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Sexuality / Homosexuality Archives ~ Aletheia Baptist Ministries Skip to main content

Vital Contemporary Issues

Vital Contemporary Issues

by Rick Shrader

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Last month I reviewed Vital Theological Issues from this same series.  These books are a good way to bring yourself up to date on current issues.  In section one, this volume deals with moral conflicts, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia and AIDS.  In section two, it deals with doctrinal issues such as Liberation Theology and the Signs and Wonders Movement.  Thomas Edgar on the cessation of sign gifts is the best I have read in a while.

 

Abstinence–Our Area!

Abstinence–Our Area!

by Rick Shrader

I want to speak of the danger which at present, in my opinion, especially haunts the act of love. This is a subject on which I disagree, not with the human race (far from it), but with many of its gravest spokesmen. I believe we are all being encouraged to take Venus too seriously; at any rate, with a wrong kind of seriousness. All my life a ludicrous and portentious solemnisation of sex has been going on.  (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves )

 

There is a run-away train in our society that the world has no handle on called the sexual revolution! If it were not so tragic it would be comical to watch a nation which has discarded God, pour the coal into the engine’s boiler without realizing this train has no brakes! The country’s present leadership is fiendishly cheering on the participants. We can re-elect leadership. We cannot easily rediscover our moral bearings.

Recently I overheard a college couple philosophizing, ‘‘If God is against pre-marital sex, why did He make us to enjoy it?’’ That is the most common expression of unbelief in our day. ‘‘If there is a God, either He doesn’t care what’s going on or He is not able to do anything about it.’’ This young couple was saying the same thing:  ‘‘If God doesn’t want us to have sex, then He either can’t do anything to stop us (or He would) or He really doesn’t care if we do.”In a Washington Post article, one high school student said, ‘‘There’s a feeling that it’s okay for us to have sex because we’re educated and know what’s going on. If we do slip up, we’ll get an abortion.’’ Another high schooler said, ‘‘I could count the number of virgins in my high school peer group on the fingers of both hands.’’

Sex education in the high schools and colleges of our country has become x-rated orientation dogma into the dark world of no return for many students. Walter Williams, in a recent article, quoted from Stanford University’s sex education kit words I wouldn’t repeat to my wife! William F. Buckley wrote, ‘‘Every society has a sexual underground, because sex is a biological appetite that obsesses some men, and indeed some women, but which like other appetites can usually be controlled.  Those who can’t, or don’t, control this appetite are to sex as alcoholism is to the gourmet: the human perspective is destroyed. Sex becomes as alluring as what it was for Don Giovanni, as satisfying as inhaling crack cocaine, or chugalugging a fifth of gin.’’ There is no doubt about the addictive powers of sexual promiscuity. The Denver Police Chief once said of rapists, ‘‘Not everyone who reads pornography is a rapist. But you can be sure that every rapist reads pornography.’’ Malcom Muggeridge said, ‘‘Sex is the only mysticism offered by materialism, whose other toys–like cars, airplanes and pictures and swimming pools and flights to the moon–soon pall.’’

Where did America get off track? Perhaps it was our open door to Sigmund Freud’s philosophy in this country. Perhaps it was our fascination with Alfred Kinsey (Sexual Behavior of the Human Male/Female) who made sex a matter of statistics and everything from homosexuality to pedophilia appear more normal than heterosexuality (he began the myth that one out of every ten persons are homosexual). These days, Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver are not merely interesting old sit coms but are moralistic witch hunts. David Breese wrote, ‘‘The porous-minded prognosticators of our time look back on that day and call the people prudish or Puritan. They think it unfortunate that society in that day missed out on all the fun by not dragging sex into the streets, into the books and newspapers, and even into the Christian community. Yes, our present generation believes that the one who possesses morals, who possesses his vessel in sanctification and honor, is a pitiable individual. The person who has a recalcitrant attitude toward the sexual revolution is the one who needs a psychiatrist, our pundits say.’’

In any society of fallen humanity, this course of action is as natural as gravity. America’s Christian beginning kept back the expression of sinful nature for an amazingly long time but Christianity must be first in the heart, then in society. For a number of years now Christianity has been in the heart of a few, merely lip-service for many and openly opposed by many more.  We were shocked in 1991 when the Presbyterian Church (USA) published a committee report to its three million members that attacked the church’s position on sexuality as patriarchal, homophobic and biased toward heterosexuality. Christianity Today called it a document that ‘‘more closely resembled a Canaanite fertility cult than a Christian church.’’ Newsweek called it a ‘‘sermon on Eros prepared in the heat of politically correct passion.’’ Since then, the Episcopal church has voted on ordaining practicing homosexuals, the Catholic church is repeatedly embarrassed by pedophilia within its priesthood, the Assemblies of God have allowed infamous scandal to go unchecked, indiscretions continually shock all of our denominations, and the snowball continues. The conscience of America has all but died. The highest level of Christian conversation these days seems to be over the rating of the latest box-office release.

In the midst of the fusillade is the word ‘‘abstinence.’’ In a day of AIDS and other dangers, it has a growing popular usage. Society is trying to use it but it can’t figure out how it logically fits in. That’s because it doesn’t! At least not in an atheistic setting.  Oh, it might catch on as a fad or a groupie thing, but it won’t last long because its premise is moralistic. It goes against every natural instinct of the human nature. Its only real basis for practice is a love for the revelation of a holy God.

I only use the word ‘‘abstinence’’ because of its familiarity and popularity. Dictionaries will seldom associate the word with sexual promiscuity. It denotes, more specifically, refraining from alchohol and over-eating. A more accurate synonym is ‘‘continence’’ from a Latin base meaning ‘‘to hold in’’ and specifically refers to the act of self-restraint in sexual activity. Though the Bible uses the word ‘‘abstain’’ more often (7 times from apecw), the KJV does translate akrasia as ‘‘incontinent’’ twice (2 Tim 3:3, 1 Cor 7:5). The 1 Cor. passage is significant because it specifically describes refraining from sexual activity. When the Apostle wrote, ‘‘Flee fornication (1 Cor 6:18),’’ he had this idea in mind. I am not advocating that we exchange the word ‘‘abstinence’’ for ‘‘continence.’’ It would only create confusion and young people would think we were talking about the way the earth is divided. We should keep the word but when we preach ‘‘abstinence’’ we should not simply be enlisting people to join a club or start a protest movement, but we must be presenting, as Paul says, ‘‘The will of God, even your sanctification (1 Thes 4:3).’’

This message is our message! It belongs to the children of God! It is a message of absolute commitment, not a fad or gimmick. We don’t practice it as some New Year resolution!  It is a clear application of our belief in a holy God. Abstinence can be taught to our children when they first have a love for the Lord Jesus Christ and then, want to ‘‘glorify God in (their) body and in (their) spirit which are God’s (1 Cor 6:20).’’

 

Our Amendment 2

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.


THANK YOU!

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.