Sunday, January 04, 2009

Are "gays" - the modern day Gentiles?

God’s “love” for the Gentiles

Jeffery S. Siker, Assistant Professor of Theology at Loyola Marymount University, ask the question – “Despite our experience, do we insist that homosexual Christians can have the Spirit of God only if they are ‘heterosexual homosexual’ Christians?”[1] Professor Siker rejects the creation stories that argue heterosexuality is the norm since he claims it is an argument “largely from silence, since nothing there is said about homosexuality.”[2] He also argues that the Old Testament Holiness codes must not be taken out of context lest we misapply them.[3] Professor Siker’s post modern worldview is most evident when he states:
“…just as Peter’s experience of Cornelius in Acts 10 led him to realize that even Gentiles were receiving God’s Spirit, so my experience (italics mine) of various gay and lesbian Christians has led me to realize that these Christians have received God’s Spirit as gays and lesbians and that the reception of the Spirit has nothing to do with sexual orientation.”[4]

He opines that the moral repulsion some Christians have with homosexual relationships; is it no different than the “revulsion that early Jewish-Christians apparently felt when contemplating association with impure Gentile Christians?”[5] In essence, Professor Siker is asking if the church should rely on first century (ancient Israelite) social constructions of sexuality and apply them today.[6] The Gentiles he argues can be thought of in a more modern context, the gay Christian. If the church is willing to accept this, as he has done, then the church is doing what God would have us do. Although he makes no reference to the command to “love” as justification, he relies on the “Spirit” of God and argues the Spirit is not always self-authenticating, and it must be nurtured within “friendships”.[7] Perhaps again, it is the community and its means for discerning right from wrong (sin) that takes a logical priority over the biblical texts. He concludes by welcoming our new found brothers and sisters in Christ, and suggest we get on with the tasks God has called us.[8] Professor Siker does not address what, if any, call to obedience and faith in Christ had upon the Gentile’s inclusion. Was their inclusion in God’s redemptive plan of salvation based on nothing more than being a Gentile, or is there more to what it means to be a true follower of Christ, as even the apostles eventually realized?


Biblical love and Sin


The biblical doctrine of love must always be communicated within the biblical context and authority that - “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).[9] The word sin is most important here, for at its most basic definition it is the failure to keep the law of God.

The law by which sin is defined is the law of God, not an impersonal and freestanding set of rules. The law reveals God’s personal will; failure to obey his command entails personal opposition to him. Sin is mistrust (of God), betrayal, ingratitude and disloyalty; hence ‘Everything that does not come from faith is sin’(Romans 14:23). [10]


Pastor Samuel S. Shin, Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary argues that the pro gay Christian scholars who attempt to exegete biblical passages to meet their favor do so by rejecting scripture’s infallibility or simply by misinterpreting certain passages by forcing a personal bias on the texts.[11] If the church casts aside the issue of homosexuality, we do nothing less than reject the call of Christ to “love our neighbor as yourself.”[12] He further argues that in order to begin to live a life that our Lord calls us to live, it must first begin and end at the cross of Christ.[13]


John 15:9-10 – “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (NASB).[14] Clearly this love is neither emotional nor “mystical”; a postmodern view will often use the word “spiritual” to indicate an emotion. Dr. Stan Jones of Wheaton College, who holds a B.S. in Psychology from Texas A&M University, and an M.A.and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Arizona State University writes:


Christians believe they are called to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord (Acts 2:36; 1 Peter 3:15). Jesus stated,” Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21, NIV). Sexual purity is one way in which Christians are to show their love for their Lord—we are to conduct ourselves in accord with God’s “rules” as revealed in the entire Bible. Obedience (a word Americans do not often use today) is the best way that we, the recipients of God’s great gifts, can show our love for him, thank him with our lives for the gifts given, and best use those gifts.[15]
The biblical view holds that love and obedience are inseparable; they are linked together. The most effective way for a post modern theology to get away from this, is an appeal to a higher authority, not ancient texts – but perhaps, modern science.

When adherents of the gay Christian movement make an appeal to science, they are in essence appealing to a higher authority, and obviously it is not God’s word. If in fact people are born gay, the argument follows that the Church would lose its authority as a force in condemning homosexuality as a sin. Dr. Robert Gagnon, Professor of New Testament Studies, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, writes in his letter to the President of the University of Toledo, who had fired an employee of his, Ms. Dixon, who expressed her disagreement with equating gays to blacks in a local newspaper:


Ms. Dixon is absolutely right that sexual orientation is not akin to race or sex. Unlike a homosexual orientation, race and sex are 100% congenitally predetermined, cannot be fundamentally changed in their essence by cultural influences, and are not a primary or direct desire for behavior that is incompatible with embodied structures.[16]


In addition, Dr. Gagnon argues that:


…an appeal to a biologically based orientation is not a moral argument. As two researchers who have worked hard to demonstrate congenital influences on homosexual development have admitted: "No clear conclusions about the morality of a behavior can be made from the mere fact of biological causation, because all behavior is biologically caused" (Brian S. Mustanski and J. Michael Bailey, "A therapist's guide to the genetics of human sexual orientation," Sexual and Relationship Therapy 18:4 [2003]: 432).[17]


The subtle post modern shift has been to make sin a natural tendency. The reasoning follows that if it is “natural” - then it must be good and acceptable. On the other spectrum - from a biblical worldview, we are all guilty and responsible for our sin; Christ, not medical research or science is where one turns for redemption and forgiveness.[18] If the community is a bunch of sinners, then a post modern theology must embrace the sinner and reject any universal call to obedience and repentance – this then becomes what it means to love. “Loving” one another becomes an act of acceptance or inclusion, and Christ’s name is invoked to lend authority to this claim by the adherents of the gay Christian movement. What is most striking here however, is the fact that only one group in the post modern worldview is “embraced” – those who agree with their positions. The termination of Ms. Dixon’s employment by the University’s President seems to suggest the great lengths some will go in order to protect the “corporate” understanding of Truth.


Conclusion


When human sexuality is divorced from God’s word, it must then be divorced from God’s Truth. When human wisdom defines God’s “love” and His call for “loving” obedience, it is reduced to nothing more than an emotional love and a superficial secular obedience. In essence, the cross of Christ (the greatest loving act of all eternity) will ultimately be assimilated into the shape of a particular culture or community. Sin is made subjective, thus irrelevant in standing before a Holy God. The inclusion of the Gentiles is not based on something they are or would be; it is based on God’s universal redemptive plan which includes all who put their faith in Christ and His work on the cross. The church once again has before itself a choice to make; proclaim the gospel of Christ or compromise with the world. Os Guiness writes- “Compromise is compromise regardless of when, how, or why it happens – though certainly there are qualifications to it. Thus Christian compromise with the world is usually unconscious, and not deliberate. It can be a matter of lifestyle as easily as belief.”[1] If the church builds its theology around “lifestyles” and not God’s word, the foundations are then built on relativism, not eternal absolute truths.


What most in the gay Christian movement see as an immutable “orientation” is really nothing more than a modern day golden calf. With their heavy reliance and acceptance of a post modern worldview, it could be argued that the gay Christian movement is as much a political movement as it is religious. The Gentile argument is but one approach, but what about the desire to link sexual “orientation” a kin to being black? If this approach is successful, “loving” from a biblical worldview will be labeled as a form of hatred, bigotry, or “spiritual violence.” The hermeneutical gymnastics the gay Christian movement utilizes can be seen by Metropolitan Community Church minister Larry J. Uhrig when he states regarding the relationship between David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi – “It is inevitable, but deliciously (italics mine) ironic, that they are both between people of the same sex.”[2] His implication is these relationships were sexual and biblically celebrated. The idolatrous passions that consume the gay Christian movement must be resisted.

Godly love starts and ends at the cross of Christ. The gay Christian movement is not founded on biblical principles of either a biblical love or sexual purity. It is built on a human desire to separate God’s holiness and judgment from sin and his love. The only suitable course for building such a theology is to deny the reliability of scripture, deconstruct its clear meanings, and divorce any and all biblical Truth claims to mere scribbling texts of ancient near eastern men; verses divine revelations. The potential venom contained in this worldview is clearly evident by the response of those who oppose such “corporate truth” claims; this has been demonstrated by Ms. Dixon’s termination of employment. The church must not be slow to respond, and it must not corrupt or compromise the eternal Truths, reliability, or authority of God’s divine revelation – His holy word. Sexual purity and God’s holiness are neither subjective notions established by the community, nor are they optional doctrines of the Christian faith. Lest we ignore the divine warning recorded in the book of Jude – “4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”[3] Indeed, the “unnoticed” will invoke the name of Christ, lest they be discovered, yet bear no submission to His word or Lordship. “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed Maranatha.”(1 Corinthians 16:22) NASB.[4]


[1]Os Guinness, Dining with the Devil (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993), 56.
[2]Robert J. Williams, “Toward a theology for lesbian and gay marriage,” Anglican Theological Review 72, no. 2 (Spring 1990): 147.
[3]Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962,1963, 1968, 1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
[4]Ibid.


[1]Jeffery S. Skier, “How to Decide? Homosexual Christians, the Bible, and Gentile Inclusion,” Theology Today 51, no. 2 (1994):
[2]Ibid., 226
[3]Ibid., 227
[4]Ibid., 230
[5]Ibid., 231.
[6]Ibid.
[7]Ibid., 233.
[8]Ibid., 234.
[9]Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962,1963, 1968, 1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission
[10]T. Desmond Alexander and others, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 200), 783.
[11]Samuel S. Shin, “Homosexuality Hermeneutics and Its Deadly Implications: A Pastoral Reflection,” Trinity Journal 26, no 1 (Spring 2005): 116
[12]Ibid., 116
[13]Ibid., 117
[14]Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962,1963, 1968, 1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission
[15]Stanton L. Jones, A Study Guide and Response to Mel White’s What the Bible Says and Doesn’t Say About Homosexuality [pdf. Online] (Wheaton College, IL: 2006, accessed 12 December 2008); available from http://www.wheaton.edu; Internet
[16]Robert A. J. Gagnon, An Open Letter to a University President regarding the Suspension of a Black Female Administrator Who Challenged a Comparison between Homosexual Practice and Being Black [pdf Online] (accessed 6 December 2008); available from http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/homosexToledoPresident.pdf; Internet.
[17]Ibid., 7
[18]Samuel S. Shin, “Homosexual Hermeneutics and Its Deadly Implications: A Pastoral Reflection,” Trinity Journal 26, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 114.

5 comments:

Matthew said...

I whole-heartedly (sp?) agree with your argument, if I understand it correctly.

Gay christians are using God's love and mercy as a shield to hide behind; telling the world that we should still love them because that's what Jesus would do. They spit the phrase "hate the sin, love the sinner" at every opportune chance.

Their mistake is that they are not -trying- to better themselves as God would have us, and they'll accept their sin as a sin, if they even recognize it as such. If they do, they equate it to an abnormality at best/worst.

Do homosexual christians try to convince themselves that nothing is wrong in God's eyes? or that He will forgive them. I have no doubt that he won't forgive them, but they commit yet another sin by not trying to change or be more like him. Ignorace is a sin too.

In a way, it seems as if they are belittling the idea of a sin... If it weren't for Christ, one sin would cost us eternal life in hell, but it's 'ok' nowadays because they have all been paid for.

Mercy and love, in the end, should not be mistaken for weakness.

gcmwatch said...

"...it seems as if they are belittling the idea of a sin"

Exactly Matthew. The whole idea of sin is a foreign concept to them. They've had to adopt that in order to keep afloat their other multiple fallacies on simple, doctrinal truths.

Sad and eternally deadly.

Carlotta said...

Excellent article Mark!

It's so sad how the gay Christian tries to justify their sexuality rather than fall to the feet of Christ and confess and forsake their sin.

It's bothersome to see them equate homosexuality with race. Ms. Dixon's case clearly showed the bias of those who believe similarly as she was fired for speaking out against that very comparison.

Good article and I just pray for those who dare call themselves Christian would truly examine their lives in light of God's word and not pseudo-science.

Matthew said...

Hmmm... looking back, I think I need to clarify a little of what I said:

"I have no doubt that He won't forgive them..."

I meant to say that I'm sure God will forgive them, as he does all sinners. The original quote was quite the opposite.

I hope gay Christians do, in fact, go to heaven. Their sexuality is not their saving grace, in my opinion (belief in Christ would be the cornerstone for that), and is just as evil as any other sin. I just wish more people could identify it as such.

Mark said...

Thanks for clarifying Matthew - I figured you ment God would indeed forgive - in essence I think God will remind us all His grace alone is sufficient.