FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 18, number 15, April 11, 2019
“God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity. . . God gave them over to degrading passions. . . God gave them over to a depraved mind.” -Romans 1:24,26,28
The Respectability of Sexual Perversion
Of late, I have been shocked, dismayed, grieved, and aghast at how mainstream and “respectable” sexual perversion has become in the Reformed and Evangelical church world. Men and women who claim to be Reformed or Evangelical Christians also claim to be homosexual but celibate or “same-sex attracted” but celibate. These men are editors and speakers for respected ministries, and are now speaking at our seminaries, churches, and large, well attended Bible or Theology conferences, and are apparently being accepted by our leaders as legitimate purveyors of gospel truth.
Jesus warns us about such people. He calls them false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15). The ones I have heard are very smart, very kind, very erudite, and easy on the ear. They speak, of course, on the issue of homosexuality, but they also speak on more general Biblical themes which gives them even more credibility with people in the pews. They have brilliantly gained “the higher ground” in the argument by supplying their own terms. In this case I mean, of course, the term “same-sex attraction.” This term is not at all a Biblical one. It drives an unwarranted wedge between desire and lust, particularly in light of homosexuality. We should give no quarter on this issue. “Same-sex attraction” is homosexuality, pure and simple. It is perversion. We should call it, therefore, “homosexual lust.” That term is a more Biblical word than “same-sex attraction.”
We are told by them and many others, for that matter, that what they call “same-sex attraction”, what I am calling “homosexual lust”, is not sin, that it is the result of the fall into sin, that one having “same-sex attraction”, homosexual lust, was born with this malady and must learn to make the best of it, like the eunuch in Matthew 19 or the man born blind in John 9. We are told by these men that people with “same-sex attraction”, homosexual lust, rarely change since they are born that way. They say that “same-sex attraction”, homosexual lust, is no different than men being attracted to women and women being attracted to men, that as long as these heterosexuals do not act upon their attraction and engage in premarital or extramarital sex, then they are not engaging in sin. The same is true, they say, for people of the same sex who are attracted to one another.
This approach, however, is unbiblical and therefore untenable. Heterosexual desire is part of the creation mandate. God created us male and female (Genesis 1:27). We are to be fruitful and multiply which obviously mandates sexual intercourse for procreation (Genesis 1:28). Furthermore, the first malediction in Scripture is the Lord God proclaiming, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make for him a helper suitable for him,” (Genesis 2:18). Conjugal love in Scripture is always between a man and a woman. And as the Protestant and Reformed church world has always known, sexual intercourse between one man and one woman in marriage is also for their mutual pleasure, not merely for procreation. “Drink water from your own cistern, and fresh water from your own well. . . Let them be yours alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love,” (Proverbs 5:15-19). “Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your mouth is lovely. . . Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies. . . You are altogether beautiful, my darling,” Song of Songs 4:3,5,7). And Paul says, “But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband,” (1 Corinthians 7:2,3). There is nothing in the Scripture about a man fulfilling his duty to another man or a woman to another woman.
The natural, heterosexual desire, which again is part of the creation mandate, becomes sin when It turns to lust, that which is lascivious and sensual. Homosexual lust, “same- sex attraction”, is not natural. It is a perversion. It is not part of the creation mandate. Heterosexual desire which can turn into lust and sexual acts in the form of fornication and adultery stems from the fall into sin. Homosexual desire or lust which can turn into homosexual acts flow from idolatry. How so? In Romans 1:18ff Paul proclaims that the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Paul goes on to say that these people have exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds, and four-footed animals, and crawling creatures.
Because of this blatant idolatry, God pronounces the three-fold judgment on a person, family, community, nation, or world. The first one is in verse 24 where Paul says that God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity. The word “lust” is the Greek word epithumia. Paul reiterates the cause of this “giving over.” They are worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator. The second giving over in verse 26 is degrading passions. The Greek word is pathos. This verse is vividly and without the slightest equivocation or waffling, saying that homosexual desire is as much homosexuality as the physical act itself. And the third giving over in verse 28 is to a depraved or reprobate mind. These people are far away from God and this is evidenced by the litany of sins recorded there-envy, murder, jealousy, deceit, malice, haters of God, arrogant, insolent, boastful, and many more.
Bottom line-“same-sex attraction”, homosexual lust, is not merely an unfortunate result of the fall. Rather it is perversion, pure and simple. It flows not from the fall into sin, but from idolatry. The fact that professing Christian leaders call themselves “same-sex attracted” people means they are engaged in sexual perversion, even if they do not act upon it, even if they remain celibate.
If a pastor, for example, says from the pulpit some Sunday morning, “I am attracted to the ten year old girls in the congregation. This attraction is not sin. It is merely a temptation. Let me put you parents mind’s at ease, you have nothing to worry about. I have no intention of acting on my attraction.” What would you or the elders say to that statement? How then is this any different than those who claim same-sex attraction is not a perverted sin?
I am not saying that a regenerate, born again believer coming out of homosexuality never has a recurring thought or desire for someone of the same sex. Homosexuality is a deep seated sin and perversion which must be mortified, sometimes over a long period of time. However a true Christian will engage in the fight of faith. He will put to death the deeds of the body. He will fight the good fight of faith. He will present himself as one who is alive from the dead. He will make progress overcoming his perversion. He will see his “same sex attraction” as a perverted lust and he will hate it and seek to kill it by grace.
Therefore, to allow homosexuals in the pulpit, on the platform, or on the dais is to undermine the very gospel of regenerating and transforming power and grace which we purport to believe and proclaim. It is allowing the nose of the camel into the tent. My friends, the camel is already in the tent.
1. The day I began working on this article The Aquila Report had one very similar to mine, which I think is better than mine. So you may wish to read it as well. “It Was Not So From The Beginning: What Nature And Grace Teach Us About SSA,” by R. Scott Clark <theaquilareport.com> April 4, 2019.
2. These are evil desires and are described as those located in the heart. These are men who love the cesspool of sin and are sent into it by justice. What they want, they shall have. Commentary on Romans, R.C.H. Lenski, page 109.
3. Lenski defines epithumia as a single, evil desire while pathos, or passion, is a constant, burning fire.