by Cecil Hook
(This letter is copied just as it came by e-mail. If it had been written for publication, no doubt, it would have been more refined in expression. The writer signed his name, but I will not use it, for I do not intend for this to be a personal response or confrontation. The letter is used as a basis for more discussion of this emotionally charged subject. I responded to him by e-mail, but the letter did not go through. ch)
“I have a few messages for you. First of all I would like to encourage you to continue seeking God, for in seeking our living God you will find love and truth. This is of utter importance since you are making your views so available on the WWW. Secondly I would like you to reconsider an issue which I feel will cause you grave trouble in the future.
“It is the fact that you do not know directly of God’s will since you are not God. You may “know” well of your interpretation of the bible, but the bible is not God. It is a tool to be used to seek truth, but it is not perfect. Only God is perfect. And we only know the mind of Christ, not the mind of God. So please be careful with your approach.
“And finally, in regards to homosexuality, I want you to know a few things. I’ve spent years trying to wittness to the homosexual community in San Francisco. So many there feel rejected by God, when they have in truth been rejected by “religion”. Christ loves them and even died for them, and they have forgiveness. They are no less worthy than you to enter the Kingdom.
“In regards to how Christ feels about homosexuals, let’s look at that tool, the bible, which you use so ferverently. In regards to men and women marrying……” This teaching does not apply to everyone, but only to those whom God has given it. For there are different reasons why men cannot marry: SOME, BECAUSE THEY WERE BORN THAT WAY; others, because men made them that way; and others do not marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let him who can accept this teaching do so.” (The words of Christ according to the Gospel of John 19:11-12)
“Please do a little soul searching today. Thanks. Love in Life,” (Signed)
Although I have written much more about heterosexual sins than homosexual sins, I have never been reproached for condemning lust, fornication, or adultery. My one brief article about homosexuality listed on my website drew both this response and a scolding by one for my mentioning my compassion for homosexuals. This son of a Baptist preacher did not want my condescending compassion, for he felt he was more upright in his practice than I in my censuring it. I doubt that his father would agree. Those who propose to practice Christianity and same-sex activity at the same time have now become more aggressive against their critics.
To begin, I will admit that the thought of same-sex relations is about as appealing to me as thoughts of eating roast Dalmatian. Not much higher in rank is the thought of wearing a ring in my nose, tongue, or lip. My opposition to homosexual practices is not based upon my detestation but upon convictions based upon Scripture. As much as I am repulsed by rings in the nose, tongue, or lip, I do not oppose others who want those things for those practices have nothing to do with morality or spirituality. What I like or dislike is not my basis of discernment.
Since my first reading of the entire Bible more than sixty years ago, I have not found one reference where there was approval of homosexuality. No neutrality. No non-judgmental references to it. All bad press! So, in order to uphold it as proper, the standard of moral teaching, the Bible, must be questioned or circumvented. That is what the letter writer has done, as you can readily see. He even sets Christ against God. He indicates that I cannot know the will of God through the Bible but then quotes from it in an effort to uphold his argument. I have a tract titled, Christianity and Homosexuality, published by The Metropolitan Community Church of Dallas which is a church for homosexuals. The defenses put forth in it are as lacking in Biblical evidence, logic, and sophistication as the letter above. By its reckless argumentation one would be at a loss to define any activity as sinful.
If we cannot know the will of God from the Bible, where do we go to find it? When people wish to justify their sinful practices, too often they turn to subjectivity based on wishful thinking and emotion. How else can “Christians” justify their promiscuous sex, living together without marriage, declaring that alcoholism is a disease rather than a sin, homosexual practices, transvestism, uninhibited divorce and remarriage, and other practices that are condemned in the Scriptures? The will of persons is substituted for the will of God.
Many passages indicate that we can know and do the will of God. (Consider: Rom. 12:1f; Matt. 7:21; Eph. 6:6; Col. 4:12.) I can see why one would not want to consider this passage as expressing the will of God: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from immorality; that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God; that no man transgress, and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, as we solemnly forewarned you. For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thes. 4:3-8; See 1 Peter 4:1-5).
The writer of the letter has spent years witnessing to the “homosexual community.” That active love and zeal is appreciated. They, as well as everyone else, need to hear the Gospel of salvation. He is to be commended highly if he has been “witnessing” to them 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters ,nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers 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 in the Spirit of our God.” May a person who refuses to give up the practice of either of the sins that Paul lists claim cleansing and entrance into the kingdom of God?
Paul tells of others who were unrepentant, so “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Rom. 1:26f). If these writings of Paul do not tell us of the will of God concerning these specific activities, where will we go to find God’s will? Paul, directed by the Spirit, wrote those truths, and their truthfulness does not depend upon my understanding or my attitude toward any of the specific sins. So do not judge the person who lovingly teaches the will of God of having a bad attitude, a prejudiced mind, or ignorance of the truth.
Yes, God loves them even as he loves me. They are no less worthy than I, but I am saved by Christ’s worthiness, not my own. Christ died for them and atoned for their sins as well as mine. They have forgiveness awaiting their acceptance of it just as any of the rest of us sinners. But no one can claim that forgiveness who has no intention of turning from the practice of sin. Repent is not an empty word. Repentance is not optional. It was the message of the prophets of old, of John the Baptist, of Jesus, and of his apostles. While it is true that the determination to refrain from sin does not guarantee that the person will never stumble in moments of weakness, the determination must be there. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it. … What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:1-:15-18).
As to homosexuals being rejected by religion instead of by God, that is a prejudicial disparagement. I do not claim universal knowledge on this point, but I have never known of a church rejecting a member simply because he or she had same-gender attraction. It is not the same-sex attraction that is at issue but it is their sexual practice. Homosexual desires are no cause for rejection any more than are heterosexual desires. When persons expressed desire to become a part of the congregations where I served, I never subjected them to questions of a private nature. However, if a man had confided to me his homosexual orientation indicating his intention of abstinence, I would have welcomed him and offered him what help I might have been able to give, and I would have done the same to a single heterosexual man or woman. If, however, Jim and Tim, wishing to be in our congregation, were to have confided that they were homosexual partners committed to living with each other, I would have had to offer them Scriptural teaching concerning their sinful relationship. The same would have been true if John and Jane had revealed that they were living together out of wedlock.
God makes some people with homosexual tendencies, some claim, so God approves their sexual exercises. Do you really believe God makes some to be homosexual? Because some condition exists does not mean that God is the benevolent designer of it. If God is its creator, then we would have to include all aberrations from the natural and normal as his approved work. That would include those born blind or deaf or paralytic or deformed. It would include those born with tendencies of addiction, sexual desire for children, kleptomaniacs, compulsive liars, over-sexed heterosexual persons, and all other people with abnormal or perverted tendencies.
God did make everything good in the beginning, but the fall of man in Adam opened the way for all that is abnormal and perverted. It is true that when God gave man the privilege of choice, he allowed sin which brought all that is undesirable. He permits these things but he does not send them upon innocent individuals. Contending that God designs these undesirable tendencies slanders him and approves irresponsible behavior.
Our correspondent quoted one Scripture reference (Matt. 19:11-12, not John 19. TEV). I am surprised that he quoted a passage in which Jesus stated “different reasons why men cannot marry: Some, because they were born that way.” Two persons of the same gender, even though born homosexuals, cannot marry each other! Marriage would have to be redefined and perverted, and God’s holy institution of the home would have to be destroyed to accommodate same-gender “marriage.” This is not an equal rights issue any more than a demand one might make for “equal rights” to be both a husband and a wife at the same time. There is no such right. No man can claim the right to fill the role of a woman, and visa versa. That which works against the sanctity of the home violates the principle which God established and it must ever face his disfavor. It destroys the foundation on which God built civilized society.
Entertainers, talk show hosts and hostesses, and the media in general have added their voices, speaking as though they have theological credentials, to erase any stigma associated with homosexual practices. Teaching of “alternate lifestyles” has been pushed into our educational system. Because homosexuals have gained so much power, few public figures dare to speak critically of them. They inflate the statistics to indicate that a high percentage of the population is homosexual. They try to minimize the blame for the AIDS epidemic which lies so heavily upon them. With these developments, they have become a powerful political force which is able to stifle much opposition. This all makes it the more important that we continue to inform our children and the public of this immoral practice and to bring all offenders to Christ.
Our intention is to offer God’s direction to troubled lives. But we cannot offer hope in Christ to anyone while encouraging the person to continue the lifestyle of his or her sin, whatever that sin might be. The child of God is not exempt from holy living. Being in Christ does not sanctify any sinful practice.
There are many inequities in this wicked world. Happiness is not found in lamenting the hand dealt to us, but in accepting our limitations and using in humble service what God has given us. Through this realization, some who might seem to have the most to complain about are the happiest. Sexual expression is not the only door to happiness. It is sad that many who have looked for happiness through its entrance have found it a vain disappointment.
It is the homosexual partnership that is rightly rejected and condemned, even as the male-female partnership without marriage should be rejected and condemned because is continued adultery. Even though the grace of God is available to all, it is not accessible to the person who has no intention of ceasing sinful practices. God does reject such persons. Christians should humbly inform them of God’s will and encourage them to overcome.