Maverick’s Corner feels compelled to apologize, on behalf of the Church at large, for the demonization of homosexuality and the shunning or rejecting of any individuals for their same-sex desires.  We affirm, in the strongest possible way, that those of us who are heterosexual in desire are not more righteous or more entitled to the grace of Jesus Christ than those of us who are homosexual.  Nor are heterosexuals in less need of that grace.

Maverick’s Corner stands against any form of evil, including prejudice, bigotry and violence. We believe that MORAL DISAGREEMENT is not a license for slander or harassment of any contrary group.

Jesus commands us to do away with evil, but to salvage the evildoers (Matthew 5:38-47). Where as the Mosaic Law is aimed at punishing evildoers, Jesus philosophy is aimed at eradicating the evil itself, but redeeming the evildoer! To reject a person’s deeds without playing the role of judge (God) is a foreign to our common way of thinking. Thought Christian history we have been unwilling to love people unless their deeds are “loveable.” We want to be God. We want to prescribe punishment for others.  We seem to be unable to distinguish between condemning evil and condemning Persons.

We must point out early the hypocrisy of so-called relativists.  Homosexuals who barge into the church service, demanding tolerance for their lifestyle, must see how intolerant they are.  Those who demand freedom of thought and expression for themselves cannot reasonably exclude religious beliefs from public discourse.

Listen to the words of William Watkins when he says:  “We (the people of God) must violate the new tolerance and become people marked by intolerance.  Not an intolerance that unleashes hate upon people, but an intolerance that’s unwilling to allow error to masquerade as truth.  An intolerance that calls evil evil and good good. “[1]

In short, Jesus tells us to live in that narrow place between rejecting deeds and rejecting persons, to walk the narrow line (Matthew 7:1-6) between judging and accepting!

When shall we learn that the answer to a false doctrine is not the punishment of its teacher, but a better doctrine? The Christian is called to live between the times—between what is and what is yet to be. Applied to the issue of judging others, this means that he is called to live between condemning a person’s deeds and condemning the person as unworthy to be part of the kingdom of God. That’s a hard and lonely place to live.

Without a doubt, the Church is in trouble. Listen to the words of a few Christian around the world.

  • The 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, (retired) George Carey confides, “I fear for the future. The Church seems to have lost its way.”
  • Evangelist Billy Graham concurred, saying, “I’m not certain what the future holds for the institutional Church, but at the moment it looks grim.”
  • Presbyterian leader Dr. James Kennedy (deceased) argues that, “there is little hope for the world if the Church cannot agree on the simplest of things—ike what is right and what is wrong.”
  • The late Francis Schaeffer, evaluated the state of the American Church in our day as “the great Evangelical disaster.”

A (liberal) Evangelical voice calling for Christians to re-think their attitudes toward homosexuals is Tony Campolo, a professor of Sociology at Eastern College, an ordained Baptist minister, and a popular speaker. Campolo argues that not all people with “homosexual orientations” are “perverting their original nature.” At a meeting of the Evangelical Round Table he stated in 1988:

“Paul, in Romans 1, condemned one kind of homosexual behavior which is a perversion resulting from an insatiable sexual appetite yielded to the demonic.” [2]

Campolo went on to suggest that homosexual lovers ought to live together in a lifelong covenant without having sex. He explained:

“There are Christians who might disapprove of this arrangement, claiming that the Bible implies a condemnation of even romantic feelings between members of the same sex. However, these critics are hard-pressed to build a Biblical case for their complaints.” [3]

Christ did not pray for unity at any cost. He prayed that His people be kept in truth: “Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Our unity actually demonstrates to unbelievers that God sent Jesus into the world (John 17:20). Jesus prayed that truth might be a means of protecting his disciples from becoming merely part “of the world.” After all, the Church is supposed to be in the world, not of it.

Believers in Jesus Christ are simply in the world—physically present—but not of it, not part of its values (John 17:14-15). As believers, we should be set apart from the world. This is the meaning of being holy and living a holy, righteous life—to be set apart. We are not to engage in the sinful activities the world promotes, nor are we to retain the insipid, corrupt mind that the world creates. Rather, we are to conform ourselves, and our minds, to that of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1-2).

Jesus made three statements (Matthew 19:4, 6) about God the Creator’s activity. First, God “made” them male and female. Secondly, God “said” that a man must leave his parents and cleave to his wife. Thirdly, he “joined” them together in such a way that no human being might put them apart. Here, then, are three truths which Jesus affirmed:

  1. Heterosexual gender is a divine creation;
  2. Heterosexual marriage is a divine institution;
  3. Heterosexual fidelity is the divine intention.

A homosexual liaison is a breach of all three of these divine purposes.

Jesus made it clear to His disciples that the only option for those who do not marry is celibacy. Let us look at Matthew 19:11-12: (11)

But He said to them, "Not all men {can} accept this statement, but {only} those to whom it has been given. (12) "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are {also} eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept {this,} let him accept {it.}"

 

The text says a man can become a eunuch in one of three ways:

 

  1. The first is by castration or emasculation,
  2. natural causes, such as a rupture, and
  3. those who abstain from marriage, and live as celibates through the gift of God (sake of the kingdom).

Many today would contend that there is a vast gulf of differentiation between the harsh teaching of the Old Testament and the fresh forgiveness of the New Testament—particularly when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. Jesus, of instance, is silent on the question, they would say. But that is simply not the case.

Though it is true that we have no record of Christ confronting or ministering to a known practicing homosexual, His message clearly prohibits any such behavior.

  • First, Jesus endorsed the teaching and commandments (Leviticus 20:13; 21:23) of the entire Old Testament. He never had any hesitation about that. He said that “heaven and earth would pass away” before the statutes of the Word passed away.
  • Secondly, Jesus appealed directly to the creation account of one man and one woman as the sole model for covenant marriage. And like the Old Testament Prophets, Jesus used the example of Sodom’s sin as a warning to Israel of divine wrath. As mentioned above, Jesus made it clear to His disciples that the only option for those who do not marry, is celibacy (Matthew 19:11-12).

Yes, Christ died for sinners—to set them free from sin. The Apostle Paul knew this well. After listing homosexuality among other sinful practices which exclude people from the Kingdom of God, he wrote to the Church in Corinth:

“And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, NRSV)

The New Testament Church, apparently, was filled with repentant ex homosexuals who had found new life in Christ. May it be so once again.

I believe the God’s Word is a powerful, supernatural book. I’ve seen its truth change people. I’ve seen its truth take an empty entrepreneur disillusioned with life and transform him. I’ve seen the Bible convict and change a long-time alcoholic. And I’ve seen the Bible take a hard-hearted homosexual who sees his sin for the very first time and longs for the forgiveness and freedom Jesus offers, and I’ve seen God change him through the power of His Word. “

“The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, able to pierce to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It’s a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? I know that someone reading this today wrestles with this sin, but because of the prejudice in the church, they’ve CRITICAL CONCERN SERIES “Homosexuality” kept their struggle private. But as dark as it is, homosexuality is like any other sin, and the truth of God’s Word can set the struggler free.

Yes—homosexuality is sin. Leviticus 18:22 spells this out without confusion. So does Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:18-22. What man calls freedom, preference, and alternative, God calls “foolishness,” “an abomination,” and “perverse.”

THE SIN OF SODOM--GENESIS 19

Does the Bible condemn homosexuality? For centuries the answer to that question seemed obvious, but in the last few decades pro- homosexual commentators have tried to reinterpret the relevant biblical passages. In this discussion we will take a look at their exegesis.

The first reference to homosexuality in the Bible is found in Genesis 19. In this passage, Lot entertains two angels who come to the city to investigate its sins. Before they go to bed, all the men (from every part of the city of Sodom) surround the house and order him to bring out the men so that "we may know them." Historically commentators have always assumed that the Hebrew word for "know" meant that the men of the city wanted to have sex with the visitors.

More recently, proponents of homosexuality argue that biblical commentators misunderstand the story of Sodom. They argue that the men of the city merely wanted to meet these visitors. Either they were anxious to extend Middle-eastern hospitality or they wanted to interrogate the men and make sure they weren't spies.  In either case, they argue, the passage has nothing to do with homosexuality. The sin of Sodom is not homosexuality, they say, but inhospitality.

One of the keys to understanding this passage is the proper translation of the Hebrew word for "know." Pro-homosexuality commentators point out that this word can also mean "to get acquainted with" as well as mean "to have intercourse with."  In fact, the word appears over 943 times in the Old Testament, and only 12 times does it mean "to have intercourse with." Therefore, they conclude that the sin of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexuality.

The problem with the argument is context. Statistics is not the same as exegesis. Word count alone should not be the sole criterion for the meaning of a word. And even if a statistical count should be used, the argument backfires. Of the 12 times the word "to know" is used in the book of Genesis, in 10 of those 12 it means "to have intercourse with."

Second, the context does not warrant the interpretation that the men only wanted to get acquainted with the strangers. Notice that Lot decides to offer his two daughters instead. In reading the passage, one can sense Lot's panic as he foolishly offers his virgin daughters to the crowd instead of the foreigners. This is not the action of a man responding to the crowd's request "to become acquainted with" the men.

Notice that Lot describes his daughters as women who "have not known" a man. Obviously this implies sexual intercourse and does not mean "to be acquainted with." It is unlikely that the first use of the word "to know" differs from the second use of the word. Both times the word "to know" should be translated "to have intercourse with." This is the only consistent translation for the passage.

Finally, Jude 7 provides a commentary on Genesis 19. The New Testament reference states that the sin of Sodom involved gross immorality and going after strange flesh. The phrase "strange flesh" could imply homosexuality or bestiality and provides further evidence that the sin of Sodom was not inhospitality but homosexuality.  Contrary to what pro-homosexual commentators say, Genesis 19 is a clear condemnation of homosexuality. Next we will look at another set of Old Testament passages dealing with the issue of homosexuality.

MOSAIC LAW--LEVITICUS 18, 20

Now we will look at the Mosaic Law. Two passages in Leviticus call homosexuality an abomination. Leviticus 18:22 says, "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a women; that is detestable." Leviticus 20:13 says, "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable." The word for "abomination" is used five times in Leviticus 18 and is a strong term of disapproval, implying that something is abhorrent to God. Biblical commentators see these verses as an expansion of the seventh commandment. Though not an exhaustive list of sexual sins, they are representative of the common sinful practices of nations surrounding Israel.

Pro-homosexual commentators have more difficulty dealing with these relatively simple passages of Scripture, but usually offer one of two responses. Some argue that these verses appear in the Holiness code of the Leviticus and only applies to the priests and ritual purity. Therefore, according to this perspective, these are religious prohibitions, not moral prohibitions. Others argue that these prohibitions were merely for the Old Testament theocracy and are not relevant today. They suggest that if Christians wanted to be consistent with the Old Testament law code in Leviticus, they should avoid eating rare steak, wearing mixed fabrics, and having marital intercourse during the menstrual period.

First, do these passages merely apply to ritual purity rather than moral purity? Part of the problem comes from making the two issues distinct. The priests were to model moral behavior within their ceremonial rituals. Moral purity and ritual purity cannot be separated, especially when discussing the issue of human sexuality. To hold to this rigid distinction would imply that such sins as adultery were not immoral (consider Lev. 18:20) or that bestiality was morally acceptable (notice Lev. 18:23). The second argument concerns the relevance of the law today. Few Christians today keep kosher kitchens or balk at wearing clothes interwoven with more than one fabric.

They believe that those Old Testament laws do not pertain to them. In a similar way pro-homosexual commentators argue that the Old Testament admonitions against homosexuality are no longer relevant today. A practical problem with this argument is that more than just homosexuality would have to be deemed morally acceptable.  The logical extension of this argument would also have to make bestiality and incest morally acceptable since prohibitions to these two sins surround the prohibition against homosexuality. If the Mosaic law is irrelevant to homosexuality, then it is also irrelevant to having sex with animals or having sex with children.

More to the point, to say that the Mosaic law has ended is not to say that God has no laws or moral codes for mankind. Even though the ceremonial law has passed,  the moral law remains. The New Testament speaks of the "law of the Spirit" (Rom.8:2) and the "law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). One cannot say that something that was sin under the Law is not sin under grace. Ceremonial laws concerning diet or wearing mixed fabrics no longer apply, but moral laws (especially those rooted in God's creation order for human sexuality) continue. Moreover, these prohibitions against homosexuality can also be found in the New Testament as we will see next as we consider other passages reinterpreted by pro-homosexual commentators.

NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES

In our examination of the Old Testament teachings regarding homosexuality, we found that Genesis 19 teaches that the men of Sodom were seeking the strangers in order to have sex with them, not merely asking to meet these men or to extend Middle Eastern hospitality to them. We also discovered that certain passages in Leviticus clearly condemn homosexuality and are relevant today. These prohibitions were not just for the Old Testament theocracy, but were moral principles binding on human behavior and conduct today.

At this point we will consider some of the New Testament passages dealing with homosexuality. Three key New Testament passages concerning homosexuality are: Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10. Of the three, the most significant is Romans 1 because it deals with homosexuality within the larger cultural context.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Here the Apostle Paul sets the Gentile world's guilt before a holy God and focuses on the arrogance and lust of the Hellenistic world. He says they have turned away from a true worship of God so that "God gave them over to shameful lusts." Rather than follow God's instruction in their lives, they "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom. 1:18) and follow passions that dishonor God.

Another New Testament passage dealing with homosexuality is 1 Corinthians 6:9- 10. " Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." Pro- homosexual commentators make use of the "abuse" argument and point out that Paul is only singling out homosexual offenders. In other words, they argue that the Apostle Paul is condemning homosexual abuse rather than responsible homosexual behavior. In essence, these commentators are suggesting that Paul is calling for temperance rather than abstinence. While this could be a reasonable interpretation for drinking wine (don't be a drunkard), it hardly applies to other sins listed in 1 Corinthians 6 or 1 Timothy 1. Is Paul calling for responsible adultery or responsible prostitution? Is there such a thing as moral theft and swindling? Obviously the argument breaks down. Scripture never condones sex outside of marriage (premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual sex). God created man and woman for the institution of marriage (Gen. 2:24).

Homosexuality is a violation of the creation order, and God clearly condemns it as unnatural and specifically against His ordained order. As we have seen in the discussion thus far, there are passages in both the Old Testament and the New Testament which condemn homosexuality.

Yes—homosexuality is sin—but God has deep compassion for those caught in its compulsive, escalating bondage. Someone has said they are the lepers of our day. Socially outcast, the object of scorn, subjected to harsh rejection, but loved by Jesus. Read the gospels to catch the criticism Jesus got for loving lepers and prostitutes. It’s one thing to fight against the homosexual movement; it’s another thing to fight against an individual.

If you secretly struggle with homosexuality, let me share hope with you. If this sin is rooted partially in relational pain from rejection, the solution can begin with a heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally. Like the prodigal son, if you approach the Father in repentance, you will receive His full and loving embrace as any other sinner does. The Savior forgives completely. Maybe you think, “But I’ve been in some dark places and done some dark things.” Hear this: There is no sin that Jesus did not die to pay for and for which you can’t be totally forgiven. There’s hope in the Holy Spirit who transforms you.

Bible clearly identifies homosexuality as sin. God determines what is sin; the church simply agrees with God.

The process of change takes different forms for different people, but we pledge to walk beside those with unwanted same-sex desires, who wish to take the Scriptures, and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, seriously. God always makes a way for us, wherever we are in our life experience. So we invite all to find the freedom of obedience to Christ here alongside fellow sinners made new. The church is here to provide an environment of grace that allows failure alongside the challenge to growth, whether in this area of behavior or in any other.

To those opening their hearts to this transforming power of God, Purpose Driven Church.net opens its doors with a warm welcome. God changes people. Do you believe that?

In Christ’s service,

Jerry


[1] William D. Watkins, The New Absolutes (Bethany House, 1996) P. 240

[2] Fraser David A., The Evangelical Round Table: The Sanctity of Life (Princeton University Press) P. 159.

[3] Ibid. Pg. 160-161.