Liberal churches have long approved of LGBT activity, but in recent months I've noticed a more cunning form of deception entering into some evangelical churches.While these churches still assert that LGBT activity is immoral, they speak of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as if these were innate to a person's being. This is usually associated with the proclamation that, "Theoretically God can heal LGBT desires, but the fact is that most don't get healed."The implication is that the transformative power of the gospel which Jesus *died* to give us is a mere idea. Is it because these preachers - preaching a false gospel of no hope - have yet to experience the resurrection power of God for themselves?What is fundamentally at stake here is not the approval of LGBT unions seeping into the evangelical church (though that is certainly happening), but the heart and soul of the gospel.
(I) The Trojan Horse of LGBT ConceptsIn the Bible, the term "homosexual" ("gay", in modern parlance) is always used to describe people who participate in homosexual sex (e.g. 1 Cor 6:9-11), and is *never* applied to people who struggle with homosexual desires. This is very clear if you were to look up the original Greek in Strong's Concordance. Identity labels are powerful - to label someone who struggles with fallen desires as "gay" is to give power to Satan's lies that such lusts are an immutable part of one's identity.We cannot arrive at God's conclusions unless we commence with God's words and definitions. However, rather than looking to God, many associated with the evangelical belt (churches, seminaries, ministries, online publications) have co-opted the language of the world, thus facilitating the entry of worldly concepts into the minds of people - e.g. "gay", "transsexual", "sexual orientation", "gender identity".These things do not happen overnight. While I've been largely sheltered from these developments until recently, if I had to put a starting date to these developments it would be around 2009-2010.I am reminded of a phrase I came across a long time ago: "The walls of Scripture are being broken down." It was the interpretation of a vision someone had received about some Charismatic churches failing to exercise discernment in regards to spiritual phenomena. I believe the same phrase can be applied today to many in the evangelical belt who have failed to exercise biblical discernment - rather than reading the Word of God and testing the world's ideas against it, they are taking worldly concepts and topping it with "Christian" sprinkles.The walls of Scripture are indeed being broken down. It grieves me very much to see genuine Christians being corrupted away from the simplicity of gender and sex, even away from the simplicity of the true gospel which promises transformation to *all* who believe (e.g. Acts 26:18, Romans 6).
(II) The Lack of Gospel TransformationThe path out of all bondages and addictions are the same, that is through Jesus Christ. If those with LGBT desires cannot be set free, neither can those with other fallen behaviour - e.g. alcoholism, drug addiction, porn addiction, depression, etc.Of course, if you're a Christian and try to follow the Pied Piper of the world, you're always several steps behind. One big elephant in the room which these Christians have missed are those who struggle with pedophilic desires. Their stories can be remarkably similar to those who struggle with LGBT desires, and these are the ones whom Christ came to set free. However, certain quarters of the world have been campaigning for years to view these people as "born that way", or that their pedophilic desires cannot be changed, and maybe offer them some cutesy "sympathy" that ultimately has no redemptive power.Given that many evangelical churches have been incapable of ministering Christ to those who struggle with LGBT desires, it is probably just as true that they have failed to minister to those with alcoholism, porn addiction, drug addiction, pedophilic desires, etc. I see this as the real scandal... it is thus fundamentally not a LGBT crisis, it is a *gospel* crisis!When we received Christ, we died to sin, we died to the law, so that we can be bound to Him (Romans 7). Likewise, Romans 6:14 states, "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." While we were immediately assigned these identity privileges the moment we were born-again, it can take a while before we learn to lay hold of these truths by faith. The journey might look different for everyone - for me, it took over a decade. I can be a slow and dull learner... so if God has had the patience and grace to teach me, He will likewise do for *everyone* who comes to Him.The last thing, however, is to present a false Jesus, a false gospel, which states that you have no hope of transformation. Of course, things are never quite stated so explicitly from the pulpit - it's usually doused with "compassion" and "acceptance", tickling the ears of its hearers, and might even be welcomed by those who struggle with these fallen desires. Yet these strugglers who most need help are being led away from the true solution (that's Jesus), and on to the pathway to hell. This is not an overstatement, it is the truth.It maligns Jesus to present Him to be as ineffectual as buddha, allah, and other dumb idols. Tell you what - I know my Bible, I know my God, and He says, "I am willing; be healed!" (paraphrasing from Matthew 8)
(III) On the Future of the ChurchRather than trying to "fake it" and give false answers on things they know nothing about, it is better for churches to admit their bankruptcy - that they don't know how to walk in the Spirit, they have yet to experience the transformative power of Jesus Christ living in them, they have no idea how to set sinners free, that they don't know many things. There is no shame in admitting that, because such an admission is humility towards Christ. He is very eager to teach us these things: for the good of ourselves, and also for rivers of living water to gush out of hearts to minister to a broken and dying world. But we must first come to Him.Let me emphasize again that I do not believe this is primarily a LGBT crisis. The LGBT crisis only reveals existing doctrinal weakness and spiritual inefficacy, particularly because Christ is not lifted and His gospel of grace is not preached in full. An organism dies because it has no life, likewise with churches and denominations.What of the future of the evangelical denomination? I don't know, but a large evangelical church in my area has decided to cast same-sex marriage as a non-essential issue over which Christians can disagree and still have fellowship (contrary to Paul's emphatic counsel in 2 Tim 3:5 - "from such people turn away!"). I used to view that particular church as representing the "gold standard" of church management - so if that church can fall, anything can happen. I would not be surprised if large swathes of today's evangelical denomination were to fall within five to ten years' time. There is only one bulwark against that, and that is dependence on Jesus and His Gospel.However, God's intent is not to preserve denominations, but to preserve the redemptive message of His Son, to keep His people, and to save sinners. Sinners redeemed with the price of His Son - be it those who struggle with LGBT or pedophilic desires, those who act upon such desires, or the shiny self-righteous religious person... to save them not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the *power* of sin.Yes, legislative developments will be increasingly hostile towards Christians as we head towards darker times. But I'm a lot more concerned that there is not enough experience of Jesus' gospel! Hitherto there hasn't been enough experience of that in church life, and I believe God wants a fuller display of the gospel's transformative power before His Son returns.These happenings among evangelical churches would be cause for despair (I was very grieved when my church preached the false gospel of no hope recently, despite having written to them on this matter; God's grief must have been many, many times more intense). But many years ago, God showed me something similar to what David Wilkerson shared here about the future of His church: http://bit.ly/2evwEufAnd with that assurance, I am full of hope - indeed, I see God working in my life, as well as the lives of people around me. Very optimistic about the future of the true church, even if things will likely look very different to how things are being done today.
Ultimately I care, because it is about: the Lord Jesus, my Brother; and His gospel, which He died to give."Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Tim 4:16)
The path out of all bondages and addictions are the same, that is through Jesus Christ. If those with LGBT desires cannot be set free, neither can those with other fallen behaviour - e.g. alcoholism, drug addiction, porn addiction, depression, etc.
TrueWitness,Thanks for sharing your thoughts on victory over sin. I value the stuff you've shared on this forum over the years BTW.I do recall the Exodus International incident - I personally wondered how they could have kept up the charade for so long. I don't know much about the details of their ministry - but as God's methods always lead to victory in Christ, I can only conclude they were using human-concocted methods. There are many ministries and sermons which have made the same error of relying on human means - e.g. "10 steps to freedom from porn addiction".Here's an excellent post by Roadsign, on why many church ministries are haven't been effective in ministering to those who are struggling: http://img.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic_pdf.php?topic_id=9958&forum=35I can remember the day when God removed the scales from my eyes and I saw that sanctification was not by striving but by faith. I was filled with joy, and felt that I had understood all mysteries and all knowledge. The latter part is evidently not true, but it was a watershed moment in my journey with God.On that day, I experienced freedom from sin in a very real way. But it is not theologically accurate to say that I was freed on that day... The truth was that on the day I received Christ, I was made complete in Christ and fully freed from sin. But it took me many years before I learnt to exercise faith to lay claim to those truths, which is the will of God for us (John 6:29).
Brings Jeremiah 6 to mind.
Is it possible that those who struggle with homosexual desires may, at least in some instances, fall under a sin like looking on a woman to lust after her (though obviously applied to the same sex)? In this case, I suppose it would be the lust which would be the primary sin. If one, in a general sense, struggles against homosexual desires without participating in such activities, I fully understand your point. I'm not sure, though, that Romans 1 makes much of a distinction between the desire for a homosexual relationship and the action itself. Of course, unlike heterosexual attraction, which can be fulfilled righteously, it is impossible to fulfill homosexual attraction righteously. For instance, I have been married for 25+ years, but can choose to be either moral or immoral. I think its the fact that, scripturally speaking, the consummation of a homosexual relationship cannot be anything but wicked; that makes it difficult for Christians to distinguish the desire with the act. You are definitely spot on about the walls of scripture being broken down in many so-called evangelical churches. It definitely reminds me of Jude 1: 1-7 and the apostasy described therein.
Hi Amastra,I like that you brought up Romans 1. In verse 27, we read that - "the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another...".So LGBT desires are fundamentally a problem with lust, and the solution to that is similar to all other forms of lust.It is unfortunate that many churches have adopted the worldly euphemism of "same-sex attraction", which hinders clear thinking on this issue. The correct term is "same-sex lust". There's nothing wrong with attraction or love, which can be perfectly untainted by lust.Can God heal? Most evangelicals would affirm that.Is God willing to heal? It grieves me very much to see God being misrepresented in many evangelical churches that He is unlikely to do so... when the real Jesus says so compassionately, "I am willing" (Matt 8).And the healing Jesus provides is total and complete, and is for everyone who comes to Him.There are Christians who find freedom, I'm aware of at least two testimonies on this website. Why do some find freedom, and others don't? I believe it is their trust in God and His Word that made the difference.