Thursday, June 23, 2011

Biblical Christianity and Homosexuality - Understanding the Hostility (second response to Dr. Mohler)

I think Dr. Mohler was attempting to rebuke a specific sin within the Christian community. Some Christians treat homosexuality differently than they do other sins. Hence, they treat homosexuals differently than they do other unbelievers. This is wrong. A real life example comes to mind. Unbiblical divorce is a perfect example of how Christians do this. If a person came out of the closet to reveal their homosexuality, most evangelical churches would remove their membership and demand repentance. However, if a man or woman divorces their spouse without the grounds of adultery, and nothing happens, or very little happens. We need to see ALL sin the way God sees it. Secondly, I must say that I still find Dr. Mohler's comments that homosexuality is more than a choice somewhat confusing and disturbing. Christians need to approach this debate from a new perspective. There are only two possibilities for homosexual behavior: choice or genetics. Why does secular society insist it is genetic without a shred of scientific support? I contend that most people find the behavior so personally repulsive that they are desperate to find an excuse for why anyone would engage in it. I don't know about you, but if I were gay, I am not sure that strategy would resonate with me so much. However, think about that for a moment. Christians need to force homosexuals to prefer to call it a choice because the excuse of a gay gene is the direct result of a repugnant disposition toward the behavior. Even homosexuals recognize this, although they will not admit it.

Does Christianity make a difference in the various cultures where it exists? If so, what kind of difference does it make? How is biblical Christianity affecting the cultures in which it finds itself? As a professing Christian, what kind of difference are you creating in your culture? What is the “Christian Distinction?” Postmodern philosophy has led to a radical pluralism that threatens the very standards by which Christians are distinguished from non-Christians. Easy believism, the once-saved-always-saved error, and the massive downgrade of Christian doctrine have combined to make it nearly impossible to distinguish Christians from unbelievers. This is nowhere more evident than the contemporary scandal of the Homosexual Distinction or choice as I like to call it. A palpable hostility exists between a distinctly Christian worldview and the worldview of those who classify themselves based on sexual choice. If you have not noticed certain words in this article by now, allow me to point them out and help you understand my tactic. I use the phrase “Christian Distinction” for a very specific reason. I want it to be clear that there is something very distinct, something unique, something very specific about the idea we call “Christian.” I think that point is less obvious in our culture than it was in previous ones. Secondly, I refer to homosexuality as the “Homosexual Distinction” or the “Homosexual Choice.” Christians have allowed themselves to be labeled as homophobes for far too long now. It is time we learn how to use this very same strategy to defend and proclaim the truths of the gospel. We firmly believe that homosexual behavior is a choice. It is not appropriate to allow people to stop at using that term as an identifier as if there is nothing they can do about it. A person who commits adultery is called an adulterer. However, we would never say that this person was born to be an adulterer. We do not look for something in their DNA to excuse their sexual decisions. We know that adultery is wrong. So too is homosexual behavior. It is a choice. Therefore, for people who have decided that this choice should serve to identify them, I think it proper to call it what it is: a distinct choice. Christians ought to refer to homosexuality or the homosexual lifestyle as the “homosexual choice.” By taking this approach, we insist that we will only recognize this behavior as a choice. Moreover, those who are listening to the debate hear us addressing a “choice” as opposed to a “helpless condition.” I think this is critically important. At a minimum, it helps believers engage in the discussion with growing confidence.

The Christian Distinction

The best way to understand and appreciate the obvious hostility between the Christian and the Homosexual communities is to understand what makes the two communities distinct. Understanding that those distinctions reflect antithetical foundations between two vastly different worldviews will help us talk about the issue with greater effectiveness. I use the term “Christian” in its technical sense. That is to say, I specifically refer to the conservative brand of Christianity that is uniquely grounded in Scripture as its sole authority of faith, life, and practice. When professing Christian communities betray Scripture, they cease to be distinctly Christian. They become pseudo Christian communities. In other words, there are genuine Christian communities, and then there are apostates. I offer no apologies for the apostates. Moreover, if being called an apostate offends you, I pray that it offends you enough to produce repentance. Perhaps it would be better to call it the apostate choice.

To be a Christian means something more than attending a gathering of people on Sundays. It means more than volunteering at the rescue mission. It means more than spending an entire Saturday working for some charitable purpose. Christianity is not a social club organized to meet various social needs. Paul outlines the positive features of Christian fruit or virtue in Galatians 5: 22. Christian virtue is made up of biblical love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. James says this about “true religion,” Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit the Orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27) The easiest thing for us to do is help Orphans and widows in their time of need. The hardest thing for us to do is to die to self. There are millions of false-converts in the Christian community who write the check, who do the volunteer work, and rise to the occasion to meet the social need of the day. However, the question is, what do you do with Jesus when he becomes uncomfortable? Too many professing Christians refuse to die to self and to compensate for that, they do more than their part when it comes to social causes. They believe, at least sub-consciously, that this proves they love God. The hypocrites of Jesus’ day did the same thing. Religion was an outward façade. Inwardly, these religious people were full of dead men’s bones. They were liars, vipers who professed to know God, but in their very actions, in the deepest part of their hearts, they denied him. John said this, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but from the world.” (I John 2:15) Paul said, I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal. 2:20) In another place, Paul said, “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3) Paul also expressed this concept to the Corinthians, saying, “or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (I Cor. 3:19-20) Christians, genuinely biblical Christians understand they have lost themselves in Christ. They no longer live to please self. They live to please God. According to Scripture, self and God are antithetical to one another. Self must die in order for God to live within the heart of the Christian. This is the Christian distinction. Sad to say, but this kind of thinking has been lost to many in the Christian community. Perhaps it is time we recover it once more.

The Homosexual Choice

The homosexual choice could not be more incongruous with the Christian distinction. To begin with, I want to start with the question: “can you identify or should you identify people based on their sexual activity or behavior?” It is true that we use terms like heterosexual to describe people who are drawn or attracted to people of the opposite sex while homosexual is used to describe people who are attracted to people of the same sex. I want to begin by challenging this practice from the start. Since when should we identify people based on their sexual behavior? We are all human beings who engage in lots of different behaviors. Some of those behaviors are acceptable while others are not so much. For instance, within the heterosexual group, there are men who are drawn to a promiscuous lifestyle. They will attract as many sexual partners as possible. However, just because men are attracted to the opposite sex is no excuse for unbridled sexual escapades. Even the most liberal in our society condemn such behavior. Take, for example the Weiner case. This man had to resign because his behavior was found to be unacceptable. Yet, he was simply doing what his fleshly impulses desired. Why was he wrong? He was behaving in a manner consistent with his desires for sexual pleasure. How can the same people who argue for the homosexual choice condemn Mr. Weiner’s choice?

How is the homosexual choice different from Mr. Weiner’s own personal desires for his taste in sexual pleasure? I would contend that you could not approve homosexual behavior and condemn Mr. Weiner’s sexual behavior without a violent contradiction in morality. The reason you do not see people in secular society attempting to synthesize these irregularities is that it is not in their interest to do so. Secondly, it seems obvious that such an attempt would end up in embarrassment because there is no way to smooth out the apparent contradictions without looking foolish.

The Scriptures clearly condemn the homosexual choice as wicked behavior the same as it does adultery or any other sexually deviant behavior. Paul states clearly that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. (I Cor. 6:9) The practice was clearly understood and condemned by Paul to the church at Corinth without qualification. Sex between two people of the same gender is condemned in the NT. Paul condemns the homosexual choice in I Tim. 1:10. In Corinthians, homosexuality is mentioned alongside other behaviors such as, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, thieves, drunks, etc. These behaviors are choices that people make. If we are going to accept the homosexual as having genuine faith and a place in the kingdom of God, it follows we must accept everyone else who engages in the other behaviors on this list. That, my friends, would mean an end to the Christian Church. Again, in 1 Tim. 1:10, Paul’s list includes: immoral men, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching. The homosexual choice represents a violent contradiction to the Christian distinction. The Christian community and the homosexual community represent polar opposites at their respective foundations. The very definition of the homosexual choice has at its foundation, a very specific activity driven by the desire to please self by engaging in certain types of sexual behavior. Christianity is about self-denial. It is about denying oneself such pleasures. A single Christian man or woman is not at liberty to bed anyone. In the Christian worldview, sex is reserved for marriage. Christians do not enter relationships, and dispense with the notion of marriage and move in together and engage in unrestrained sex. When that happens, the church acts. People are confronted with their sin and if they truly are Christian, they repent and either marry or cease the behavior. Paul says that each man is to have a wife and each woman is to have a husband to avoid immorality. (I Cor. 7:2) He goes on to say, “But if they do not have self-control, let them marry.” (I Cor. 7:9) Romans one also provides a clear picture of God’s position on the homosexual choice. Paul refers to the homosexual choice as carried out by people that God has turned over to degrading passions, committing indecent acts. (Rom. 1:27)

The Antithesis

The homosexual choice is a selfish, sinful choice that mocks the design of the Creator at a very fundamental level. God created man and woman and the institution of that creation, marriage, serves as the very fabric that holds society together. The attempt to dispute this design is an attempt to contradict the Creator Himself. If Christianity accepts the homosexual choice as a morally acceptable practice, it loses its ability to reject every other sinful practice with any consistency whatever. The floodgates open. Sin ceases to be sin. Without sin, we do not need a Savior. Without a Savior, there is no Church. Hence, the Christian distinction ceases to exist. Part of the problem is the amount of compromise the church has already made. It is difficult to back up a train.

2 comments:

  1. I continue to await your response to my response to your response to my post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I posted a comment on your blog.

    ReplyDelete

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