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Albert Mohler:

In this most awkward cultural predicament, evangelicals must be excruciatingly clear that we do not speak about the sinfulness of homosexuality as if we have no sin. As a matter of fact, it is precisely because we have come to know ourselves as sinners and of our need for a savior that we have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Our greatest fear is not that homosexuality will be normalized and accepted, but that homosexuals will not come to know of their own need for Christ and the forgiveness of their sins.

This is not a concern that is easily expressed in sound bites. But it is what we truly believe.

It is now abundantly clear that evangelicals have failed in so many ways to meet this challenge. We have often spoken about homosexuality in ways that are crude and simplistic. We have failed to take account of how tenaciously sexuality comes to define us as human beings. We have failed to see the challenge of homosexuality as a Gospel issue. We are the ones, after all, who are supposed to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin, starting with our own.

We have demonstrated our own form of homophobia--not in the way that activists have used that word, but in the sense that we have been afraid to face this issue where it is most difficult . . . face to face.

My hope is that evangelicals are ready now to take on this challenge in a new and more faithful way. We really have no choice, for we are talking about our own brothers and sisters, our own friends and neighbors, or maybe the young person in the next pew.

There is no escaping the fact that we are living in the midst of a moral revolution. And yet, it is not the world around us that is being tested, so much as the believing church. We are about to find out just how much we believe the Gospel we so eagerly preach.

John Piper:

My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us. The new thing--new for America, and new for history--is not homosexuality. That brokenness has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man. (And there is a great distinction between the orientation and the act--just like there is a great difference between my orientation to pride and the act of boasting.)

What's new is not even the celebration of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What's new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.

My main reason for writing is not to mount a political counter-assault. I don't think that is the calling of the church as such. My reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man.

Both pieces are worth reading carefully and in their entirety. Piper also has a post pointing to the work of Robert Gagnon. The following half-hour video clip from, a larger DVD teaching set, is a help overview on what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. Fast-forward to 1:45 to hear Gagnon start talking.


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26 thoughts on “The Gospel and the Gay Moral Revolution”

  1. Alecia says:

    I am dealing with this conflict with a friend right now. The problem is that there is an attitude errupting within the church that is fracturing the church that says that homosexuality is not sin. I appreciate this video, but I have attempted to use the argument of moral, civic and ceremonial law before and it also has not made a dent in their minds. What I was told was that to them, homosexuality is a civil issue not a moral issue. It doesn’t matter to them that biblically it is considered a moral issue. They’ve decided what they’ve decided. To correlate this with the video, what I think people are doing is making an “exception” for homosexuality. They are developing ways to justify the behavior and lifestyle. It is very difficult to have this conversation because what my husband and I have discovered is that people who determine that God now says homosexuality is not a sin are people who base the authority of their lives on their experience and their feelings. It is very difficult to have a conversation of this magnitude with someone who’s worldview is different than yours. We don’t even have a foundational basis on which to begin the conversation. When we can’t even agree on what the bible says about it, where can the conversation go? I’m looking for ideas here. We’ve even attempted to talk about this from a non-religious basis – let’s talk about research, statistics, etc. People who are entrenched in the idea that homosexuality is a normal lifestyle refuse to listen. Regardless of the validity of the argument the two responses we get the most are “I’ve heard that argument before. I don’t agree with it.” and they begin throwing insults and being passive aggressive. I love that you’re talking about this, and in a positive way. We need to be equipping people with the means to having this conversation with people around them in a way that’s actually going to impact them and not turn them off to what we have to say.

    1. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

      Alecia, excellent comment. I don’t know the way forward for the situation you describe. I think in a lot of cases the other party will not change their mind and that the next stage for faithful Christians is acceptance of that.

    2. David Zook says:

      Alecia, thanks for getting this out on the table. Tim Keller and Mark Dever have helped me a great deal in understanding how to persuade someone from an opposite viewpoint. I have begun to do this in my preaching and it is having an effect. (Not all hearts will be touched and that is fine.) Here is how I have boiled it down:

      How does the Bible (or a text of the Bible) call the non-Christian to:

      1) Examine his commitments & principles by showing incompatibility or inadequacy? (There is always a hole in principles created by humans. Find it and show how it eventually breaks down or it isn’t enough.)

      2) The danger of his situation? (When doing a cost benefit analysis, there is always a danger to doing what you are doing. Expose it.)

      3) The exclusiveness and sufficiency of Christ in a way that resonates with what he knows as right? (This is the solution to the points above. The key to this point is showing a person on their own terms what they know to be the better way and demonstrating that Jesus is the only one who is sufficient to guide them to the better way.)

      4) Open his eyes to see the beauty and wonder of God? (This is very important because it affects the heart and will more than the mind. Amazing Grace how sweet the sound type of stuff.)

      5) Repentance and belief by anticipating the cost and showing a greater reward? (If you don’t address the honest sacrifice involved and really stress the greater reward for giving up what they hold dear, your talk with them may not hold.)

      There is much more to write, but this will have to do for now. Hope it helps.

    3. Dave says:

      When we come up against talking to people about sin what ever sin it is if they are not saved and not walking with the Lord then there is no point in talking to someone about their specific sin or lifestyle. If I have a friend who is not saved, whats the point in addressing life style or sins in their life, if the rid themselves of that sin they are still condemned by countless other sins. So really helping unsaved homosexuals see that a homosexual relationship is sin is pointless. Besides that without being born again and without the Holy Spirit they have no power over sin or desire to change. They must first be saved and born again. Its often necessary to show people they are sinners to lead them to Christ and why not talk about other sins: lying, stealing, pride, hatred….that they will be less defensive about and there will be less arguments or debates. Check out wayofthemaster.com to see how Ray Comfort does this.

      Now we have the person claiming to be a homosexual Christian. Or the alcoholic Christian, the thieving Christian, the adulterous Christian. These people are another creature altogether and if there are people like this I would likely confront them in private, then with another person, then in front of the Church.

      Jesus said in Matt 18:14-17
      15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

      Ok so how do we treat “pagans or tax collectors”? We keep witnessing to them and implore them to believe and repent because obviously they aren’t saved if they have no desire to change their lives or they are living in a season of disobedience (David and Bathsheba) and need to implore them to change just like the guy said in the video we don’t continue to accept what they are doing or we are not loving them.

      In fact there is an alcoholic in my Church right now who thinks everything is just fine and dandy with his walk with God and getting wasted all the time. I think I should be applying what Christ said right here to him. Those who confess to represent Christ should have a problem confessing they indulge in sin regularly.

      1. Joe S says:

        Why do so many Christians still use the word homosexual? Does anyone still refer to black people as “coloreds”?

        “Gay Christian” is also a combination of two nouns – so it simply means a Christian who is also gay. Should a gay person who is saved stop referring to himself/herself as gay? Possibly. But the moment they speak honestly about their feelings and lives (even if they turn their back on the “‘lifestyle” and remain single), they will be labeled gay anyway. There’s no escape from the labeling process as gay men and women are a minority group and minorities always get called something.

  2. Walker says:

    Good article….finally!

    The evangelical approach to homosexuals has been to primarily see that that they get some kind of pseudo-psychological help, never to accept them, and show them Christ in all His glory.

    Of course we were “bought at a price” and this means dying to self, in so many ways for ALL Christians. Christ said to the woman at the well “go and sin no more”, not “go marry the man you are living with and become a respectable, integrated, whole member of the community who can then be accepted”.

  3. The failures of the church are even bigger than what Dr. Mohler says so well. The church has failed in its primary role of proclaiming and teaching the whole Gospel, which removes all our sinful identities and replaces them with Christ. When the church has taught that God’s Word is really about us and our needs, then it’s inevitable that it would be twisted to fit into a worldview that sees sexual identity and human need as primary. As easy it would be to lay all this at the feet of an increasingly sinful world, the church needs to repent of its own sins.

    1. John says:

      This has been my experience as well. Too many churches I’ve attended boil the gospel down to a simple prayer, and then once a professed believer is “in”, the church piles on a bunch of requirements designed to make one conform to a proscribed set of social norms. Actual sin and salvation as we are joined with Christ is ever little more than a theory.

  4. In addition to the problems Alecia mentioned above, I’m increasingly finding evangelical Christians who have been taught that the passages in the Scripture that discuss homosexuality are misunderstood or mistranslated. Loss of confidence in the clarity of the Bible obviously leads to loss of the Bible’s practical authority – even on issues like homosexuality which are about as clear as one can get. It is time for the Church to stand up and address these issues with confidence. The Gospel isn’t good news to people who think they don’t have a problem.

    1. Alecia says:

      Well said. This is the problem that I am coming up against in these discussions. There are a group of Christians who are twisting scripture and stating that homosexuality is not a sin. It is penetrating the church. There is division, there are splits, there are whole denominations that are coming out in support of homosexuality and are renouncing previous positions that it is a sin. God’s word does not change. When we make the Bible say what we want it to in order to live the way we want to, what’s the point? None of what I’ve said on this post is in regards to unsaved people. The church as a whole has certainly made a lot of mistakes in how it interacts with the gay community and how it comes across. It doesn’t help that a minority of people do things like hold up Hate signs in Jesus name. The discussions I’ve been having lately are with people who profess to love Jesus and truly believe that God loves and approves of the gay lifestyle.

  5. Joe S says:

    The “loss of confidence in the clarity of the Bible” didn’t start with homosexuality. It started with divorce and remarriage. Very few evangelicals will counsel Christians who have divorced (for any reason other than their spouse’s infidelity) to remain single for the rest of their life.

  6. Grace says:

    Whatever happen to the gospel? Whatever happen to the great commission that we are told to do? Some christians are soooo obsessed with homosexuality that it makes me sick to my stomach, like its the worst of all sins, really? Last I read, sin is sin, right? Did anyone see the clip that Lady Gaga shows about the the “religious” guy who condemed her to hell without sharing the message of the gospel? Yep, there is something seriously wrong with todays church. Maybe some soul searching with honest praying is what the church should do. Ya think God is trying to tell us something?

    What are we doing judging a world that has already been judged?

    1. I believe, Grace and others, that the charge against the church that it is guilty, by and large, of insensitivity and judgments against homosexuals (Yes Joe, homosexuals. The word “gay” was employed to detract from their sinful activity. It is a re-labeling to legitimize) are charges that come predominantly from their guilt, imagination and a fractional minority in the church that may be guilty of some excess. I certainly am not going to rely of Lady Gaga to tell me how the church as a whole has responded. I believe she is driven by her guilt and wishes to misrepresent the compassion of the church. Again, do examples of excess exist? Yes but that is far from the majority response and you and others are suckers to buy into these charges.

      1. Joe S says:

        “Gay” was chosen within a secular context. I don’t suppose any gay man or woman thought about their sin when picking an alternative to the clinical (and sex focused) label homosexual. And this happened about 30 years ago! You choice of words clearly demonstrate that you do not know any gay people.

        Only Christians continue to talk past/at a group of people they claim they want to “save”. Carry on using homosexual if you want to. Nobody cares anymore what evangelical Christians say or think. We have isolated ourselves in this debate. The rest of society just laughs when we talk about loving sinners and hating sin. We have shown nothing but contempt for our gay neighbors.

        1. Christian don’t want to “save” anyone, the can’t. They offer the good news that Jesus Christ saves. My suggestion to you is that before you begin criticizing Christians or attempt to convey what they believe and teach, you learn what it is, first.

          As to what anyone cares about evangelical Christians, “if they hated me they will hate you”. It is expected to be the scorn of the world. You have bought into the guilt they wish to impose upon you for biblical views and biblical approaches. Homosexual, adulterer, and fornicator and so on, are all appropriate terms because they do focus on their sins, which are sexual. When you are able to come to terms with this and quit embracing the terms of those who reject Christ and love their sin you will find yourself far less frustrated with the truth.

          1. Joe S says:

            It’s all in your imagination. I didn’t define “save” in the way you thought I did. I put the word in speech marks for a reason.

            I am a Christian and I didn’t suggest any Christian should endorse sin. I was was talking about how we deny a certain group of people the basic courtesy of using the name they call themselves. It encourages dialogue and respect – so that they might actually listen to you when you “offer the good news that Jesus Christ saves”.

            Collin Hansen posted a video discussion above on “How to Disagree”. Watch it – you might learn something.

  7. Alecia says:

    Grace, I absolutely agree that the church has sort of made a “thing” out of condemning homosexuality to the point where it seems to be elevated about other sins. However, I don’t think that is so much necessarily because the church believes it is a worse sin as much as they feel compelled to work against the cultural lies that exist (including within the church) in regards to the lifestyle. I know that is the case for myself and many that I know.

    We as Christians have to be really careful in this area of judgment. First, I agree with you that we need to love people. But I think a lot of times the fact that God is a God of love gets overshadowed by the fact that God is also a God of justice. We need to be able to present the truth in love. And that is biblical.

    It worries me a bit when I hear people use phrases such as “who am I to judge?” or the like in reference to Matthew 7. Its a line that many people hurl at Christians in this particular debate. Its also a line that’s been drawn that seems to have created two schools of thought even within the church itself. We have to be really careful to always read scripture and interpret it within the context it was written. Matthew 7 is about judging “rightly.” The beginning verses, the ones that continually get used as a reason not to “judge” others is actually referring to “wrongful” judgment. Meaning, I’m not supposed to use my OWN standard rather than God’s to condemn someone. These scriptures are not in any way a prescription against bringing the knowledge of God’s judgment on sin to bear on people’s lives. In fact, if we truly love people that is exactly what God’s word commands us to do. (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Tim 4:2, James 5:20). Judgment can and does happen and should happen from God’s perspective. So when God’s word calls something sin, then that is what it is. That’s not being “judgmental.” That’s making a judgment based on the truth of God’s word.

    Ultimately, what my husband and I have chosen to say on this subject with people is that at its foundation, what any issue is about is our hearts. Our hearts are at the center of everything. God is after our hearts. It’s what the whole book is about. And any sin, including homosexuality, is us trying to fill our hearts with something or someone other than the Savior that was meant to fill it in the first place. What’s in our hearts, what motivates and directs our behaviors and choices, is what matters most. It is because I care so deeply about the hearts and the eternities of those around me that I will continue to judge “rightly” and stand up and be a voice specifically in this particular issue.

  8. Paul Matzko says:

    I am concerned that Mohler and Piper, although both men of God who rightly call homosexuality sin, fail to appreciate the fact that marriage has become rather more than a religious institution. In the modern United States, marriage has become a civil institution to which many civic and legal benefits are attached including tax exemptions, adoption rights, visitation rights, and inheritance. In short, marriage is both a civil and religious institution. The two are intertwined and as a result evangelicals find themselves defending civic inequality in order to defend Biblical sexuality.

    We have arrived at this awkward situation, in part, because of a widespread assumption among evangelicals that we should use the coercive power of the State to enforce a Christian moral order. The schema is simple: since __________ is sinful, Christians should lobby the state to prohibit that behavior. That’s the negative side, but the same applies to the positive: since _________ is moral, Christians should lobby the state to incentivize that behavior. Applied to the current debate, it is assumed that since homosexuality, and particularly homosexual marriage, is wrong and heterosexual marriage right that the state should prohibit the one and defend the other.

    Unfortunately, evangelicals rarely question whether or not State-enforced morality actually accomplishes anything of eternal value. Should the State ban all immoral behavior? Why is homosexuality or homosexual marriage especially deserving of prohibition? Is God honored when we use the law to prevent homosexuals from practicing as homosexuals or marrying other homosexuals? Underlying each of these questions is the unspoken assumption that good moral behavior is equivalent to righteousness. Yet, true righteousness cannot be coerced. At best, the State can only force external moral conformity, but it cannot change the heart. Our morality, indeed even our heterosexuality, is as filthy rags without Christ.

    By using the State to ban homosexual marriage and to incentivize heterosexual marriage we are substituting a pale gospel of moral order for the vivid gospel of life in Christ. Along the way, we give unnecessary offense to homosexuals by denying them civic equality.

    We should reject the intermingling of church and state in marriage. The package of civil, legal, and financial benefits that have accreted onto the institution should be renounced. Pastors should cease operating as representatives of the State (“By the power invested in me by the State of…”), leaving unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.

    1. Dave says:

      Paul I totally agree with you! The abortion debate is the along the same lines. You can not legislate holiness, you can only make certain acts illegal but God is after people’s hearts. If I vote in a Politician simply because he is pro life or choice or anti or pro gay marriage that is a pretty narrow minded opinion. Why not vote for the Politician who wants the Lords Prayer in Schools? How ridiculous it is to have people reciting a prayer that means nothing to them, do you think God is now pleased with supposed legislated morality? God may say those words mean nothing to Him because their hearts are far from Him. If people are married to their Gay partner, does it make it much more evil than when they were having sex together and not married by the state? Did national laws of morality ever work well for Israel in the Old Testament? Did it change the people? No. Church and State should be separate because the same Government you are voting in could be the same Government that will likely be the root of persecution. Most violent forms of persecution have always been state supported throughout history. God raises up government to accomplish His purposes which include persecution of Christians. We Christians should not hope for better for Governments, but should pray that God place who He wants in power.

      Christ was not born in Rome and did not make friends with Ceasar.

  9. Raj Rao says:

    Jeremiah was told by God to speak a certain message to a group of people. His call was to obey God regardless of the results.

    What happened?

    The people did not listen.

    We are called at times in our lives to be Jeremiahs. We are called to speak up and out regardless of whether people will listen. It is simply a matter of obedience to God.

    You however do not need to speak over and over again. Once or twice, clearly and effectively is enough. As for results, you leave that in God’s hands. There comes a point in life, where you have to decide to be healthy regardless of whether others will be or not. This can be very tough if the person is related to you.

    You also pray non-stop for them. Perhaps God will allow for a situation to happen in their lives such that there will be a teaching moment.

    One last thing… if folks who claim to be Christians are genuinely so and they espouse and teach false things, then they will find themselves chastised by God. This can be very painful, however God does it for their own good. If they are truly God’s own, then God will clean out from them all manner of uncleanness. God is (tough) love.

  10. R. Rao says:

    Sorry… I want to add a scripture or two w.r.t. the above.

    Re: Teaching Moments ~ The Parable of the Prodigal Son.
    ~ Was the prodigal listening when he up and left? When did he start listening? This ought to shape the way we pray.

    Re: Being healthy
    ~ Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).

  11. Grace says:

    Alex C, I am not buying into these charges. The issue with Lady Gaga and any lost soul destine for hell is the GOSPEL message. Are we doing what we suppose to do instead of carry large signs that read “you going to hell” Hmmm, what does that really read to a non save soul, NOTHING! They have heard it before. True hell is real, but the good news is what is needed. Like I said, some christian are so self-righteous that they fail to relized that we are save by grace alone. Weren’t we at one point sinners. Heck, don’t we sin too, at times? We are showing contempt for the assault on marriage and some of us are hating gays because of it. Of course Alex everyone is not going to listen to the gospel and will reject the message.If they did it to Jesus,should I be surprise that it is being done to me, no! However,I greatly rejoice in the fact that when I do share the good news(Jesus saves) that I hope my heavenly Father is please. Remember, we are the salt of the earth, created for good works.

  12. Grace says:

    Alicia, who are am I to judge? That is not what I am conveying. The world has already been judge by God, correct? Since you and I know this, you and I telling some gays that they are wrong to want same sex marriage and being a homosexual is not going to further the cause or get gays to stop wanting to be gay. My point, is simple, the issue is the heart, the issue is clearly pointing out the remedy to the wickeness of the heart as you pointed out. I don’t judge the world nor am I surprise with the what the world does. Should I take a clear stand on what I believe, absolutely! However, my love is what people should see, my love to not want to see someone in hell. It is God who draws people to himself, we do not do it. We do what we have been commanded to do; Share the gospel! I do understand what you are saying.

  13. Glenn says:

    Another on going problem is that too many Christians seem to think that the people they are talking to have the same background and as such understand what they mean when they use words like – salvation, Jesus, saved, sin etc.

    We are no longer dealing with a society that has a background knowledge of the Bible and Jesus/God/Spirit.

    We need to adopt a strategy similar to Paul in Athens and teach from the beginning of the Bible to establish the reasons for what we believe.

    Reaching many in today’s society is little different to doing missionary work amongst a tribe in some remote region of the world where they have never heard of much (if anything) of what we take for granted.

    Too many within the Christian fold have allowed the foundations of Christianity to be undermined by allowing the ‘world’ to decide what is truth and which ‘bits’ of the Bible are okay to believe.

    Rampant acceptance of homosexuality is just one of many ‘symptoms’ which, although we should stand against them, are not in themselves the root cause.

    1. R. Rao says:

      Excellent comment. Two thumbs up to Glenn!

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Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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