« Have a Cross Centered Christmas | Main | What is Christian Worship? »

Comments

Joe

Chris,
Don't fall over, but I agree with you on this post. Unfortunately, this young man, is claiming God told him something that contradicts Scripture. That is something that cannot be.

Steve R

Hi Chris,
Thanks for keeping the world alerted to the heretics that keep popping up!
Jay, obviously, has missed the entire point of grace. He seems to think that everyone will be accepted into heaven just because God accepts them 'just the way they are'!
This is the classic 'cheap grace' that Luthers' detractors charged him with. It misses the point of Law and Gospel and the effect of the Holy Spirit in sanctification.
Perhaps young Jay should spend some time (while getting tattooed pehaps) reading Romans a few times!
Regards,
Steve.

john

Chris,
I'm not necessarily saying I agree with Bakker, but let me just ask you - doesn't what qualifies as sin evolve even from the old testament to the new?

For example, it is VERY clear in the old testament that it's "eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth". Yet in the new testament, Jesus seems to state that it's time for a new standard - namely "turn the other cheek".

Also, in Deuteronomy, there are some very interesting "sins" that obviously have been left by the wayside including:
- Slavery is OK
- Selling your children into slavery is OK
- Eating shellfish and pork is prohibited
- Trimming the hair around your temples is listed as a sin
- Wearing clothes with blended fabrics (cotton/poly) is prohibited

Another specific example is that in Deuteronomy, the specific requirement God makes to atone for sin is animal sacrifice. Yet in Hosea 14 1-2, there is a different command:

"Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!

Take words with you and return to the LORD.
Say to him:
"Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips."

So is it possible that God's view of sin "evolves" over time - or perhaps changes from culture to culture?

robert

Does the book of romans exist for the post-modern emergent church? Seems to me that in the conversations that I have had with many of them they believe that the bible is chocked full of errors. The word of God needs to be "contextualized" to fit the world, modernized to meet their demands for the their new gospel. This leaves interpratation open, they can pick and choose at their leisure.
Romans 1 applies perfectly to this and other situations within the pale of post-modernism, they suppress the truth;

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.


No matter how you look at it contexualization is just a new word for suppression. Jay Bakker is displaying the bottom side of that slippery slope!

robert

God's view of sin evolves, a perfect example of contextualization. Thanks John.

Kelly

That's a good thing to put forward for discussion. Respectfully, no, sin does not change from culture to culture or age to age. Leviticus is a very fascinating book and is worth finding a good commentary on. The regulations of the OT, including the system of animal sacrifice, were fulfilled in Christ-- "filled up" by him. Jesus is the final revelation of God to man. He explained the full intent of the Law to his hearers (as you note), condemning not only adultery but lust, not only murder but anger. And then he went and fulfilled all the demands of this Law, which we could not keep, in his body on the cross. Leviticus, like the rest of the Bible, centers on Jesus.

There are certainly examples of God's directives changing from place to place. For example, at one point in time God would command his people to overthrow a certain nation; in another instance, he tells them to refrain. Before the fall, man was vegetarian and given the fruit of the garden; after the flood, he was permitted to eat animals as well. Israel was once commanded to offer sacrifices; the revelation of Jesus now renders those sacrifices obsolete and contrary to God's will. This doesn't mean that sin itself changes. Sin is a departure from the Word and will of God, a departure from faith. Now that Jesus has come to us, we have all the directive, all the picture of God we will ever need, full and complete.

David Dansker

Chris, I found your site after reading your posts on Slice, and have been dropping by looking for ways to improve my own site that I recently launched. I appreciate your updates, and your very good commentary on them. This one is no exception.

Steve R - you might consider reading Matthew 5:17-20

-David

David Dansker

Opps!

that reading was to John, not Steve R.

robert

I agree that Christ is all the picture of God that we will ever need and that being said we know that Christ came to perfectly fulfill the law wich he did. Mt 5:18 and Luke 16:17 apply here. Also we know that just because God changes particular mandates or makes new covenants, this does not mean that his nature changes, God cannot sin and sin cannot exist in his presence. Is Christ the same yesterday, today and forever? Yes. Does that mean he cannot change his mind? No. God is perfect love. Sin is selfishness. Neither can exist together therefore grace is never a liscense to sin or a liscense to condone sin.
God in no way has evolved in his attitude toward sin, he has sent a mediator to stand between sinful man and God and take on the penalty for that sin, apart from Christ we are eternally seperated from God because we would be under the law. Christ came that those that believe would fall under grace. Unbelieving man still is under law in every aspect. Homosexuality is still sin, forgiveable with confession of Christ as Lord and savior and repentance from the sin itself, but it is still sin.

Rita

I can only add the following that is forever settled in heaven:

"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. (Romans 3:4)

And:

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8)

Come quickly Lord Jesus!


Erica

Chris,
I agree with you. I told you we agree on something’s! If it contradicts scripture it is wrong. If what you found is true than it is heresy and false teaching because it contradicts Gods word.

Wayne Roberts

I checked out the Revolution website http://www.revolutionnyc.com/, and was listening to a sermon by Marc Brown (it was his 2nd time speaking, and I think he said he was drinking a beer to keep himself mellow!) titled, "Gay Doesn't Equal Sin". It comes with a .pdf file with his research. It was an amazing display of eisegesis (hope I spelled that right).

Kelly

It gives one pause to realize that Christians often have no problem agreeing on *behavioral* stuff as being heretical for contradicting God's Word, but doctrine about other matters is often considered up-for-any-interpretation of Scripture, relatively harmless, and shocking if considered by others to be heresy. This, despite the fact that there are different groups of Christians who do consider the behavioral stuff to be matters of private interpretation as well-- as long as it "doesn't hurt anyone."

Incorrect teaching of God's Word will always hurt us. With Bakker Jr., it may not have started, strictly speaking, with a pro-gay agenda. It may have started with a belief that what the Bible really means is that sin is only sin if you can be proven to be personally accountable for it, and he doesn't consider homosexuality to be in that category. It may have started with a faulty notion of the Gospel-- that the Bible was really just saying that God accepts everyone just the way they are. This is why correct teaching of Scripture is so critical-- all these teachings touch upon the others.

john

David,
So do you cut the hair on the side of your temples? Do you wear cotton/polyester clothing (or plant two different crops in the same field?)

Do you eat pork? Or shrimp? Or lobster?

Do you have a tattoo? Have you committed any kind of sexual sin and NOT been stoned to death?

Or getting new testament on ya - does your wife wear makeup? Does she cover her head and not speak during worship?

If so, then you'd better read that passage in Matthew yourself.

That's my whole question - are we bound to every law in our cannon in our culture and in this age? Weren't the laws of the old testament were written to the Jews? I'm a gentile. Do they apply to me? Didn't Christ outline the ultimate command in just one sentence? And when verses say that we're to obey all the laws, how are we to know which ones they're talking about? Our cannon of scripture didn't exist back then. Many books weren't widely circulated. Do Paul's commands carry the same weight as Christ's? What about the Mosaic laws?

I'm really asking here. This is something I truly wonder about. I'm not trying to be whatever. I'm sincere in my asking.

robert

Answer these questions and perhaps you will be closer to a answer.

Who is considered the father of our faith? How was righteousness accounted to him?

What is the main intent of the law, why was it delivered to Israel? Apart from the law does sin exist?

Is the Law for those who live according to the flesh or those who live according to the spirit?

If you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior are you under Grace or the Law?

Kelly

Christ didn't just outline the ultimate command in one sentence, he summed up the whole of the Law and Prophets. He wasn't cutting out all the other stuff, but distilling every single thing into the picture behind all the Law: Love God and love your neighbor.

God didn't assign the ceremonies of the OT just for the fun of it. He did it to demonstrate what holiness looked like, and to point us forward to Jesus. All of the Law finds its fulfillment in Jesus. The book of Hebrews is a helpful read here.

Lisa

After posting on another topic, I found my way here.

I can honestly say, if you don't think it's right to critically address someone's beliefs or what they proclaim as truth on the internet, why are you here?

Isn't that what we all are doing? We aren't even public figures like Warren! Yet when we put ourselves out there, state our beliefs and views on subjects - we have made the decision to let others judge whether what we say is the truth or not.

And if we have done it here.. then so has every one out there who broadcasts a sermon or publishes a book.

Lisa

sorry, that last post was meant for a different discussion...

Dave

Shock horror - a topic that isn't about Saddleback!

Personally, I feel that homosexuality goes against God's created order for men and women. Hence I consider the prohibition of it to be in the category of universal moral commandments that apply for all time.

(As an aside, we do need more teaching on why some stuff in the OT is considered no longer relevant, given that Jesus said he came to fulfil, not abolish, the law.)

But it is worth defining exactly what we mean by homosexual sin. I think there is a big difference between a homosexual inclination and a homosexual lifestyle. If someone has homosexual inclinations that they cannot be delivered from, then they should live a single celibate life, avoid temptation, and there's no sin in that. But if they are actively homosexual (which doesn't just include sex acts, but extends to having a romantic relationship with a member of the same sex), that is where the sin arises.

My belief is that gays are made, not born, and with God's help, some can escape the trap of homosexuality. But just as not everyone is healed today, so not everyone can be cured of homosexuality. Those who can't are not second-class people, just victims of a fallen world (as we are all are in our own ways).

But we must never be homophobic or preach hatred toward gays. We are all sinners and none of us are perfect. What matters is that we are willing to identify our sins, bring them to the cross for forgiveness, and allow God to transform us into something better (ie repent).

Finally, one of the most telling remarks on this subject I've ever heard came from a politician. He said that whenever anything sex-related was on the political agenda, he would get a huge mailbag from concerned evangelical christians. But when topics like the environment, world poverty, or foreign policy came up, he got very little mail from christians. Hence he concluded that evangelicals are far more worried about what goes on in people's bedrooms than they are about global issues. I'm not sure that's the impression we should be giving (to put it mildly). Focussing on sexual matters and neglecting other sins is more than a little one-sided.

Steve

This discussion is a great example of why Christians are confused about the Law.

There are three uses of the Law that the Reformers defined in the Book of Concord; I believe that these are useful to better understand the Law:

• To restrain external evil in the civil society
• To show us our sin (Moral)
• Ceremonial use for the nation of Israel.

Ceremonial requirements of the Law were met in Jesus’ death. This can be seen in ripping of the curtain in the Holy of Holies when Jesus dead. Also, St. Peter learn this reality when he had the vision of the sheet from heaven with “unclean” animals” (Acts 9).

In Acts 15, the Council at Jerusalem stated that while the Gentile Christians were free from the ceremonial requirements of the Law but they were still subject of the moral requirements of the Law.

Please read the three posts that I wrote on Post-Emergent on Law and Gospel, http://www.postemergent-us.com/.

Theresa K.

About five years ago, one of our pastors made a prediction of sorts. He said that within 5-7 years, we would see most church bodies make such a statement. He based his statement on other research that shows the general correlation between when society accepts something previously thought of as wrong or aberrant and when churches accept it. At the time, I knew he was right but really didn't expect to see it so soon. He did also say that this dismissal of certain sins would happen only in churches that did not beleive that God's Word was truly His Word. I would also add that churches that wrong believe that God is still speaking new things to His people (ie changing His mind on sin as culture changes) are particularly prone to such shifting sands.

john

OK. So how do we know that homosexuality falls into the category we've put it in? Could it have been in the "ceremonial use for the nation of Israel" camp?

Steve

John,

What is your definition of sin? On what to you base your defintion on?

Joe

"This is why correct teaching of Scripture is so critical-- all these teachings touch upon the others."

Kelly, Don't you mean the term "correct" teaching, teaching that you believe is right? I thought about this post a lot last night and I came to a question of my own. "Can you be wrong about Homosexuality and not be a heretic?" More to the point, let's get into some real Doctrine. What about Tongues? Is it for today? If it isn't what do we do with people who believe in speaking in tongues? Are they heretics? If not, what about the people who don't believe in them? Are they hertics? How far down this road away from the core of gospel do we go?

Steve

Joe,

You are confusing what is sin and what is correct Christian practice. There is a difference. There is a false beleif that false teaching hurts no one. False teaching

Joe, do you believe that there is one correct doctrine of the church are multiple doctrines that may contridict each other? Is doctrine something that we pick and chose or something that we confess and accept?

While I disagree with those who claim the gift of togues is a the sign of salvaiton, I do not call them heritics. The gift of tongues, like many gifts were specific of the time of the apostles and were for the spreading of the gospel. The gift of tongues is the ability to speak in a language that another can understand for the benefit of spreading the gospel. I don't see that happening among those who claim the gift today. If those teaching that the gift of tongues is a requirement for salvation and that the gift is some language that only the speaker can understand, then that is a false teaching. I use Acts 2 as the basis to understanding what the gift of tongues is about.

john

Steve,
I got my definitions of sin the same place I imagine most of us did. I was taught by my parents and pastors and other spiritual leaders what the Bible says about sin.

As I'm getting more mature though, I'm noticing that there's an awful lot of picking and choosing going on.

For example, I understand most evangelicals believe it is DEFINATELY NOT ok to be gay. But, their women go to church with their head uncovered and sometimes even talk during church service!

While pastors often use Deuteronomy to support their assertion that homosexuality is a sin, they don't say anything about wearing cotton/poly clothing or casting women who are on their period outside the community for X days.

I guess what I'm struggling to understand is who and when these laws were given and if they still apply to us.

Val

Dave,

I found your post to be VERY revealing about your definition of sin.

Here is what you said

>>>But it is worth defining exactly what we mean by homosexual sin. I think there is a big difference between a homosexual inclination and a homosexual lifestyle.<<<

It sounds to me like your defining sin as an action. Something that we do or don't do.

Yet, Jesus took on this view of sin directly and to make matters worse it applies to me practically every day.

Here is what the Lord of Life said..

Matt. 5:27   “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Please notice that Jesus is making no distinction between a persons actions and the inclinations of their heart when considering if a person has committed a sin that is worthy of judgement.

Let me say it like this. I daily have adulterous inclinations. When I see a beautiful woman I immedietely have desires, fantasies and dreams of 'knowing' her.

If I had your view of sin, then I would falsely comfort myself by saying that I haven't sinned or committed adultery with her because I haven't acted on those inclinations.

But the Lord of Heaven and Earth has revealed that I have already sinned and committed adultery because out of my heart I had adulterous thoughts.

I have much in common with a person with homosexual inclinations. I am a filthy disgusting sinner. God's law snares me as easily as the homosexual.

What then is the solution to this problem?

Trying harder? Being a better person?

I guarantee that will accomplish nothing but landing me in hell.

The law cannot save us. The law reveals our sin.

Jesus Christ is the only hope of salvation. He has paid the penalty for my adulteries.

Steve

John,

I have noticed that you have not referred to any New Testement passages in your definition of sin, only Old Testement. You are also confusing sin and practice. There is a difference. Do you believe that homosexaulity is a sin? On what basis do you make your statement? If you came home to your wife and said, "Honey, I have a new girl friend. It's OK since adultry is only at Old Testement law and we aren't subject to it" I don't believe that she would accept your statement. To understand the law of the Old Testement, you must read it with the New Testement and especially Jesus in mind. If a law in the Old Testement is still considered sin in the New Testement, then it's sin.

Many of the dietry laws of the Jews were for their remembering that that they seperate people from the other nations around them. Likewise with the mixing of fabric. They were not to mix with other nations. God was given them specific laws so that they may understand their unique status. The Law is to show us that we cannot meet God's perfect standard for holiness.

Kelly

Val's right. I mentioned the "accountability" issue in connection with homosexuality because I think there's a lot of confusion amongst Christians with the issue of sin and accountability, especially within groups that would downplay original sin. This is why I've heard even many formerly conservative evangelicals edge towards a pro-gay stance. Proof that a "silly little doctrinal detail" such as original sin, and what you do with it, has major reprocussions.

Sin is more than actions. Sin is throughout our entire being. We're not sinners because we sin; we sin because we're sinners.

Many evangelicals' theology in regards to homosexuality only works if they can convince themselves that homosexuality is entirely learned, not inborn. This is because they think that things in us that are inborn are innocent and that God cannot hold us accountable for them. Once certain individuals such as Bakker deduced that the homosexual inclination just might have an inborn component, it didn't take him long to deduce that it wasn't really sinful, because one couldn't help themselves. They were just born that way, and any way that one is "born" must be good, so it is thought.

For a Christian with a good understanding of original sin, it does not particularly matter a great deal whether homosexuality and its inclinations are entirely learned, or inborn, or some combination of the two. It is still sin because God's Word says it is sin. All of us are born with evil inclinations to hate, murder, steal, commit sexual sin, etc. We are no better morally than someone with other sinful inclinations that we don't have; spiritually speaking, we're no better off than a dead person. But God has mercy on all men and desires to pardon their sin for Jesus's sake.

Joe, we've been through this. When people state what they believe, they are stating it to be CORRECT-- otherwise they'd never say it. Unless, of course, they are so relativistic that they cannot possibly hold as truth anything they believe. We cannot hold an intelligent discussion if everything from homosexuality to teaching on original sin are just meaningless human preferences that we can never have any assurance on.

I certainly may be wrong-- hopelessly deluded-- in all I say. But should any sane person assume that they are operating from that principle when they state their thoughts?

Heresy is false doctrine about God. Some may have greater impact than others in this world. Being mistaken about a point of doctrine may not send you to hell, but it may well endanger your faith. So many points of doctrine connect to so many other points.

Steve R

Hi All,
Romans contains all that is useful in understanding what being a Christian really means.
"All have sinned, all have fallen short of the Glory of God". Homosexuality is just another sin, revealed by the Law to make us understand that we cannot gain admittance to heaven by our own thoughts, words and deeds.
For me personally, the first of the Ten Commandments shows me how dismal I am at self-justification: I cannot think of God 24-7 (even when asleep!) and neither can anyone else. This is the purpose of the Law: to condemn. It offers no salvation, no chance of being declared 'not guilty'.
Now the Gospel is revealed in the form of Jesus Christ. If you realize that you are condemned by the Law, then God (through the Holy Spirit) will reveal to you that Christ is the only way out, and you understand what it means to be justified.
As you learn more and study scripture, your sanctification increases, and this is where living more correctly comes from. We will still sin, but as Luther said we may sin boldly as we can more boldly trust in the mercy of God through Jesus Christ to forgive us those sins!
Peace
Steve R.

Dave

Val,

I think you've misunderstood my comments - one of the dangers of the net.

I wasn't suggesting that lustful thoughts (be they heterosexual or homosexual) are not sinful.

Let me try to clarify my current views:

A homosexual, in the first instance, has to bring themself to God and seek healing. But the "not yet" nature of the kingdom of God means that not everyone will be healed. It's for the sake of those people that we need to carefully consider the implications of our attitudes.

What I am unhappy with is the idea that the homosexual person (as distinct to their thoughts, desires, or actions) is in a state of unrepentant sin. I don't believe that is the case. They are ill with an incurable disease not of their making. That is not a sin. They are unable to repent from it as they cannot, even with God's help, change.

So they have to choose to live a celibate life. That life, in itself, is not sinful. Yes, if they have homosexual thoughts or commit homosexual acts, both those are sinful. But we shouldn't put their homosexual state in the same category.

My reasoning is based on the definition of repentance, which involves turning round and sinning no more. If you are unable to repent of something, then I'm not sure it is sin. A sufferer of Tourette's Syndrome does not sin when they involuntarily shout profanities at others. I view a homosexual orientation in a similar way.

An interesting topic for further debate is can homosexuals control their thoughts and actions? I'm sure they can control their actions. But can they control their thoughts? If they can't, you could argue that these result from their condition and may not therefore be sinful.

Wow, that's a bit profound for me... the dangers of thinking outside the box!

Dave

Kelly

Dave-- you're underscoring exactly what I was saying in my last post: the dangers of the idea that if someone was "just born that way," they are not committing sin and therefore may not be accountable for it.

All of us are unable, in our own spiritual state, of bringing ourselves to God. That's why God saves US. We are born and bred slaves to sin, unable to become pleasing to God on account of our "controlling" ourselves, whether by thought or deed. (Romans 8:5-9.) That's why God takes control, and God gets all the credit for our salvation from tip to toe.

If someone is born with an incurable disease, is God being unjust if they die from it? After all, it wasn't like that person could cure themselves or seek a cure. If a person is born with a tendency toward alcoholism, does this make their binge drinking acceptable, if they didn't realize that just one drink would set them off for life?

We are all born with an incurable disease called sin. We can't save ourselves. We can't use the Law to convince ourselves that we're safe with God through our obedience. God is the one who saves us, though we were dead in our sins.

Val

Dave,

My point is this... All of us, you and me included are born with an incurable disease. That disease is Sin. By nature we are at war with God. By nature we do not obey God. This is the nature that we inherited from our first parents.

I would like to also point out that so far, what you have offered us is YOUR speculations and YOUR thoughts on this issue. I do not find them profound. I find them to be contradicting scripture which is frustrating at best.

You said...

>>>My reasoning is based on the definition of repentance, which involves turning round and sinning no more. If you are unable to repent of something, then I'm not sure it is sin.<<<

You also may want to spend some time in your greek lexicon looking up the meaning of the greek verb metanoeo.

Let me reiterate something. I am filthy disgusting sinner. It doesn't seem to matter how hard I try not to sin and clean myself up. Nothing works. In some cases it actually makes things worse.

Every time I gaze into God's perfect law, the reflection that comes back at me is AWFUL and very scary to behold.

When I look at God’s law I see that I don't love God with my whole heart. I lie. I steal. I am a murder. I am a wretched adulterer. I covet.

These are all sins that I have committed through thoughts, through my words and through my deeds in just the last day or two.

Now I am not trying to be judgmental but if you are honest with yourself then you would realize that you are guilty of committing the same sins as I. God's law declares both of us filthy, rotten, slimy and disgusting sinners. Even worse for us is the fact that many of these sins are sins that we've committed habitually all of our lives.

Therefore, I have a couple of conclusions that I can draw from this fact.

1. We haven't repented enough because we keep on sinning.

This would mean that we are not saved until we can achieve sinless perfection.

2. OR The purpose of the law is to show us just how wretched we are and it cannot save us.

Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Galatians 3:11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”

Gal. 2:21 for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Christianity is not a religion whereby people save themselves by making themselves good people and by keeping God's law.

Christ kept the law perfectly for us. Salvation is 100% by God's Grace offered to us through faith in Jesus Christ and the salvation He won for us on the cross.

Joe

Kelly, Indeed we have been through this before. I would submit to you there is another possibility: that a person could hold to a set of beliefs and realizing that he or she may be wrong refrain from labeling someone who disagrees with them a heretic, or a whatever. My point is, there are just so many points of disagreements between Christians. The list that we are willing to go to war over should be short not long.

Dave

Kelly,

I'm not sure about homosexuals being "born that way". As I said in my original post, I believe that they are made, not born. However, that's not essential to my argument.

What I believe is that it is possible for someone to become homosexual such that they can never revert back to a heterosexual state. The experience of Christian ministries who try to help homosexuals is that they don't always succeed, just as not everyone is healed physically.

Basically I believe homosexuality is one of the enemy's snares, and sometimes it is so powerful that there is no escape on this earth. That's the hard reality of the fallen world we live in.

The question of accountability and control is less clear-cut. I'm sure that homosexual actions can be controlled in the majority of cases (a fruit of the spirit is self-control), but I'm less sure about thoughts.

So I'm not going to agree with Jay Bakker without knowing more about his exact views.

The homosexual lifestyle (including a long-term same-sex partnership) is so far removed from God's plan that I have no hesitation in calling it sinful, and I believe that it is a matter in which people have full control and are accountable for.

However, the homosexual inclination can be incurable, and provided that those so afflicted manage their condition and avoid sinful practices, I don't believe it's sinful in itself.

HTH

Dave

Dave

Val,

I'm struggling to relate your general points (which I don't disagree with) to the specific issue of homosexuality.

So, for instance, can you tell us what you feel a homosexual who becomes a christian should do.

Thanks,

Dave

Dave

Just to add that I think Romans 6 is quite a relevant passage here...

john

To the point of being born with homosexual tendencies or becoming homosexual because of something that happens in that person's life, I think there are people who fall into both categories.

I don't think that changes the response of that person to their sinful desires, but in the sense of how believers deal with homosexuals.

There's just been so much hate and poison towards gay people from the Church. And I think many believers are ignorant on the subject and because it doesn't really affect them much, (they may know or know of a only few gay people) they don't care to understand where people in that lifestyle are coming from.

It's interesting that of my many Christian friends, the ones who seem to be more tolerant of homosexuality are people who have family or close friends that are openly gay.

I don't doubt for a minute that some are born with those feelings and instincts. After all, if God was into ensuring perfect people at birth, how do you explain trans-gendered babies or children with horrible birth defects.

The questions I think you have to consider are:

- Does God consider homosexuality in our culture in 2007 a sin?

- Are the verses referring to homosexuality in the Bible translated properly from the original?

- If this is as important an issue as many evangelicals make of it, why didn't Jesus address it specifically?

- Is it possible for a person to get this wrong - to believe that it's OK to be gay based on scripture and to live that lifestyle? Are they still saved? Is it that way only with homosexuality or is it all sin - pride, lust, greed, etc?

Kelly

Joe-- you have every right to disagree with me. In fact, if you examined every point of doctrine that I believed and found quite a few of them to be seriously flawed in your opinion, I would fully expect you to call that false teaching. (Interestingly, plenty of people on here have suggested that other posters are false teachers when they wouldn't dare to put that same moniker an influential pastor.) I would not get my nose all bent out of joint, because I'm confident in what I hold to be true. People have *every right* to start their own blogs, dismissing everything I believe and analyzing public writings of the same as "false teaching." Something went wrong when the church, who had never had a problem using the word "heresy" before, suddenly started equating it with "name-calling."

Dave, I don't know that the "made, not born" concept is so far off your main point, after all. It's actually pretty relevant to the issue as far as I can see. But you asked: "If a homosexual becomes a Christian, what should they do? If they can't change the ways in which they are tempted, wouldn't they be irredeemable if they continued having such inclinations?"

That's a good question. Simply put: I was born, and raised (or whatever) with strong heterosexual inclinations. Some of those inclinations that I've had in my life, namely lust, are clearly forbidden in Scripture. Now, I am a Christian. Does that mean I will now never lust? To some extent we can control our outward behavior, but our thoughts are another matter. They seem to be out of control sometimes, beyond my mere willpower, despite what the Holy Spirit is also working in me to sanctify me. So does that mean I can't be saved, if I can't in this life revert back to a permanently sinless state?

No. We will all struggle with our sins and temptations throughout our lives (i.e. Romans 7). The point of salvation is not to try to get ourselves to the place where we can be pleasing to God by attaining perfect control of ourselves in this life, though we certainly strive for it. The fact is that we will fail, and when that happens and lust overtakes us, the solution is to confess that sin to God and watch him forgive it.

Some people may be born with certain inclinations that others don't have. Some may be raised in unfortunate circumstances that others don't have to struggle with, such as a family in which drug use is prevalent. Like you said, it's the hard reality of living in a fallen world. The answer isn't to try to declare the relative "innocence" or sinlessness of people based on their circumstances, but to declare it in the forgiveness of Christ alone. It's better to acknowledge one's complete sinfulness and helplessness before God, and let him show his mercy.

Kelly

Hey John, I'll take a stab at some of your queries.

- Does God consider homosexuality in our culture in 2007 a sin? ...Yes. Actually, it's referenced in a number of Scripture passages. Is there a specific reason that you think that particular sin has become obsolete, other than the fact that it's easier for the church to conform to culture when culture wants something badly enough?

- Are the verses referring to homosexuality in the Bible translated properly from the original? ...I have a feeling that however this question is answered, you would put it down to a person's mere "opinion" of whether they're translated properly. Different people do have different opinions on the matter. This doesn't make them both right, simply because it's a controversial topic. You have to come to grips with it and figure out where you stand. I don't see how the translation could be objectively misconstrued.

- If this is as important an issue as many evangelicals make of it, why didn't Jesus address it specifically? ...Why didn't Jesus address abortion specifically, or any other number of social ills? He stated the Ten Commandments as being just as relevant as they were when they were written. He approved of marriage as being a man and a woman becoming one flesh. What's more, the revelation of the apostle Paul is not "less" than the words recorded by the Gospel writers; the Bible is entirely God's Word. Either Paul (and others) were just spouting off their own opinions, or they were speaking the truth of God's Word.

- Is it possible for a person to get this wrong - to believe that it's OK to be gay based on scripture and to live that lifestyle? Are they still saved? Is it that way only with homosexuality or is it all sin - pride, lust, greed, etc? ...It's not okay for a person to ignore the words of Scripture and to live a lifestyle that is explicitly forbidden in it. Whether or not they're still saved is not necessarily for you or I to say, but Scripture does have strong words for those who persist in a sinful lifestyle with no thought of repentance (1 Cor. 6:9-10). It is an indication of a lack of faith. People are not saved by their sincerity, even if that doesn't seem fair to us. Many deceivers are in the world to take our eyes off Christ and God's will and put them on ourselves. "Gospel reductionism" isn't a great track to go on either-- asking one's self what the very minimum requirement of heaven is, in order to determine how much a person may effectively get away with or not have to take a stand on. Christ alone saves us, but departing from his Word puts our faith in danger.

Steve

John,

One reason that Jesus didn't address homosexuality was that is want an issue in the Jewish culture of First Century Palestine. However, St. Paul had to deal with it in the Greek and Roman world since it was consider "normal" behavior.

To be a student of Holy Scripture also requires understanding the culture that Jesus lived in as well as St. Paul.

If you question the "proper" transalation, then learn Greek. If there was a problem we would have heard about it since there are many scholars of the Holy Scripture who are not believers but sceptics.

Val

Dave,

Please believe me when I say that this answer to your question is not intended to be ornery or glib.

Here was your question..

>>>So, for instance, can you tell us what you feel a homosexual who becomes a christian should do?<<<

I’m going to answer your question with a question. I apologize. I hope that you will see my point.

Here it goes...

Dave, we’ve already established the fact that both you and I are an adulterers, are murderers, liars, thieves and coveters. These are sins that both of us have committed within the last few days. I am assuming that both of us are a Christians. What does the Bible tell us that we should do about our sins?

The answer, if it is Biblical, will not be any different for you and I than it will be for a homosexual.

john

Kelly,
Thanks for sharing your wisdom. A couple responses:

- I question whether this sin has become obsolete because so many others have seemed to. I just don't understand the criteria for why we choose to obey some laws and not others.

- I wonder about this not because I'm trying to conform to the culture, but because it's important to me that I'm not treating gay people differently just because what they do disgusts me.

I am seeking clarification because it would be horrible if an entire group of people who God loves were dismissed by me and other well-meaning believers unfairly.

In short, my heart goes out to homosexuals. I have a love for them and don't like that they think I hate them just because I'm a "christian" - and after all, that's how most "christians" feel about gays.

So I just want to be sure. I don't want to just accept it because it's what my parents taught me or my pastor or whatever. I want to test it against scripture and pray about it - asking God to help me understand.

Steve,
I have done some pretty in-depth studies. There have been scholars throughout the years (though very few) that believe that the verses referring to homosexuality in scripture are speaking more to male prostitution that was a part of many cultures of the time - often relating to temple worship.

Sadly, I don't yet know enough greek or hebrew to have an educated view on this.

Kelly

Hey John, as far as the scholars who say that homosexuality isn't the problem, it's just male temple prostitution or child abuse that's the problem-- take a look at Romans 1 starting at verse 18. First, there's no question that this particular issue that Paul is addressing is a moral issue that was not "done away with" along with the temple ceremonies of the Jews. Instead, it is a matter of both natural law and the moral law, as codified in the Ten Commandments. One might try to argue that Paul himself is merely picking and choosing (though he's pretty consistent)-- but then one would have to divest the NT of its biblical authority.

Secondly, Romans 1 speaks not at all of prostitution, though adultery and so on is certainly condemned elsewhere in the NT. Paul points out both men with men, *and* women with women, describing it as "unnatural relations," "perversion," and "shameful lusts" (referenced in contrast to God's obvious, revealed natural order of the world, which is knowledge given to all men). That doesn't sound as though Paul is merely upset at prostitution and not at the specific pairing-up, which he describes in such vivid language.

Thirdly, Paul goes on to describe further immoral actions of those who have denied the knowledge of God, stating that all these things are actions deserving of death according to God's Law. You may draw your own conclusion, but both traditional Christianity as well as the most left-leaning pro-gay crowd have a pretty unanimous understanding of what Paul was talking about, and either agree with him or hate him for it.

Fourthly, this only became an issue and a bone of contention very recently in the church, incidentally coinciding with a huge cultural shift in the secular perception of homosexuality. That should always tell us something.

Steve

John,

When I read Romans 1, I see no reference to what these scholars see. There is no reference to this in any part of Romans. Unless they can suppport their position with direct references to other passages, then I believe that they just proof texting their position.

Wayne Roberts

As a side-note to those genuinely seeking answers about sin, I would point out that R.C. Sproul on Renewing Your Mind is doing a series called, "The Drama of Redemption". The first show is "The Intrusion of Sin"; 2nd show is "Adam, Our Representative"; 3rd "The Gospel First Announced". Perhaps listening to this series while its on might help with some of the sin questions. Although I find that many of the responses on this blog are quite good.

john

In effect, Bakker is doing here was Peter did.

For as long as anyone could remember, there were certain foods that were not to be consumed by Jews - it was sinful. Those verses appear side-by-side with verses about homosexuality.

Then Peter has a vision and believes that God has told him that it's now OK. (Personally, I think that's a pretty literal reading of it considering the real issue was gentiles vs Jews).

So my question is this - is God's revelation complete with scripture? Is it ever possible that He would tell something new to people - to revise or clarify the law?

Kelly

First, I'd note that in Mark 17:18-19, he comments on Jesus's statement about how it's not what goes into a man, but rather what comes out of him, that makes him unclean. Mark says that in saying this, Jesus declares all foods "clean." This happens before Peter's vision. Peter, from what we read about him elsewhere, had a bit of a problem with this concept and needed an extra reminder, particularly where his relationship with the Gentiles was concerned. So with Mark, it comes down to this: Is Mark merely stating his opinion, or is the Bible a reliable source of truth?

Respectfully, I would propose that Bakker isn't doing at all what Peter did. Peter, the apostle, had a word from God and the Word from Jesus. He didn't have a vague, esoteric feeling, sensation, or thought that God was "speaking to his heart." God's revelation is complete with his Son; *that's* where the Law was fulfilled on our behalf. Anything else we are told by believers must certainly not contradict this revelation. As Colossians says, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions." -Colossians 2:16-18.

Jesus did clarify the Law for people when he came. He explained that it a lot harder than simply avoiding clothing blends and using mezuzahs! He also explained that the whole point of the Law and the Prophets was to point forward to HIM. So when he came, these things (as mentioned in Colossians and elsewhere) are fulfilled. God's people had always known (as per Jeremiah 31) that when God's salvation came, it would be a new covenant unlike the covenant made with ancient Israel.

In my theology, people who believe that God speaks to them apart from the external Word are referred to as "enthusiasts." Faith latches onto the promises of God, so apart from his Word there can be no certainty for us in such matters, no confidence, no firm faith.

john

I agree that it's a slippery slope, but what you're saying - in essence - is that God no longer speaks. It's like a modified deism theology. God has said what He said and that's it. Now, He just watches it all go down.

How do we square the idea of a living, active God with the concept that He never says anything new?

I know that the response will likely be "God never changes", but in scripture, rules DO change. Just as you pointed out, Christ changed some things - either by clarifying the original message or by fulfilling the law - however you want to look at it.

So does God not speak to people anymore? Can things never ever change beyond the way things were 2000 years ago? That doesn't sound like an "active, living God".

Joe

Kelly, could you explain the term enthusiast to me, please? Are you saying God doesn't talk to you apart from the Word?

The comments to this entry are closed.

October 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            

A Little Leaven

Support This Site

Follow Me on Twitter

  • Twitter

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter