By Allan Erickson / 30 December 2013
[From the book, The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, 2012, Tate Publishing]
Perhaps secular ears will hear …
Not long ago a gay couple in West Hollywood hung Sarah Palin in effigy. That image will loom large in the minds of the Palin children for many years, perhaps for a lifetime. In recent days at demonstrations in Palm Springs we’ve seen gay protestors knock a cross out of the hands of a grandmother, stomp all over it, and scream in her face. She is filing charges.
We’ve seen homosexual protestors invade church services Sunday morning and rail against people, shouting threats. We’ve seen what appears to be Anthrax mailed to LDS churches. We have seen protests throughout southern California and threats of more violence and demonstrations. And we have heard LGBT leaders call blacks ignorant bigots for voting in favor of Proposition Eight in California.
All this is no way to build consensus, invite understanding, or forward the cause of mutual respect.
It appears we are incapable of engaging a rational discussion when it comes to the topic of homosexuality.
Many of us in the traditional faith community want to challenge those in the LGBT community to consider: perhaps Christians are not hate-filled homophobes but instead rational people with a legitimate point of view. Why are you so intolerant of our point of view? Why do you give yourselves permission to do violence against us?
Maybe gay marriage is unhealthy for everyone? Regardless, don’t people have a right to an opinion? Do they not have the right to vote their conscience on issues central to the organization of society?
The answer is no if we listen to contemporary gay activists.
For those more moderate in approach and sensibility, please try to understand where Christians are coming from. Quell the emotion for a time and try to come at this with hardcore objectivity and rational inquiry.
Our belief is God is very clear in his Word.
People have the freedom to accept his Word or not. Neither God nor man is forcing anyone to do, or not do, something or other. Is that plausible to you? We are simply following the dictates of our conscience. Do we have the freedom to do so? Do we have the right to do so? What does God’s Word say about homosexual behaviors and gay marriage?
Here are the most often cited passages from both Old and New Testaments. Please read carefully.
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. – Leviticus 18:22
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. – Leviticus 20:13
Keep in mind laws in Leviticus were laid down for the Jews at a specific time for specific reasons. Obviously as Christians we do not believe people should be put to death today. We live under an entirely new covenant and dispensation, one governed by grace and mercy and love, not the law. However, God does not change his mind about the nature of sin or move from calling something detestable to calling it blessed or sanctioned. This should be obvious.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. – Romans 1:26–27
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9–10
… knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine – 1 Timothy 1:9–10
[The Word is convicting on purpose. The Gospel is an offense. It is supposed to be, for only by conviction of sin are we led to repentance and salvation.]
Let’s remember the Word says all have fallen short of the Glory of God, all are sinners, and no one does good, not one. As Christians, we simply believe Christ and his Word, and the Word is obviously very clear. Demanding we act in ways contrary to what we believe is to attempt to force us to deny our Lord and deny conscience. Is that so hard to understand? Does our devotion make us homophobes by default? Of course not. Nor is it appropriate for members of the LGBT community to attack us, as we’ve seen in recent days in the wake of the passage of Proposition Eight in California.
No doubt gays will come back, saying, “You are asking us to deny our conscience telling us homosexuality is sin.” Well, somebody is wrong, and somebody is right. Logic alone disallows both parties claiming truth. Perhaps the following will help explain our point of view further.
I’ve had gay friends as far back as 1972. One old friend, who is long gone, once told me gay activism was entirely misguided. He said there was no point declaring war on the larger society. (Gays comprise 3–4 percent of the population.) He said it would only cause endless turmoil for no good reason. I think he was right. It is understood that flying under the radar is anathema to many people in the homosexual world, but this is where my friend concluded the matter for himself. The fact he was a college professor may carry weight with some people.
It pains me to think homosexual friends are headed for judgment.
What is the most loving thing I can do? Accommodate their sin as they stumble into hell or try to dissuade them from following a destructive and unhealthy lifestyle that ultimately leads to eternal separation from God? The answer is obvious. If I ignore the sin of a brother and let him fall, die, and go to hell, one of two things must be true: either I do not love that brother, or I do not believe sin will visit these consequences.
If my brother’s house is on fire, do I stand on the sidewalk and wish him well and walk away, or do I rush in to save him?
It is not an act of love to silently standby and pat people on the back while they destroy themselves.
And it is not discrimination to speak the truth in love.
We have always held to the idea of community standards of morality as defined by the majority. Several states voted against gay marriage this last go around. Is there any respect for voters out there?
So far, all states have voted against gay marriage except one. If the people in that state want to codify gay marriage, so be it.
Why must the LGBT community insist the majority submit to their vision of marriage? There is a distinct tyrannical flavor to it.
Otherwise, it is astounding to hear so-called pastors ignore God’s Word, accommodate sin—which is killing people—and bow to tyrants. Lord, help us.
As always, the Lord of love shows the way.
When the religious hypocrites threw the adulterous woman at Jesus’ feet, challenging him to give the order to stone her to death, the Master waited for a teachable moment, challenged the sinners to cast the first stone, loved the woman, and told her to “sin no more.” He restored her, not by accommodating her sin, not by looking the other way, but by protecting her and leading her into the light, by his grace.
With Christ as our example we must “go and do likewise.” We should neither condemn sinners nor codify sin into law, all the while recognizing we too are all sinners, saved only by grace, and that, “not of ourselves, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:9).
Pastors who prefer accommodation to salvation lean to their own understanding, lead people to destruction, and dishonor the Lord, all in the same breath.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3: 5,6
We can no sooner force gay people to be straight than we can force Christians to be atheists. God never forces anyone to do anything. He simply invites people to enter his rest and enjoy a loving relationship with him, thereby allowing the Holy Spirit to conform us to Christ, the personification of Truth. Entering this loving relationship allows a person to enjoy the essence of true freedom.
Christians should be able to take a stand for our beliefs, and we should be able to do so in this country without being assaulted. Any objective examination of the record shows Christians do not assault members of the LGBT community.
Hopefully members of the LGBT community will try to understand Christian beliefs and confront this ludicrous idea Christians are somehow filled with hate and out to get them. It’s a lie from the pit of hell, and, somehow people know this, but they let the lie goad them to violence nonetheless.
We continue to pray for peaceful resolution, asking for an end to hostilities and an embrace of understanding, even an understanding unto salvation. Most Christians I know are willing to live and let live but cannot, as a matter of conscience, sanction gay marriage. It appears more and more LGBT people are not willing to live and let live but are pleased to fight and fight some more.
If that is the case, we are in for a long fight.
Image: Courtesy of: http://benry.deviantart.com/art/Angry-Eyes-285299531