Staying up to date with the news can sometimes be discouraging for Christians. Personally, I find myself grimacing every time I electronically flip through the newsfeed in the mornings, preparing for what I’m going to be baffled at next. It’s challenging to read about parents abusing their own toddlers, murderers, gang violence, wars, conflicts, corrupt politicians, and the thousands of other issues in the world today. It’s in these times that it’s important to trust God above what we, as fallen humans, believe what he should be doing. As a Christian, a verse that continually reminds and encourages me amidst the confusion of our day is John 16:33.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
It’s becoming more and more abundantly clear that true believers in Christ who stand fast upon God’s holy, unchanging word and character, will soon be facing far more of these persecutions and tribulations that the Bible talks about, especially in the United States. One of the hottest topics of the day facing believers everywhere is the LGBT movement (or, more specifically, the LGBTTQQIAAP movement, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, and pansexual). Throughout the past few years, the number of participants and support for the gay movement has exploded. Recently, my father had the opportunity to preach the gospel to marchers at the 2018 Gay Pride Parade in Indianapolis, where thousands of people, organizations, and churches all gathered for over two hours to express their support for the movement in an event filled with debauchery and sin. Also in recent news is the story of Russel Berger, the CrossFit lead Knowledge Officer, being fired over his comments about the LGBT movement. Speaking of a local gym declining to host an LGBT workout for “Pride Month,” Russel Berger stated the following via Twitter.
“As someone who personally believes that “pride” is a sin, I’d like to personally encourage Crossfitinfiltrate for standing by their convictions and refusing to host an @indypride workout. The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-boggling.”
Shortly thereafter, Berger’s employment was terminated with CrossFit and the following statement was stated by CrossFit’s CEO in an interview with Buzzfeed (warning:quote contains graphic language)
“He needs to take a big dose of ‘shut the f* up’ and hide out for awhile. It’s sad. We do so much good work with such pure hearts — to have some zealot in his off-time do something this stupid, we’re all upset. The whole company is upset. This changes his standing with us. What that looks like, I don’t know. It’s so unfortunate.”
This is just one of the several recent cases of Christians facing persecution for standing firm on their Scriptural convictions. It is blatantly evident how much the culture has shifted in just several years to where your job can be terminated for simply stating your beliefs. This brings me to my next point, what should we, as Christians holding fast to Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) be doing in this situation? And also, what is much of the Christian church doing about it now? As to the latter, the answer to this question is somewhat depressing. Much of the church has gone completely silent on the homosexuality issue, and worse than that, thousands of so-called Conservative churches have expressed their total support for the LGBT movement. Take for example, the Conference being held in St. Louis, Missouri, called Revoice 2018. This conference is gaining massive traction and the very first thing on their website, as to their conference’s mission, is this.
“Supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality” (http://revoice.us)
The conference also features breakout sections, some of which are titled as follows:
JOURNEY TO EMBRACE: A CONVERSATION ON EMPOWERING THE CHURCH TO EMBRACE THE LGBT+ COMMUNITY IN FRESH WAYS
REDEEMING QUEER CULTURE: AN ADVENTURE
BUILDING JUSTICE BRIDGES: HOW A MISSIOLOGICAL APPROACH SHIFTS OUR POSTURE AND REACHES LGBT PEOPLE (http://revoice.us)
Amidst this massive culture shift, the pressure is higher than ever before to conform to the world by simply “accepting” people’s differences. When you stand on Scripture which states that homosexuality is a sin, are labeled a bigot or a “zealot.” We’ve reached the point where you can even lose your source of income, as stated earlier. Amidst these challenges, the church is called to be a light in a world of darkness. We know that homosexuality is a sin. We can clearly this in passages such as Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6 which state:
“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.” – Romans 1:26-27
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: 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.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
The only ways that it is possible to claim that homosexuality is not a sin would be to:
1) Rip several pages of Scripture out of your Bible
2) Heretically, claim that God’s law and character changes over time
3) Terribly eisegete (impose your own preferences onto the text of Scripture) many passages blatantly clear in Scripture
Though homosexuality is a sin, it is possible to have homosexual desires and still be a genuine Christian. Many would erroneously posit that it is impossible for someone to be a Christian and have homosexual thoughts because God created us man and woman, sexual beings designed for the opposite sex. However, we are fallen beings in a fallen world. Thus it is possible for someone to be a Christian and have sinful desires for the similar sex. Nevertheless, if it is possible for people to struggle with homosexuality, as I strongly believe it is, that fact alone doesn’t justify the celebration of our sinfulness. Simply because you struggle with your sexuality, by no means corresponds to you having the right to openly celebrate your sin. Take the so-called “ Pride Month,” or even the Revoice 2018 conference, where countless numbers of practicing homosexuals will be given the illusion of salvation when in fact, there is none for unrepentant sinners. Often we hear the phrase, “I’m a gay Christian.” How ridiculous! When is the last time you have someone has approached you and introduced themselves as a “adulterous Christian,” or a “ murdering Christian?” You would think them preposterous. It is ludicrous to celebrate, or even identify ourselves with the very things that word of God says we should be growing to hate. There are things that Scripture states clearly are sins, and just because you have thoughts of lust, anger, greed, selfishness, or pride, by no means justifies celebrating or adapting yourself to those sins. Are there people that struggle with homosexuality? Absolutely. Does the simple fact of their being within us justify us rejoicing in them? Paul puts it very simply in his letter to the Colossians.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. – Colossians 1:21-23 (italics mine).
What we can gather from this beautiful passage of Scripture is that we all once were slaves to sin. We all were once held captive by sin with no hope of salvation apart from the mighty work of the Holy Spirit. However, now that God has transformed us through the work of his son and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are now being sanctified daily to be made more into the image of his son Jesus. The verb tense of the word were in the above passage is extremely vital to note. It does not say that we still are alienated and hostile to God, but that we were alienated and hostile to God. The mark of a true Christian is to be growing in sanctification and to be continually bearing fruit by putting our sin and flesh to death as the Word of God says many different times. Finally, I am not saying that people do not struggle with homosexual thoughts and behavior. However, what I am saying is that the open celebration of sin at events like the Gay Pride Parade, Pride Month, and the Revoice 2018 Conference are undoubtedly evil. The evidence of true belief is sanctification, and a true “Gay Christian,” would daily wake up and kill his or her flesh by taking it to God, not by idolizing it and putting that very sin on a platform. This is where we as a church need to stand firm. Not a single person is beyond saving through the finished work of Jesus Christ, and faith does not come apart from hearing the Gospel. Yes we need to be loving these people, but true love does not look like letting people continue on in their sin which leads them to hell. True love looks like bringing the Gospel into the conversation,telling them that they are in sin, and, apart from Christ, headed for an eternity apart from their Creator. No Christian is perfect, and none besides Christ himself ever will be. We all struggle with our own sins, be it pride, lust, jealousy, deceit or whatever. However, by seeing ourselves growing to hate our sin, not relishing in it, we can know that we are truly saved. So I encourage you to stand fast during these hard times where you may be labeled as a bigot: lose your job, or even your life eventually, solely by looking to Christ, our ultimate and true example. Show love, not by conforming to the things of this world, but by being bold and showing the world what a true Christian looks like. Not on our own power, but by his alone.