Tag Archives: sin

Homer Simpson, Bob Newhart and the Pyromaniacs agree: Sometimes you just need to stop sinning

I think there is a lot of value in some types of Christian counseling, where individuals or couples/families can work through issues with an independent person who has skills in helping them think through things carefully and biblically.

But when it comes to specific sins, sometimes we just need to stop them.

Here are some supporting commentaries, in ascending order of value.  First, Homer:

Homer: Marge, I want you to admit you have a gambling problem.
Marge: You know, you’re right, Homer. Maybe I should get some professional help.
Homer: No, no, that’s too expensive. Just don’t do it anymore.

Now Bob Newhart:

Now from the team at Pyromaniacs:

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Pyromaniacs: Avoiding is too mild in light of what Paul actually told them: “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). But first he hammers them with several reasons why fornication is such an unholy, degrading, defiling sin: It dishonors the purpose for which God made our bodies. (1 Cor 6:13) It defiles our spiritual union with Christ. (1 Cor 6:15-17) Such sins of the body also desecrate the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 6:19) Now, put all this together. You want to know why fornication has always been regarded as a particularly heinous sin? Because it involves personal and direct transgressions against each Member of the Trinity. It debases and dishonors the body, which (v. 13) is “for the Lord.” God created it for His purposes. To use it for any other purpose-especially a purpose as evil as an act of fornication-is a sin against God the Father. It’s a sin against Christ as well (v. 15), because it takes our members, which are Christ’s by union with Him, and joins them to a harlot, defiling our holy union with Christ. And it’s a sin against the Holy Spirit (v. 19), because it desecrates the temple in which He dwells. And notice Paul’s counsel to the Corinthians. He doesn’t urge them to get into a recovery program for sexual addicts. He doesn’t suggest that they get therapy. He just tells them to stop it.

Don’t forget that believers have help: Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

If you can’t dictate the terms to a McDonald’s cashier, what makes you think you can do so with God?

If you authentically seek God on his terms, you will find him. If you think you get to sit in judgement of the real God, you will not find him.  If you “seek” a god of your own making, you will not find him – except in the mirror, and as you know that god has rather limited powers.  If you think that pretending He doesn’t exist will make him go away, you are mistaken.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 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.

 

Romans 9:20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?

That may sound obvious, but think about how many people insist that all religions lead to God.  Lots of false teachers in churches will tell you such things.  People claim that they wouldn’t believe in a God who says that homosexual behavior is a sin or who sends guilty sinners to Hell, as if not liking someone makes them disappear.

An acquaintance once noted that he would never believe in a God that would send his Jewish friend to Hell.  What was lost on this college-educated person is that whether he liked God or not, if the one true God will send non-believers to Hell then that is what will happen.  God is not going to disappear because this guy doesn’t like his terms and conditions.  And being in Hell with his friend is not going to make it better for either of them.  Side note: If the subject weren’t so serious it would be amusing how certain people are that they will be happier in Hell or that they get to spend time with friends and family there.

They don’t recognize the absurdity of thinking something doesn’t exist just because they don’t like it or the idea that they can tell the real God what He must be like.

What if you went to a company for a job and demanded that they hire you on your terms?  Hey, go ahead and ask for a million dollar salary and unlimited vacation.  Ridiculous, eh?  But only a tiny fraction as ridiculous as thinking you are going to tell God how things must be.

Or tell the cop who pulled you over that you set the speed limits today and that he is wasting your time.  Or pretend that he doesn’t exist because you don’t like him.

Or tell your teacher that she has to give you an A+ even though you won’t come to class, do homework or take tests.

Or if you are still at home, tell your parents that you set the rules now.

Better yet, go to McDonald’s and tell the cashier to give you your entire meal for $1 because you set the prices and see how that works.

If you can’t dictate terms to the person barely and momentarily higher than you on the cosmic organization chart, what makes you think that the one true God must answer to you or that pretending He doesn’t exist will make him disappear?  

God sets the terms, not us.  His first commandments make that explicit.  Better yet, the first verse of the Bible makes that clear.

What makes anyone think they get to dictate the terms of the universe and eternal life to the one true God?  Pride.  Satanic pride (“Did God really say . . .?”).

Be bold in prayer, but know that God still sets the terms.  Ask tough questions, but know that God is ultimately just and all-knowing (also see Job 38).  Seek him earnestly, but humbly and on his terms.

Where do you find his terms?  In the Bible.  They are indescribably generous.  All you have to do is repent and trust in Jesus.  No good deeds required – though in response to his mercy and grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit you’ll be inspired to do good deeds.  Better yet, not only are all your sins forgiven but God will credit Jesus’ perfect righteousness to your account.  It is the ultimate trade, but that is the only way to get there.

If you “seek” a god of your own making, you will not find the one true God.  If you’ve been doing that, stop kidding yourself.  Eternity is a mighty long time to regret your foolish pride.

If you authentically seek God on his terms, you will find him.

Acts 17:26–27 (ESV) And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us . . .

 

Luke 11:9-13 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If you are a believer, try using this line of thinking when sharing the Good News with others.  Ask someone what they think happens when they die, then use the 10 Commandments to point to their sinfulness and need of a Savior.  Explain how God sets the terms of engagement and how remarkably loving and generous they are.  Note how these same terms applied to you and how grateful you are for them.  If they start judging God or pretending that they can ignore him if they don’t like his ways, use any of the examples above to push a reset button on them.  They may not repent and believe on the spot, but you will disarm them of a really bad line of thinking and hopefully plant a seed that someone else will water.

“But I prayed for God do take the desire away and He didn’t, therefore it isn’t a sin”

The title is a synopsis of the sad and illogical argument used by many in the “Christian” LGBTQ community to rationalize their sins.  And the theological Left supports them in this charade because they love the world and themselves more than they love God and their neighbors.

Here’s an example from a recent comment on the Heterosexual questionnaire, aka Best. Homework assignment. Ever. post.

I’ve dealt specifically with scriptures in regards to homosexuality for many years. I struggled with accepting myself and had prayed every night for many months for God to “change” me, which according to my sister was not long enough. However, I was changed: I finally accepted that I was attracted to men and not women. I moved on. And I became much happier and closer to God. And I found the love of my life who I will marry as soon as my state clears the legal path for me to do so.

So he prayed to God to change his sexual desires and God didn’t answer that request.  Instead, God allegedly changed him to accept those desires, even though that goes against the clear teachings of the Bible and 2,000 years of church history.

Those making that claim have the burden to show Bible verses that teach this:

– If you pray for God to remove a temptation, he will do it 100% of the time.
– Therefore, if he doesn’t remove the temptation, it isn’t a sin.

That is transparently false. I could pray that God would eliminate every possible sin from my life. He could solve that by striking me dead, of course, but if He didn’t take away the desires then it wouldn’t be an excuse for me to sin.

If you have given yourself over to homosexual behavior then it isn’t God you’ve moved closer to.

Romans 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

We are all sinners in need of a Savior.  The solution isn’t to pretend that our sins aren’t sins.  The solution is Jesus, who can forgive our sins and give us the Holy Spirit to transform us and to give us power over sin.  Yes, we will still sin, as Romans 7 and other passages teach, but our lives will be transformed now and forever.

If you love your neighbors you won’t encourage them to sear their consciences by pretending that sins aren’t sins — whether the sins are homosexual desires, inappropriate heterosexual desires, lust, anger, greed, jealousy, etc.

Really, people, just say something like, “Yes, homosexual behavior is a sin.  The word of God is clear.  But I’m not going to grandstand on that sin just because it isn’t a temptation for me and I’m not going to try and stop you from sinning before I share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you.  Even if homosexual behavior wasn’t sinful you’d still be a sinner in need of a Savior because of countless other sins.”

Yes, you are likely to be unpopular with the world if you say that.  But if that is your aim then Christianity may not be for you.

——–

Here is the full comment and my response from that post:

Hi Matt,

Thanks for visiting and commenting. I have a couple thoughts to share aside from the survey topic.

You are entitled to your opinion like anyone else. I would just strongly encourage anyone, liberal or conservative, gay or straight, to drop this strong ‘us vs them’ mentality. I would like Christians to adhere to their beliefs and continue to be strong devotees to Christ while simultaneously acknowledging that homosexuality is not an immoral behavior/lifestyle/affliction in and of itself (although who cares what I would like).

While I don’t think the “us vs. them” has to be hostile — even though the LGBTQ lobby certainly is hostile and not interested in any sort of compromise, such as leaving religious liberties intact — what you proposed is completely illogical. What you have said is basically, “Be devoted to Christ but disagree with him on what He says about sexuality.” That is impossible. He is King and Lord of all, so to be devoted to him is to agree with him. And He was very clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.

100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).

0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

* The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Any sex outside of marriage is prohibited, for good reason: that’s a given. But, if you are going to take the INTERPRETATION that certain Greek and Hebrew words were referring to LGBT people and strongly admonish people for identifying as such, then please be consistent. I would assume you also wear clothes of only one material (Deuteronomy 22:11). Indeed, I would expect all Christians who speak out about the destructive nature of homosexuality and back it up with biblical reasoning, to follow most of the hundreds of prohibitions and commandments found throughout the Bible. I should not assume that you do not.

That is a sadly common argument, but one that is false. The literalists who assume that to be consistent with Christ’s teachings on homosexuality (and adultery, etc.) means we must follow every civil and ceremonial law given to the Israelites make two errors. One is that they ignore the distinctions of what God commanded a specific group of people at a point in time relative to his broader commandments to all people. The second is that even if their argument was true it would prove too much, as it implies that unless you wear clothes of the same material then you are inconsistent to argue against any sin, including bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, gay-bashing, etc. That is ridiculous, of course.

Those type of “inconsistency” allegations are full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to study the passages. I address six serious problems with it in flaws of the shellfish argument. http://tinyurl.com/shellfishflaws

But just as you would probably assume that I as a gay man have lots of anonymous sex and use drugs

I wouldn’t have assumed that, though now that you brought it up the statistics say that it is more likely. Whether you have one partner or 100 it is a sin. And you would be 40+ times more likely to get HIV/Syphilis and if you had HIV there is a 62% chance that you would have deliberate unprotected sex.

I’ve dealt specifically with scriptures in regards to homosexuality for many years. I struggled with accepting myself and had prayed every night for many months for God to “change” me, which according to my sister was not long enough. However, I was changed: I finally accepted that I was attracted to men and not women. I moved on. And I became much happier and closer to God. And I found the love of my life who I will marry as soon as my state clears the legal path for me to do so.

Please show me the Bible verses that teach this:
– If you pray for God to remove a temptation, he will do it 100% of the time.
– Therefore, if he doesn’t remove the temptation, it isn’t a sin.

That is false. I could pray that God would eliminate every possible sin from my life. He could solve that by striking me dead ;-), of course, but if He didn’t answer it then it wouldn’t be an excuse for me to sin.

If you have given yourself over to homosexual behavior then it isn’t God you’ve moved closer to. Romans 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

The Bible clearly states that certain men are “born eunuchs” (Matthew 19:12) as in they were not meant to marry women and procreate. In the historical context, eunuchs were simply the men entrusted to serve & protect aristocratic women. Some were already disinterested in bedding the women, which was a prerequisite, while others had to be castrated. If Jesus accepts us as such, then maybe you should, too.

You twisted Jesus’ words to imply that eunuchs = homosexuals, while you ignore the rest of Jesus’ words (i.e., the entire Bible, including his design and ideal for marriage: one man and one woman. Using your reasoning, castration would be a more logical solution than “marrying” someone of the same sex.

The most important thing to remember is that we are all in this society together. I don’t want to live in a crumbling empire spiraling into debauchery and decadence any more than any of you do. Constant partying, promiscuity, and drug use are all recipes for disaster. They are fun for a time I guess, but ultimately lead to misery and isolation. Anyone (gay, bi , straight, trans, etc) can fall into this trap. One of the main reasons there is a ‘gay partying subculture’ is because same-sex couples were excluded from the stabilizing affects of social expectation and pressure to settle down in a permanent monogamous relationship. Marriage fosters strong bonds and rock-solid family foundations which strengthens social cohesion. That’s why I support marriage as much as I do critical thought and compassioned reason.

I agree that less sin is better than more sin. But if I really care about you and your eternal soul then I can’t affirm your homosexual behavior as not being sinful. I hope you study the Bible more carefully and reconsider your views.

All the best to you!

Also see:

Problems with pro-gay theology http://tinyurl.com/5sgoqvv

Responding to Pro-Gay Theology http://www.exodusglobalalliance.org/respondingtoprogaytheologypartip344.php

Responding to same-sex marriage arguments http://wp.me/p1wGU-48E

Rationalize all you like, but . . .

. . . immoral actions are still immoral actions.  Examine works like Macbeth, The Telltale Heart and Crime and Punishment and consider the themes.  People think they can get away with things because they have made careful excuses about them. But they are still wrong, and it haunts them.  At least it haunts some of them.  Some people have such seared consciences that they eventually are immune to guilt.

This happens all the time when people rationalize abortion as being good for the kids being killed.  Seriously, I’ve seen countless Christians say, “But otherwise they’d be poor!”  Note to self: Don’t take those people on mission trips.  At least not with any weapons.

It happens with divorce as well. “The kids will be better off this way.”  Isn’t it interesting how easy it is for people to indulge their desires while simultaneously crediting themselves with helping children?

It also happens with homosexuality and other sexual sins: They need to sleep together before marriage to ensure they are compatible, etc.  They say that if the sinful relationships are “committed and loving” then they are OK and the Bible is wrong.  Indeed.

We can all do this.  I joke that I have the spiritual gift of rationalization.  But that isn’t a good trait.  We should consume the word of God daily and strive to be conformed to his image.

Do you accept God’s forgiveness?

I’ve enjoyed R.C. Sproul’s Does Prayer Change Things? that is available for free on the Kindle app (you don’t need to own a Kindle).  As always, Sproul makes profound points in brief and understandable ways.

Here he tackles a common issue, namely that of confessing to God and asking forgiveness but not forgiving ourselves (or not accepting forgiveness, however you want to look at it).  I’ve experienced this myself and seen it with others, especially when doing Kairos Prison Ministry.  We do a lot of forgiveness exercises — forgiving others and asking forgiveness — but as you can imagine these guys have a lot to feel badly about.

We have God’s promise that when we confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us. Unfortunately, we don’t always believe that promise. Confession requires humility on two levels. The first level is the actual admission of guilt; the second level is the humble acceptance of pardon.

A woman distraught about a guilt problem once came to me and said: “I’ve asked God to forgive me of this sin over and over, but I still feel guilty. What can I do?” The situation did not involve the multiple repetition of the same sin, but the multiple confession of a sin committed once.

“You must pray again and ask God to forgive you,” I replied.

A look of frustrated impatience came into her eyes. “But I’ve done that!” she exclaimed. “I’ve asked God over and over again to forgive me. What good will it do to ask Him again?” In my reply, I applied the proverbial firm force of the board to the head of the mule: “I’m not suggesting that you ask God to forgive you for that sin. I’m asking you to seek forgiveness for your arrogance.”

The woman was incredulous. “Arrogance? What arrogance?” She was assuming that her repeated entreaties for pardon were proof positive of her humility. She was so contrite over her sin that she felt she had to repent for it forever. She thought her sin was too great to be pardoned by one dose of repentance. Let others get by on grace; she was going to suffer for her sin no matter how gracious God was. Pride had fixed a barrier to this woman’s acceptance of forgiveness. When God promises us that He will forgive us, we insult His integrity when we refuse to accept it. To forgive ourselves after God has forgiven us is a duty as well as a privilege.

That is some serious good news, and a great reminder that God’s standards are infinitely higher than mine, and that I should immediately accept his forgiveness and move on.  Otherwise, among other things, I am ungratefully refusing his extravagant gift of grace.

Roundup

Mandatory background checks?  No problem — as long as it is for voting and not gun purchases (already in the Constitution!).

Some great advice on raising Godly children (even if it is over 200 years old — or is it especially because it is over 200 years old?).  A few:

1. The best exercise in the world for children is to let them romp and jump about, as soon as they are able, according to their own fancy.

2. A parent that has once obtained and knows how to preserve authority will do more by a look of displeasure, than another by the most passionate words and even blows. It holds universally in families and schools, and even the greater bodies of men, the army and navy, that those who keep the strictest discipline give the fewest strokes.

3. There is not a more disgusting sight than the impotent rage of a parent who has no authority.

My only complaint about Marshall is that he doesn’t post often enough.  But he’s back with a great take-down on a false teacher who insists that God is pleased with “committed, loving and monogamous” homosexual unions and that Bible-believers should change because we are on the “wrong side of history.”  My comment there:

Great post, Marshall. I could comment on each individually point but would basically be reiterating what you said. So I’ll just note how ridiculous it is for anyone — let alone an alleged follower of Christ — to appeal to a public majority as an authentic, God-approved victory. Using that logic, the early church was on the “losing side of history,” for they had no way of knowing that the persecution would ever end.

1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.

P.S. Re. “two committed, loving and monogamous homosexuals” — 3% of the population is homosexual, and probably 3% of those want to marry, and even less of those even want to be monogamous (another dirty little secret that the media won’t tell you). So as you noted, this is a fantastically small percentage of people to abandon free speech and freedom of religion over — not to mention the active destruction of the innocence of children via public school indoctrination.

And having read the Bible many times, I assure you that there is no passage even hinting that being fully committed to your rebellion-of-choice against God somehow sanitizes it.

Atheist professor converts to Christianity.  I appreciated his concession that he would use his experience to “buffalo” his students.

They are still hiding the truth: Big Three Networks Cover Internet Cats Pics, Lit Trivia, Canadian Clumsiness, But Not Gosnell Trial.  If you only get your news from the mainstream media you are hopelessly — and willfully? — uninformed.

Harrison Ford has 7 airplanes and will fly to get a cheeseburger, but lectures you on the environment.  Check.

This is why everyone should want limited government: Even though the need for helium regulations ended over 80 years ago AND there have been bi-partisan efforts to get rid of them, they still exist.

Hey! Politicians Are People Too — Don’t let the title fool you.  It doesn’t mean, “. . . so don’t be so critical of them!”  It is a great reminder of why we should limit their power, not increase it.

Of all that the American founders understood when they set this grand experiment in motion, their keen grasp of man’s propensity for evil might have been their greatest asset.  And this asset led them to limited the power, not only of the government, but of the majority also.  While they realized that government must exist, * they did not envision government as a benevolent god-like entity.  No, they saw government as a dangerous collection of flawed individuals who suffer from the same afflictions of arrogance and selfishness that plague all mankind; especially those who seek, and then are lent, the reins of power.

Some see government as naturally benevolent because politicians are freed from the motivation of profit.  Such  is a naive and gullible view.  Politicians have plenty to profit politically by making popular promises today while strapping future generations with the bill.   Meanwhile, for the “benevolent” politician, power is a great source of wealth, luxury and ease.  One need only observe politicians, both the ones they love and hate, to see this.

Sadly, and much to even my own dismay, government is not a god-like entity that can usher in social justice, and this is especially true when it is elected by a constituency that rejects the very existence of moral absolutes.  No, the government is a collection of flawed politicians with their own aspirations and venal motivations, because, in the end, politicians are people too.

Voddie Baucham has a great critique of the “sissified needy Jesus” preached by far too many.  His generic quote about what lots of pastors say (“people already know that they’re bad,” so I don’t need to preach about sin) is precisely what a bad pastor at a previous church (Disciples of Christ) used to say. No, we reflexively (rotten) cherry pick people to compare ourselves to based on our own un-Godly standards so we can feel better about ourselves.

It shows their lack of character that they would deliberately make their “subjects” suffer to advance their ideology.

Great take-off on the COEXIST bumper sticker.

coexist

Tony Campolo still teaching falsehoods

Via Campolo Praises United Methodist Political Lobby – Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD).

Commenting on homosexuality, Campolo said: “’Love the sinner and hate the sin.’ Kind of makes you puke, doesn’t it?…Love the sinner and hate your own sin.”

That’s a typical false argument.  The question being debated is whether it is a sin.  It is no more judgmental to say it is a sin than to say it isn’t.  We do hate our own sins.  We just aren’t going around saying that our sins aren’t sins, and that the church must change their definition of our sins or we’ll protest their conventions and split  denominations.

Keep in mind that it wasn’t like oxymoronic “same-sex marriage” was the norm in churches, other religions and atheistic countries for the past couple thousand years and then the mean old Bible-believers came along to spoil things.  The false teachers brought this up, not us.

He warned: “Just to discuss it drives people out of your churches into fundamental independent churches—perhaps independent of God.”

That’s ironic!  They are making a god in their own image and then judging independent churches of being without God?  Indeed.

Anyone claiming to be a “Red letter Christian” needs milk, not meat.  The original writings were all red letters in the sense that they turned out the way Jesus wanted them to.  Matthew’s account of Jesus is no more authoritative than Paul’s.

Read the entire link if you have the stomach for it.

Because of their idolatry, God gave them up to . . . square dancing?!

Well, not exactly.

Romans 1 has a tightly written explanation of why homosexual behavior is an example of rebellion against God’s created order.

Romans 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

I am very familiar with the objections and counter-arguments about Romans 1 and have written about them in Romans 1 and natural functions and Romans 1 and temple prostitutes.

But I was re-reading the False Teacher Profile post and something struck me that I hadn’t noticed before.  Uber-commenter Bubba made the following observation about the pro-gay theology views of the false teacher in question (bold added):

Paul is also quite clear in Romans 1: because of man’s idolatry, God gave up the unrighteous to impurity (1:24), to dishonorable passions (1:26), and to a debased mind (1:28), leading to all manner of evil, including envy, murder, and slander. Even if one were to put a heavy emphasis on the fact that this consequence of homosexual behavior was in the context of idolatry, it’s still impossible to conclude that homosexual behavior is biblically permissible.

AFTER ALL, God wouldn’t “hand over” an idolator to behavior that is good or even morally neutral. “They were idolators, and so God gave them over to prayer and almsgiving” DOES NOT WORK as a logical progression, nor does the idea that they were idolators, and so God would give them over to morally neutral behavior like square dancing and poetry readings.

No matter how you try to spin it, God was punishing their idolatry with something negative.  No matter what completes the “God gave them up to ____” passage, it is, by definition, a negative thing.  So those who claim that the “real” sin is idolatry are missing the point.

As Bubba noted, God didn’t “give them over” to square dancing or some benign thing, He gave them over to homosexual behavior.

Yes, idolatry is a sin that we all have to fight, and there is a laundry list of sins at the end of Romans 1 that we can be tempted by.  We shouldn’t grandstand on the sin of homosexuality just because it isn’t a temptation for us.  But neither should we lie and say it isn’t sinful.  And when the world and false teachers are trying to force us to change our religious beliefs on this topic, we need to defend the truth.  They brought up the topic, not us.

God “gave up” the false teachers as well, as their idolatry leads them to sit in judgment of God and to give approval to those who practice homosexual behavior and other sins.

Despite what the media, government and countless false churches will tell you, homosexual behavior is still a sin.  It is a forgivable sin, and one that people can be rescued from, but it is still a sin.  If you can’t bring yourself to say that then Christianity may not be for you.

Sex out of wedlock = sin. Getting pregnant = not a sin.

That should be obvious, right?  But think about how our society perceives it.  Being pregnant out of wedlock is evidence of a sin, but isn’t a sin itself.  Yet our culture insists that having an abortion to destroy the evidence isn’t a sin.  And countless apostate churches and false teachers agree with the culture.

Run, don’t walk, from “churches” that can’t state the simple truth that it is immoral to kill innocent but unwanted human beings.  The odds are incredibly high that they hold other false views, such as denying the authority and accuracy of scripture, the exclusivity and deity of Jesus, etc.

Always be prepared to point people in crisis pregnancies to your local Pregnancy Resource Center.  They’ll find all sorts of Bible-based support, and you may be helping to save lives today and for eternity.

It isn’t just about love and hate, but about truth and lies and right and wrong

The Left reflexively plays the hate card when dealing with LGBTQ issues.  Sadly, too many  Bible-believing people fall prey to the trick and it silences them.  But it isn’t just about love and hate, but about truth and lies and right and wrong.

Consider these four possibilities:

1. You believe homosexual behavior is a sin and you share what you think is the truth, as appropriate.
2. You believe homosexual behavior is a sin and you do not share what you think is the truth, as appropriate.
3. You believe homosexual behavior is a not a sin and you share what you think is the truth, as appropriate.
4. You believe homosexual behavior is not a sin and you do not share what you think is the truth, as appropriate.

Before you can talk of love and hate, you’d need to understand right and wrong — or at least the perception of it by those in question.

Options 1 and 3 would be be acting in love (defined in the sense of having people’s long-term best interests at heart and not in the worldly sense of pampering people). Options 2 and 4 would be acting out of hate, or at least selfishness or indifference.

So it if you think homosexual behavior is a sin and don’t speak the truth, then you are acting hatefully — even if you were wrong in assessing the Bible (which you wouldn’t be).

The Bible couldn’t be more clear.  Even non-Christians and two out of the three types of pro-gay theologians can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

So even in some bizarre hypothetical where the Bible actually supported homosexual behavior and Leviticus, Romans, all the verses on parenting and marriage, etc. stated the opposite of what they do, it wouldn’t be hateful to describe LGBTQ behavior as sinful. It would only be hate if someone “knew” the Bible said homosexual behavior was acceptable and taught otherwise.

In the same way, it is loving to remove false teachers from the church when they are advancing falsehoods with pro-gay theology.  It is a virtue to protect people.

And it would be un-loving to reject people just because they struggle with a sin that isn’t a temptation for you.  If people recognize that homosexual behavior is a sin and aren’t teaching the opposite, they should be welcomed in church. You should be willing to pray for them and be friends with them.

The hate card assumes motives and judges the hearts of others.  In some cases it is probably accurate to define people as haters, such as with Democrat Fred Phelps and his “church.”  But it is a cheap trick to use it against everyone you disagree with — and especially right after all your other arguments have been exposed as faulty.

The real haters are those that know what the Bible really says yet value their own popularity over the physical, emotional and spiritual health of others. They would rather be politically correct than tell you the truth. That’s love of self, not love of others.

The truth sounds like hate to those that hate the truth.

Also see Responding to Pro-Gay Theology.

Sins of the mind

bible.jpgJohn MacArthur had a great sermon series dealing with sins of the mind.  A key theme was that these are the most dangerous sins, for there is nothing to keep you accountable to them except your conscience, and visible sins are always preceded by sins of the mind.

As Jesus outlines here, we are accountable to God for what do and what we think.

Matthew 21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

 

Matthew 27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 

His advice on dealing with sins of the mind:

  • Confess and forsake them
  • Refuse to entertain the thoughts — Job 31:1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
  • Replace the thoughts — Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  • Feed on the word of God
  • Avoid evil attractions
  • Cultivate the love of God
I encourage everyone to consider their sins of the mind — greed, envy, lust, jealousy, anger, etc. — and apply those principles.

Casting stones

As nearly every Bible translation points out in the footnotes, the passage in John 8 about the woman caught in adultery isn’t found in the earliest manuscripts.  Therefore, it may not have been in the original writings of the Bible.*

It is a memorable passage and doesn’t contradict other doctrines, but neither does it add anything that isn’t taught elsewhere.  The problems start when people twist the passage to say things that aren’t there.  Here’s the text:

The Woman Caught in Adultery — John 8:2 – 11

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst  they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”  This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.  But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus stood up and said to her,”Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

If someone drew the conclusion that Jesus was once again clever and outwitted the Pharisees who were trying to trap him, that would be fine. Or that He upheld the law on capital punishment (you must have two witnesses). Or that He outed their hypocrisy in not bringing the man. Those would all be good.

The main misuse of the passage is by those who exclaim, “He who is without sin can cast the first stone!,” when trying to shut up anyone making a judgment they disagree with.  But as you may have noticed, that objection is self-refuting and ironically hypocritical: They imply that all judging is wrong, but they are judging you for judging.  But there is more.

Jesus was referring to real stones that would kill the person. Real stones thrown at a real person until he or she was really dead.  Criticizing someone else hardly rises to the level of killing him by stoning. Flippantly equating death by stoning with mere criticism is beyond hyperbole.

And even if Jesus said the part about not casting the first stone, it wouldn’t have meant, “Never say adultery is wrong!”  Note that the passage also says, “Go and sin no more.”

Those advocating the “judging = casting stones” view typically make all sorts of judgments, including advocating hate speech / hate crime laws.  But shouldn’t they be consistent and not judge anyone for anything, ever?

The passage is also misused to oppose capital punishment in principle.  But again, Jesus upheld the law: If there had been two witnesses present, stoning would have been appropriate at that time.

Keep in mind that any criticisms of this post will be considered stone-casting on your part.  And you know how wrong that is!

* Skeptics like Bart Ehrman like to say that this passage and the “long ending” of the Gospel of Mark reduce our confidence that the original writings were the word of God, but they are really proof that the system works.  Based on the work of textual critics on literally thousands of ancient manuscripts, we can be very confident about what the original writings said.

Another reason to like Herman Cain

Be sure to click the link and watch the short video so you can hear how he responds.   Herman Cain Speaks Bluntly: ‘I Believe Homosexuality Is a Sin … Their Choice’.

In an interview on CBS News:

“I believe homosexuality is a sin because I’m a Bible-believing Christian, I believe it’s a sin. But I know that some people make that choice. That’s their choice.”

Woo-hoo!  A politician who can give a straight answer and not apologize for it.  Oh, and he gets the Bible right, too:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

It is not. That. Complicated.

And I like his Libertarian edge.  He isn’t out to demonize gays or restrict their relationships, he is just stating the biblical truth.  And he is smart enough to know that the people who will vilify him for saying that weren’t going to vote for him anyway!  I wish other Christians weren’t so gutless in denying those truths.

I really hope Cain does well.  I’d love to see him on the Republican ticket somewhere.  (Having said that, I’ve been very impressed with Pawlenty lately.  The knock on him was that he was boring, but he has been bold and clear thus far.)

More from Stacy McCain:

Cain is trying to focus his campaign on jobs, the budget and economics — these are his strengths, as a business executive — but he necessarily gets asked by reporters about all sorts of issues. A key factor in Cain’s appeal is his plain-spoken nature and, when asked about homsexuality, he stated (a) his personal belief as a Christian, and (b) his libertarian understanding that people have to live their own lives according to their own choices.

For two decades at least, gay activists have used the “born that way” argument in an effort to gain civil-rights protection for homosexuals, attempting to make sexual preference a hereditary factor analogous to race. So Cain’s remark about sexuality as a “choice” is likely to offend gay activists as much as his remark about “sin.” But I think it’s important to grasp the libertarian sense in which he uses “choice.”

The UCC’s leading marketing tool: Encouraging sin

GISS-web-nb

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie “proudly” notes that a Majority Of Americans Support Gay Marriage and he is thrilled that the world and the UCC are in sync.  It is so repulsive to see their blasphemy in claiming to speak for God in contradiction to his revealed word.  And to make their tagline into a gay pride flag is even worse.

As Pastor D.L. Foster noted:

Educate yourself. The gay church is an abomination. Jesus was judged, accused, rejected, persecuted and wrongly convicted, yet he did not sin. Nothing justifies sin. And to build a church on your sin and teach others against the will of God is terrible and should never be sanctioned.

The only good news is that they aren’t even trying to pretend to trust God’s word.  This is just wild, drunk, running through the streets naked kind of apostasy and blasphemy.

Is it any surprise that the UCC keeps shrinking?  They work so hard to conform to the world, but the world just chalks that up as a victory and ignores them.  Why join a group that just tells you what you already “know?”

 

 

Romans 1

rom-1.jpgGreetings!

I encourage you to read this chapter very closely.  I refer to often as it has such relevance to our culture and to contemporary issues.

Paul packs a lot into his opening.

  • He was specifically called to be an apostle (one who saw Jesus and carried his message).
  • He is Jesus’ servant.
  • He is sharing the Gospel foretold in the Old Testament.
  • Jesus has two natures: Human and divine.
  • Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
  • Jesus came for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
  • More!

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

Do we display the kind of faith that is worthy of being reported around the world, or even around the block?  Are we serving God with our whole hearts and spreading his Good News?

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

No matter how strong our faith is, encouragement is vital.  There are many times when I’m weighed down and someone will come along with an encouraging word to pick me up.  When I see other people living out their faith it inspires me.  You are not alone!

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

V. 16 is powerful.  In light of eternity, why should we be ashamed of the Gospel?  The world hates the Gospel, because it convicts them of sin.  The Gospel is for everyone.  There is no other path besides Jesus.

This next section, which I put in bold, speaks volumes about why everyone should know there is a God.  Note how it says that, “God has made it plain to them . . . God’s invisible qualities . . . have been clearly seen . . . so that men are without excuse.”   People who think they’ll claim ignorance when facing God at their death are horribly mistaken.

God has revealed himself to us in his creation.  He takes it very seriously when people mock that and completely ignore him.  Deep down even atheists know there is a God, but they “suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

Theologian R.C Sproul said, “Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself.”

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Note how it repeats God “gave them over . . .” three times.  Consider how fully our society has turned sexual morality upside down.  It calls evil good and good evil.  Homosexual behavior is not only accepted but glorified.

This is one of the clearest passages denouncing homosexual behavior as sinful.  Some will try to read something into the text that simply isn’t there and claim that this was only about temple prostitutes, but there are many reasons that is wrong, starting with the fact the text doesn’t mention temples, prostitutes, or temple prostitutes.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Some pro-gay theologians try to spin verses 26-27 to mean that it is only a sin to act outside your “normal” preferences – that is, if you are naturally gay then the sin would be to have heterosexual sex.  If that sounds ridiculous to you, it should.  The original Greek means natural function, which of course would mean male/female relationships are the norm and homosexual relationships are sinful.  See Responding to Pro-Gay Theology for more information.

Romans 1 shows how the world is upside down and how people suppress the truth in unrighteousness and reject God, even though He is seen through his creation.  Then Paul offers exhibit A as an example of people rejecting God’s created order: Homosexual behavior.

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Before people grandstand on the sin of homosexual behavior, they should note the other things Paul listed as being seriously wicked: Envy, greed, deceit, arrogance, heartlessness, disobedience to parents, etc.  Trust me, if you re-read the list you’ll find yourself in there somewhere!

People know better, yet they shake their fists at God anyway.  I thank God that He took me from rebellion against him to faith in him.  It is only by his grace that I am a believer.  I pray that many people will read his Word, be convicted and turn to him for forgiveness and salvation.

What parts of this chapter stood out to you and why?