On the Church and Her Priorities

On the Church and Her Priorities“If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

The above quote, attributed often to Martin Luther though his authorship is questionable, is nevertheless an important one for the church in our day. If we fight yesterday’s battles, we will lose today’s.

Consider what we’ve seen in just the last few months:

And this is not an atypical few months with regard to gender and sexuality in our culture or in the church.

Over the same past few months I’ve also noticed:

  • Zero mainstream publications trying to convert teens to white supremacy.
  • Zero high profile Christians publicly waffling on whether racism is a sin.
  • Zero professing Christians aiding the implementation of government imposed segregation policies.
  • Zero churches taking action to be deliberately more inclusive of those who identify as white supremacists.
  • Zero taxpayer money allocated by Republicans or anyone else, to re-segregate the military.

So, in which of these areas does it appear the “battle rages?” On which of these topics should the church be speaking the loudest and the most often? In which area should we be concentrating the limited time and treasure the Lord has given us? On which topic should there be conferences and denominational resolutions (provided those actually accomplish something other than virtue signaling)? Which one should be called “Satanic” openly and often?

I get it, there are people who are appalled at how the church conducted herself on the issue of race in the mid-twentieth century and before; I’m one of them. Some people, I believe, like to think if they’d only been there, things would have been different they wouldn’t have refused to stand up. Now, in positions of power and influence they’re determined to make that clear. Trouble is,  it’s not Selma, 1965; it’s Sodom & Gomorrah, 2017.

If you want to prove you would have stood firm where the church faltered in the past then stand firm where she’s faltering today. Fight today’s battles, not yesterday’s. Battle reenactment is for hobbyists. Does racism still exist, yes, even when properly defined. But, to say it’s the or even an overarching problem for the church and must be given the same level of attention as the sexual revolution or something like abortion is simply not true. Confront it if you see it in a fellow believer but don’t pretend it’s larger than it is. To do so may win you attaboys from the culture but it won’t take the fight to the battle at hand.

Photo credit: Andrew Campbell Photography via Visual hunt / CC BY

Anal Sex, What you REALLY Need to Know (With no apologies to Teen Vogue)

I can’t believe I’m having to write an article with the above title. Yet, that’s were we are in America. The pro-gay lobby has so impacted the culture that a teen magazine, Teen Vogue, recently published an article called “Anal Sex: What you Need to Know” to help their young readers commit sodomy safely. The trouble is they didn’t tell them what they need to know, which is that there is no safe way to engage in this kind of behavior. I must warn you before you read further that I’m going to be blunt in this post and describe things that may be unsettling but it’s time for some of that in my opinion. For too long the discussion has been framed by those who willing to hide the ugly truth about homosexual behavior in order to promote an agenda. However, if you don’t want to read further, I’ll understand.

Let’s start with something very basic, something that needs to be said that virtually never is said: It is not possible for two men or two women to have sex. I don’t care what you’ve heard. The only option for two men or two women is sodomy. Sexual intercourse can only occur between people of the opposite sex. So the first thing you need to know about “anal sex” is that it’s not having sex. Calling it that is just another way the culture seeks to normalize homosexuality, like calling a homosexual relationship a “marriage.”

Secondly, as I said up front, there is no safe way to engage in this behavior. The lower intestinal tract is not designed to be an organ of copulation. When you force it into that role you risk damage to yourself even the very first time and you virtually ensure damage to yourself if you continue the behavior over the long term. You will damage your body if you engage in “anal sex” – it’s never safe.

John R. Diggs, Jr., M.D. wrote an article many years ago called “The Health Risks of Gay Sex” which is as true today as it was when written. Here is one of the things he says about this particular behavior:

With repeated trauma, friction and stretching, the sphincter loses its tone and its ability to maintain a tight seal. Consequently, anal intercourse leads to leakage of fecal material that can easily become chronic.

Put more simply, you can end up wearing a diaper because your rectum loses the ability to control your bowels. Doesn’t that make you want to dance around waving a rainbow flag?

Joseph Sciambra writing of his experience with homosexuality in San Francisco as a young man says as a result of anal intercourse he became plagued with painful bleeding hemorrhoids and eventually his rectum prolapsed and he bled every time he had a bowel movement. Years after he abandoned that lifestyle he still deals with the damage to his body:

Almost two decades after stopping such behavior, the most vicious joke has been on me – as today I am sometimes forced into adult protective undergarments.

Not only does it damage your body directly, anal intercourse is several times more likely than sexual intercourse to infect you with disease. The reason, again, is that this part of your body was not designed to be used this way. From Doctor Diggs:

…the intestine has only a single layer of cells separating it from highly vascular tissue, that is, blood. Therefore, any organisms that are introduced into the rectum have a much easier time establishing a foothold for infection than they would in a vagina.

As a result, anal intercourse makes one highly susceptible to a laundry list of infections:

Anal Cancer
Chlamydia trachomatis
Cryptosporidium
Giardia lamblia
Herpes simplex virus
Human immunodeficiency virus
Human papilloma virus
Isospora belli
Microsporidia
Gonorrhea
Viral hepatitis types B & C
Syphilis

Diggs points out that sexual transmission of some of these is virtually unknown in heterosexual populations. It is only when the lower intestine is used in a way for which it was not designed that you have them turning into “sexually” transmitted diseases. The danger of infection is not mitigated by using “protection” either. The stresses placed on the lower intestinal tract from this behavior can cause anal fissures, which are nothing but open doors for any infection that finds its way there whether from a partner or another source. Put bluntly, having an open wound in the area of your body where solid waste disposal takes place is a recipe for disaster.

I could go on. I suggest you read the entire piece written by Joesph Sciambra linked above as well as the article by Dr. Diggs – but I warn you, they’re not for the squeamish.

It’s time to for our culture look the sodomy they love so much in the face. If they’re going to promote it, we should insist they describe it as it is. It’s not rainbow flags and parades, it’s a doorway to pain, disease and even death in some cases and for a magazine like Teen Vogue to encourage young people to enter that world is unconscionable.

 

Photo credit: Hanbyul❤ via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Why Has Tony Campolo Rejected the Bible’s Teaching on Sex & Marriage?

Why Has Tony Campolo Rejected the Bible's Teaching on Sex and Marriage?Because he’s not a Christian.

So stop with the “evangelical leader” stuff when describing him.

Sorry if that took all the air out of the room but it needs to be said. You can parse his arguments (such as they are) all you want but the bottom line is he’s come to this conclusion because Jesus is not his Lord – the culture and public opinion are.

J. Gresham Machen puts it well:

It is no wonder, then, that liberalism is totally different from Christianity, for the foundation is different. Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life. Liberalism on the other hand is founded upon the shifting emotions of sinful men.

Before you accuse me of being too harsh, let’s think about what his endorsement of homosexuality means:

  • He is calling good what God calls evil, putting himself in the place of God. (Leviticus 18:22Isaiah 5:20)
  • He is rejecting God’s design, as affirmed by Jesus Christ, for marriage, again, putting himself in the place of God. (Genesis 2:24Matthew 19:3-6)
  • He is giving his blessing to soul-destroying sexual immorality. (I Corinthians 6:9)
  • Like the false prophets in Israel, he is speaking peace when there is no peace to unrepentant sinners, whitewashing their sin and dancing before them like the Pied Piper leading them to Hell. (Ezekiel 13:10)

When this is the fruit of your ministry, your assurance that you are a follower of Jesus Christ should be nil.

I pray Campolo will repent before it’s too late, both for himself and for the many he is leading astray.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:21-23

Why Not “Gay” Christians?

Why No "Gay" Christians?There’s a disturbing trend in the church today – the notion that after conversion it is helpful or even necessary to define myself by the sin with which I struggle. The trend is all the more concerning because there’s really only one sin for which that claim is made – homosexuality. And because homosexuality is being used by the Enemy to undermine the church more than any other issue in our day we need to be cautious about giving it a status not shared by every other sin.

So, why should Christians not take their identity from their sin? First of all, there is no support in scripture for doing so. The New Testament speaks again and again about our new life in Christ (Romans 6:4), our freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1), that we’re no longer a slave to our old master – sin (Galatians 4:7). Why would someone set free from their old, cruel slave-master want to continue to be called by his name? The Apostle Paul makes it clear when writing to the Corinthian church that our old life is a thing of the past:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. – I Corinthians 6:9-11 (emphasis mine).

To be washed, sanctified and justified is to no longer be a an idolater or adulterer or a homosexual.

Secondly, it is a capitulation to the culture. To say that I was created “gay” and that’s still who I remain after conversion equates being “gay” with innate traits like race and gender. While that is certainly the claim of our culture, it should not be the claim of followers of Jesus Christ. To say that “gay” is who I am, even if I believe it is wrong to act on that identity, is to buy into the culture’s belief system.

Then  there’s the word “gay” itself. The reason we use euphemisms for sin is always to soften the impact of the biblical word in order to downplay the seriousness of the behavior.  A married man sleeping with his secretary is not “having an affair”  or a “fling,” he is committing adultery. A person who drinks up his paycheck every week rather than feed his children is not suffering from a disease, he is a drunkard. By the same token, the Bible nowhere speaks of an identity based on sexual attraction – only of a sinful practice called homosexuality. The term “gay” was coined by the culture to remove the stigma from this sin and give it an identity akin to race or gender in an attempt to normalize it. That is not something Christians should encourage.

Bottom line is homosexuality is a sin, but so are a lot of other things. If those who deal with this sin want it to be treated like any other they need to treat it that way too. There is no need for a special hyphenated status in the church for those tempted by homosexuality any more than there is for those struggling with pornography or gossip. No sin is so difficult that the ordinary means of grace as ministered by the local church are insufficient. The homosexual like any other sinner needs to repent of his sin, identify with a local church, read the scriptures, pray, take the Lord’s Supper, fellowship with believers (of all stripes) – in short, live the Christian life and pursue holiness like everyone else who is a new creature in Christ.

Leviticus 18 and Homosexual Practice

Leviticus 18 and Homosexual PracticeOne of the many passages in scripture dealing with sexual immorality is Leviticus 18. In this chapter, we have direct quotes from God on the subject as spoken to Moses. This is a mark of Leviticus in general. Throughout the book passage after passage begins “The LORD said to Moses…” For this and other reasons I believe Leviticus 18 is the strongest passage in the Bible that addresses the morality of homosexual practice – even though only one verse in the chapter mentions it.

The majority of the chapter is devoted to inappropriate heterosexual relationships.

Verse 6 says: “No one is to approach a close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.” Then, from verse 7 through 18, what is meant by “close relative” is fleshed out. Verses 19-20 highlight two additional circumstances where heterosexual sex is forbidden for the people of Israel.

Then in verse 22 we read: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”

This one and only mention of homosexual behavior in an extended discussion of sexual immorality is significant. Up to this point, male / female intercourse is presented as the standard, otherwise why list exceptions? God is saying, do not practice male / female intercourse in these particular ways (the implication being, there are other, non-forbidden ways to engage in heterosexual sex). Notice also that a male audience is assumed for all the exceptions. Do not have sex with your sister, aunt, sister-in-law, etc. Notably, nowhere is sex with a brother, uncle or brother-in-law forbidden. Why? Because homosexual activity is sinful per se. There is no need to list exceptions because there are none. Verse 22 is a universal condemnation of all homosexual practice.

“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Full stop. The biblical prohibition against homosexual practice is not just with regard to temple prostitution or non-committed relationships as is sometimes alleged. It is something God forbids in all circumstances.