Recently the news came out that the openly Lesbian Houston Mayor, Annise Parker, had subpoenaed the sermons of five area pastors. Apparently these pastors had taken a stand against homosexuality and she wanted to find evidence that they had used their pulpits to make political statements.
Amazingly, the sermons in question are available on-line, free to the public.
So, why would she send legal demands for the information?
Obviously this is an attempt to intimidate and silence the opposition, but will it? Since the beginning of the Christian Church, pastors and their sheep have been dragged before kings, presidents, magistrates, and courts, and a great many of those men and women lost their lives for their trouble. Others spent many years in prisons and gulags. Even today there are many Christians locked up in labour camps in China, Saudi Arabia, and other totalitarian states.
So will her tactics work? Not if these are real Christians, and that is the big question. There are a great many pastors who view their status and prestige as more important than taking a stand for the truth. I am so glad that pastor Randy White said “never” to her demands! There is at least one Houston area pastor who has backbone!
But what does the bible say about homosexuality, anyway? There are a great many pastors who say that it is possible to be gay and a Christian at the same time. Does the bible actually say this? Because if it does then the Houston pastors would be wrong, and Ms. Parker would be correct for pursuing them.
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 18:22
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth 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
Many of those pastors would tell you that “we are not under the law” and therefore Old Testament law no longer applies, during the Church age. Paul did indeed say that we are “not under the law, but under grace”, but this does not mean that God no longer expects obedience. Jesus did say “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) God never changes.
Paul, addressing the subject of homosexuality (among other sins) said;
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:26-32
And, just in case we didn’t get it, Paul later spoke of homosexuality as a sin committed by the unrighteous;
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-1
There have always been two divisions among homosexuals, those who are somewhat effeminate, and those who appear “hyper-masculine”. Paul is addressing both camps in this epistle. Notice also that these people are grouped with fornicators, idolaters, adulterers thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers (a person who speaks abusively), and extortioners!
God views all of these people in the same way, and all deserve an eternity in the lake of fire! (We could add those who commit every sin in the bible as well; all sinners deserve death and an eternity in hell) The bible also says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”(Romans 3:23).
That’s the bad news.
The good news comes in the next verse;
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Yes, there were former homosexuals in the early Christian Church, as well as former fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners. The author, Paul the Apostle, was a former murderer, who had actually led persecutions against the Christian Church (Acts 9:1). Some would excuse him since he had government authority behind him, but if we don’t excuse Nazi butchers, who also had government authority, neither should we excuse Saul of Tarsus. Rather, we can rejoice that God reached down and saved an undeserving sinner.
No doubt people like Annise Parker remember that, at times, people like her were imprisoned, and sometimes put to death, for the sin of homosexuality. And, others suffered social stigma and ostracism. No doubt she remembers that those who did this identified themselves as Christians! Her reaction to pastors who speak out publicly against her lifestyle is understandable.
What a lot of Christians, and even pastors, don’t understand is that the Christian Church is not commanded to take over society. Our command is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The 1930s Nazi movement in Germany was also full of gays, and they too sent many Christians to the concentrations camps. (not that there were all that many true Christians in Germany at that time). For those who are new to the idea of Nazi homosexuality I would recommend you read “The Pink Swastika” by Lively and Abrams.
How did the Old Testament Jews interpret the passages in Leviticus?
And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. I Kings 14:24
And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. I Kings 15:11-12
And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land. I Kings 22:46
And Josiah, one of the last, and best, kings of Israel, and also a good, God fearing man;
7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove II Kings 23:7
So what should we take from all this evidence? God hates homosexuality just as he hates adultery, fornication, theft, murder, covetousness (envy), and the worship of false gods!
Nation-states have a vested interest in removing homosexuality, since homosexuals do not have children, which the state needs to fuel an economy, and join the armed forces for the nation’s defence. Everyone gets old and dies, and someone is needed to replace you.
God’s commands to individuals are different than His permissions for nations; a nation may do things that an individual may not, but that nation may be led by lost men who will also spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Here is what Paul said when the gay Nero was on the throne of Rome;
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Romans 13:4
We could go back to the same passages in Leviticus and see that a man who had sex with his daughter-in-law was also to be put to death, as was a couple who committed adultery. Children who disobeyed their parents were also to be put to death!
18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
There is no evidence that Israel ever obeyed this commandment. But the same God who gave the rest of the bible also gave that one. Stubborn and rebellious children do indeed deserve death, as to all sinners, but what God wants is repentance, not sacrifice.
Let me also say that in my youth I too was a stubborn and rebellious child. If we put to death all the stubborn and rebellious children, the world would be a very empty place, but God is telling us something about Himself in these passages;
He is telling us that only He is perfect, all humanity has sinned, and all sin is mortal!
We can’t, however just take some biblical passages and apply them without reading the last word from the Giver of the Law, Jesus Christ. Adultery was another sin for which the punishment of the law was death, yet hear the Word of the Lord in this instance;
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. John 8:3-7
You need to remember this lesson whenever you read the law. You too are a sinner worthy of death. One who is worthy of death has no business taking the life of another. Those who have received the mercy of God need to be merciful toward other sinners, but at the same time, we need to call sin “sin”!
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12
As the story goes on, all her accusers went away, and she was left with the Lord;
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
The bible is correct that everyone who sins is worthy of death, but Jesus Christ is also telling us that those who are worthy of death themselves are not qualified to put another sinner to death!
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Romans 12:19
It is not for Christians to put other sinners to death, or to advocate the death penalty. If you preach the gospel, and the truth about sin they will hate you enough! We are called to preach the truth, but we are not called to force the world into our image! That is the Lord’s job when He returns! And, He will do it perfectly.
At the same time Christians ought to oppose gay marriage, for the simple fact that God instituted marriage between a man and a woman.
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Matthew 19:4-6
Gay officials, like Houston Mayor Annise Parker, appear to be bullying the Churches out of fear that they might do to her what she would like to do to them. Or perhaps, it is out of fear that given the chance they might do what other “Christians” have done in the past. Maybe it is out of a spirit of vengeance, even though modern Christians are not the ones who did this, but other professing Christians several generations ago.
It is a shame that professing Christians have so frequently ignored the commands of Jesus Christ;
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:43-44
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Luke 6:27
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21
See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. I Thessalonians 5:15
The Roman Catholic Church has indeed advocated the death penalty for “heretics” including bible believing Christians, as well as Witches, and homosexuals. There are even some among the protestant churches who would also approve of the death penalty for Witches and homosexuals, as well as Muslims, but we have seen above that Jesus does not approve of such a penalty, and neither did the early Christian Church.
For a Christian, our home is not this planet; “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13
It is a natural thing to want to do to ISIS, and gay supremacists, the things that they are doing to innocent people. It is natural, but Christians are called to be supernatural.
The aforementioned book “The Pink Swastika” documented some of the abuses that the Gay German Nazis did in the concentration camps in the 1930s and 40s, and they were horrific. They did indeed deserve the wrath of God, and God can, and will, bring judgment on them when He is ready.
Remember that you, too, deserve the wrath of God.
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Romans 3:22-26
You see, Jesus wants to save Anise Parker, and the men and women of ISIS. In God’s eyes their sin is no worse than yours, or mine. They are deviants, and murderers? Yes, but your sin and mine demands the same penalty; Separation from God for all eternity in the Lake of Fire! To God there is no difference between you and me, and Anise Parker, or the men and women of ISIS!
The bible documents how the whole human race is a family. You and Anise Parker have common ancestors. So do you and the people of ISIS. So do the people of ISIS and the Jews.
If you and I believe that Jesus took our sin upon Himself, then how can we withhold such a great gospel from other undeserving sinners? Members of the same family?
Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking you deserved the gospel. You did not! God in His mercy reached down and made an effort to get unworthy sinners to repent! It is not about you, but about Him! If He did such a miracle in us, then He can do the same for others!