Archives For Homosexuality

When you read the news lately it seems like we are caught up in a playground battle of “one-upping”. Like kids swapping tales by the swings, news agencies pushing out stories that say, “Oh, yeah, have you heard about…?”

Each day we read of new developments in this moral revolution in America. Then we read of a story in Houston that is frankly so insane that it sounds like it was made up by a kid under the monkey bars.

The city of Houston passed the now infamous “bathroom bill”. Among other things, this allows people to use the restroom of their choice, based upon their own self-chosen gender identity. This means that men who say that they are women can walk into the ladies’ room and vice-versa.

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I remember talking to someone recently and they said, “Why is it that all you Christians talk about is homosexuality?” I told them, “Everyone is talking about homosexuality, not just Christians.”

The topic is in the paper, in Hollywood, at the water-cooler, and increasingly, at the dinner table. Invariably, the question comes to the Christian, “Is God anti-gay?”

We have to be thoughtful in how we answer questions about God and the Bible. We are always required to be faithful, and part of this requires that we graciously adorn the gospel.

Sam Allberry has written a book to help us think through this question as well as other questions about the Bible and same-sex attraction. What makes this book uncommon is its author. Allberry discloses early on that he has lived with same-sex attraction since his early teen years. This fact enables Allberry a unique voice to speak biblically to an increasingly contentious subject.

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The Duck Won’t Stop Here

Erik Raymond —  December 21, 2013

The comments of a 67-year-old, Southern, Christian man remain national news. Phil Robertson, the star of the number one cable television show, Duck Dynasty, remains in embroiled in a controversy surrounding his interview with GQ Magazine. As nearly everyone knows by now, the controversial comments were concerning his view of homosexuality. While the choice of wording and tone were a bit strong and some might argue overboard, they were not, in their distilled sense, unbiblical.

The controversy has brought several participants into focus. My early read is that the Ducks will be fine. Here’s why.

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Pastor Rick Warren was on Piers Morgan and answered a number of tough questions. In particular, Piers Morgan (as he is known to do) continued to press the issue of gay marriage. Warren, thankfully, answered tactfully, articulately, winsomely, and more important–faithfully. What a great encouragement. (Link)

In many ways the news serves to be a thermometer of the culture. Today’s headlines give us an indication of the sentiment of the world around us. This sentiment is clearly seen in the story of Jason Collins. As the first major sports professional to admit that they are homosexual, Collins is receiving substantial news attention. And he should, it is, after all, big news. It’s unprecedented. Although Collins did not finish the season with an NBA team he did play nearly half the season in the NBA.

Collins said,

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation,” Collins wrote. “I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

As ESPN reports, the support has been overwhelmingly positive. As I checked the pulse of the social media, talk radio and print, I was surprised to hear some people lauding him as a “hero”. Whether you agree with this or not, the point is made: people are very supportive of Jason Collins.

With the amount of conversation around the issue you are bound to have someone be less than thrilled. Right?

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It seems that everyone has an opinion about Gay Marriage, and these opinions are rarely ambivalent. Christians have (and rightly so) been outspoken in their opposition to a redefinition of marriage. This recasting of the institution of marriage is not, we would argue, a progressive and healthy advancement but rather a disastrous detour from what biblical, therefore, right and good.

At the same time and while marriage is on the front burner, particularly the undermining of God’s plan for it, let me ask a question. Are Gay and Lesbians the only ones who undermine God’s plan for marriage?

The answer is, “Of course not!” Just because you are hetero-sexual does not mean that you are reflecting God’s plan for marriage. You don’t get a pass just on marriage because you are not Gay. The basis of a marriage reflecting God’s plan is how it reflects the gospel. In other words a marriage is reflective of God’s plan in so far as it reflects the marriage between Jesus the husband and the church the bride.

This is where it gets quite personal for us inside the Christian camp. God’s plan for marriage includes the following:

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Recently my teenage son came home telling me of a conversation with an unbelieving friend about the gospel. He was encouraged to have been able to talk through specifics of what the truth of the gospel is and how someone becomes a Christian. At the same time he had a question. “Why do I always get the same question from people? They always ask me if I think homosexuality is a sin.”

As I thought about it I have two basic answers to the question.

First, homosexuality is not viewed negatively by most young people. Whether it is because they see it as cool, rebellious, progressive, liberating, or whatever, it is definitely not negative. Hollywood helps to set the tone and shape the public opinion on this with the numerous shows and movies that depict the gay lifestyle as normal and intriguing (see more on this here). The political landscape has also become increasingly sympathetic to homosexuality. As a result anyone who would believe anything impugning about a gay lifestyle is out of step with a significant segment of the population, especially younger people.

Second, homosexuality is a convenient trojan horse to smuggle in all kinds of other sins. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin (Rom. 1.26-28; 1 Cor. 6.9). If you say that the Bible says otherwise then you are brashly undercutting its authority. In other words, if the you don’t believe that the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin then you can scarcely say that anything is a sin. This, I believe, is the real issue. When people talk about Christianity they are not so concerned with Gay rights as much as they are with their rights. They want to be off the hook of God’s authority. Homosexuality is a convenient way to to cut the strings of accountability and authority.

At the end of the day the objections must be seen in light of what they are: rejection of God’s authority. Instead of vacillating on social issues in effort to be more acceptable with unbelievers, Christians must concentrate on being faithful to God. Because, if we are not going to submit to the Bible why would anyone else?

This weekend a church member sent me an article from the LA Times concerning Gay Marriage and the Bible. The article is an opinion piece by C.S. Pearce. Her basic point is that as the cultural acceptance for gay marriage continues to snowball it is only a matter of time before the majority of Christians catch on and become allies for same-sex marriage.

The article is more than a blind prophecy. Pearce evaluates history, the Bible and reason to support her optimistic forecast. Whatever her ostensible aim, Ms. Pearce’s evaluations do not have their reference point in the Bible but in the canon of her own experience. The result is strabismal. My goal is to interact a bit with the article and provide some clarity and consistency.

Pearce writes:

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This video is just the type of thing that will be played repeatedly to promote the caricature of Christianity. As I type it is going viral and doing just that.

Let me be clear: this guy is a horrible representation of Christ and his church. He should be removed from the pulpit. Pastors are to be setting the example of speech, conduct, love, faith and purity (1 Tim. 4.12). This guy strikes out on 3 pitches.

Last week I wrote about challenges for evangelicals amid this new season of sexual debate. This is exactly what I was saying not to do.

It means that we better be clear about the problem. Far too many times I have heard evangelicals talk about homosexuality like our job was to get them to become heterosexual. If we can just get them to be straight then our work is done. The Christian objective in missions is to see people become Christians! This means that we want to see all sexual sinners become worshipers of Jesus. This includes fornicators, adulterers, porn-addicts, homosexuals, or whatever other category you can think up. The goal is to become a believer who turns from the worship of self to the worship of God. It is to turn from rebellion that is characterized by the suppression of truth to the submission that is characterized by obedience to the truth (Rom. 1.18-25; 3.19-27). The central issue is worship, or idolatry. The central answer is always the gospel.

It means that we better be clear about our tone. Can you lovingly engage a homosexual with the gospel in a winsome, tactful and still faithful way? Can you love them? This is really a question that I think evangelicals need to wrestle with and decidedly answer “yes, we must!” Pivoting out of the points above, that is out of the gospel, we have to see our own weakness and neediness. Who among us is not needy of the grace of Christ? Then we must lovingly and faithfully talk to others about it. If you can’t get control of yourself and speak the words of grace and truth to someone who is straight or gay then you need to ask God to give you a bigger heart. Ask him to shake you of pride and work gospel compassion down into you. I know that God is saving a lot of people from a gay lifestyle and I pray that he will continue to do so. As missionaries we need to speak and act like we actually want him to.

Ugh. God help us.

President Obama’s recent statement concerning his views of same sex marriage has generated no small amount of discussion and controversy. In what was doubtlessly a political calculation the President made that statement couched in political and attitudinal terms. That is, this new take is his personal view. He has personally has come to a place where he can now accept and stand behind same sex marriage.

This change is not restricted solely to the President. Advocates for Gay rights have tirelessly worked to change the public perception of same sex couples. Over the last 15-25 years America has done a near 180 on the issue. The attempt has been to sanitize and normalize homosexuality.

There have been countless actors, musicians, athletes, and politicians who have publicly spoken out in favor of Gay rights. Many from these same spheres have themselves disclosed that they themselves are gay. It has become commonplace to have television shows and movies with gay characters. Characters like Oscar on The Office have helped to gradually move the meter on public opinion.

Now NBC is set to debut a new show this fall entitled The New Normal. What is the premise? Two guys are married and of course can’t have a child of their own. They hire a surrogate to begin their family. Here is the trailer below (link for rss):

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The news of Nebraska assistant football Coach Ron Brown’s public testimony before the Omaha City-Council became a national news story on ESPN, NY Times and USA Today last week. The controversy centered on Coach Brown’s opposition to a proposed amendment to their anti-discrimination ordinance to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. I was able to visit with Coach Brown this weekend and wrote up an editorial for The Gospel Coalition. You can read the article on their site by clicking here.

As Christians we claim to have a worldview that is hefty enough to interact with and explain life in a consistent, clear, and logical way. We should not shy away from giving an explanation or an answer to what we see.

Therefore, when my son gets home and tells me he saw two dudes making out in the hall, I had better have something to say. It is time to put the gospel insoles in and actually walk the walk. What follows is a quick summary of where I went recently as I tried to impact and instruct my son (and my own heart!) with the gospel.

Listen and Learn: First and foremost I was glad that he talked to us about this. I wanted to hear what he thought and how he responded. I wanted to hear his commentary and editorial. This helped me to learn a bit about my son. You don’t get opportunities like this every day. The events of the day force a reaction. What is it? This is parenting gold.

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Al Mohler writes a very helpful article in the wake of some extremely sad news. There have been a string of suicides by teenagers in the last month. Mohler interacts with what appears to have led up to them. In one case he discusses the homosexual ‘issue’ and evangelical churches. His words are indicting, instructive, and sobering…

Yet, when gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are also right. Much of our response to homosexuality is rooted in ignorance and fear. We speak of homosexuals as a particular class of especially depraved sinners and we lie about how homosexuals experience their own struggle. Far too many evangelical pastors talk about sexual orientation with a crude dismissal or with glib assurances that gay persons simply choose to be gay. While most evangelicals know that the Bible condemns homosexuality, far too many find comfort in their own moralism, consigning homosexuals to a theological or moral category all their own.

What if Tyler Clementi had been in your church? Would he have heard biblical truth presented in a context of humble truth-telling and gospel urgency, or would he have heard irresponsible slander, sarcastic jabs, and moralistic self-congratulation? What about Asher and Billy and Seth?

I encourage you to read the entire article here.

homophobic-tim-hardaway.jpgFormer NBA All-Star and Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway made some waves yesterday on a radio show when he announced his disposition towards homosexuals:

“You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known,”

Hardaway’s comment was immediately attributed to the extreme end of society where the homophobic, right wing, bigots sit. And from the vantage point of the world, this is also where conservative, Bible believing Christians sit as well.

Should Christians be echoing these words?
Absolutely not. First of all the word “hate” is used. The Scriptures would teach us that God sees hate the same as murder (1 Jn. 3.15). For a Christian to hate anyone is wrong. We may hate sin, but we must not be serial killers in our hearts because people do not know Christ.

And frankly, it is the power of Christ that draws people out of all sorts of lifestyles. I think this is the point of a passage such as 1 Cor. 6 where Paul has just listed a laundry list of sins (homosexuality and fornication included) and then says this:

1 Corinthians 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Most Christians were sexual sinners before conversion; some were homosexuals, others were heterosexual. Fornication in mind or body is heinous in God’s sight, and you don’t get moral righteousness credited if it with someone of the opposite sex.

How Should Christians view homosexuals?
This really is quite simple to answer but difficult to apply. We are to view homosexuals as image bearers of God. The image is perverted and distorted, yes, but it is still there. And the glory of the Creator is to be restored through the evangelization of the image bearer that Christ might radically transform them into a position such as 1 Corinthians 6.11 notes.

While the lifestyle and the outward perversion might be uncomfortable and unsettling, the image of God is still there and it commends itself to you for love.

What Should Christians do with homosexuals?
Lovingly evangelize. Each year some friends and I go down to the city of Omaha’s annual gay pride parade (they call it something different, but I can’t remember). We go there to show love to this community. The love is not expressed in the endorsement of their lifestyle but in the giving of the gospel to them (here are the tracts). Where else can you have all of Omaha’s gay community gathered together?

It is unsettling however, to see many religious groups down there shouting with signs and megaphones at all of the gay people. Nobody listens to them, they just get mocked and laughed at. In fact, last year I was talking to a group of people about the gospel when they said that they could not hear me over the guy yelling behind me (he was draped in a cardboard sign). I had to go and ask the guy to hit the mute button for a minute that I might tell the people about Jesus. He actually was upset that I was not yelling at people. This is regrettable.

Our message is not a message of conversion to heterosexuality, for most heterosexuals are going to hell, but rather a message of conversion to Christianity, which will bring the sanctified sexual behavior in accordance with God’s will.

I do not want to stand with Tim Hardaway and others who verbally express murder in their hearts. Instead I want to see all people as image bearers of God who need to be confronted, not by me, but by Jesus, and graciously shown the beauty of restoration in the gospel. We do all of this with a mindset as characterized by Titus 3.3:

For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

This story caught my attention today. Apparently there is a Gay Police Association (GPA) and they have been less than positive about Christianity in a recent advertising campaign.

…3 curious questions:

1) why are they advertising?

2) why do we need to have a gay police association?

3) can you please wear a rainbow on your badge to distinguish yourselves from the straight cops?

In the ad a Bible was purposely placed next to a pool of blood. The purpose for the advertising campaign, which appeared in the national press, was to enlighten citizens about the drastic increase in the “religiously motivated attacks against gay people” the numbers are up “74 percent in the last year”.

The watchdog group, Advertising Standards Agency has ruled that the ad was offensive to Christians who were implicated as the source of the homophobic attacks.

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omaha-288a1.jpgIt was a great thrill to go with friends to do evangelism today at the Gay Pride parade in Omaha. The crowd was not as 'wild' as it has previously been. Perhaps this is due to the unseasonably cool weather. However, that did not diminish the overt mocking of all things that reflect the will and character of God, as revealed in the Scripture. There were still plenty of folks to talk to and hand out tracts to; God was good to give us so many opportunities to proclaim Christ.

It is refreshing to be taught grace at the school house of rejection. As my friends and I continued to offer a wrath-guzzling Savior, who commands worship and obedience from all, we were rejected, mocked, and treated like tele-marketers interrupting Thanksgiving dinner. I am reminded that I am a Christian not because I am not gay, or because I am smarter than anyone, or because of anything other than the grace of God! In fact, God in a curious amplification of his wisdom, even gloriously demonstrates his power and grace by saving a rebel such as myself.

Sometimes I wonder if events like these are for the evangelists more than the rejectors. I know that God is ultimately working in all people, some hardening and some softening, however, I often think about the spiritual exercise that took place today as we were confronted with divine mercy, love, grace, justice, holiness, and eternality through the cross. And as we held out the crucified Savior we are reminded that the only way Christ is esteemed by sinful humanity is because God has first acted to change hearts. O' how this fosters dependence!
John 1:12-13 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.


[what follows is the text for a new tract (the image is above) we just made for an upcoming evangelism opportunity at a Gay Pride Parade in Omaha…it doesn’t say everything, but we are limited to a 4×6 card and a very hostile crowd…if you are in the Omaha area this Saturday 6/10 and are interested in gospelizing, let me know]

Rainbows remain a popular symbol for so many groups of people, however who had them first??

The God of the Bible owns the distinct honor, as he has long used the rainbow to illustrate his loving demonstration of mercy instead of judgment! God the loving Creator was angered by humanity’s rebellion against his will & so therefore justly demonstrated his judgment upon their sin. In Genesis 6 the Scriptures teach that instead of giving mankind what they deserve for their rebellion, he chose to save some from destruction. The mercy & faithfulness of God was demonstrated by the beautiful rainbow that filled the sky.

God has not changed, he remains the same God who maintains justice while offering mercy, this is not to be confused with offering mercy at the expense of justice…God does not compromise his character, instead he demonstrates it! God made all of humanity to give him pleasure; however, we have rebelled against God’s plan, even spurning his authority. We have by our own authority, pursued our own pleasure! God being offended & just will not turn a blind eye to our sin, instead he will deal justly with it!

But in the ultimate display of mercy God has given his son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life in the place of sinners, & to die the death penalty for sinners like me and like you—regardless of our ‘backgrounds.’ It is only through God judging Jesus as if he was a sinner (though he wasn’t) in the sinner’s place that he can be just & merciful at the same time, without compromising.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not primarily aimed to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality, but rather, to convert all humanity to Christianity. The perfect son of God, Jesus Christ, is the one who sits in judgment of humanity. And it is this Jesus that calls you to turn from sin & follow him with obedience & love in the truth>>”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

There are only two ways to respond

1) continue rejecting God’s authority (sin)…result: guilt & judgment

2) submit to & depend upon Jesus (faith)….result: forgiveness