I have avoided this blog for about a week, but just could not any longer. In the July 13 Northwest Arkansas Times (included in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette), there was an article on an upcoming proposal in the state to ban the adoption and foster-parenting of children by gay parents. After the state successfully passed a marriage amendment statement that legal marriage is only between one man and one woman, the political / social battle lines have been drawn with children.
In this article, the Rev. Lowell Grisham was quoted:
The Rev. Lowell Grisham, pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, said he’ll campaign against it. He compared the proposal to the old state bans on interracial marriage.
“In 20 years, they will be as embarrassed as the churches that wouldn’t allow blacks to worship with them and churches that opposed interracial marriage and quoted the Bible to support it,” Grisham said of the measure’s supporters.
It’s a tragedy to focus on this issue when children need health care, dental care and access to as many responsible adults possible, he said.
“This is about as stupid a political priority as any Christian group could identify,” he said. “They should find something better to do with their time.”
First of all, there absolutely has been racism in the history of our church (perhaps even especially baptist churches). There is ZERO biblical basis for racism within or without the church. In fact, even with what was perceived as a cultural “no-no” I have no problem with interracial marriage (I’ve even performed a wedding ceremony for just such a union).
That said, the basis for Grisham’s argument is simply that homosexuals are being treated as a racial group. The problem with that is that scripture, while being clear on the race issue, is also clear on the issue of homosexuality…it is simply sin. According to Romans 1, the sin of homosexualtiy is a result of disbelief in God as creator and Christ His only provided savior. In our sinfulness, we will express our sin in various ways that please our flesh the most. Homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle choice, not racial.
Oh I know, there are some that would say that we are born white, black, brown, etc… and there are some born homosexual. Well, I believe firmly that our world and flesh are much more fallen than we can imagine and it is possible that there is an innate sense to express sinfulness in a particular way. While I would never go so far as to say that you can be born a homosexual, I would say that you could be born (in total depravity as the rest of mankind) with a tendency toward the same sex. Now, before I get letters from the Christian community, how do you men explain that you have the natural fleshly desire to have sex with women not your wives? I know that sounds harsh, but this subject does not allow us to be “pretty” in our language. The truth is we are people filled with evil desires because WE ARE EVIL from birth…
Ephesians 2:1-3, “1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
My point in saying this is that although I have a natural inclination toward the opposite sex, I have to make a God-glorifying monogamous choice…I love my wife, Jan, above all others and seek to delight in her above all others! In fact, it is in the verses that follow the above verse that enable me to make that choice daily…
Ephesians 2:4-10, “4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
All that said, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. We must remember that all sin leads to death (Rom.6:23). If we think that we, as conservative western evangelicals, are better “sinners” because we are not homosexuals we are mistaken, because we have lessened the worth of the cross by thinking some sins are worse than others. If Christ does not save us from all our sin, then we are saved from none of our sin (“us” meaning those who believe and repent, following Christ). The homosexual community (and those who support them) must realize that they are sinners and look to the only Savior available who is sufficient to save, Jesus Christ. Those who are truly saved are not required by scripture to change the tone of their melanin, but they are required to bear the fruit of salvation through repentence and faith, a new creation living a new life. I will even go this far, if someone claims to be a Christian and continues in homosexual living without any change, their conversion I would see as false. I know that sounds judgmental, but I would say the same thing for a heterosexual fornicator or adulterer.
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
A new nature bears new fruit. In John 3:6 Christ said, “that which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit.” The point being, we are different. Our difference IS NOT in mere social concern, although honorable from an earthly standpoint. Our difference is glorifying a holy God by being increasingly holy. This is not perfectionism, it is simply enough conversion that genuine converts us!
What I believe Grisham misses is the gospel. Ephesians 5 makes plain, in Paul quoting Genesis 2, that the design of marriage has always been to point to the relationship of Christ and his church (and this is between a bride and Bride-groom). When we mess with the sanctity of marriage we are messing with the gospel. Only those who step outside of scripture could say that scripture associates homosexuality with racism. Let me be very clear here, ANYONE IS WELCOME TO COME TO A WORSHIP SERVICE AT UNIVERSITY BAPTIST CHURCH. I believe the gospel is to be preached to all, but that gospel will not cater to any nation, race or lifestyle. It is what it is.
Only Jesus Christ can deliver us from sin. It required of him no more blood to cover homosexuality than a white lie, but we must remember that the little “white” lie deserves death and hell. So, let’s love and treasure the gospel enough to protect its simplicity and its images (like marriage). But we must remember, too, that if we treasure the gospel enough we will take it to every tribe, tongue, nation and sinner (as once were we).
In keeping with the subject of the article that led to this blog, we will continue to perpetuate a perverted view of the gospel if we sit idly by and watch the oldest living image of the gospel (marriage between a man and woman) turned into nothing than a licensed living arrangement that provides for better health benefits, tax breaks and communal status. This view will continue if we allow gay couples to adopt or give foster care to children. I would say this, “Church, if you are convicted that you stopped having children too soon, adopt one.” Let us in the church not just say what’s wrong, let’s be part of the solution. Let us enjoy our marriages, have and adopt more children so that we can help this world see the image of Christ and His church on display in our homes…for His Glory!