The Word for today:
Stand in the Rain devotes itself, day after day, to the eternal Word of God.
So, compared to our subject, the primaries and the polls and the proclamations of our prime ministers and presidents seem insignificant (and downright tedious) at best.
But when our readers voice contemporary concerns that warrant a public response, we do not shirk.
Yesterday, two letters reached us via email. The first referred to the President’s proclamation in support of gay marriage. The second referred to the North Carolina referendum, just one day before, on the same issue.
Most of us are already aware of the President’s pronouncement, so we will lead into our response with the letter we received from North Carolina:
Here in NC I have been thinking about the whole gay marriage issue after the voters approved an amendment to the state constitution banning it. Back in the day, I would have agreed with them, thinking that "being gay" was some sort of chosen lifestyle. I have come to believe that people who are gay were just born that way, the same way I was born to be straight. From that point of view I can't see how God would want to exclude them from the Christian community. I know that the Old Testament had specific prohibitions against same sex relationships, but the New Testament doesn't address it all that much, and Jesus not at all as far as I know. What do you think about the issue? (Thomas B., Chapel Hill)
***It's a sin, Thomas, no different than any other sin -- and there's the rub. The gay community has made it into a lifestyle. They march with the mayor down 5th Avenue.
It's a sin that is no different from my pride, my two decades of drunkenness, my divorce, my you name it.
But the prideful don't hold parades. Nor do the drunks, or the divorced.
God excludes no one from the Christian community. The excluded exclude themselves. God went to great lengths, to the ultimate measure at the cross of Jesus Christ, to bring every sinner back home.
But only sinners qualify for salvation. Sin, in fact, is the only prerequisite for salvation (Luke 5:32). The gay community has determined that homosexual sex is not a sin. The Bible says, very clearly, that it is.
The Bible does not try to list every sin. Jesus used catch-all words like "fornication" to imply sexual immorality of all sorts, which (his listeners knew) included adultery, incest, homosexuality, pedophilia, etc. (Jesus was not condoning child molestation just because he did not specifically say the word!)
He did say (Matthew 5:18) that not one jot or tittle of the O.T. law (which specifically mentioned these sins) would be relaxed. Moreover, in the Sermon on the Mount he repeatedly ratcheted up the Old Testament law to include even the thoughts we harbor in our hearts. (Matthew 5:21-32). Jesus made the Old Testament laws look lenient.
Jesus spoke specifically and unmistakably of homosexuality when he said that Sodom would have repented if they had heard and seen what Capernaum had heard and seen from him. (Matthew 11:21-23)
This is a clear reference to Sodom's need for repentance from their signature sin--homosexuality. To his audience, "Sodom" was as unmistakably a reference to homosexuality as "Vegas" is to gambling.
The Christian community is the gay person's best and truest friend in this culture. They are the only ones who love the gay person enough to tell him the truth. They are willing to be despised themselves in order to bring the gay person back into a relationship with God. But in return for their compassion they are called homophobes and haters. In return for their concern they are despised.
Ironically, to me they are more Christ-like in this--for which they are so roundly reviled--than in other spheres. Anyone who reads these articles knows that I am not a cheerleader for the church. But I can testify to their earnest and constant prayer on behalf of the homosexual community. So I applaud the church in this regard. It would be so much easier to just let the cookie crumble.
Which the cookie will, unless the course we’re on is altered. Throughout history, where homosexuality has proliferated, it has accelerated demise. God just seems to let decadence run its course (Romans 1:26). He doesn't lift a hand; he just withdraws it – which is the most terrifying prospect of all.
That's the biblical perspective, Thomas, which is the only perspective I trust. I hope that begins to answer your questions. You have a big, big heart. Please feel free to bring any further question to our attention.