“Nothing is so easy as to deceive oneself; for what we wish, we readily believe.”
DEMOSTHENES (384–322 BC
I remember clearly, and with inexpressible regret, the day I convinced myself it was acceptable to be both gay and Christian.
Thus begins the testimony of a man who had risen to such heights within his church community, only to be smacked down due to his sin. However, instead of repentance, he began seeking acceptance. Unfortunately, he sought it in all the wrong places, and so began on a journey of self-deception that was going to take him years to unwind and repent of.
I think it is important to set the viewpoint right away, for it establishes several things:
- It should be clear from the beginning that he holds traditionally Christian views, which will naturally deviate from the COG view of Scripture. Having said that, the differences are mostly irrelevant as far as this topic is concerned. His views on eternal security, heaven and hell and other matters only occasionally intersect in the book, and so that leaves about 98% of it as usable material as-is.
- It is clear from the beginning that his natural inclination is towards relationships with the same sex. This gives him a little more authority about change and sexuality than the average person.
- It certainly gives him more insight into the problems of people struggling with same-sex attraction and their religious views.
In addition to the above, Dallas explodes the typical myths surrounding homosexuality and the Bible that were created by proponents of the “Gay Gospel”. There are the psychological, emotional and Bible mistranslation claims by the “pro-gay” proponents. Sound familiar? Yes, these are the very same claims recycled by Matthew Vines and Lonnie C Hendrix. In fact, The Gay Gospel? goes into other often-quoted and distorted “facts” about homosexuality and homosexual orientation and dispels them one by one.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
~ Ecc 1:9
Keep in mind, no book, and especially a short one like this, can explore every argument that exists, but rather Dallas sticks to the most often quoted “statistics” and “facts” so that the average Christian isn’t surprised by and unprepared for them.
From the beginning of the book, Dallas establishes what he calls the “pro-gay” argument. There is a lot of abuse of the term homosexual, and he goes to great lengths to discuss the difference between same-sex attraction and actively supporting acting upon those impulses. In addition, not everyone who subscribes to a pro-gay theology is necessarily themselves gay. Therefore, he uses the term “pro-gay” for both the political and the theological movements.
And, movements they are! They are there to try to make social change. However, the pro-gay theology is a movement that tries to persuade one using the Bible itself. They use the religious language anyone in a church uses, quote from the same book, they sing the same hymns that other churches have in their hymnals, but they have a radically different viewpoint. In the end, they attack, knowingly or unknowingly, the authority of Scripture. Sound familiar?
It is a sad thing that culture has been allowed to change the church rather than the church to change culture. There indeed is no difference between the holy and the profane in the minds of many.
Much of the secular movement’s argument can be summed up in the idea that sexual orientation is genetic. IOW, you are born that way. The idea that sexual orientation is not fixed is something I’ve argued against for years. In fact, I’ve argued against that even before I was converted. All of my studies into the matter have convinced me that human beings are basically “omnisexual”, a term I coined due to the fact that human beings often do not restrict themselves in their sexual diets any more than an omnivore restricts one’s self in that particular diet. Mind you, God does offer restrictions in what we eat and also in our sexual relations. In either case, human beings have often chosen to disregard those prohibitions and mankind as a whole has paid the price for these sins.
Not only has Kinsey’s research methods been mostly discredited, it has been taken out of context in the first place. More to the point, the same source used to supposedly make homosexuality “normal” also shows that sexual orientation is not necessary fixed at all, regardless of cause.
In 1970, the Kinsey Institute reported that 84 percent of the homosexuals they studied had shifted their sexual orientation at least once; 32 percent of them reported a second shift; and 13 percent reported five changes during their lifetime in their sexual orientation!
Kinsey’s wording was plain–ten percent of the males surveyed claimed to have been homosexual for at least three years. They had not necessarily been homosexual all their lives, nor would they necessarily be homosexual in the future. Future studies by the Kinsey Institute, in fact, would confirm that sexual orientation is not necessarily fixed, and may change throughout a person’s lifespan. The 1990 New Kinsey Report states, “Some people have consistent homosexual orientation for a long period of time, then fall in love with a person of the opposite sex; other individuals who have had only opposite sex partners later fall in love with someone of the same sex.”
The problem isn’t one of whether or not something is “normal”. Seriously, that’s really beside the point.
Rather than track each study down as it comes out, I find it more effective to challenge the assumptions these studies seem to make, which is that if something is inborn, it’s, therefore, normal or even God-ordained. And this assumption is faulty for three reasons.
1. “Inborn” and “normal” are not necessarily the same. Even if homosexuality is someday proven to be inborn, inborn does not necessarily mean normal. Any number of defects or handicaps, for example, may be inborn, but we would hardly call them normal for that reason alone. Why should we be compelled to call homosexuality normal just because it may be inborn?
2. Inborn tendencies toward certain behaviors (such as homosexuality) do not make those behaviors moral. Studies in the past 15 years indicate that a variety of behaviors may have their roots in genetics or biology. In 1983, the former director of the National Council on Alcoholism reported on a number of chemical events that can produce alcoholism. In 1991, the City of Hope Medical Center found a certain gene present in 77 percent of their alcoholic patients. Obesity and violent behavior are also now thought to be genetically influenced. Even infidelity, according to research reported in Time magazine, may be in our genes!18
Surely we are not going to say that obesity, violence, alcoholism, and adultery are legitimate because they were inherited. So it is with homosexuality. Whether inborn or acquired, it is still, like all sexual contact apart from marriage, immoral. And immoral behavior cannot be legitimized by a quick baptism in the gene pool.
3. We are a fallen race, born in sin. Scripture teaches that we inherited a corrupt sin nature that affects us physically and spiritually (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12). We were born spiritually dead (John 3:56) and physically imperfect (1 Corinthians 15:1-54). We cannot assume, then, that because something is inborn, it is also God-ordained. There are mental, psychological, physical, and sexual aspects of our beings that God never intended us to have. In short, inborn does not mean “divinely sanctioned.”
While Dallas doesn’t go into some of the motivations behind the Kinsey research (and I’ll spare you the details I’ve learned about the man), he does note that many of the studies cited by the pro-gay lobby were headed up by people with vested interest in the outcome. All have had various problems with sampling and/or methodology.
We need to trust instead our Bibles for right and moral conduct. Unlike Hendrix, who apparently believes God is willy-nilly and cannot make up His mind about what constitutes righteous behavior, Dallas presents a view that is very consistent with Protestant evangelical theology. However, and this is important, he first acknowledges we all have sinned and fallen short, and therefore his words come across as those of one sinner to another rather than the fiery preacher focusing upon one particular sexual sin to be the one sin that God cannot forgive. When you think about it, isn’t the latter attitude often more prevalent than the former?
Yet, he also doesn’t give acting on same-sex desires a free pass, either. It is one thing to be tempted, but it is another to act upon them. Not only that, but he stresses that people can change through the power of Christ.
Those who try to straddle Christianity and an actively gay way of life often fall back into the “I was born that way” argument but with the added twist that “God does not make mistakes” or words to that effect. Yet, it is severely flawed in that it is a belief that, in a world with a wicked ruler in charge during this age, nothing evil will be allowed to happen. We don’t have to look far to see that is not the case. Furthermore, even when something is not outright evil, it rarely is the ideal. It is not a perfect world, and the Bible tells us so. It even tells us why.
So, I believe that “Part Three: Issues with the Bible” is one of the most important parts of his book. For professing Christians, here is where the rubber hits the road as far as interpretation of the text is concerned. I really like how he starts out the section with “The Nature and Use of the Bible” and asks a very important question: “Which Jesus?”
An example of the “new” Jesus hit me full force when I finished speaking at a church conference one time. “You should be ashamed of yourself for calling homosexuality a sin!” a furious gay man huffed, charging down the aisle toward me. “Jesus never called people sinners, and He never judged anyone!”
Jesus WHO? I wondered as he stomped away. Certainly not the Jesus of the Bible, who was unsparing in denouncing sin, and not at all shy about pronouncing judgment (Matthew 23:13-39).
Likewise, even the most theologically liberal person will acknowledge that the Bible is a good book, though not one to be taken as a literal guide for life. Instead of saying they outright reject its teachings, modern critics just diminish its authority. Respect for the Bible is so deeply ingrained in our culture that no one wants to denigrate it; instead, they settle for revisions.
It seems that people want a god (lower-cased ‘g’) that is not judgmental, never criticizes and doesn’t want you to change. The same Jesus Who was so gentle in dealing with the woman caught in adultery also made a whip and used it to run the money changers out of the Temple! Would anyone today recognize that Jesus? It seems hardly likely.
The choice for the professing Christian is to believe and obey the Bible or revise it. Too many choose the latter, and justification of being gay and Christian requires it.
For example, remember Hendrix’s assertion that Ezekiel “proved” that the destruction of Sodom wasn’t due to homosexual behavior?
Again, this argument is partially true. When Sodom was destroyed, homosexuality was only a part–or symptom–of its wickedness. Romans 1 gives a similar illustration, describing the generally corrupt condition of humanity, while citing homosexuality as a symptom of that corruption. But Ezekiel also says of the Sodomites, “And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me.” The sexual nature of these “abominations” is suggested in 2 Peter 2:6-7, which says that God, “turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction…And delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked.”
In Jude 7 we similarly read, “Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment” (NRSV).
Dallas later points out that while rape was certainly a factor in God’s judgment, homosexuality had to have been a common practice in order for all of the men of the city to come out to participate in what would have undeniably have been a homosexual rape.
Response: “Sodom was destroyed because of wickedness, period. You know, lots of modern cities around the world are full of people practicing all sorts of sin, sexual sins as well as nonsexual. If judgment were to fall on any of them, I’d never say it was because of the sexual sins alone. It would no doubt be because of the cumulative effect of the many sins.
Do sins occur in isolation? Of course not. When people actively disregard God and His Law, people pick and choose what good and what evil deeds they want to participate in according to the dictates of their fickle hearts. No one can truly choose only evil, for they would quickly destroy themselves. However, people pick out both good and evil. It is the Tree of Knowledge syndrome. It was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, after all. However, as evil men prosper and seem to get away with sins, restraint becomes less and less, thus giving implicit permission for them to choose more evil deeds than before.
I cannot simply give you one single reason for the Flood, for example. Violence is specifically mentioned, but are we actually naive enough to believe that is the only reason? Canaan was driven out for many reasons, and the Scriptures citing them are not contradictory but rather expand upon one another. Likewise, it is not contradictory for Ezekiel to mention various sins but only mention “abominations” in vague terms rather than explicitly, and in particular since it is so well documented elsewhere.
None of this is new ground. So many of these arguments have been shown to have been flawed, yet awareness of them is important because they keep being recycled. Like urban legends, the mole pops up from time to time requiring whacking.
However, the fact that GCI now seems to have gone this way is an indicator of how close this particular heresy is at the door. Yes, they are out of touch, but it is sad to think that it is coming from a group which ostensibly used to believe the same things we do.
How we react to these things will have a lot to do with how others react towards us. We must not shrink from proclaiming the truth, but we can also turn off those who are struggling and seeking as well. That would be a shame. Sooner or later, it appears, we will have to answer to some rather severe and emotionally laden criticism, and we must be able to respond with clear heads and consciences. It may be a coworker, an acquaintance or even a relative.
Let’s not only be aware of our responsibility to give an answer but for the how of giving that answer:
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
~ 1Pe 3:15