Untangling a logical fallacy.
Arsenic is natural – that doesn’t mean we ought to imagine its good for us. Just because something occurs in fallen nature is no recommendation of it, the question must be: What does God’s Word say?
Luke 7: 33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” (ESV)
I just finished listening to 4 talks given by “Evangelical” sociologist Tony Campolo and his wife Peggy on Christianity and homosexuality. And I am sick. Sick because of the total abandonment of Scriptural principles and authority by the Campolo’s in order to justify sin; and sick of the Church that has handled the entire matter of homosexuality so rottenly as to demonize people and pet sins while often fostering and even celebrating others.
Let me tell you first off that I take the utmost comfort in the passage cited above: “A friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Without such a statement, I would have little hope that Jesus is my friend. I am after all, a sinner. A rank one. Every day of my life I am reminded in fact, that I am so sinful, my own, deceptive sinful heart doesn’t even allow me to understand the depths of that sin. Only in God’s Word can I receive that objective view of the horror of my own sinfulness. Only by the illumination of the Holy Spirit can I come to know something of the weight of the seriousness of that sinfulness. And only in Jesus Christ can I have hope of forgiveness of my sinfulness, deliverance from the wrath of God due to me for my sinfulness, and the working of His Spirit inwardly to free me from the power of that sinfulness. I am a sinner. And so are you. Regardless of what form or forms your sin manifests itself in – the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for you.
The above things being owned and said, we must never forget (as Scripture testifies) – that while Christ died for sinners like you and me, and shed His blood that sin might be forgivable – He did not do so to then just LEAVE us in our sins. We are justified while still sinners, but sinners now set on the road to deliverance. He loves us enough not to leave us as we are. And so it is we do not come to the cross with any righteousness of our own, rather guilt ridden and sin stained – but we DO come that we might HAVE righteousness. A righteousness both imputed to us by reason of faith alone in Christ alone (Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–ESV). A righteousness also worked out within us by the continual, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit of God as He gradually and painstakingly conforms all of those who are His to the character of the sinless Lamb of God. As He looses us from the sins which have kept us bound all our lives.
What does all of this have to do with homosexuality? Back to the talks I heard from the Campolos. Peggy Campolo has long been a gay & lesbian rights advocate. Now let me state at the outset, that no one sin in our society ought be the defining factor of morality. Every right that is granted in a secular society (like the one in which we live) ought to be freely and commonly enjoyed by all who have not by virtue of their crimes, under due process of law, lost some of those rights in incarceration and its aftermath. Make no mistake, ALL laws are attempts at legislating moral behavior of one sort or another. Let’s not deny the facts in that case. But some behaviors are NOT governed by the legal system under which we live. That does not make such ungoverned behaviors moral. Morality is determined by God. Legalizing something immoral does not make it moral. Legalization only governs how we deal with that behavior in our society at large: It has no impact on its inherent sinfulness or righteousness. Moral determination is God’s domain alone. For example, in many places today, adultery is no longer illegal. It is still as wicked as ever before God’s eyes. But within society, it is often (if not most often) permitted with little or no consequences of a legal nature. Those who practice homosexuality in our society have just as much protection and right under the law as those who do not. This does not excuse the sinfulness of it any more than it excuses the sinfulness of adultery, pride, theft or any other things contrary to God’s holiness.
Let me add here that the Church has very often in our generation demonized homosexuality above other sins – wrongly. Not that it ought not to be condemned, but that we ought not to condemn it whilst turning a blind eye to more “acceptable” sins within even the Church itself. Within our own walls, we have a generation which not only doesn’t shun pride, but celebrates shameless arrogance, self-promotion and greed as virtues. Chapter 16 of Ezekiel’s prophecy has God thundering against Jerusalem for its sins, and likening its sister city Samaria, the capital of Israel in these words: 49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” God equates the sins of pride, arrogance, abundance of idleness and abuse of the poor and needy with that of who? You got it – Sodom. The place proverbial for homosexuality. Makes you think a little doesn’t it?
Far too often the Church has indeed been the purveyor of hatred, abuse and worst of all – denying men the Gospel due to their sexual sin. Shame on us. But at the same time, we are not to respond to our own wrongs by perpetrating yet more – like the Campolos, confirming men in their sins, and sealing their damnation by approval of what God clearly states He abhors. We can no more settle for that course, than the one we HAVE settled on, in condoning the wicked state of the Church in our age with its other sins. It ain’t Scripture, but it is truth – two wrongs don’t make a right.
Now what got me off on this diatribe was something I heard Peggy say in her 1st talk as I heard it on gaychristian.net – You can go there and download the four talks yourself. They are so filled with skewed reasoning, poor exegesis, eisogesis and pure fabrication as to make your head spin. One key thing she said is an oft repeated mantra within the “GLBT” (Gay/Lesbian/Bi-Sexual & Transgender) community and in their dialogues. The phrase is this – and it is this phrase alone that I want to deal with here: “A homosexual orientation is not chosen.” While Tony claims to be a bit more conservative than his wife, he too repeats this idea – and as typically happens – it is repeated as though that ends the discussion. Somehow the fact that we are born with certain tendencies makes them legitimate and therefore to be openly embraced. Hogwash.
The fallacy of this line of thinking ought to be obvious to us. I don’t doubt for one minute, nor should it surprise us that some are born with homosexual tendencies. The truth is, we are ALL born in sin. Lost, undone, depraved and wickedly gone astray from our God. The fact that some manifest that sinfulness in homosexuality is no different than others who manifest it in greed, lust, dishonesty and selfishness. The root is the same in all – only the manifestations have changed. So what? Sin still needs to be challenged in us, whether it is a tendency to act out sexually with people of the same sex, illicitly with people of the opposite sex, or to lie when we are uncomfortable, overeat when we are stressed or lash out in uncontrollable anger. The fact that I may be born with it has not one iota of impact on whether or not I ought to mortify it or celebrate it. I need God’s Word to speak authoritatively and clearly to examine me by its law so that I can understand the work needed to be done in my heart, and the battles I must fight in my growth in Christ. Just because it is natural does not mean it is good – since nature itself has been corrupted by the Fall.
So when we hear these arguments for alcoholism (the “alcohol gene”), lack of monogamy, or even homosexuality coming from the viewpoint of “I was born with this orientation” – we ought to agree with them: “Of course!” Then remind them that we are born with all of our sinful orientations, and the very nature of salvation and sanctification is our being delivered from the penalty of sin, the POWER of sin, and lastly, in glorification – the very presence of sin. Antithetical to the Gospel message is the normalization of, and capitulation to – any sin. Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (ESV)
Let us never hesitate in the slightest to embrace, encourage and join arms with our brothers and who are engaged in the effort to put their sins to death – no matter how heinous or repugnant they may appear to us. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. “ (1 Cor. 6:9-11- ESV)
As John MacArthur has said, the concern is not as much the perfection of one’s life, as the direction. Whitefield’s dictum was “Did they profess repentance toward God, faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and holiness of conversation (behavior)?” If they did, they he counted them brethren. This is how it ought to be with us. No matter what sinful orientation they must wrestle with.
Natural orientation toward sin is not an argument for its acceptance, but it IS a poweful argument for the need of a truly supernatural work by the Holy Spirit in the new birth, and sanctifying grace.