CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE CHURCH
In this increasingly politically-correct religiously-tolerant society, I thought it would be important to address a few controversial subjects from a Biblical perspective. More and more ministries are silent about these subjects, because of the various possible repercussions they may experience.
Homosexuality and Christianity
The question has been asked: Lance, what is your personal view of homosexuality, Gay marriage, and Gay ordination of ministers in the church? A recent news article proclaims:
Photo exhibit at church honors same-sex relationships
Of course this is not an isolated event. More and more so-called Christian churches are ordaining homosexual "priests" and lesbian "pastors" and "bishops". As of the time of this writing (Oct. 14th 2008), Connecticut recently passed a law legalizing "gay" marriage, joining Massachusetts and California. No doubt Homosexuality is gaining acceptance in the secular world, as well as in many churches that profess to be Christian.
As a Born Again Christian, My view of homosexuality is framed by what the Bible says about it, NOT by my personal likes or dislikes. The God I serve is NOT willing that any man or woman should perish, but rather that they all should come to repentance.
Sin is sin is sin, and Jesus Christ came, NOT to save us so we can continue sinning, but to save us FROM our sins (Matt.1:21).
According to the Word of God, Homosexuality is not merely a sin in the eyes of the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible; it is an abomination to God.
It seems like pro-homosexual laws are being introduced to Congress an almost daily basis. Homosexual activists are trying to get Hate crimes laws passed that would make it a criminal offense to speak out against Homosexuality even from a Christian/Biblical perspective. This is a direct infringement of our constitutional right to exercise our freedom of religion, and our freedom of speech. I think it is ridiculous that our political leaders and law makers would even give such a measure any consideration.
What next? It might as well be a hate crime to speak out against adultery, bestiality, and incest, because all of these things are spoken against in Leviticus 18, as well as homosexuality. In Leviticus 18, God says it is because of these abominations (adultery, incest, homosexuality and bestiality) that He brings judgment on a land.
Lev 18:24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.
If it is an abomination to God, then I would have to say that He does not endorse homosexuality in any form or fashion. As such, I take the personal stand that such behavior will lead a person straight to Hell, and to gloss over that warning would be to condemn many to Hell.
It doesn't matter
1) if you profess to
2) or if you profess to have been baptized,
3) or if you profess to be a Christian,
4) or even if you profess to have been "born that way".
According to the Bible Homosexuality, along with adultery, bestiality and incest are sins that need to be repented of. Let me elaborate:
1) If you profess to "love God", please consider the following scriptures: Jesus said:
Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my
words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make
our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
1Jo 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
JESUS CHRIST IS THE CREATOR OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men…
14 …And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Col 1:12 Giving
thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance
of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Since Jesus is the Creator Who created all things for Himself, then to continue in a sin that is referred by Him in the Old Testament to be an abomination is to disobey Him. We just saw that He said in John 14:15, "If you love me, keep my commandments". There are some people who profess to be Christians who are active homosexuals, adulterers, drunkards, fornicators or even pedophiles who try to justify their sin in the light of God's Grace. In the Day of Judgment, they will see that GOD'S GRACE was bestowed upon them to be free from their sins, not to be free to continue in their sins.
2) or if you profess to have been baptized
Baptism is not what saves us, or what makes us a Christian. SALVATION is a heart condition. If a person is baptized and willfully continues in his or her sin, they are just as lost as they were before they were baptized. There is a difference between a person willfully continuing in and unrepentant of their sin, and a person who struggles with bringing their body in submission to the Word of God. God judges the heart. Peter says that it is not the act of cleaning up one's flesh with water that saves us, but the answer of a good conscience toward God. Knowing that I have dedicated my life to Jesus Christ and I am repentant of my sins, I choose to be baptized as a symbol that the old man has been buried, and that the new man is resurrected in new life. 1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
I used to minister with a precious brother. He always used to preach "Don't think that because you have been baptized that you are saved. You can go into the water a dry devil, and come up out of the water a wet devil." If you haven't changed your mind about the life you are living, that baptism won't do a thing except get you wet.
3) or if you profess to be a Christian
This is a similar situation as the one who says they have been baptized. Anyone can say they are anything. But their life will reflect what they really are. I have some friends who have a nice living quarters that they built for their sons above their garage. I have slept there a few times. But just because I slept "in the garage" doesn't make me a car. Jesus defined what it is to be a Christian:
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
If you are a homosexual and are living a life contrary to the Word of God, and if you do not repent of your sin, you WILL stand before God and hear "I never knew you'". Of course, that doesn't only apply to homosexuals. Adulterers, fornicators, liars, thieves, murderers, druggies, sorcerers, drunkards, witches, warlocks, and whoremongers (pimps) and whoever else willingly transgress against the Living God will also have their part in the Lake of Fire.
4) or even if you profess to have been "born that way"
We human beings have all been born with a penchant for sin. My natural inclination is to fulfill the desires of my flesh. Many times those desires are in direct contradiction to God's desires for how I should live my life. Before I asked Jesus Christ into my life, I led a very sexually promiscuous life. I also abused drugs, dealt drugs, and partied whenever the opportunity arose. I loved to drink beer, and if I wanted something bad enough, I didn't hesitate to take whatever I wanted, even if it didn't belong to me…I was a thief. I really wasn't torn up by guilt by the life I lived…satisfying my desires was my first priority. I was BORN that way. And I was headed down a road to Hell. If I hadn't repented (changed my mind about how I was living) and called on the name of Jesus Christ to save me from my sins, when I died, I would have been in Hell along with homosexuals, murderers and other people who had perverted their lives through their pursuit of self fulfillment.
God is no respecter of persons. Just as ALL have chosen to go their own way instead of HIS WAY, and as a result are in danger of spending eternity in Hell, He wants ALL to choose to come to repentance, to walk in His WAY, and to be saved FROM their sins.
To argue "but I was born that way" is an argument that will not stand before a Holy God Who created ALL things for Himself. God's intention and purpose for creating the male and female gender was that they would be fruitful and multiply. A man/man or woman/woman relationship cannot fulfill that commandment, and those relationships are clearly stated by the God Who created the male and female in HIS Image to be an ABOMINATION to Him. Those are not my words. Those are words from the Bible (from which I derive my faith).
The various translations of the Bible appear to agree as to the interpretation of Leviticus 18:22, and 20:13:
LEVITICUS 18:22 (ASV) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
(BBE) You may not have sex relations with men, as you do with women: it is a disgusting thing.
(Bishops) Thou shalt not lye with mankynde as with womankynde, for it is abhomination.
(CEV) It is disgusting for a man to have sex with another man.
(Darby) And thou shalt not lie with mankind as one lieth with a woman: it is an abomination.
(DRB) Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: because it is an abomination.
(Geneva) Thou shalt not lie with ye male as one lieth with a woman: for it is abomination.
(JPS) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.
(KJV) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
(LITV) And you shall not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is a perversion.
(MKJV) You shall not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination to God.
(NBLH) 'No te acostarás con varón como los que se acuestan con mujer; es una abominación.
(SRV) No te echarás con varón como con mujer: es abominación.
(YLT) `And with a male thou dost not lie as one lieth with a woman; abomination it is .
(ASV) And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
(BBE) And if a man has sex relations with a man, the two of them have done a disgusting thing: let them be put to death; their blood will be on them.
(Bishops) If a man also lye with mankinde after the maner as with women kynde, they haue both committed an abhomination: let them dye, their blood be vpon them.
(CEV) It's disgusting for men to have sex with one another, and those who do will be put to death, just as they deserve.
(Darby) And if a man lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall certainly be put to death; their blood is upon them.
(DRB) If any one lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination: let them be put to death. Their blood be upon them.
(Geneva) The man also that lyeth with the male, as one lyeth with a woman, they haue both committed abomination: they shall dye the death, their blood shal be vpon them.
(JPS) And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
(KJV) If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
(LITV) And a man who lies with a male as one lies with a woman, both of them have done a detestable thing, dying they shall die; their blood shall be on them.
(MKJV) If a man also lies with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be on them.
(NBLH) 'Si alguien se acuesta con varón como los que se acuestan con mujer, los dos han cometido abominación; ciertamente han de morir. Su culpa de sangre sea sobre ellos.
(SRV) Y cualquiera que tuviere ayuntamiento con varón como con mujer, abominación hicieron: entrambos han de ser muertos; sobre ellos será su sangre.
(YLT) `And a man who lieth with a male as one lieth with a woman; abomination both of them have done; they are certainly put to death; their blood is on them.
There are some who would point to the fact that God said that homosexuals were to be put to death. Is that not Hate speech? No. Simply put, God, Who is a Just God and a Holy God would not tolerate such a blatant perversion of His Creation to abide among His People. Homosexuality was an accepted practice among the heathen nations of the world, and the heathens made to themselves gods that would justify their sinful practices, but to the Almighty God it was important that His people held to a much higher standard than the heathen. It is not my job to defend God...His Word answers for Himself. All I know is He is Just, and if, in His Wisdom He determines that Homosexuality left unchecked will corrupt His Divine Intention for humanity, and as such, it needs to be "nipped at the bud", then He certainy knows best.
"Well, those verses are from the Old Testament", some may say. "We are not under law, but under Grace." Hallelujah! That is wonderful news! That means that God's Mandate that homosexuals should be put to death is no longer in effect! Now, through repentance, the practice of that sin against God can be put to death instead of the person who commits the sin! His Grace now extends to all nations of people, and NOT ONLY to Israel. Just as He called Israel to be a peculiar people and a nation of kings and priests so the nations would know that He Alone is God, He also chose Israel to be the nation by which all nations would be redeemed from the curse of sin through the sinless Blood of Jesus Christ. Who can be sinless, and Who can forgive sins, but God Himself? Though all things were created by Him and for Him (Col 1:16), He took upon Himself a body of flesh and dwelled among us (Phil 2:5-8). He was tempted in every way we are tempted, yet He never succumbed to the temptation, and lived a perfect life so He could destroy the works of the devil.
From the inception of His Creation, the Purpose of God for humanity was that they should "be fruitful and multiply." Homosexuals can't do that. Lesbians can't do that. Hence, such practices are a mockery to God and His Purpose. Family lineages are terminated with a homosexual relationship. And God is all about family. The books of Genesis, Numbers and Chronicles are about family lineages that would eventually serve to point to the Messiah Who God ordained from the foundation of the world that His Creation would be redeemed from the curse of sin.
From the beginning when God prophesied that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, Satan, that vile serpent who has sought to usurp God's Dominion has been busy trying to destroy the family unit. Cain was moved by jealousy to kill Abel. But Adam and Eve concieved and begat Seth, through whom the Promise would be fulfilled. Most people that I speak to are put off by the geneaologies that are recorded in the Bible. But I personally think the geneaologies are a mighty testimony to the fact that God's Plan for Humanity will not be thwarted by Satan's devices. On a more personal level, because of those geneaolies, a Christian can take comfort in the fact that as long as he or she abides in Him, God's Plan for them WILL be fulfilled.
Friend, we haven't been saved by Grace to sin. As Paul wrote; "Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound? God Forbid!" (Romans 6:1). The New Covenant condemns Homosexuality as well.
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
According to the Bible, if you are a homosexual or a lesbian, and you profess to be a Christian, and have bought the lie that "you were born that way", and misuse Biblical text to justify your continued sin against God, the simple truth is that God has given you over to a reprobate mind.
Please understand this. I know people that I love who are entangled in the homosexual lifestyle, or who are entangled in pornography, or drugs, or alcohol. They all profess to love God. Some are willingly in that sin, and some are struggling against their sin. I say again that I love them, but they also need to repent of their sin, and fall in love with the God Who created them for His Purpose.
True Christianity doesn't discriminate against homosexuals.
There are many who profess to be Christians who speak condemningly against homosexuals. And many who do that are themselves caught up in some kind struggle of a sin that they haven't yet gained victory over.
True Christianity adheres to the call of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ to all: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."
True Christianity adheres to the standard of the Almighty God who calls every man everywhere to repent. There is NOTHING hateful about that. Sin as defined in the Bible must be repented of if you wish to be a Christian.
Now if you choose to reject Christianity and continue in your sin, embrace some other religion or atheism.
But don't call yourself a Christian if you choose to willfully reject the counsel of God for your life. You are just blaspheming the Name of Jesus Christ by your perversion of His Grace.
The people of God were to be different than the people of the world, a peculiar people who were set apart for God. Heathens will do what heathens do. If you are NOT a Christian, I don't condemn you for your choices. I really don't expect any other kind of behavior from you. You can't understand what Holiness is, so how can I expect you to be Holy? One day you will stand before God and receive your reward for choosing to reject Him. As a Christian, I only warn you to turn away from your sin and to ask Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
The reason there is such a disparity of references to homosexuality in the Old Testament and the New Testament, is because the Word of God makes it clear that God's purpose for creating the man and the woman was to be fruitful and multiply. According to the Bible (which I believe is true), from the beginning God created the woman to be the helpmeet or the mate for the man.
Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Just as we can tell by this passage that God doesn't intend for humans to have sex with animals, so also, God intends for only a man and a woman to have sexual relations with one another. There are only a couple of verses that mention that it is a sin to have sex with animals, but from the scriptures, we know that it is a sin.
Regarding the argument that the Old Testament doesn't mention lesbianism, please consider the following verse. The word defined as "prostitute" here is the feminine form of the word that is translated as sodomite in the same verse. This referred to pagan temple prostitutes, both male and female, who would perform sexual acts with various devotees often of the same sex as a type of sacrifice to their gods. This was an abomination to God.
Deu 23:17 (ASV) There shall be no prostitute of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
(BBE) No daughter of Israel is to let herself be used as a loose woman for a strange god, and no son of Israel is to give himself to a man.
(CEV) People of Israel, don't any of you ever be temple prostitutes.
(Darby) There shall be no prostitute amongst the daughters of Israel, nor any Sodomite amongst the sons of Israel.
(JPS) (23:18) There shall be no harlot of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel. (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
(LITV) There shall be no prostitute among the daughters of Israel, nor shall there be a homosexual among the sons of Israel.
(MKJV) There shall be no harlot of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
(NBLH) "Ninguna mujer de Israel será ramera de culto pagano; tampoco ninguno de los Israelitas será sodomita de culto pagano.
(SRV) No habrá ramera de las hijas de Israel, ni habrá sodomítico de los hijos de Israel.
Unless you repent, and recieve Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Bible declares that you will live and be judged by Him at your death under the penalty of the Law.
1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for
the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy
and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 (ALT) for sexual sinners, for participants in male-male sex, for slave dealers [or, kidnappers], for liars, for perjurers, and if anything else is in opposition to sound teaching,
(ASV) for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine;
(BBE) For those who go after loose women, for those with unnatural desires, for those who take men prisoners, who make false statements and false oaths, and those who do any other things against the right teaching,
(Bishops) To whoremongers, to them that defyle them selues with mankynde, to manstealers, to lyers, to periured, and yf there be any other thyng that is contrarie to wholsome doctrine:
(CEV) The Law was written for people who are sexual perverts or who live as homosexuals or are kidnappers or liars or won't tell the truth in court. It is for anything else that opposes the correct teaching
(Darby) fornicators, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers; and if any other thing is opposed to sound teaching,
(DRB) For fornicators, for them who defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and whatever other thing is contrary to sound doctrine:
(EMTV) for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is opposed to sound doctrine,
(Geneva) To whoremongers, to buggerers, to menstealers, to lyers, to the periured, and if there be any other thing, that is contrary to wholesome doctrine,
(KJV) For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
(LITV) for fornicators, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and if any other thing opposes sound doctrine,
(MKJV) for fornicators, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine,
(Murdock) and for whoremongers, and for copulators with males, and for the stealers of free people, and for liars, and for violators of oaths, and for whatever is contrary to sound doctrine,
(NBLH) para los inmorales, homosexuales, secuestradores, mentirosos, los que juran en falso, y para cualquier otra cosa que es contraria a la sana doctrina,
(SRV) Para los fornicarios, para los sodomitas, para los ladrones de hombres, para los mentirosos y ladrones de hombres, para los mentirosos y fjperjuros, y si hay alguna otra cosa contraria á la sana doctrina;
(WNT) fornicators, sodomites, slave-dealers, liars and false witnesses; and for whatever else is opposed to wholesome teaching
(YLT) whoremongers, sodomites, men-stealers, liars, perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that to sound doctrine is adverse,
In Leviticus 18, God says it is because of these abominations (adultery, incest, homosexuality and bestiality) that He brings judgment on a land. If you are guilty of any of these sins, whether you profess to be a Christian or not, you need to repent.
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