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.

Becoming The Thing You (Supposedly) Hate

There are two excellent articles today showing that the proponents of same sex “marriage” have become the things they claim to hate.

In the first one, Doug Wilson shows it is the homosexual activists, rather than the supporters of religious liberty, who are really resurrecting Jim Crow.

In the second, Frank Turek shows that same sex “marriage,” not Christianity, is seeking to become the established religion of our culture using the power of the state to coerce belief and punish heresy.

Both are worth your time to read:

On Taking Your Chimp to the Beautician by Doug Wilson

Same-Sex “Marriage” is Becoming the Established Religion By Frank Turek

Offensive Weapons

Offensive WeaponsOur culture has raised taking offense to an art form. While there are probably many explanations for this, I came across something recently that I think explains it very well.

For my birthday my daughter gave me a copy of Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov.” As I was reading it, a quote jumped off the page at me:

“The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone.”

For those invested in lies, the only protection available is to prevent truth from being heard. And, since lies cannot go head to head with truth and win, you need a secret weapon. In the arena of ideas, that secret weapon is often “offense.” It allows you to shut down discussion on almost any topic before things get out of hand. It steps between you and truth like a celebrity’s bodyguard fending off the paparazzi.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: when you encounter a topic for which only one point of view is allowed, that acceptable point of view is probably a lie. Note carefully what I’m saying. I’m not denying there are issues for which only one view is correct, far from it. I believe in the concept of absolute truth, the law of non-contradiction, etc. I’m saying if the accepted point of view is not open to challenge it’s likely because it cannot stand up to scrutiny and so must be protected some other way such as the tactic of taking offense.

Here are a few things in that category; admittedly some of these are more vehemently defended with the “I’m offended” tactic than others:

  • The unborn are not people, they’re just a mass of tissue
  • Abortion is healthcare
  • Gender is a social construct
  • It’s possible to be physically male yet really be a woman (and vice versa)
  • Man-made global warming is a fact and is a threat to the planet
  • Macroevolution is the explanation for all the life forms we see today.
  • A relationship between two people of the same gender can be a marriage
  • Minimum wage laws help the poor
  • Government spending creates prosperity
  • Islam is a religion of peace

I could go on. To question any of these assertions is to be offensive to many in our culture. Of course the words “I’m offended” may not always be used. You will sometimes be accused of being intolerant or misogynistic or homophobic or a greedy capitalist, etc. but those are just other ways the tactic of taking offense manifests itself.

There’s also an underlying assumption in Dostoevsky’s quote: people know they are lying to themselves about these things.  Of course the transsexual or the abortionist would deny this but deep down they know truth is not on their side. That is why they are so quick to take offense. The apostle Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Romans:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. – Romans 1:18-23

Which brings us to the biggest assertion of all that this tactic is used to defend:

There is no God.

If you want to see people go from 0 to 60 on the “I’m offended” scale in nothing flat, just acknowledge God in the public square. The shortest length of time known to man is the time between when a prayer is said at a city council meeting and a lawsuit is filed by an atheist.

In the end you must expect to be labeled “offensive” if you stand for truth in our day (usually by folks who claim to hate “labels,” I might add). But when you are take heart, for when someone claims your point of view is offensive it’s likely because they have no counter arguments for it.

Presbyterian Church (USA) & the Golden Calf

Exodus chapter 32 is surely one of the saddest chapters in the Old Testament.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) & the Golden Calf
Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicolas Poussin c. 1711

God has done a mighty work on behalf of His people Israel. He’s freed them from slavery in Egypt through a series of miraculous events. He’s led them through the Red Sea on dry land and destroyed the army of Pharaoh. He’s led them into the desert as a pillar of fire by night and a column of  smoke by day. He’s fed and cared for them as His children.

But more important than all that, He’s condescended to communicate with them through His mediator, Moses. He’s given them His law and promised to be their God if they will serve and obey Him.

Now, Moses and Joshua have been called by the LORD to go up Mt. Sinai and receive further instructions from Him and the people of God have been called to faithfully wait.

Of course we know what happened. They did not want to wait on the one true God. They created a god of their own – one who would act the way they wanted him to act and let them act the way they wanted to act. So at the prompting of Aaron, their spiritual leader, they removed the gold earrings given them by the Egyptians and used them to create a false god, a golden calf, and began to worship it.

This week the delegates to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) removed their gold earrings and presented them to their leaders who fashioned them into an idol and proclaimed “These are your gods O PCUSA.” By a 3 to 1 margin, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to allow Presbyterian pastors [sic] to perform what they are calling same-sex marriages – essentially thumbing their nose at the creation ordinance of marriage set up by God at the beginning of time and reinforced by Christ in the New Testament.

Like the people of Israel in the desert, the PCUSA wants a god who will jump through their hoops. One who will always agree with them and let them live any way they want to live. Since the one true God is not like that, they did what people have done from the beginning of time, they fashioned a god for themselves who would act the way they want him / her / it to act.

Jeremiah speaks of this:

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water. – Jeremiah 2:13

Our lives in this world are not always  easy. Sanctification is a long and difficult process. But we are called to say “no” to our ungodly desires, no matter what they are, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives as we wait for the Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14).  Homosexuality is by no means an unforgivable sin. But it is a sin. Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 6:9-11 that there were members of the church there who had repented of homosexuality (and many other sins) and were now washed, sanctified and justified before the Lord.

By telling people they can have their sin and God too, the PCUSA is speaking “peace when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). They are leaving people under the wrath of God in order to worship at the altar of political correctness and cultural relevance.  Under the banner of inclusiveness, they are excluding people from the Kingdom of God just as the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day (Matthew 23:13).

I pray they will repent before it is too late, both for them and for those they are leading to destruction.

 

 

 

 

World Vision Jumps the Shark

UPDATE: World Vision in the US has reversed this policy as of March 26, 2014.

It’s one of those things that caused me to do a double take. The headline was “World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in World Vision Jumps the SharkSame-Sex Marriages.” Had I stumbled on one of those news parody sites like The Onion? No, this was on Christianity Today and the headline was real. Heretofore Christian ministry World Vision was seriously making the case that the best way forward for their ministry is to drop the requirement that those hired by the ministry must exercise their sexuality only within the bounds of a biblical marriage.

Their reason? Because, according to president Richard Stearns the issue of homosexual “marriage” is:

…tearing churches apart, tearing denominations apart, tearing Christian colleges apart, and even tearing families apart. Our board felt we cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue. We’ve got to focus on our mission. We are determined to find unity in our diversity.

He goes on to claim this issue is no different than mode of baptism or women in church leadership, issues on which many denominations differ but on which World Vision has chosen not to take a stand. He claims it’s an issue of church unity – implying of course that those who take a biblical stand on the issue are contributing to disunity. This unity at all costs approach is what decimated the liberal mainline denominations in the United States over the last hundred years and I predict it will similarly impact World Vision.

But the kicker was this:

We are absolutely resolute about every employee being followers of Jesus Christ. We are not wavering on that.

Clearly then, in Stearns’ view, one can be a Christian while living in open and unrepentant sin. There is no other way to read that. He sees no conflict between a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and being proud of one’s sin, of flaunting it, of calling the God of the universe who designed sex and marriage, a liar.

So what’s driving this nonsense? My first thought was that they are cowards unwilling to take a stand on a difficult issue, but I think it’s worse than that. This is an issue of pride and self-importance.

Here’s the bottom line from one of their board members:

It’s a matter of trying to decide what the core mission of the organization is…

As with so many other para-church organizations over the years, their mission has become paramount, eclipsing the mission given to the church and to Christians. They see themselves and their organization as indispensable and the truth of scripture as dispensable in service to their cause.

Christian, if you give to World Vision, I urge you to stop. If your church supports them, I urge you to urge them to stop. This is a gospel issue. Either Christ calls us to die to self, repent of our sin and follow Him or He does not. World Vision says for those in bondage to homosexuality He does not. But the Scriptures disagree (I Corinthians 6:9-11) as do countless Christians down through the ages. Therefore, we should not support an organization that claims to be Christian but is committed to putting their personal agenda ahead of truth and of speaking the words of life to lost men and women. It’s as simple as that.