Friday, December 20, 2013

Progressives, Homosexuality and The Bible

The "progressives" are raging again - this time against "Duck Dynasty" star, Phil Robertson, for his negative remarks about homosexuality. He believes it is immoral and that people who practice it are sinning against God.

The "progressives" are not very progressive and they are definitely not liberal. Their ability to tolerate opposing viewpoints is as brittle as an islamic fundamentalist's sensitivity over insults to their prophet. Screams, curses, rants and riots... all because people have the temerity to make statements they disagree with. Wow!

Phil Robertson is only one current example. The United Methodist Church is also getting flayed right now for defrocking a minister who clearly violated the code of the church that he had sworn to uphold.

What is particularly amusing is the way the "progressives" try to argue their case for homosexuality from the Bible. They have a suite of talking points that are all either flat out wrong, contradictory of each other, or both.

  • The Bible does not forbid homosexuality.
  • The Bible promotes slavery (so it shouldn't matter what the Bible says.)
  • The Bible forbids hateful behavior so you should not condemn homosexuals.

In fact, the Bible very clearly and repeatedly condemns homosexuality as always immoral - a sin against God. One simple example is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
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. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10 ESV) 
It is important to note that it is not the ONLY sin, but it is CLEARLY a sin. You can claim that homosexuality is not a sin only if you flatly reject the Bible and everything that it says. If homosexuality is not a sin, then neither is any other kind of human behavior - sexual or otherwise. Anybody who claims that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality as a sin is either ignorant or a liar.

Meanwhile, some of the same progressive rants say something like, "How can you believe the Bible since it approves of slavery? You don't agree that slavery is right, do you?" 

The answer to this is a bit more complicated because the subject of slavery definitely does come up in the Bible and is not flatly condemned in every situation. But here are some points to ponder.
  1. The type of slavery that was most prevalent in Bible times was related to debts. Those who could not pay their debts became slaves. That situation has not really changed much in the modern world. You enter this type of slavery whenever you become over your head in debt.
  2. In another type of slavery, people are kidnapped and sold into slavery. The Bible does condemn kidnapping and kidnappers, though it did allow enemy peoples to be spared from death to serve as slaves of the conquerors - which was consistent with the culture of the time.
  3. In every type of slavery that existed, even where the Bible didn't forbid it, the Bible placed restrictions on it that gave rights and dignity to the slaves and restrained the behavior of slave owners. Slaves were not to be mistreated. Slaves taken because of debt were to be freed after a reasonable time. Christian slaves were told to be good workers. Christian slave owners were told to be good masters.

So where did the modern world get the idea that slavery is wrong? To what did people like Wilber Wilberforce resort in his quest to end slavery in the British Empire? Is it significant that he was a committed Christian and thought it was his Biblical duty to end slavery in his time? What would be the atheistic or agnostic or evolutionary basis for a moral condemnation of slavery (or anything else)?

Finally, "the Bible condemns hateful behavior, so you should not condemn homosexuals."

Well, yes and no. On the one hand yes. The Bible makes it very clear that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23). The fact is that I am just as much a sinner as any homosexual, so I have no room to condemn.

On the other hand, no. The Bible makes it very clear that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men..." (Romans 1:18). I do not have the standing to condemn people as if I were myself perfect, but I do have the word of God on the matter. God condemns it. Homosexual behavior is sin. The wages of sin is death.

If I hated homosexuals and wanted them to face an eternal punishment from God, I would keep my mouth shut and let them go to their deaths in complete ignorance.

But if I really love homosexuals and want them to find God's forgiveness and eternal life, then I must speak up. I must lovingly communicate the true message about sin, judgment, and wrath. Whether it is appreciated or not. Whether it is politically correct or not.

I am not in favor of Christians sitting around with other Christians and bashing the homosexuals as if that were the only sin in the world. But I am very much in favor of Christians standing up for the truth and speaking the truth in love.

Some will see the light. Some will repent and believe and be saved.