of all that He has to offer. Often we can believe we know what's best for ourselves based on subjective feelings, but subjective feelings can be deceptive.

Firstly, if you don't believe God exists, consider that the foremost atheists refuse to debate the foremost theist and the foremost atheists really don't seem to want to use logic very much in order to test their ideas. This tells you something. Atheism isn't very sound as a belief.

Secondly, because God exists, we need to repent of our sins. We are all sinners and we're all in the same boat. Whether you told one lie or murdered a million people, you need to repent of your sins in order to be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life in Christ.

Thirdly, because science cannot prove whether or not homosexuality is genetic, that leaves philosophy and the scriptures. The logic of homosexuals usually goes something like this, "I'm attracted to men and these relationships work for me, therefore I was born homosexual. Therefore, it's morally justified." But this is faulty logic. The same reasoning could be used for pedophiles, zoophiles, rapists and promiscuous heterosexuals. For example, a hetero could say, "I'm attracted to many women, therefore I was born a playboy. Therefore, being a playboy is morally justified." If logic doesn't support homosexuality, what about scripture?

Fourthly, both the Old Testament and New Testament describe homosexuality as a sin. The city of Sodom and Gomorrah is not a mythical city. Archaeologists have found evidence of its existence including the following description by Dr. Bryant Wood:

"Most intriguing was evidence that a massive fire had destroyed the city. It lay buried under a coating of ash several feet thick. A cemetery one kilometer outside the city contained charred remains of roofs, posts, and bricks turned red from heat.

Dr. Bryant Wood, in describing these charred houses, stated that a fire began on the roofs of these buildings. Eventually the burning roof collapsed into the interior and spread inside the building. This was the case in every house they excavated. Such a massive fiery destruction would match the biblical account that the city was destroyed by fire that rained down from heaven. Wood states, "The evidence would suggest that this site of Bab edh-Drha is the biblical city of Sodom."[5]

Reverend Mark Sandlin compared practicing homosexuality to eating shellfish. While the Jewish dietary laws were considered temporal and were plainly allowed beginning in the New Testament times. Homosexuality, however, is nowhere shown to be a temporary prohibition and is nowhere shown to be supported at all morally. Leviticus 18:22 states,  "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind it is an abomination to God".  Homosexuality is not forbidden for pragmatic reasons, for example, because it is opposed to human flourishing. It is shown to be an abomination because of what is known as human exceptionalism. Humans are created in God's image and for this reason practicing homosexuality is opposing the sacred aspect of the human body. The same thing goes for bestiality. If we are simply products of evolution and God does not exist, then practicing bestiality would seem to have no pragmatic moral prohibition. However, God does exist and we are created as spiritual beings with a potential for reason and logic. In Romans 1:26 Apostle Paul states of homosexuality, it is "against nature" not necessarily because it may not be found once in a while in nature among animals, but because it goes against our created nature as human beings  created in God's image.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 states: Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (NLT). 1 Timothy 1.10a describes ["arsenokoitays"] as those those practicing homosexuality, which is lumped together with a list of other sins. The following questions may help to clarify the issue of homosexuality:

Three questions:

1. If sexual orientation is based only on strong attractions and feelings, then are zoophilia and pedophilia also acceptable if there are strong feelings, no violence and a sense of mutual consent?

2. What is the ultimate basis for making moral decisions in your opinion?

3. If God were to give you a strong revelation such that you were absolutely certain that homosexuality is a sin that God detests, would you be willing to try and change? Or would you choose not to change your lifestyle?

Conclusions

Without the fulness of Christ we have a tendency to lean towards either self-righteous hypocrisy or self-defeating hedonism. We're not to condemn, to throw stones or to to have a self-righteous attitude. On the other hand, we're to acknowledge that sin exists and is definable according to scripture and logic.

It's disingenuous for homosexuals to claim that questioning the gay lifestyle is "gay bashing" or "hate speech" because there is no empirical proof that a "gay gene" exists or that homosexuals are born as such. Therefore, asking questions and using critical thinking are valid approaches towards seeking answers. I don't intend to come across in any way as judgmental. I believe I am a sinner in need of a savior just as much as anyone else. However, if I were to simply offer that homosexuality is no big deal, then I would be disingenuous to my convictions and to God.

It's one thing to fall into sin and to struggle with temptations that we understand are wrong. However, it's another thing when homosexuals who call themselves Christian practice and celebrate a lifestyle that is considered sinful in God's eyes. If we find ourselves torturing the meaning of scripture verses so that they will 'confess' the meaning we want them to, or if we find we are mainly looking for loopholes in the Bible in order to justify our actions, this would seem to indicate that we are more interested in pleasing ourselves than pleasing God. In this case we would be sacrificing the truth towards a goal of self-fulfillment. This is idolatry - creating a God after our own image. In the end we'll have neither truth nor happiness.

On the other hand, If we desire to love God with all of our heart, then anything that might in anyway diminish our relationship with God would be considered expendable. The essence of Christ is the fullness of good things. The essence of holiness is wholeness. The ideal is for the fullness of our lives to be lived in the fullness of Christ's life.

I desire that you would know the fullness of God's love and salvation. And, according to scripture, this is simply not possible living as a homosexual. There are many testimonies of homosexuals who have left the gay life and they testify that they would never go back, having experienced the truth of God's love. If you'd like me to send you a free CD with an excellent testimony, I would be happy to do so.

References

[1] Believe Out Loud, Clobbering "Biblical" Gay Bashing - By The Rev. Mark Sandlin
http://www.believeoutloud.com/boltoday/20111230/clobbering-biblical-gay-bashing
[2] Crosswalk, Chuck Colson - Homosexuality: Prepare to Give an Answer
http://www.crosswalk.com/news/breakpoint-with-chuck-colson/homosexuality-prepare-to-give-an-answer.html
[3] 5 Pt Salt, Tim Keller: “it is very misleading…to say, ‘Homosexuality is a sin’"
http://5ptsalt.com/2011/05/14/tim-keller-it-is-very-misleading-to-say-homosexuality-is-a-sin/
[4] The Blaze, Kirk Cameron Defends Comments on Gays & Calls Piers Morgan‘s Actions ’Disingenuous’, http://www.theblaze.com/stories/kirk-cameron-defends-comments-on-gays-calls-piers-morgans-actions-disingenuous/
[5] The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah—Part 2, http://www.johnankerberg.com/Articles/_PDFArchives/science/SC3W1003.pdf, http://www.conservapedia.com/Sodom#cite_note-2

Tags: Christianity and homosexuality, Is homosexuality a sin? How to witness to homosexuals, the truth about homosexuality, can homosexuals be real Christians? Kurt Cameron on homosexuality, Tim Keller on homosexuality, are we born homosexual? Is there objective morality? What the Bible says about homosexuality, why is homosexuality wrong? Are fundamentalists self-righteous? questioning homosexuality is not hate speech and gay bashing

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Matt Moore: Homosexuality is Caused Mainly by Childhood Experiences

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A Moral Argument as Proof of God’s Existence

2 comments:

  1. Not that it should matter one way or the other but just to keep the records correct, I am a heterosexual minister.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did I ask you about your inclinations?

    ReplyDelete

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