By Michael Brown
holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University
June 28, 2016
Notes from Pastor Kevin Lea interspersed, indented and italicized in brackets below.
In response to my open letter to Isaac Archuleta, who describes himself as a bisexual Christian, Richard S. posted a lengthy comment on my personal Facebook page, including this statement: “The logical conclusion to your theology (gays can change and if they don’t it must be because they don’t have faith or are deceived) is extremely damaging to the souls of gay people. That was the point of Isaac’s letter. No amount of nice words will erase the damage. Only honest reconsideration of your theology will bring healing. Please don’t discount/deny the faith of your gay brothers and sisters. They have much to contribute to the church.”
Of course, Richard has completely misstated what conservative Christians believe (we don’t say or believe that if gays don’t change “it must be because they don’t have faith or are deceived”), just as other parts of his comment (not quoted here) were also based on serious misunderstandings.
[Actually, if the Homosexual is calling their sin “good”, then yes, biblical Christians are saying the person is certainly deceived and therefore does not have saving faith in Jesus. You can’t call Jesus a liar and then say you believe He is a perfect sin sacrifice, and that you trust in Him as your Savior and Lord. This is why Paul stated in 1 Cor 6:9-11:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. NKJV
It is clear from this text (and many others including the epistle of 1 John) that a true believer does not live a life of homosexuality. A person cannot be a homosexual for Jesus any more than he/she can be a drunkard or extortioner for Jesus. These sins are understood as flagrant rebellion against God’s law. A person who is practicing this rebellion against God shows by their attitude that their heart has not been touched by God’s saving and changing power.
Does this mean that anyone who has too many drinks and crosses the line into drunkenness, or falls into an act of homosexuality is not saved? No. But the person who does so and then proclaims that God approves of their actions and they intend to continue to get drunk or live in immorality because God approves of this behavior is certainly not a born again believer, according to the scriptures.
Something real and powerful happens when someone becomes a true believer. They receive the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (the Helper) whose mission it is to convict the child of God of sin and to give them the power to have their minds renewed (John 16, Titus 3:1-7). If a person is not convicted of sin and has no desire to have their mind conformed to the mind of God, then it is quite obvious they do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them, which means they are not truly saved.
We live in an increasingly tempting world. It is a fact that many Christians are falling into temptation and sin. I have talked with truly saved people who have struggle with drunkenness, homosexuality, adultery, etc. They confess that what they have done is sin, which they agree is offensive to God and they are willing to pray to ask God to set them free from the deceptive power of sin which has taken up a stronghold in their sinful flesh.
But if they fall into sin and don’t care, don’t want to change, don’t want to pray for God’s help to repent and walk in holiness with God, then there is something very seriously wrong with their relationship with God – i.e., it doesn’t exist – according to God’s word.]
But that is secondary to the bigger issue, and Richard is one of many who are telling serious Bible believers that, “Only honest reconsideration of your theology will bring healing.”
He could not be more wrong.
First, what Scripture says on homosexual practice is not negotiable, and no amount of new books or videos or personal stories will change that.
As I explained in my book Can You Be Gay and Christian?, “no new textual, archeological, sociological, anthropological, or philological discoveries have been made in the last fifty years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently.
Put another way, it is not that we have gained some new insights into what the biblical text means based on the study of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Instead, people’s interaction with the LGBT community has caused them to understand the biblical text differently.” Simply stated, if not for the sexual revolution, no one would be reexamining what the Scriptures state about God’s intention for His creation. No one would be wondering if two men or two women could “marry” or if a husband could also be a wife.
No one would be doubting that the Lord made men for women and women for men and that any deviation from that pattern was contrary to His design and intent.
As one New Testament scholar was candid enough to admit, it was clear to him that the Bible forbade homosexual practice, but when his own daughter came out as a lesbian, he changed his opinion on the subject.
That’s why I’ve often stated that there is not a single argument that can be brought from God’s Word to defend homosexual practice, but there are powerful emotional arguments that can be brought. In that context, I’m often reminded of Jesus’ words that, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37).
The father of a “gay Christian” activist changed churches when his home congregation rejected his son’s views on homosexuality. When asked about these words of Jesus, he commented that there were other churches he could go to, but he had only one son.
I could only wince when I heard his words, so loving in one way but so destructive in another.
Second, if there was something to reconsider in our theology we would gladly do it. The truth be told, as impossible as the “gay Christian” arguments struck me, I went to the Lord about them, buying the books that defended this new way of reading Scripture, reading the stories (and listening to the stories) of professing gay Christians, allowing my heart to be torn and my mind to be challenged.
At the end of the day, as a biblical scholar, a lover of Jesus, and a lover of people, it was impossible for me to accept their arguments. The Word is just too clear on this, and without some kind of emotional or social or other pressure to reconsider what Scripture states, no one would deny this.
Third, those who argue that Christians agree to disagree on lots of things without denying each other’s faith fail to realize that they do not agree to disagree on behaviors that Scripture strongly condemns — unless they themselves are living in some kind of moral compromise.
We’re not dealing here with a question of whether speaking in tongues is for today or whether Christians are required to tithe or whether Jesus is coming before the tribulation.
We’re dealing with redefining the very meaning of marriage and claiming that a behavior that is plainly condemned in the Old and New Testaments — I’m talking about same-sex cohabitation — is now blessed by God.
And while God alone is the judge of every professing Christian, be that person gay or straight, we cannot embrace as fellow brothers and sisters those who are affirming, practicing, and even celebrating homosexuality.
We will put our arms around everyone who struggles with same-sex attraction, loving them and embracing them and encouraging them in their walk with the Lord, whether their walk entails transformation from homosexual to heterosexual or whether it entails celibacy.
[Dr. Brown is not clear in this statement and clarity is very germane to the subject at hand. Biblically, we can and should put our arms around any believer who is struggling with any sin (including homosexuality) if they agree that the struggle is against sins that are an offense to God and must be resisted as such.
If, on the other hand, they want to be called our brother or sister and expect to be treated as someone “walking with the Lord” in the church family, but have no desire or conviction to turn away from the homosexual lifestyle, then we must lovingly tell them they are not “walking with the Lord” and instead are walking with the devil and will get the devils reward if they don’t repent and become truly born again while there is still time.
But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 1 Cor 5:11-12 NKJV]
But we will not and cannot affirm and bless what the Lord Himself opposes. To do so is to do a disservice to those in the LGBT community.
Fourth, God’s message of grace and truth brings healing and wholeness and deliverance and freedom, as millions of people from every walk of life can attest, including large numbers of people who once identified as LGBT.
I’m quite aware that there are genuine homo-haters in the Church (I plan to address this yet again in the coming days; God is their judge as well), and I’m quite aware that Christians have often failed to demonstrate Christ-like love and compassion to the LGBT community (to put it mildly).
But I’m also quite aware that when we speak the truth in love and people actually hear what we’re saying (not the interpretation they put on our words but the real message of our words), if that message is received it will bring life not death.
To all of you reading this article who say, “I’m gay, I’m Christian, I’m involved in a same-sex relationship, and we’re thriving in the Lord,” I invite you to call my radio show or to send me your story or, if you live in my city, to get together with me and some of your friends — not for the purpose of debate but for the purpose of honest, loving, heartfelt interaction.
And if you have time, would you watch my video, “Can You Be Gay and Christian?” and tell me what I don’t understand and where I don’t display genuine empathy?
And if you’d like to read my book by the same title and you genuinely can’t afford it, email me your story, include your address, and I’ll send you a copy for free. You will not find a hateful word in the book, but you will find someone who cares.
In the end, though, your issue is with the Lord not with me.
I can assure you that He understands and He will provide everything you need if you truly entrust your life to Him.
[As a final note, I appreciate Dr. Brown’s article except as noted above. As is often the case these days, I noticed that he is quick to push the things he has written in books that are for sale, but only mentions one biblical passage when dozens could have (should have) been referenced. His challenge to the reader was not an encouragement to read the word of God, but instead to buy his books.
It is precisely because people and even Christians are no longer aware of what GOD has said about these things that we are in such a state of confusion in this country (world).
So my final encouragement to the reader is to search the scriptures and determine for yourself whether God is ambiguous on this subject. If you do, then you will find that the New and Old Testament are perfectly consistent in teaching that homosexuality is sinful and leads the one practicing it into the lake of fire on judgment day. Then you must decide whether you want to agree with God or fight him. I stopped fighting God forty two years ago when I realized how foolish it was to fight a losing battle against a God who loved me so much that He sent Jesus to save me if I would only repent, believe, trust and let Him be Lord. I pray the reader will join me in worshiping and serving this loving God, rather than fighting Him simply because it is trending these days.
And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. Eccl 12:12-14 NKJV
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city [heaven]. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. Rev 22:12-15NKJV