Christianity and Homosexuality

I am somehow subscribed to a email service by J Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma. Normally I do not agree with everything he says – I am much more conservative in my theology than he is but he has a sensible head on him and comes out with some great little articles. Not long ago, he wrote a good piece on the excess of these “revivals”.

This article, which is found here (the full article will be post below after the jump), deals with the recent statement by a pastor who announced he was gay. It is a bold piece in an environment where people are threatened with “hate speech” as soon as someone goes near the Christianity and homosexuality.

I found it fascninating and I thought, “good for you Grady”. He remarks on the necessity of Biblical preaching at a time when it is too easy to be timid. He says it is not an excuse to not espouse the truth anymore. A brilliant quote from the article is: “The sins we avoid addressing from the pulpit are the sins that will thrive unchallenged in our culture. We must develop some backbone and speak the truth in love.”

Anyway, the article follows. I pray you read it, and are encouraged by it. God bless!

Charismatic pastor Jim Swilley’s announcement that he is gay opened the door wider for a subtle delusion. Don’t believe it.

Many people were shell-shocked last week when Atlanta pastor Jim Swilley stood in front of his congregation, Church in the Now in Conyers, Ga., and announced that he is gay. The 52-year-old minister was abruptly removed from his position in the International Communion of Charismatic Churches—a network in which he served as an overseer. Some of Swilley’s members left his church, others stayed, and countless others are now scratching their heads.

We Americans are lost in a moral fog. Two major Protestant denominations (the Episcopal Church USA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) have voted to ordain gay clergy. Meanwhile, gayness is celebrated in our media, and anyone who refuses to bow to this idol is painted as intolerant and homophobic.

Christians who still believe homosexuality is incompatible with biblical faith feel painted into a corner. If we defend Christian morality, and even if we speak with compassion to those who may struggle with same-sex attraction, we are accused of hate speech or branded as judgmental. So we tiptoe through the minefield of political correctness—and keep our mouths shut.

Sorry, but timidity on this issue is not acceptable. The sins we avoid addressing from the pulpit are the sins that will thrive unchallenged in our culture. We must develop some backbone and speak the truth in love. Here are four truths that should factor into any discussion on this topic:

1. Everyone is born with issues. King David wrote: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NASB). David acknowledged that he had an inborn sin nature. This is true for all of us!

Many “gay Christian” advocates insist that some people are born homosexuals and therefore they have no hope of altering their orientation. But this is a lame argument since we all are born with a propensity toward certain sins. This is the human condition: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Just because you are born with an inclination toward adultery, alcoholism, shoplifting or pride doesn’t mean you have to stay that way.

2. Christ offers forgiveness and sexual healing. The more strident voices in the gay community hate when Christians speak about homosexuals being healed or reformed. They insist that if you are gay, you must stay that way. They choose to ignore the fact that thousands of people have left homosexuality after coming to faith in Christ.

My friend Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, came out of the gay lifestyle many years ago and now has a great marriage with his wife, Leslie, plus two beautiful children. The ministry he leads has helped countless people—including many Christian “strugglers”—find emotional freedom. Some of them experienced same-sex feelings from childhood; others developed these feelings because they were sexually molested or because of dysfunction in their families.

Whatever the cause of sexual brokenness, the gospel has always provided the solution. It was true for people in the Corinthian church, to whom Paul wrote: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals … will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11, emphasis added).

3. Discipleship requires self-denial. In his announcement to his church last week, Jim Swilley said he decided to come out as gay because he was tired of pretending. I’ve talked with others who told me they felt they were being “dishonest” by ignoring their gay feelings. They said they felt free when they accepted “who they really are” and got involved in gay relationships.

For a Christian, that’s a cop out. The essence of our walk with Christ involves denial. Jesus said: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). Jesus was not asking us to pretend we don’t have problems—He calls us to bring all of those problems into His light through repentance. But the Holy Spirit gives us the power to deny sinful desires. That quality of self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22-23).

4. Homosexuality is not a protected category of sin. Many “gay Christian” advocates insist that if you are gay, then it’s fine to go out and have all the sex you want. They ignore biblical commandments against homosexuality (usually by saying that Old Testament law doesn’t apply today); meanwhile they advocate gay marriage even though most gay men are rarely monogamous. The message is clear: If you have same-sex desires, just go ahead and indulge because that’s how you were created.

This is what the Bible calls licentiousness—which means “lacking legal or moral restraints, especially sexual restraints; disregarding rules.” Actually, the Bible lumps homosexuality in with every other form of sexual sin—and says God will punish those who engage in it. After Paul warns about every form of immorality, he says: “So, he who rejects [these rules] is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thess. 4:8).

Regardless of how loudly the world trumpets its hedonistic agenda—and no matter how many backslidden preachers dance to the tune—God has the final say on this matter.

J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady His most recent book is The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale (Chosen). For more information about Exodus International, go to exodusinternational.org.

Read more: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/fire-in-my-bones/29512-is-it-ok-to-be-gay-and-christian#ixzz14O0w67mP

2 responses to “Christianity and Homosexuality

  1. I was searching for a name to address but I could not find it on this blog, so I apologize for not addressing this more personally. Thank you for bringing this article to light, and I will certainly go on it and comment there myself. Let me comment directly here first, however, and I say that I am in total disagreement with it. The problem today is that Christian leaders to come out with hate speech against the glbt community. After 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, many church leaders came out and blamed homosexuality on these tragedies saying they were punishments from God. The God of the bible does not act in that way, and neither did Jesus Christ. Actually, when we see how Jesus treated sinner, he was very loving and compassionate toward them and never once told them that they needed to change their ways. Even if he did, that does not absolve us from his statement to be more concerned about the log in our own eye before we try to remove the splinter from our brother’s. If homosexuality is a sin, that is between the homosexual and God to deal with, not us and the homosexual. For our part, we need to be more like Jesus by showing them love and compassion, trying to discover what their needs are and working to meet them. I have much more to say about this and will respond to this blog directly. But please also check out my blog at whatjesusdiddo.blogspot.com
    Thank you and God bless,
    -Brandon

    • Hi Brandon, thanks for taking the time to comment. It is much appreciated. My name is Nick.

      The problem with a lot of Christians is that they tend to find something or someone to blame when things go wrong. It is plain stupidity to start announcing that God is judging cities and countries because of certain sins etc. We cannot know. It is not that He would not (refer to Sodom and Gomorrah) but that we do not know if that is the case. It is better to keep silent on matter of hurricanes etc in relation to whether God is using it to teach us a lesson.

      What I think the article was addressing is that sin is sin (in whatever form it may be) and that if we hold true to the scriptures, and teach them faithfully from the front of the church, we are required to make comments on it. If that happens to be sexual sin then so be it. Paul wrote much about sexual sin (and sin in general) and that if a brother is unrepentantly engaging in sin, then he needs to be addressed – ultimately excommunicating him if need be. Jesus also advocated church discipline for sin in Mat 18.

      I thought the article was well-written in the manner it was addressed. It did not come across hateful or anything resembling that but it did state that we have to be firm on the things which glorify our God – and holy living is part of that. Too many Christians are afraid to comment on certain issues nowadays (homosexuality among them) and some go overtly the opposite way and rant and rave etc. If we teach what the Word says – homosexuality (and all sorts of other things) is sin and that we need to repent of it, then we honour the Word.

      I do have to disagree with you about Jesus teaching we never have to change our ways. Remember when Jesus was with the woman who was going to be stoned? It was in John 8:11 and He said, “Go and sin no more.” He was addressing her sin. Although He also said, “neither do I condemn you” He did not pardon her either. He warned her against sinning further. It was an act of grace on His behalf.

      Enjoy your day. God bless,

      Nick

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