Our Amendment 2
by Rick Shrader
For those of us who live in Colorado, the homosexual issue is a daily routine. We are constantly reminded at every turn of our intolerance toward those who call themselves homosexual or gay. Amendment 2 in this state is a microcosm of the feeling of the nation as a whole. This issue has raised a vital question concerning homosexuality that, as believers, we must address.
Homosexuality is being made an issue of race or even gender by the gay community. Amendment 2 addresses it as an issue of conduct. It says that homosexuality is a practice and should not be considered a minority group like Blacks, Hispanics or Jews. The voters agreed but, of course, public officials and judges bowed to pressure from the left and suspended the law’s enactment until its constitutionality is decided in court. Judge Bayless reminded us that we are a ‘‘constitutional democracy.’’ We make laws by majority vote but they become law only if judges like himself pronounce them constitutional. Meanwhile the nation is watching while a fierce campaign is launched by the politically correct, to convince voters that practicing homosexuals are a race or gender of people and not people of various races or genders. President Clinton may make the largest contribution to the campaign by commanding the military not to view homosexuality as an immoral behavior subject to due consequences.
We who are Christians can be defined as ‘‘believers.’’ We believe that there is a God who has revealed Himself and His moral will to His creation. That revelation is the Word of God, the Bible. There can be no doubt (though some feebly try) that the Bible consistently treats homosexuality as a moral sin that is an offense to a holy God. The Old Testament contains two lengthy narratives describing homosexual conduct. They are Genesis 19:1-11 and Judges 19:1-30. In both cases, men of the cities (Sodom and Gibeah) demand that a host turn over his male guests to them so they can homosexually rape them en masse. When the lust of the flesh is given legal or moral rein to satisfy its desire to any degree it sees fit, freedom will always be in jeopardy. God’s judgment on them is plain.
There are three passages in the moral code of God’s law. They are Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 and Deuteronomy 23:17. There God calls this act an ‘‘abomination’’ that is worthy of death. Some have argued that since these verses are in the Mosaic Law they should be disregarded just as Sabbath keeping or animal sacrifices. But there is a difference between the ceremonial codes for Israel in the old economy and the moral codes that run as themes throughout the Scripture.
The New Testament does not change God’s description of homosexuality as a moral sin. There are three passages where this sin is treated in particular. They are Romans 1:24ff, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. These passages contain such descriptive language as ‘‘uncleanness,’’ ‘‘vile affections,’’ ‘‘against nature,’’ ‘‘unseemly,’’ ‘‘effeminate,’’ ‘‘abusers of themselves,’’ and those that ‘‘defile themselves.’’ Paul tells Timothy that it is ‘‘contrary to sound doctrine.’’ Romans 1:27 says that they will ‘‘receive in themselves the due penalty for their perversion’’ (there are physical consequences for violating God’s laws of nature).
Walter Kaiser, a foremost Biblical scholar, summarized the Bible’s teaching on this subject by writing, ‘‘Homosexuality must be listed as a sexual perversion, a defilement of a country in which it is practiced, and an abomination in God’s eyes. Anything less than this is a form of specious reasoning.’’
There is a principle found in the biblical teaching on this subject where believers must draw a line. That is, homosexuality is a practice. It can be described, condemned, practiced and shunned. It can be present within a nation or absent. The Bible does not entertain the idea of a homosexual or gay person. Rather, it recognizes that persons practice homosexuality. They are people who ‘‘dishonor their own bodies’’ (Rom 1:24), who ‘‘burn in their lust one toward another’’ (Rom 1:27). They are men who ‘‘leave the natural use of the woman’’ (Rom 1:27). Even in the list of 1 Cor 6:9-10, the word ‘‘effeminate’’ (KJV) is otherwise translated ‘‘homosexual offenders’’ (NIV). These are people who offend God by practicing homosexuality. The Apostle concludes that none of these people ‘‘shall inherit the kingdom of God.’’ God never makes such an exclusion based on race or gender. God excludes people from His kingdom based on the decisions they make.
It is probable that the scientific community will find a way to advocate that people who practice homosexuality were born that way. It is rare not to find such a point of view on any talk shows or editorial pages. Science has become a very accommodating partner to social correctness. But there have always been issues where believers have had to draw the line between Caesar and God. This is one of them. We stand on God’s truth. Paul did not give a scientific or social analysis of this practice to the church in Rome, the hotbed of first century homosexuality. Nor did he propose a lengthy political agenda in order to change the Empire from without. He simply advocated the power of God’s Word to change individuals who might be willing to repent of their willful sin.
Walter Kaiser also concluded, ‘‘It (homosexuality) is a sin that must be dealt with as any other sin even though the gospel also offers freedom, forgiveness, and healing from this sin as from any other–or it is no gospel at all.’’ The gospel does not change a black man into a red man, or a yellow man into a brown man. It changes a sinful man into a righteous man. It will change a practicing homosexual. Not into a color different from his own, but into a man who practices a different style of life.
Paul said of the Corinthians, ‘‘And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God’’ (1 Cor 6:11). Governments may, at times, recognize or not recognize the immorality of certain practices but God’s view and the Christian’s responsibility will remain the same throughout the ages. The problem is not reformation but regeneration.
We appreciate your interest in one more paper like this one. The Lord knows we all have more to read than we can get to and it has been my experience that profitable reading usually comes in a harder cover than this. However, we all need to make our contribution in a way that can be most effective. Perhaps this can be our way if the Lord is pleased.
We have a two-fold purpose in putting out this publication. First, we would like to comment on the issues of our day that relate to Christians in our society. Although many subjects may find application from the text that is preached on Sunday, those subjects and others need to be put in print and space needs to be available for further explanation. Second, perhaps we can encourage thought and interaction that will stimulate you to let us know what you are thinking. I hope, from time to time, we can print the comments and views of others as well so that we can stay current with good thoughts that I know are there in God’s family.
We will also be printing short book reviews. We would like you to know what we are thinking about some of the new books on the market and also we would like you to rediscover some of the great books from past years that you might want to read or reread. Send us your brief comments about a book that you have read and if we print it we will include your name as the contributor.
Thank you for your interest! We trust this effort will be a help and a blessing to you.