Our culture seems to be at critical crossroads, and the hinge issue is human sexuality. A parishioner told me this week that he sees many acquaintances, friends and family leaving the Church, and the common denominator appears to be the issue of homosexuality. It definitely seems to be “hot potato” topic of the early 21st century–or perhaps I should say, the beginning of the third millennium of the reign of Jesus Christ. Think of the recent firestorm surrounding Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame; witness the “mass wedding” that took place at the Grammys this week.
I have a new booklet on my desk, Is God Anti-Gay? That does seem to be the question of the moment. And it’s important for me, as a minister, an official spokesman for Jesus Christ, not to shirk away from such a question. All sorts of Christians have different answers to this question, so it’s important to set forth clearly what God says about this in his word.
It’s frequently said today, “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.” He also never “said anything” (directly) about … rape. Or incest. But he did say, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets …” (Mt. 5:18) Part of that Law said, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” (Lev. 20:13a) He also said that out of men’s hearts comes porneia, a Greek word from which we get the term pornography (Mt. 15:19; Mk. 7:21). It clearly means that there are expressions of human sexuality that are outside the boundaries that God has set for us and are therefore displeasing to him (cf., Rom. 1:25-27; 1 Cor. 6:9f.; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5; Col. 3:5-7; 1 Thess. 4:3-8).
More importantly, he affirmed God’s original intention for mankind when he quoted from the creation account in Genesis 2: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’?” (Mt. 19:4-5 = Mk. 10:6-8) According to Jesus, our sexual identity, our gender, is not a social construct; it is not an individual choice that you can, by a sheer act of will, set aside. It is part of the givenness of who we are as creatures made in God’s image. And those two different genders are to come together in a mutual bond which alone can make two human beings “one flesh.”
We may not like what Jesus says; it may not be popular in our current cultural milieu. But it cannot be denied that he re-affirmed God’s original intention for humanity: monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Anything other than this–no matter how common or how tolerated and even promoted by the culture one lives in–is porneia, immorality. In answer to the question, “Is Jesus against homosexual activity?” the only answer that is faithful to Jesus’ actual recorded words is, “Yes.” Just as he is against all sexual activity–pornography, adultery, pre-marital, incest, etc.–that is outside of the boundaries that God established at creation: heterosexual, monogamous marriage. It is something for which he bled and died on the cross of Calvary, so that he might provide forgiveness and renewal for all who seek such from him by a true and living faith.
I realize that someday–and maybe someday soon–this article could be used against me for promoting “hate speech,” “intolerance” and other politically incorrect “sins.” But as Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt. 5:11-12) I’d rather have the blessing of the King of kings than the applause of Hollywood.
The Rev. Brian Nolder is pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church (CREC) and president of the Pella Ministerial Association. More info at www.redeemerpella.org. All Scripture quotes from the ESV. The views expressed are his own and not those of the Pella Chronicle.