Archive for the ‘sexual immorality’ Tag

Totalitarian Fairy Tale   Leave a comment

Alaska is undergoing this debate right now because Anchorage area voters chose to allow “gender equality” in bathrooms which is leading to a huge discussion of whether or not this makes any sense at all. Ted Cruz recently weighed in against Donald Trump on the same subject. His point is completely correct — as the father of two little girls, he is opposed to allowing adult men of questionable mental competence to have unrestricted access to them in a public bathroom.

Will Grigg does a good job of explaining the psychology of this whole debate. It really comes down to this — you have a right to embrace any sort of deviance you want, but you do not have a right to force others to join you in that deviance or to pretend it isn’t deviance. While I could use the word “tyranny” for what it occurring right now, Grigg rightly uses the word “totalitarianism”. Remember that word? It’s how we used to describe China and the Soviet Bloc — countries where citizens had no rights and could be disappeared into the night for any infraction of a constantly changing legal code.

Gavin Grimm’s Totalitarian Fairy Tale

Faith, we are reliably informed, is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The troubled 16-year-old girl from Gloucester, Virginia who calls herself Gavin Grimm, and insists on being treated as if she were a boy, is acting on something other than faith by denying substantive facts that are plain to be seen by fellow high school students who would share bathroom facilities with her.

Source: Totalitarian Fairy Tale

Posted April 22, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Liberty

Tagged with , ,

PG in an Erotica World   10 comments

This week’s blog hop discussion asks me “How do I feel about all the sex and sexual innuendo in the world? And how do I deal with it?”

Before we get started, Stevie Turner is discussing this subject over on her blog too. While you’re there, check out her books. Hit the link below if you want to check out others in the hop … or join us if you are a writer with something to say on the subject.

Code for Hosting:

//static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js?v=116

Code for Link:

get the InLinkz code

I’m an evangelical Christian who thinks monogamy is a God-mandate for Christians. Christian spouses are directed to not only keep themselves physically clean of adultery, but also mentally clean. Porn for men and erotica for women serve the same purpose — a type of mental adultery that Christians should not participate in. I further believe that single Christians should remain chaste or find a willing spouse. Better to marry than to burn, as Paul said.

So, yes, the United States is a challenging culture to the practice of those beliefs. Sex is everywhere — movies, music, television, books, magazines, advertisements … literally everywhere. It is impossible to avoid, so practice of my beliefs requires something different.

Believe it or not, I have a very pragmatic view of sex, and especially the tenderloin trade, because I grew up in Fairbanks Alaska, where many of the ladies of society had been Fourth Avenue Line girls. Hey, don’t knock it! They made more money than the miners they married and that made them business people in their own rights. Alaskans are extremely pragmatic people that way. One of my mom’s best friends was a former “line” girl and retired madam. My parents owned a cafe between a bar and a strip club. During the Pipeline boom in the 1970s, there were prostitutes walking up and down 2nd Avenue (our cafe was on the same block on 1st) and I regularly turned down $300 an hour on my way home from junior high school.

I like sex and prostitutes and strippers can be entertaining to talk to. I’m no prude, but I think the sexual relationship between a Christian husband and wife is a metaphor for Jesus’ relationship with the churches and I have an obligation to interact with my culture in a way that is blameless by Biblical definition.

I don’t read erotica. No, I’m not a prude. If you want to read erotica, go for it. I don’t read erotica because I feel the images it conjures in my brain constitutes cheating on my husband. If you don’t attend my church, I don’t care what you do. I care what I do.

On the other hand, I read Song of Ice and Fire novels. Yeah, there’s some salacious sex in there, but I know when it’s coming (Martin is kind of obvious) and I just skip it. I don’t dwell on it and therefore, I don’t carry it with me into my life.

Brad and I like to watch television in our time together, but we have to be selective these days. We pretty much ignore the occasional innuendo and even the inevitable sex scene, but there are television shows we don’t watch because they seem focused on sex. Sense8 lost us on the third scene of the pilot. It looks like a great sci-fi series, but we’re not going to wade through salacious sex scenes to the good parts. I’ll never find out if the lesbian dildo scene was just an outlier because I’ll never watch the series again. We both felt assaulted by this unnecessarily lewd scene in a show that didn’t seem to be about that.

Brad used to really love Orange is the New Black, but the latest season to go up on Netflix lost him because of the sex. He was okay with the occasional innuendo and women kissing (we used to work in prison ministries, we know what goes on), but apparently this last season goes where he is not willing to follow, so he’s stopped watching it.

On the other hand, a show that has a fairly tame sex scene halfway through the first season doesn’t lose our fandom just because of a montage of people rolling around in the sheets. Yeah, we know they’re supposed to be having sex. It’s not sex we have an issue with. It’s in-your-face sexual content that we want to avoid and if that is what a show is dishing, then we don’t need to watch it.

Right now, the world we live in is sex-obsessed. Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that this is normal and healthy and every show and half the books must have sex featured prominently, preferably the kinkier the better. I have it on good authority from the God of the Universe that this cultural obsession is psychologically unhealthy and destructive of marriage. He speaks to me through the apostle Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, that city being a highly sexualized city not terribly unlike the society we live in today. Taking the apostle Paul’s advice, I’m not fighting secular society on the subject because I don’t think it would do any good and I have better things to do with my time than waste it.

I do think Christians need to wake up and smell God’s coffee brewing on this subject. This is what we were told in the New Testament. We damage His message when we don’t stand out from the world on some subjects and since Jesus used the marriage relationship as a metaphor for His relationship with Christians, that’s a good place where Christians ought to stand out. Just hit pause on Netflix, open your Bible and see what God has to say about it. I am only talking to Christians here. The rest of the world is not my concern.

People can say I’m sexually repressed if they want. They’re wrong. I’m not going to invite them into our bedroom to prove otherwise. People have been wrong about Christians a lot over the centuries. That’s okay. I’d rather be right with my Savior than right with my culture. And ultimately, I’ve been married to the same man for 30 years next month and a lot of the folks who would criticize my view can’t stay married for weeks, let alone decades, so I think my views rather vindicate themselves.

Be Careful Who You Call Friend   9 comments

It’s always interesting to me to post something controversial and watch the control freaks come out of the woodwork. Posting on homosexual behavior in the churches or Christians taking a stand for Christ in the world is guaranteed to bring out the hostility. I’ve been told I don’t understand the Bible, that I’m unloving, that I’m mentally ill, that I want to ruin people’s lives. None of that is true, by the way! That’s just the opinion of sinners who resist God’s word.

We’re all sinners. Christians are sinners who know they are sinners and decided to let God do something about it. But there are many “Christians” who are not Christians at all. They’ve claimed the title, but they don’t know Jesus (1John 4:5). The world might like what they’re saying because they’re agreeing with the world, but that’s because unregenerate sinners recognize one another at a soul level.

In James 4, it says that friendship with the world is hostility toward God. If the world likes what you have to say, it may be that you’re not speaking God’s truth.

There are a dozen passages in the Bible that condemn sexual immorality and urge Christians to have nothing to do with it. 1 Corinthians deals boldly with the unacceptability of “loving” someone God has says you shouldn’t — and by the way, that man eventually repented (read 2 Corinthians). There are six places in the Bible where God specifically condemns homosexual behavior. If you’re going to ignore those six passages, you might as well ignore the rest of the Bible as well because you’ve missed its message entirely. Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Judges 19:15-30; 1 Corinthians 6:9; I Timothy 1:10; Jude 1:5-13. I didn’t write these things. They are God’s communication to every Christian and faithful Christians do not have the option to obey God in some areas and not in others.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) and obedience is better than sacrifice (1Samuel 15:22), other passages you might want to be familiar with.

And don’t give me the nonsense that God would never condemn anyone for “loving”, as if God is some sort of simple-minded man who doesn’t know the difference between the love that issues from a relationship with Him and the lust that flows from the heart of man. “Do not love the world, because anyone who loves the world does not have the Father’s love in him.” (1John 2:15)

God created human beings with both the capacity to love and the ability to enjoy sexual activity. Note that He created Adam and Eve, male and female, not a same-sex couple. The Fall, which can rightfully be defined as mankind screwing up God’s creation, resulted in a whole host of things God didn’t intend. His perfect creation is bent because of Adam and Eve’s choice. We shouldn’t  be (and I am not) surprised that mankind has turned the normal healthy expression of sexual desire meant for the marriage bed into something twisted and dark. God allows you the freedom of your choices. Go and do what you like … and reap the consequences. Right now, the world has decided that debauchery is “love”. It’s not! It’s scratching the sin itch and that may feel good, but ultimately, God will reject those who reject Him. That’s not to say that no homosexual or lustful heterosexual will be able to enter heaven. God forgave Moses, David and Paul of murder. He can forgive anything. He will give His grace to whomever He chooses and some Christians may be shocked to discover who will be in Heaven.

However, speaking to Christians here (or those who claim to be) — if you love the world so much that you cannot stand against the current zeitgeist, you need to examine yourself. I’m not just talking about homosexual behavior. I’m referencing sexual immorality, lying, cheating, stealing … there’s a lengthy list. What’s more, if you claim the title of Christian and you falsely state God’s word, you will be judged by God as a false teacher. I can’t do that. God is clear in His book what He expects of Christians and if that disagrees with the world in which I live … well, I’m in good company because the world hated Jesus and His disciples too.

Does It Have To Be?   5 comments

This is my public policy post on this subject. I’ve actually said this before in different words and the more I hang out with anarchists, the more I find myself agreeing with them.

The Bible is very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin. It follows that the commitment ceremonies gays insist upon calling “weddings” are public declarations of ongoing sexual immorality. The Bible tells Christians to FLEE sexual immorality because it corrupts our relationship with God. It is worse than other sins because it involves our own bodies. From those two facts, I judge that God is telling Christians that we may not encourage the homosexual activity of other humans. For the sake of our own relationship with God AND for the sake of the homosexuals we come in contact with, we must NOT participate in their commitment ceremonies, even as an unwilling caterer, photographer, florist, etc.

The Bible also teaches me that I am responsible only for myself and members of my local church. Nobody becomes a Christian by forced conversion. They may become a Christianist, but that is not a true relationship with Jesus Christ, which is what true Christianity is. My faith teaches me that I should always evangelize wherever I go, but it is not me who brings people to Christ. He does that.

So how does that connect to a public policy statement?

Christians need to recognize that we live in a very secular world and we can’t do anything about that. Stop trying to legislate morality. It doesn’t work and it just hardens people against the gospel. I firmly believe that if we stopped trying to use the government to force people to do things our way and concentrated on being friendly, loving, and firm in our beliefs and practices informed by those belief, we would see a sea change. People would be more willing to come to the Lord because they would understand that He is not a dictator and we are not His minions.

Think about that.

To secularists through the United States – I don’t want to persecute you. Everyone has the right to believe as they want and, to the extent that we are not harming others or depriving them of liberty, to live as they wish.

But …

Tolerance in liberty is a two-way street. Your liberty depends on my liberty and mine depends on yours. If you try to force me to participate in the sin of others, I’m going to say “NO!” My resistance is not a form of hatred, but an expression of love. I may not completely understand why God condemns homosexuality, but it is enough for me to know that He who created mankind does in fact say it is a grievous sin. Just as I would not sit down for a beer with an alcoholic because that would be harming the alcoholic, I won’t attend or cater the commitment ceremonies of same-sex couples. Yes, they have a right to commit to one another, but I have a right to not participate.

When you force your ideology on others, you force them to have an opinion on the subject. You’re welcome to your opinion about the practice of my faith, but you are not welcome to force me to violate it. If you don’t want me to resist your sin, don’t ask me to participate in it. That’s tolerance. We BOTH have the freedom to live our lives without interference from the other. Anything less is tyranny.

And this is where the public policy statement comes in.

Government is not the answer to our problems and it is rapidly becoming the source of tyranny. A marriage license is a secular non-religious document – a contract. It does not create a marriage as God understands marriage.

Christian marriage is an institution of the churches. The 1st Amendment makes clear that the government should have no power to tell churches what they can and cannot do regarding Christian marriage, so why have we given the government that power?  Nothing prevents us from “hand fasting” before our churches and entering into “marital contract” with one another. My parents did … my mom still being unable, because Alaska was still under federal law, to get a divorce from her husband, contracted with my dad to own houses together, to receive his life insurance policies, for power of attorney for end of life decisions and for custody of me. It worked out better for her than a marriage license because with a contract, she had actual rights and he had actual obligations. They weren’t Christians, so theirs was a wholly secular decision, and it worked — in the 1960s when almost nobody was doing it.

But I’m a Christian with libertarian leanings and I want my political philosophy to be in line with God’s laws. It might surprise you to learn that God doesn’t say you have to have a government marriage license. For most of Western history, marriage was a private contract between two families … or two individuals, like my mom and dad. For 16 centuries, Christianity defined marriage based on a couple’s wishes. If you claimed you had exchanged marriage vows, the Catholic Church accepted that as a valid marriage. In 1215 the Church (really an amalgamation of church and state) decreed that a “licit” marriage must take place in church, but people who married illicitly had the same civil rights and obligations as a couple married in church: their children were legitimate, the wife had the same inheritance rights, the couple was subject to the same prohibitions against divorce.

In the 16th century, Europeans began to require that marriages be performed under legal auspices, mainly in an attempt to prevent unions between young adults whose parents opposed the match.

The American colonies officially required marriages to be registered, but until the mid-19th century, state supreme courts routinely rules that public cohabitation was sufficient evidence of a valid marriage, but then the Civil War happened and the United States began to nullify common-law marriages between blacks and whites.

By the 1920s, 38 states prohibited whites from marrying blacks, “mulattos”, or Asians while 12 states would not issue a marriage license if one partner was a drunk, addict or “mental defect”, and 18 states set barriers to remarriage after divorce.

By the mid-20th century, courts invalidated laws against interracial marriage and other barriers, but governments began relying on marriage licenses as a means to distribute resources to dependents. Social Security survivor benefits require proof of marriage. Employers use marital status to determine whether they will provide health insurance or pension benefits to employees’ dependents. Courts and hospitals required a marriage license before granting couples the privilege of inheriting from each other or receiving medical information. In the 1950s, using a marriage license in this way made some sense because marriage was the default condition of most Americans. Cohabiitation and single parenthood by choice were rare. Today, possession of a marriage license tells us little about people’s interpersonal responsibilities. Half of all Americans aged 25 to 29 are unmarried, but many of them have already incurred obligations as partners, parents or both. Almost 40 percent of America’s children are born to unmarried parents. Many legally married people are in remarriages where their obligations are spread among several households. Children can no longer be denied inheritance rights, parental support or legal standing because their parents are not married.

I favor of reverting back to an older marriage tradition. Let churches decide which marriages they deem “licit”. Let couples write contracts between them for legal protections and obligations. Then just leave each other the hell alone.

Christians understand that the only true marriage is that founded by God. Government need not be involved in that. Our private affairs should be none of its business.

Marriage is a promise made before God with your marriage partner, possibly before a witnessing community. Government is not needed for this to take place.

Souls are not saved by regulating morality. I understand the point of wanting to ban certain behaviors, but it doesn’t work and it is hypocrtical since there are plenty of divorced and remarried Christians in churches and our kids are often sexually active before marriage.

If you want to make a difference in our society, start with your own family and community. God is not surprised by what is happening now with regard to our government. Teach your kids in the way they should go, call your churches to task for where they have strayed. Reach out to friends who claim to be Christians but who are living sinful lifestyles and gently guide them back where they should be. When that fails, churches should consider discipline. Discipline does not make the sin go away. Of the divorced and remarried Christians I know, it’s unlikely any of them could reconstitute their former marriages. But they would be helped immeasurably by confessing their sin and recognizing that they are outside of God’s will before committing more deeply to the relationship they are in currently.

If we want Godly communities, Christians must be leading their families and raising their children in a Godly way. As a whole, we have largely failed at this. If we really want those that are homosexual in our communities to love Jesus, and reconsider their lifestyle as a result, we must first show them the love of Jesus that we claim exists. As a whole, this too we have largely failed at.

To the gay community, please understand that I do not hate you. However, I do encourage you to consider pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ. Not only for your own sake in this life but in the life to come.

The reality is that Jesus hung on the cross for your sin too.

What’s So Wrong?   1 comment

To recap what was discussed previously:

  • Morality stems from God therefore right and wrong are a feature of His character, not dependent upon the cultural zeitgeist of the decade or the region.
  • The Bible clearly and consistently forbids homosexual activity.

So if God’s will is expressed in the Bible, it follows that homosexual behavior is against God’s will.

There are those who contend that God’s true will is not expressed in the Bible. These folks often insist that Biblical prohibitions against homosexual behavior were valid for that time and that culture but are no longer valid today. After all, most of us would probably agree that certain commands in the Bible are relative to the culture. For example, the Bible says that Christian women should not wear jewelry and our heads should be covered. While Christians hold to the timeless principle of dress modestly, but that core principle is expressed differently depending on culture and time period. So why can’t we set aside the Biblical prohibition against homosexual behavior just as easily?

I think this argument represents a serious misunderstanding of and lack of familiarity with the Bible. First, God Himself set aside the dietary regulations of the Jewish Christians in Acts 10. Throughout the letters to the Corinthians, Paul says “I have this from the Lord” and then “This is what I think will work.” When he gives his human opinion, he identifies it as such. Early Christians took everything else as from the Lord. There’s no evidence that Paul’s commands concerning homosexual acts were culturally relative. For one thing, Paul wrote from a society that would make Las Vegas seem tame. Far from being a reflection of the culture in which he wrote, Paul’s commands are downright counter-cultural! Homosexual activity was as widespread in ancient Greek and Roman society as it is today in the U.S, yet Paul stood against the culture and opposed it. More importantly, we have seen that the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexual activity are rooted, not in culture, but in the God-given pattern for marriage established at Creation. You can’t deny that the Bible’s forbidding homosexual relations expresses God’s will unless you also reject that marriage itself expresses God’s will.

Someone might say “I believe in God, but not the God of the Bible. So I don’t believe the Bible expresses God’s will.” Now what is our answer?

First, recognize that if they don’t accept the Bible, they really cannot be called Christians, so the commands concerning homosexual behavior do not apply to them … unless they are attending your church, in which case there is another conversation needed.

God has revealed Himself in the Bible. Christian apologetics has shown ample evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and fulfilled prophesy. Christians are commanded by Scripture to give a defense of the Bible when needful (I Peter 3:15). However, we live in an increasingly secular society, so Christians cannot always appeal to the Bible for our arguments. We need to give reasons which have broader appeal.

I think many people would agree that it’s wrong to engage in self-destructive behavior which destroys a human being who is inherently valuable. We use this argument to say it is wrong to become an alcoholic or a chain-smoker and to say it’s good to eat right and stay fit. Moreover, I think almost everybody would agree it’s wrong to engage in behavior that harms another person, which is why we restrict smoking to certain areas or ban it altogether so other people won’t have to inhale second-hand smoke, and why we pass laws against drunk driving so innocent people won’t be hurt. Almost everybody agrees that you have no right to engage in a behavior that is destructive to another human being. These are actually Christian principles that have been in our society for so long, people have forgotten their origin.

It’s not hard to show that homosexual behavior is one of the most self-destructive and harmful behaviors a person could engage in. Hollywood and the media are relentlessly bent on putting a happy face on homosexuality, but it is a dark, twisted, and dangerous lifestyle, just as addictive and destructive as alcoholism or smoking. The sobering statistics I’m about to share with you are all fully documented by Dr. Thomas Schmidt in Straight and Narrow? (Downer’s Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1995).

Promiscuity

  • 75% of homosexual men have more than 100 sexual partners during their lifetime, more than half are strangers.
  • 8% of homosexual men and 7% of homosexual women ever have relationships lasting more than three years.
  • Male homosexuals average over 20 partners a year.

Nobody knows the reason for this strange, obsessive promiscuity. Maybe homosexuals are trying to satisfy a deep psychological need by sexual encounters and they find it isn’t fulfilling. According to Dr. Schmidt,

The number of homosexual men who experience anything like lifelong fidelity becomes, statistically speaking, almost meaningless. Promiscuity among homosexual men is not a mere stereotype, and it is not merely the majority experience—it is virtually the only experience. Lifelong faithfulness is almost non-existent in the homosexual experience.

Widespread Concommittant Drug Use

  • 47% of male homosexuals have a history of alcohol abuse
  • 51% of male homosexuals have a history of drug abuse.
  • Homosexuals are 3x more likely than the general population to be problem drinkers.

There is a direct correlation between the number of partners and the amount of drugs/alcohol consumed.

Mental Health

According to Schmidt, “There is overwhelming evidence that certain mental disorders occur with much higher frequency among homosexuals.”

  • 40% of homosexual men have a history of major depression (only 3% of males in general suffer major depression).
  • 37% of female homosexuals have a history of depression.
  • Homosexuals are 3x as likely to contemplate suicide as the general population. Homosexual men have an attempted suicide rate 6x that of heterosexual men, and homosexual women attempt suicide twice as often as heterosexual women.

Nor are depression and suicide the only problems. Studies show that homosexuals are much more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexual men. Remember, I used to work in the mental health field, so I have firsthand knowledge of Schmidt’s research.

Physical Health

A well-kept secret is how physically harmful homosexual behavior is. I’m not going to describe the kinds of sexual activity practiced by homosexuals, but just let me say that our bodies, male and female, are designed for sexual intercourse in a way that two male bodies are not. As a result, homosexual activity, 80% of which is carried out by men, is very destructive, resulting eventually in such problems as prostate damage, ulcers and ruptures, and anal prolapse with associated chronic incontinence and diarrhea.

Sexually transmitted diseases are rampant among the homosexual population.

  • 75% of homosexual men carry one or more sexually transmitted diseases, wholly apartfrom AIDS. Herpes and Hepatitis B afflict 65% of homosexual men (both are incurable)
  • Anal warts afflict 40% of homosexual men.
  • HIV infects 30% of homosexual men.
  • Life expectancy for a homosexual male is about 45 years of age (compared to a hetrosexual male’s life expentency of 70).

A very good case can be made on the basis of generally accepted moral principles that homosexual behavior is wrong as it is horribly self-destructive and injurious to another person. Wholly apart from the Bible’s prohibition, there are sound, sensible reasons to regard homosexual activity as wrong.

I am on record stating that I think Christians should look to our own communities and not try to enforce our morality on society as a whole, so discussions of public policy will be brief here. Given the above statistics, why are we teaching kids in public schools that a homosexual lifestyle is a healthy option? Shouldn’t we be telling them the same truth about the harmful effects as we do with alcohol, drugs and smoking?

I’m an individualist and I approach this as a Christians speaking to Christians. Society will do what it will do and it is bent on destroying itself. There’s not a lot we can do about it. So, what practical application does all this have for us as individuals?

I am speaking wholly to Christians here. If you are not a Christian, you are not bound by the laws of God, although if you want to attend a Christian church, you may be subject to discipline.

First, if you are a homosexual or feel that inclination, keep yourself pure. If you are unmarried, you should practice abstinence from all sexual activity. I know personally how difficult that is, but God is asking you to do is pretty much the same thing that He requires of all single people. Purity does not just apply to your body. It especially applies to your mind. Just as heterosexual men should avoid pornography and fantasizing, you need to keep your thought-life clean. Resist the temptation to rationalize sin by saying, “God made me this way.” God didn’t make you this way. Your body has been bent and your mind darkened by the Fall, which warped God’s perfect creation. Regardless, Christians are still responsible to live as God would have us to live. The Bible makes it very clear that God does not want you to indulge your desires, but to honor Him by keeping your mind and body pure. Seek professional Christian counseling. It has worked for many so that they came to enjoy normal, heterosexual relations with spouses of the opposite sex. There is hope, if you will seek it. And know this, that your struggle is no different from the struggle of any Christian with a pet sin. There are sober alcoholics and drug addicts and celibate heterosexuals living their lives before the Lord without indulging their favorite sin. You are no different than they are. We are all tempted to sin and called to refrain.

Second, for those of us who are heterosexual, we need to remember that being homosexual is not a sin. Most homosexuals did not choose such an orientation and many would like to change it if they could. We need to accept and lovingly support brothers and sisters who are struggling with this problem. We need to extend God’s love to homosexual people. Vulgar words or jokes about homosexuals should never pass the lips of a Christian. If you find yourself feeling glad when some affliction befalls a homosexual person or you find feelings of hatred welling up in your heart toward homosexual people, you need to reflect long and hard on the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew:

“It will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgement for Sodom and Gomorrah than for you” (Matthew 10.15; 11.24).

Many heterosexuals are just as guilty of sexual immorality as are homosexuals. How many Christians do you know who are divorced and remarried and still show up to church every Sunday? Maybe the churches need to have a conversation about that? How many Christian heterosexual singles have sex before they get married, then attend church every week like they’ve not sinned? Men, do you take that long second look at the long-legged blonde in the parking lot? Ladies, how many of you read erotica (uh, do they still call them romances)?

We are all sinners. That doesn’t give us an excuse to sin, Christians, but it also doesn’t give us an excuse to hate people who sin in different ways than we do. In God’s eyes, our sins are all the same color – deep red scarlet. Christ’s forgiveness of our sin does not give us license to sin some more and it doesn’t allow us to rate our sins according to some social acceptability scale. We should lay all that aside, confess our sins to one another, repent before God in Christ’s forgiveness and then get busy helping one another be conformed to Christ with our minds renewed by His grace.

If the Corinthians could do it, living in what was essentially an entire town of brothels, why do we think we can’t?

What Does God Have To Say About It?   4 comments

Quick recap of prior posts here and here.

The question of the legitimacy of the homosexual lifestyle is a question of what God has to say about it. If there is no God, then there is no right and wrong, and it doesn’t make any difference what lifestyle you choose—the persecutor of homosexuals is morally equivalent to the advocate of homosexuality. But if God does exist, we can no longer base our moral stance on our own opinions. We have to find out what God thinks on the issue.

Okay, God doesn’t hang out at Barnes & Nobel waiting for someone to ask Him what He thinks on a given issue. Christians look to the Bible and the Bible says God forbids Christians to engage in sexual immorality, which includes homosexual acts.

Here’s the reasoning:

  • Christians are obligated to do God’s will.
  • God’s will is expressed in the Bible.
  • The Bible forbids homosexual behavior.
  • Therefore, homosexual behavior is against God’s will and is wrong.

To resist this reasoning requires that you either deny that God’s will is expressed in the Bible or deny that the Bible forbids homosexual activities.

We are talking about behavior here, not orientation. This is an important distinction. Being homosexual is a state or an orientation. A person who has a homosexual orientation might not ever express that orientation in actions. By contrast, a person could engage in homosexual acts even if he has a heterosexual orientation. The Bible condemns is homosexual actions (behavior), not having a homosexual orientation. The idea of a person’s being a homosexual by orientation springs from modern psychology and may have been unknown to people in the ancient world. What they were familiar with was homosexual acts, which is what the Bible forbids.

There are enormous implications in this distinction. The whole debate about whether homosexuality is something you were born with or is a result of how you were raised really doesn’t matter in this discussion. Your orientation is not the crux of the matter. It’s what you do with it that matters. Some defenders of homosexuality are very anxious to prove that your genes, not your upbringing, determine if you’re homosexual because then homosexual behavior is normal and right, but the Bible doesn’t allow that option. Just because you’re genetically disposed to some behavior doesn’t mean that behavior is morally right. Some researchers suspect a genetic predisposition for some people to become alcoholics. My husband would be one of those. He does not get an excuse from the Bible or from society if his drinking disturbs the peace. He’s expected, if he can’t control his drinking, to abstain from alcohol so as to prevent misbehavior. The sober truth is that we don’t fully understand the roles of heredity and environment in homosexuality and it doesn’t really matter. Even if homosexuality were completely genetic, that fact alone still wouldn’t make it any different than a birth defect, like a cleft palate or epilepsy. That doesn’t mean it’s normal and that we shouldn’t try to correct it.

People don’t generally choose to be homosexual. Many homosexuals testify how agonizing it is to find yourself with these desires and to fight against them, and they’ll tell you they would never choose to be that way. The Bible doesn’t condemn a person because he has a homosexual orientation. The Bible condemns homosexual acts. It is perfectly possible to be a homosexual and be a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian.

Just as my sober husband stands up at an AA meeting and says, “I am an alcoholic,” so a homosexual who is living straight and keeping himself pure ought to be able to stand up in a prayer meeting and say, “I am a homosexual, but by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, I’m living chastely for Christ.” I have heard that statement and was pleased that the Christians there welcomed the speaker as a brother in Christ.

But, does the Bible forbid homosexual behavior? The Bible is so realistic! You might not expect it to mention a topic like homosexual behavior, but in fact there are three in the Old Testament and three in the New Testament where this issue is directly addressed. In all six of these passages homosexual acts are unequivocally condemned. Then there are all those passages dealing with marriage and sexuality which have implication for this issue.

  • Leviticus 18.22 — It is an abomination for a man to lie with another man as with a woman.
  • Leviticus 20.13 — The death penalty is prescribed in Israel for such an act, along with adultery, incest, and bestiality.

Sometimes homosexual advocates make light of these prohibitions by comparing them to prohibitions in the Old Testament against having contact with unclean animals like pigs. Just as Christians today don’t obey all of the Old Testament ceremonial laws, they say, we don’t have to obey the prohibitions of homosexual actions. The problem with this argument is that the New Testament reaffirms the validity of the Old Testament prohibitions of homosexual behavior, as we’ll see below. This shows they were not just part of the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, which were done away with, but were part of God’s everlasting moral law.

We know homosexual behavior is a serious sin in God’s eyes. The third place where homosexual acts are mentioned in the Old Testament is the Genesis 19 description of the attempted gang rape of Lot’s visitors by the men of Sodom. God destroyed the city of Sodom because of their wickedness.

The New Testament also forbids homosexual behavior. In I Corinthians 6.9-10 Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be decieved: 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.” The words in the list translated “men who practice homosexuality” refer in Greek literature to the passive and the active partners in male homosexual intercourse (I checked this with two Greek scholars I know).The second of these two words is also listed in I Timothy 1.10 along with fornicators, slave traders, liars, and murderers as “contrary to the sound teaching of the Gospel.”

The most lengthy treatment of homosexual activity comes in Romans 1.24-28 where Paul talks about how people turned away from the Creator God and begun to worship false gods of their own making:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

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.

Liberal scholars have done acrobatics to try to explain away the clear sense of these verses. Some have said that Paul is only condemning the pagan practice of men’s sexually exploiting young boys, but that ignores the clear wording in verses 24 and 27 that these homosexual acts by men were committed “with one another” and in verse 26 where he speaks of lesbian homosexual acts. Other scholars have said Paul is only condemning heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts, not homosexuals who do. That interpretation is contrived and anachronistic. Remember that it was only in modern times that the idea of homosexual or heterosexual orientation developed. What Paul is condemning is homosexual acts, regardless of orientation. Given the Old Testament background to this passage and what Paul wrote in I Corinthians. 6.9-10 and I Timother. 1.10, it is clear that Paul is  forbidding all such acts. He sees this behavior as the evidence of a corrupted mind which has turned away from God and been abandoned by Him to moral degeneracy.

The Bible is very forthright and clear when it comes to homosexual behavior as contrary to God’s design. It is sin. Even if there weren’t all these explicit passages dealing with homosexual acts, such acts would still be forbidden under the commandment “You shall not commit adultery.” God’s plan for human sexual activity is that it is reserved for marriage: any sexual activity outside of the security of the marriage bond—whether pre-marital sex or extra-marital sex, whether heterosexual or homosexual—is forbidden. Sex is designed by God for marriage.

Someone might say that if God intended sex for marriage, then just let homosexuals marry each other and they would not be committing adultery, but that completely misunderstands God’s intention for marriage. In the creation story in Genesis, God made woman as a suitable mate for man, his perfect, God-given complement. Then it says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” This is God’s pattern for marriage, and in the New Testament Paul quotes this very passage and then says, “This is a great mystery and I am applying it to Christ and the church” (Ephesian 5.32). Paul says that the union between a man and his wife is a living symbol of the unity of Christ with His people, the Church.

Viewed in this light, homosexual behavior is a mockery of God’s plan. It flies in the face of God’s intention for humanity from the moment of creation.

No, Jesus never specifically condemned homosexual behavior, but He also did not specifically mention lots of things which we know are wrong, like bestiality or torture. His silence does not mean he approved of those activities. What Jesus does do is quote from Genesis to affirm God’s pattern for marriage as the basis for his own teaching on divorce. In Mark 10.6-8, He says, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh. Consequently, they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

For two men to become one flesh in homosexual intercourse would be a violation of God’s created order and intent. He created man and woman to be indissolubly united in marriage, not two men or two women.

The Bible makes itself clear, so there can be no argument that the Bible allow some wiggle room on homosexual behavior. It is sin, according to the Bible. But maybe Christians are required to follow the Bible or maybe the Bible as we have it does not reflect the true will of God.

We’ll look at that.

Who Am I to Say?   7 comments

Okay, so I put my foot in a sink hole last week and they’re hating on me at the Alaska Dispatch News. How dare I not walk in lockstep with the modern LGBT agenda! I am such a hater!  Read Part 1 of this series.

Christians can’t duck this issue anymore. Those of us who reject the legitimacy of the homosexual lifestyle are routinely denounced a homophobic, intolerant, even hateful, which results in tremendous intimidation concerning this issue. Businesses are being forced into bankruptcy or reeducation classes and some churches have even endorsed the homosexual lifestyle and welcome those who practice it to be their ministers.

It’s not just happening in liberal churches. Evangelicals Concerned is a group of people who are to all appearances born-again, Bible-believing Christians and also practicing homosexuals. They claim that the Bible doesn’t forbid homosexual activity or that its commands aren’t valid for today, being just a reflection of the culture in which the Bible was written. These people can be orthodox about Jesus and every other area of teaching; but they just think it’s Biblical acceptable to be a practicing homosexual.

So who am I (or you) to say that these apparently earnest Christians are wrong?

Good question! Who are we to say that they are wrong? This question raises an even deeper question, which we’ve got to answer first. Do right and wrong really exist? You see, we get it backwards often. You have to know that there really is a right and a wrong before you can determine what is right and wrong.

What is the basis for saying that right and wrong exist or that there really is a difference between these two?

Traditionally, Americans (not just practicing Christians) have answered that moral values are based in God. God is by His very nature perfectly holy and good. He is just, loving, patient, merciful, and generous. Everything good comes from Him and is a reflection of His character. God’s perfectly good nature issues forth in commandments to us:

  • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength.
  • You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
  • You shall not murder, steal, or commit adultery.

These are examples of right or wrong based on God’s commandments, which are not arbitrary but flow from His perfect nature.

This is the Christian understanding of right and wrong. There really is such a being as God, Who created the world and made it so we can know Him. He really has commanded certain things. Christians really are morally obligated to do certain things (and not to do others). Morality isn’t just in your mind. It’s real. When we fail to keep God’s commandments, we really are morally guilty before Him and need His forgiveness. The problem isn’t just that we feel guilty; we really are guilty, regardless of how we feel. Even if my seared conscience, dully by sin or justified by a government edict, does not feel guilty, I am guilty if I have broken God’s law.

What Hitler did was sin regardless whether he or his society thought it was right. Chattel slavery is still wrong regardless if the slaveowner or the society he lives in thinks of it. Murder is still a sin even if the killer feels like he’s doing something right. It’s wrong because God says it is wrong, regardless of human opinion. Morality is based in God and are unaffected by human opinions.

There are people who will argue over that because it is a foreign concept in western society today. I estimate that the majority of people today think right and wrong are matters of taste, not fact. Moral values are given the same weight as Baskin Robbins flavors. I like World Class Chocolate. My husband loves Coffee. We can both be right. What’s the problem? It’s just a matter of opinion. I choose to cheat on my partner, you do not. We can both be right and all is well … until my partner divorces me anyway.

If there was no God, these people would be absolutely correct. In the absence of God everything is relative. Right and wrong become relative to different cultures and societies. It’s all up to the flavor-of-the-decade zeitgeist. Prominent American philosopher Richard Taylor, who is not a Christian by the way, makes this point very forcefully.

The idea of . . . moral obligation is clear enough, provided that reference to some lawmaker higher . . . than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can . . . be understood as those that are imposed by God. . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation . . . still make sense? (Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), pp. 83-4)

Taylor went on to write:

 “The concept of moral obligation is unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain, but their meaning is gone. … The modern age, more or less repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver, has nevertheless tried to retain the ideas of moral right and wrong, without noticing that in casting God aside they have also abolished the meaningfulness of right and wrong …. Thus, even educated persons sometimes declare that such things as war, or abortion, or the violation of certain human rights are morally wrong, and they imagine that they have said something true and meaningful. Educated people do not need to be told, however, that questions such as these have never been answered outside of religion.

This non-Christian philosopher understands that, if there is no divine lawgiver (God), then there is no moral law. If there is no moral law, then there is no actual right and wrong. They’ve just become human customs, perhaps balwarked by human laws that vary from society to society. Even if we all agree on them, they’re still just human inventions that will evolve … or devolve …eventually.

If God does not exist, right and wrong do not exist and anything goes, including homosexuality. Atheists should have no problem defending the legitimacy of the homosexual lifestyle, but that’s where a new problem arises. Many defenders of homosexuality don’t want to be atheists. They especiallly want to affirm that right and wrong exist, so they make moral judgments about their fellow citizens.

“It is wrong to discriminate against homosexuals.”

That’s a moral judgement, but not one solely relative to a culture or society. They would condemn a society like Nazi Germany which threw homosexuals into concentration camps along with the Jews and other “undesirables”, and when Colorado passed an amendment prohibiting special rights for homosexuals, Barbara Streisand called for a boycott of the state, saying, “The moral climate in Colorado has become unacceptable.”

These kinds of value judgements lack meaning unless God exists. If God does not exist, anything goes, including discrimination and persecution of homosexuals. Murder, rape, torture, child abuse … none of these things would be wrong, because without God right and wrong do not exist. Everything is permissable.

So in order to make moral judgments, we must affirm that God exists, but then our first question reappears in front of us. “Who are you to say that homosexuality is wrong?” We can put the question to homosexual activists now. “Who are you to say that homosexuality is right?” If God exists, then we cannot ignore what He has to say about the subject. The correct answer to “Who are you to make moral judgements?” is now to say, “Me? I’m nobody! God determines what’s right and wrong, and I’m just interested in learning and obeying what He says.”

So, if I’m a Christian or want to pretend to be one, perhaps I need to look at what God says on the subject.

Continued here.

God Damns It   10 comments

God didn’t promise Christians a thorn-less rose garden. American Christians have somewhat forgotten that because we’ve been a couple of centuries without overt persecution. That’s the exception rather than the rule world-wide. In most societies, Biblically-faithful Christians are very much marginalized if not outright persecuted.

Society has cycles and the wheel is turning. Here in the US, our society doesn’t like to think of itself as a bunch of tyrannical persecutors. It prefers to think of itself as fair and welcoming, inclusive.

Yeah!!! Dream on, people!

Masterpiece Cake ShopGortz HausHands-On OriginalsArlene’s Flowers & Gifts, Liberty Ridge Farm, and Elane Photography (now out of business) are just a few examples of Christian businesses who politely refused to provide services for gay weddings and subsequently found themselves being ordered to reeducation classes, paying thousands of dollars in fines and in several cases closing their doors.

Let’s be very clear about this. If you actually research these cases, you will find that in no case did these business refuse services to homosexuals because they were homosexuals. Nobody screamed “Get away from me, you have kooties.” What these Christians did was refuse to provide wedding-related services that sanctify what the Bible defines as sexual immorality.

In other words, they refused to participate in someone else’s sin, to have their name associated with that sin and to appear to be encouraging that sin. They stood firm on what they believe the Bible teaches about sexual immorality and for that, they will lose their businesses, be fined into bankruptcy and in some cases do jail time.

I don’t agree with Indiana’s religious freedom law because I don’t think it should be necessary. “Congress shall make no law … restricting the free exercise of religion.” That should be clear enough. If a neighbor asks me to participate in sin, I have the right to peacefully refuse. Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin would have agreed with me on that. “Whatever does not pick my pocket or break my leg is no concern of mine,” Jefferson wrote.

None of the gay couples in these cases were harmed in any way. Someone doesn’t agree with their lifestyle and won’t encourage them in it How does that harm them other than to perhaps hurt their feelings?

Yet, the bigoted anti-Christian crowd in this country is using it as an excuse to very much pick the pockets and break the legs of Christian businesspeople who have the audacity to live their faith.

We all know where this is headed. In a decade, possibly less, pastors will be required to perform gay ceremonies and churches will be required to host them. Why? Because this is not about the “rights” of homosexuals to be full members of society. This is about forcing an anti-Biblical agenda upon Christian churches and coercing Christians into participating in sin. Only by our seeming to approve of their behavior can they feel that they’ve finally arrived in the world.

Pay no attention to the metaphorical gun pointed at the heads of the baker, florist, musician, pastor, and venue manager. We’re happy, God damn it, and you must be happy with us.

I used God’s name technically in vain for a reason. What homosexuals do in their bedrooms is their own business, but when they require that I attend their commitment ceremony, they make it mine. God very much does damn sexual immorality and Christians who participate in it, even when required by our government, will have to explain their participation to God. If you’re not a Christian, you may think that’s no big deal, but for all of us familiar with Acts — we’re being called now to stand with Peter and John and say “We will obey the Lord” and accept the consequences.

But, hey, American society — you’re shredding the 1st Amendment. Are you sure you want to go there? What happens when society decides YOUR beliefs are the incorrect ones? What happens when society decides YOUR opinion must be silenced?

You see, that wheel — turns. When you base law upon the flavor the decade zeitgeist, you end up on top some decades and crushed under the wheel in others. The secret to America has always been that the law of liberty remained steady. We could disagree, but it didn’t matter because we didn’t have the power to control one another.

But, of course, that’s no longer the case. Are you sure you want it that way?

 

This started a series. See Part 2.

Liberty, not bigotry   Leave a comment

I frequently don’t agree with Jim Minnery, but when he says something smart, I give him due.
The fact is that there is a difference between discriminating against a person and discriminating against their behavior. The Bible teaches Christians to love people, but to stand against their sin. Christian bakers don’t cease to be Christians when they’re baking cakes. God doesn’t compartmentalize our lives into that which is acceptable when we’re in our jammies and that which is acceptable at work. We are called to serve God at all times.
We can be friends with gays. We can bake them birthday cakes. We can photograph their sporting events. None of these activities promote the sin of sexual immorality. A gay “wedding” however does. And that is where the water hits the wheel. If you’re going to claim that gays have a right to live as they want without discrimination, without being forced to comply to a societal standard, then you must also recognize the right of Christians to live as they want without discrimination and without being forced to comply to a societal standard.
But, of course, the current agenda is to force us to violate our beliefs or be marginalized, stripped of our businesses and treated like pariahs. There is discrimination going on here all right, but it isn’t homosexuals who are free to conduct their businesses however they want, without fear of being forced into “reeducation” programs.
Religious freedom laws provide for liberty, not bigotry

Jim Minnery

OPINION: Rush to judgment on Indiana for religious freedom law shows an intolerance for diversity. Pictured: A Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally held at Town Square Park in Anchorage in March 2012.BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News

I eat and breathe at the intersection of politics and faith. I have a special appreciation for that line by Sting, who said, “Poets, priests and politicians, have words to thank for their positions.” It’s what I do day in, day out. And recently, it seems like everyone’s on board.

As you might have read, Indiana is in the news. Boy, is it in the news. Gov. Mike Pence has made the Hoosier state more prominent than Larry Bird and John Cougar combined. What did he do?

He signed a bill passed by the Legislature known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law similar to one passed by the U.S. Congress, signed by President Bill Clinton and on the books in 20 other states. RFRAs were implemented basically to provide a referee when a government mandate comes up against the religious beliefs of an American.

RFRAs require that before someone’s religious freedom can be overridden, government has to demonstrate a compelling and legitimate interest in doing so and that it’s using the least restrictive means possible.

Those who’ve gone apoplectic calling the Indiana RFRA an “anti-gay” weapon businesses will use to turn away customers are missing some very basic points. RFRAs are in place (did I mention the U.S. Congress and 20 states) as shields — not swords. They cannot be used affirmatively to deprive others of the protections of law. In fact, in 22 years, no RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination.

So what’s really going on?

The LGBTQ community successfully convinced enough judges that the rights of individuals holding natural views on marriage should be trumped by those with evolving morals and standards. Thus, you have wedding vendors like photographers, bakers and florists actually being forced out of business if they don’t partake in same-sex wedding ceremonies.

In nearly all the cases I’m familiar with, these vendors had no problems whatsoever serving gay customers. They did it all the time. They simply weren’t comfortable participating in a wedding ceremony that didn’t actually have a bride and groom. In a case in Oregon, the labor commissioner said his goal was to “rehabilitate” the baker — not close her doors. If you’re cozy with that kind of government language, you need to catch up on some history.

In another real-life case, a Christian graduate student is literally kicked out of her counseling degree program at Eastern Michigan University because she was reluctant to provide relationship counseling to a gay client. Apparently in today’s university setting, you either support the LGBTQ movement or you get out of the counseling vocation. This is surreal.

How about this example opponents of RFRAs need to answer. If you are an adoption attorney with a belief that children inherently need a mother and a father, a thought that used to not be so divisive, should you be required by law to place a child in a household led by a lesbian or gay couple? Mind you, most adoption attorneys today would have no problem doing so. This is about the attorney whose convictions tell her she can’t. Should she be forced to find employment elsewhere?

Can you imagine the Westboro Baptist Church, the despicably anti-Christ-like group in their disdain for homosexuals, using the full force of government to require a gay-owned printing shop to make their signs? How about the head of a local Ku Klux Klan using the attorney general to close down a tuxedo shop owned by an African-American family for refusing to do the Klan head’s wedding?

Everyone needs to breathe deeply. We live in a pluralistic society, and differing views are what make our cultural fabric so rich and textured. Just because hyperbolic voices scream that RFRAs are about making gays and lesbians drink from separate water fountains, sit on different parts of the bus and allow restaurants to post “No Gays Allowed” sign in their windows doesn’t make it so.

Alternative lifestyles are embraced in our world today more than at any other time in history. That is simple, basic truth.

What we’re seeing today is something entirely different. Some, not all, in activist circles essentially want to “rehabilitate” the remaining parts of society who don’t “evolve” on fundamental truths about human sexuality. Let’s all say it together — “It’s OK to disagree. It’s okay for some people to be uncomfortable with others.”

If you really want everyone to think and feel the same in a country that has E Pluribus Unum as its motto, you risk sounding a bit like that same song by Sting — de do do do de da da da.

Jim Minnery is president of Alaska Family Action, a public policy and advocacy group.

The views expressed here are the writer’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, emailcommentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

 

Posted April 10, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

Tagged with , , ,

Taking Church Inventory   Leave a comment

5:1 It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, the kind of immorality that is not permitted even among the Gentiles, so that someone is cohabiting with 1  his father’s wife. 5:2 Andyou are proud! 2  Shouldn’t you have been deeply sorrowful instead and removed the one who didthis 3  from among you? 5:3 For even though I am absent physically, 4  I am present in spirit. And I have already judged the one who did this, just as though I were present. 5  5:4 When you gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus, 6  and I am with you in spirit, 7  along with the power of ourLord Jesus, 5:5 turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved 8  in the day of the Lord. 9 

5:6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast 10  affects 11  the whole batch of dough? 5:7 Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough – you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 5:8 So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. 12 

5:9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 5:10 In no way did I meanthe immoral people of this world, or the greedy and swindlers and idolaters, since you would thenhave to go out of the world. 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who callshimself a Christian 13  who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, 14  or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 5:12 For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Are you not to judge those inside? 5:13 But God will judge those outside.Remove the evil person from among you. 15 

Hi, this is Brad! Lela is letting me post because for once, I have something to say and she’s in training this week, so her computer access is dodgy.

Of the two of us, I’m definitely the wilder, more roguish Christian so we agreed I am the one who should tell this tale because it happened to me while she merely observed it.

Lela and I were members of a church — she for more than 30 years and me for more than 20. We attended other churches in that time, but we kept our membership there and we always circled back to it because it was home and family and the place we could go to find spiritual refuge and accountability. That part about accountability is important.

The church had several great pastors and some wonderful, unique ministries. The Southern Baptist Convention featured it several times in publications because it was unusual in a wonderful sort of way.

And then things began to change. Lela can tell you when she sensed the shift. I’m not focused enough to do that. We also disagree on what exactly was the REAL problem that led to the church’s failure. This is my version of events. A longtime pastor that I liked left. An associate pastor stepped forward as interim. I didn’t like him, so I used that as an opportunity to church-shop or, to be honest, sleep in. I was still involved in some of the church’s ministries, but I wasn’t attending regularly when things started to go awry.

There was a man in the church who I would call “friend”. He and I went fishing together and did building and grounds work together. He had a great sense of humor and he was extremely organized in a way that I am not. He was married retired military and was always trying to bring his military friends to the Lord … or at least to the church. Occasionally, he’d say some off-color things that I put down to his military service. Although this church did not have deacons because many of the older leaders believed that women should also be deacons (which is a violation of SBC rules), this man (I’m going to call him Larry) worked his way into a position of service similar to a deacon.

During this interim period, the church began to experience member “earthquakes”. A older man who had been sober for decades went off the wagon, had an affair, got an 18-year-old pregnant and divorced his wife. He admitted he didn’t love the girl, but he felt it was something he had to do because of the baby. Rose committed adultery and it became public. Another church member was accused (though it wasn’t proven) of sexually molesting her step-son (who was an older teen quite capable of saying “no”). Larry’s wife, who had long been diagnosed as bipolar, went into menopause and became unstable. We had teenagers suddenly involved in premarital sex.

When the church called the interim as pastor, Lela and two others voted against him. I was traveling for work or it would have been four votes against. We don’t know who the third person was, but we do know that the second person was an older lady, a great mentor in the church (who Lela will profile soon), who immediately left attendance in protest. We don’t know if she knew what we did not — that the pastor had been married before, briefly, prior to his now-30-year second marriage. We discovered it three weeks later when the North American Mission Board withdrew pastoral support. The church began to bleed membership.

Not long after this, the wife of one of Larry’s military friends asked Lela if she and I would be interested in “swinging” with a group of friends. Lela declined and cooled the friendship. I was helping Larry remodel a cabin, subcontracting for those areas where my skills were stronger, so we were spending a lot of time together. The cabin was 50 miles out of town, so Larry kept saying we ought to sleep over to get more done. The occasional off-color joke had become more routine. As a construction worker, I’m used to crass humor, but I was bugged by hearing it from a Christian and was beginning to question if he was indeed a Christian or a tare among the wheat. He began to talk about how the patriarchs had had more than one wife and didn’t I think the church should be looking at that and “aligning with true Biblical standards.” I can barely handle one wife, I joked. What a mess if I added more! I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, especially when the husband of the “swinger” started joining us. One evening he brought takeout. We were in the electrical phase of the remodel, so we were sitting on the floor eating by lantern light and he came right out and asked if I’d be interested in “swinging”. I laughed, but I also said “no”. He didn’t join us again. Then late one evening, I was actually contemplating staying the night at the cabin when Larry asked me outright if I wanted to have sex with him.

I was gobsmacked! While I was trying to even formulate a response, he was babbling on and one about Bible verses and how the church had had it wrong for thousands of years and that the early churches had practiced polygamy and polyamory (that’s a Lela word) and that if we’d just free ourselves from our sexual inhibitions, we could serve God so much better. I pointed out to him that I had once had plenty of opportunity to engage in homosexual activity before I was a Christian and was not interested, but now that he was on a roll, he wasn’t taking the hint. I started packing my tools. Realizing he’d seriously misjudged me, he tried to say it was a joke, a test to see how I would react, and then he threatened me. If I told anyone, he’d kill me!

Lela had moved her membership to another church a few weeks before because she’d come to the conclusion that our beloved church had systemic problems that were affecting our children. I had resisted, preferring the occasional attendance method instead. I followed her to the new church. Not long after, Larry left attendance there and the pastor resigned. Though very different from what it once was, it looks like our home church may survive and recover.

But what happened?

Lela will say that it was much deeper than the sexual immorality that I’ve just recounted. She may be right. But I can’t help but see all these threads all going back to two people. Larry had been a member for six years. In talking to some of the former members, I’ve learned that he was involved as a mentor in many of the situations I listed above. Only one other person has admitted to overt sexual advances, but I can’t help think there were more subtle influences going on. The pastor’s unrepentant sexual immorality also played a role. He’d been associate pastor there for just about the same length of time as Larry had been a member. Our former pastor is a friend. He claims to have had no idea what was going on, but that in retrospect, he thinks he was probably wearing cultural blinders.

I think we see a lot of sexual immorality in the American churches. Remarriage after unbiblical divorce is probably the most common and public example. Jesus noted, but didn’t really promote a concession of divorce for adultery that had existed since the Exodus. Paul, carefully noting that he had this from the Lord, said Christians were free to remarry if their unbelieving partner left them, but they weren’t free to remarry if they left their partner. Larry makes me wonder how many other Christians there are who secretly think it’s okay to indulge in extramartial sex, homosexuality, polyamory, etc., and feel that these activities within the churches would be a benefit to us. What’s more … Larry went off to another church. The pastor went off to another church. With the exception of Rose, most of those who fell to sexual sins during that brief period have not repented … at least not publicly. The former members of that church don’t bring up this mess when asked why they left. Even Lela will point to another issue rather than the simple one of sexual immorality. We’re not dealing with what’s happening and so we’re letting it happen.

Sin will destroy a church. Accountability and discipline can save it, but only if Christians are willing to honestly face the problems.

Stine Writing

Poetry, Positivity, and Connecting!

Writer vs the World

In search of beauty, inspired by literature.

Inside My Mind

Words from my brain

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

Tales + Books + Compassion + Culture + Wagging Tails

Fairfax and Glew

Vigilante Justice

The Wolf's Den

Overthink Everything

SaltandNovels

Sprinkling wonder into writing

Remmington Reads

A book enthusiast bringing you all things bookish

MiddleMe

Becoming Unstuck

Magical BookLush

A New Dimension to Explore!! A reason to Love and A promise to fight the wrong is hidden in Books. Come, Let's Explore it!!!

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Read. Write. Love. 💕💕💕

Not Very Deep Thoughts

Short Fiction and Other Things

%d bloggers like this: