lets talk about sex

I’ll be upfront and admit that this post will not be as steamy as the title implies. However, I would encourage you to continue reading for some insights [not my own] that you may not have heard before. The church I attend recently did a series on marriage and gender, a hot button issue for America right now. We are constantly bombarded with slogans such as Love is Love and equality. I’m not anti-love and I am definitely an advocate for equality. I am a Christian. These are not contradictory statements. The pastor at my church gave such a powerful argument for maintaining our position in the fight against homosexual marriage that I felt compelled to jot down his notes and share them.

He began the conversation discussing how this an issue regarding moral authority. Simply put: same sex marriage is against what the Bible teaches. So here’s the thing: if you don’t hold to what the Bible says, this entire argument will be invalid to you. However, I encourage you to continue reading even so because we were presented with common arguments presented to Christians which may still be beneficial to the reader who holds to an opposing worldview.

In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God lays the foundation for a marriage. It is between a man and a woman (2:24). God made humans with male-ness and female-ness, both in his image. Our identity (every part of it) is linked to God. Our sexual identity is linked to God’s image. Denying this is denying our being made in the Lords image. Genesis 2:24 clearly depicts a heterosexual relationship. God made woman uniquely compatible and complementary to man. While sex is certainly an enjoyable aspect within the confines of marriage between a man and woman, the main goal and command seen in scripture of sex is for procreation. Homosexual sex cannot produce children

Argument #1

  • “But Jesus never references same-sex marriage…” In Matthew 19, marriage is spoken of being between one man and one woman. This is descriptive of what marriage is in the Lord’s eyes. Often the argument arises regarding concubines. Many men in scripture have multiple wives. Marriage isn’t uniform in the Bible. To this, we consider the difference between description and prescription. There are many differing descriptions of marriage in the bible. Descriptions of sinful men who were not living according to scripture. But the prescription of marriage seen in scripture is always between one man and one woman. It is interesting to consider the fact that for over 3,000 years, there was no debate. There was no claim that same-sex marriage was okay. It is not an act seen as acceptable by anyone prior to recent controversy. So many of those within the church spent their lives studying scriptures. These men and women never claim that same-sex marriage or sex is any way acceptable. But now, suddenly, this claim is being made. By those who don’t study the scripture, who don’t worship the lord, who don’t know the truth of Christ. Ignorance is the forerunner in this fight against the scriptures. This is something followers of Christ should remember as they hold to the truth of scripture. This idea is new. This idea has been popularized in the past fifteen years. The fact that a new idea is being passed as law and (excuse the phrasing) gospel should give us pause. The entitlement of opinion should make us stop. Those who hold to the validity of heterosexual marriage and anti-homosexual marriage are now a majority whereas, thirty years ago, we were the two-thirds majority. If we accept this movement, if we mess with marriage, we redefine the gospel message.

Argument #2

  • But what about Leviticus?
    • Leviticus speaks adamantly against homosexual practices. It also speaks against tattoos. And eating seafood. “Aren’t you just choosing what to believe?”  The OT contains the “old laws.” The laws which were held to because Jesus had not yet come as the redeemer, the one who set the captives free. He has come. We are living in accordance with the NT scriptures. In these scriptures, there are repeats of certain laws seen in the OT. For instance, Romans 1:26-27 reinstates how acts of homosexuality are sinful and disgraceful in the eyes of the Lord. Nowhere in the NT does it utter shame on those with tattoos, for example. This is how we know it remains relevant. We do not live according to the old law. Jesus covered us in grace so that we are free. But that which is stated in the NT remains relevant and we should live according to its guidance and instruction.

Argument #3

  • If all sin is equal, why is homosexuality seen as so much bigger a sin than, for example, gossip? Both are condemned in the NT.
      • Romans 1 discusses homosexuality; it also discusses gossip, disobedience, and many other sins which we all participate in. We are all guilty. It is not merely a debate on homosexuality.
        • What about all the other sins Christians tolerate? When we tolerate ANY sin, it is a grievance and is completely unacceptable. Gossip should be viewed as sinful as homosexual acts. It is not but that is not in accordance with scripture. That is the failure of Christians. All acts against the Lord are abominable in his sight. No one more than the other. Still, to use toleration of one sin to make way to accept another as well is illogical. Paul is intolerant to all sin. 1 Corinthians 5:11-13. We should also be.

Argument #4

  • What if the two are in a healthy, loving, stable relationship?
    • Consider 1 Corinthians 5. The Bible nowhere allows for the view that faithfulness within a relationship trumps previously shameful actions. Thus, even in a stable and healthy relationship, no homosexual sex is acceptable. It is important to understand that the presence of virtue in a shameful act does not make it okay.

Argument #5

  • What about believers who struggle with same sex attraction?
    • Same sex attraction does not identify a human being; same sex orientation defines a persistent, enduring and strong er attraction to the same sex versus the opposite sex. Still, it is not an identity. I am the central organizer of choosing my identity. It is made of who we are, life experience, key relationships, and world views.  We may not choose our desires, but we choose our identities. It is our choice. Our desires do not define our identities. Our struggles do not define us. Christianity guides us in dealing with our struggles. You can be a Christian who struggles with same sex attraction just as you can be a Christian who struggles with opposite sex attraction. Lust is lust.

Argument #6

  • Are those who sin damned?
    • Because we sin, we need grace. When we choose grace, we receive salvation. Paul (in his discussion of sins which keep us from heaven) refers to those who persistently and unrepentantly indulge in sin won’t see the kingdom. See Romans 8:1.

Argument #7

  • I was born this way.
    • Even if something has been struggled with since birth, it is still not justifiable. Many of our desires feel natural and right because they are all we know. We were born in sin. This does not make them any more acceptable. We must be reborn in Christ Jesus.

Argument #8

  • Can men who struggle with homosexuality serve in the ministry?
    • If we disqualified men and women from the ministry based on a struggle with temptation, we wouldn’t have anyone in the ministry.

Argument #9

  • Do we “cast” those struggling with homosexuality out of our homes?
    • “Cast out,” seen in 1 Corinthians 5, refers to church discipline. But within the home, we are called to love, not to cast out. We are to discipline in both places with the goal of restoration but within the home, we should not cast out our family members.

Argument #10

  • I’m gay and I’m married. I found Christ. So do I divorce my husband now? Divorce is against the Bible too.
    • God does not recognize that union. In his eyes, they were never married. We all must count the cost. That would mean leaving the sinful lifestyle. As harsh as this is to accept, if you hold to the teachings found in scripture, you will recognize this to be true. While you may be considered married by the state and may be required to get a divorce in order to stop living in an actively sinful lifestyle (according to your new found beliefs), this marriage (and divorce) are not recognized by God because in scripture, God only recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman.
    • It is so important to allow those who are going through such difficult times to struggle. We need to allow time to struggle. There is no time-table. We need to recognize this and allow God to do his work in his timing.

Argument #11

  • Fear of loneliness after leaving a homosexual lifestyle to be joined with the body of believers. THIS ONE. This one hits home for me. I have no personally struggled with homosexual attraction but I understand loneliness within the church. Being single is often seen as a shame, as if one can not bring glory to God as a single individual. Let us rejoice in singleness if the single individual is being chaste and pursuing Christ. Marriage is not the solution. Singleness is to be celebrated. The church often does not act as if this is the case but it holds to scripture. Singleness allows much more freedom in worshiping the Lord and provides many more opportunities. Marriage is not the only path to maturity and sanctification. It is merely path. Just as singleness is path. Singleness needs to be revalued in our culture. Marriage is not the ultimate. Paul literally preferred singleness. 1 Corinthians 7. There will be marriage in heaven but it will be between Christ and believers. It will be the ultimate version of marriage which earthly marriage can only demonstrate a portion of. Both our culture and the church have placed an unhealthy amount of attention on sexual gratification and pleasure. While sex is enjoyable and a gift from God within the confines of marriage, it is not the end-all-be-all of our human experience. Being single should not be a negative label. It should be viewed as a blessing. For those leaving the homosexual lifestyle in search of purity and chastity, bless you. It is not an easy transition but you are not alone. You are not the only single ones feeling the burden of not only the expectations of others but also of your own physical desires. I encourage you, as I encourage myself, enjoy this time. You don’t know how long it will last but the Lord can do such amazing things with it. You are not alone.

Argument #12

  • This isn’t really an argument. This is more a point but I didn’t want to end my list of arguments on an uneven number. So it’s important to understand that historically speaking, heterosexual relationships have been the norm for all of history. There have been anomalies but for the most part, homosexuality has not been accepted. 2+2=4. But about thirty years ago, someone suggested 2+2 may equal 5. And then the media began to support that. And then the Supreme Court said 2+2 can equal 4 or 5, whatever works for you. This is a huge social change which is very out of the ordinary and, fifty years ago, would never have been accepted. This is not to say that any new idea should be rejected simply in an effort to keep with tradition. But when the new idea is overtly contrary to scripture and is causing such an upheaval, it should be evaluated very closely.

this is important (which is why I bolded it): the gospel is GOOD NEWS. Whether it be for gays, gossips, gluttons, or adulterers. We are all sinners and we are ALL in desperate need of the gospel of Christ. The fight against sin is worth it. The gospel changes the most important things in our lives immediately and it changes the other things eventually. Healing takes time but there is always hope. We are all broken. But we have the healer with us.

Finally, understand that our identity is in Christ. A struggle does not identify us. It is not who we are.

The two sermons are online if anyone were interested in listening. Please comment with questions or reactions, I’m very curious as to others’ thoughts on the issue following these notes. Thank you for reading through these notes. I would love to speak to anyone on their thoughts on the issue.

Gender and Marriage [part I]

http://northwake.com/resources/sermons/pastoral-reflections-on-same-sex-marriage-rom-118-32/

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