Marriage, Morality, Sexuality, The Law

Homosexuality and the Bible: Reflecting on the Discussion by Rob Bell & Andrew Wilson

Link to YouTube video in the post

Test Every Word From Every Teacher

Christian teachers like Rob Bell have a big influence on the body of Christ, and so their public views and teachings ought to be placed under greater scrutiny. Also, teachers in the body of Christ should welcome the examination of what they teach, for all see through a glass dimly (1 Cor. 13:12). Furthermore, it is praiseworthy and commanded to test what one gets taught. Paul commended the Berean Jews when he said that they “were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 NIV). And John says, “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 NIV).

Faulty Equivalences

So, despite Rob Bell’s frustration during the discussion at focus being put on homosexuality and not on other issues, it’s appropriate what he advocates gets scrutinized. Furthermore, his claim that undue focus gets given to this topic is unreasonable, as is the red herring of making a topic like “worry” of equivalent relevance. For, though “worry,” like many other issues, is a problem, no one in the body of Christ embraces it as a way of life, and all agree on its remedy. No one argues that “worry” is natural and that we should allow people to happily live in “worry” if that is what they are comfortable doing. However, when it comes to homosexuality, that is what people like Rob Bell are arguing, and a schism in opinion has come about that needs attention. And, yes, all sin is evil, but it is evident from the entire scope of Scripture that certain sins are more heinous than others.

Faulty Leverage

Not only does Rob Bell try to bolster his right to being frustrated by using false equivalences, but he also undermines the issue of homosexuality and the word of God by suggesting that they talk on topics that Jesus spoke about, like “worry.” He implies issues addressed by Jesus are weightier than those like homosexuality which, according to him, Jesus never addressed. Yet, are we to assume, because Jesus didn’t specifically address the issues of incest and bestiality, that he diminished the need to discuss these evil practices? And what if these get embraced by some in the body of Christ? So why not homosexuality which is growing in prevalence and acceptance despite being, up until recently, unanimously understood by the entire Church as sinful?

Using Jesus’ silence on any topic is faulty leverage, for Jesus said, “Man shall . . . live . . . on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4 NIV). He did not place His words above the moral law in the Old Testament. And, it would have been illogical and absurd had He said anything to nullify what His apostles would be inspired to write.

Yet, this is a common defense used by those who advocate for homosexuality, like Tony Campolo in “Christianity and Homosexuality – Tony Campolo” (14:20), who distinguishes between the authority of Jesus’ words or, in this case, His apparent silence on the topic, from God’s word through Paul in Romans. Ironically, Tony Campolo began his talk by saying that “the Spirit of God infused the authors so that what they wrote became an infallible guide to faith and practice” (00:52). Consequently, he should know that Paul’s teaching on homosexuality in Romans Chapter 1 is equally God’s word and New Testament revelation. While I found his stories heart-wrenching and wholeheartedly agree that love is the only approach, we must be careful for, just as he did with Peter, Satan will target our feelings to have us “seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Matt. 16:23 NLT).

Faulty Foundation

Rob Bell’s frustration appears to be a deflection by someone who has already decided to make light of what he does not consider a grave topic. In addition, it helps him hide from his lack of a helpful and robust hermeneutic that can thoroughly justify his position, which is a reasonable expectation of a teacher in the body of Christ who holds to such an opinion. Instead, he had not yet worked out what in Leviticus is timeless and what is not, limiting his ability to understand Jesus’ reference to “sexual immorality.”

In the end, Rob Bell did not offer a clear breakdown of his hermeneutics or of the scholars he mentioned. What he said seemed flakey and unable to withstand what Andrew Wilson was asking. His view on homosexuality, built upon little more than smatterings of scholarship and put together piece-meal, crumbles under the first bit of rigorous testing. And, rather than the word of God, his view is undergirded by experience, which is never a sure foundation.

Are Christians supposed to be appeased by this sort of defense? Are we supposed to acquiesce to his retorts that patronize and don’t offer substance, and simply change the topic? No, for we are to get to the bottom of teachings. Also, as a reminder, “you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1 NIV). Therefore, everyone should welcome a loving discussion like this so that our teaching can be pruned and changed if necessary.

Was Jesus Silent on Homosexuality?

In Matthew 15:19, Jesus lists “adultery” apart from “sexual immorality” by saying, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person” (ESV). However, in Matt. 5:32, He most assuredly included it when He said, “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (ESV).

Should only “adultery” be considered “sexual immorality” because that’s the only one Jesus specifically addressed? No! Jesus and His Jewish audience understood “sexual immorality” as defined in Leviticus, namely, homosexuality (Lev. 18:22), pedophilia (Lev. 18:23), bestiality (Lev. 18:23), incest (Lev. 20:17), or other forbidden familial relations (Lev. 20:11,12). Jesus, however, listed “adultery” separately from “sexual immorality” in Matthew 15:19. That leaves incest, other forbidden familial relations, bestiality, and homosexuality that fall under his reference to “sexual immorality.” Therefore, one cannot say that He didn’t deal with sins like homosexuality simply because he didn’t specifically name them. On that basis, one could argue for any sexual sins other than “adultery” to be excluded.

Jesus lived by “every word” and would have understood that homosexuality (Lev. 18:21) was one of the sins of “sexual immorality.” He also understood the ramifications of failing to live by every word, hence His warning.

Rob Morley

Sources:

Premier On Demand. (n.d.). Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson // Homosexuality & The Bible // Unbelievable? [YouTube Channel]. YouTube.

Suncrest United Methodist Church. (n.d.). Christianity and Homosexuality – Tony Campolo. [YouTube Channel]. YouTube.

Judgment, Life in the Spirit, Marriage, Morality, Sexuality, The Bad News, The Good News, The Great Commission, Transforming Society

If you Dare to Love, you Might have to Speak

Audacity_facebook_coverimage_WatchItFreeNOWThough not about him, this movie reflects the heart of Israel Folau, a professional rugby player who lost his contract with Australian Rugby for daring to warn the homosexuals that God so dearly loves.

https://lnkd.in/g_JdQW8

 

Sexuality

I Was Born That Way!

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Photo: rgbstock weewillyd (Bill Davenport)

Conceived in Sin and Iniquity

From conception we are all orientated away from God with an innately sinful nature. This may mean that each of us starts off life with any number of particular innate ungodly orientations. Therefore, if homosexual orientation is proven to be innate in certain persons, this should not surprise us. These orientations, whether innate or developed, the Bible calls iniquities, and are the personal predispositions or bents toward particular sin.

Objection

Someone may object, “Surely being born homosexually orientated legitimizes it. Also, how can such a person be judged if they had no part in being orientated that way?” Consider that we are all born with a sinful nature that we had no part in creating, yet our lack of participation doesn’t legitimize it. We will all be judged for our sins and iniquities inherited in Adam if we haven’t accepted God’s mercy and help in Christ Jesus, who died to forgive our sins and iniquities and give us a new life free from them.

Scientific Evidence

That said, the extent to which people may be innately orientated toward certain sins appears to be unclear. In fact, a report by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh, entitled, Sexuality and Gender, maintains that the understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings — the idea that people are “born that way” — is not supported by scientific evidence.

From Homosexual Orientation to God and Wholeness

Regardless of how a deviance begins, God can fix it. Whether a person had been born blind or became blind, Jesus could heal them. Similarly, God can heal someone with a homosexual orientation regardless of how it began. Now, while it is true that the blind are rarely miraculously healed (yet, if they have come to Christ they will most certainly be healed in the life to come), nevertheless, the morally deviant who come to Christ are immediately given a new spirit, a new heart and the Holy Spirit to help transform them through renewing any remaining innate or learned orientation.

Do You Want To Be Healed?

So, whether homosexual orientation becomes a part a person at conception or during development, whether inadvertently or through their own deliberate choices, it is just one of many deviances found in humanity’s fallen nature for which Christ died in order to bring forgiveness and restoration. Whatever the sinful orientation, like He did with the crippled man, Jesus is asking, “Do you want to be made whole?”

Rob

Sexuality

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

nDeBjaIResearchers’ Unscientific Beliefs

I put forward in a previous post, Prenatal Sexual Orientation Findings Confirm God’s Word, to the extent researchers’ beliefs concerning sexual orientation cited by Wiki were true, namely, that ‘sexual orientation is not a choice, and … established at conception’, that this would only serve to agree with God’s word concerning everyone having an innate sinful nature from conception.

That said, these researchers’ beliefs, along with other beliefs related to the LGBT community and touted by academics as truth, were exposed as being unscientific in a report by Dr. Lawrence Mayer, professor of psychiatry and statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University and Dr. Paul McHugh, one of the world’s leading psychiatrists (psychiatrist-in-chief, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore from 1975 to 2001), entitled, Sexuality and Gender.

With regard to sexual orientation and gender identity, their conclusions were as follows:

  • The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings — the idea that people are “born that way” — is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body” — is not supported by scientific evidence.

Brokenness and Innate Sinful Nature

If the above report is true, which I am inclined to believe it is, then gender confusion or homosexual orientation is a development from a person’s innate brokenness and sinful nature. However, if any innateness is found in homosexual orientation or gender confusion, it would still be explained by the fall of mankind and humanity’s inherited sinful nature. The only difference is that these traits would be understood as innate expressions of human brokenness and sinful nature rather than a later development from them.

So, whether gender confusion or homosexual orientation has any measure of innateness or not, God’s word explains their existence as coming from brokenness and/or sinfulness. As David says, ‘Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me’ (Psalm 51:5).

Rob

Morality, Sexuality, Transforming Society

Prenatal Sexual Orientation Findings Confirm God’s Word

 

prenatal
Picture by MeiTeng (Mei Teng Wong)

Research Confirms Prenatal Sin Nature

According to Wiki, ‘researchers…believe that sexual orientation is not a choice, and some of them believe that it is established at conception.’

To the extent that these findings are true, particularly in explaining homosexuality, they are a real God-send. This is because they agree with God’s word concerning the prenatal origin of our sinful nature.

In short, God’s word views all humans as sinful from conception and it also sees homosexual orientation as one of many possible sinful orientations in human nature. With that in mind, findings that point to persons being born (and even conceived) with a homosexual orientation are clearly a great example and proof of human sinful nature existing from infancy and even from conception.

Is God Being Unfair or Helpful?

The idea that homosexuality is an orientation that some are born with does not prove that homosexuality is not sinful. Neither does it prove that God would be unfair to consider this condition unholy. Instead, these findings discredit the notion that babies are born morally pure or neutral and should lead all people to realize their personal need for God’s help because of the sinful nature that they are born with.

Just as King David did when contemplating his sinful self, it would be a good starting point to recognize that “surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5 NIV).

Tired of Justifying Sin?

Are you tired of your old self and of trying to justify it? God loves you and wants to give you a brand new life. God’s way out of our sinful orientation is found in His offer of a literal rebirth and a transformation of our lives.

For the life that He has to offer you, take a look at my post The Good News of An Exchanged Life – Part 1.

Rob Morley

PS. That homosexuality is the focus of this post was just a natural outcome of considering the researchers beliefs cited by Wiki in the light of God’s word. This was posted with the aim of getting all people to consider God’s view of the origin of their sinful nature, though it may manifest differently, and God’s remedy for it.

Sexuality

Homosexuality!

"Say stop to raping our morality under the name of freedom"
“Say stop to raping our morality under the name of freedom”

While I don’t necessarily advocate demonstrations like the one in the picture, nor do I support anything less than love for individuals who practice homosexuality, I like the truth in the caption which is a translation of one of the banners.

You see, many Christians have become confused and soft in their stance toward the sin of homosexuality. While on the one hand many see it as sin, on the other, they indirectly consent to it through not wanting to take away people’s rights to practice their “sexual orientation”. This is further fuelled by the notion that in order to be loving we should “live and let live” as long as it doesn’t affect others. But, is the negative effect of even a monogamous committed homosexual relationship only confined to the two involved?

Let’s consider who gets affected by someone practicing a homosexual lifestyle. Firstly, he is sinning against God and himself by denying the Creator’s design for his life. Then, just like with adultery and fornication, anyone who practices homosexuality is automatically causing his partner to sin and be missing out on God’s plan for his life. Finally, and what is often overlooked, he is sinning against the community by being a very likely, although not necessarily intentional, influence on others to do the same.

By allowing people to have homosexual relationships, whether monogamous or not, they become billboards that reinforce the idea that homosexuality is a viable lifestyle. Effectively we create an environment where other people can be more easily influenced into the same sin. Many people may fall as a result of the appeal that homosexuality may have on their sinful nature, while others may fall to the deception that homosexuality is a normal social way of life.

The permission to practice homosexuality, along with its promotion in the media and the prolific nature of the practice, can confuse and entice many vulnerable youth and adults into embracing what they may never even have thought of. Let alone the influence that it is having on kids growing up in this environment.

A few weeks ago a teenager who is very close to me and who has grown up in a Christian family and environment spoke to me of how he had wrestled with the question of his own sexuality and whether or not he was homosexual. I wonder to what extent the prevailing climate of open homosexuality that exists in this world has been an influence on his thinking.

As the ecclesia we need to be a clear voice of truth to a broken world. Love is telling the truth!

Seriously causing others to miss out on God’s best may be part of the reason for God’s harsh words and punishments for this crime. These seeds are sown all around. But woe to those whose seeds germinate! And, anyone who condones this practice is an accomplice. “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! (Luke 17:1).

I have a very dear family member who has lived an open homosexual lifestyle for years with one partner. I love both him and his partner and recognize that their sin is no different to mine. Our difference before God is not that I am not a homosexual or that I don’t sin anymore, but that I was given a free pardon for all my sins, past present and future, and am now joined to Jesus.  My sins and wayward nature are not held against me anymore and although I still easily sin, it’s not in my new nature to continue in it. And, God wants to do the same for them.

I don’t condemn any homosexual just as I don’t condemn any adulterer, but I do want to warn against the destructiveness of participating in this lifestyle, both to individuals and societies. It’s not the Creator’s plan for anybody!

Finally, some may need to repent of practicing homosexuality, others of supporting it, and others of not loving those practicing it. Whichever it is, God is willing to forgive.

Rob