Sunday, May 20, 2012

How To Treat Gay People

This one should be real easy. This isn't a difficult topic when it comes to scripture. The way a Christian should relate to and treat someone who is homosexual isn't that difficult to understand. Unfortunately, way too many "Christians" have acted in the exact opposite way the scriptures clearly mandate. Maybe they aren't real Christians? They clearly aren't following Christ's example.

Jesus never condoned sin. He pointed it out in people's lives and called them to turn away from their sin. He was also loving. And there it is. It's that simple to understand.

There is no biblical justification for a supposed Christian to hate or mistreat anyone, including someone who is homosexual. Calling a homosexual derogatory names, teasing them, or physically assaulting them is a sin. But, it goes beyond that. It is also a sin to ignore and avoid someone because you don't like their sin.

Some people make the claim that to even call homosexuality a sin is hateful. But, that does not have to be the case. Jesus never shied away from pointing out sin. As followers of what the Bible teaches, a Christ follower should not shy away from the scriptural truth that lying is a sin, that adultery is a sin, that pornography is a sin, that greed is a sin, that gluttony is a sin, and that homosexuality is a sin. But, our goal is not just to point out sin, it is to lead sinners to the grace of God. We are sinners too. I may not have the sin of homosexuality, but that doesn't mean I am free of sin. I am no better than anyone else. Just because I don't have your particular list of sins, doesn't meant that I don't have my own list of sins. Sinners need know two things: that they are sinners, and that their is a Savior.

People who struggle with homosexuality need Christ. If we have Christ we need to lovingly share the gospel with them. That is the teaching and model we have in scripture.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Bible and Homosexuality

In-between seminary and my first pastorate I worked a couple of jobs in the secular-corporate world. One time I was working at an event with a co-worker. He knew I was a Christian and going to be a pastor. We were talking about things and he asked me what denomination I was. I told him I was a baptist. His next statement to me floored me, "Baptist, that means that you have to hate gay people."

I spent the next 10 minutes explaining to him that his perception of me was wrong. I explained to him that I have a biblical mandate, and Christ-like example to love all people. I tried to explain that while many so called Christians had "hated gay people" that is not what our faith teaches. I was also clear that the Bible clearly states that homosexual behavior is a sin. This conversation also gave me the opportunity to share the gospel with him.

There are many threads that I could chase from that incident, but I just want to address what the scriptures plainly teach about homosexuality.

This issue has gotten a lot of attention lately as President Obama publicly announced that he was in favor of gay marriages(see here). President Obama even went so far as to claim that his Christian faith led him to that decision. The problem with that is the Christians scriptures, the Bible, do not support that conclusion.

There are many advocates of homosexual rights that want the scriptures to say something other than what they clearly do. Do not be fooled by their slight of hand, and hermeneutical gymnastics. There are some issues in scripture that are a bit unclear, homosexuality is not one of them.

Here is a brief summary of some of the relevant passages of scripture that deal with homosexuality.

Genesis 2:24
In the creation, before the fall, God commends marriage as one man and one woman.

Genesis 19 – Sodom and Gomorrah
There is a lot going on in this passage, but clearly the crowds lust for homosexual experience is condemned.

Leviticus 18:22
It is an abomination

Leviticus 20:13
It is detestable

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Long list of sins that that cause people not to inherit the kingdom of God; including homosexuality

Romans 1:26-28
The condemnation of unnatural acts of homosexuality

Matthew 19:5
Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 as the normative design of God for marriage
Commends one man and one woman
Eliminates no fault divorce
Eliminates same sex marriage
Eliminates any other deviant union

The Bible does not equivocate on the issue of homosexuality. The Bible, both the OT and NT, classify homosexuality as a sin. This alone is enough to assert that the Bible condemns homosexuality and, therefore, does not condone same sex marriage.
The case cannot be made from the Bible that scripture allows acceptance of homosexuality as anything other than a sin. In order to get around this, one would have to make an argument against the scripture, since the argument cannot be made for homosexuality. Some have done this very thing. In order to accept homosexuality, some say that the Bible is not to be taken literally, or that there are errors in the Bible, or that the Bible is antiquated and must be interpreted based on modern morality. All of those arguments can be made. What cannot be reasonably stated is that the Bible says that homosexuality is not a sin. That is clearly what the Bible says.

Some other good articles can be found at the following links:
Christian Research Institute

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry