From the Closet to Center Stage

Moral changes within the soil of man’s thinking do not take place abruptly, but gradually and insidiously. Like leaven kneaded into bread dough, such changes eventually permeate the whole. The seeds of gospel truth sown by the apostle Paul changed the pagan mind-set of the old world. The seed thought of, “justification by faith alone,” sown by Martin Luther, produced the reformation. Early in the 20th century Lenin sowed the seeds of economic socialism which produced a Communist state.

The seeds of the sexual revolution, sown into the thinking of American society for over 40 years, have produced a massive cultural shift in our nation’s moral thinking. That which was once hidden in the closet had made it all the way to center stage. The shift in moral thinking has given expression to the most radical views regarding human sexuality that can be imagined. The growing ascendancy of a morally neutral attitude toward the immoral behaviors of homosexuality and lesbianism indicate that the seeds of the sexual revolution have grown into a tree. A biblical response to the issue of homosexuality is much needed.

There can be no denying that the last 30 years of American history has seen a rapid change in attitude toward standards of moral and sexual decency; particularly as it relates to homosexuality. In an article in the Los Angeles Times of June 18, 2000, Allisa J. Rubin revealed these statistics: “In 1983, 30 percent of Americans said that they knew someone who was a homosexual. By 2000, that figure had skyrocketed to 73 percent. In 1985, only 40 percent of those polled said that they were comfortable around individuals who practice homosexual behavior. By 2000, that number had risen to 60 percent. Also, in 1985, 90 percent of Americans said that they would be upset if their son or daughter announced that they were homosexual. By 2000, that figure stood at just 37 percent.” These statistics demonstrate the societal shift in thinking.

Sexual revolutionaries
In The Homosexual Agenda, by Alan Sears and Craig Osten, a book devoted to exposing the aggressive agenda of homosexual propaganda, Robert Mohler makes a particularly poignant statement in his recommendation of the book:

“The sexual revolution of the last half century amounts to the most sweeping and significant reordering of human relationships in all of human history. This did not come to pass by accident. Indeed, it was driven by social and sexual revolutionaries who intend to ‘liberate’ humanity for the polymorphous perversity described by Freud and celebrated by the cultural elite. The legalization and celebration of homosexuality stands at the center of this sexual revolution . . . a movement that will settle for nothing less than total victory for its cause.”

A biblical response to this major shift in cultural thinking and the new attitude toward homosexuality is summarized in II Peter 2:6-10 and Jude 7. These passages are a composite of the main Scriptural issues related to homosexuality. God chose to encapsulate in these two passages His primary concerns about homosexuality. In this sense, they are a microcosm that gives us a small portrait of the larger biblical presentation of God’s attitude toward homosexuality. What is apparent from a reading of these passages is that God has set an historical precedent of how, in His holiness, He is compelled to deal with a society digressing into moral and sexual deviancy.

“And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness . . .” (II Peter 1:6-10a)

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about hem in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh . . .” (Jude 7, 8a)

In sharp contrast to this biblical Christian perspective, listen to the observation of one of our Supreme Court justices as quoted in the Baptist Bible Tribune for October 2003:

“. . . a dismayed Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the court was siding with gay men in a ‘cultural war.’ He accused the majority of flouting public opinion and opening the door to legal gay marriages. But the court’s 6-3 vote to invalidate state anti-sodomy laws reflected a nation where polls indicate that most people now believe that homosexual relations between consenting adults should be allowed.”

Sadly, we must admit that such abominable forms of sinful behavior, once kept in the closet, have now made it to center stage. The landscape of moral America is far different than 30 or 40 years ago when the initial seeds of the sexual revolution were being scattered on the fields of American thought. This scattering came from the halls of higher education and the incessant message of Hollywood piped into our homes through television. This message of immorality has taken firm root in the ground of America’s thinking. Unless this trend is met by a fearless, informed, and yet loving, effort to dismantle such ideas by the clear proclamation of God’s Word, the result will be the continued multiplication of the most vile forms of sexual indiscretion. From these pages then, consider a few points that will help us difine God’s view of homosexuality, how this sin affects others, and how God has historically intervened in past societies given over to this sin.

The Perversity of this Deviancy
God’s Word labels homosexuality with a catalogue of terms meant to unveil the true nature of such sin. Jude 7 refers to homosexuals as people, “giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh . .” and as, “filthy dreamers,” that “defile the flesh.” II Peter 2 describes those engaged in homosexuality as, “chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness . . . ungodly . . . the filthy conversation of the wicked . . . unlawful deeds.” Old Testament passages give similar descriptions. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination” (Leviticus 20:13). Among the numerous acts of sin committed by Judah during the reign of Rehoboam the Bible tells us, “And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out” (I Kings 14:24).

I Timothy 1:9, 10 and I Corinthians 6:9, 10 describe homosexual behavior as “them that defile themselves with mankind,” and, “abusers of themselves with mankind.” Both of these expressions stem from the same Greek term. All of this is corroborated by the language of Romans 1:24-27. This passage defines sin as those who “dishonor their own bodies between themselves.” It terms their conduct, “vile affections.” It states that, “their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” And it declares that men, “leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.”

In spite of such forthright moral descriptions, the homosexual community is bent on infecting our society with the new seeds of sexual liberation. Sears and Osten point out that in 2003, at the 10th Annual American University Conference on Lavender Languages and Linguistics, coordinator Bill Leap said, “that TV shows such as Will and Grace are used by homosexuals to teach them the basics of communication in ‘gayspeak.’” Lionel Tiger, Darwin professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University, added to this by saying: “It’s just a courting language . . . like any courtship language for a particular group of people interested in mating with each other.” Our pluralistic tolerance of sick froms of sin has finally found expression in a dialect suited to the special vernacular of homosexuals. This is a virtual homo-bonics for those whose language needs to be transmitted by stealth and hidden from the plain light of everyday communication. It seems that even the language once whispered in the closet is now being screamed from center stage.

The Impact of Deviancy
One of the arguments of the homosexual community for having no moral, civil, and legal restraints imposed on them is that their behavior is solely personal, affecting nobody but themselves. In spite of this attitude, II Peter 2 indicates a grave impact on other people. The Lord indicates the oppressive influence that homosexuality has on a society by stating that Lot, “was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds).” Not only is the sin “unlawful,” indicating the need for civil people to be governed by laws defining morality; but also the behavior is described as vexing to others who regard such conduct as immoral.

An example of the ill effect homosexuality has on society can be seen by the effect it has on the homosexuals themselves. Dr. Jeffery Satinover, in an article quoted in Pulpit Helps, for August 2004 concluded: “Homosexuality represents a deviation from normal development and is associated with other such deviations that may lead to mental illness . . .[or, another possibility] . . . that increased psychopathology among homosexual people is a consequence of lifestyle differences associated with sexual disorientation.” Alfred Poirier, another contributor to the Sears and Osten book, commented that the homosexual agenda is copiously documented to be a movement that, “can only be described as a manifesto for sexual terrorism against marriage, family, and the church.”

God’s Judgment on Deviancy
God reveals His intention to deal with homosexuality by delivering to condemnation those engaged in such sins. The statement of II Peter 2:6 is as strong a warning as could possible be given: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” Not only did God reduce to ashes past societies given over to such practices; but He indicated that His purpose was to set such people before later generations as clear specimens of certain and inevitable judgment.

Our Reaction
In the light of God’s abhorrence of homosexuality, and His promise to judge those who participate in it, how should Christians respond to these deviant but needy people? First, we must refuse to be conformed to the morally decadent society around us. Second, we must hold firm to the Bible’s clear teaching on the subject, despite the calls for tolerance that echo in our ears. Third, we must avoid the cruel deriding of those sadly ensnared and dominated by this sin. While any truly loving response to this moral issue compels the Christian to warn people in keeping with God’s revelation, it does not suggest that we should engage in hateful and vitriolic speech. Fourth, our constant hope should be that, through preaching the offer of forgiveness and cleansing of sin through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, many of our generation who must be described as fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, or abusers of themselves with mankind, may yet be numbered among those who “are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:9, 10).

February 2005

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The OBF Visitor is the official publication of the Ohio Bible Fellowship. Feature articles from past issues of the Visitor are made available here for your use. You may read, distribute, and use this material as long as you do so in its entirety and without modification. All articles © The Ohio Bible Fellowship.

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