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!
7 thoughts on “Is Being Opposed to Gay Marriage the Same as Racism?”
The scriptures are clear that homsexuality is a sin and those practicing it are sinners in need of a savior. Scripture is also clear that confession and repentance means a turning away from the practice of a sinful lifestyle.
I’m thankful our pastor has chosen to take a stand against those who distort the gospel for their own ends (principally ego satisfaction), wolves in sheep’s collars.
Expect persecution. Embrace perscution for the sake of Jesus who loved all but never condoned sin, no matter how socially acceptable it tried to become.
UBC is standing for righteousness once again.
Thanks for this, Pastor Mike. Comparing the civil rights movements of the 60s to the current campaigns of pro-homosexual groups is so wrong. I agree with you that people can be born with a tendency toward homosexuality (because of our fundamentally fallen nature, fallen from birth), but race and sexuality are two different things. An African American, Mexican American, Chinese, or whomever else can’t choose to be a different ethnicity. As you said, we can always choose when it comes to sexuality.
(I’m the daughter of UBC missionaries, Kumar & Dileeni Abraham. I met you in February.)
Well said, Mike! You really crystallized a lot of thoughts and concerns I’ve had about the church’s response to the whole “Gay Marraige” issue. Thanks again for speaking the truth in love… no matter how difficult or unpopular it may be.
Once again a great job on succinctly covering a difficult issue, but doing so with complete scriptural support, and still doing so with grace. Even if one were to accept that people are “born” homosexual, to act on those desires is still a choice. I would argue that we are all born (as you so stated) with a sinful nature. Some may be born with a proclivity to stealing, or others to addictions, or others to gossiping. In each case despite what our “natural” tendencies may be, we all make the choice to either give in to those desires or to reject them and embrace Christ as our all sufficiency. Our society today just doesn’t like to admit that sin is sin, and that we all are sinners needing a savior, and that savior is the one and only Jesus Christ.
I’ve always been a little concern with Rev. Grisham’s view. He seems to be a little confused himself. In this article he has expressed concerns with regards to denying children a place to live without nourturing or medical care. About 6 months ago, he led a “celebration” event in the downtown Fayetteville . This was a celebration of the women’s right to chose abortion. Excuse me, but doesn’t killing a baby also deny the child a right to a place to live? I question whether a man that leads a christian church and yet doesn’t understand such basic commands such as “thou shalt not kill.” I question a so called christian leader that places his own liberal beleifs above Gods.
You make a good scriptual arguement. But, where in the scripture does it address people who are born with both sex organs. There are indeed people who are born both (or neither) male and female. God creates us in his image, correct? People who are born with both sex organs are then put in position that is not easily definible. How can a person such as this be difined as gay or straight? Who, biblically, are they allowed to marry? Are they to remain celebent? Should they be denied parental rights? When people assume God’s law they are literally playing with fire. Lots of injustices has been done in the name of scripture. What is undenible, is to show love and compassion for ALL mankind and not to pass judgement.
First of all, Phillip, I would exhort you not to lose perspective of clear scriptures in view of some anomalous situations like hermaphrodites. I’ve not studied this phenomenon, but the few instances I’ve read about are not truly 50/50 propositions. There is a predominant sex trait even in those who are born with both sets of organs, whether complete or incomplete.
You are right to say we are made in the image of God, but the way you put it does not sound biblically correct. You are presuming that no matter how a person is made, God endorses all of the resultant choices that person makes. That is categorical false and scripture is blatantly clear to say that we are responsible for our own sin regardless of some sinful disposition we may have been born with. We are fallen and so is our flesh. So, to say that there are sinful dispositions we are born with has biblical merit. However, the world then victimizes itself by blaming God (or mother nature) for sinful actions. The scriptures condemn immoral behavior, whether heterosexual or homosexual. The sinful practice of extramarital sex and immorality falls squarely on the head of the one committing the sin.
Honestly, you sound awfully close to saying that God is unjust, either to make some with faulty physical mechanics and then to require holy living of them, or you say that God is unjust in having Christ die NOT for sin but just to show love and compassion. Romans 9 makes clear that we are not to bring such unjust questions before God, but to reckon, as Romans 8 would put it, those He has called He has justified. God saves and finishes that saving work even in a desperately wicked and fallen world. That is grace. We don’t deserve it and God would be just to send us all to an eternal punishment in hell. But God saves many, and He is infinitely merciful to do so.
To state truth is not to judge. Christ is the judge, but He has commissioned us to proclaim the good news of God’s righteous requirements being satisfied in Christ on behalf of those who believe. THAT is undeniable. I don’t disagree that we are to show love and compassion, but it is intensely unloving, even hateful, to NOT warn a person of the eternal train that is about to crush them by showing only some great for of humanity. Instead, we are to proclaim Christ and Him crucified, calling men and women (and hermaphrodites) to repentance to find their only hope in Christ and His righteousness.