This Trogo is one that has been brewing in my mind for quite some time… months I guess. It is the result of comments that I have been hearing from Christians over and over. It concerns the church’s current attitude toward the sin of homosexuality. Here is a sampling of the flood of dialogue that goes on about this issue.
Regarding a family or friend who has come out of the closet: “So what’s the big deal? I know that homosexuality is a sin. But it is no different from any other sin.”
Regarding the Boy Scouts decision to openly allow homosexual boys to join the Scouts: “What does it matter? They are boys just like the others. And who knows… maybe some Christian can reach them with the Gospel.”
Regarding Christians who speak negatively about homosexuality: “Why are you so judgmental? Yes, the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. But so is gossip, and worry, and selfishness. I don’t hear you fussing about those sins.”
And regarding… well, you get the idea. Homosexuality has become the (sinful) darling of the Christian community. And we have become all too-PC regarding this perversion of God’s design for human sexuality and family relationship.
My! How far we have come. I am not that old (only in my mid-fifties), but I am old enough that in my lifetime we have seen drastic changes in our view of this matter. It used to be that homosexuality was considered a mental illness. (Remember Klinger on M*A*S*H?) To be gay was a perversion. And it was not only a sin, it was a crime. (Ever hear of sodomy?) How did this shift in thinking occur? Well, in fact it has come about through a very purposeful and intentional program. There is a plan being implemented.
Do you doubt this? You shouldn’t. The GLBT (Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender) community has plainly declared for decades that they have a very structured and strategic agenda for America. This includes items like: 1) Making homosexuality nothing more than an acceptable alternative lifestyle choice; 2) Establishing the legal status of GLBT’s in this country; 3) Making this a civil rights issue, and defining them as a persecuted minority; 4) Declaring that anyone who says anything negative about homosexuality is guilty of hate speech, and this is a moral offense; and 5) Portraying anyone who disagrees with this agenda and rejects these views as a prejudiced person who is backward, bigoted, unloving, judgmental and morally offensive.
Hollywood has been largely responsible for this moral paradigm shift. Politicians have certainly played their part. And far too many preachers have gotten on the band wagon. So now we have come to a place where too many Americans (and far, far too many American Christians) have swallowed this spiritual and moral poison whole and complete.
Oh, we evangelical Christians give lip service to a biblical position on this subject. “I know the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin… but…” Many believers remind me of a Seinfeld show. One of the plot themes of this particular episode dealt with this very issue. Jerry or George or Elaine would make some comment that really bordered on being critical of homosexuality, but then they would emphatically declare, “Not that there is anything wrong with that.” What mental gymnastics we put ourselves through!
Now some of you are probably thinking: Victor, I can’t believe you are saying these things. You sound terribly judgmental, even mean. How can you as a Christian, who believes in love and compassion and forgiveness, say such harsh words? Is this the Spirit of Christ you are manifesting?
Indeed, it is the very Spirit of Christ Himself.
Let me tell you why I say this. And let me tell you my heartfelt concern, even burden about this matter. I am troubled for a number of reasons…
1. We must define one issue: Is the Bible truly the Word of God, and the moral standard for Christian belief? If it is, then we must accept the Scripture’s views on homosexuality as much as we do anything else. And what does the Bible say. It is sin, and a perversion. It is a moral perversion on the same level as adultery, incest, and bestiality (see Leviticus 18:5-24).
Yet, here is the situation. You hear many Christians say, “I know it is a sin…” and the “but” lingers in the air. And I wonder if they really believe this at all. They say it is a sin, but I question if they are really convinced it is actually immoral. They don’t act like they do.
The question we must ask ourselves is, do we really accept what God says about the matter?
In this regard, my great fear is this: If we gradually accept any one point of Scripture as questionable (whether homosexuality or fornication or the exclusive nature of salvation or the Virgin Birth) then increasingly we will question other matters, both moral and doctrinal. Our view of the Bible, and consequently our view of God, the faith and the world will change. And sad to say, this is exactly what we see happening.
2. You constantly hear Christians nowadays saying, “Yes, homosexuality is sin, but it is no different than any other sin. Sin is sin. All sin is an offense to God.” Is this true? Well, yes and no. Yes, all sin is an offense to God. And yes, all sin is serious enough to land you in hell. Yes, you are condemned as a sinner whether you are a bank robber, a murderer or your only sin was lying to your 3rd grade teacher about your “lost” homework. From the standard of God’s perfection, all sin is a moral outrage.
However, with this said, we must affirm that not all sins are the same. Every sin harms us, and condemns us as deserving of hell. But not every sin has the same consequences, here or in eternity. Different sins elicit different results. Yes, I agree that God hates sowing discord or lying just as much as He hates murder (see Proverbs 6:16-19). But let me ask you, if late at night you were walking down a dark alley in a notoriously bad section of town, which would you rather meet coming toward you—a gossip or a serial killer?
This argument, that all sin is the same is a bulwark of many Christians attitude about the issue of homosexuality. So let’s examine this a little further. There are several points here worthy of consideration in this matter.
a. The Bible teaches that there are gradations of sin—lesser and greater sins. Note these passages in this regard:
• There are sins that lead to death, and others that do not (1 John 5:16-17).
• The Bible speaks of “great sin” (e.g., Exodus 32:21, 31-32; 2 Kings 17:21). The adjective “great” is a relative term, drawing a comparison, thus indicating that there is sin and then there is greater sin.
• Jesus spoke of one who had a “greater sin” (John 19:11)
• The Mosaic law drew a distinction between sin done ignorantly and that done with full knowledgeable intention (e.g., see Numbers 15:23-31).
• Jesus indicated that our level of spiritual understanding is a determining factor in how our sins are judged (see Luke 12:47-48).
• Throughout Scripture we see God dealing in different ways with sinful men. If God is truly no “respecter of persons” then the difference in punishment must indicate a difference in the severity of the sin. This is even true in the New Testament. For example, in the book of Acts God He rebuked some (7:51–53; 8:18–24), others He struck blind (9:7,8; 13:8–11) and some He struck dead (5:1–10; 12:20–23). Same immutable, perfect and completely just Deity meting out difference consequences to different sins.
• Jesus spoke of some sins resulting in a “greater damnation” (Luke 20:47).
• There is sin that is so serious that there is no forgiveness (see Matthew 12:31-32).
b. As already noted, not all sin has the same consequences. Jesus did stress that sin is a heart matter. He did instruct us that to lust is to commit adultery in our hearts. To hate is tantamount to murder. But be honest, would you rather your spouse have lust in his/her heart, or go ahead have a sexual affair with someone? Would you rather someone be hateful to you, or stab you in the gut with a Bowie knife? The answers are obvious. All are offenses to God. All sin destroys spiritual life. But not all sin has the same consequences.
c. The differences in punishment indicate that sin can have different results. For example, under the Mosaic Law in the civil nation-state of Israel there were various punishments imposed depending on the nature of the offense (e.g., see Exodus 22). Some offenses were capital offenses, that is, death was the penalty. Among these were blasphemy, witchcraft, rebellion against parents, murder, adultery and other forms of sexual immorality—including homosexuality (see Leviticus 20:13). More serious sins required more serious results, with execution being the ultimate punishment.
d. Why were these sins so heinous as to demand the death penalty? Probably because they were disruptive of the social order God wanted for His people. In addition some sins are by their very natures corrupting in their influence. Note that certain sins were said to “defile the land,” homosexuality among them (see Leviticus 18:24-27). Sins that are counter to the family, as the basis for proper social order, are not to be tolerated. They defile, make impure, corrupt. They destroy the very fabric of society. Yes, this is equally true for rebellion against parents as it is for adultery or homosexuality. Yet, the defiling nature of homosexuality is indicated here. Do you question whether this is actually true? Just look at our country. Are we not presently reaping the results of all these defiling sins—disrespect for God-ordained authority, destruction of family structure, disregard for the value of human life, and sexual impurity? And homosexuality no less than these others.
3. Our attitude and views on this matter affects our society as a whole. At one time, largely based on the Judeo-Christian values and consensus of our culture, sexual immorality (homosexuality included) was viewed as immoral and thus properly illegal. But this has changed. Homosexuality, along with adultery and fornication, is no longer prosecuted as an immoral and illegal offense. It has attained legal status. And the historical and social reality is this… what is legal is viewed socially acceptable. And what is socially acceptable becomes “moral” in most people’s minds. There are studies that demonstrate this with abortion. With each judicial decision legalizing abortion on demand, the number of people who viewed abortion as an acceptable moral choice increased dramatically.
We are now seeing the same thing with homosexuality. Its present legal status promotes the idea that it is a suitable social norm, and what follows is an acceptance that it must be morally okay. Thus society itself changes—and not only changes, but is intentionally molded, modified into something different. We are becoming a different nation, a different people. And unfortunately we are very far along in the process.
But for the Christian there is a standard we must adhere to. We must remember that legality and social mores are not what determines what is truly good and righteous. It is the revelation of God’s nature and will that indicates what is good, right and moral. And this is what we see in the Holy Scriptures. God’s Word is the final word on the subject. And homosexuality, like all forms of sexual immorality, is wicked and sinful.
4. I fear that when we remove the true sinfulness of any sin, homosexuality included, then we effectively and practically remove a sense of the need for redemption from that sin. Do you know anyone that is a homosexual? I do. What is your attitude towards them? Are you so concerned about not offending them that you are afraid to speak into their lives regarding their condition? Are you so caught up in being tolerant and accepting, being viewed as PC (yes, this now afflicts the church too), wanting to be spiritually “cool,” that your heart doesn’t break when you think of their spiritual condition? Or have we forgotten that since homosexuality is indeed a sin that it means that there is a spiritual reality here? Do we remember that this person, as a sinner, is truly lost. Is his lostness worse than that of a murderer or adulterer or thief or idolater? No. But it is no better either. I fear that we no longer feel any evangelistic compassion for these souls who are on their way to hell. They are deluded into thinking that God thinks they are okay, and largely because we Christians are deluded into thinking they are okay. We have taught them to view their sinful status as normal and acceptable. And so we smile with them as they gaily stroll into perdition.
Now understand me. By recognizing the exceeding sinfulness of the homosexual, I don’t mean we should hate them (never!), or shun them (no!), or persecute them (by no means). No, instead we should talk to them. Love them. Have them over for dinner. Take them out to lunch. But never excuse their sin, and never forget their lostness. If their sin doesn’t break your heart, then something is wrong with your heart.
5. There is one other element that must be considered. I know that some of you will think this point rather odd, may even objectionable. Yet, it is true. And it is a serious matter that must be considered. As noted previously, we have to remember that this is not just a legal, social or even moral issue. It is a spiritual issue. And there are spiritual realities involved in this. I would say that most homosexuals are deceived, mixed up, and ignorant victims of their sin—but no more. However, there are some individuals among the GLBT population that display indications of something of an even more serious spiritual nature. For there are some in which you can sense an evil force behind and beyond the human. In this area, as with any sin, there is always the possibility that demonic spirits can become active and involved. And just as there is such a thing as a spirit of addiction or lust or greed or anger or sexual immorality—and there are such spirits—there is also such a thing as a spirit of homosexuality. You can discern it in particular individuals. To play with sin, especially those of a corrupting and defiling nature, is dangerous. And it is to our disadvantage to be ignorant of this reality. Sometimes there are demonic forces at work in this area. Yet, always we must also be conscious of the victory we have in Christ, and that we can offer such individuals true liberty and deliverance through the Gospel.
Okay, that is enough for now. In conclusion, let me state that I obviously feel very strongly about this matter. Much of this is based on what I have said above. However, in addition to this I have such passionate convictions about this topic because of its critical nature. I believe that there are basically two watershed issues that we face in this country. One is abortion. Our view on abortion determines our views on God as Creator, the value of human life, indeed the very nature of human existence. The other watershed issue is homosexuality. Here, at this point, we determine how we view the Bible, moral standards, and the nature and seriousness of sin. And we cannot afford to not feel fervently about this matter. Nor can we afford to be wrong about it. The eternal destiny of souls depends on it.