Posts Tagged With: homosexuality

SBC Executive Committee Disfellowships “Third Way” Church—Why?

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee has voted to disfellowship New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, CA, due to their position to “affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior,” which violates Article III of the SBC Constitution.  Danny Cortez, the pastor of New Heart, advocates a “third way” in which their leaders can hold varying perspectives regarding same-sex marriage, the Baptist Press reports

BP also reports that Cortez attended the Executive Committee meeting, addressing both the by-laws and administrative committee—both of whom prayed for Cortez and his church.  The vote to disfellowship was unanimous.  Cortez endorsed homosexuality back in February, causing a ripple effect and thus this addressing of the issue at the Executive Committee. 

In reality, the SBC EC had little choice.  Southern Baptists have long stood on the biblical truth of one man-one woman union in marriage, and will not change that direction anytime soon—for which I am grateful.  This will not be the last church to come to such conclusions—and it’s not the first.  But through this, we see patterns that have plagued churches faithfulness to Scripture throughout history—and New Heart’s position is no exception.

People first, Scripture second.  Cortez shared that “I recently became gay affirming after a 15-year journey of having multiple people in my congregation come out to me every year.”  The danger for all pastors is to look at people’s situations, then judge whether the Scriptures ties in to the ‘reality’ of their situation.

An appeal to biblical ‘context.’  In Cortez’s February 2014 sermon, he argued “Romans 1 does not condemn all homosexual acts but only those committed in a spirit of violence or unbridled lust. He said modern homosexual relationships are different from the ancient forms of homosexuality Paul was referencing” (BP).  Let’s look at the passage to which he refers:

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another,men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

One does not need to know Greek to recognize that Paul (and ultimately the Holy Spirit) does not give any distinction—especially the distinction of ‘a spirit of violence or unbridled lust.’  The act of homosexuality itself is a shameless act.  It’s a difficult task to appeal to context, especially when every portion of Scripture looks at homosexuality as harmful to self and soul (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21, etc.). 

The core principle is a failure to honor, thank, worship, or acknowledge God” (Romans 1:18-32).  Appealing to context is a way to lessen God’s clear Word for personal and ‘loving’ purposes, thus taking away the necessary accountability needed. 

The pattern continues in that those who disagree with Cortez’s stance reflect a lack of love for homosexuals.  Do we want an ancient document like the Bible to squelch the love we should have for those, even loving them to the point of affirming their lifestyle choice?  

Then there’s a stark denial of orthodox truth.  I echo Frank Page, EC President:  we love all with the truth, and pray for those who say they love Christ but turn from His Word to repent.   God calls pastors to serve as stewards of the truth of God’s Word—not to find a third way between holiness and sin.

Mike Routt, fellow Colorado pastor who serves as chairman of the SBC EC as well as pastor of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, rightly said, “”Mr. Cortez, the issue is not just about homosexuality.  It is about the collision of our orthodox faith and your radical theology. We advocate Jude 3: Contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints. You advocate reinterpreting the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.”

So from an associational level to a state convention level to now the Executive Committee, the SBC continues to take a necessary stand.  The enemy’s arrows may come, but here they stand.  I know a number of men serving on that committee, and they’ve stayed consistent and true to their love of Scripture and the Savior it proclaims. 

Again, I’m grateful!

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Gay Rights Movement: The New Fundamentalists, Part 86

OK, OK, Parts 1 to 85 don’t exist, but it’s been a significant pattern mentioned on this blog and a significant pattern in our culture right now.  If one in the public spotlight says anything (and I mean anything) remotely sounding like a criticism of someone who is gay or of anything related to the gay rights movement will suffer excoriation to a high degree.

For one, enter the issue with Tony Dungy.  No one could question with any credibility that Dungy is a caring guy and a class act.  When asked about Michael Sam, an openly homosexual player drafted out of the University of Missouri by the St. Louis Rams in the 7th round of this year’s draft.  Dungy was asked about drafting Sam.  Here’s the kicker comment:

“I wouldn’t have taken him.  Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. It’s not going to be totally smooth . . . things will happen.’’

Distractions.  The media has spilt much ink on him being the first openly gay player, even hanging around at his house until the 7th round (very unusual) to see his reaction (and subsequent kiss and embrace of his boyfriend) at the Rams drafting him.

Teams don’t like distractions.  Tebow is out of a job mostly due to his talent, but also due to the distractions that Tebow brings to the team and fanbase.  Coaches by and large do not embrace this. 

Dungy gave a response:

“I gave my honest answer, which is that I felt drafting him would bring much distraction to the team,” Dungy says.

“I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL.  He absolutely does.

“I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process.  It should not.

“I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team.  I would not.”

Sam’s size as a football prospect were slim, but his sexuality doesn’t affect this—and most (Dungy included) would not take this in as a factor.  But the cameras, the (since pulled) reality show, and continued appearance on talk shows due, not to his talent, but due to his sexual proclivities make one believe that, yes, a distraction will occur.    Other players provide plenty of distractions, but if the talent exists in that player, the coaches put up with it. 

Matt Walsh begins his article on this topic rather ominously, but making an interesting insight to the ebb and flow of the culture:

The Cult of Leftism has many tenets, and it demands full compliance with all of them, but nothing in its creed compares to the sanctity of their two great sacraments: child murder and sodomy. You must not question these, but tolerance alone will not be good enough. You must celebrate them, too. You must worship at their altar. You must sing hallelujah at the mention of their names. You must fight for a society where infanticide and gay sex are awarded a protected and privileged position. When a man decides to kill babies for a living, you must call him a ‘health care provider’ and a ‘healer.’ When a man decides to announce to the world that he enjoys sex with other men, you must call him a ‘hero’ and a ‘pioneer.’  You must quite literally give him awards for his courage.

Nothing less will be allowed.

It’s hard to argue with Walsh’s assessment.   Unconditional embracing of these two issues from certain loud and influential pockets of our society is all that matters.

Again, this is the new fundamentalism.  Anything less, you’re intolerant, bigoted, backward, homophobic, and on the ‘wrong side of history,’ etc. 

Kevin DeYoung wrote an article today about how much has changed in six years, where both Obama and Biden defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Two years ago (each of these opinions coinciding with election cycles, thus the timing of these respective pronouncements), they reversed position with a more ‘open’ definition. 

Two years.  That’s not all that long ago.  So in such a short time when companies and owners of said companies face governmental crackdowns for their religious beliefs that coincided with Obama and Biden a scant two years ago, has all that much really changed?  DeYoung explains:

Of course, the answer to that question may very well be “yes.” Public opinion has shifted. Tolerance has become militantly intolerant. Every institution and every nation has its orthodoxies to enforce, and it looks like conservative religious persons are the new heretics. No debate is necessary. We haven’t lost the argument on marriage as much as arguments are no longer allowed. To say what our President used to say–and said explicitly while running for President–is quickly becoming unacceptable in polite society.

If bigotry is “the stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own” who is the bigot: the one who tries to provide reasons for his views or the one who says there is no reason your views deserve to be heard (emphasis mine)? If the President’s evolved position proves to be the new mainstream in our culture, is it too much to ask that the position he used to believe in be accorded the protection and freedom the Vice-President once alluded to? Conservative religious persons and conservative religious institutions could be embarrassingly wrong about gay marriage. But if they are, they haven’t been embarrassingly wrong about it for very long.

Yes, a quick turnaround indeed from the powers and influencers that be. 

But those who embrace these policies, let me ask:  do you remember when you were on the other side of this?  When you wished to be heard, but weren’t?  When you were ingloriously dismissed out-of-hand?   Is this how you wish to be seen?  You may be surprised that in time, folks will react to your fundamentalism as you reacted to theirs.   Dialogues and conversations now only seem to be with those with whom a person or a group agrees.  

Bigotry works in more ways that one. 

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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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Baptist Twenty-One 2013 at the SBC Annual Meeting

B21′s panel at this year’s SBC discussed discipleship, cooperation, Calvinism, cultural engagement (in particular the homosexuality debate), and more.  The panel included: Danny Akin, Matt Carter, Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, and David Platt.

I was thankful to attend this with my wife and Jim Misloski, our state missions coordinator among Colorado Baptists.  So thankful for the responses these men gave to these various issues. 

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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. 

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

Did Jesus and Paul Contradict Each Other on the Issue of Homosexuality?

It’s amazing the theological discussions in which one engages, and the place where they take place.  In this case, it was in an emergency room at our local hospital.

This past Sunday, I preached on “Why Are Christians So Homophobic?”—a question the culture (and even some who identify with a church) lob at us with marked frequency.  I received mostly positive comments.  One elderly gentleman, who said it was the best sermon I ever preached (glory to God), nevertheless asked to speak with me at some point about something I said. 

I braced myself and we set up a time.

Turns out, this gentleman found himself in the ER during the time we were to have our talk, so we evidently changed venues for the conversation. 

He came to Christ in the 1990s and had a burden to reach and minister to the outcast downtown.  While doing some construction there, the conversation came up about homosexuals.  One other ‘believer’ noted, “Well, I hope they don’t come to my church.”  As a new believer saved later in life, he could not understand that.  Didn’t they need Christ like anyone else?

It was here that the conversation turned to something he heard me say, that he needed reconciling in his mind.  “Preacher, I see where Jesus loves everyone, no matter what.  But then I see Paul condemning and calling things an abomination.  I read them both, and decided I’ll stick to the red letters.”*

I had heard this argument before, some in church, most in seminary—never in a hospital room.  I was grateful that God still has people thinking about His Word, and that God gives people to help sort through it all.

I told him, “You just said that before you were a Christian, you were a first-class jerk, right?” 

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Your wife sitting over there (almost married 60 years)—would she testify that you were this way?”

“Oh, sure!  How she put up with me, I’ll never know!”

“But she still loved you, right?”

It was then some clarity came about!  We didn’t need to go any further.  It is possible to love someone deeply, passionately, without reservation, yet hate the very things in them that they see could and would destroy them if gone ahead to the full measure. 

You see, we as believers can say that God loves you through Christ, but hates your sin.  He hates your sin because of His great love for you.  True Christians have that heart of Christ in them as well. 

So this is one way to think of how Jesus (“For God so loved the world…” in John 3:16) and Paul (“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God” in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) and how their messages reconcile to one another.

The unity of the Scriptures is evident:  “And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). 

Amen!  And Amen!

Categories: apologetics, Apostle Paul, Bible, Theology | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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

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

When God Gives Up: The Ultimate Result of an Unthankful Heart

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Whenever a phrase is used repeatedly, we should take notice. Three times in this passage, we see how “God gave them up.” What does this mean? First, it means that whatever restraining grace that God put on them was removed. Why? Because if you reject the honor and fail to give thanks to what God has revealed, you set yourself up as God and begin to believe you know best the direction of your life. You delight yourself in yourself, and you seek to give yourself the desires of your hearts.

The first giving over is to “the lust of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Remember in 1:18 how they suppressed the truth in unrighteousness. Here, the heart (the headquarters of a person) exchanged the truth for a lie. This leads to a dishonoring of the body. John MacArthur rightly noted, “No other society has done more to help the human body than ours. Yet no other society has degraded the body like ours.”

Which leads to the second giving over: to dishonorable passions. Now, this sees the light of day in its debauchery. Two issues arise here. The first is obvious: that of homosexuality.  Those who say that the Scriptures do not speak on the issue of homosexuality as sin are not dealing honestly with the text.  They may not believe what it says, but it is disingenuous to say that the Scriptures are silent. 

For one, the Scriptures speak of homosexuality as unnatural.  God did not create humans to act out sexually toward their own gender any more than He created us to act out to anyone sexually outside of the one-man-one-woman marriage covenant He ordained (Genesis 1:26-31; Matthew 19:1-6). 

Secondly, these ‘passions’ receive a penalty due to their error.  In other words, the God-inspired Scripture speaks that this activity is wrong (an error) and will receive punishment.  Why?  Because God made us for a reason and a purpose, and like any maker of anything, He does not want that Creation twisted to their harm.  Do you see that this is why Christ and His followers are saddened by homosexuality?  “If we reap to the flesh, from the flesh we shall reap destruction” (Galatians 6:6-7).  Any life outside of God’s will and toward our will is destructive—and we do not wish to see that happen to any imagebearer.

The second is that of abortion: “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.” No relationship is more natural than a mother toward her baby. Yet, with our sex-starved culture, so many believe that abortions are a viable option. Some come to clinics out of fear that their lives will be turned upside down if they have this child with no husband, or are afraid to tell their parents, or are afraid their boyfriend will leave them. It is here that we tend to listen to things we shouldn’t—we may believe the lies that are told us. Abortions are not a termination of life (i.e., murdering a child) but are considered pregnancy option procedures. The fear clouds out the clear truth of God’s Word that this is a life growing in that womb.

You may not believe that this is a life. Consider:

  • Day 5-9: it’s already possible to determine the sex of the baby.
  • Day 18: The heart and eyes begin to form.
  • Day 20: Brain, spinal cord, and nervous system begin to develop.
  • Day 22-24: The heart begins to beat.
  • Day 30: The brain has human proportions; blood flows in the veins and is separate from the mother’s blood supply. (It is at this time that the RU-486 pill takes effect.)
  • Day 35: Mouth, ears, and nose take shape (also the time when the suction and the D&C begin.
  • Day 42: Skeleton is formed. Reflux responses have begun. The brain is coordinating movement. Male sexual organs begin to form.
  • Day 43: Brain waves recorded.
  • Day 45: Spontaneous movements begun and teeth are developing.
  • 7 weeks: Lips are sensitive to touch. Ears take shape.
  • 9 weeks: Thumb sucking begins; fingernails form. Everything now in place.
  • 10 weeks. Baby squints, swallows and frowns.
  • 11 weeks. Baby can urinate and can smile. Can feel pain, responds to touch, light, heat, and noise.
  • 12 weeks. Breathing has begun. Baby kicks, wiggles toes, makes a fist, moves thumbs, bend wrists, turns head, opens mouth.
  • 13 weeks: vocal cords formed. Sex organs distinct. [Source]

ALL OF THESE THINGS TAKE PLACE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER WHEN NO RESTRICTIONS TAKE PLACE ON ABORTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY!  Everyone in the medical field and many in the political field understand the human development, but they turn their backs!  Has God given up the United States of America?   

Dear friends, this is why so many evangelical Christians are against homosexuality and abortion. It’s not for political reasons—its for the sake of their own soul. Remember, those who do not honor God nor are thankful want to be their own god and ruler of their lives. And when someone comes along and says, “What you are doing is wrong, but also harmful to you”—we must never be surprised at the reactions to this.

But we must not simply look at these sins and believe this is it:

Look at vv. 29-32:

29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Sadly, we have Christian homes and Christian churches all over this world filled with people whose unrepentant lifestyles bear this out. And these desires and these penalties are powerful!

But let’s return to Romans 1:16-17:

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Whatever power exists in the universe, on a soul level in regards to temptations and sin, or on a galactic level—nothing is more powerful in all the universe than the gospel of Jesus Christ!  The power of His paying for the penalty of our sin on the cross is more powerful than your sin.  The power that raised Him from the dead is more powerful than death itself!  The grace He demonstrated is more powerful than our most destructive sin.  He calls us to surrender!  To repent from our sin, and surrender to Christ and what He accomplished for us!

Now that’s something for which to be thankful!  Will you “honor God and give him thanks” for creation and for Christ and the cross?

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