More on the Issue of Homosexuality

The issue at hand is not so much an issue of sin, it is an issue of repentance. The reason this has become an issue is that the Church as a whole has taken a lax position on sin. Now I understand ultimately Christianity is about grace, and that all who call upon the name of the Lord in brokeness and with a repentant heart will be saved. Now the homosexual community has what appears to be a legitimate beef against the profesing church as a whole, and in a sense they are correct. They ask the question: "What makes us so much different from every other nominal Church member? And why would a church exclude us from Christian service while still allowing unrepentant sinners full access?" The answer to that question in most cases is absolutely nothing! Again I restate that the sexual act between two of the same gender is not the only 'abomination' in the scriptures.

What is the homosexual to think when the unrepentant adulterer or fornicator is allowed full privelege and they are excluded. What about the one who is knowingly sinful in their business practices, why whould that man or woman have full privelege while the other does not? Is not unjust balances (unfair business) also an 'abomination'. You see until the professing church becomes a repentant church they are really in no position to exclude anyone!

This issue within mainline protestant churches be they UMC, PCUSA, ELCA, and so on, serves a major divider, but what happens is that people unite on one issue i.e. abortion, homosexuality, death penalty, and so on, but the majority of those taking are stand are in no position to take a stand. Anytime I am to take a stand on any issue of sin I must first examine myself ask the Lord to expose sin in my life that I may confess and repent. So long as I am harboring sin, and justifying it I cannot take a stand on anything.


Issues of Homosexuality

As I write this post I am at the annual conference of the West Ohio Conference of our denomination, and I am deeply disappointed. In a close vote our conference voted to explore material about homosexuality with an open mind and to seek God’s will concerning inclusiveness. The legislation that passed was not and out and out endorsement of homosexuality as valid and moral expression of human sexuality, however it was a step in that direction. I do not typically post on these issues, because with the primary audience of this blog this is a settled issue, but today I am going to post on this today for various reasons which I will form as questions.

Question #1
Should the Church of Jesus Christ be inclusive?

YES – The Church should be inclusive, actively seeking the lost for the purpose of bringing them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We should indeed bring the gospel invitation to all people of all colors, gender, class, sexual orientation and so on. I do not believe this to be up for debate and my assumption is that all peoples both liberal and fundamental agree with this.

Question #2
Does nature point to the will of God?

YES – Scripture is clear that the glory of God is revealed through nature in many ways. Nature is a means of inspiration to us, and we can draw countless parallels of nature to Godliness and so on. In a sense we can even consider the revelation of nature as authoritative considering that God holds those who have not heard the gospel accountable based on His truth revealed in nature. (You have to be very careful here.)

Question #3
Does homosexuality occur in nature?

YES – It does, and that really is not up for debate. Murder, rape, polygamy, promiscuity, theft, deception, and so on also occur in nature as well as a plethora of other sins. Moreover sin is natural to all unconverted peoples, as original sin is evident in all of humanity. Natural certainly does not mean excusable.

Question #4
Is there any reason to believe that someone who engages in physically homosexual relations is any less a candidate of salvation than anyone else?

NO – It is important as fundamental Christians that we do not segment homosexual behavior into a separate class away from all sin in general. I know that most agree with this in theory, however in discussion and practice typically fundamental individuals will treat homosexuality in a completely different light than they do other sin. Remember, homosexuality is not the only ‘abomination’ in scripture.

Question #5
Should the Church of Jesus Christ be open to the acceptance of homosexuals into their membership, and moreover allow them to preach, teach, and lead?

YES – Under the condition of repentance, genuine conversion, and repudiation of their sin. A homosexual is as much a candidate for membership and Christian service as any other sinful person. The conditions for their membership and employment in Christian service ought to be no different then any other person. Recall the conversion of any genuine Christian and know that they have been brought to a place of loathing sin and desiring righteousness.

So what is the point??
I have posed 5 basic questions answered them with a simple yes or no and then appended an explanation. The explanations and answers are biblical, however if you remove the explanations and leave the questions as a simple yes or no you could see a very different picture emerge. Look at it this way.

Should the church of Jesus Christ be inclusive? – Yes
Does nature point to the will of God – Yes
Does homosexuality occur in nature – Yes
Is there any reason to believe that someone who engages in physically homosexual relations is any less a candidate of salvation than anyone else? – No
Should the Church of Jesus Christ be open to the acceptance of homosexuals into their membership, and moreover allow them to preach, teach, and lead? – Yes

You see if you just take the questions and the yes or no answer to them you can paint a pretty strong picture that tends to embrace what many call the homosexual agenda. These questions are posed over and over in order to get people to come to the logical conclusion that homosexuality within the Church is proper and acceptable. With out any biblical search into why the answers to these questions are yes or no we will not get a true picture of what God’s will is in this issue.

Now, there is another issue at hand here, and I believe that the forces of wickedness behind the homosexual movement are merely using homosexuality as a decoy. Fundamentalists, Focus on the Family, all the end timers, and so on have become so focused and intent on pulling the weeds of homosexuality out of the church that they have allowed giant oak trees of lust, deceit, divorce, pride, and so on grow with out even noticing. The professing church has completely abandoned holiness, and has even come to the point were she does not even have any real expectation of holiness from its ranks. However everyone feels good about themselves as long as they are against something unholy.


Losing Salvation

Can a person lose salvation? First off, when this is debated both sides usually are debating from a very humanistic standpoint and arguing about a very cheap salvation. The debate always seems to center around a very selfish idea, “Can I after believing and begin justified still end up in hell?” Can you see the humanism in this question? The debate that follows will have two sides armed with scriptures being quoted to support the case that you cannot end up in hell if you have truly believed, or to prove that one can still end up in hell even if they have believed unto salvation at some point. Unfortunately the debate is of no value at the outset, and the question of whether or not a person can end up in hell after initially believing is nearly a sinful question to even ask. Since when was salvation all about heaven and hell? In fact is salvation at all about heaven and hell? Certainly the ‘saved’ will end up in heaven, and the ‘unsaved’ will end up in hell, that is a statement of fact, but what is the purpose of salvation?

We must again revisit the three tenses of salvation and examine what the whole purpose of salvation in order to assess whether this point of contention is even worth debating, or if there is even really a point of contention.

There is the past tense of salvation: “I have been saved from the penalty of sins committed in the past.” We call that justification. Some would say at the point of justification we are also forgiven for sins we will commit in the future as well, personally I am ok with that, and even agree to an extent with that.

There is also the future tense of salvation: “I will be saved from the presence of sin in an eternal heaven.” We call this glorification. I think there is little debate on this, and that everyone would agree that the future tense of salvation includes a sinless heaven.

Then there is the present tense salvation: “I am being saved from the power of sin right now.” We call this sanctification. Now there is a lot of debate on sanctification, can someone be made perfect and sinless right now, or is sanctification an ongoing process and so on. That is a legitimate debate, I have a hard time believing anyone to be perfected, but at the same time I do not dare make a claim that the Holy Spirit is unable or even unwilling to perfect someone.

So we come back to our question, can someone lose salvation? You need to specify what you mean by salvation. Can someone become ‘unjustified’ and have to pay the penalty for sins they have already been forgiven of? Of course not! Can someone enter into a sinless heaven and sin? Well, it wouldn’t be a sinless heaven if there was still the chance of sinning. Clearly glorification as well as justification cannot be lost. You will not sin when you are glorified, and sins past will not be counted against us at the point of being justified.

So can someone lose salvation? Well in the present tense the answer must, if we are to be honest, be yes. It is clear that men and women are prone to backsliding, even the most devoted of believers backslide, and the sins that at one point we had power over, and were saved from, we at times commit again. We have lost present tense salvation from the power over that particular sin. People then want to ask the question whether or not they can go to hell or not based on that backsliding. That is were the whole debate begins, but why? Who cares about heaven and hell if we are not as close to the Lord right now as we once were, or as we desire to be? Do you not see it? So many people want to know whether or not they still get to go to heaven after they sin and they miss the whole point! Do they not want restored to present tense salvation again? Forget about heaven and hell for a minute, the Kingdom of God is at hand! Maybe the real reason you debate this so much is that you do not have a strong desire for salvation in the present tense. You are too worried about convincing people that you are sealed and that Christ will not let you go to enjoy and long for present tense salvation. Or on the other hand you may be too worried that you have lost salvation to realize that the Lord came to give you present tense salvation. Moreover God gets the most glory when He works present tense salvation in His people, so concern yourself with His glory and seek present tense salvation! Forget the silly once saved always saved debate that you find so important and begin to work out your present tense salvation with fear and trembling, and also with great joy and comfort in the presence of the Lord.

I hope that all made sense.