Thursday, September 25, 2008

Homosexuality and Romans 1: What is “Therefore” there for?

This is part two of a three part series of blog posts where I am examining the theological arguments, if you can call them that with a straight face, which some people use to try to excuse homosexual behavior. The saddest part of this is that there are people who name the name of Christ who suggest that either we shouldn’t proclaim that homosexuality is called sinful in the Bible (Now that’s not for me to judge. It’s between them and God, bless their hearts) or they take the stance that homosexuality is actually compatible with Christianity and that the suggestion that it is sinful behavior is just cultural prejudice. We will look today at another favorite twisting of scripture employed by the “Gay is ok” crowd and see if it makes sense as we look in the Bible.

Romans 1:18-23 is the absolute clearest explanation in the New Testament, and in my opinion in all of scripture, of the sinfulness of man. It reads, in the NASB, as follows:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Pretty straight forward, right? I mean, the gist of what Paul is saying is that the history of mankind and society does not demonstrate that as society developed we became more moral. Quite the opposite, actually. We became, and are becoming, progressively more sinful and anti-God. We started out rejecting Him and then fashioned gods for ourselves and others to worship. This is a sweeping generalization of how man has progressed not a point by point exhaustive listing of all societies and people every where. The next verses are where the “Gay is ok” crowd make their mistake. Verses 24-27 read:

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Both verse 24 and 26 have a Greek word dio or dia which is translated Therefore or For this reason. Homosexual revisionists claim that this indicates that God allowed those who were engaged in worship of idols to be given over to unnatural homosexual desires. They argue that the real sin being discussed here is idol worship and temple prostitution. However, this does not fit the context, unless of course you have an agenda that you want to promote. As we read these verses, one fact becomes very clear-the progression of sin. They suppress the truth, they reject God’s revelation of Himself in nature, and they refuse to worship Him but rather choose to worship something they themselves have made. It’s like a slippery, snow-covered hill. Mankind has progressed in wickedness. Then, you get to the point where you would even reject something as basic and fundamental to nature as the normal way for people to have sex. Clearly, Paul was not talking about homosexuality divorced from the contest of his argument.

Finally, if Paul meant that homosexuality was something God gave these idolaters over to as punishment for their sin, God was not very successful at punishing them. Quite obviously, not everyone who worshipped an idol also participated in homosexual relationships. In fact, there were male and female temple prostitutes. It is not reasonable to assume that everyone who worshipped idols all of a sudden had their wrists go limp and started speaking with a lisp.

While we should proclaim that homosexuality is a sin, we should also recognize that we are all sinners. If it were not for the grace of our Lord Jesus, we would all be condemned to hell forever. We should be humble enough to remember that even if we were not saved out of something like homosexuality, we were saved from our sin and our sin was an affront to a holy, righteous God. Let us give Him thanks for calling us to Himself and let’s live life as he has called us to live it.

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