If You’re a Christian, and Your Child Came Out as Gay, How Would You React? Here are Two Options

May God give us the mercy to be the second ‘dad.’

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Colorado Baptist Website Picked Up My Article Regarding Christian Response to Colorado Civil Unions

I’m grateful that Colorado Baptist General Convention picked up my article on How Should Pro-Biblical/Procreative Christians in Colorado React? in regards to the now legal same-sex unions here in Colorado.  May we pastors continue to help believers sort through the changes in the culture taking place at a dizzying rate. 

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From Moral Majority to Missional Minority—A Good Thing

Today, the Supreme Court issued its ruling regarding various issues regarding same-sex marriage.  The 5-4 rulings were as follows:

  • They ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, signed by President Clinton in 1996) unconstitutional.  The ruling states that DOMA wrongly, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy, “instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.”
  • They dismissed an appeal of Court of Appeals overturn of Proposition 8, which under California would exclusively define marriage as between a man and a woman.  Chief Justice John Roberts:  ““We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend a state statute when state officials have chosen not to.”
  • As a result of striking down DOMA, the so-called “same-sex” marriages may now receive federal benefits—but only in states where this type of ‘marriage’ is legal. 

Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissenting remarks, wrote: 

“Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.”

Yes, the ruling was limited, but the ruling spoke volumes.  Congress passed DOMA, the voters of California passed Proposition 8—but now the tone of law has shifted.

Trevin Wax recently published an article entitled “Why Gay Marriage is Good (and Bad) for the Church.”  I borrowed a phrase from this article to use as the title of this blogpost because I couldn’t do better and I like the attitude.  In addressing the threats this ruling brings to religious liberty, he gives the good news and the bad news:

The bad news: As the norm of marriage shifts, individual Christians will find themselves in situations where they face penalties for refusing to violate their conscience. We’ve already seen this take place when Christian caterers, for example, feel conflicted about taking part in a same-sex wedding. Threats to religious liberty are not good news for the church, because they cause us to spend time and energy in preserving “space” for us to live according to our religious convictions without fear of reprisal.

The good news: These threats may bring about in the church a much-needed change of mindset. It’s time we recognized we are no longer the “moral majority” and embrace our identity as the “missional minority.”

My friends in Great Britain and Romania tell me it’s a noble task to serve Christ when you are clearly in the minority. Though the challenges often seem insurmountable, God’s people have the opportunity to learn how to love those who oppose us, to serve and suffer under governmental or cultural bigotry, and face hatred with respect and kindness. So let’s recognize our minority status and learn to serve those who we’re called to show God’s love.

We do not have a seat at the political table as we once did.  We may have been a majority, and leveraged that to believe we were right because more believed in biblical principles and morality.  For that reason, many identified as believers because it was culturally expedient.  It was considered a ‘winning team.’

No longer.

And for that, I’m glad.

We do not follow Christ because of any man-made perception of popularity.  We must follow Christ in spite of being a minority.  Our faith in the eternal, virgin-born, perfect, crucified, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus will become more powerful and potent because for a change it may actually come at a cost.  We have an opportunity to step outside the church walls and show the world what it’s like, following Jesus and trusting in His Word.

Missional minority!  Yes, Trevin—I’m bringing that saying on-board.  For that, I thank you!

Categories: apologetics, culture, homosexuality, Marriage | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

ESPN’s Chris Broussard Calls Homosexuality a Sin–Will ESPN Call It a Career for Him?

In a recent interview on ESPN which discussed the NBA’s Jason Collins coming out as a homosexualESPN’s Chris Broussard calls homosexuality a sin.

“If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that that’s a sin. . . . If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.”

Chris Broussard has done excellent work covering the NBA for ESPN over the years.  I had never known Broussard’s religious beliefs or worldview until this interview–but now everyone does, or at least will.

I’ve shared before that the same-sex rights movement is the new fundamentalism of our day.  If you agree with this movement, you’re in with the academic, intellectual, and journalistic elite–if you’re not, then consequences await showing that tolerance is only extended to those with whom one agrees.  We’ve seen various interviews like this one that is typical of the nature of the debate.

We shall see how Broussard’s comments are tolerated by ESPN. In the meantime, pray for him. This could get interesting!

Categories: homosexuality, tolerance | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Beware Before You Share: Starbucks, Worldviews, and Jumping to Conclusions

Across the Facebook landscape, I came across a ‘share’ in my newsfeed that said, “Starbucks CEO: If You Support Traditional Marriage, We Don’t Want Your Business.”  In fact, many others who are friends of mine brought this to my attention, with the understanding that if this is what Starbucks believes and thinks, we shall take our business elsewhere. (I confess, I even forwarded this article before I read the whole thing.)

But let’s notice something about this article.

  1. The title in the headline by Victor Medina (at the website “Restoring Liberty: Published by Joe Miller) does not contain quotes, meaning that Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, did not say this.  This serves as an example of journalists who use this tactic to get traffic.  It worked.  But the problem is, Schultz did not say this exactly.  Beware of jumping to conclusions.
  2. As you read the article, which links to the original Forbes.com article, you see that, yes, Schultz does hold to the same-sex ‘marriage’ agenda, we see the true thrust of the article.  Schultz was confronted by a shareholder who had a problem with Schultz gay ‘marriage’ stance, and this led to a decline in profits.  The article points to a Huffington Post article noting that the shareholder, Tom Strobhar, the founder of the anti-gay marriage Corporate Morality Action Center.  The article does not say whether Strobhar’s issue was with the moral stance or the financial profits (or lack thereof).
  3. In response, Schultz gives the figures, acknowledging the boycott by Starbucks customers and the affect it had on profits.  But he went on:  ““Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.”
  4. At the end of the day, Schultz response was to this particular shareholder and all shareholders, concluding:  “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”  I hope you can see that this is different than saying, “Traditional marriage advocates are not welcomed at Starbucks.”  He’s saying, “This is where we stand.  If you are investing in this company and do not agree with this stance, you are welcomed to invest elsewhere.”  This is in essence what traditional marriage advocate companies such as Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, and Domino’s say as well–this is where they stand.

Regardless of which side of the argument you are on, we must beware before you share. Take time to read through an article before you jump to conclusions.  If Howard Schultz’s stand is something you as a consumer do not agree with, sure, let them know with your patronage (or lack thereof) where you stand.  And he is doubling down on his stance in this matter.

Let’s just make sure we are conveying accurately what’s being said so we have the whole picture.

Categories: culture, homosexuality, Marriage | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Republican Rob Portman Now Supports So-Called “Same-Sex” Marriage

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple (Jesus Christ, recorded in Luke 14:25-27).

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, who previously supported traditional, male-female marriage, now supports so-called same-sex ‘marriage.’  Portman’s article is a heartfelt article outlining his journey and this change of stance is what many families will deal with in the future, but in their homes and in reconciling what Scripture says on the matter over and against at times their feelings in interpreting Scripture.

The first item he mentions is the closeness of the issue that arose in regard to his family:

Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.

His love for his son served as the catalyst for the switch of stance.  God instills in every mother and father wants to see their children happy–and I believe Portman truly loves his son to come around to this conviction.  Yet, the God of the Bible that Portman has testified to believe in and serve says some very different things in His Word.  Now how this reconciled with the Christian faith Portman says he holds?

I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.

Again, we see the importance of hermeneutics even in the Christian community–that is, properly interpreting the Scriptures.  God is a God of love, but that God has boundaries that He himself has set up for our provision and our protection, even on the issues of sexual relationships.  The overarching themes in Scripture are that of holiness, in which God’s love and justice come together.   For too many, God’s purpose is to make one happy–but that can be the very worst thing that can happen–not simply in this area, but in any area.  In this case, it seems that his son’s well-being means more than even what God says.  By him reacting to his son’s revelation this way, it showed that the Scriptures Portman claimed to follow were selectively followed up until this point–as what happens to so many others in churches:  we claim to know and believe the Bible, but is it really a Bible of our own making, or the unvarnished Word of Truth that must remake us?

Not everyone in the gay-advocate community sees this as entirely positive.  Kenneth Walsh of the Huffington Post gives some insight into how Portman’s switch of stance is received:

While I would like to say that it makes me happy to have the first Republican senator come out in support of marriage equality, I am having a difficult time getting past the whole “I need this EXACT situation to affect me PERSONALLY before I can do anything” mentality that seems to persist in the halls of Congress.

Do I need to have a close relative have Parkinson’s disease to think there should be government funding for a cure? Does a member of my family need to be African American for me to think the Voting Rights Act needs to be renewed? Does my house have to be destroyed by a hurricane to vote for emergency relief funding? The utter lack of empathy displayed by so many elected officials sickens me to the point that if and when some of them finally see the light, I almost hate them more… for showing a complete lack of conviction.

So it sounds like the religious and gay-rights advocates see this as the same thing:  his convictions all come down to something personal, not absolute.  Regardless of your convictions, those convictions are shown not simply politically or even familialy expedient–but stand true to their convictions, regardless of how even those closest to us will react.  And in this area, we would all do well to read the cultural fine-print before switching stances.

So to my fellow Christians, stay true to your faith in a historical Christ who lived, died, and rose again in atonement for our sins and who shows that there is a God who cares, comforts, challenges, commands, and corrects.  When Jesus said that no one can be my disciple if he treasures anything (even family) over Him.  Yes, the passage at the beginning uses the word ‘hate,’ but that’s used as a comparative.  Our love for Christ and His Word so trumps any earthly relationship that it will be seen as ‘hate’ by all onlookers.

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).

Categories: homosexuality, Marriage, politics | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Colorado House of Representatives Passes Civil Union Bill

Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver)

Just yesterday, the Colorado House of Representatives passed by a vote of 39-26 passed Senate Bill 11, which will give (pending Governor Hickenlooper’s signature) homosexual couples the same legal protections as straight couples.  By all accounts, it was a historic day (regardless of where you stand on the matter).  Don’t believe me?  Here are some quotes from those who worked feverishly to pass the bill:

Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver), the main proponent of the bill, noted:

“We should make laws that are just for everyone. This wasn’t a choice. This is who I am. This is who we are. We need to make laws in our society that respect everyone equally. I ask for an aye vote to honor love, commitment and equality.”

Rep. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) also added:

When you decide who you are, you embark on a journey of self-acceptance. By passing this bill today, we give young people, we give LGBT people, that ultimate acceptance, that you are equal in the eyes of your government.

Rep. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs)

This is a historic moment. With this vote, we begin to redeem our friends, our families, from the scourge of discrimination and inequality.

Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver)

We have really moved toward recognizing that people should be allowed to live how they want to live.

I appreciate how their God-infused desire as an imagebearer of God wish that all people everywhere should not be discriminated against. But these quotes reveal something that we as pro-biblical marriage should understand:

  1. This is deemed by homosexual advocates as the civil rights issue of our time.
  2. Anyone who speaks out against this issue (no matter how loving) will be considered by the more militant advocates as hateful. You must recognize this. Some will not come across that way, but others will (see John 15:18).
  3. Rep Moreno notes that full acceptance means “equality in the eyes of the government.”
  4. Rep. Lee uses the biblical (though not exclusively biblical) word ‘redeem,’ which means to buy back. The issue seems to be that they were not discriminated against until they were discriminated against because of their orientation and now are not–they were bought back.

How Should Pro-Biblical/Procreative Christians in Colorado React?

  1. Continue to love and to pray for and communicate with your representatives. Given the high energy issues that have come to the fore here in Colorado (gun bills, civil unions, legalizing marijuana, etc.), we must continue to pray for and communicate with your representatives in a civil manner worthy of civic discourse.  It was reprehensible when a Colorado man threatened a state representative when some issue did not go his way. God has placed these leaders in their positions for His reasons and purpose (Romans 13:1-7) and as such, we are to pray for them (1 Timothy 2:4ff).  The government is not our god–but we honor those in office until they mandate we disobey what God has clearly spoken.  At our church, we pray for President Obama and our elected officials. I pray you are doing so as well out of an actual, sincere, Christian love as an overflow of your love for Christ.
  2. Listen to the homosexual advocacy’s argument . . . There are some very cruel, uncivilized, and profane people on both sides of the argument who exhibit a hatred. By hatred, I do not mean that they disagree–throwing a temper tantrum because you’re not seeing something ‘my way.’ But there are those who are thoughtful and civilized (as you would see with a gay marriage debate between pro-biblical marriage advocate Douglas Wilson and pro-homosexual marriage Andrew Sullivan). While some name-call and are belligerent (and because of this lack of control, in my opinion, do not warrant serious consideration), there are those like Sullivan who convey a heart-felt, historical, and (again) thoughtful and civilized view that do warrant serious consideration from those of us who disagree. Any desire to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15) also entails that we listen to those who make a defense for the hope they have as well, even though that hope may be different from ours. Whereas those who say we (pro-traditional/biblical/procreative marriage) do not listen may be right–but there are those of us who do, who want to know, just as I would for anyone else who expresses a hope in another religion, cult, worldview, or lack therein.
  3. without compromising yours.  Listening does not equal adherence or agreement. This works both ways. Same-sex marriage advocates think they knew where we come from, but occasionally miss the mark. Male-female marriage advocates think they know where same-sex marriage advocates come from, but occasionally miss the mark. It works both ways.

    All we can control is our reaction–and part of that must be to listen as we wish to be heard, even as we hold to the reality that God’s Word is not up for discussion, but for declaration.  Yes, that’s correct!  If we adhere to the notion that God has spoken (which He has), we would be like Job:  “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?  I lay my hand on my mouth.  I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further” (John 40:4-5).  A fine balance to walk, but just as those who disagree would hold to their convictions, we could do no less since we know that God has spoken.

  4. Recognize that the culture war advocating for a biblical worldview of marriage (and even as theologians have called it, a natural law advocacy for male-female, procreative marriage) is lost–outside of revival.  For those who remember than in 2004, the mandate for the presidential election was that of ‘moral values,’ know that this was a slippery slope to begin with. How? Well, whose moral values are being put forth? One person sees morality from the Scriptures, others see the Scriptures themselves as immoral by setting those male-female boundaries. As the influence of the Scriptures begins to wane, there was little to stop the momentum of the anti-Scripture wing of our culture.   Some celebrate this, others didn’t see this coming. Regardless–it’s here. And we deal with what is!
  5. Thanks to a friend of mine, I convey this: We should be devoting our time to deciding how we should wisely live in a culture that does not uphold biblical sexuality. Those who oppose biblical, male-female, procreative sexuality and marriage are convinced we hate those who disagree–that we don’t listen. This is too general an argument, for these folks who say this do not know who we’ve talked to or what our motivations are–nor do they care to. If we disagree, then we hate. This should not catch us by surprise.But as Douglas Wilson notes in a debate he had with Andrew Sullivan, he began to bring about the natural and logical consequences of tearing down natural law marriage–it would open up the door for polygamy. This Sullivan rejected outright, as most would. But here is Wilson’s follow-up from his blog:

The reason that Andrew was so adamant about rejecting the logical consequence of polygamy is that it would wreck the very thing he has wanted to possess for so long. Hetero marriage has been the great house on the hill, bright lights shining whenever there was a great party, to which Andrew had never been invited and where he desperately wanted to be. But he doesn’t want to finally pull into the driveway of that house for the big event only to see a bunch of trailers for the new polygamous compound scattered over the great lawn. He wants the house to be the house it always has been, only with him there now. So if I point out that the riff raff might want to use all of his arguments verbatim in order to crash the party also, he has a deep emotional need to deny it. But nobody wants them to come, he might protest. This is quite true, but nobody wanted him to come either. It is hard to wax indignant about the third wave of party crashers if you were in the first wave.

So no matter where the culture may go, we love our Lord Jesus, we love our leaders, we love those who agree with us, we love those with whom we disagree, and we love the truth of Scripture.  But we do see this as a slippery slope.  Even Andrew Sullivan in his debate drew a line saying that polyamorous marriages should not happen–but who is to say?

Who knows?  In 20 years, same-sex marriage and hetero-sex marriage in our culture may link arms to push back against those who are for polyamorous, pedophilic, or zoophilic marriages.  The way things are changing, who knows?  Let us hold to the anchor of our souls, Jesus Christ, and the anchor of what God has revealed in His Word.

Categories: culture, homosexuality, Marriage, politics, sex | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Mark Regnerus and the Untouchable Issue of Homosexuality

So now, we see that anyone who wishes to do a study on homosexuality and its effects of the family and culture had better have some politically correct conclusions, or their academic career is at stake.

Denny Burk brought to our attention Mark Regnerus, a professor at the University of Texas who conducted a study on children raised in homosexual households.  The conclusions painted a less than positive picture.  A homosexual blogger lodged a complaint to the president of the university—and now Regnerus is under investigation.  Burk rightly notes:

Normally studies like this one are vetted by the scholarly community in subsequent publications. But that is not good enough for the gay activists. The thought-police are out in full force not to counter Regnerus in print, but to destroy his career and reputation. They want him ostracized from the scientific community more generally and from the faculty of UT more specifically.

This is what it has come to.  It’s not enough to disagree as far as homosexual activists are concerned.  You must be thoroughly destroyed.  The church needs to realize this!  All of us who hold to a Christian sexual ethic will be in the crosshairs.

Burk quotes Rod Dreher’s insight and take on the situation:

How is it that a blogger can write a letter to the president of the university lodging a very serious, potentially career-destroying professional complaint against a professor, and the university can turn around and effectively put the professor on trial? It’s not enough for Regnerus to be wrong, and his results disproved. He must be professionally destroyed for his thoughtcrime.

Whatever happens to Regnerus, the lesson to researchers at the University of Texas is that you should never, ever undertake any research related to homosexuality, unless you are prepared in advance to reach politically correct conclusions. Otherwise, your academic career could be at stake.

The Witch-Hunt for Mark Regnerus worth the read!

Also worth the read:  Kevin DeYoung believes (and rightly so) that no denomination will survive the homosexuality crisis.

There is no way, short of a miraculous and full-scale changing of hearts and minds, for North American denominations to survive the homosexuality crisis. Denominations like the PCUSA, ELCA, RCA, UMC, and Episcopal Church will continue. They won’t fold their tents and join the Southern Baptists (though wouldn’t that be interesting!). I’m not suggesting most of our old, mainline denominations will disappear. But I do not see how any of these once flourishing denominations will make it through the present crisis intact.

And the sooner denominations admit this sobering reality the better.

Read on to see what he suggests.  So good!

Categories: homosexuality | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Why Marriage Matters Even in 2012

(On this day, my parents will be married 56 years, so I am pulling out one from the archives. This sermon was originally preached in 2004.)

Our society, especially in the media and in secular academia, has identified a danger to the civilized community. General William Boykin, who is part of the group trying to help Iraq stand on its own two feet of democracy, was speaking at a church recently. He stated in a testimony that our country was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles and that we were fighting to maintain those principles. He also said that Muslims worship “an idol called Allah” and also that from the atrocities that he has seen in Rwanda, Iraq and in other part of the world that a demonic force is backing those evils.

NBC Nightly News and the Washington Post reported on General Boykin’s words and questioned whether a man who held these views should be overseeing intelligence in the war of terrorism. Another said that he was on a “crusade” against the Muslims. The NBC reporter said that this kind of talk was “very scary.” A host on National Public Radio stated that she “hoped that he was not long for this world,” quickly adding that she was speaking of his job.

A column by James Carroll of the Boston Globe this past week sums up what many in the media and academia think not just about General Boykin, but all those who hold a Christian worldview

…claims made for Jesus Christ by most Christians, from Vatican corridors to evangelical revival tents, implicitly insult the religion of others. When Catholics speak of ‘salvation’ only through Jesus, or when Protestants limit ‘justification’ to faith in Jesus, aspersions are cast on the entire non-Christian world. …The general’s offense was to speak aloud the implication of a still broadly held theology. But that theology is dangerous now. A respectful religious pluralism is no longer just a liberal hope but an urgent precondition of justice and peace.

Notice that our views are considered “dangerous.” We now live in a world where tolerance means not just respecting another’s views, but also going a step further and saying that those views are just as right as other views. This is what pluralism is — religions living side-by-side with one another in peace for the sake of unity. To go against this pluralistic philosophy and say that there is only one way to heaven and one standard of living is offensive — so much so, that there are those whose sole purpose in life is to rid all vestiges of God, Christianity, and especially the Bible from public places. The motto in our country now is not freedom of religion, but freedom from religion.

Those who advocate that there is no supernatural realm and no God, especially the God of the Bible, it is time to throw off the shackles of traditional (read: biblical) boundaries in favor of a more evolved and enlightened mindset. And right now, among the attacks being levied, one that is now on the forefront is the institution of marriage.

In an article entitled “Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete?”, Christian apologists Henry Morris says, “While mankind has a perpetual history of violating marriage covenants, the contemporary challenge denies either the existence or the validity of moral standards regarding the sanctity of marriage. Led by numerous liberationist movements and fed by the new morality’s amorality, a small but vocal vanguard preaches that marriage is outmoded and must be jettisoned for a more appropriate alternative.”

Our television shows and even the courts of our government are trying and redefine marriage. Armstrong Williams says,

What is morality? …Using new definitions for accepted meanings of established words, politicians have changed adultery into freedom of expression; sex is now fooling around, promiscuity is recreational, homosexuality is a lifestyle and abortion is a choice. Morality is doing what pleases you. …Like redefining government, morality has been more than redefined, it has been downgraded to personal opinion. What is the meaning of [true] morality? Classic scholarship accepts morality to be a firm standard for thought, words and deeds monitored by an educated conscience. The education is based upon a differentiation between right and wrong; good and evil. Thus, the educated conscious, in conjunction with the intellect and free will, arrives at a decision to think, speak and act in a selected manner that is deemed moral. Like the arrow on a compass, which always points north, proper morality is similarly directional, as it points to goodness. Hence it is, that morality can never be used by any modified definition to serve as a basis for false ideas, unethical commercialism, political correctness or deviant lifestyle. Morality is the same for all races in the human family. Cultural backgrounds and inherited traditions may differ, but obedience to the moral law is a universal obligation.”

Contrary to what some in our society may say, marriage matters because it has been ordained by God

1. It is to be between a man and a woman.

In Genesis 2:18, God states something about His creation that is “not good”: it was not good for the man to be alone. So out of God’s marvelous provision and wisdom, He created a helper suitable to Him. The word ‘helper’ comes from the Hebrew which means to provide support for what is lacking in the one who needs help. In this case, it can mean a helper that matches his distinctiveness.The idea here is one of a help-mate that “corresponds to” the man — one who completes the man.

God brought all the animals before Adam to name and to see if one would be suitable for him. There were none, for they are of a different order and not made in the image of God, as we saw last week in Genesis 1:26-27. SoGod took a rib from Adam while Adam was in a deep sleep and from that rib formed and fashioned woman.

Matthew Henry, the 17th century Puritan, made this wonderful observation: “Not made out of his head to top him, not out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

So God ordained man and woman to be together for at least two reasons. The first, to procreate. Last week we looked at Genesis 1:27-28 where God made male and female and that God blessed to be fruitful. God has fashioned our bodies to bring forth life from a male/female relationship. This cannot be said of other “alternative relationships.” It cannot be done.

It is also to protect us. Not only to protect spiritually in keeping away from God’s wrath against sin, but it is also scientific fact that male/female relationships bring physically healthier bodies.

International Journal of Epidemiology, vol 26 states, “If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday.”

The Medical Institute of Sexual Health, 1999, states:

“Homosexual men are at significantly increased risk for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, anal cancer, gonorrhea and gastrointestinal infections. Women who have relations with women are at significantly increased risk of bacterial vaginosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer than are heterosexual women.”

That lifestyle is destructive and dangerous to bodies, so God has provided the male/female relationship to keep us safe and to bless us beyond belief.

Now I have known homosexuals who claim to be Christians who use the following argument to justify their lifestyle and their attempt to reconcile it with Scripture. They say, “Jesus never taught that homosexuality was wrong. Only Paul taught that. Jesus was all about loving others. In fact, the Scriptures are really all about a spirit of love for all people, regardless!”

My response is that is right … Jesus died on the cross while we were still sinners because of God’s love for us. BUT, we must remember Matthew 5:17 where Jesus said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Then He goes on, “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teachers others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Also in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 that He reaffirmed what God said in the beginning of making them “male and female.” Romans 1:26-27: shows that this behavior is the result of turning our backs on God’s commands and pursuing our own passions: whether adultery, fornication, or homosexuality — for it is all sexual immorality that we should flee from (1 Corinthians 6:17).

2. God has ordained marriage to be exclusive.

In Genesis 2:24, we read that “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

God has ordained that the marriage relationship be the relationship of the highest priority.

In their book that advocates open marriage, Nena and George O’Neill contend that “the traditional closed marriage is a form of bondage, for both husband and wife.” They list six “psychological commitments” involved in a traditional marriage: “Possession or ownership of the mate . . . denial of the self … maintenance of the couple-front . . . Rigid role behavior . . . absolute fidelity . . . total exclusivity. And they warn: “Subtly, insidiously, often without your even knowing it, the clauses of the closed marriage contract begin to foreclose upon your freedom and your individuality, making you a slave of your marriage.”

What they are saying is that the morality this country needs is really an absence of morality — no restrictions on what is right or wrong, for we have advanced past the stage of that. Now, we need to follow what we feel is good for us to do.

Yet, the Bible states that a “man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” They say, “My, what an oppressive God you serve. He is trying to inhibit your freedom.” God responds by saying, “No, I am trying to enhance it … and enhance it greatly.”

Solomon, in giving advice to his son, says in Proverbs:

Drink water from your own cistern
And fresh water from your own well.
Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be yours alone
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
… Be exhilarated (lit. intoxicated, NASB) with her love. (Proverbs 5:15-20)

In other words, when Solomon says to “drink water from your own cistern,” he is saying that we should find our refreshment with the spouse that God has given to us. We are not to look elsewhere. We’re not even to dip our toes in these things.

We must protect our marriages not just with our actions, but with our thoughts and our words. And this is where the Christian community has failed greatly! The church has the same divorce rate as those outside the community of faith. And even those who stay together, many of those marriages seem to be deteriorating because the relationship between the two went south years ago, but little damage control takes place in order to restore the harmony.

3. It is a picture of Christ and the church.

Look at Ephesians 5:28-33:

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. [29] For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, [30] because we are members of his body. [31] “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” [32] This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. [33] However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephes. 5:28-33, ESV)

John Piper says that:

The mystery is this: God did not create the union of Christ and the church after the pattern of human marriage; just the reverse! He created human marriage on the pattern of Christ’s relation to the church.

You see, husbands are to love their wives in a sacrificial and servantlike way, for that is how Christ loved the church. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church is to submit to the leadership of Christ. (And if husbands love their wives sacrificially and take Christ on as their role model, wives will love to love them. But more on this next week.)

Are we modeling this to the world? Are our marriages giving the world a picture of the relationship that Christ and His bride have? I pray that they are.

(Originally preached in 2004.)

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North Carolina Pastor Deserves Reprimand by Christians, Too

Once again, Christians are in the news–no, not for all the good they do in the world, for that is not newsworthy. It’s when a leader of a church does or says something so reprehensible that words barely describe it.

You may have heard of Charles Worley of Catawba County, NC who went on a rant about how homosexuals should be gated up with an electric fence in order to die off, since they cannot reproduce (says Worley). Naturally, outlets like MSNBC, CNN, and Anderson Cooper among others caught wind of this–and this video has gone viral.

You may ask, “Why don’t you put the video up on this blog post?” To be honest, it was all I could do to link to it. Frankly, I don’t want this man who claims to be an ambassador of the gospel of Christ who says such irresponsible and vitriolic things disgracing this site.

Now, those against Christianity and our stance regarding homosexuality are using this as leverage to show that all of us (Baptists especially?) are hateful and malicious.

“Rev.” Worley does not speak for me nor for the majority of Christians who believe that all of us are made in the image of God, all of us are sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God, and are in need of rescue by God only through Jesus Christ (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:23; Acts 4:12). We do not wish the death sentence on anyone, for all of us outside of Christ are under a death sentence. We need to be ransomed by one who can pay for that which leads to eternal death (Romans 6:23).

We are about life, redemption, rescue, and atonement for sins. No matter our sin, outside of Christ we have no hope.

“Pastor” Worley does not speak for me. Instead of simply drawing a line, offer a lifeline!

Where’s the grace? The Bible speaks on that as well!

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