Archives For Homosexuality

This is a follow-up to a post I wrote yesterday about the city of East Lansing, MI banning a Charlotte, MI farmer from their farmer’s market because the farmer won’t allow gay marriages to be held at his farm.  (The Charlotte farmer is suing the city of East Lansing)

Via a helpful Facebook conversation about my article, I found the crux of the debate revolves around if providing a marriage is a business service or not.  The “pro East Lansing” side feels the Charlotte farmer is denying gay couples a business service in the public business sphere by not allowing them to wed on his property so he is guilty of discrimination.

1. If the farmer was unwilling to sell vegetables to gay couples, then he would be guilty of discrimination

If the farmer was unwilling to sell vegetables to gay couples, he would then be guilty of discrimination and the penalties therein.  As a farmer, his business in the public sector is farming.  In this case with the farmer’s market, it is selling vegetables.  He is not denying gay couples the right to buy his vegetables, nor is he denying Muslims, Hindus, or people having sex outside of marriage the opportunity to buy his vegetables either–all groups of people that a Christian would theoretically not allow to marry on their property because they don’t align with a Christian / biblical sacred wedding ceremony.

2. A wedding is a sacred worship service, not a public business service

I would never expect a Catholic Church, Jewish Synagogue, or Hindu Temple to allow me and my wife to marry in their building, or on their members’ private property.  The reason for this is because all of these groups see a wedding as a sacred worship service, something that is uniquely derived from their faith and religious tradition, not as the legal or business transaction which many in secular society see it as today.  I have officiated many weddings, but no one would call me a bigot if I was unwilling to officiate a Hindu wedding.  This would be the same as asking me to worship Hindu gods in my Sunday morning church service.  Hindus have the full American right to worship their gods, but the day the government comes in like the Gestapo and tells me that I too must worship those gods in my church, or in any part of my life, is the day American freedom dies at the door.

It’s not just about “gods” in the traditional religious sense, it’s that these wedding ceremonies are worship services for each of these religious groups.  The Catholic Church has every right to not allow me a Catholic wedding because I’m not Catholic!  I don’t ascribe to their beliefs about theology, God, the Church, and so on, and a wedding under their authority means we have both agreed this is the direction I and my spouse are living and pursuing.  It doesn’t mean we hate each other, far from it, but to say they must officiate my wedding is illogical and very un-American.  All of the same holds true for gay weddings, which I treat the same as I do two heterosexual people having sex outside of marriage.  The fact that two people have not agreed to follow the Bible’s design for sex does not mean that I am a bigot toward them, but it does mean I’m not going to hold the Bible over their marriage, which is the only thing I can do as a Bible-believing pastor when I officiate a wedding.  Like Hindu gods, the way we live out sexuality is a god as well.  I can’t “bless” a wedding like I carry magic pixy dust around in my pocket and I choose who to throw it on, I can only pray over (and “bless” in that sense) a wedding that is in line with the God I’m praying to (in line with God’s design for sex and marriage laid out in the Bible).  It would be a lie for me, and for the people getting married, for me to try to be so inconsistent before them and before God.  It would be as strange as singing Sunday morning worship songs to Krishna in my church.

In this East Lansing farmer’s market example, it’s like East Lansing heard that the Hindus wouldn’t let me do my wedding on their property because I’m a Christian and now have banned the Hindu farmer from their market because of it. That would be indefensible discrimination against that Hindu farmer, which I feel they are doing to this farmer from Charlotte.  They are discriminating against anyone who doesn’t hold to East Lansing’s religious views of marriage.

 

 

East Lansing, MI is a very progressive city, priding themselves on inclusivity of all viewpoints and all types of people.  The cardinal sin in a progressive culture like East Lansing is to say that your view is the only correct view, and that others are wrong.  And it’s even worse to then take action against groups that you disagree with.

Country Mill Farms in Charlotte, MI has been banned from the East Lansing Farmer’s Market because they won’t perform gay weddings in their backyard in Charlotte.

The worst form of bigotry certainly comes when people are killing others because of their views or identity.  ISIS comes to mind, as do the Crusades, as does slavery of African-Americans and genocide of Native Americans.  Second to taking another’s life is taking their economic opportunity.  Slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws are the glaring example here–centuries long economic deprivation of a people group that has profoundly shaped our country in the worst way.

So here is the city of East Lansing, discriminating against a Charlotte farmer who believes that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman.  East Lansing is saying, “If you don’t agree with our views, you are wrong, and we will block you from economic opportunity because of it.” Continue Reading…

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…

Our culture’s cloud of sexual living continues to get darker, denser and more and more expansive.  Everything is becoming normal and everyone is starting younger.

Sexual immorality is no respecter of persons.  This has little to do with homosexuality vs. heterosexuality or any of the many cultural wars going on in this arena today.  It’s so easy (and wrong) for Christians to point the finger at homosexuals or gay marriage as corrupting God’s design for sex when divorce, premarital sex and sexually explicit material in entertainment took care of this long ago.  We could care less that our favorite show on Netflix shows sex and nudity and conditions to long for this outside of wedlock, but we’ll get fired up about those gays!  Um, how about we each take a look in the mirror at how we have bought in to culture’s polluted view of sex, a pollution that has infiltrated every square inch of our society and has influenced each and every one of us.  If you’re not divorced, you haven’t had premarital sex, you’ve never lusted, you’ve never looked at pornography or read romance novels, you’ve never watched sexually explicit nude scenes in movies or TV, and you’ve never fantasized about being with someone other than your spouse, then I guess you’re allowed to start pointing fingers. 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.

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