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May 13, 2009 – The Growing Approval of Homosexuality

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Maine is the most recent state to legalize homosexual marriage, closely following Iowa, making a total of five states in which it is either legal now, or soon will be, for people of the same gender to marry one another. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that no other states will join them. Before the end of the year, that number will have doubled. What ought our response to this increasing approval of homosexuality be? How should Christians respond to this growing phenomenon?

As Christians, we must take an unyielding stance on the status of homosexuality as a sin. We cannot compromise that status any more than we can compromise the status of deceit, rage, gossip or any other sin. Homosexuality is as wicked as these, though no more so. The sinfulness of homosexuality endures regardless of the current winner in the nature/nurture debate. The question of whether homosexuals are “born” or “made” is entirely irrelevant to the issue. Certainly there are homosexuals who can fit into either category, and to insist to a gay man that he chose to be gay despite his protestations to the contrary is not only absurd in the extreme but the absolute pinnacle of self-righteousness. In the end, it makes absolutely no difference whether or not a person is born with inherent inclinations towards the same sex: who of us is not born with inherent inclinations to sin? Homosexuality is no different. It is a sin, as ingrained in some as lust, deceit and hate are in others, and its cure is the same as theirs. But more on that in a moment.

We must first address the question: If homosexuality is simply one more sin in a long litany of personal and societal sins, then why is there typically such a passionate reaction against the homosexual movement on the part of evangelicals? The answer to this question lies in the fact that historically, an open acceptance of homosexuality (and for that matter of every other form of sexual deviance as well) tends to be a precursor of the end of the society that tolerates it. This trend has been observed in many of the major civilized empires throughout history: Persia, Greece, Rome. So following the same pattern, the increased acceptance of homosexuality which we are observing in America right now would tend to spell out the closing of the American chapter of world history. And since those of us who toe the evangelical line tend also to be of patriotic spirit, this is understandably a cause for concern. But herein lies the misconception: as we study the above mentioned pattern, we tend to see a direct causal relationship. We observe that an increased acceptance of homosexuality shortly precedes a nation’s fall and assume that the fall of that nation was due to the increased acceptance of homosexuality. This is the causal fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc. The fact that A precedes B in no way indicates that A causes B, though it may be true that when A precedes B on a consistent basis, one may conclude that there is a correlation between the two. And such is the case here. Popular acceptance of homosexuality does not cause civilizations to die, it is merely a signal that a civilization is about to die. Acceptance of homosexuality is a symptom of a diseased and dying society just as emaciation is a symptom of a cancer-ridden and dying human being. The emaciation is not the cause of death, but merely a precursor to it. Acceptance of homosexuality is the same. It is only a symptom of the disease, not the disease itself; it is only a warning-sign on the road to destruction, not the road itself.

So what is the disease that will cause the death of our civilization? What is the road that will lead us to destruction? It is the same sin that led to the fall of every empire throughout history: the rejection of God. When a society rejects God, she signs her own death warrant. The end may not come quickly but it will surely come. God may allow America to limp along for a while longer in order to fulfill his own sovereign purposes, but if she continues to reject him, he will lay her low with all of her predecessors. There might be some who angrily protest: in what way did we reject God? The answer lies not in the removal of prayer from public schools or in the attempted deletion of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Those are also only symptoms of the disease. The real way in which our society has rejected God is in the rejection of his perfect representative: Jesus Christ. Scripture makes it clear that a rejection of the Son is a rejection of the Father (John 5:23; 14:9-11; 15:23) and our society has rejected the Son. He is rejected when he is called one of many ways to heaven. He is rejected when he is called a good moral teacher but not the Son of God. He is rejected when his miracles and his resurrection are reduced to mere representations of spiritual principles. Jesus Christ is rejected at every level of our society, every day. This is the sin which is leading to the destruction of our nation. An increased acceptance of homosexuality is merely one sign of that impending judgment.

So now we return to the question we originally asked: how ought we to respond to the homosexual movement, especially given this understanding of our national trajectory? First, we must stop thinking of homosexuals as the enemy. Rather, they are victims of this godless society, just like us. They, like every other person, need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to know of his death, his substitution of himself for them to pay the penalty for their sins. They need to know about his coming kingdom. Our priorities must shift from saving our country or saving marriage from homosexuals to saving homosexuals from sin! We must stop thinking like conservatives and start thinking like Christians! How much time and money has been wasted on fruitless attempts to safeguard our culture from the homosexual movement? Legislation will not help us! Constitutional amendments will not help us! A favorable Supreme Court will not help us! Only the power of the Holy Spirit, introduced into individual lives through faith in Jesus Christ can avail against sin.

We as evangelicals then must redirect our attack on the homosexual movement. It is a waste of time, of resources and (a greater travesty) of passion. We must turn our efforts to loving those who are caught in this deadly community and attempt to sympathize with their position. We must meet their physical needs. We must articulate our desire to discover a cure for the diseases that rack their bodies. The homosexual movement will not stop until the hearts of individual homosexuals are changed. Only Christ can do this, and all we can do to help that process is to proclaim his Gospel with love.

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