Note to Readers: In order to frankly address homosexual sin, I have utilized some explicit descriptions in this post which may make some folks uncomfortable.
Rick Brentlinger, webmaster of Gay Christian 101
, has left some comments under my post about Rick Warren
His various comments raise some important matters the Church MUST consider in our current day where homosexual activists are brazenly more aggressive in promoting their sinful lifestyle. Sadly, the people of our society whose minds have been savaged by postmodern relativism, understands homosexuality to be perhaps an unusual thing, but an otherwise benign lifestyle, rather than the sexual perversion it is. Their response ranges from a disgruntled passivity which says "that's not for me, but 'live and let live' if gays aren't bothering anyone," to a full on embrace of total acceptance where every single person in our world must be forced - even if it means kicking and screaming - to love homosexuality without question.
Those who oppose homosexuality - a lifestyle, by the way, solely defined by a sexual behavior - are marked as bigoted, backward, and repressive of basic human rights. And even more specifically, the charge of bigoted and intolerant is leveled against unapologetic, Bible believing Christians who define their rejection of homosexuality by what has been written clearly in God's Word against homosexual behavior.
This debate will only become more heated, even to the point I believe of severely limiting the free speech rights of anyone who would dare speak against homosexual sin and a gay lifestyle. The Church has to be prepared for this inevitability of persecution by a God-hating world. But where they also need to be prepared is with defending the faith against individuals like Rick who revise the scriptures, along with church history, so as to teach that God never condemned loving, consensual, same-sex partnerships. Rick writes passionately for his position, but his argumentation does not withstand even the least bit of scrutiny.
My lovely wife asked me why even bother responding. Doesn't this fall under being entangled with foolish arguments? My primary purpose is not to convince Rick. Though I desire to see him repent from this sin of corrupting God's Word so as to justify his sinful lusts, that change will take a divine work of God in his heart. The audience I have in mind are those quite readers of my blog who can be confounded by Rick's arguments and do not have the sophistication to answer his claims. It is these individuals whose thinking I want to shore up by providing them the necessary refutations to confront and rebuke gay "Christian" apologetics when they are encountered.Now, with that introduction in mind...
In response to one of Rick's first comments, I had asked"I personally would like Rick to articulate his theology of sexual relations and marriage from a biblical foundation."
I asked that question, because I have yet to see a serious attempt by gay apologists to formulate a theology of human sexuality and marriage from scripture. In response to me, Rick linked me to his website's mission statement and then to a series of articles reflecting the historical revisionism often presented in gay apologetics. For example, citing from the discredited historical research of John Boswell who died of AIDS in 1994.
Boswell re-interprets the story of the martyrdom of St. Serge and St. Bacchus, two Roman army officers exposed as Christians and martyred for their faith, as being two gay Christian lovers. Though I think Rick believes his collection of articles reflect a theology of human sexuality and marriage, they are in fact polemical propaganda pieces complaining against what he perceives as the unloving status quo
toward gays by evangelical Christians.
Before continuing, it may be helpful if I define what I mean by a theology of sexual relations and marriage
God did not create humanity and then leave us alone to engage in unbridled sexual activity with total abandon. When God created man and woman, He did so in His image (Genesis 1:26, 27). Meaning God invested His authority in men to rule over His creation as His representatives. It also implies that in bearing the image of God, men are to do so in holiness. Our entire way of living is to reflect God's glory. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31, So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God
. That would certainly include human sexuality.
In order for men and women to pursue sexual lives reflecting God's holiness, God established boundaries with specific commands that not only define the means in which people can express their sexuality, but also what is going to be best for them as a whole person. With in the first and second chapters of Genesis, God established the foundational boundaries of human sexual relationships: marriage. Within that institution of marriage, God further limits the human participants: one man and one woman. They are given a specific mandate: be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. This mandate obviously involves sexual intercourse between the couple resulting in the birth of children.
Throughout the entire Old and New Testaments, this original model is the divine standard. Even more so in the NT where Jesus Himself appealed directly to this creation model when debating the Pharisees about divorce. The Apostle Paul reiterates the creation model a number of times in his epistles, especially in Ephesians 5, where he reveals how a spirit-filled marriage between a man and a woman pictures the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32).
Now, one other significant factor needs to be considered when outlining a theology of human sexuality: the entrance of sin into the world. Man's fall into sin not only separated him from God, but also darkened his mind to spiritual truth, drawing him away into acts of rebellion against his Creator. Sexual sin became one of the dominant displays of his rebellion. For instance, mankind radically departed from the creation model by engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners outside the bounds of committed marriage. Additionally, all sorts of sexual perversions abounded including homosexuality. These sexual sins were even pervasive among God's people, so much so that He provided further regulations through commandments to keep their sin in check, but more importantly, to bring them into conformity to His holy standard so that His people could have a relationship with Him.
In light of these fundamental remarks, let me move on to some of Rick's specific comments.
He writes,The "love" of the anti-gay crowd is not mediated through the prism of Matthew 7:12 or Matthew 22:36-40. Anti-gay christians would never be satisfied to be treated the way they treat gays and lesbians.
Two thoughts strike me in response. First, any one who names homosexuality as sinful is considered a part of the "anti-gay crowd," as if their opposition to homosexuality is either founded in a vacuum or just basic redneck bigotry. Perhaps I am "anti-gay," but my reason for being "anti-gay" as I have articulated in several articles over the last couple of years at this blog on the subject of gay apologetics, is due in part to the clear teaching of God's Word. It is not because I have some innate prejudice against gays because I merely think their lifestyle is yucky.
Secondly, notice how the love of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is defined as affirming and tolerating sinful behavior. As if I am merely to turn a blind eye toward it and make no comment, particularly a negative comment, against how those captured by homosexual sin behave. I would probably agree with Rick that many Christians need to evaluate how they treat men and women ensnared by homosexual sin, for often they are mean spirited toward those individuals. However, genuine, godly love will warn others of the dangers of sin, even if it is confrontive and at time offensive to the one hearing the rebuke. I would be unloving not to do so.
Then we come to the heart of our profound disagreement regarding homosexuality and human sexuality. Rick writes,From the beginning God affirmed it is not good for the man to be alone, Genesis 2:18. The intimate companionship of God Himself, with Adam in the Garden of Eden, was not enough for Adam. God affirmed this fact and intentionally created Eve to meet Adam's need. Marriage rights should include gays and lesbians. We affirm that if a perfect man, Adam, without a sin nature and living in an unfallen world, needed more than the companionship of God Himself to meet his intimacy needs, it is reasonable to conclude that gays and lesbians need a similar kind of holy union which God provided for the original couple, to meet our intimacy needs. We affirm that the viewpoint of many Christians, that all gays and lesbians must live celibate lives, never having their deepest intimacy needs met, constitutes a cruel refusal to obey the explicit command of Jesus in Matthew 7:12... We further affirm that Biblical principle and Christian charity require an empathetic response to the God-created intimacy needs of gay and lesbian Christians. Our mission is to communicate this truth to the body of Christ.
The terms "intimacy" and "intimacy needs" are repeated at least three times in these paragraphs. How exactly is "intimacy" being defined here? Particularly in regards to a biblical paradigm? If I am understanding Rick's idea here, quite simply, the intimacy he is referring to is the sexual intimacy experienced during intercourse. I believe the primary reason for sexual intercourse is to unite a couple together. To make them one flesh as Genesis states.
Speaking from one who is married, there is a deep, abiding emotional connection which takes place when a couple has sex for the first time. Any who is in a healthy marriage will attest to this. That is why fornication, or premarital sexual relations, and adultery, are such devastating sins. Fornication "unites" a person emotionally to a partner, maybe even multiple partners, who will never be a true marriage partner. I have heard testimonies from both men and women who engaged in premarital sex and those illicit encounters deeply impacted them emotionally. Though God certainly can bring forgiveness and one can be healed by the sanctifying Spirit over time, often there is a profound personal struggle to experience the joy of sexual intimacy with the true marriage partner. Adultery can be even worse, for the intimacy intended for only one person is given to a stranger outside the marriage union. Not only has the one who committed adultery sinned against God and the other spouse, but the innocent spouse now struggles to regain trust and the joy once experienced in the sexual union before the adultery.
More to the point, true sexual intimacy comes down to the sex act itself. A man and a woman physically naked before each other, not knowing shame or embarrassment, engage in sharing their bodies for the sole purpose of giving and receiving sexual pleasure. When God created man and woman, He equipped them both with the necessary sexual genitalia to not only accomplish this pleasure to the fullest, but also result in the possibility of children.
As much as Rick speaks of intimacy, a same sex couple cannot experience the true sexual intimacy as God designed it from creation. Those who have given themselves over to homosexual passion may think they can experience that intimacy, but they are lying to themselves. The primary reason is biological. Two men have the same sexual organ, and though they can simulate a sex act to sexual release, this intimacy cannot compare to what is genuinely experienced between a man and a woman as God designed them. This is what I believe Paul has in mind in Romans 1:26, 27 when he speaks of homosexuals going against nature. The idea is that they are engaged in sexual activity that does not fit the function of their biological genitalia. In other words, and to be blunt, the anus is not meant to function as a sexual organ. It is designed to eliminate waste, not serve as a receptacle for another man's penis. Additionally, this is just one of the reasons why the gay revision of Romans 1 as to be condemning only pedophilia and not so-called consensual, same-sex relationships is absurd. The sexual penetration of two adult men is just as "against nature" as that of a grown man with a boy.
Then, allow me to skip to one final comment before saving the others for another post.
Rick writes,The Church does not condemn all heterosexual behaviour by association on the basis that some heterosexuals commit the sins of adultery, fornication, lust and rape. We affirm therefore that basic decency, common honesty and elementary logic require that gays and lesbians receive the same thoughtful consideration. That some homosexuals commit the sins of adultery, fornication, lust and rape does not warrant the conclusion that all gays and lesbians deserve unqualified condemnation. Our mission is to make all Christians aware of this basic truth.
If I am reading his comment correctly, Rick is saying that the heterosexual sex between a man and a woman is not condemned just because there are those heterosexuals who commit adultery, premarital sex, and rape. (I am not sure what he means be "lust," lust being a heart attitude that leads to specific sin). In other words, just because there are women who engage in prostitution does not mean human sexuality is condemned as sinful. In like manner then, in Rick's mind I guess, the homosexual sex between two consensual adult males in a committed relationship should not be condemned just because there are S&M perverts flaunting their perversion in a San Francisco gay day parade.
The problem with this comparison and contrast is the biological factor Rick over looks. Like I mentioned above, two men or two women cannot experience the sex God intended people to experience because their sexual organs are incompatible. A sex act simulated by an artificial device or substituting a non-sexual orifice cannot properly function in the manner God intended men and women to have sex. The folly of his so-called "logic" for homosexual sex seems to be utterly lost on Rick and other apologists advocating for a gay Christian lifestyle.