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Think on These Things Articles

Homosexuality, The Most Pressing Issue of Our Times

(Volume 21, Issue 6, Nov/Dec 2015)

In 1979, Francis Schaeffer wrote,

The thinkables of the eighties and nineties will certainly include things which most people today find unthinkable and immoral, even unimaginable and too extreme to suggest. Yet—since they do not have some overriding principle that takes them beyond relativistic thinking—when these become thinkable and acceptable in the eighties and nineties, most people will not even remember that they were unthinkable in the seventies. They will slide into each new thinkable without a jolt.[1]

Schaeffer was referencing issues such as abortion, in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Abortion, which previously had been recognized as evil, was at the time rapidly finding acceptance in American culture. In light of shifting values concerning abortions, Schaeffer predicted similar devolution in other moral areas. Would he be surprised by today’s approval and promotion of all things homosexual? What was considered throughout most of human history as sinful behavior and, until 1961, declared a crime in all American states and more recently as a psychological disorder, [2] has now been embraced by people from all walks of life. “State sanctioned” homosexual marriage, which was unimaginable a few years ago, and as recently as 2012 banned in 32 states, is now being framed as a basic human right. Blatant transsexual and transvestite activities are now regarded as natural and normal. And if anyone dare express another opinion, even if expressed graciously and kindly, they are considered homophobic and risk serious ridicule as well as loss of job, position in society, family and friends. In a culture where tolerance is paramount and each has a right to their own opinions, irrespective of their veracity, different views on homosexuality are seldom tolerated. People either toe the politically correct line or suffer the consequences. Moreover, being politically correct does not just mean recognizing homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle. It requires that we all espouse and enthusiastically promote the entire homosexual agenda.

Christians who believe in the Scriptures as their final authority are in a most difficult place. If we live in obedience to written revelation, we cannot accept homosexual behavior as anything less than immorality. Yet, if we speak against the homosexual lifestyle, we are accused of hatred, judgmentalism and homophobia. Add to this the fact that most Christians have never seriously examined the biblical teachings on homosexuality and that issues are now arising that have rarely been seriously debated throughout church history, then we can readily see why the faithful children of God are being squeezed. They find themselves between the immoveable Word of God and its clear teachings on all forms of immorality, including homosexuality, and the changing Western culture, which now sees homosexuality as perfectly acceptable and normal, as it does most other forms of immorality. Christians are quickly becoming marginalized as ill-tempered, mean-spirited bigots who want to inflict pain on innocent people who just happen to be different from them in their sexual orientations and values.

A Little History

We are truly off the grid. There has never been a time in history in which homosexuality has been seen as an “orientation” or when homosexual marriage was considered acceptable and normal. The homosexual community has attempted to revise history (with much success) and make traditionalists appear to be the ones out of step with the past and “on the wrong side of history.” But even a brief glance into human history reveals that the homosexual movement of today is simply out of stride with how homosexuality has been viewed as far back as it can be traced. To be sure, homosexual attraction and behavior has existed throughout antiquity but not in the forms we are seeing today. Glenn Stanton, in his book Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor, surveys some of the secular experts on the history of sexuality. These experts, who do not represent Christianity, are united in their view that the homosexual activity which is common today is much different from anything we have seen in the past. Quoting one scholar of Greco-Roman sexual behavior he writes,

In the ancient world, sanctionable homosexual acts were based on inequity: you were not supposed to desire somebody of the same age and status category as yourself. Therefore, young men and slaves are fair game, particularly your own slaves, who are your passive human property. [3]

Another historian, Michael Foucault, who wrote a three-volume set entitled History of Sexuality, states, “‘Homosexuality’ as a physiological or psychological category was not even present in the minds or languages of the ancient or even pre-modern worlds. It was not how one was but an action, something one did”.[4] Yet a different scholar claims, “‘homosexuality’ as a category for understanding or identifying oneself is just about a century old.” [5] This is not to say that homosexual behavior was uncommon in the past. Some believe 14 of the first 15 Roman emperors were homosexual. [6] And Socrates and Plato both wrote of homosexual behavior and orientation in their days. [7] But on a wide scale level, it was not understood as it is today. Later when homosexuality as an identity was first recognized, it was considered a disorder that needed treatment by the psychological community. [8] It was not until the 1960s that the word “gay” was used to describe homosexuals. The word was developed in an attempt to describe something that had never been seen before in history: “A social/political movement of identity based on same-sex sexual relations and identity.” [9] Today the homosexual community demands respect and full acceptance. The homosexual evolution to date has moved from:

· An act

· To a thing in itself, classified as a disorder needing treatment for healing/change

· To an orientation and, thus, a political movement

· To identity and, thus, a right. [10]

Add to all of this the fact that until very recently the universal church, taking its marching orders from Scripture, has recognized homosexual activity as sinful. Few, if any, in times past tried to use Scripture to support homosexuality. Nor did anyone try to explain away or revise the biblical texts that condemned it, that is until homosexual leaders put on the pressure. It becomes clear, purely from a secular and ecclesiastical historical basis, that the homosexual agenda of modern times is out of step with history. The accusation that traditionalists are on the wrong side of history is clearly not true. Whether homosexuality is right or wrong is another issue (and one we will presently address), but as far as history is concerned, we have never seen anything quite like this before now.

Defining Terms

Before we look at the biblical data, it would be good to define the many terms which have popped up in recent years. These can be confusing, and even those within the culture stumble over many of them, so it is good to get a handle on the terminology. Most terms are familiar to the LGBT (standing for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) community. But to that list should be added other initials such as Q-I-A-A-P. What does all of this mean? Glenn Stanton, who is on staff with Focus on the Family and conducts lectures and debates on gender and sexuality, provides a good understanding of the initials and what they mean. Here is a summary of his definitions: [11]

L – Lesbian, women who are sexually attracted to other women.

G – Gay, men who are sexually attracted to other men, although the term can be used more broadly to denote same-sex attraction in general.

B – Bisexual, someone who is attracted sexually to both male and female.

T – Transgender, a person born physically as a man or woman but who sees himself/herself as the opposite sex, and may have begun the process of transitioning to the gender he/she feels he/she is inside by surgical and pharmaceutical methods. Bruce Jenner recently gave massive publicity to transgenders.

Q – Queer “identifies one as challenging the moral value and hierarchy of most sexual expressions and identities,” but it is not a precise term and can mean different things to different people, even in the LGBT community.

I – Intersexed is a term used for those born with ambiguous genital or chromosomal issues, also called hermaphrodites.

A – Asexuals are those who have no sexual attraction at all.

A – Stands for ally which is typically a heterosexual who is on board with the LGBT agenda but not necessarily homosexual themselves.

P – Is not on Stanton’s list but could be added. It stands for pansexual and Miley Cyrus recently put this term on the map by claiming, “I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that’s legal, I’m down with.” [12]

Understanding the meaning of these initials will help us going forward in dealing with the current culture. Throughout the remainder this article I will refer to the homosexual community as LGBT, as it is presently the popular handle for those promoting a non-heterosexual lifestyle in its numerous forms.

What Does the Bible Say?

We need to turn now from the rapidly changing values concerning sexuality, as is exhibited in our culture, to the never-changing teachings of Scripture. As Christians, we recognize the absolute authority of the Bible, God’s revealed Word, and humbly submit to whatever it proclaims, whether it is popular or not, or as Paul says, “in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). In this regard, it is worth noting that while the Bible says relatively little on homosexuality, what it does say has always been understood, until very recently, even by unbelievers, as a condemnation of the evil nature of the act. And while relatively little is said about homosexuality as such (a fact that the pro-LGBT contingency highlight), a great deal is said about the sinfulness of immorality, of which homosexuality is included. There are seven strategic biblical passages that deal directly with homosexuality. [13] Those who defend homosexual activity call these “clobber verses” implying that conservative Christians use them as heartless clubs to beat down those with opposing views. But attempting to attack one’s opponent in a debate by belittling them and/or their motives is hardly a valid argument. We must engage with what Scripture actually has to say on the subject, not resort to name-calling and defensiveness. Unfortunately, there is obviously not enough space available in an article of this nature to deal with each of these in any detail. I will hit the highlights below but refer my readers to other books and journals, such as those found in the footnotes of this article, for comprehensive study.

Genesis 1:27; 2:20-25 – these passages are not included in the seven biblical texts which discuss homosexuality but they lay the foundation for gender roles and marriage. When the Lord created a helper for Adam (man) he created a human being much like Adam, made in the image of God (1:27). Yet Eve (woman) was unlike Adam in other ways. Adam recognized immediately that the Lord had given him a woman to be “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (2:23). And from that point on, it was determined that men will leave their parents and be joined to a wife (a woman) and they would become one flesh (2:24). The helper God sovereignly chose to be suitable throughout life for Adam specifically, and men in general, would be a female. Nothing in Scripture amends, adjusts or fine-tunes this arrangement. Genders are recognized as equal but having different roles. Marriage, biblically, is defined as a joining of a man and woman in a one-flesh relationship. This has been the undisputed view of the people of God since the beginning of time and accepted almost universally throughout all societies, although not always without some corruption of the design (e.g. polygamy).

Genesis 19:1-11 – The first encounter with homosexual behavior in the Bible is found in the infamous story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sin for which the cities were destroyed was that of immorality and wide-spread homosexuality that cumulated in an attempted homosexual gang rape of Lot’s visitors (who we know were angels, but which the inhabitants thought were mortal men). Some LGBT revisionists claim the real sin at Sodom was radical inhospitality [14] and it had nothing to do with homosexuality. While it must be admitted that the key scene in the story is an ugly picture of attempted gang rape, it must also be recalled that the angels were sent to Sodom and Gomorrah, prior to this encounter, because of the inhabitants’ deep moral corruption. Jude 7 makes it clear that the primary evidence of their depravity was homosexual in nature. The attempted rape scene simply reveals the depths to which they had fallen.

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 – The first verse reads, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination,” and the second states, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” These verses are clear in their denunciation of homosexual activity. But those who desire to dilute their importance point out that these were prohibitions under the Mosaic code which no longer apply to the church age. After all, under the Law the Jews were not to eat catfish or have sexual relationships with one’s wife during her menstrual period (Lev 18:19). These types of laws are no longer binding on Christians so why would we say that laws pertaining to homosexual activity are binding today? But it should be noted that while the ceremonial and civil aspects of the Mosaic Law are no longer incumbent upon believers, the moral code is. As Kevin DeYoung notes, “Jesus referred to Leviticus 19:18 (“love your neighbor as yourself”) more than any other verse in the Old Testament, and the New Testament refers to it ten times.” [15] So the moral teachings found in Leviticus cannot simply be dismissed as inapplicable today. In particular, the teachings of the New Testament are identical to those of the Old Testament when it comes to other moral, sexual issues. Both denounce all forms of immorality as sin. Homosexual behavior would not be exempt from these denunciations. It should also be noted that the condemnation of LGBT activity in Leviticus is found in the context of one of the reasons the Canaanites were morally defiled (Lev 18:19-25).

Romans 1:26-27 – The context of this text is that of the wrath of God being presently poured out on those who have suppressed God’s truth and chosen to live in unrighteous defiance of the Lord (1:18-23). Because of this rebellion the Lord gives the rebels over to the very sinful passions that they so desire with the result they are further dishonored and degraded (1:24-26). One of the specific degrading passions identified is homosexuality: “For their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (vv. 26-27). This seems clear enough; so how does the revisionist get around these verses? According to Stanton they do so by saying that the passage is teaching that when those who are by nature homosexual commit heterosexual acts, or those who are heterosexual commit homosexual acts, they are acting against their nature, and that is wrong. We should all behave sexually in accordance with our nature. [16] This is clearly stretching the meaning of the text to the point of absurdity. Until the rise of the modern LGBT agenda no one would have even considered such an interpretation. On the one hand, in antiquity few even considered someone being of homosexual orientation. They may have committed homosexual acts but they were not by nature homosexuals. That is not how people thought until the 20th century. On the other hand, the consistent teaching throughout church history is that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s gift of sex. James White states, “Some believe, along with John Chrysostom, one of the leading commentators of the early Christian church, that the penalty referred to in this passage is the sexual perversion itself. It becomes a cycle, the sin degrading the sinner who is trapped by his or her own lusts.” [17]

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – Paul is writing in this section to the Christians at Corinth warning them that those whose lives are characterized by certain sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. In that list are homosexuals. The NASB translates the Greek words oute malakoi oute arsenokoitai as “nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.” The ESV captures the clear meaning by translating the text, “men who practice homosexuality.” [18] The idea then is that those who are living out a homosexual lifestyle will not inherit the kingdom of God. Revisionists have claimed that the passage does not reference normal, loving, consensual homosexual acts but perhaps prostitution or rape. But nothing in the context gives anyone the right to narrow the meaning of the words to such an interpretation.

1 Timothy 1:10 – Paul is arguing that the Law was made for rebellious people. He then gives characteristics of the kinds of rebels he believes the Law addresses. In a list which includes murderers, kidnappers, liars and those who kill their parents is also found immoral men and homosexuals. Clearly, Scripture categorizes LGBT behavior as a defiance of God and His moral law.

Jude 7 – This verse has already been mentioned above because it is an explanation of the atrocities committed at Sodom. Jude claims that the men at Sodom and Gomorrah “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire” (ESV). The revisionists say the unnatural desire is a reference to trying to have relationships with angels, but there is no indication that these men had any idea that the angels were anything but mortal visitors to the home of Lot. The gross immorality evident in these wicked cities was that of homosexual activity.

The teaching found in Scripture, and understood as such throughout all of history, is that homosexuality is a serious perversion of a marvelous gift from God. It is a sin of immorality and is condemned consistently throughout the Word of God. The only hope of those trying to square LGBT philosophy with Scripture is to revise the traditional meaning of these seven specific texts and numerous general prohibitions against immorality, interpreting them in ways that they have never been understood by anyone in all of history. It is a desperate attempt to change the meaning of God’s revelation to fit the mood of the moment. Only because many Christians today have not been serious students of the Bible could such a frantic effort be even moderately successful within the church.

Modern Issues

Fans of the original Star Trek television series will recognize one of the opening lines to each show as Captain Kirk said that he and the crew of the Starship Enterprise wanted “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” You don’t have to be a Trekkie to recognize that when it comes to the 21st century and the LGBT agenda we have gone where no one has gone before. We have entered new territories. Questions, discussions, accusations and the like have emerged that have never appeared in the past. In the remainder of this article, I want to address some of these issues.

Is LGBT attraction similar to racial differences?

One accusation often used to stop criticism of the LGBT agenda is that those who are opposed are reacting just as racists do. If we find someone unacceptable because of their ethnicity and we treat them as inferior, we are committing the sins of racism and partiality (cf. James 2:1-7 which actually deals with mistreatment of the poor). Does it then follow that if we are not in agreement with LGBT and accepting of their behavior, we are committing the same sins? Not at all. LGBT behavior is a moral issue, not a racial difference. As Christians, we are called to love all people including LGBTs, but that does not mean we are required to agree with their sinful lifestyles and philosophies.

Are people born homosexual?

A lot of heat has been generated over this question. Part of the argument is that if the Lord has created people who are biologically LGBT then how can they be held accountable for LGBT behavior? First, science at this point simply has not given any solid evidence that there is some genetic predisposition or dominant gene which causes one to be homosexual. The cause of sexual orientation is not known at this time. [19] There are many factors that might be at the root of LGBT orientation; at this point the jury is out and may never come in. But, whatever the cause, “These factors do not remove culpability from the equation. We are all products of nature and nurture. We all struggle with desires that should not be fulfilled and with longings for things illicit.”[20] The biological argument could be used by mass-murderers, pedophiliacs, chronic liars, and virtually everyone to justify their sins. We are all born with a corrupt nature which desires to fulfill sinful passions. Homosexuality is merely one of those for some people, whatever the root cause. As with other sinful behavior, one must repent and deal with it through the power of the Holy Spirit and according to biblical principles.

Should LGBTs be involved in the local church?

The church today has to face issues such as whether LGBTs should be allowed to attend the church. I think the answer is that anyone who desires to attend a service where the Word is ministered, and who will do so without causing disruption or attempting to indoctrinate others with their views, should be welcomed. Most churches of any size have a number of unbelievers who attend, and some do so regularly. By definition they are in bondage to sin, yet if they are willing to come under the hearing of the Word, why would we not welcome them? The same is true of LGBT folks. However there are limits. As unbelievers they should clearly not participate in the Lord’s Table (1 Cor 11:27-32). What about involvement in ministry, especially if they are making claim to being a Christian? Stanton believes LGBTs belong in the church and should be allowed to minister in non-teaching, non-leadership roles (Andy Stanley, and others, agree as will be documented below). I believe this is problematic on a number of levels. First, we have to decide what a church is. If it is the body of Christ composed of believers only, as Scripture teaches, then unbelievers can play no ministerial role. Each member of the church body is to minister and edify the other members through their spiritual gifts received from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). An unbeliever cannot edify the body since they lack the Holy Spirit and are not a member of Christ’s body. And if active LGBTs in the church claim to be Christians, how can their unrepentant lifestyle be ignored? What are we to do with scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 5 which does not allow open immorality to be practiced among those in the local church who claim to be believers? And what about church discipline which Stanton does not mention? I believe Stanton, and others, stumble badly in this area. I agree that unsaved LGBTs who cause no disturbances should be welcomed to attend our churches to hear the gospel and the truth of Scripture, just like any sinner. But those claiming to be Christians yet living in immoral situations (gay or straight) must be confronted and ultimately removed if they refuse to repent, and not invited to serve in behind-the-scenes ministries. To allow such to minister in the church without confrontation is also to do them a great disservice. We are in essence deceiving them into thinking that all is well with them and the Lord and the Lord’s church.

Is Homosexual Attraction Sin?

This is not an easy question. If a person has what appears to be same-sex orientation, through whatever cause, and their “natural” desire is now for people of their own gender, is that sin? I think most of us would agree that we cannot always control our natural bent toward something. I think I have a natural bent toward ice cream. I don’t have to think about it or conjure it up, it is just there. If we take this into the realm of the moral, the vast majority of people have sexual attraction toward those of the opposite sex. This attraction is normal and good in its place. However, heterosexual lust for a woman who is not my wife is definitely sinful. A natural attraction for the opposite sex can quickly move into sinful desire which is wrong and condemned by God. The same is true with those who might have a LGBT orientation. They may be naturally attracted to those of their own sex, due to either nature or nurture or both, but when lustful thoughts are entertained, sin has been committed within the heart of the individual. Heath Lambert, the Executive Director of ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) agrees, “I feel attractions every day that I should not feel. But I don’t think there is any hope, or joy, or victory for either one of us [speaking in the context of a Christian man dealing with same-sex attraction] in minimizing the sinful distortions of our hearts.”[21]

The Church’s Response

As the LGBT agenda has gained traction in America, and specifically after the Supreme Court legalized homosexual marriage, the evangelical church has been scrambling for a response. Unfortunately, there is not a united front representing the church. For example, within many major, relatively conservative denominations and organizations, there have sprung up movements actively lobbying for acceptance of LGBTs and homosexual behavior including same-sex marriage and even ordination of homosexuals. [22] Others have been more ambiguous. Andy Stanley, for example, preached a message in 2012 that seemed to embrace homosexuals in a committed same-sex relationship or marriage. Al Mohler’s thoughts are in the following post:

He [Stanley] told of a couple with a young daughter who divorced when the wife discovered that the husband was in a sexual relationship with another man. The woman then insisted that her former husband and his gay partner move to another congregation. They did move, but to another North Point location, where they volunteered together as part of a "host team." The woman later told Andy Stanley that her former husband and his partner were now involved as volunteers in the other congregational location.
The story took a strange turn when Stanley then explained that he had learned that the former husband's gay partner was still married. Stanley then explained that the partner was actually committing adultery, and that the adultery was incompatible with his service on a host team. Stanley told the two men that they could not serve on the host team so long as the one man was still married. He later told of the former wife's decision not to live in bitterness, and of her initiative to bring the whole new family structure to a Christmas service. This included the woman, her daughter, her former husband, his gay partner, and his daughter. Stanley celebrated this new "modern family" as an expression of forgiveness.
He concluded by telling of Christ's death for sinners and told the congregation that Jesus does not condemn them, even if they cannot or do not leave their life of sin.[23]

Many have challenged Stanley to clarify his position but to date he has not done so, leaving concerned church leaders to interpret exactly what he is saying. The closest he has come to an explanation seems to be at one of his Catalyst West conferences, an event series for pastors under 40.

We just need to decide from now on in our churches when a Middle School kid comes out to his small group leader or a high school young lady comes out to her parents," said Stanley. "We just need to decide, regardless of what you think about this topic — no more students are going to feel like they have to leave the local church because they're same-sex attracted or because they're gay. That ends with us. Stanley acknowledged that there was a diversity of views on homosexuality and gay marriage among his audience, but felt that regardless of these differences churches, as a collective, can create safe space for gay youth. There is not consensus in this room when it comes to same-sex attraction. There is not consensus in this room when it comes to gay marriage," said Stanley. We just can't continue to look into the filter of our politics at our spirituality. It’s got to be the other way around … and specifically when it comes to this issue. [24]

In line with Stanley’s apparent unwillingness to stake out a clear position on homosexuality comes a recent TIME article entitled “How Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage.” The author, Elizabeth Dias, states:

Every day, evangelical communities across the country are arriving at new crossroads over marriage. My magazine story for TIME this week, “A change of Heart” is a deep dive into the changing allegiances and divides in evangelical churches and communities over homosexuality. In public, so many churches and pastors are afraid to talk about the generational and societal shifts happening. But behind the scenes, it’s a whole different game. Support for gay marriage across all age groups of white evangelicals has increased by double digits over the past decade, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, and the fastest change can be found among younger evangelicals—their support for gay marriage jumped from 20% in 2003 to 42% in 2014. [25]

By way of confirmation of these statistics is a statement in a recent essay found in Christianity Today. The authors state, “The Christian pro-family agenda that makes its center mission the reversal of gay marriage will be spectacularly unsuccessful…70 percent of millennials (and more than 40 percent of evangelical millennials) support gay marriage.” [26] While I agree that the reversal of gay marriage must not be the center mission of the church, the proclamation of the gospel and Jesus Christ having that honor, this does not minimize the importance of the issue. Nor do we frame our mission on the basis of the latest surveys and opinions of the majority. And as a side-note, has not the definition of evangelical been stretched to the breaking point when individuals can defy the clear teaching of the Scriptures on such an important topic and still be identified as evangelicals?

Yet, without question, those claiming to be evangelicals have certainly muddled the waters. Take an article found in the July/August, 2015, edition of Christianity Today written by Margaret Philbrick telling the story of her brother who “became a woman.” The article draws to a close with a disturbing statement and an equally disturbing event. The statement, “We hurt the LGBT community by ostracizing them from our churches. Let’s bless them with our listening ears, willingness to be uncomfortable, and hunger to seek the heart of Jesus in every conversation.” This was preceded by an account in which the author, her brother, who had had a sexual reorientation operation and was now living as a woman, and his lesbian girlfriend, attended together a church service in which foot washing was a part. As the author,

poured water on the feet of his [brother’s] girlfriend, and she on [the author’s], “the Lord met us in a white plastic tub of tepid water. In that moment I knew I loved her. I admired her courage going forward and embracing the unfamiliar…How like the Lord to transform our uncomfortable, twisted hearts and minds with his presence and love. [27]

If these types of ideas are reflective of the current confusing and fuzzy thinking within Christianity, and I believe they are, we are in need of careful, biblical meditation on everything touching LGBT issues. Briefly, in light of these troubling trends within the church, how should the church respond? Here I will list the main headings in an article written by Alex Montoya and make a few comments. I would encourage a thorough reading of the entire article. [28] First, the church must expose homosexuality as sin against God. It is an offense against the Lord, a detriment to the church and a disservice to those involved in an LGBT lifestyle to minimize the clear teaching of Scripture that homosexual behavior, in whatever form, is sin. Secondly, we must be careful to extend grace and compassion to homosexuals. Without question homosexuality is a sin, but it is one of many sins for which Christ died in order to redeem us. Homosexuals are sinners, as are we all, and Christ died to save sinners. Because of the enslaving nature of sexual sins, careful and devoted discipleship will be necessary for any LGBT person who comes to Christ. Thirdly, the church must remove practicing homosexuals who claim to be believers from their fellowship (1 Cor 5). Making them comfortable and providing them a safe environment within the church, as some are advocating, is to minimize the gravity of their sin and falsely assure them that all is well with them and the Lord. In addition, there is the danger of their attitude toward homosexuality infiltrating the thinking of other believers. Finally, the church must resist the homosexual community’s assault on society. Given the political and moral mindset of our culture at this time, standing against the LGBT agenda will be difficult and costly. But the church of Christ must make its voice heard, declaring with biblical authority that homosexuality is a sin and a powerful influence toward further moral corruption in our culture.

Conclusion

The LGBT agenda has made rapid progress in Western civilization in the last few decades. In just a few short years, homosexuality has gone from a disgraceful, sinful lifestyle which most made every effort to hide, to a psychological disorder that needed to be cured to a normal alternative lifestyle, flaunted in public and defiantly daring any to oppose it. When Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn and shortly thereafter won the Entertainment and Sports Programing (ESPN)’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award, it was noted by some that very little courage was needed at all. Seemingly, the majority within the sports world and the American public in general, rallied in support around Jenner. Those needing courage are the ones who, even in the most gracious of ways, oppose the LGBT lifestyle and/or disagree with same-sex marriage. The world has changed so rapidly that many of us are getting whiplash. The church has been put in a unique and difficult position by standing for the truth which has been thoroughly rejected by the majority. But in darkness light shines best. May the church not cave to the demands of the many but honor the Lord who has set them free from the bondage of darkness.

[1] Francis A. Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, “Whatever Happened to the Human Race,” The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Worldview, Vol. 5, (Winchester, Il: Crossway, 1982), p. 283.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_psychology states, “In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.[3] The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975.[4] Thereafter other major mental health organizations followed, including the World Health Organization in 1990.”

[3] Glenn T. Stanton, Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor, Being Friends in Grace and Truth, (Chicago: Moody Press, 2014), p. 42.

[4] Ibid., p. 43.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Michael A. Grisanti, “Cultural and Medical Myths about Homosexuality,” The Master’s Theology Journal, Vol. 19#2, Fall 2008, p. 170.

[7] James B. De Young, “The Source and NT Meaning of ARENOKOITAI, with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry,” The Master’s Theological Journal, Vol. 3#2, p. 205.

[8] Ibid., p. 44.

[9] Ibid., p. 28.

[10] Ibid., p. 44.

[11] Ibid., pp. 36-39.

[12] http://www.back2stonewall.com/2015/06/miley-cyrus-pansexual-god-love-her.html

[13] Richard Mayhue, How to Interpret the Bible for Yourself, (Great Britain: Christian Focus, 2001), p. 89.

[14] Kevin DeYoung, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), p. 34.

[15] Ibid., p. 43.

[16] Stanton, p. 60.

[17] James White, The Same Sex Controversy, Defending and Clarifying the Bible’s Message about Homosexuality, (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2002), p. 120.

[18] See DeYoung, pp. 59-67 for the argument.

[19] See DeYoung, pp. 110-112 and Stanton, pp. 93-100.

[20] DeYoung, p. 111.

[22] See Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism, a New Path to Liberalism? (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), pp. 238-249.

[23] http://www.christianpost.com/news/is-the-megachurch-the-new-liberalism-74152/

[26] Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner, “The Power of Weakness,” Christianity Today, November, 2015, p. 44.

[27] Margaret Philbrick, “Loving My Sister-Brother,” Christianity Today, July/August, 2015, p. 56.

[28] Alex D. Montoya, “The Church’s Response to Homosexuality,” The Master’s Seminary Journal, Vol. 19#2, Fall 2008, pp. 233-248.