Archives For Homosexuality

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.