To our great shame as a nation, President Obama recently became the first sitting president in US history to publicly endorse gay marriage. This is an issue we will have to face more and more as our society continues its trend toward secularization and turns its back on God and His Word. The gay community is particularly aggressive in targeting those who dare to disagree with them. We must be careful not to be intimidated into silence or to allow the world to change our understanding of truth.
Homosexuality is now, always has been, and always will be, a sinful behavior. It is condemned whether it be a random behavior as in the San Francisco bathhouses of a decade or two ago, a temporary “hook-up”, or a “committed relationship.”
It is intriguing to read those who try to promote the homosexual lifestyle as not only acceptable in today’s society but in Scripture. They make ludicrous arguments and end up with ridiculous conclusions. They claim that there are “only a few” portions of Scripture which condemn homosexuality; that one must “hunt” to find them; and that they are “difficult to interpret.” Well, try these on for size:
▪ Leviticus 18:22 – “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
▪ Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
▪ Deuteronomy 23:17 – “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
▪ Romans 1:24-27 – “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”
▪ I Timothy 1:10 – “For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”
When confronted with such Scriptures, proponents of gay marriage will make interesting comments. Lee Jefferson, writing in the Huffington Post, said, “The Bible is a complicated collection of documents that was never meant to ‘speak’ to our contemporary situation.” Really, Lee? How about, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” (Romans 15:4)? Or, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8) What about, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7) How about Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly . . .” or Psalm 119:105, where we are told, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”? These arguments are silly, shallow, and grossly inaccurate. Were the subject not so important, they would be amusing.
Marriage is a Divine institution. Here again, our opponents show their total misunderstanding of Scripture in the absurd arguments that they make. One says that Genesis 2 tells us about Divine distinction of gender, not anything about marriage. Of course, the problem is that the Scripture tells us that God brought the woman to the man. We are told in verse 18 that His intention was not to make simply a different gender of the human species but a “help meet” and where we are told in verse 22 that He “brought her unto the man” and where in verse 24 we are told “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Marriage began with God. These verses are quoted by our Savior: “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:6-9)
This institution was blessed by being the setting for our Lord’s first miracle. It should be abundantly clear that if homosexuality is condemned, homosexual marriage could never be condoned.
We must clearly declare the Biblical position. I was careful after his disclosure to, in both the morning and the evening services, to mention my disappointment with, and opposition to, our President’s pronouncement. While it was Mother’s Day, not an appropriate time for an entire sermon about gay marriage, I did devote several minutes to the subject and said, “I’m glad my mother wasn’t gay.”
I believe it will be increasingly necessary for us to teach our young people that homosexuality is wrong and why it is wrong. They will be bombarded by secular media and our worldly society with propaganda to the contrary. They will be told that anyone who opposes gay marriage is a homophobe, that gay marriage hurts no one and that only antiquated dinosaurs could think otherwise. We must do a good job of teaching what the Bible says about this matter. I believe it will also be necessary for us to revise our church constitutions (if we have not already done so) so that there will be no questions as to our position on this matter.
We must with equal clarity declare our willingness to reach and ministry to homosexuals. There is no sin beyond the reach of God’s grace. There is no sinner who is so far gone that God’s Spirit will not convict them, God’s love will not draw them and God’s mercy will not forgive them. As we minister to alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves and others who violate God’s commands, so we must reach, teach and disciple the homosexuals. I often fly on airplanes where the flight attendants are obviously homosexual. I heard one man describe in great detail his relationship with his boyfriend to another flight attendant. On another occasion, I watched a man look with great longing at pictures of himself in drag . . . In each case, I spoke kindly to the individual, offered them a Gospel tract, and treated them like I would if I had assumed they were straight. A pastor friend told me a while ago that he thought he might have homosexual neighbors. When he asked how I would handle them, I said I would be the best neighbor they had. I would bring their trash cans back to the house, offer to get their mail when they were gone, offer to let them use my yard equipment, bring them baked goods, etc. I would never pretend that I approved of their behavior, nor would I fail to keep the door open for me to witness to them and tell them of Christ.
A little over a year ago, a lady visited our church. She happened to be the supervisor where some of our members work. She came with her lesbian partner. While we did not – nor would we ever – compromise truth, we shook their hands, greeted them with warm smiles and told them we were glad they had come. Not only did one of them raise her hand to indicate a desire for salvation, the boss told those working for her the next day that she had felt more accepted than at any church she had attended. Obviously, they have a long way to go. Obviously, I cannot approve of their wrong behavior. But it should be equally obvious that our job is to first present the Gospel to them, then to teach them the truths of the Word of God – not to make them feel unwelcome in our church.