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What Luther Says

A Christian Response To 'What If Straight Was Gay And Gay Was Straight?'

As a Christian, I don't hate gay people. Actually, my heart breaks for them, because they're sinners just like me...only they don't know it (or they refuse to believe it).

To be completely honest, I see them as the mission field for they are certainly sinners, but sinners who are being deceived by our common enemy (1 Peter 5:8) day-in-and-day-out as opposed the enemy, or, more specifically, as opposed to my/our personal enemy.

Yes, all unrepentant sinners are at war with God and are therefore His enemy until they repent and believe in Christ's atoning sacrifice, but are they really our enemies? What about 1 Peter 4:8? That's what I've been thinking about after yesterday's post.

In Christ, we are to love others and freely forgive them. However, in and of itself, our love has no power to forgive.

"No apostle would have imagined (a) our love overcomes sin and death, (b) loves satisfies God's wrath and reconciles us to God, while excluding Christ as Mediator, and (c) love in and of itself is righteousness before God without Christ as Mediator."
*- Apology of the Augsburg Confession V 117

"Let everyone use his tongue and make it serve for the best of everyone else, to cover up his neighbor's sins and infirmities [1 Peter 4:8], excuse them, conceal and garnish them with his own reputation."
*- Large Catechism I 285

Isn't that the proper Biblical view here?

Think about it for just a second. The majority of homosexuals are not enemies to the Gospel anymore than you and I are. They are the ones who Jesus came to seek and to save, because He loves them. Westboro Baptist types would be wise to remember that. Those people are not the enemy, because Jesus died for those people just like He died for us who are already saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Romans 5:10-11 (ESV) 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Again, the homosexual who is struggling with the sin is not our enemy. He/She is a sinner, yes, but he/she is also listening to the lies of the world, which is ruled by the "father of lies" himself (John 8:44).

Yes, even the homosexual who goes and marches in the "Gay Pride" parade holding signs to support his/her sinful lifestyle is not so much our enemy as he/she is the enemy of God Himself. He/She is listening to the "father of lies" who feeds our fallen flesh too.

Now, this is not meant to absolve us sinners from our sins against the Lord as if sin is never our fault since we can just blame Satan for his role in the whole sordid affair (Psalm 51:5), or that there are no consequences for our sins (Romans 6:23). May it never be so! I hope I'm doing a decent job of communicating what I'm trying to say here.

Todd Friel of Wretched recently pointed out how the real enemy of the Gospel is anyone who professes to be a Christian, and yet, they refuse to acknowledge what God's Word clearly says -- in this case, that God views homosexuality as a sin (i.e., V. Gene Robinson).

They are the real enemies of the Gospel, because they try to teach...BIBLICALLY...that homosexuality is not a sin! There's your enemy. So, it's a theological enemy as opposed to someone who's just a sinner in need of hearing the Law and Gospel; in need of Jesus Christ.

I wholeheartedly agree that it's an important distinction that needs to be made more often and it's one that certainly needs to be made at the beginning of today' piece. I sort of hinted at this in yesterday's entry when I said that we're actually failing homosexuals.

Those who are theologically warring against the Gospel, Biblical sufficiency, and what the Word of God clearly teaches...those are the ones that Jesus routinely engaged and called a "brood of vipers" and "whitewashed tombs" throughout the New Testament, and they are the ones who are our real enemies, because they are enemies of the Word. The typical homosexual ignorant of (or even rebellious to) the Word of God is not.

The Holy Bible is the only authority. Jesus Christ is the only Savior. Please remember those two truths as you continue reading this message today.

Liberal Christianity's favorite high priestess, Rachel Held-Evans, continues to demonstrate her penchant for rebelling against God's Word and her affinity for Matthew 15:13-14 despite professing to be a Christian.

Recently, she wrote a column titled "If My Son Or Daughter Were Gay..." in which she featured the following 20-minute video titled "What If Straight Was Gay And Gay Was Straight?"

Before I say anything about this film, please take the time to watch some of it, but don't feel bad if you don't make it through the whole thing, because it's pure propaganda and absolutely absurd if not downright despicable.

The 20-minute film perpetuates every myth -- yes, myths -- about homosexuality that there is. Ironically, I think the flick actually makes a strong case as to why we all need Christ since every person depicted was shown sinning in some way, shape, or form.

I like how another secular blogger put it though. Short and sweet.

Here’s a recently uploaded video on YouTube that one of my friends on Facebook linked to today. It’s a rather sentimentalist attempt at engendering empathy, which comes from a desire to love and to understand. About the only positive comment I can make about this film is that it does reveal how some people may have felt when they discovered that they were living with same sex attraction in a world in which being a “fag” was inconceivable, or to “be gay” is considered a fate worse than death.

(How much does that really happen today, however? I think much of that is in the past, which I think is a legitimate good that came out of Stonewall and the gay rights movement–both good and bad has come out of the movement, in my mind.)

No doubt too many children have awoken to the realization that they are attracted to members of the same sex, and that awareness leads to tremendous inner turmoil, and the film tries to show this, albeit in a very caricatured way. The Church certainly needs to minister to the pain of these boys and girls in a more concrete way, but this sort of video I think is absurd, and ultimately doesn’t really help anyone, except to allow the persons who promote it on Facebook and elsewhere to feel a sense of self satisfaction about their own enlightened open mindedness.

Of course, where the film becomes absurd is when one asks the obvious question: where did everyone in the movie come from? Storks? Or has the world of this silly video always been “A Brave New World” in which children are created in Hatcheries? It’s sentimental drivel, resulting from a Glee-ified world.

Aside from members of the Westboro Baptist Church, how many Christians do you know who are "intolerant" of homosexuals to the point where they’re "hateful" and "mean-spirited" (sins in and of themselves) toward them like the fictional characters depicted in this video were? I'm not saying those kinds of Christians don't exist, only that they're in the minority.

From where I’m standing, those who preach "tolerance" all the time to people like me are the most intolerant people I know.

Furthermore, can I just say that I think it’s shameful for any Christian to sentimentalize with the content of this video? Calling homosexuality a sin and merely quoting the Bible, quoting God on the subject, is what it means to be a Christian. If any "Christian" equates that with being "hateful" or "intolerant" or "mean-spirited" in its own right, then they might want to read their Bible a little more.

Now, I want to hold off on commenting any further on the specific content depicted in that movie for just a while longer. Instead, I want begin by making a clear statement of faith on this issue and then continue by explaining why I decided to write this in the first place.

We Christians should always think of it as a privilege that we get to confess the truth when it comes to the Word of God and proclaim Christ crucified in this day and age in whatever particular environment and vocation God has placed us in for His glory, and particularly with something as heated as the discussion of homosexuality however it may come up for conversation in our daily lives. We should really welcome the opportunity to be alive in this day and age and to bring the Word to God to bare on that.

Dearly beloved, any opportunity to present what God has to say on a certain subject is a great opportunity. It's not up to us to change a person's heart and mind -- only the Holy Spirit working where He wants and according to His will can do that -- but only to be faithful i our confession of the truth.

Some might even say that we should be praying that the Lord will give us ample opportunities to share the Law regarding the sin of homosexuality, but to also share the Gospel of grace offered to those who repent of it (don't ever forget that second part!).

While I intend to dig in a little deeper here and unpack this one, this entire "debate" can be boiled down to one simple question to ask: Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? If you do, if you answered "yes" to that question, then you would know that the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin. 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1:10 tell us rather plainly that no homosexual will ever enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

If a homosexual (or someone who advocates and supports homosexuality) says they want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then we can explain to that person how God shows grace, mercy, and forgiveness to them and other sinners, that He is patient toward them (2 Peter 3:9), if they will only believe in Jesus Christ's atoning work upon the cross on their behalf, which is why they need to repent of their sins and trust in Him (John 3:16; John 14:6).

You'd think that as Christians -- regardless of the denomination we belong to -- we could all agree on those basic truths, and yet, many insist on making this much more complicated than it needs to be.

After all, apart from even the Biblical record, common sense would tell you that men belong with women and women belong with men anatomically and biologically speaking. I mean, you don't have to be a Rocket Scientist to figure that out, and that's very apparent.

But as Christians, we know what Proverbs 3:5 says though, and so that's why we must go to God's Word as the final authority on such things despite what common sense might tell us.

I'm afraid that there are those within Christianity today who just don't want to do that though. They don't want to listen to God at all! These are the true enemies of the Gospel that I called attention to at the outset.

That being said, my heart is burdened. It's heavy with emotion right now -- for those caught in the clutches of such a sinful lifestyle who aren't being given the Gospel, for those who have absolutely no compassion whatsoever even toward those who are struggling with homosexual temptations (because they believe God when He says homosexual behavior is a sin), for those who perpetuate the politically correct view rather than the Biblical one, and for those of us who want to share the truth with all of those groups of people, but we get shouted down the minute we open our mouths.

Surprisingly, I haven't been able to find any Christian blogs or ministries that have tackled this video. I pray it's because they just haven't been exposed to it yet, and not because they're concerned about the kind of response they might get if they take a stand for Biblical truth and actually comment on it (Galatians 1:10).

In addition, my heart is burdened because those few "Christians" who have referenced it have done so by taking a completely anti-Christian position if you can believe that.

Here's how one (albeit liberal, progressive) Christian I know introduced the video on his Google+ page in recent months.

If my son or daughter were gay...

Alert: serious post ahead

This video is a bit heavy-handed, but it's effective. What I think about homosexuality isn't important; what you think about gay marriage isn't important. What's important is that the events depicted in this video are all based on real life, on things that have actually happened. To someone's daughter, to someone's son.

I'll say it again: no one's views on homosexuality are so important that stuff like this is OK. As a Christian, I am deeply ashamed to be associated in any way with people who have had any part in making children feel like the girl in this video. Screw interpretation. If my choices are (1) making kids feel like this OR (2) going to hell, well, as Huck Finn put it, "all right, then, I'll go to hell." Nobody, anywhere should feel like this. Christians: we have GOT to do better.

-- That all may have been a tad melodramatic, but I just finished watching that video a few minutes ago, and I was imagining one of my daughters in her place, and I am pissed. And if you can watch it without your stomach turning, then you're already pretty far gone.

That was the introduction that preceded the video that this self-professing "Christian" shared on his Google+ page the other day. Below is the conversation that ensued.

JE: I believe that this issue of hate is a separate issue from homosexuality itself. Society, specifically the church, has allowed homosexuality to develop into the sin on the pedestal, or the sin of all sins. I believe it to be a sin, but so is lying, cheating, stealing, hating, etc. The difference is, those other sins are socially acceptable or socially tolerated, therefore are not under scrutiny. They are able to be hidden and not spoken of. As a Christian man, I would like my children to not be exposed to these sins...not just homosexuality, but all sin. In this world, that is not realistic or even possible. We are sinful in nature and it will always be there. Just like we teach our children how to respond when a friend lies or steals, we should teach them how to respond to a child struggling with homosexuality. My children know that when their friends are stealing or cheating that they are not to partake in it. They don’t hate their friends, they just don’t agree with their actions and don’t involve themselves in it. It is explained to them why they should not choose to do these things, what the consequences are (social, emotional and spiritual consequences...not just getting in trouble), and even though they make mistakes, we will always be there for them, love them and encourage them. The same should go for homosexuality. Our children need to be taught how to handle it in the correct way. I believe that I should be held accountable for my children and what they do and the actions depicted in this video are completely unacceptable and despite what social media says, it is not what my God teaches. Protesting and shouting hate accomplished nothing; it only hinders. Parents need to take responsibility and stop neglecting guide and direct our children in situations like these. I hope I’m making sense...I’m not disagreeing with you at all. We're falling short and need to do something about it.

KF: I think the question to ask, is the current evangelical Christian church in the US behaving more like Christ and His disciples, or more like the Pharisees He so often rebuked? As Christians, are we concerned more with people's actions or with their knowing Christ?

KF, that's good stuff there. We're not helping anybody by trying to outlaw their sin...it's like trying to mop up the ocean. They need Christians with compassion to show them the love of God...they need Jesus. They're no worse than where I was before the Lord. When you're able to humble yourself and see where you really came from, it's easier to have compassion for those who are still there.

JE, Don't worry, you didn't come across as disagreeing with me. Rather, you're saying essentially the same thing. Hate like that depicted in the video is an issue all its own (and I'd argue, a particularly poisonous one). A followup post from Miss Evans also addresses some of what you're talking about, and I love its title: "Everyone's a Biblical Literalist Until You Bring Up Gluttony". Like you said, we've put certain sins on "pedestals", and we've become disturbingly adept at sweeping others under the rug, as it were. Our food is destroying our bodies, our waste is destroying the earth, and rampant divorce is destroying our families, yet so many Christians spend an absurdly disproportionate amount of time demonizing gays. Despite disagreements about things like homosexuality, I'm pretty sure we've got bigger problems than gays, and a sickening tendency toward hate is one of them. Like I said (and I think you echoed): we have GOT to do better.
KF, Amen and amen. I know it's almost cliche to bring up the famous quote attributed to Ghandi: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." No one who spreads this kind of hate is anything like Christ; even non-Christians recognize that. Christians, then, should certainly recognize instinctively that venomous hatred is not something that indicates our Christ-likeness, but very much the opposite. That such instinctive knowledge is apparently not universal should distress us all a great deal.

JD: Found this from a G+ search. IMO there is a fine line between "gay" and "homosexual" that I think Christians need to draw. It is NOT a sin to have same-sex attraction. It is a sad state of affairs, to be sure, but it is not a sin. What is a sin is engaging in physical, sexual activity with someone of the same sex. Promiscuity is also a sin; homosexuality should be handled by Christians on the basis of promiscuity. Any sexual activity with any person of the same gender is a sexual perversion. Merely enjoying the company of someone of the same gender is not; however, one should be careful to keep those feelings in check, just like guys who ogle over pretty women at work must be careful to keep those feelings in check. Life stinks but it's what you do while living it that makes you a sinner or a winner.

JD, I'm not really sure where you would draw the line between gay and homosexual, because according to Merrium-Webster they are synonymous. I think that everyone would agree that having a buddy and enjoying his company is not a sin, nor is having a brotherly love for that person. Those things are actually commanded of us. Homosexuality should not be exclusively dealt with on the premise of promiscuity. It implies that a man is not gay until he has sexually thrown himself at everyone he meets. Homosexual or heterosexual, "ogling" at someone else is a sin whether or not you put actions to those thoughts. Proverbs 6 warns us of that and in Matthew, Jesus tells us that if a man even looks at a woman with lust, he has then already commited adultury in his heart. He tells us that it becomes a sin even before you put action to it...the same goes with coveting, hating, etc. Rather than defining sin on a case-by-case basis, the Bible defines sin as simply anything that goes against God's teachings or anything that does not glorify God. Homosexuality does not glorify Him, and goes against His teachings, therefore it is a sin. I don't believe the intent of this post was to jump on the critical bandwagon, but rather to bring awareness of the hatefulness that fills today's churches towards the homosexual community. That's what is wrong right now. We get angry, critical and full of hate because we expect them to act as Christians while they are not.

KF: JD, fornication is a sin, adultery is a sin, pornography is a sin, masturbation (due the accompanying thoughts) is sinful .... Why do we as Christians engage in these, sometimes secretively but many times not so secretively at all ... While we publicly and loudly attack homosexuality? Why not simply say ALL have fallen short of the glory of God and are in need of a personal savior? And let's help people know Christ, through love, and then allow His Spirit work with individuals to reveal the sin in their life? I've known about Jesus my whole life. Was saved at 28. Yet at 46, there are still things Christ is showing me to work on. Who am I to attack another's sin? But I am definitely one who can tell you about my Lord and Creator, how much He has loved me and blessed me. And how much He loves you. I believe we are on track with New Testament teaching when we stick to witnessing on the basis of love and inclusion; not hate, not the appearance of a private club called Christianity.


JD: I wanted to clarify, "Christians should measure homosexuality on the basis of promiscuity," I was tired and meant to use the term "fornication". Quantity of activity does not make wrong or right homosexual sexual activity; it is ALWAYS wrong, period. However, wher homosexuality is a issue, it is not prudent for us to rely on Merriam-Webster blurring the lines between attractions and sexual activity. This is where we as Christians have failed; gays group themselves as "different" and feel judged for being "different", but the sin is in the willful engagement. Also I do not have time or comment space to get into how same-sex attraction actually derives from experimental sexual activities or, most often, sexual abuse and exposure at a young age to pornography, it's a complicated mess. Point is, the sin of sexual devience is still sin, but calling out that it is the activity and not the identity that makes it sin can help us know how to hate the sin but love the sinner.

JD: Also, please don't direct "attack another man's sin" at me, no one is condoning attacks, unless that other man is a believer in Christ. Corinthians...

KF: JD, I wasn't directing that entire post at you. Sorry if it came off that way. Just an open discussion here about how WE as Christians are responding to people.

KF: "Christian" in our day has become synonymous with "hate" and "judgemental" and "exclusive" to most non-believing Americans. I do believe we are living in a Pharassaical period for the church. Where we've collectively lost our way by focusing on the message of God's Law to the detriment of the message about God's Love. This has come about despite good intentions ... But is still a problem the church needs to face, repent for and correct.... We've turned the Gospel upside down.

Sorry for including that entire conversation in what has already become a VERY LONG write-up today, but I hope you can understand why I decided to go this route.

Where do I even begin!?! For starters, no genuine Christian in their right mind would advocate any kind of evil behavior, especially the kind that would make them a hypocrite.

The problem with these liberal and progressive types is that they view any Christian who contends for and defends the faith (like God instructs us to over and over again throughout His holy Word; Jude 1:3) as though they belonged to the Westboro Baptist Church.

Here's a legitimate question: Why do these liberal, progressive Christian types go to such great lengths to come to the defense of the willfully disobedient sinner instead of rising up and expressing their similar concern and disdain over stories of their brothers and sisters in Christ being violently persecuted simply for being a Christian? I only ask because I can think of two separate incidents that were in the news at the same time that Christians were publishing this pro-Gay, pro-Homosexual, pro-sin propaganda piece to their social media accounts.Here's one of them.

Like I said, these same liberal, progressive Christians never address the issues that should be near and dear to their hearts like the one shown in the above video. It's truly a sad state of affairs, folks.

The sad irony here is that their own words often condemn them and reveal their true spiritual condition before the Almighty Lord.

Screw interpretation. If my choices are (1) making kids feel like this OR (2) going to hell, well, as Huck Finn put it, "all right, then, I'll go to hell."

I'm utterly speechless over those words. Speechless. I thought all Christians knew that the Law needs to be used to convict sinners that they are guilty before God. No, not in a Westboro Baptist kind of way, but by at least acknowledging sin rather than ignoring it in the name of love.

How "loving" is it to love on a sinner all the time because you don't want to offend them, but you never ever once speak to them about your concern about the presence of sin in their life, and how they need forgiveness and salvation that only Jesus Christ can offer? Is that truly loving that person? Yes, if loving them to Hell is the goal.

By the way, addressing sin doesn't "feel good" because it's not supposed to by God's sovereign design. I wish I didn't have to offer this disclaimer, but it's clear I do so please note that this does not mean that it's ever ok to commit a sin yourself in contention for and/or defense of the faith.

We all know that the ends don't justify the means, don't we? Yet, such an understanding should be so basic and simple to our common understanding of what it means to be a Christian, but I'm concerned that this is not the point such liberal, progressive Christians like the ones referenced above are trying to make.

No, it's almost as if they're insinuating that we should never call a sin by its name, that we should never identify the patterns of sinful behavior that might be present in the lives of loved ones (or anyone for that matter), because it might...gasp...hurt their feelings!

I'm sorry, my dear friends, but if my feelings weren't hurt several years ago when I was told that my fantasizing, lusting, and heavy pornography use were all sins, then I likely wouldn't be here writing this to you today.
Besides, I'd rather people hate me than head straight for Hell all because I refused to tell them the truth and proclaim Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind (1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 6:4).

Yes, we are to hate the sin and love the sinner, but the most loving thing we can do by Biblical standards is share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them and then encourage them regularly to believe in Him and His Word and Sacraments!

The most loving things we can do by the world's standards is to "show them love" by not addressing their sin whatsoever. My dear brothers and sisters, can't you see that to take such a worldly approach rather than a Biblical one is to love them straight to Hell!?!

Another thought comes to mind after reading that online conversation in response to the above video. I'll just remind you all that "sincerity" does not equal "truth" by any means. This is why when we have a dialogue with any professing believer in Christ, who is clearly believing and teaching false doctrine, we need to confront those errors Biblically and lovingly instead of simply letting them "have their say" because they're "genuine" and "sincere" or "just a nice guy/gal!" even (Ephesians 4:15).

Homosexuality. So-called "Gay Marriage" too. What is the answer? How should we Christians respond? The kind of Christian who would ask us to sympathize with sin to the point of tacitly approving it, let alone looking to encourage continued sinful behavior all in the name of love rather than exhorting believers against it, are often the same types who will try to back other believers like us into a corner by asking, "Did Jesus ever directly comment on or deal with homosexuality though?" How many times have you had that happen to you?

In the Bible's Book of Judges (Judges 17:6), we read, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." In other words, when there's no absolute authority to decide right and wrong, everyone has their own opinion as to what they should do.

So, how should we respond to others who ask us such a question? Please consider using this Biblical answer from now on:

"First of all, Jesus (who created us and therefore owns us and has the authority to determine right and wrong), DID deal directly with homosexuality and the 'gay marriage' issue, in the Bible's New Testament, in Matthew 19:4-6.

Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV) 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Christ quoted directly from the Book of Genesis (and its account of the creation of Adam and Eve as the first man and woman -- the first marriage) as literal history, to explain the doctrine of marriage as being one man for one woman. Thus, marriage cannot be a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.

Because Genesis is real history (as can be confirmed by observational science, incidentally), Jesus dealt quite directly with homosexuality and the 'gay marriage' issue when He explained the doctrine of marriage.

Not only this, but in John 1, we read:

John 1:1-3 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus, the Creator, is the Word. The Bible is the written Word. Every word in the Bible is really the Word of the Creator -- Jesus Christ.

Therefore, in Leviticus 18:22, Jesus actually deals directly with the homosexual issue, and thus the 'gay marriage' issue too. This is also true of Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10.

Because Jesus in a real sense wrote all of the Bible, whenever Scripture deals with marriage and/or the homosexual issue, Jesus Himself is directly dealing with these issues.

Even in a secular context, the only answer a Christian should offer is this:

The Bible is the Word of our Creator, and Genesis is literal history. Its science and history can be trusted. Therefore, we have an absolute authority that determines marriage.

God made the the first man and woman -- the first marriage. Thus, marriage can only be a man and a woman because we are accountable to the One who made marriage in the first place.

And don't forget, according to the Scripture, one of the primary reasons for marriage is to produce godly offspring. Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply, but there's no way a 'gay marriage' can fulfill this command!

When you stop and think about it, it's very interesting because we can quote passages against homosexuality from Genesis, which is before the Law. We can quote verses from Leviticus, which is Moses' Law. And then we can quote from Romans and other passages in the New Testament, so this is something that runs throughout Scripture.

I mention that because a lot of Christians seem confused by some of the arguments that are often thrown up against the position that Scripture condemns homosexuality. They will inevitably say, "Yeah, well that's Moses' Law, but Moses' Law also forbids you to wear mixed fabrics. So, you couldn't wear cotton and, you know, wool at the same time or in the same garment." A polyester suit, they would say, is nearly as sinful as homosexuality.

I know he represents a past I'm trying to forget (a past before I became a Confessional Lutheran), but I have to say that I like how John MacArthur once addressed this common criticism and objection.

"...but you already answered that question when you pointed out that the sin of homosexuality transcends the Law. It appears in Genesis and even, as I said, going all the way back to when God created man and woman to be together to procreate, to multiply and fill the earth, one man, one woman, leaving and cleaving, that was God's original design. It never changed. You have long after the Law in its ceremonial and its civil order is abrogated in the New Covenant, the affirmation of the sin of homosexuality, as I pointed out in the letters of the Apostle Paul. So, it transcends that.

It is...it is important for people to understand that when you read the Law of Moses, when you read the book of Exodus, you read the book of Leviticus, or you go into the book of Deuteronomy, you must always sort out what was moral law and what was civil law because there were things going on in those days by which God endeavored to protect and preserve His people from the evil influences of the nations around them. And the way that God did that was to restrict them civilly, to restrict them socially, to cause them to conform to certain kind of rules and habits whether they were dressed like that, the kind of fabric, whether they were dietary laws, cooking laws, domestic laws, whatever they were, those kinds of things as well as all the varying ceremonies that had some symbolic meaning...that was intended to make it impossible for the Jewish people to have easy social access to all the nations around them. And that was for their own protection so that they didn't mix and embrace the idol worshipers that were really a part of their whole world.

So those were civil and social laws. And God gave those in order to protect and preserve His people so that they could effectively obey His moral laws. And, of course, because of Israel's unbelief, the captivity in the northern kingdom, 722, the captivity of the southern kingdom in 586 B.C., they're taken away and into captivity. And Babylon, as you know, they come back 70 years later but they're only a fragment of what they once were. By the time you get to the time of Jesus, the Messiah shows up, the Messiah comes, He offers the Kingdom to Israel. Instead of embracing the Messiah and receiving the Kingdom, they kill the Messiah, they kill the Prince of life, and wanted a murderer to be released to them, you remember. They are therefore temporarily set aside again.

The Lord does what benefitted all of us, right? The original branch, Paul says in Romans 9 to 11, is cut off and a new branch is grafted in to the tree of Abrahamic salvation blessing. And there will be a future day, Romans very clear on this, Israel is not forsaken forever. They'll be grafted back in. But for now they have been set aside for their rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And there is now a New Covenant community of people made up of Jew and Gentiles and for us the ceremonial and civil law of the theocratic kingdom of Israel is set aside. And we are left with the moral law which transcends that and that law clearly embraces sexual behavior. And since marriage is the model from Genesis 2, any deviation of that is a violation of God's moral law.

There is no neat delineation of the Old Testament between the moral and the ceremonial precepts, so...I mean, I agree with you and it seems very clear to me that the laws against homosexuality would fit in the moral category, but since the Bible itself doesn't divide it that way, how do you know that? How do you make that argument? Well, because whatever the institution is that transcends Israel's unique identity, I mean, if you're talking about marriage, that transcends. If you're talking about sexual behavior, that transcends. If you're talking about those things that are in the Ten Commandments, lying, and covetousness and obedience to your parents and not taking God's name in vain, you're not talking about some kind of civil conduct here.

So wherever the Scripture speaks to matters that are...that are literally characteristic of human behavior, not what we wear, what we eat, how we conduct our patterns socially, but when you're talking about moral conduct, moral categories, whatever it is that God lays down, transcends the limitations of that law. But even more important than that, God has abrogated the non-moral elements of that law clearly in the New Covenant."

I hope that all wasn't too "academic" in an entry like this, but since we are on the subject, I figured it might be a good place to quickly address it. More importantly, I hope it's in line with what we Lutherans believe, teach, and confess (if not, then please let me know in the Comments Section below).

As we pointed out earlier today, it's crystal clear that people need the Gospel in this day-and-age. What's the proper Christian response then? Is it to do what the liberal Christian types highlighted above did and basically tip-toe around the severity of sin and to simply show compassion and love without giving sinners the true Law and Gospel? Hardly.

MacArthur tells of an experience he's had that should shed some light on the answer for us.

The Holy Bible is the only authority. Jesus Christ is the only Savior. As Christians, we can't ever tolerate sin, but I'll tell you this, I have a...I have a greater hatred for the sin in my own heart than I do for the sin in somebody else's life. So, it's important that while we don't tolerate the sin, we need to show the love of Jesus Christ to the individual caught in the sin. So it's important while we don't tolerate the sin to show the love of Christ to the individual.

And that's why again 1 Corinthians 6, such were some of you. My church is filled in many quarters with converted homosexuals. We've seen them through the years come to Christ. This idea that this is genetic and you can't be cured, that is not true obviously...it's not true. It's a sin. Sin is genetic but not specific sin tied to our genes. It's we inherit the sin nature. But we've seen people come to Christ through the years and our church, I think, in many ways has a reputation for that. And I may tell the story a little bit later, but I remember one prominent young man who was a leader of the Gay Pride Parade in L.A. which is a Gay/Lesbian parade that has as many as a million people involved, one of the people who was involved in organizing that thing was dying of AIDS and he was so afraid of death and future judgment that he said to some people...he told me this with his own mouth...he said some people in his homosexual world, "I am afraid to die, I'm terrified of facing the future. What do I do?" And they told him to come to Grace Community Church. And we have that reputation that when life gets desperate and you have nowhere to turn, we have a message of hope for homosexuals. And they know that when they reach that point.

First, there was the story of Robert. He came to the church on a Sunday morning. I didn't know he was there. And I get up on Sunday and then read a Psalm, usually, or some other Scripture, but usually a Psalm. And I was reading a Psalm that day and it was about how the Lord breaks the chains and sets the prisoner free. And I was just reading through the Psalm. And finished it and preached the sermon. Afterwards he came to me and he introduced himself. Told me his name and told me he was one of the organizers of the Gay Pride Parade. He told me he had been told he was dying now. His AIDS virus had reached the point where it would take his life. He said he was terrified to die. He said that he had asked the people in his homosexual circle where he could go in the desperation of his heart, looking at the future, and he was told to come to Grace Community Church because they knew others had found hope there in that circumstance.

And so he came. And it was really funny what he said. He said, "You got up and you read that Psalm about setting the captive free and breaking the chains and all of that. And at that," he said, "I burst into tears and I knew I was in the right place because I needed to be set free. I needed the chains to be broken." And there's a phrase in there about leading them into the way, the way out of danger and trouble. And he said, "I saw, all of that became clear to me that I had found the place to be freed and liberated and let out." And then he said, "I was ready, I didn't know where to go or who to talk to or what to do." And then he said, "From my vantage point you did a very disturbing thing, you got up there and you just kept talking and talking and talking and you gave this really long talk like almost an hour," he said, "and I kept saying to myself, why doesn't this guy shut up so I can get down there and find out what I need to do to be set free?" That was my sermon he was talking about. He said, "I don't know what you said because it was so irritating to me." He said, "I just wanted..."

And so I said, "Wow." He went into the prayer room and, I mean, his life just absolutely was revolutionized that morning. And he was transformed by the grace of Christ. And a few weeks later on a Sunday night, gave this whole testimony standing in the waters of baptism and I immersed him. And the Lord gave him a few months. And it was just before the Gay Pride Parade when all this happened. And so everybody coming down Hollywood Boulevard, he had an apartment there, all the people that were important went into his apartment to say goodbye to him because he was on his deathbed. And he had this testimony and some Christian literature which he gave to every person who came to visit him, so he was witnessing as strongly as he could. And he went to be with the Lord. I mean, that to me is the perfect story. That's...that's the thief on the cross, isn't it? A life of dissolution and sin and God's grace is so great that never have you passed His grace if you ask, even in the last hours. And I've seen that happen a few times. But never have I been told that my sermon was such an irritation as on that occasion.

Let me just change gears for the moment because I want to get this in. You know that the church's attitude toward homosexuality has changed, and when I say the church, I mean the visible church, not necessarily genuine Christians or the true church, but the visible church has changed so that there are many denominations now that say if we're going to show love to homosexuals we have to embrace them along with their sin and there are even denominations that...mainline denominations that have begun to ordain homosexuals to the ministry.

That's the church of Satan. That is not the church of Jesus Christ. That is the church of Satan. You know, when they say they're a church, that's not a church. I resent the fact that they even use the name and that they name Christ. In ordaining homosexuals, marrying gays and lesbians, having like the Episcopalian church a gay bishop...by the way, the word "gay" is part of the...part of the promo campaign to overturn the true designation for this sin. But that's not the church...that is not the church. That is the church of Satan, that is the corrupt counterfeit church. The true church, as you said, we understand the truth of the Word of God and we believe it. Not only that, that church is the church of Satan not only because they reject the Bible but because that movement in itself is bent on damning sinners because it will not ever be able to redeem them, right? Because it accepts them the way they are. And the sad reality, and this is where the thing gets confusing, is on the one hand you've got the church of Satan that claims to be the church of Christ, on the other hand you've got the true church of Christ, in the middle you've got this blurred group of quote/unquote "evangelicals" who are buying things from both sides. They're trying to hold on to Jesus Christ and the gospel and some of the truth, and at the same time open their arms and embrace and be wide and accepting and forgiving and loving. This is the new marketing technique. This is what happens in a seeker-sensitive environment. You know, you don't want to offend anybody.
So... I talked to one of the staff members of the largest seeker-friendly church and I said, "If you've got a guy in your church who was a homosexual living in homosexual sin and you knew it, how long would it be before you personally confronted him about it?"

And his response to me, this is anecdotal, but he said to me, "Well, it would probably be a couple of years until he really felt welcomed."

And I said, "Well, you know," I said, "that's where you and I differ. If I knew that a guy was coming to our church and he was wanting to belong and he was continuing to engage in that, I would want to confront him immediately so that he could be delivered from that sin." Furthermore, I don't think people who want to continue in homosexuality would even come to our church very long. Why would they inflict the pain of having to hear the truth all the time on themselves? But if you create an environment comfortable for sinners, then you have failed to do what God has mandated that we do. I mean, the bottom line is, Jesus was crucified because He confronted sin. But there was no other way to redeem sinners.

Today the church is pragmatic. Today the church doesn't say doctrine is our life blood. The church says practice is our life blood. You know, marketing. What's our strategy going to be? How are we going to have the most effect of the most people? How we going to win people, draw them in and attract them? And the conclusion is that we've got to take all the offense out and homosexuality is going to be an offense because these people are rabid. I mean, look, this, to me, this sin is so perverse, it is so twisted that it takes a massive campaign to sell it to people who common sense tells this is ridiculous. And even the AIDS epidemic, I mean, how could...how could without aggressive campaigning could they ever overcome the impact of AIDS? I mean, it's staggering to think that this epidemic could come as a result of this, and they could still have the, have ingratiated themselves in our culture the way they have. So it takes a massive, massive, relentless kind of campaign and the church has succumbed to this intimidation.

There is hope in the goodness and the grace of God. God is in the business of forgiving sinners. He is in the business of setting captives free. He is in the business of releasing prisoners. He is in the business of washing and sanctifying and purging and cleansing sinners. That's what salvation is all about. And, you know, you if you are in homosexuality may feel that this is something from which you can't recover, that the impulses are so deep and so gripping and so dominating that you may feel, try as you have in the past, to liberate yourself from this and you've been unable to do it. And my word to you is that there's nothing too hard for the Lord, nothing too hard. But it's going to start when you break...you break open as it were your protection and you confess this as sin and from the depths of your heart you plead to be cleansed and washed and forgiven and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and the source of your salvation. And at that point, what happens is, the old life dies, the Bible says, and you are born again in a new life. And in that new life is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and therein lies the power to have dominion over that sin and to see that sin broken in terms of its power. It will always...it will always be there, and I tell people this, no matter what your sin patterns are, if you've been engaged in them long enough, the sin may go away gradually and slowly, you may find greater victory, but the memory will be there. And Satan always has a way and the flesh always is open to recycle iniquity. Do you notice that in your life? Sins you committed in the past long ago forgiven, the devil brings back the memory of those sins, sometimes even makes the excitement of those sins a sin in itself.

So there's no guarantee in this life that the memories will go away. There's no guarantee that you're going to be perfect in this life. That's not going to be true. But there will be forgiveness, there will be victory and there will be joy and peace and confidence in the forgiveness that's found in Christ. And the church will open its arms and truly embrace the forgiven sinner no matter what the pattern of the sin in the past was.


Again, it seemed appropriate to include that here, but please let me know if any of it is inconsistent with what we Lutherans believe, teach, and confess.

It's important to remember what 1 Corinthians 6 says, "Such were some of you." You were homosexuals, you were effeminate, you were adulterers, you were liars, it goes on and on, but you were washed and you were cleansed, and that's what the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ offers.

We're not trying to use the Law to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals and them just leave them in the midst of hopelessness and despair. We're trying to bring conviction so that they can repent of those sins and embrace the only hope of forgiveness and salvation for all of us sinners, and that's only through faith in Jesus Christ.

So, to quickly recap, and to make sure that none of this was lost on anyone who might be reading this, now it's time for some bad news and some good news.

The "bad news" is that the rebellion of the first man, Adam, against God's command brought death, suffering, and separation from God into this world. We see the results all around us. All of Adam's descendents are sinful from conception (Psalm 51:5) and have themselves entered into this rebellion (sin). They therefore cannot live with a holy God, but are condemned to separation from God. The Bible says that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that all are therefore subject to "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

But the "good news" is that God has done something about it! "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Jesus Christ the Creator, though totally sinless, suffered, on behalf of mankind, on behalf of you and me, the penalty of mankind's sin which is death and separation from God. He did this to satisfy the righteous demands of the holiness and justice of God, His Father. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; He died on a cross; but on the third day, He rose again, conquering death, so that all who truly believe in Him, repent of their sins and trust in Him (rather than their own merits; Isaiah 64:6) are able to come back to God and live for eternity with their Creator.

Therefore: "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:18).

What a wonderful Savior! What a wonderful salvation in Jesus Christ our Creator! 

So, what is our tone? What is the content of our message supposed to be? Is "Turn Or Burn!" theologically correct? Yes, of course it is. Is it the Gospel? As long as we are sure to present Grace after giving people the Law.

However, we need to make sure that people hear 2 things coming from us: (1) That this area of activity (i.e., homosexual behavior) is a sin like all the other activities that a person can do that are called a sin by God AND (2) Jesus Christ is a friend of sinners, and Jesus died for sinners, and if you're reading this message and you're a sinner (i.e., homosexuals and non-homosexuals alike) then Jesus says that you should repent and believe in Him, because He loves you and He died for you! Let's make sure they hear that compassion and that good news at all times.

How should a Christian respond to this issue? In a Lutheran layman's terms, I'll let David Murray have the final word on that.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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