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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Homosexuality and the Church


Could you imagine starting a small group at your church for those struggling with being a rapist? How about a struggling murderer? No, because the antidote is simply repent and come to Christ. There’s nothing more to talk about. Don’t murder and don’t rape. Period! Repent or perish. NOTE: I am not speaking against ministries that preach the gospel to the homosexual community and are trying to build bridges to that end. I have something much different in mind. This should become more clear later in this post...

Why then does the church feel the need to have ministries aimed at professing Christians, which focus on “same-sex attraction”?  It has become an obsession. Why coddle the homosexual and not the murderer? Is it possible that a Christian’s life can be marked by a sin that God identifies as only belonging to the unbeliever? And if the person’s life is not marked by the sin, then why minister as if it is?! Let the man grow in grace normally, forgetting the past (Philippians 3:13-14). The increase in focus can only harm the believer – especially the young believer who would have never entertained such a practice if such sinful depictions were not paraded before him or her in the church – in God’s holy church!

For some reason sexual sin of all sorts has gained a unique standing in the church. The culture has worn down the church. Such sin is no longer shocking but that's because people are more saturated with the world than the word of God. We've become desensitized and the truth is at best a vague memory. The church actually now believes there are practicing homosexual Christians. My own children have been exposed to X-rated word-pictures from God’s pulpit (not at my home church). They would have been better off in “junior church” and it would have been better for a millstone to be hung around one's neck if a youth within the hearing of that word was led astray. (Matthew 18:6)

Let’s get it out of our minds that there is such a thing as the Christian homosexual. If thousands of people say they love Christ yet God has not seen fit to grant them repentance from this sort of sin, who should we believe - God’s word about who will not inherit the kingdom of God or the people God’s word says live in darkness and will not own the truth? At the very least, why is it no longer “disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret”?  (Ephesians 5:12) 

How many ministries to homosexuals tell their subjects that such a life style is depicted in Scripture as punishment for being abhorred by God? How can a long and drawn out book study for such sin not undermine the urgency that such a person is sealing his destiny with temporal judgment (Romans 1). Such coddling of the impenitent portrays the lie that this is a common struggle in the church. No, it’s not a struggle in the church, let alone a common one; it’s a “struggle” for those outside the church, and the struggle is due to a decided unwillingness to repent. What, God can save us – He just cannot keep us from such unspeakable sin? What is salvation, after all? 

I hear more about this sin than gossip. I hear more about this sin than Sabbath breaking! Why is the sin that God turns men over to for hardened unbelief – that of degrading passions and unnatural functions (Romans 1: 26) – been the focus of so much attention? It’s because many leaders in the church do not believe the Bible is relevant for this day, though they’ll never say it that plainly. I guess "sex sells" is now true for the church too.

For those who have been saved out of sexual immorality (or any class of sin), the sanctified path does not enter through doors of meeting with people who had, let alone still have, the same struggles. I befriended one man who was eventually put outside the church for such sin, and then was reclaimed by the mercies of God. His testimony was that the renowned focus group he attended was no more than a pick-up spot. The path of light that leads unto life is through the study of the whole counsel of God - and exercising oneself unto the ordinary means of grace in the church. The Bible knows nothing of special focus groups that are often time an occasion to stir up sinful passions with graphic testimony. (Divorce groups have similar problems.) What all Christians need is integration into the body! And the last thing they need to do is recite their past to the church or small group for "the glory of God"! Again, it is disgraceful even to speak of these former things that were done in secret.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1Corinthians 6:9-11

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9 comments:

Joshua Butcher said...

One cannot behold Christ's transformative beauty and covet the sins of the flesh anymore than one can behold an immaculately prepared feast and covet a meal of stale bread and dank water.

It sickens the soul to know that purported leaders of "the church" counsel men and women to seek deliverance from wickedness through the contemplation of filth. It is like seeking a cure to disease through poisoning.

Reformed Apologist said...

So much of Christian counseling unwittingly promulgates self-love. It often affords an appointed time each week to talk about one's self and the woes of life rather than God and His ways. What is all too frequently overlooked is the need to saturate one's mind with God and His works. Rather, the natural tendency is to turn toward the shifting sands of uninspired opinion that points the needy inwardly to his ills rather than outwardly to the only Healer of men. Could you imagine Jesus or Paul holding focused sessions for divorcees or for those struggling with alcohol or porneia? The counselor should be helping the one who is suffering to regain the joy of the Lord's salvation. That will require one not to dwell so much on his problems but on God's faithfulness.

How often do those in counseling hear this theological truth from their counselor: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) How often is the Christian told that God *will* deliver and just to believe He will? What we must appreciate is deliverance might transcend physical circumstances and come only in the form of peace and joy. It might be as basic as laying hold of the fact that we already have every spiritual blessing in Christ. Yes, weep with those who weep - we must!, but be part of the solution and not part of the problem!

Anonymous said...

Your points are well taken.

1. The Bible does not use the graphic and elaborate descriptions we find in contemporary Christian literature. God forbids what is being written and said today.

2. God's ways do not allow for the kid gloves and round about approach that is prevelant in the church today. The Bible confronts these kinds of sins of the flesh quickly and abruptly.

3. The Bible treats these matters with the utmost urgency both with respect to the sinner and the purity of the church.

IMHO, if one ministers biblically he will be called unloving. It is a lie from hell that someone can want victory but just can't get it. This is where libertarian free will has gotten us!

Reformed Apologist said...

Your point about LFW is spot on. If we truly desired holiness we would behave in a holy manner. This is usually when someone appeals to Romans 7 as defending metaphysical contingency. :)

Your last comment reminded me of an old post, which I never tagged.

http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2008/05/more-muddled-musings.html?m=1#comment-form


RJ said...

How much sympathy would a man get if he said: I just cannot seem to stop cheating on my wife? Isn't it obvious? The church has mistaken cannot for will not,

Reformed Apologist said...


Well, in one sense he cannot choose otherwise, but he has the liberty to refrain and even to do the opposite. To your point though, he cannot only because he will not. His strongest inclination at the moment of choice is to be unfaithful more than faithful. In other words, he refuses to obey. What's worse is the disobedience is a well plotted out disobedience. Adultery is high-handed premeditated sin. It requires perpetual scheming in the face of the Holy Spirit's work of conviction.

It's interesting that most help groups that coddle are not run by pastors or elders. There's often no telos. I suspect if sessions got closer to these situations it might become clearer that what is going on is not according to biblical precepts, including the precept of love. I'm afraid there is a flabby love in the church, whereas the Bible instructs that abounding love must always be walled in by knowledge and discernment. Philippians 1:9

I hear a lot of high talk about the need for drilling down to the reason someone is a particular way. Even if we could possibly know all the whys, don't we sinners still need to repent of our sins? I cannot repent of the influences in my life, but I can repent of the sins in my life, the result of succumbing to influences. The answers to this endless pursuit of why I am the way I am might even become clearer through repentance! After all, who is better equipped to evaluate his past, an un-repented sinner or a contrite and penitent one?

Lastly, what about the poor in spirit? I have much more hope for one who has wept over his sin than I do for one who is preoccupied with analyses. Unbiblical counseling leads sinners to analyze why they are the way they are as opposed to leading them to a biblical understanding of the gravity of one's own transgressions. I often hear that certain sinners don't need to hear that they sinned or how bad they sinned but rather they need a soft place to land, a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. I agree that can be the case, but I'm equally certain that it's not the case for those who aren't poor in spirit. If one has by grace become broken over his sin, then he must hear over and over again an assurance of pardon. He might even have to repent of not receiving God's promise of forgiveness (a common sin for those of us who have been visited by grace). Notwithstanding, the *repentant* sinner needs to be counseled in the way of forgetting (not dwelling) on the past and pressing unto his high calling in Christ Jesus.

Lastly, how many within a help group are equipped to counsel others? Not many. Yet often times these groups foster the egalitarian opinions of many as they rehash things that should be put away as far as east is from the west. And, to lump many (the truly contrite and the self-perceived not so guilty) into the same group can be a recipe for disaster. The Scripture focus is entirely different for such polar opposites.

Joshua Butcher said...

"I have much more hope for one who has wept over his sin than I do for one who is preoccupied with analyses. Unbiblical counseling leads sinners to analyze why they are the way they are as opposed to leading them to a biblical understanding of the gravity of one's own transgressions."

It is interesting that the Puritans often wrote "cases of conscience" as helps to pastors who would be counseling a variety of situations. In writings such as these, however, the "cases" did not consider the causes of sin, but rather the states of mind of the sinner. Analysis was aimed at precisely what you are indicating here--how best to bring the gravity of sin (or gravity of God's redemptive work) before a given person's conscience.

Reformed Apologist said...

Joshua,

I'm afraid we've become way too clever in our synchronistic approach to counseling. In becoming too specialized, in many cases the task has been relegated to "experts" who have exchanged the truth for a lie. Scripture used to be sufficient for faith and practice. Now we must probe into the inner psyche rather than ministering with the law and gospel.

TheSire said...

Well, so, supreme court ruin anyone else's morning?