One of my business partners parents came into town and we took them to see Avatar (I am embarrassed to say it was my third time and I ended up seeing it four times; first movie since Star Wars that caught my attention to that extent). On the trip into town his father expressed his angst that his denominational Church, which will remain nameless to protect the guilty, had decided to ordain an openly homosexual priest. My partner's father was not happy with this and said that it was more than likely to cause the Church denomination to split.
What lead to this blog about the aforementioned topic however was the comment that my partner's father made concerning the Church's defense of this act. Their excuse was that the commandment against homosexuality is the equivalent of Paul's commandment about men keeping their hair short and women growing theirs long. We will deal with the complete absurdity of that analogy but to do so we must back up a bit and discuss sex, marriage and the Church for it has much to do with where we presently are with the Church's view of homosexuality.
The problem with the Church's view of human sexuality is that we have allowed our culture to dictate the morals and attitudes that surround this sacred act. It's as if sex was invented in the 1960's and before then people had no idea what they were doing. The Church views sexuality through the culture filters of 20th century humanists and morally progressive philosophies as apposed to the word of God and then we wonder why the divorce rate in the Church is higher than our cultures. There are two reasons for this, both lies from Satan himself.
The first issue is that somehow people in modern Western culture associate Christian views of sex with Puritans and associate Puritan views with the idea that sex is dirty and to be avoided. This is of course is utter damned nonsense. In fact, if a Puritan man failed to satisfy his wife he would be confronted by the Church and if he still refused he would be excommunicated. Puritans were against priest not marrying, and except for a few called by God, they were very much against celibacy. They believed, rightly so, that sex was to be confined in a loving relationship between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage. They were against homosexuality, promiscuity and adultery. What must be understood is that at that time many of the sexual views of Europe were in line with the Puritans and while the Europeans were not as strict they would be viewed by today's 'sexually free' society as oppressive. Puritans had issues, but sex between a married man and woman was not one of them. (Book to read on the Puritans is by Leland Ryken).
The second lie that we encounter today is that in the 1960's there was this 'sexual revolution' and that men and women threw off the shackles of the oppressive society so they could be free to find their true sexual identity. This too is utter damned nonsense. Simply, the birth control pill became available to society at a low cost and allowed men and women to bypass the issue of pregnancy in relationships outside of marriage. Unfortunately this philosophical and moral change was evangelized to third world countries with devastating effects as they themselves did not have access to cheap birth control as western cultures. Birth control and prevention, of course, did not prove to be 100% effective so this led to the legalization of the termination of life in the womb to allow continued sexual freedom when birth control failed to deal with the inconvenience and constraints of pregnancy and to deal with minority cultures who refused to adhere to the new principal of 'sex with no offspring'. Planned Parenthood itself was organized to control the black population and working class minorities in the 1920's.
This new found medically induced sexual freedom led to experimentation and now we see the continuing justification of that experimentation by groups who wish to establish their legal and moral rights to do whatever they want sexually. The latest group to garner attention is the homosexuals.
I want to say up front that I am not happy with the response of Christians towards homosexuality. Why? Because it is a sin like any other sin. There are no acceptable sins in Christianity. Homosexuals are not going to hell any quicker than liars, thieves or adulterers. (Remember, Jesus said that if you look at a woman and lust after her in your heart than you are an adulterer.) The body of Christ has a bad habit of fixating on certain sins while allow others, like gossip, to run rampant in the Church. If Jesus were alive to today there is no doubt in my mind he would be hanging with homosexuals; not to join them in their sins but to bring them to repentance through love.
Having said that, how anyone can actually read their Bible and claim that God has no issue with homosexuality strains the honesty and credibility of the said reader to the point of breaking. Having been a Sunday school teacher for over ten years and reading my Bible front to back on average every two years, it is amazing and rather disturbing to me the amount of twisted truths, misinformation and outright false statements that are believed by the general public and sadly Christians. Most of the people I've met who have an opinion about what the Bible says about homosexuality (and many other topics) more than likely have never even actually read the Bible. So what does the Bible say about homosexuality?
Leviticus 18:22 -- Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 -- If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death ; their blood shall be upon them.
In Genesis 19:4-14 it is established that the city of Sodom was wicked, and one of the reasons it was wicked was the men openly laid (had sex) with each other. Notice that Lot offered his daughters to them and they refused, wanting the men (whom they did not know were Angels). God destroyed the city for its wickedness and to this day the word Sodomy is used to describe the act of sex between two men.
Deuteronomy 23:17 --- There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
And we can go on and on and on in the Old Testament. Now I know some of you think that when Jesus died for our sins on the cross he removed the law so the Old Testament no longer applies. This is false. Jesus himself said that he did not remove the law but fulfilled it. True that we are no longer under the law, but that's because we are under grace. Now some of you are saying, 'See, then homosexuals will go to Heaven." Apparently the Holy Spirit saw this coming for it inspired Paul to write in the new testament:
Romans 1:26-28 --- For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another ; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet . And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient ;
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 --- Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived : neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
In Romans Paul clearly defines the act of homosexuality and promiscuity and in Corinthians condemns it. Now before we proceed further let's put away these two points of ridiculous critiques of the Bible; first that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality and secondly that the advice Paul gives about homosexuality equates to the advice he gave about the length of women and a man's hair.
To the first argument I simply say read the scriptures quoted above and read for yourself what the Bible says about homosexuality. Please note that homosexuality is grouped with many other sexual sins including adultery. A Christian committing adultery has his soul in as much danger as a homosexuals. They are both wrong. But the Bible is clear that neither is right.
The second argument is more nuanced and admittedly clever. Paul does give advice that men should have short hair and women long hair. But there is a lot more going on and he is not just discussing hair length. Carefully read 1 Corinthians 11:3-15. Notice that nowhere does Paul discuss or correlate his instructions on gender issues with salvation. This is not an issue of ones destination for eternity, Paul is discussing the relationship between men, women and their culture. In contrast, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is very blunt concerning sexual sins and the result; you will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
All sins have consequences but they vary. Lie to your wife and you may be sleeping on the couch; lie to the judge and you may be sleeping in a cot in a room with concrete walls. Sexual sins can be some of the most damaging in relation to both spiritual and physical consequences. Most sexual sins (sex with multiple partners, adultery, masturbation) tie the spirit to the flesh and, like drug use, damage both and can be extremely difficult to stop. I'm going to go out on another proverbial limb and say that sexual sins can be more dangerous than drug use or other habitual addictive behaviors due to the fact that you are doing them to yourself and many times there are no short term consequences so one thinks one is getting away with it.
But the long term results of the habitual pattern of sexual sin can be extremely devastating. Inability to trust, deadening of the spirit, divorce and most disturbingly, escalation of deviant sexual acts in order to achieve new levels of excitement and satisfaction. Too many rapists and sexual sociopaths started out with just pornography. Ted Bundy quickly comes to mind.
Now I'm not saying that looking at pornography will cause you to do what Ted Bundy did (for the record, he never said that; read his interview with James Dobson before casting judgment) nor am I saying that leading a life of homosexuality will cause you to be a sociopath. Just like heterosexuals there are many homosexuals that are in healthy relationships. Just like heterosexuals there are also many homosexuals who are not.
So why not ordain them or even allow them to marry or raise children?
We will discuss this very good question in Part II.