Around the world, homosexuals and lesbians continue to struggle for mainstream acceptance and legitimacy. They very much want to be an integral part of the larger society. In the past few decades, gays have made political gains far out of proportion to their numbers. Gays and lesbians have been elected to high office, both in Washington and at the state level. The United States now has a gay ambassador in Europe. They are highly placed and visible in virtually every profession, in the arts, and throughout the Press and media. Psychiatrists and psychologists have given homosexuality a pass and it is viewed as politically incorrect to speak critically of anything related to “gayness.” In fact, in our prevailing liberal culture, it is viewed as evil to bash gays, but not to be gay. This is a complete flip-flop of the values of a few years ago. Every week, the Los Angeles Times and other major newspapers seem to run a flurry of articles trumpeting the homosexual cause and downing those who oppose it.
Those of us who insist that homosexual behavior is both perverse and immoral are viewed as “homophobes,” “hate mongers,” and “bigots.” What is less often discussed is our grounds for taking this view – the Bible itself. Ultimately, it is not Christians who are under attack from the moral Left, it is the Bible.
There can be no question that Scripture in both Testaments contains verses that condemn homosexual behavior as being abhorrent to God. Theologically, it is easy to understand that such behavior defeats the kind of sexual relationship God intended the human race to enjoy – for purposes much higher than sex itself.
Christians – especially Protestants who live by the principle of Sola Scriptura – the Bible alone – cannot escape what Scripture says about homosexuality. The Bible is not only their moral authority but it provides them with their worldview, and the fundamental tenets of their faith. To say that the Bible has no moral authority when it speaks out against homosexual behavior is to say that it has no authority to speak about anything. In other words, it is to destroy the whole basis for being a Christian at all.
Those who have sought to retain the Bible as a basis for faith, yet ignore its statements about sexual morality, have ended up interpreting the offending passages so their obvious meaning comes out differently. This exegesis is typically eisogesis – reading into passages meaning that simply isn’t there. For example, when God says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable,” and then he follows it up with “Do not defile yourselves with any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before became defiled…for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before, and the land became defiled” (Leviticus 18:22,24,27), how can we interpret any other way than that God detests homosexual behavior? He detests it as much in gentile Canaanites as he does in Israelites.
Being gay is anything but easy, even in our liberal society. Most gays believe that they were born that way, and that there is nothing they can do to overcome it or change it. Consequently, they feel that they must find acceptance in a society that has until recently rejected homosexuality as perverse and immoral. Ultimately, this has to mean attacking the very underpinnings of the Christian faith itself – the Bible.
William Murchison, a nationally syndicated columnist, in his book Reclaiming Morality in America, explains that the Bible is the Owner’s Manual for God’s human creation. Moral law begins with the fact that God is the Creator: “Yet precisely here begins the moral law – mankind as the creation of God, subject to the Creator’s commands. These arise instantly. Hardly has the new man located a limpid stream in which to admire himself before the Creator lays obligations upon him: ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…’ It turns out that there are negative as well as affirmative duties: ‘Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.’”
God did not create Mankind in an act of whimsy. He had a purpose in so doing. For Murchison, this helps explain why God issues moral imperatives: “Why was the created being to obey his Creator? Because obedience would align him with the purposes his Creator had in mind for him – such purposes as multiplication and replenishment of the population.” (ibid. p. 15).
Of course if a person doesn’t acknowledge that God exists, that the Bible is a revelation of his will for Mankind, and that there is a purpose being worked out in human life, then there’s no starting point for discussing Biblical morality. To deny God’s moral will is to deny the Bible, and ultimately God himself. No Christian can do that and remain a Christian.
Once a person has kicked off the traces of Biblical morality, then there is no fixed standard for determining what’s right and what’s wrong. We are left with moral relativism – that that clearly doesn’t work, as we can see from the moral state of modern society. The end result of such thinking is moral anarchy – and we are coming close to achieving that now.
For the homosexual, this represents an insoluble problem. To acknowledge the moral authority of the Bible means to give up homosexual behavior (no matter how one feels about it inside). To commit to the gay lifestyle is to deny the moral authority of Scripture. There are no compromises, except to grossly misinterpret Scripture so as to accommodate homosexuality.
For the Christian, who may wish to leave behind the hassle of standing for a moral position that is socially unpopular it is also an insoluble problem. To state, stand for, and insist upon, Biblical moral standards anywhere, including within one’s own family is to enter into a sustained and stressful conflict in which all of the forces of popular culture are arrayed against one.
As I have been saying lately, the price of being a Christian is getting higher.