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John Piper on Gay Pride

A Peculiar Disapproval of Gay Pride

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I am not interested in making common cause with non-Christians in my disapproval of the celebration of homosexual desires or acts. The reason is that truly Christian disapproval of sin is rooted in, sustained by, and aimed at spectacular realities for which non-Christians have no taste.

Distinctly Christian disapproval of sin is rooted in the sin-covering blood of Jesus Christ. It is sustained by the supernaturally transforming work of the Holy Spirit. And it aims at the glory of God in the Christ-exalting joy of as many transformed sinners as possible. The ability to experience a distinctly Christian disapproval of sin is a miracle from God.

The non-Christian world can feel disapproval of many things. But it cannot feel blood-bought, Spirit-empowered, God-honoring disapproval. That is a gift of grace through faith in Christ. It is absolutely unique among a thousand worldly ways to disapprove.

Transformed Disapproval

When a person becomes a Christian, he undergoes a transformation not just of what he disapproves, but of how he disapproves. There is nothing peculiarly Christian about the mere disapproval of any human behavior. Therefore, disapproval of sinful behaviors is no evidence of saving grace. Becoming a Christian is far more profound than changing what we disapprove of.

Becoming a Christian is a miracle — sometimes called new birth. It involves putting our trust in the death of Jesus to cover our sins, and relying on the Holy Spirit to help us walk in Christlike love, and bending all our behavior to the glory of God. Only then will a human being be capable of the natural impossibilities involved in a peculiarly Christian disapproval.

All of this I have discovered in the Bible. It is found nowhere else. I have seen, like millions of others, that these spectacular realities — the cross of Christ, the gift of the Spirit, and the magnificence of God’s glory — coalesce in the pages of Scripture with such self-authenticating truth that I am bound joyfully to embrace this book as the revelation of God.

In what follows I will try to explain from Scripture why biblically faithful Christians disapprove of homosexual desires and practices. Then I will try to illuminate the nature of homosexual desires, showing how they relate to my own sinful desires. Finally, I will try to show what a peculiarly Christian disapproval is. This last part includes the question whether revulsion at the act of sodomy is a morally appropriate, or Christian, response.

Why Is There Disapproval at All?

The apostle Paul locates the origin of homosexual desires in the humanity-wide exchange of the glory of God for the glory of man. He argues that, because of this humanity-infecting exchange, men and women exchange natural relations with the opposite sex for unnatural relations with the same sex. In other words, this valuing of humans over God finds one expression in valuing the kind of human in the mirror over the opposite sex.

They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man. . . . For this reason . . . their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:22–27)

“Truly Christian disapproval of sin aims at spectacular realities for which non-Christians have no taste.”

Paul knows that thousands of people — men and women — exchange the glory of God for the glory of self without experiencing homosexual desires.

The correlation between exchanging the otherness of God for the sameness of man does not always result in homosexuality. There are millions who prefer self over God, but who are not homosexual. Homosexuality is only one expression of the distortions that have entered the human race because of idolatry. All sinfulness flows from this primal idolatry in the heart.

Therefore, the experience of homosexuality is not always rooted in one’s personal idolatry. Paul is not saying that everyone who experiences homosexual desires has made a conscious decision to prefer man over God. There are idolatry-renouncing Christians who experience homosexual desires. Paul’s point is that God has given the human race over to futility, and corruption, and the disordering of our affections because of this primal, God-demeaning exchange. Homosexuality is one form of that disordering.

Why Write About Homosexuality?

How do homosexual desires relate to other kinds of disordered desires? It is important to ask this, because it will affect the way we talk about the disapproval of homosexual desires.

One way to answer this question is to pose another one: Why are you writing about homosexuality, and not about theft, or greed, or drunkenness, or reviling, or swindling? I mention these sins because the Bible lists them alongside homosexual practice as sins that will keep us out of the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9–10), unless we are forgiven and justified by faith in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11).

My answer: I am writing about homosexuality because millions of people this month are celebrating it. My hope is to help Christians disapprove of it in a distinctly Christian way. I will focus mainly on men, whom I know better, with the expectation that readers can make appropriate applications to women.

You may be sure that if millions of people gather around the world to celebrate the beauty of covetousness during “Covetousness Pride” month, I will write about it. In fact, I have written ten times as much about covetousness as about homosexuality, because (to be conservative) ten thousand times more people will be in hell because of unrepentant covetousness than because of homosexuality.

No sin must keep a person out of heaven. None. What keeps a person out of heaven is the unrepentant pursuit of sin, and the rejection of God’s provision for its forgiveness in Jesus’s death and resurrection.

How Are Homosexual Desires Like My Sinful Desires?

Homosexual desires are like and unlike other sinful desires. Let’s be specific: they are like and unlike my sinful desires. To name a few of mine: pride, anger, self-pity, sullenness, fear of shame, impatience, judgmentalism. I have little doubt that my own brain wiring and genetic makeup are part of what inclines me to these sins. I can’t prove it. It just seems obvious.

Whether or not that’s the case, physiological roots do not remove the reality of my corruption and guilt. This is true even though these sinful desires arise unbidden and fully formed in my heart. I do not choose them. I do not plan for them. I do not want them. I am ashamed of them. They simply present themselves in ways that I strongly disapprove of and regret. Not just because I am prone to coddle them, but also because of the sheer fact that they are there. They are part of my natural condition. Apart from Christ, they are who I am.

By God’s grace, I turn against them. I renounce them. By the blood of Christ, and by the power of the Spirit, and for God’s glory, I seek to obey Colossians 3:5: “Put to death . . . what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” I take hold of long-tested strategies of spiritual battle (for example, A.N.T.H.E.M.) and make war.

I would locate homosexual desires on this same battlefield of the human soul. They may or may not have physiological roots. The desires need not be chosen, planned, or wanted. They are simply there. We either engage them as the enemy, or we make peace with them and risk our souls. In this sense, homosexual desires are like my sinful desires. I am just as likely to perish from embracing anger and self-pity as my neighbor is from embracing homosexual desires. That’s how serious all sin is.

How Are Homosexual Desires Unlike My Sinful Desires?

But homosexual desires are also unlike other sins. Paul calls them “dishonorable passions” because they involve “[exchanging] natural relations for those that are contrary to nature” (Romans 1:26). Homosexual desires are different because of the way they contradict what nature teaches. I think this may be seen most clearly if we reflect on the question, What is the moral significance of the emotion of revulsion at the act of sodomy?

“Christians do not base what we ought to do on what we feel like doing — or not doing. Desires can be deceitful.”

I’m using the word sodomy not as equivalent to homosexuality, but as emblematic of the kinds of practices involved in homosexual relations — in this case, a man’s insertion of the organ through which life is meant to enter a woman, into the organ through which waste is meant to leave a man.

Neither the feeling of desire for sodomy nor the feeling of revulsion at sodomy is a morally reliable guide. That sentence is a Christian conviction. Christians do not base what we ought to do on what we feel like doing — or not doing. Desires can be deceitful (Ephesians 4:22). Rather, we are to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17). God’s truth, not our desire, points the way to freedom: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Some non-Christians may argue that the desire for sodomy is enough to make it good. But by that same principle, the feeling of revulsion toward sodomy is also good. If it feels good, it’s okay. Therefore, sodomy is okay, and revulsion at sodomy is okay.

A Christian does not think this way. We do not argue that revulsion at this act makes the act wrong — no more than we think that a person’s desire for the act makes it right. Sodomy is good or bad depending on whether God says it is good or bad. We have seen that he says it is bad. And it is not only bad: if not forsaken and forgiven through faith in Christ, it will destroy the soul.

What Is the Moral Status of Revulsion at the Act of Sodomy?

There is a natural fitness in revulsion at sodomy. In sexual relations, the penis was not made for the anus. It was made for the vagina. In sodomy, the distortion of that natural use is so flagrant as not to be a mere diversion of the male sex organ from its natural use, but a perversion of it. Revulsion is the emotional counterpart to that linguistic reality.

For the sake of careful distinctions, we should observe here that even the unnaturalness of homosexual desires is not absolutely unlike all other sinful desires, because all sin is contrary to the way things ought to be. And every sin, more or less, ruins what is natural. Other sins, besides homosexual ones, may awaken our sense of unnaturalness with intense disapproval, or revulsion. For example:

  • A man who takes the last life jacket, leaving women and children to drown, arouses in us not just the moral disapproval of selfishness, but a more visceral reaction that this man has made a detestable wreckage of his manhood.

  • Or consider a mother whose lover won’t have her and her child. So, she throws her 1-year-old into the river. That act is not only morally evil, but also arouses in us a sense of visceral repugnance that she has butchered her natural motherhood.

  • Or suppose a man spends a lifetime in miserly hoarding gold, while ignoring all the needs of others. Then to keep his gold from beggars, he ties it around his waist, and drowns crossing a river because he won’t untie the bag. We look upon that life not only as greedy, but as an utter distortion of his humanity, as if a bag of gold is his life.

The natural fitness of revulsion at sodomy corresponds to our visceral reaction at the cowardly man, the callous mother, and the dehumanized miser. It is fitting to feel a visceral aversion to these distortions of natural good. To look on such detestable manhood and such repugnant motherhood and such dehumanizing greed, and feel neutral, is not a sign of moral health. Neither is indifference to sodomy, or its celebration.

God told the prophet Ezekiel, “Pass through the city . . . and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it” (Ezekiel 9:3–4). There are abominations that ought to produce in us more than mere moral judgments. This ought gives some emotional-physical responses (like sighing, or groaning, or revulsion) a moral dimension.

Nevertheless, the natural fitness of revulsion at sodomy does not, in and of itself, make the revulsion morally good, let alone Christian. Something can be natural and sinful. Natural and non-Christian. Therefore, as I said at the beginning, I have no interest in linking arms with non-Christians who happen to feel revulsion at homosexuality.

Christianity is not a crusade against anything. It is a mission to save sinners, and restore the moral beauty of the bride of Christ — a mission pursued by the cross of Christ, through the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God. Opposing sin is never an end in itself. Christian denunciation of sin is for the sake of holy jubilation in the presence of God.

So, homosexual desires are unlike my besetting sinful desires in being contrary to nature — but not entirely unlike them because all sins are contrary to the way things ought to be. Some impinge on nature more directly than others. The great deadliness of any desire flows not from the fact that it is against nature, but from the fact that it is against God — which is why Paul can list drunkenness, theft, and greed alongside the practice of homosexuality as soul-threatening (1 Corinthians 6:9).

How Is Christian Disapproval Peculiar?

We turn now to ask, What makes Christian disapproval of homosexual desires and practices peculiar? How do the cross of Christ, the power of the Spirit, and the glory of God transform disapproval?

The Cross of Christ

Christian disapproval of homosexuality derives its peculiar character first by the way the death of Christ has formed the heart of the Christian. Paul speaks of Christ being formed in us (Galatians 4:19), and our being conformed to Christ (Romans 8:29). This happens first through the death of Christ.

Forgiving and Recreating

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Therefore, “in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Ephesians 1:7). “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43). The cross of Christ declares my depravity, and delivers me from it. The Christian heart is a broken and forgiven heart.

But something else happened when Jesus died. All his people died with him. When we are united to Christ by faith, his death becomes not only the punishment of our sins, but also the death of our sinful nature. Our old, rebellious, selfish, arrogant nature dies. “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

A new creation comes into being. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Being loved by Christ with self-sacrificing love, and dying to our old selfish nature, shapes us into the image of our heavenly Father: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1–2).

Creating Love for All

A new way of disapproving of sin is built into being forgiven, dying to our old nature, and being recreated in Christ. Christians do not stop disapproving of what will destroy people (sin). They start desiring the good of self-destroyers (sinners). Forgiven Christians want others to join them in being forgiven. Hope-filled Christians want others to join them in the hope of glory. Christians rescued at the cost of Christ’s life are willing to sacrifice for the sake of rescuing others.

This includes all others, whether enemies or friends, straight or gay. Our crucified Savior said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27–28). The apostle Paul said, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone” (Galatians 6:10). “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

This love for all others is rooted in, and formed by, the sacrifice of Christ. His sacrificial servant-heart forms ours. Paul put it like this:

In humility count others more significant than yourselves. . . . Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant . . . to the point of death. (Philippians 2:3–8)

“Christian disapproval of homosexual desires and practices is a disapproval-in-love, a disapproval-in-hope.”

Counting others more significant than ourselves does not mean approving of what they feel or do. It means becoming a servant of their forgiveness, their rescue, their Christ-exalting hope. Christians do not bear ill will toward any. We live for the good of all.

Therefore, Christian disapproval of homosexual desires and practices is a disapproval-in-love, a disapproval-in-hope.

Making the Ugly Beautiful

One may ask whether it is really possible to feel revulsion for some homosexual desires or practices and at the same time feel love and hope. Yes, it is. A military surgeon may be sickened by the ghastly wound of a soldier, but care enough to use all his skill to save him. Jesus touched the unclean, contagious, ostracized leper (Mark 1:40–41). When God chose Israel for his people, he described it like this:

No eye pitied you . . . you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. And when I . . . saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, “Live!” . . . When I passed by you again . . . I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. (Ezekiel 16:5–8)

God did not pursue us because we were attractive. We were abhorrent in our sin. The Bible can even speak of God’s “loathing” sinners, and yet lovingly taking them to be his own (Psalm 95:10). In the coming of Christ, he pursued us to forgive us; he sought us in our ugliness in order to make us attractive. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . that he might present the church to himself in splendor” (Ephesians 5:25–27).

Therefore, the most fundamental peculiarity about Christian disapproval of homosexuality is this humanly impossible combination of three things: First, there is the moral assessment that homosexual desires and practices are sinful based on God’s word. Second, there is some measure of distaste based on what is unnatural. Finally, these combine with a longing for the person’s salvation — his forgiveness, and glad obedience to Jesus, and eternal joy.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

That combination of negative moral assessment, natural distaste, and Christ-shaped sacrificial love is humanly impossible. Apart from a supernatural work of God’s Spirit, the fallen human heart neither assesses sin for what it is, nor sees the true lessons of nature, nor treasures the cross of Christ, nor feels the preciousness of divine forgiveness, nor longs to be spent for the eternal good of others. These miracles are the work of the Holy Spirit. There is no peculiarly Christian disapproval of sin without him.

Before Jesus returned to heaven, he promised to send the Holy Spirit to be with his people. The Spirit’s essential ministry would be to enable people to see and savor the glory of Christ. “He will glorify me,” Jesus said (John 16:14). Seeing and savoring the infinite worth of the glory of Christ is the fountain of all peculiarly Christian disapproval. Without the Spirit, all our disapproving, of anything or anyone, would be merely natural, not Christian — not Christ-exalting.

Through him we have spiritual life (John 3:7–8). Through him the eyes of our hearts are opened to reality (Ephesians 1:17–18). Through him we fulfill humanly impossible resolves (2 Thessalonians 1:11). Through him we experience forgiveness and acceptance with God (1 Corinthians 6:11). Through him we abound in hope (Romans 15:13). Through him we grow in holiness (1 Peter 1:2).

When the Spirit holds sway in our lives, the fruit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). He radically transforms every act of disapproval.

The Glory of God

All things exist for the glory of God — to show his greatness and the beauty of his holiness. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). Human beings exist in God’s image and for his glory (Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 43:7). The entire plan of redemption is “for the praise of the glory of his grace” (Ephesians 1:6 my translation). Therefore, the overarching duty of all people is to live in a way that calls attention to the supreme worth of God’s glory. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). That includes all our approving and disapproving.

“Christian joy cannot be protected by hedging others out. It dies by hoarding and intensifies by being shared.”

We disapprove of homosexuality to the glory of God by assessing right and wrong by his word. We disapprove to the glory of God by honoring the way he designed the natural sexual functions of the human body. We disapprove to the glory of God by standing ever ready with eagerness to forgive as he mercifully forgave us. We disapprove to the glory of God by longing and praying for the everlasting good and Christ-exalting joy of all those whose desires and practices we disapprove of. We disapprove to the glory of God by being willing to sacrifice for others to show that God himself is a greater reward than all self-exaltation or vengeance.

Peculiar, Supernatural Disapproval

Biblically faithful Christians do not disapprove of Gay Pride the way non-Christians do. Christian disapproval is peculiar. It is rooted in, sustained by, and aimed at realities for which non-Christians have no taste: the cross of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the glory of God. It is Trinitarian: God the Son, God the Spirit, and God the Father.

Because of the cross, Christians disapprove of Gay Pride as brokenhearted, forgiven, hope-filled, joyful servants who declare God’s truth with love and courage, as they long to see homosexual people embrace Christ, receive forgiveness, taste the power of the Spirit, and live for the glory of God as our brothers and sisters forever.

Because of the Holy Spirit, Christians disapprove of Gay Pride without self-reliance or self-exaltation. We are utterly dependent on God’s supernatural power to fulfill humanly impossible things — like feeling revulsion at homosexual acts, and at the same time feeling love that would move us to lay down our lives to see those who do such acts become our dearest eternal friends.

Because of the glory of God, Christians disapprove of Gay Pride with a stunned sense of the breathtaking purpose of why all things exist — namely, to show the all-satisfying worth of the beauty of God.

“We rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). It is the kind of joy that cannot be protected by hedging others out. It dies by hoarding and intensifies by being shared. We do not exclude anyone from this joy. We live and we die to include as many as possible in it. It is the only joy that lasts forever. For this Christ died. For this the Spirit gives us life. The more we are satisfied by it, the more God is glorified in it. This is the peculiar Christian disapproval of Gay Pride.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2021 in homosexuality

 

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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #10) GOD LOVES STRAIGHT PEOPLE BUT NOT GAY PEOPLE!

I am grateful for this book by the United Methodist minister Martin Thielen entitled What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? He looks at a number of beliefs he thinks Christians should give up — and this book challenges my fundamental beliefs as a Jesus-follower. In this next chapter he tackles the issue of homosexuality. He subtitles this chapter: “All persons, including homosexual persons, are welcome in God’s church. Beyond that, however, mainline and moderate churches are not of one mind on this issue. For now, ‘welcoming but not affirming’ best describes most mainline churches, and the discussion goes on.”

[A comment before I’ve even read his chapter: What if God has spoken with absolute clarity on this issue, like He did with murder, or blasphemy, or adultery? And what would qualify, in Thielen’s mind, as “absolute clarity,” I wonder?]

Thielen lays out three views among Christians about homosexuals. He describes the views as “the Christian Right,” “the Christian Left,” and “the Christian Center.” The Christian Right condemns homosexuals in no uncertain terms (Thielen even cites the anti-gay preacher Fred Phelps who proclaimed “God Hates Fags” to introduce this chapter). The Christian Right is criticized for singling out homosexuality as a far-worse sin than any other sins.  Second, this view deeply wounds homosexuals and their loved ones. He concludes, “a nonwelcoming position on homosexuality is not an authentic Christian option” (55). The Christian Left welcomes homosexuals and affirms their relationships. It claims homosexuals do not choose their orientation — that’s the way God created them. Further, the Bible “knows nothing of loving, monogamous gay relationships.” Lastly, biblical passages about homosexuality need to be understood in their historical context. Like the church’s position on women and on slavery, we need to make the same changes with our view of homosexuality. The Christian Center is welcoming but not affirming of homosexual behavior. Thielen’s own denomination (United Methodist) “does not affirm homosexual behavior, will not ordain practicing homosexual clergy, and will not celebrate homosexual unions” (56). Thielen argues that this debate will continue.

[I was surprised that Thielen did not recommend Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships which seeks to reinterpret the primary passages condemning homosexual behavior (Gen. 19, Lev. 18-20, Rom. 1, and I Cor. 6).]  [Please email me if you wish a copy of my review of Vines’ book].

MY RESPONSE: Thielen likes to tell stories. Let me tell one. Tom was a missionary to Germany with me in the 1970’s. I did not know about his homosexual orientation until after he left the two-year team. Ten years’ later my wife and I visited him in Ohio and learned of his commitment to the homosexual lifestyle.  At that time he told us he had seen 100 of his gay friends die of AIDS.

At a ten-year reunion of our team in Canada, my wife and Sue and I pleaded with Tom until 2 AM to give up his homosexual behavior. To no avail. Tom died of AIDS about a year later.

So this “issue” of homosexuality is no mere academic topic to me. But like other controversial issues, Thielen doesn’t allow the Bible to have full authority. He simply divides viewpoints into three categories and says, essentially, “let the debate continue!”

My critique of this chapter will overlook Thielen’s beginning with the most egregious example (Fred Phelps) as a hater of gays. I’ll also restrain my frustration at his categories of Christian “right,” “left,” and “center.”

Here are some points to keep in mind in discussing this critical issue:

1. What does the Bible say about homosexual behavior? Thielen gave no serious attention to the primary passages on this topic. (I Corinthians 7 puts sexual sins in a more-serious category than other sins). Doesn’t the Lord Jesus affirm traditional marriage in Matthew 19?
2. Does the Bible use the term “abomination” with other sins (other than homosexual behavior)?
3. In quoting a pastor who said “Homosexuals will not be allowed in heaven,” why does Thielen not refer to I Corinthians 6:9 which specifically lists homosexual behavior as excluding people from heaven?
4. The concept that “what is . . is right” must be challenged! For someone to say, “I was born gay, made this way by God!”, seems to justify a homosexual lifestyle. What if a “straight” person said, “I was born promiscuous! I’m just practicing how the good Lord made me!”?
5. We all come into the world broken! Same-sex orientation is a kind of brokenness. And Christ is the answer to that brokenness.
6. The church has failed miserably to love and welcome those with same-sex attraction, but it should not affirm any practice of sin.

Please comment below: We must have gay friends that we want to see come to Christ and find freedom in Him. Can any of my readers give a word of testimony here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2019 in homosexuality

 

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Time for a Great Audio Clip: John Piper on Senator Portman and Homosexuality

In 2013 Senator Rob Portman reversed his stance on same-sex marriage in an editorial entitled “Gay Couples also deserve chance to get married” which can be found here.  He had supported traditional marriage between one man and one woman.   Pastor John Piper gives his response to Senator Portman’s position in this short audio clip:

Pastor Piper makes two points:Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 6.01.53 AM
1.  For his son to be happy he must be given the right to “marry” another man.  So he is elevating happiness above biblical guidelines.  The absolutizing of self-defined long-term happiness as opposed to God’s definition of long-term happiness is right at the heart of how people are changing their minds.

2. “For me, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.”  A hermeneutical strategy:  The absolutizing of self-defined biblical themes in such a way that they nullify biblical particulars or biblical commands.
Your comments?

 

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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in homosexuality

 

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Paul Copan on Homosexuality (audio message)

Dr. Paul Copan gives a reasonable defense of the biblical view of homosexuality.  In light of Rob Bell’s recent statement (Regarding homosexual marriage:  “We’re moments away.  I think the culture is already there.  And the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2000 years ago as their best defense.”), the Church needs to respond with compassion and clarity.

Please listen to this message Paul gave at Bethel College

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2015 in homosexuality

 

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Some Predictions from a Non-Prophet (on the Homosexual Agenda): Part 2

In our first blog on this issue, we looked at I Corinthians 6 where the Apostle Paul says:

 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 

As Paul lists these nine categories of sin, he is certainly making the point that those who practice these sins are wrongdoers who will not inherit the kingdom of God (= go to be with God when they die).  This CATEGORICAL STATEMENT is followed by a CLEAR DECLARATION: “and that is what some of you were” (v. 11).  Notice Paul uses the word “were.”  {Some have suggested that Alcoholics Anonymous’ insistence that recovering alcoholics should continue to call themselves alcoholics may be open to some criticism here}.

His point seems to be that some of the Corinthian believers were previously sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who had sex with other men, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers.  Those behaviors had ceased once they became followers of Jesus.

Paul’s CLEAR DECLARATION is followed by his pronouncement Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 10.59.01 PMof God’s CLEANSING ACTIONS in those believers (v. 11).  What did God do for those who came to Him?  He performed three specific actions:  He washed them; He sanctified them; and He justified them.  We should not be surprised that a BIble-denying world mocks the need for such sinners to be washed, sanctified, or justified.

Although we must love sinners and seek to win them to the Lord, what ought our reactions be to those who practice sexual immorality, engage in idolatry, commit adultery, have the habit of thievery, are marked by greed, live a life of drunkenness, are characterized by slander, or look to swindle others?  Should we not be disgusted, deeply Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.41.25 PMconcerned, outraged at these sins that disqualify someone from HEAVEN?!  If so, what ought to be our response to those of the fourth category who “have sex with other men”?  They, like we all, need the cleansing power of the Savior’s blood.  They need to be set apart (sanctified) to God.  They desperately require the justification that can only come from the forgiveness offered in the gospel.

If you agree with those sentiments, my friend, then you will be in for some serious challenges to your faith in the coming days. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in homosexual agenda

 

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The Gay Agenda (Commercial from the Ad Council)

Here is the description of this commercial which is found on this webpage:

“The Ad Council debuted the first public service announcement in its “Love Has No Labels” campaign Tuesday, featuring couples, families, and friends of different races, religions, and sexual orientations to promote the  overarching message of diversity and inclusion.

Clocking in at just over three minutes, the heartwarming clip begins with a giant x-ray monitor in the middle of a busy outdoor shopping center in Santa Monica, Calif., showing two skeletons kissing. As a crowd gathers, two women emerge from behind the screen and share a hug and kiss, as the screen displays a message reading “Love has no gender.”

The video also features a pair of gay dads, dancing behind the x-ray monitor with their young son. Other types of love are on display too, between siblings, best friends, and those of different faiths and abilities.

The video was filmed on the popular Santa Monica Promenade on Valentine’s Day, and is the first “Love Has No Labels” ad produced since the campaign launched in early February.

As previously reported, the campaign seeks to shed light on stories of bias and discrimination in everyday life, addressing issues including disability, religion, weight, race, and sexuality.

“While the vast majority of Americans consider themselves unprejudiced, many of us unintentionally make snap judgments about people based on what we see — whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability,” says the campaign’s description on YouTube. “The ‘Love Has No Labels’ campaign challenges us to open our eyes to our bias and prejudice and work to stop it in ourselves, our friends, our families, and our colleagues.”

What is your opinion of this commercial?  Do you fit into the category of those who are marked by “bias and discrimination”?  Did this commercial open your eyes to your “prejudice”?  Do you see yourself as someone with whom others need to “work” to “stop [your prejudice]”?  What’s to prevent someone from making a commercial that pushes the idea that “love has no species” (bestiality) or “love has no numerical restrictions” (polygamy)?

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in homosexual agenda

 

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A Theology of Sexuality (a sermon)

Friends:

I recently preached the following sermon at Columbia International University.  My focus is primarily on how we can reach out to our homosexual friends.  I am open to your comments.


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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in sexuality

 

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Rob Bell on Homosexual Marriage & the Bible’s Authority

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Posted by on March 8, 2015 in ROB BELL

 

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Why is Homosexuality Wrong? (John Piper)

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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in homosexuality

 

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What on Earth Are We to Do about Unbelief? (Part 8 of 10)

FirefoxScreenSnapz689Unbelief is rampant in our world.  Specifically, unbelief in the gospel.  What’s a Christian to do?  We have seen from the little epistle of Jude that first, we are to keep ourselves strong in the faith (vv. 1-4).  Second, we must be aware of attacks on the Christian faith (vv. 3-4).  Third, we must be prepared to do battle for Christianity’s truths (vv. 3-4).  Fourth, we must acknowledge the fact that the God who delivers is also a God who destroys (vv. 5-7).  We must, fifth, realize the dangers of false teaching (vv. 8-10).  Sixth, we must see that false teachers are simply repeating the errors of history (v. 11).  Seventh, we should realize that false teachers have nothing to offer (vv. 12-13).

Let’s look at an eighth part of our response to unbelief in our world and it is this —

Step #8-  We must recognize that false teachers inevitably lead to ungodly living! (vv. 14-16).

14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

These false teachers may have taken the believers to whom Jude is writing by surprise, but they did not surprise God.  We saw at the beginning of the epistle that these teachers are “certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago.”  We see in verse 14 that they were prophesied about by Enoch.  Who is this Enoch?  He is described as “the seventh from Adam,” so he can’t be Enoch, the son of Cain (Gen. 4:17) who was the third from Adam.

The saying of Enoch here quoted is found at the beginning of the Book of Enoch (Jude 1:9): “And behold He comes with myriads of saints to execute judgment on them, and He will destroy the ungodly and judge all flesh concerning all things which the sinners and ungodly have committed and done against Him.” These words are taken from a speech in which an angel interprets a vision which Enoch has seen, and in which he announces to him the future judgment of God.

FirefoxScreenSnapz712Enoch was a important person mentioned in Genesis 5:24, the 7th from Adam, the son of Jared (Gen. 5:18) and the father of Methuselah (5:21; Luke 3:37). After the birth of Methuselah at 65, Enoch lived 300 more years (Gen 5:23-24). “So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”  Hebrews 11:5 says, “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”  Enoch was transported into heaven without dying. With Enoch was conveyed the teaching of both heaven and immortality.

The concept of ten thousand saints is not unique. In Deut. 33:2 And he said: “The LORD came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; from His right hand came a fiery law for them.”  Revelation 5:11 says, “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. ” The Bible teaches that heaven has a vast population of both angels and people — saints. These are those (either one or both groups) who will come with him when he comes to earth to judge and set up his kingdom.

Jude was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), so we know KeynoteScreenSnapz152that what he quoted from Enoch was true. This is confirmed by the fact that the same idea about the Lord returning with His holy ones to render judgment is found elsewhere in the Bible (Zechariah 14:5, Isaiah 66:15, and Psalm 96:13, Deut. 33:2).

The true prophecy of Enoch, though unrecorded, could have been handed down by tradition, as the Jews had a meticulous way of keeping both written and oral tradition. Paul mentions Jannes and Jambres the Egyptian magicians, names known in Jewish tradition, but not from Scripture (2 Tim. 3:8). For him to do this and be accurate God would have had to confirm the tradition.

“Even if Jude cites a passage from this non-canonical book, it does not mean he accepted the whole book as true, only this particular statement. I think it is more likely Jude did not lift this statement from the non-Biblical book of Enoch,. It was either something passed on orally or he received it as a direct revelation from God.” (http://www.letusreason.org/Biblexp118.htm)

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At any rate, we have Jude predicting (from this non-biblical source) God’s judgment KeynoteScreenSnapz151upon ungodly, false teachers.  His emphasis in on their ungodliness!  “. . . to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (v. 15).

He then describes the present teachers as “grumblers and faultfinders.”  They follow their own desires, boast about themselves, and flatter others for their own advantage. (v. 16).  We must recognize and point out ungodliness, especially if we wish to guard God’s people!

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“Sin is not judged by what we think about it — but by what GOD thinks about it!”

Questions:

1.  Would you say from the quote above that Rob Bell is advocating ungodliness?

2.  How difficult it is to stay biblically true, regardless of the blowing winds of culture.  What are other examples of ungodliness that you see today?

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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in unbelief

 

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