LGBTQ+ the New “Has God Said!”
All Sin Begins with Questioning God’s Word (Has God Said?)
Is LGBTQ+ the New Normal in God’s Church?
Today there’s a new deception spreading rapidly in churches. That deception is that LGBTQ+ is acceptable before God. Somehow, between the Old Testament and the New Testament, homosexual relationships became morally acceptable in God’s eyes and therefore in His Church. What was an “abominable” lifestyle in Leviticus, became an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes. Jesus, being God, somehow decided to override all of the things God called out as sexual immorality in the Old Testament. Now, sexual immorality has been redefined to mean something totally different than God had declared in the Old Testament.
It’s as if Jesus had different ideas than the Father. But scripture clearly tells us that isn’t the case. In john 1:1, we learn that The Word(Jesus) was there from the beginning and that The Word(Jesus) IS God. Paul writes in Colossians 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; (KJV).” John 10:30 says, “I and the Father are one” and John 5:19 tells us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” The fact that Jesus is God makes it difficult to to separate the God of the Old Testament from Jesus in the New Testament.
While men and societies change, God NEVER changes. In Malachi 3:6 God said, “For I the Lord do not change;” and Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.” It’s interesting Moses used the term “son of man” because that is how Jesus refereed to Himself. This is reflected in Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” and in James 1:17, “He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James, the brother of Jesus, clearly states that God never changes, but goes on to say that God never gives a hint He will change. So, from Old Testament to New, God doesn’t change and there is not hint that He will change.
Jesus Never Questioned God’s Word
Jesus entered His ministry on earth after fasting for 40 days and forty nights. It was then Satan came to tempt Him. Satan used a multi pronged attack to disqualify Jesus from the mission He was sent by God to complete. (Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–15)
First, Satan appealed to Jesus’ physical needs. After fasting for forty days he was hungry. “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered from Deuteronomy 8:3 “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Next, the Tempter challenged Jesus to put God’s Word to the test. Taking Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.(Psalms 91:11-12)’” But Jesus again turned to Deuteronomy (6:16) to answer, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Finally, the Devil made an appeal to Jesus’ vanity. He to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.” Jesus, once again, answered from Deuteronomy (6:13), “Away from Me, Satan!” Jesus declared. “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”
Many scholars use 1 John 2:16 as the premise behind Satan’s temptation of Jesus, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” These things are relevant, as the tempter uses such worldly things to tempt us every day. But there is a larger question. In all three temptations, there was one underlying motive, and that was to question God’s Word. The question the serpent used on Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:1 the serpent asked, “Indeed, has God said.” Sin always begins with questioning God’s Word. Every sin in the history of man, began or will begin with questioning God’s Word.
The tactics used by Satan with Jesus were different than he used with Eve but the same underlying question was there. In two of the instances, the devil used the question attempting to convince Jesus He wasn’t God’s Son. “If You are the Son of God?” Let me rephrase, “Has God said You’re His Son?” While the words are different the underlying meaning is the same. Just like with Eve, in the Garden of Eden, “Is that really what God said?” the serpent followed with “You surely will not die!(Genesis 3:4).” Eve questioned God’s Word because she became convinced she was missing out. Therein lies the problem. We can easily be deceived by simply allowing our own carnal desires to override God’s Word in favor of worldly things. The serpent wanted Eve to believe God was holding out on her. He wanted her to believe she could be “like God” (Genesis 3:5). Eve focused on the object of the deception rather than the motive and she bit the fruit! The difference is Jesus, even in His weakened state, rested confidently in God’s Word, without question or hesitation.
In the final temptation of Jesus, Satan did exactly what he’d done with Eve. In Eden the serpent promised Eve knowledge if she only listened to him. During the final temptation of Jesus, he promised Jesus a kingdom he didn’t own for worship he didn’t deserve. “All this I will give You, if You will fall down and worship me.” Psalms 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” But, unlike Eve, Jesus focused on the motive of Satan’s temptation rather than the object. He swatted the tempter down by acknowledging God’s Word rather than disobeying it. “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”
Questioning God’s Word, The Slippery Slope!
Questioning God’s Word caused; Adam to fall into sin(and took the world with him), Cain to kill his brother, Moses not to enter the Promised Land, Saul to lose his kingship, David to lose a son, Solomon to lose a kingdom, Uzziah to contract leprosy and the list goes on and on.
In today’s world, questioning God’s Word has become a form of art. From “Red Letter” Christians who only believe the “Red Letters” in the Bible to liberal theologians who craft clever ways to discredit or change the meaning of passages in the Bible. Whatever the motif, the motive is to modulate the Word of God into something that fits a worldly agenda.
Whatever the focus, it becomes the center-point of the institution. Why not, creating institutions is man’s tendency. Even the disciples had that inclination. Following the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-5), Peter’s first inclination was to build institutions. He responded and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah(KJV).” Peter wanted to buiild 3 buildings and hang out but God had different ideas. God spoke from the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!”
The first thing any new fellowship wants to do is build stuff. Once the institution is built, the focus shifts from ministry to maintaining the institution. Ministry is redefined into “serving” the institution and the vast majority of the resources are concentrated on keeping the institution going. Money, time, everything becomes about what I call “keeping the lights on.” Suddenly, we look up one day and ask, “Is this really what God called us to do?” And, hopefully, we realize that as with Peter, Jesus walks right by us while the voice from the cloud says, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!”
Eventually, people begin to get disillusioned and the institutional ministries begin to suffer. People get burned out or move on and interest begins to wane. Sooner or later, in the interest of maintaining the institution, standards begin to become diluted. The need for people to perform institutional functions is expanded to include non-members and even those who may be unsaved or have other disqualifying issues. What was strongly centered on principles from God’s Word starts to become relaxed so as to try and keep the institution going. As interest in the institution wanes further, new ideas begin to take over and righteousness gives way to compromise, compromise to unrighteousness and unrighteousness to debauchery. It sometimes takes decades for this to happen and I’ll give an example:
When I was a young boy (back in the 50s & 60s) in conservative fellowships, divorce was unheard of. If someone divorced, they either didn’t remarry or they left the fellowship. Now, divorce is as common in conservative fellowships as in the world. So what was a conservative witness became compromised. Worldly concepts become intermingled with institutional requirements and Biblical principle begins to be subverted. As a boy, worship was singing hymns with all your heart, whether there was someone to play the piano and/or organ or not.
Now worship is a grandiose production with professional musicians and is more entertainment than worship. Now, “Christian Counseling (psychological)” is thing in most religious institutions where once there was a time God’s Word was held up as the only standard to be followed.
Theological Adoption of “Has God Said?”
Once the witness has been damaged by co-mingling with worldly principles, the church becomes less effective. People see “church” as a Sunday morning meeting rather than a vivacious gathering of God’s people to worship the living God. That being the case, institutions have to find new ways to be relevant. Enter a new wave of “Did God Say?” and where institutional Christianity has gone off the rails of Biblical Truth.
To be more inclusive we have to find new ways to interest people. What was sound doctrine is now watered down even more. Suddenly, once solidly understood Biblical principles become reoriented to meet the worlds criteria for inclusion. When divorce became widely accepted in God’s Church, it’s logical that homosexuality would be next. When adultery became passé, it was inevitable that other sinful behavior would be allowed into God’s Church as well.
This is where many pastors and seminaries failed. They virtually ignore sins like gossip, malice and a host of other things. Sexual sin was divided and classified into heterosexual sin and homosexual sin, each with a different degree of sinfulness. I remember once hearing a very conservative pastor with a DDiv say, “Homosexuality is the only sin called an abomination in the Bible.” That always bothered me because I really don’t believe God sees degrees of sin. We may see degrees, but God sees sin, and sin separates from God. The smallest thing we can do to displease God separates us just as far from God as what scripture calls out as an abomination.
Now, because certain sins became acceptable even in conservative churches, liberal theologians pounced. They began to use the devil’s argument, “Has God Said” to justify behavior clearly defined in God’s Word as displeasing to God. Now, it’s common to hear someone say, “Jesus never forbade homosexuality” or “marriage is between two people.” The agenda of the world is used to redefine or discount the portions of the Bible that disagree with their theological agenda. Because of this, many churches embrace and welcome homosexuals into their fellowships.
When we step back and look at this, it took decades for adultery to be accepted in fellowships but it didn’t take near as long for homosexuality to be accepted. Why? Once the sin standard is lowered, the next level is introduced much more easily. Now we’re dealing with transgender, drag, pedophilia and all sorts of debauchery in church(?) fellowships.
How did this happen so rapidly? The age old question, “Has God Said?” Where does this lead? Religious institutions become “tohu va baho” (formless and void, Genesis 1:2), indistinguishable from the institutions of the world, and having no purpose other than serving the institution.
Those fellowships that try to remain true to God’s Word are discounted and persecuted as bigots, out-of-touch, homophobic, misogynistic, judgemental, and unloving.
The Road Back to Truth, “God has Said!”
Believing God’s Word is Paramount
Today, those who promote the Truth of God’s Word are are marginalized and denigrated publicly by, not only those who embrace worldly doctrine, but politicians, pundits, and the media.
So how do we get back to truth as God intended? There is a way:
- Believe God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Be confident God is Who He says He IS (2 Timothy 1:12)
- Know what God’s Word says (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Promote the Truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)
Begin with Jesus:
- Jesus Is God (John 1:1)
- Jesus was there from the beginning (John 1:2)
- Jesus is a God and Man (Hebrews 2:17)
- Jesus lived a completely sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22, Hebrews 12:2)
- Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 Peter 3:18, Romans 5:8, Hebrews 12:2)
- Jesus rose from the dead ( 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Mark 16:6, Hebrews 12:2)
- Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34, 1 Peter 3:22, Mark 16:19, Hebrews 12:2)
- Is the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21)
- Is inerrant (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21 )
- Is complete (2 Timothy 3:16, Proverbs 30:5-6)
- Is the authoritative source of God’s Truth (2 Timothy 3:16, John 17:17, 2 Peter 1:20-21,Proverbs 30:5 )
Truth Begins With Believing!
The first verse I remember learning as a young boy was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.” Another verse I learned was Psalms 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” In order to believe God’s Word, one must believe God. To believe God one must transfer their trust from themselves to Jesus. To believe God one must have faith as in 2 Timothy 1:12 “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” But in order to have faith like this, we need to hear about Jesus. Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.(NLT)” People must hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to believe. When they receive the good news of the gospel and transfer their trust from themselves to Jesus, they need to be properly taught how to study and interpret God’s Word. Imagine, a new believer thrust into the middle of a Bible study on the Book of Revelation, Daniel, or Ezekiel. There must be systematic training by an experienced, Biblically grounded, mentor to disciple the new believer as Jesus commanded in Mathew 28:20. This is how we begin to combat heresy that’s creeping into the institutional church. This will help the Church avoid raising up casual Christians who really don’t have strong convictions.
Clearly understanding and believing the things that are pleasing to God and the things that are not is key to righting the doctrine of Godly sexual relationships.
Sexual Relationships, “God has Said”
One of the first things we, as well as new believers, need to understand is that sexuality is clearly defined by God in His Word. God declared after creating man that there were boundaries for sexual relations. In Genesis 1:27, God created man and clearly defined the genders He created, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” God clearly stated that man was made in His image as “male” and “female.” God also only sanctioned the sexual relationship to be between man and wife (woman) in Genesis 2:24, ” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
We’ve established earlier that Jesus is God and that He was there from the beginning. Jesus clearly spoke to the sinfulness of the Pharisees because of their position on divorce. They hoped to catch Jesus in a matter of the law, “divorce,” so they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” (Matthew 19:3) Jesus went right back to creation in his answer. “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate (Matthew 19:4-5).” But Jesus didn’t stop there, He continued, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your hardness of heart; but it was not this way from the beginning. Now I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman, commits adultery (Matthew 19:8-9).”
So, Jesus affirmed gender as male and female and clearly stated the boundary for God sanctioned sexual relationships. He also said that “sexual immorality” was the only valid reason for divorce. The context is clear. Jesus, by stating what a God sanctioned relationship is, also left no room for any other kind of sexual relationships. He labeled everything else as “sexual immorality.” In other words, Jesus told the Pharisees that the only reason they could divorce their wife was if she had a sexual relationship other than within the bounds of marriage as defined by God.
Jewish Law, the Christian and LGBTQ+
There are times when I find myself quoting Old Testament Law and think later, “That really wasn’t right.” I hear arguments from liberals such as, “do you mix threads or plant mixed crops” as an argument against Christians regurgitating Old Testament Law. With all of the disharmony caused by this, it’s necessary to understand whether Christians are under Old Testament Law. The answer, in a word, is “NO.”
So then is homosexuality OK? Again, the answer, in a word, is “NO.” But rather than starting with scriptures from Romans and Timothy, I’m going to start with Acts. In the early church, there was a huge upheaval about following the Law or not. The apostle Paul argued that Christian were no longer under the Law but many Jews disagreed. Paul instructed the Galatians (2:16), “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
Because of the consternation caused by this argument, the Apostles decided to write a letter to the Church at Antioch explaining exactly what they were to do. Here is that letter from Acts 15:23-29:
“The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
So here’s the list of things to avoid:
- Things sacrificed to idols
- Things that are strangled
- Sexual Immorality
Three of these things are regarding food. The focus was on not eating blood which precedes Old Testament Law. In Genesis 9:3-4 god told Noah, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” Since many of the sacrifices were strangled, the “life blood” was still in the animal. That being the case, the first three related to that edict which existed before Mosaic Law.
The final thing listed was sexual immorality. The only place in God’s Word where sexual sins are clearly defined is in Leviticus which is part of the Old Testament Law. The things defined in Leviticus 18 and 20 are the things outside the bounds of what God defined as marriage. Again, Jesus restated God’s edict from Genesis in Matthew 19:4-4, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”
The controversy in Antioch was clearly over whether Christians should obey Mosaic Law. Those Jews who tried to bring the whole of Jewish Law into Christianity would certainly have addressed the Law concerning sexual sins because many of those things were common practices in the pagan worship of the time period. This, coupled with a clear understanding God’s edict regarding man, gender and marriage excluded homosexual relationships, sodomy, bestiality, incest and even more clearly refutes the idea of transgender.
The Sanctity of the Believer and LGBTQ+?
This is probably the most heinous heresy when it comes to Christianity and LGBTQ+. When the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, the Spirit guided Jesus and was present during the temptations. Each time Jesus responded from scripture. This is how the Holy Spirit works in the life of believers. In John 16:8 it tells us, “And when he(The Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” When one gives their life to Christ Jesus they become a new creation as Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 2:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The old self is gone having been crucified with Christ. They’re a new creation!
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it (Luke 9:23-24).” The apostle Paul expands on that in Ephesians 4:22-23 with, “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”
One of the hallmarks of the LGBTQ+ movement has always been, “This is who I am!” Deep down they know what they’re doing is contrary to God’s Word. This is the reason they have to work so hard to defuse what God’s Word clearly states. So:
- How can we affirm ourselves yet take up our cross to follow Jesus?
- How can cling to old lifestyles and still put off the old self?
- How can we retain former manner of life which is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds?
The answer is simple. We can’t! Either we deny ourselves or we don’t. Either we cling to old lifestyles or we don’t. Either we put of the former manner of life which is corrupt through deceitful desires, or we don’t. All of those those things we have to do to follow Jesus. To repent is “to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (dictionary.com).” When we transfer our trust to Jesus this means we repent. To repent means we turn our backs on our sin and go the other way. The word Jesus used in Luke 9:23 is arnēsasthō, let him deny, from arneomai which means to deny or say no. It literally means let him repudiate himself then take up his cross. When we repudiate something, we want to get away from it. Think about coming upon something that has died, our first instinct is to get away from it. The same is true of our old self. Our first instinct when we come to Christ must be to get away from how we were. Paul continues by telling them, in Ephesians 4:24, “to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” So the old things are done away with and we’ve put on a likeness of God in righteousness and holiness.
Paul says in Colossians 1:13-14, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” How then can we maintain a selfish identity whose kingdom is darkness? The answer is simple, we cannot. In other words, when we try to maintain a selfish identity it means we were never transferred from the kingdom of darkness.
The bottom line is simple. God defined clearly in His Word that there are two and only two genders, male and female. God also clearly laid out that a proper sexual relationship was between man and wife, marriage and any sexual relationship that isn’t within the boundaries of what God defined is sexual immorality.
To be a Christian, a true follower of Jesus, we must deny ourselves, turn our back on our old ways and follow Jesus every day. We cannot try to hang onto our old identity because, whether that identity falls within the bounds of sexual immorality or not, our old self resided in the kingdom of darkness.
I’ll end with Philippians 2:1-11, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”