Archives For Homosexuality

There is a trend in our culture where if you are attracted to the same sex, attracted to both sexes, or identify as a different gender than your birth gender, the cultural tide tells you to go with how you feel, be yourself, and live into these feelings and attractions.

It can feel like there are only two paths: the cultural path of living by your feelings / orientation or the biblical path of living according to what the Bible says.  This dichotomy that’s been set up by the Church and by culture doesn’t give the whole picture though; it’s like we’re playing a game of chess with only a quarter of the board.

A primary breakdown in this dichotomy is that “the biblical path” is often seen by both culture and the Church as meaning “the straight path,” as in, if you’re straight, you’ve met the Bible’s standard.  Heterosexual sin within the Church is no big deal, while homosexual sin gets all of the attention.  This dichotomy also assumes that the solution for someone who is gay is for them to become straight, something that is usually not possible.

Is heterosexual sin spoken against in the Bible?  Yes.  Clearly and directly and repeatedly.  From lust, to adultery, to divorce, heterosexual sin is called out as direct rebellion against a holy God.

Why is Jesus so harsh against lust and divorce? (Matthew 5:27-32)  It’s because God created sex to be between a man and a woman in the context of marriage alone.  Does that line feel familiar to you?  It might remind you of debates that go on between culture and the Church (or between the Church and the Church) about homosexuality.  And it begins to reveal a few more of the missing squares on the chess board…

Those who are gay, lesbian and transgender get all of the spotlight when it comes to conforming to the Bible’s design for sex—not that they are asking for it, but as a heterosexual with tons of sexual disorientation issues, I have to say I’m a little jealous. Continue Reading…

My friend Jim Decke and I recently did a sermon at Crossroads about homosexuality.  Jim shared his testimony of discovering he was gay at a very young age and the ups and downs of trying to get rid of this orientation.  Jim eventually gave up and just did as his sexual desires pleased, until eventually deciding to follow God in a path of singleness and celibacy.  Jim has a powerful and remarkable quote at the beginning of our talk:

Much of my time in this sermon is spent showing that the Bible indeed does say homosexual sex is a sin, regardless of the context it is in.  There are several ways to view the Bible, which I spell out in my part of the sermon but also have blogged about previously here.  I also make sure to point out the Bible never says that homosexual orientation or same sex attraction is a sin, only the behavior, something I’ve also blogged about previously.

If you want an easy to understand explanation of what the Bible says about homosexuality in its original languages (Greek and Hebrew), as well as its original context, I highly recommend What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung, which is the source I used for almost all of the biblical content of my portion of the sermon.  Pastor Kevin has also recently posted a very helpful blog about the debate (in response to Jen Hatmaker and Nicholas Wolterstorff recently saying homosexual sex within marriage is okay biblically), which you can read here.

I say this at the beginning of the sermon, but the point here is not to debate a point or to try to harp on homosexuals, it is that this has become a major biblical issue in today’s society and it’s important we are honest and clear about what the Bible says, and what people are saying the Bible says that it doesn’t actually say.  The Bible is the source of authoritative truth for our faith so it’s not something to be taken lightly.  In the process, we want to help people who struggle with homosexuality and same sex attraction in real, authentic, loving and compassion ways.

Please email Jim Decke if you struggle with homosexuality and want some support.  Also know he is hosting a support small group for people who are homosexual / have same sex attraction and are interesting in committing to abstaining from homosexual romantic relationships.

Video:

 

Audio Only (Podcast):

Simply saying that being transgender or transitioning genders is wrong is a 2 cent answer to a million (billion) dollar question.

Like many issues, a person who has no personal experience with the struggle should not go around making cavalier, black and white statements about those who do.  This doesn’t mean the Bible doesn’t apply, but it’s hypocritical and judgmental to conclude that your experience with a specific struggle is the same as someone else’s and thus, their response to it should come as simply and easily as yours does.

It is incorrect and unhelpful to assume that a transgender person has chosen to feel the way they do about their gender identity or that they can simply choose to identify in line with their biological body parts.

I was recently talking to a Christian parent whose child transitioned genders.  Their child was developing bad body odor and they couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t take showers.  Their child explained to them that they were so disturbed with seeing their own genitalia, feeling so much that it didn’t belong there, that they would rather smell bad than have to see this and be reminded of it.

If you are a man, imagine you step in the shower tomorrow morning and see you have breasts and a vagina.

If you are a woman, imagine stepping in the shower tomorrow morning and seeing you have a penis.

(And then being mocked, bullied and shamed for it)

That’s a small taste of how it feels to be transgender.  Continue Reading…

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase grace filled sexuality?  I know I have Jesus’s grace, so if I live sexually in a way that is different than God’s design/commands, I’m okay and I’ll be forgiven.

The Christian whose sexual desires differ from God’s design for sex often find themselves in quite a quandary.  God says sex is meant for a lifetime covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20).  He goes on to say that fantasizing about sex outside of his design for marriage is as much a sin as the act itself (Matthew 5:27-28).  This is an extremely high standard to live up to, contrasting pretty much the entire gamut of sexual desire.  Whether we’re talking about those who look at pornography, are having premarital sex, are cheating on their spouse, are in homosexual relationships (including transgender transitions), are divorced and remarried, or those who lust, there are very few who live up to God’s holy standard for sexuality.

But we know that grace is offered to all who will receive it.

So then, how will we live?

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 4.33.10 PMThere’s a lot of valid talk nowadays about nature vs. nurture and about how a person is wired sexually.  Many have wrestled with the question, “Why did God make me this way?”  I’m heterosexual and married and I often ask God the same question!  While I don’t like to admit it, I am definitely wired to be attracted to multiple women.  It is the way I am wired.  I’ve battled it for many years, cried out to God for healing in it, and nothing has taken it away.  I promise I am not speaking facetiously here.  There’s nothing worse than wanting to be faithful to the wife you love and being constantly drawn like a magnet toward other women.  Random women.  Women you know.  Women you’ve never met.  It’s never ending and at times, is downright torture. Continue Reading…

orlando

Police investigate the back of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, June 12. At least 49 people were killed there by Omar Mateen, who was shot and killed by Orlando police. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Photo credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack | AP

49 people were gunned down and killed in an Orlando gay bar early Sunday morning, with another 53 wounded.  You can read more about the gut-wrenching story here (CNN).  The Orlando Sentinel is compiling a page where you can read a short tribute about each of the victims.

There are lots of heavy elements to this story:  the shooter’s ISIS allegiance, a hate crime against the LGBT community, guns, an act of domestic terrorism, the pain the LGBT community is feeling, the pain the Latino community is feeling, and even the confusion some Evangelical Christians might feel about their (our) view that acts of homosexuality are sinful.

Well one of those heavy elements can be cleared up here and now:  there need be no confusion whatsoever about how Evangelical Christians are to react to the Orlando massacre.  Our reaction is to be an outpouring of love, mourning, prayer and solidarity.  Period.  Can we get over the fact that people are sinful and remember that people are people?  Every person on the planet is sinful, yours truly leading the charge.  The people in that nightclub were no more or less sinful than me or you.  While most don’t want to hear it, the same goes for the shooter.  Sin is sin and we all desperately need Jesus and thank God our (my) sexual sins don’t define us (me).  Sin doesn’t negate the fact that we are all image bearers of our Creator (Genesis 1:27).  We are all people who hold incredible dignity and value.  Every person in that nightclub who was gunned down was an image bearer of God and God mourns with those who mourn.  We are to do the same, Romans 12:14-18 makes this clear as day:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

My emotions went from gut-wrenched to infuriated when I saw what was trending on Facebook Sunday afternoon: Westboro Baptist Church says “God Sent the Shooter,” celebrates the Orlando shooting.

For those unfamiliar with Westboro Baptist, they are a “church” made up of a handful of people in Topeka, Kansas, almost all of whom are related to one another.  They are most known for picketing at funerals and their “God Hates Fags” signs that they hold up seemingly everywhere.  If you follow their activities, their message is pretty much that “God Hates Everyone and Everything.”  Somehow this small family of rag tag hateful lunatics get more press coverage than the New York Yankees, and often as representatives of Christianity!  I really don’t want to write much more about them.

The only group of people it is difficult for me to apply Romans 12:14-18 to is Westboro and their ilk.  Not the LGBT community; not ISIS; Westboro.  They take my Jesus and prostitute him for their gain.  They lie about my Jesus.  They paint my Jesus as a fraud, and people then associate my Jesus with the fraud they’ve painted.

Pray for my heart that I will love Westboro and not repay their evil with evil of my own.

Let’s all come together and bless and not curse, mourn with those who mourn, live in harmony with one another, not be proud or conceited, not repay anyone evil for evil and as far as it depends on us, live at peace with everyone.

I don’t think I could have said it better myself.

13435519_535546629092_2952130055917864825_n