The Supreme Court Decision and the True Place of Victory

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by a bi-partisan vote of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It was approved by lawmakers for the purpose of protecting the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and woman. The law was not intended to legislate the kinds of relationships people may choose to enter into, but rather was in response to those who sought to redefine what marriage had been since the beginning of the human race.
With yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, Christians are likely to wonder how to respond. While at this time individual states are allowed to decide the matter, in essence the Supreme Court banned the exclusion of homosexual unions in what will be lawfully recognized as marriages in the U.S.
I’d have to write a book to address all the things going on here. But, here are some quick thoughts for you to consider today:

1. Who ever said that what we believe as Christians would be popular?
Jesus certainly didn’t. In fact, He said that if we stayed true to our most deeply held values for His name’s sake, we would be hated (Matthew 10:22).
So we need to get past the notion that our values will always be well received culturally. There may have been a time when that was so, but the world is increasingly moving away from many of our moral traditions. In fact, in several social arenas our beliefs are maligned as outdated, judgmental, and intolerant.
This fact shouldn’t surprise us, nor should it cause us to feel defeated. Quite possibly one of the new qualities Christians in the U.S. will need to develop in the years to come is the courage to be OK with not being liked… and possibly even being hated.
2. Marriage is still marriage.
Marriages are based upon the sacred vow of love and life-long commitment between a man and a woman. God created this covenant for the purpose of bringing Him glory, providing great fulfillment and joy in the relationship between a husband and wife, and bearing children that would also bring fulfillment in the family and glory to God. Up until yesterday, this union was recognized by the state as a “marriage”.
While the state may recognize the marriage union, it doesn’t create it. So even if the state does not define marriage as we do, that doesn’t change what marriage is. No matter what anyone says- including the Supreme Court- marriage is, well, marriage. Laws don’t define marriage. The court doesn’t define marriage. God does. God did. Marriage is not up for a vote- it’s been decided.
Just because I call an airplane a boat, doesn’t make it a boat. Its very form makes it what it is. And to change its form makes it something it is not. Likewise- just because I call a committed homosexual relationship a marriage doesn’t make it one, and just because the state recognizes it as one, doesn’t make it one either. So, in this sense, it’s logically impossible to change the definition of marriage because in essence and from God marriage is between a man and a woman and always will be.
3. Watch out for the Thought Police.
It’s amazing to me how intolerant people can be in the name of tolerance. There may come a day (either soon or years from now) where the government may try to force religious institutions to embrace socially acceptable norms that we find immoral. In other words, there could be a situation where a church might be sued for being unwilling to perform a ceremony for a same-sex union. Think it’s crazy? Well, it’s already near…
- Christian photographers Elane Photography in New Mexico were approached by a same sex couple looking to hire a wedding photographer. Elane Photography politely declined citing their Christian faith and were sued by the couple under the state’s anti-discriminatory laws, and won. The case is now on appeal.
- In Lexington, Ky., a T-shirt shop called Hands On Originals was approached by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization about printing shirts for the group. The T-shirt company politely declined and even sought out quotes and gave the group referrals to other T-shirt printers, along with comparable prices. They were promptly sued by the group under Lexington’s anti-discriminatory laws and forced to comply with a lengthy investigation. The city now has told school districts to freeze their business with the privately owned company.
- A Methodist church in New Jersey was sued for not offering its facility for use during same-sex weddings. A judge ruled against the church.
- A same-sex couple from California sued a Hawaiian bed and breakfast privately owned by a Christian woman for not allowing them to rent a room. The Hawaii First Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of the couple.
- A bed and breakfast in Alton privately owned by a Christian couple was sued when they would not host a same-sex civil union ceremony.
- Catholic Charities was barred from assisting in adoptions in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Illinois and excluded from future contracts because it declined to consider same sex couples.

It seems that for many in the gay rights community it’s not enough for us to be tolerant of their behavior. We must agree with it. Since this is true, they seek to punish and silence those who refuse to surrender their belief that marriage is between a man and woman. That means changing our traditional institutions to fit within their moral box thereby force-feeding their beliefs upon us. From their standpoint that means that we must change the Boy Scouts, we must change marriage… and quite possibly in the future, we must change the church.
You should know that we at The Brook will always stand upon the guidance of the Word of God, and the conviction that the God who loves all is the God who also instructs us in how to live morally. Homosexuality, along with many other sins in the world, is immoral and it’s a choice. We just won’t be able to ever compromise these facts. Are people in homosexual relationships people? Of course! Are many of them loving, kind, gentle and generous? Of course. Are they people worthy of our love and respect for what many of them give to others and for what many of them have achieved in life? Absolutely. But their chosen lifestyle stands against God’s design for sexual relationships and marriage.
Disagreeing about what is acceptable moral behavior is not judgmentalism. Judging moral behavior is not judgmentalism. Judgmentalism is when I condemn another person (not just their behavior) without any regards to the fact that I have sin in my own life as well. It is when I compare myself in self-righteous ways to others and then look down upon them from my moral pedestal to condemn them as people, rather than solely assess their behavior.
We need to understand judgment from judgmentalism. For far too many times we condemn the individual that we are called to love, and we lack the maturity to separate our judgment of immoral behavior from being judgmental of the person. Alternatively, far too many times we cower in fear of speaking against matters of ethical and moral choice because we don’t want to be seen as judgmental, or we want to be liked, or we know we’re not perfect either. We must learn the courage and wisdom from God to find the balance between these extremes.
4. The sword cuts both ways.
We are all sinners saved by grace. I have sinned, I sin daily and by God’s grace, I find forgiveness each day. In this sense, I am in the same predicament as the homosexual. Jesus stated, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28) That kind of levels the playing field doesn’t it? Leveling the playing field was part of Jesus’ intent here. He was seeking to communicate both here and throughout the Sermon on the Mount that not a single person is exempt from sin…  and that not a single person who turns by faith to Jesus is exempt from God’s grace.
Here’s the point: Every time we make a judgment of someone else, we must first look at ourselves. Remember, the log and speck syndrome I spoke about in church just a few weeks ago (Matthew 7:1-5)? Jesus’ words about judgmentalism in this text and the log and speck do not mean that we are not to make moral evaluations and judgments. As I pointed out in the sermon that day, later on in that chapter He encourages making moral judgments about pearls before swine (vs. 6), about false teachers (vss. 15-20), and about foolish living (vss. 24-27). We certainly are to make moral distinctions. What Jesus conveyed was that when we make moral judgments, we should do so only with a clear evaluation of our own sins and not through self-righteousness. When we judge in the way Jesus prescribed, we will then have humility in our evaluation so as not to judge inaccurately or hastily, and we will possess a grace that should always accompany our evaluation of other people’s moral behaviors.
In conclusion, while the Supreme Court’s decision is unfortunate, God is still on His throne, we still know right from wrong, we still have the joy of the Lord as our strength, and we know that we must have courage to prevail in troubling times.
Remember also that the true place of victory in these moral battles is not in the congress and the courts. The battles are truly won only in the hearts and minds of people. If we will live as the children of God and be the hands and heart of Jesus to the world, many will come place their trust in the God who receives them just as they are and then who makes things morally right within. He changes the heart; then changes the mind.
The mission field is ripe for harvest and this decision by the court should remind us to quit trusting the government to make the world a better place. Instead, trust our Father in Heaven who is still in the business of transforming human hearts and using people like you and me in that process.
Excited for the Mission Field!

Pastor Mike

Pro-Gay Theology: Does the Bible Approve of Homosexuality?

by Steve Golden, AiG–U.S.on  January 29, 2013

One of the most pervasive issues of our time has been the movement to embrace homosexual behavior, same-sex “marriage,” and the marred versions of masculinity and femininity that accompany this lifestyle. References sympathetic to the homosexual lifestyle appear now in books, on television, in films, and in video games and graphic novels. Even the popular social networking platform Facebook announced the addition of “gay marriage timeline icons” for users.1 Our children and teens are inundated with a message of “tolerance” and “acceptance” of homosexual behavior, and sadly even some professing Christians are preaching this message.

Scripture makes clear, as I will argue, that engaging in homosexual behavior of any sort is sinful (Genesis 18:20 and 19:5; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10; 1 Timothy 1:10). But some in the church have taken to reinterpreting key passages on homosexuality or even denying outright that these passages mean what they plainly say. So what exactly does the Bible say about homosexuality? And how do pro-gay Bible scholars try to work around those passages?

The Queen James Bible

Late last year, a pro-homosexual group (which to this time has remained anonymous) published a Bible translation dubbed the Queen James Bible, based on the 1769 King James Version. Their rationale for the name was that King James’s alleged homosexual acts led his contemporaries to refer to him as “Queen James.” While the evidence for King James’s homosexuality is shaky at best, the editors of this new “translation” have only made a mockery of a beloved Bible translation.

The changes that the editors made to various passages on homosexual behavior exemplify the ways in which pro-homosexual scholars twist Scripture on this issue. This article will examine a variety of Scriptures dealing with homosexual behavior and four primary arguments that pro-gay scholars use to justify it, using the editors’ summary of changes in the Queen James Bible as a springboard.2

Sodom and Gomorrah3

Beginning in the Old Testament, the first passage dealing with homosexual behavior is Genesis 19. Here, two angels visit Lot in Sodom and stay with him and his family for the night. In the course of the evening, the men of the city demand access to Lot’s guests:

Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!” (Genesis 19:4–7)

Just as in many other occurrences in Scripture (e.g., Genesis 4:1, 17, 25), the word know in this passage refers to sexual activity. The angels eventually strike the men of the city with blindness (Genesis 19:11) and declare that the Lord will destroy the cities, “because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it” (Genesis 19:13).

While the sin issue in view in Genesis 19 is clearly homosexuality, homosexual advocates typically reframe the issue in two ways: 1. lack of hospitality, or 2. gang rape.4

Advocates of the inhospitality view claim that the issue in the text is with Lot’s refusal to introduce his guests to the men of the city. According to this view, the Hebrew word used in Genesis 19:5 for “know,” yada, commonly means “to be acquainted with.” This is indeed one of the primary definitions of yada, but as with all languages, particular meaning is determined by context. Based on the context of Genesis 19, yada is a reference to knowing someone sexually.5 If yada simply refers to acquaintanceship here, Lot’s refusal to introduce his guests to the town was a breach of the rules of hospitality—and the sin is Lot’s. So why did God see fit to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and spare Lot? Within the context of Genesis 19, the definition that some pro-homosexual scholars insist on for yada makes the passage ludicrous.6

The second view, that the sin is not homosexuality but gang rape, is the position that the Queen James Bible takes. In a convoluted fashion, the editors argue that Lot was pleading with the men not to rape his guests. They continue, “We know from Leviticus that one is not allowed to have sex with a beast, and angels are not human. . . . Rapes such as this one are common between men in prison; they aren’t sexual acts, they are power-dominating acts.”7

As for the Queen James Bible’s claim that the men could have been guilty of bestiality by having sex with angels, there is no textual support for including angels in the category of “beasts.”8 Additionally, the text gives no indication in Genesis 19:5 that the men of the town were aware of the real identities of Lot’s guests. The two angels were men, insofar as the residents of Sodom could perceive. Finally, Jude 6–8 makes clear that the men of Sodom were not simply trying to commit a “power-dominating act”—they had “given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh.” The editors’ own line of reason as well as the biblical language of “know them carnally” shows that this gang rape was a sexual act.

Of course, the men of the city did intend to rape Lot’s guests, and rape is indeed a sinful act. However, if the sin issue in Genesis 19 is rape alone (regardless of whether it is heterosexual or homosexual), we must ask a similar question as before—why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for a sin that never actually occurred? The only reasonable answer is that the city was guilty of regularly participating in homosexual behavior, and the attempt to rape Lot’s guests was just the latest occurrence.

Levitical Laws

There are two verses in Leviticus that clearly condemn homosexual behavior as sinful:

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)

Homosexual advocates typically challenge this part of the Levitical code by reframing these sanctions against homosexual acts in the context of pagan idol worship. Indeed, the editors of the Queen James Bible have done just that, adding wording to these verses to fit their argument:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22, QJB, emphasis added)

If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. (Leviticus 20:13, QJB, emphasis added)

There is no textual support in the Hebrew manuscripts for the additional wording the editors of the Queen James Bible have introduced. But the added phrase “in the temple of Molech” suggests that, in the view of these particular editors, homosexual behavior would only have been prohibited when associated with pagan rituals. The editors reached this conclusion by arguing that the Hebrew word for abomination, tow’ebah, means “ritually unclean.” Uncleanness related to pagan idolatry is one of the definitions of tow’ebah; however, it is also used in Scripture to denote something that is morally (ethically) repugnant in God’s sight, such as homosexuality (see, for example, Proverbs 6:16).9

Furthermore, chapters 18 and 20 in Leviticus are lists of prohibited behaviors for the Israelites, including incest, bestiality, and child sacrifice. To be consistent, the editors of the Queen James Bible must apply their changes to the whole of these chapters. But the implications of this hermeneutic are severe—incest, bestiality, child sacrifice, and a number of other behaviors would all become acceptable except in the context of pagan idolatry.10 Surely pro-homosexual scholars do not intend to argue for the acceptability of all these practices. The clearest interpretation of these passages is that homosexual behavior is an abomination in the sight of God, whether or not it is in the context of ritual pagan idolatry.

Romans 1:26–27

The Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Romans contains a substantial New Testament passage on homosexual behavior. In Romans 1, Paul is explaining the sinfulness of man, “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie,” and man’s willing rejection of God. He sums up the results of this rejection in verses 26 and 27:

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

In a plain reading of this passage, the Apostle Paul demonstrates that because of man’s rejection of the truth for a lie, God gave humanity over to their sin. Homosexual behavior is a prominent part of these consequences. Romans 1:29–31 is a list of further sinful acts and behaviors associated with this giving over. And in Romans 1:32, Paul condemns not just those who practice these things, but also those who approve of them.

But pro-gay scholars and church leaders disagree. For example, John Shelby Spong, a homosexual advocate and retired bishop of the Episcopal Church, attempts to damage the Apostle Paul’s credibility and characterizes the Pauline statements on homosexuality as something other than the Word of God:

Yes, I am convinced that Paul of Tarsus was a gay man, deeply repressed, self-loathing, rigid in denial, bound by the law that he hoped could keep this thing, that he judged to be so unacceptable, totally under control, a control so profound that even Paul did not have to face this fact about himself. But repression kills. It kills the repressed one and sometimes the defensive anger found in the repressed one also kills those who challenge, threaten or live out the thing that this repressed person so deeply fears.11

In Spong’s view, the Apostle Paul was allegedly repressing homosexual desires and that led him to condemn homosexual behavior in general. Furthermore, Spong argues that in Paul’s time, homosexuality was socially unacceptable, so Paul was supposedly forced to react negatively to homosexual behavior. When asked in one interview how he could so easily dismiss the Bible’s words on homosexuality, Spong replied, “I don’t see the Bible as the Word of God. I see the Word of God as that which I hear through the words of the Bible. There’s a very big difference.”12 A big difference indeed—between the orthodox Christian view of Scripture as “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) and Spong’s heretical view that accords divine authority to his own thoughts.

The editors of the Queen James Bible chose to apply the same criteria to Romans 1:26–27 that they did to the Levitical laws. In other words, they believe that Paul condemns homosexual behavior only in the context of idolatry. They write, “It is much more likely that Paul meant to express that women were ritually defiling themselves (sexually or otherwise).” They go on to claim that what was “shameful” among these people was pagan idolatry, not homosexual behavior.

Neither of the above views has any biblical support. Whether or not Paul dealt with feelings of same-sex attraction (and there is no biblical evidence for that), he was given the authority of an apostle by God (Galatians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1) and his words in Scripture are the Word of God (2 Peter 3:16). Spong’s basis for rejecting them is faulty: the entire Bible was composed by sinful men who were led by the Spirit of God to write what they did. There is no reason to doubt the veracity of their claims or the binding authority of their words for us today based on their humanity.

Finally, the idolatry position of the Queen James Bible editors still does not fit with the whole of Romans 1. Sexual perversion and excess were common in the Roman Empire during the Apostle Paul’s day, making his words in Romans 1 fitting for his audience. Once again, the clearest interpretation of this passage is one that takes hold of the plain meaning of the words: homosexual behavior is sinful in the eyes of God.

Arsenokoitēs and Malakos

In the New Testament, two Greek words appear in reference to homosexual behavior: arsenokoitēs and malakos. Paul uses these words together in 1 Corinthians, and arsenokoitēs appears alone in 1 Timothy:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakos], nor homosexuals [arsenokoitēs], nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10, NASB)

. . . for fornicators, for sodomites [arsenokoitēs], for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:10, NKJV)

Conservative Bible scholars typically accept (based on solid historical and textual evidence) that arsenokoitēs refers to the active sexual partner in a homosexual act, while malakos refers to the passive partner.13 Pro-homosexual scholars, however, challenge the translations of these two Greek words. Some have tried to limit the words to adulterous homosexual relationships, while others have offered alternate definitions related to rape or sex with young boys (i.e., pederasty). For instance, the editors of the Queen James Bible chose to translate malakos as “morally weak” and arsenokoitēs as “promiscuous.”

The first term, malakos, “means literally ‘soft’ . . . and in Paul’s day served as an epithet for the ‘soft’ or effeminate (i.e., passive) partner in a homosexual (pederastic) relationship.”14 Even secularists recognize that in a homosexual act, one of the partners must act as the opposite sex—one of the males plays the female, and vice versa. It is an absolute inversion of the order set forth by God. The definition of the word arsenokoitēs has been the subject of much more debate.

Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburg Theological Seminary and an authority on sexual issues in Scripture, explains why the word arsenokoitēs so clearly relates to homosexual acts. Among the evidences Gagnon presents, one of the most compelling is the context of 1 Corinthians 5:1–5, where the apostle Paul is rebuking a man who was sexually involved with his stepmother:

1 Corinthians 5 treats a comparable case of intercourse involving consenting adults who are too much alike or same (here, on a familial level), with echoes to Leviticus and Deuteronomy. . . . For Paul, as for early Judaism and Christianity generally (and even us today), there were structural prerequisites for acceptable sexual unions that transcended appeals to loving dispositions. Gender and degree of blood unrelatedness were two such prerequisites.15

In other words, since 1 Corinthians 5:1–5 is dealing with sexual sin between two closely related family members (adultery is not the whole issue), and arsenokoitēs appears in a vice list in the midst of that, it is reasonable that this word references homosexual acts in general. Indeed, the definition of arsenokoitēs provided in BDAG (a standard Greek lexicon) is “a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex,” specifically, “one who assumes the dominant role in sexual activity.”16

Furthermore, even the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, draws on the word arsenokoitēs in its translation of Leviticus 20:13 (“If a man [arsenos] lies [koitēn] with a male as he lies with a woman . . .”), demonstrating that the word would seem to imply men in general who lie with other men. Lastly, concerning the appearance of arsenokoitēs in the vice list in 1 Timothy 1:10, Gagnon writes, “The fact that arsenokoitai appears here in the midst of a vice list that the author states is derived from the law of Moses (1:8–9) confirms that Paul would have recognized a link to the Levitical prohibitions.”17


Try as they might, the arguments of pro-homosexual scholars simply are not convincing. In the very first book of the Bible, we read that God created a man and a woman for the first marriage (not a man and a man or a woman and a woman). And just a few chapters later, God’s Word plainly condemns homosexual behavior—a condemnation that continues into the New Testament and is still binding today. The church must stand on the authority of Scripture in this matter, speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) about homosexuality, and clearly share the message that Jesus Christ has the power to forgive and heal everyone who comes to Him in repentance and faith, regardless of the kinds of sins that ensnare them. Paul reminded the Corinthian believers of this truth:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, NASB)


To: Anon:  I am a very lucky woman who has had the great blessing of marrying the man of my dreams.  We have been married for 35 years and I have never been happier.  We have raised two children who are happy and healthy and both of them love Jesus!!!  I spend quality time with the love of my life every day and I cannot imagine my life without him in it. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner tonight and I am never bored with his conversation.  He is my other half.  When you marry the man that God intends for you they are a blessing to you.  He loves that I have the time to spend here with you all. He isn’t threatened by my work with the Lord.  He is blessed by it. I am semi retired from my own company.  i just feel blessed by the Lord and I pray that someday you meet someone who blesses me as much as my man has blessed me!!!  God bless you!!! :):):):)

Asker Portrait
Anonymous asked:is it sin, or is it disobedient to God, to look forward to having a husband in the future? It's something I think about often, but I'm afraid that I look forward to it too much. What if the Lord wants me to be single forever, and I am just wasting time thinking about a future husband? I want to be married and have a family eventually... is that bad?

Why would it be a sin to have a man to marry and love you?  I looked forward to it very much when I was young too!!!  I used to dream about the man I would marry.  I almost married the completely wrong guy.  Thank goodness Jesus was watching over me!!!  I ended up with the man that the Lord intended me to have and I must say I have never looked back.  We are still very much in love only it deepens with the years. I can go to sleep at night without him by my side.  We hold hands and pray silently every single night and when we are done we squeeze each others hand and I never want to be without him.  I pray that neither of us die and we go up in the Rapture together.  I can’t think of a better way to end our marriage then to both be joined to Jesus at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  God bless you dear one!!! <3

How Do You Know Someone Is “The One”? || Jefferson Bethke

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