I just finished listening to another debate between one who advocates for a biblical or orthodox view of relationships and one who advocates LBGT as also being just another God given orientation which you can listen to here. http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Does-Scripture-forbid-same-sex-relationships-Robert-Gagnon-vs-Jayne-Ozanne#
I have to admit I am no expert on relationships. Most of my knowledge of relationships is only by way of observation having very little personal experience of my own. I have been single most of my adult life. I have no real experience of what an intimate committed relationship is like because I have never been married. It is only in the past few years that I have had any kind of romantic adult relationship although they were short lived. For the most part the complexities of romance and relationships on that level escape me, most of what I know is theoretical.
That being said I do think it is part of God’s design that a man and a woman should not be alone, that God designed us with an innate desire to find a mate and settle down with His blessing. Of course that doesn’t happen for all of us and for some reason only known to God that desire isn’t fulfilled for every man or woman. At least if we look at the biblical narrative from its beginning to end there is an overwhelming emphasis on relationships both between God and humanity and then men and women with each other. I don’t see anywhere in scripture where this includes same sex relationships.
As I listened to the radio podcast above two things became very clear to me.God has a very clear mandate as to what the bible says about human relationships and on the other hand what people seem to think relationships are about whether that means a committed sexual relationship between a man and a woman or for the LBGT communities belief on the subject.
Robert Gagnon represented the argument that God and the bible does not support same sex relationships while Jayne Ozanne argued that God and the bible does include and even endorse them. Robert Gagnon presented a very clear rational argument against and Jayne Ozanne presented a fairly emotive argument bereft of any real scriptural evidence.
In fact Ozanne’s argument besides the lack of material in the very same emotive argument I referred to in my previous two blogs. Ozanne spent much of her time arguing from her experience and how she felt God had led her to her present position in life. She then passionately stated how her ministry had opened up doors to the LBGT community to find acceptance within her church community and that through the Holy Spirit’s leading she has come to terms with her sexuality and God’s love for her.
To Ozanne’s mind the message of Jesus confirmed her lifestyle and that the story of love as she saw it presented in the bible was that so long as two people love and commit to each other, God doesn’t discriminate regarding sexual orientation; so long as it is between two consenting adults.
So what is the problem with Ozanne’s argument? Others could probably express this much better than I can however Ozanne is trying to define love based on orientation not design. Secondly we are not defined by our sexual orientation. Orientation may be something we do, but it is not who we are, it is simply one facet albeit a preference. Clearly I do not accept the argument that orientation is by design. Others argue that sexual orientation may be determined very early on in life and this may be true but that doesn’t make it right or God honoring.
One thing that is absent in nearly all the dialogue I have listened to in the argument for same sex orientation is the concept of sin or the sin nature. Robert Gagnon didn’t refer to this explicitly but he did reference Romans 1:26-27 that says: Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, Rom 1:27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
The point here being that this kind of passion was unnatural, it was sinful and that it is against God’s design. Further to this if anyone tries to argue that in Paul’s day they had no concept of same sex relationships or what homosexuality was, they are simply ignorant of the facts. One only has to look at Grecian history to see how prevalent it became. Both Roman and Jewish societies were well aware of this practice.
Ozanne’s final barb was her reference to the plight of young LBGT people. As sad as suicide is and as sad it it may seem that these young people are marginalized by society and their families that does not make the practice acceptable or right in God’s eyes. To use their plight as a way of holding the church to blackmail in saying that we are partly to blame and that if we would only accept them for who they are, would somehow stop the high rate of suicide does not mean we should accept what they do. In fact what they are really asking for is indiscriminate acceptance. They are not only asking us to ignore what they are doing they are also asking God to do the same.
Their version of love is not the selfless love of Christ who died on the cross for sinners. They think Jesus only meant by His life and actions that God loves and accepts all people as they are without requiring any change of heart or actions. There is no mention of repenting from sin, turning away from self to selflessness and practicing holiness. Their version of God’s love is noncritical, nonjudgmental non-changing and all embracing. The love they are wanting dictates that they don’t have to do anything. In other words it is empty and requires no sacrifice, but it requires all true believers to simply ignore what they do and accept them unequivocally. This is because they believe God already has and will.
It amounts to self justification nothing more. Their whole take on God is through self reference and by personal feelings and experience. It isn’t based in what the bible tells us about who we are. When we look at what the bible says about us objectively it is very discriminating if not prejudicial. The bible tells us that unless we repent of our sins we are under judgement,This judgement is judicial, it tells us why we are under judgement but it also tells us how to escape that judgement. Many believe that repentance simply means a change of mind….. No! repentance means to turn away from; in this case it means turning away from sin and go towards the cross of Christ to seek forgiveness and justification through what Christ has done on our behalf to turn aside the wrath of the Father for our rebellion.
Accepting who we are means admitting I am unworthy that nothing I do will make me right before God. It means that I have no goodness of my own that can redeem me in God’s eyes. True love is receiving the very thing we don’t deserve which is the amazing forgiveness that God offers through His Son Jesus Christ this is what grace is; it is not something we can earn it is something we receive.
Once we truly receive God’s grace God then begins to change us and mold us into His image. We will become aware of things in our lives that are not honoring to God. We will become uncomfortable and even horrified by some thing we have done or are still doing, God will chip away at our conscience refining it, while at other times it will hit us hard and we will feel like we just got hit with a baseball bat. This is called sanctification, this is God’s refining process. We will battle with our sin all our lives some of it we will grow to hate and despise while other parts of it we will struggle to let go that battle wont end in this lifetime.
For Jayne Ozanne and for many other in the LBGT movement you hear nothing of coming to terms with their orientation as sin that needs to be repented of. All I heard her say was how she learned to embrace her orientation and how she believed that it was God that brought her to this place. How blind can one be not to see that all God has done is brought her and many like her to the place where He has given them over to their lust? Ozanne spent about 10 minutes trying to refute Gagnon’s reference to Romans 1:26-27 when ironically she is blinded to the fact that it refers to her in this context. Ozanne argued for embracing sin, not doing battle with it and submitting it to the cross.
One may struggle with sexual orientation for the rest of their life however for those who recognize it as sin and seek forgiveness from God, these are the very ones who have seen who they really are. These will not try to insist we just welcome them without change, they will seek ways to battle it out and ask for assistance and prayer in their struggle.
Love is not merely acceptance, although that is part of it. Love is telling the truth and saying I don’t hate you, but what you’re doing simply isn’t right. It means in this context saying I cannot accept you as a brother or sister in Christ if you openly endorse homosexuality and refuse to change. In terms of what the bible says to be a true follower of Christ you have repent of this sin. We conform to what God wants not hold everyone including God to ransom and insist we include you.
Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Rom 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.