Growing numbers of self-described "evangelicals" are caving in to the liberal agenda to gain full acceptance - in both society at large and in the church - for those who practice what God calls an abomination.
A Ministry Apologizes
Exodus International is a well-known and self-described Evangelical ministry whose focus for over thirty-five years has been to oppose homosexuality and to help people "seeking freedom from same-sex attraction." Recently the Exodus board announced that the ministry is shutting down - and apologized to those engaged in sexual perversion for its long-standing opposition to their sin.
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International for the past eleven years, said that the shut-down was the culmination of "a very public conversation" with Lisa Ling, host of the Our America program on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
In a public statement on the Exodus website, Chambers apologized to those who are in rebellion against God's created order. He expressed contrition for the organization's past stand against homosexuals, specifically apologizing for the use of Bible-based terms such as "sodomite".1 He went on to say,
I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families ["families" consisting of same-sex "parents" and their children] are less than me and mine.
More than anything, I am sorry that so many [engaged in sexual perversion] have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God's rejection. . .
Moving forward, we will serve in our pluralistic culture by hosting thoughtful and safe conversations about gender and sexuality, while partnering with others to reduce fear, inspire hope, and cultivate human flourishing.2
A President Politicizes
Former U. S. President George W. Bush, described by many as "the last Evangelical president," has also caved in to the homosexual agenda. During his presidency, Bush endorsed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as Holy Scripture does - between one man and one woman. At that time he called it "the most fundamental institution of civilization." He stated, "If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America. Decisive and democratic action is needed because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country."3 But Bush's wife Laura has now publicly taken the position that same-sex "marriage" should be legal, and the former president is moving in that direction. During recent interviews regarding his changing stand on homosexuality, Bush has said,
I shouldn't be taking a speck out of someone else's eye when I have a log in my own.4
I'm not going to answer [the question] in terms of the political question about whether or not [it is compatible with Christianity]. I just don't want to weigh back into the debate. I'm out of politics.5
It is tragic that Mr. Bush has adopted the position of many today that homosexuality is not a moral question but a political one. Also, Mr. Bush expressed an erroneous view of Jesus' parable of the mote and beam (Matthew 7) that is common in the church today. It is often coupled with the out-of-context quotation of Jesus' admonition in the same passage, "Judge not, that you be not judged." However, Scripture makes it clear that Christians are obligated to make righteous judgments using the measuring rod of God's Word.
God is not double-tongued on these matters. Jesus' parable spoken against hypocrisy is not an open door to blindness regarding God's moral law. God's Word, from beginning to end, is a continual judgment of man's deeds versus God's law, and man in his sinful flesh consistently fails the test. God's Word is "living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner [literally, a critic] of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:12-13).
These examples of cave-ins to the homosexual agenda - one from a prominent ministry, the other from a prominent individual - are but two of many thousands to be found among self-described evangelicals today.
For The Record: God's Word
For the record - since growing segments of the church seem to have forgotten or willfully ignore what God says - here are some of the clear statements of Scripture condemning sexual perversion:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)
Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally." So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, "Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof." (Genesis 19:4-8)
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. (Leviticus 18:22-24)
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)6
There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel. (Deuteronomy 23:17)
As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, "Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!" (Judges 19:22)
And there were also perverted persons in the land [of Judah]. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. (1 Kings 14:24)
And he [Asa, king of Judah] banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. (1 Kings 15:12)
And the rest of the perverted persons, who remained in the days of his father Asa, he [Jehoshaphat, king of Judah] banished from the land. (1 Kings 22:46)
Then he [Josiah king of Judah] tore down the ritual booths of the perverted persons that were in the house of the Lord... (2 Kings 23:7)
And He [Jesus] answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" ? (Matthew 19:4-5)
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness... (Romans 1:24-29)
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine... (1 Timothy 1:8-10)
...and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, [God] condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6)
...as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
And He [Jesus] said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:6-8)
God's Word could not be more clear: sexual perversion of all kinds is an abomination in His eyes. The Hebrew word is to ebah, detestable or loathsome. But growing segments of the self-described evangelical church choose to ignore God, and therefore they stand under His judgment.
Society's Horrendous About-Face
As I write this in the summer of 2013, I am 61 years old. In my own lifetime, I have witnessed a monumental about-face in Western society's attitude toward homosexuality - away from Scripture and toward perdition.
Early in my lifetime, homosexual practices were almost universally a criminal offense, because homosexuality was almost universally considered to be a sin. Society recognized that sexual perversion was both contrary to God's order for humanity and also one of the greatest threats to civilized order.
By the time I attended college in the 1970s, homosexuality was being characterized as a "psychological maladjustment."
By the time I reached my early forties, sexual perversion had been redefined as an "alternative lifestyle."
By the time I reached middle age, the term "homophobia" was common; those who opposed homosexuality were now the ones who were "maladjusted" - and dangerous.
Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, sinful man seeks to dignify that which God condemns in the most decisive language throughout His Word by calling it "same-sex marriage" - which is as much of an oxymoron as "cold fire" or a "flourishing wasteland."
The Tragedy of the Therapeutic Church
How did any ministry that calls itself evangelical, or any person who calls himself a born-again Christian, adopt such egregiously un-Biblical positions as the ones we cited above? How have we reached the point where growing segments of the church have caved in to the world's grossly sinful ideology, and have now decided that Scripture must be twisted to support it?
The increasingly dismissive attitude of many Evangelicals toward Scripture on this and many other issues results from an unprecedented change in the church's attitude toward sin. The church increasingly substitutes therapeutic approaches to sin for the truly evangelistic approach commanded by God's Word.
"Sin" is a term we hear very infrequently in postmodern society. Sin is often redefined as "a mistake" - a "poor choice" - or "unfortunate behavior." In my own lifetime, cohabitation outside of marriage used to be called "living in sin" and was considered shameful. But if that phrase is used at all today, it is usually just to make fun of the "outmoded" idea that such a relationship outside of marriage is morally wrong.
Even in the church, if sin is mentioned at all, it is usually only in horizontal terms - how it affects other people. A common excuse for sinful living is, "I'm not hurting anybody else" - which is not true, even of the most private actions. In our self-oriented culture, is also common for the church to put sin in terms of its harmful affects only on the individual, as though pure self-interest should be the great motive for personal change.
Because of such misguided thinking about the issue of sin, the church has fallen into a pattern of offering therapeutic remedies - psychological counseling, self-help groups, support groups, and other palliatives rooted in man's wisdom that fall disastrously short of meeting man's true need. The new pattern at Exodus International reflects this kind of thinking. They are now "hosting thoughtful and safe conversations about gender and sexuality, while partnering with others to reduce fear, inspire hope, and cultivate human flourishing." (One wonders how homosexual relationships can "cultivate human flourishing.")
Needed: Biblical Evangelism
Homosexuals do not need therapeutic conversations. They need to be evangelized. They need to come face to face with the holiness of God and the authority of His Word, and repent of their sin.
The true church of Christ must take an evangelistic approach to the problem of sin, never a therapeutic one. The difference between therapy and evangelism is the difference between a false gospel and the one true Gospel, the difference between Heaven and Hell. The church must proclaim the cosmic fact that the real issue of sin is not horizontal, on the human plane, but vertical, on the Divine plane. Sin is, first and foremost, an offense against the Creator God Himself. Sin is an offense against the holiness of God. Sin incurs the wrath of God, which must be propitiated by blood atonement. Sin, unless atoned for, incurs spiritual death. Sin leads inevitably to Hell.
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4)
...the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15)
And the Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book." (Exodus 32:33)
Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight - that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:4)
Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
Moreover, the sin of homosexuality violates the basic earthly relationship which God has instituted as a type of the coming eternal relationship between Christ and His Church:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33)
The evangelistic approach to the problem of homosexuality is the same as the evangelistic approach to any other form of sin. There is not a different gospel for different types of sin, or different types of sinners. The one true Gospel proclaims God's holy nature, and man's depraved nature. The one true Gospel defines sin as Scripture defines it - in God-oriented terms. The one true Gospel involves the clear proclamation of the offense of homosexuality against God - that it is sin, that it must be repented of, and that it violates the typical picture of Christ and the Church. The evangelistic approach to the problem of homosexuality requires a clear definition of repentance - seeing sin as God sees it and turning from it - and a clear call to repentance and faith in Christ's atonement for sin. But the evangelistic approach does not stop with conversion. It continues with the doctrine of sanctification - God by His Word and His Spirit conforming saved sinners more and more to the image of their Savior.
This is what the church once did - not only regarding homosexuality, but regarding man's sin problem in all of its manifestations. The church was evangelistic, not therapeutic. But today, growing segments of the church are caving in to the agenda of those who are deep in the mire of sin, and wish to affirm homosexuals in their sin. Large segments of today's church have become the therapeutic church, the affirming church. The therapeutic church is a deep offense to God. To truly minister to lost souls in the grip of sexual perversion, or any other sin, the church must become truly evangelistic once again.
These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' - and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked - I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see." (Revelation 3:14-18)
"Sodomite" is used five times in the King James Bible (Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24, 15:12, and 22:46; and 2 Kings 23:7), and twice in the New King James (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10).
"President's Remarks About Constitutional Amendment on Marriage," New York Times, 2/24/2004, as viewed online 7/7/2013 at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/25/politics/25BTEX.html
Alan Chambers, "I Am Sorry" as viewed at http://exodusinternational.org/2013/06/i-am-sorry/ on 6/14/2013.
"George W. Bush on Gay Marriage, Immigration, and Why Obama Kept His Terrorism Policies" as viewed on 7/7/2013 at http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/07/bush-on-gay-marriage-why-obama-kept-his-terrorism-policies/
" 'This Week' Transcript: George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Mohamed Tawfik" as viewed on 7/7/2013 at http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/week-transcript-george-bush-laura-bush-mohamed-tawfik/story?id=19596214&page=3
Some people on both sides of the issue insist that this passage commands the death penalty for homosexuality today. That is not the case. The death penalty for sodomy in Leviticus 20:13, like the death penalty for Sabbath violations in Exodus 31:12-17, was specific to the nation of Israel. Under the Old Covenant, God established Israel as His dwelling place on earth, and through Moses established both ceremonial and civil laws to prevent the profanation of His dwelling place. Those regulations passed away with the Cross of Christ and the destruction of the nation. In the New Covenant, individual believers are the dwelling place of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16). Because that is true, New Covenant believers are commanded to "put to death" sexual immorality within themselves (Colossians 3:1-7) and not to permit it within the church ("let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints" - Ephesians 5:3).
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