WELCOME TO THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES

 

A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO LGBT

THIS SERMON WAS PRESENTED ON JUNE 18, 2016

 

       Today I am going to interrupt my series on the Book of Proverbs to deal with certain dynamics related to the mass shooting that occurred last Sunday morning at an Orlando nightclub called Pulse.

       Before I proceed with this discussion, I want to make it clear that anything I discuss today does not any way give credence to the action of Omar Mateen in his killing and wounding of over 100 presumed to be mostly members of the LGBT community who were present at this nightclub.  What Omar did was an evil, despicable act that he will be held accountable for before his creator.  What I do want to do today is hopefully clarify some things relative to how we as Christians should view and react to the LGBT community and what they represent.  As most of you know, LGBT is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

       As those of you who were here at the time will remember, I gave a sermon around a year ago dealing with the issue of homosexually and Christianity.  In that sermon I provided a comprehensive, indepth overview of what the Scriptures teach as to homosexuality.  I will not cover that same ground again today.  For those who may have missed that sermon or would like to review the material presented, you can find this material at Homosexuality and Christianity.

       As discussed and demonstrated in my sermon on homosexuality and Christianity, the Biblical Scriptures are very clear as to homosexual behavior being contrary to God’s design for the human race.  As one commentator I read put it:

       “Homosexuals have repackaged and sold to the public behaviors which thousands of years of history, every major world religion and uncompromising human biology have long identified as immoral and sexually deviant.”

       The Hebrew and Greek Biblical Scriptures, as well as the Islamic Koran and the holy books of other major religions all condemn homosexuality.  It needs to be pointed out, however, that not one of these holy books promotes the killing of homosexuals.  While Islamics are vehemently against homosexual behavior, their holy book the Koran, does not endorse killing homosexuals as some believe.

       Christians, Islamics or those of any other religious systems who think they are justified in murdering homosexuals because they are homosexuals are either misinterpreting their Scriptures or simply allowing themselves to be motivated by personal hatreds.  The father of Omar suggested that hatred of homosexuals was what may have motivated his son to do what he did.  The father reported that Omar had recently witnessed two men kissing each other in Miami.  Since he was predisposed to hate homosexuals, this is what may have set him off.  It has become clear, however, that Omar was motivated by other issues as well.

       As I covered in my sermon on homosexuality, while we cannot approve of homosexual behavior, we are not to hate homosexuals. We are to love them and treat them with the same respect we would treat anyone else.  While homosexual behavior is clearly condemned as sin in the Biblical Scriptures, as I covered in detail in my sermon on that issue, this sin is no less or greater a sin than adultery, fornication, lying, stealing, murder or any other sins identified in the Scriptures.  Upon repentance, all sins are covered under the blood of Jesus including the sin of homosexual behavior.  

       What I want to cover today is not the sinfulness of homosexual behavior since that is clearly demonstrated in the Biblical Scriptures.  What I want to discuss today is what the Christian response should be to the rapidly growing assertiveness and influence of the LGBT community in America and around the world.

       As you may know, the month of June has been designated by the LGBT community as Gay Pride Month. Events are held throughout our country and the world to celebrate and advance the LGBT agenda.  Last weekend we had Pride Fest held at the Summer Fest grounds in Milwaukee as part of this celebration. This has become a yearly event.  Now I used the term LGBT agenda.  Some in the LGBT community bristle at the suggestion that there is an LGBT agenda. It is proclaimed that they just want to be left alone to do their thing and they are not trying to promote their lifestyle.      

       As much as the LGBT may deny they have an agenda, a review of the available literature on the subject clearly shows the LGBT community has with purposeful intent infiltrated all levels of American Society with rather aggressive tactics to promote their lifestyle.  They do have an agenda and that agenda is to have their behavior and lifestyle accepted as being perfectly normal.  This agenda includes making it virtually a crime to not accept their behavior as normal. A good book to read that documents this in detail is “A Queer Thing Happened to America.”

       The Pulse club where last Sunday’s shooting took place is a club that was opened in 2004 by Barbara Poma and Ron Legler for the express purpose of promoting awareness of the LGBT community. This club is called the Pulse as a tribute to Barbara Pomo’s deceased brother John who was a homosexual and died of AIDS some years ago.  The clubs website states that it was important to create an atmosphere that embraced the gay lifestyle with décor that would make John proud.  The name Pulse was coined to reflect John’s heartbeat in keeping his memory alive.

       It is interesting that this club was started in response to and to memorialize the death of a homosexual who died from AIDS.  AIDS is an acronym for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.  Under normal conditions, the human immune system will have a ratio of approximately 1.8 helper cells to each suppressor cell.  Ratios that are markedly higher or lower indicate immune malfunction.  The AIDS virus disrupts this ratio.  AIDS patients often have a ratio of one suppressor cell to every helper cell.  This ratio suppresses immune response because it prohibits the adequate production of killer lymphocytes and antibodies to deal with common pathogens that a non HIV infected person would have little trouble dealing with.  Therefore, a person with AIDS can die from a pathogen you or I would have little trouble with.

       This virus made its initial appearance largely in the homosexual community and has since spread to the heterosexual sexual community as well largely through promiscuous behavior.  While the spiritual consequences of sinful behavior is eternal death where it not for the sacrifice of Christ, there are physical consequences for sin as well.  AIDS appears to be one of those physical consequences.  Unfortunately, the behavior that leads to such consequences is often denied as being a cause and people try to find a cure for the disease when the cure may be to simply stop the behavior that is promoting the spread of such disease in the first place.  It is typical of us humans, however, to want to treat the effects of something rather than treat its cause.

Homophobia:

       Part of the LGBT agenda is to label those who oppose homosexual behavior as being homophobic.  Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, was in Wisconsin the other day giving a presentation and there were demonstrators outside accusing Graham of being homophobic. 

       By definition, to have a phobia is to be afraid of something.  When one is afraid of something it is often looked at as a phobia.  A person afraid of heights is said to have acrophobia. A person fearful of tight enclosures is said to be claustrophobic.    

       When it comes to describing those opposed to homosexual behavior, the word phobia has been expanded to not only mean the fear of something but the hatred of something.  Christians who condemn homosexual behavior as sin are often seen by the LGBT community as homophobic which has been redefined to mean a hater of homosexuals.  While there is little doubt that some Christians resemble this expanded definition of phobia in that they have a visceral hatred for homosexuals, this is probably not the case for most Christians.  Unfortunately a number of Christians not only steer clear of being “homophobia’ but have come to  accept homosexual behavior as normal. 

       As I covered in my sermon on homosexuality and Christianity, a Christian cannot view homosexual behavior as normal in view or the very plain and straightforward condemnation of it in Scripture.  As I also explained, a Christian is to love a homosexual no different than any other sinner while opposing the sin such person may be committing.  We all sin.  Scripture shows God still loves us.  Last week I referenced the account in Matthew where the religious leaders brought the women caught in adultery before Jesus and asked if she should be stoned.  Jesus’ response was that the one without sin should cast the first stone. They all walked away and Jesus forgave the women and told her to quit sinning.

       If a Christian is accused of being homophobic because of their stance on homosexual behavior being sin, it is not equal to hating the homosexual as some are trying to say.  It is incumbent on us to love a homosexual while disapproving of their sin just as it is incumbent on us to love anyone else who commits sin while disapproving of their sin. Jesus loved the women caught in adultery but certainly didn’t approve of her sin. Therefore, the proper Christian response to the LGBT community hurt by the events in Orlando is to love them and help them in their time of need no different than we would help others in need even though we may not approve of their behavior.. 

Same sex marriage:

       The LGBT community has fought long and hard to have same sex marriage legalized in the US.  As we all know, they have won that battle as the US Supreme Court has legalized same sex marriage for all of the US.  How do we as Christians who hold to homosexual behavior being sin respond to this new National law? 

       The LGBT community argued that their civil rights were being violated by denying homosexuals the ability to enter into the legally biding relationship called marriage. Civil rights are defined to be what they are by the government.  For a long time marriage was defined as a civil right for a man and a woman to be legally bound together as husband and wife.  The court has now seen fit to expand that civil right to include same sex marriage.

       Therefore, if civil government defines marriage as a union between two people regardless of their gender, to deny such union for same sex couples is a violation of their civil rights.  However, to endorse same sex marriage is to tacitly approve of sexual behavior contrary to Scriptural standards for sexual conduct.  

       If two people of the same gender marry under civil law and proceed to engage in sexual behavior, they are in violation of the Christian moral ethic. It must be understood that if one is to base ones morality on the Biblical Scriptures, one cannot condone same sex marriage because to do so is to tacitly condone same sex sexual behavior which is condemned in Scripture. 

       Any same sex couple, who claims to be Christian and honestly and objectively looks at what the Biblical Scriptures teach as to proper sexual behavior, will be forced to see that Scripture teaches that sexual behavior is designed to be between a male and a female and in so doing defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

       The LGBT community argues that there should be marriage equality in a free society as we have in America because sexual morality should not and cannot be legislated in a free society and it is not the role of government to try to do so.  For the Christian, however, this is a moot argument.  As Christians we live under God’s government and God has every right to legislate morality and has clearly done so.  As it pertains to sexuality, that morality is clearly seen in Scripture as sex practiced within the union of marriage of a man and a woman and not of a man and a man or a woman and a woman. 

       Scripturally, a homosexual union is not a marriage. It makes no difference whether a civil government legislates a new definition of marriage. It does not matter if society is overwhelmingly in favor of such new definition. A homosexual union simply is not marriage by Scriptural standards.  So what should be the Christian response to the new definition of marriage?

       Since same sex marriage is now the law of the land, we have little choice but to recognize same sex marriage as lawful within the context of civil law. Many Christians have embraced this change in the definition of marriage which is unfortunate.  It shows a pronounced lack of understanding as to what the Scriptures teach as to marriage.  Some Christians have become proactive in efforts to reverse this new law.  All I can say is good luck with that.  Unless and until our nation as a whole comes to recognize God as the author of right and wrong, there is little chance that efforts to reverse the new civil definition of marriage will be overturned.   

Servicing a LGBT:

       The LGBT community has pushed for legislation to make it a crime to refuse to service a homosexual.  To refuse services to a homosexual based on ones moral objection to their presumed homosexual behavior is seen as discriminatory and contrary to a person’s civil rights.  So how do we respond to this?

       Except for a few exceptions, this should not be an issue for a Christian.  Apostle Paul provides guidelines as to how a Christian should relate to the world.

       1 Corinthians 5:9-11: I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

       Paul makes it clear that we can’t avoid interacting with sinners in a sinful world and the implication is that this should not be an issue.  Jesus interacted with sinners all the time.  Jesus taught we are to be a light to the world.  We can’t be such light if we try to avoid interacting with the world.

       If someone comes into our health food store Milk ‘N honey and I know they are behaving homosexually, I have no qualms about selling them product.  In selling them product I am not condoning or approving their homosexual behavior. I am simply providing them a service no different than I would to anyone else who enters my store as a sinner. In fact I have yet to have anyone come into the store who is not a sinner including the guy behind the counter. 

       If I were to conclude that I can't service a person who is behaving homosexually, then, to be consistent, I would have to deny service to a person that is committing adultery, fornication, stealing, failing to honor their parents, lying or committing any other sin.  Homosexual behavior is not any more sinful than other behaviors that run contrary to the Law of God.

       Now if I was asked by a gay couple to marry them I would have to refuse based on my understanding that marriage is between a man and a woman. To perform a marriage for such a couple would be to tacitly approve of homosexual sexual behavior which would be contrary to my responsibility as a Christian to obey God's Law and not in any way aid or abet the breaking of God's Law.  If there were civil penalties to pay for refusing to perform a same-sex marriage I would have to pay them although I would think I could argue persuasively that my civil rights are being violated in being punished for doing something contrary to my moral belief.  

       It should be noted that Paul wrote that “you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” What Paul is saying is that if a Christian insists on continuing in sin within the fellowship of the church, others in the church should not have to tolerate their behavior even to the point of disassociating from them.

       If we were to have a homosexual join us in worship I would expect all here would welcome such individual with open arms.  If, however, it is discovered our homosexual friend is behaving homosexuality and believes it is perfectly OK to do so, we would have to point out to him the sinfulness of such behavior and if he or she refused to change we would have to disassociate ourselves from such persons and deal with whatever consequences may incur.

       As already covered, LGBT is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.  We all understand that a lesbian is a homosexual woman and a gay is a homosexual man.  A bisexual is a person who is sexually attracted to both the male and female body and will engage in sexual behavior with both sexes.  While the Scriptures do not directly address bisexualism, the fact that a bisexual will engage in sexual behavior with someone of the same sex makes such person a homosexual when engaging in such behavior and such person would come under the same Scriptural condemnation directed toward homosexual behavior in general.   

       A transgender is a person who takes on the characteristics and dress of someone of the sex opposite to what he or she was born with and behaves as the opposite sex.  Some transgenders have operations to alter their sexuality. The transformation of Bruce Jenner to Katlin Jenner is a well known example of a transgender. 

       As you know, there has been a lot of press of late about transgenders using bathrooms and other facilities that have been traditionally designed as usable for only those either biologically a male or a female.  Transgenders now want the right to use facilities related to their gender choice rather than their biological gender identify.  I will not get into a discussion about that issue but I will explore whether the Scriptures say anything about transgender’s. 

       As it turns out, the Scriptures don’t directly address transgenderism but may address transvestism.  A transvestite is a person who dresses up as the opposite sex. Such person may or may not be a homosexual or practice a transgender life style.  During my college days a friend and I visited New Orleans during the Christmas break and went to a night spot called the My O My Club. The My O My club turned out to be a club featuring transvestites.  It was an all male cast dressed as and performing as women. They sang in falsetto voices and actually sounded quite good. These men may or may not have been living a transgender life style outside of their performing as women on the stage. 

       The term “drag Queen” is applied to a male who dresses up as a female and often exaggerates certain feminine attributes such as make-up, eyelashes etc. While drag is usually associated with gay men and the gay culture, there are drag artists who are not necessarily homosexual.  They tend to hang out with the homosexual crowd because thy find greater acceptance of their alternative life style among homosexuals who are also seeking acceptance of their life style.   

       Some Christians have used a passage in Deuteronomy as Scriptural condemnation of transvestism or the wearing of clothes generally associated with the opposite sex.

       Deuteronomy 22:5: A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.

       What is this verse saying?  The immediate question that arises is who determines what is mens clothing versus women’s clothing?   Some have used this verse to teach that women should not wear pants because pants have traditionally been worn by men, at least in our culture. What about Irish men who wear dress like kilties?  What about cultures were men were loose fitting dress-like clothes as is seen in members of the senate in ancient Rome?

       It is instructive that the first word translated clothing in this passage is the Hebrew word kel-ee which has a broad range of meaning which includes everything from clothes, ornaments and tools to weapons.  The second word translated “clothing” is from a Hebrew word that simply means garment or covering. 

       Some commentators see this verse as saying women are not to put on weapons of war and a man is not to put on a women’s garment to escape their civic duty to go to war. 

       In view of the ambiguity associated with this verse and there being no other Scripture that addresses the issue of cross dressing, it may be prudent to not use this passage as a proof text to condemn transgenderism or transvestism.

       Does this mean it’s OK for a man to dress and behave like a woman or a woman to dress and behave like man?  If it is done in a theatrical setting to produce a laugh or two, it may be OK.  If it is used to facilitate a so-called alternative life style it is contrary to all that we see in Scripture as to God’s design for His human creation.  It is a perversion of what God has established as to sexuality. 

Conclusion:

       In the wake of the shootings in Orlando at a LGBT hangout called the Pulse named as such in honor of a deceased homosexual, there has been a worldwide outpouring of support for those affected by this tragedy.  Public buildings such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower and our Milwaukee City Hall have been lit up in the rainbow colors of the LGBT flag.   The LGBT flag has been flying at many locations throughout our country and the world in support of the LGBT community.  There have been any number of gatherings around the county to morn those who died and to show support for those directly affected by what happened.

       While it is absolutely appropriate to be repulsed at what Omar Mateen did and to feel empathy and show support for those who have lost loved ones because of what Omar did, I have to be concerned that those showing support for those affected by this tragedy are in many cases also showing support for the LGBT lifestyle. 

       Surveys have shown that there is increasing acceptance of and support for the homosexual life style, same sex marriage and the goals and objectives of the LGBT agenda.  This acceptance and support is coming from all sectors of society including segments of the Christian community.  More and more politicians of both major political parties in the US are showing support for the LGBT cause.

       For a Christian who truly sees the Scriptures as their source for learning what is right and what is wrong behavior, there can be no choice but to reject the LGBT agenda as being a perversion of what God intended for humanity.

       Genesis shows God creating male and female to propagate the human race.  In Matthew 19, we see Christ confirming the Genesis account. The Genesis account and its confirmation by Jesus are gender statements.  They point to the union of two people of opposite sex.  Nowhere in Scripture will you find such gender statements pertaining to two people of the same sex. All Scriptural discussion of gender related issues such as marriage, divorce, procreation, adultery and fornication are found in the context of heterosexual relations. 

       On the other hand, all references to same sex sexual relationships are in the context of condemnation.  No Scriptural writer gives even a hint of supporting homosexual sexual behavior of any kind.  Every statement Paul makes relative to homosexual sexual behavior is to condemn it.  When Paul addresses issues of sexual relations, there is no hint of Paul approving same sex sexual relations. Paul sees sexual relations within the context of marriage between a man and a woman with no hint in any of his writings of it being acceptable for two humans of the same sex to engage in sexual relations.  Paul’s understanding and teaching as to proper sexual relations is summed up in comments he made to the Corinthians.

       1 Corinthians 7:2-4: But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each women her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband.  In the same way, husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.

       As covered in my sermon on homosexuality and Christianity, Leviticus 18 and 20 shows clearly that laws prohibiting homosexual sexual behavior are applicable to all humans and not just Israelites living under the Old Covenant.  Scripture shows it was the breaking of such laws that defiled the Gentiles.  The fifth commandment tells us to honor our father and mother. This command presupposes a male and female parent. This instruction is also found in the New Covenant teaching of Paul. 

       Ephesians 6:1-3: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  "Honor your Father and Mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.     

        When all Scriptural passages relating to sexuality are studied, you will not fine one hint of support for homosexual sexual behavior as being acceptable in God’s sight. It just isn’t there.  All Scriptures that address homosexual sexual behavior place it in a bad light. If the Biblical Scriptures are to be the foundation upon which the Christian belief system is built, homosexual sexual behavior must be considered behavior contrary to what God intends regarding sexuality.    

       What should be the Christian response to the LGBT agenda?  In view of the overriding prohibition against homosexual sexual behavior found in the Scriptures, Christians have no choice but to look upon such behavior as a sin if they allow the Scriptures to be their guide to sexual conduct. 

       The Christian must also recognize that being a homosexual is not sin. A homosexual person should not be condemned for being a homosexual. What must be condemned is sexual activity between two people of the same sex. Such conduct is contrary to what the Scriptures reveal about sexual relations.  There are Christian homosexuals who fight all their lives to resist homosexual behavior.  This is no different than an alcoholic having to fight the sin of drunkenness.  Being an alcoholic is not sin.  Expressing such alcoholism in drunkenness is a sin by Scriptural standards.

        Christians need to love homosexuals no different than anyone else. If a LGBT person needs our help we need to respond to that need no different than we would respond to anyone else.  If a LGBT person tries to convince us their life style is OK we should be prepared to respond to such a person with the Scriptural evidence against their lifestyle.

       My purpose today was to place the Orlando tragedy and the world’s response to it in the proper context for us as Christians.  Hopefully I was able to do that.