Ears to Hear

 Ears to Hear

James R. Aist

“See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.  Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.” — Isaiah 32:1-4.

Introduction

We are probably all familiar the phrase “ears to hear” in the New Testament. Jesus used it on at least three occasions in the gospels and seven times in Revelation. Where did this phrase come from, why did Jesus use it, and what relevance does it have for us today?

“Ears to hear” in the Old Testament

You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ears have not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth.” (Isaiah 48:8);

“Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.” (Jeremiah 5:21);

“To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.” (Jeremiah 6:10);

“Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.” (Ezekiel 12:2).

In these passages, we see God lamenting the hardness of a rebellious people, His chosen people, to His wisdom and advice, given to them through His prophets. They have ears, but their ears (of hearing) are not open, and so they do not hear (comprehend, take to heart, heed) what God has to say to them.

He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”(Isaiah 6:9-10).

“With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders.  But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.”(Deuteronomy 29:3-4).

God is fed up with their hardness of heart, and so He says, in effect, “Have it your way, then. I will close your ears myself, so that you will not be able to hear, repent and be healed until I restore your hearing to you when the time is right.

“See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.  Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.”(Isaiah 32:1-4).

When King Jesus comes, that’s when I will restore hearing to your ears, so that then you will be able to know and understand what He is telling you.

The points that I am taking from these Old Testament passages are that 1) it is God who closes their ears, 2) it is God who opens their ears, and 3) God will open their ears so that His chosen people, the Elect, will be able to hear the Good News that Jesus will bring, repent of their sins and be saved (healed). Jesus, himself, made this connection clearly when He said to His disciples, “This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.  In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” (Matthew 13:13-16). The Apostle Paul also made this connection when he was explaining why the Jews were not more receptive to the gospel: “What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” (Romans 11:7-8). Later, Jesus extended this insight to include gentiles when He used it in reference to the seven churches in present-day Turkey, in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22.). And since the messages of Jesus to the seven churches also apply to the present day, “ears to hear” is also for us.

Why Did Jesus Paraphrase this Saying in Mark and Revelation?

Let’s first take a look at what He said there:

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:9);

If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:23);

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? (Mark 8:17-18);

“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22.).

Jesus was, of course, familiar with the bible passages listed and discussed above, so He knew that, in any given audience, there would be some to whom God had not given “ears to hear” and that they would not be able to accept (receive) His teaching. One of the best examples of this is found in John 6:51-66, where many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him, because of His teaching on the requirement of His followers to eat His flesh and drink His blood. And in Mark 8:17-18, Jesus seemed surprised, because it appeared that God may not have given His very disciples “ears to hear” the meaning of one of His parables. So, despite knowing that some in His audiences had not been given “ears to hear”, Jesus proclaimed His teaching anyway, for the sake of those to whom the Father had given ears to hear. And that’s why He said, “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear”: His target audience was specifically those to whom the Father had given “ears to hear.” In modern parlance, we might refer to them as having a “teachable spirit.”

Relevance for Present Day Christians

Firstly, I believe that this “Ears to Hear” teaching reveals something important about the “conversion” experience. Let’s see how that connects up. Jesus said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.” (John 6:44-45). Now, let’s consider this passage in view of Isaiah 32:1-4 (“See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.  Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.”); we see that the reason the ones whom the Father draws to Jesus are now able to be taught by God, hear the Father, learn from Him, and know and understand is that their ears have been opened so that they can listen to Him. In other words, somewhere in the conversion process, God gives them “ears to hear” so that they can receive the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I believe that the Apostle Paul had Isaiah 32:1-4 in mind when he declared “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Secondly, I believe that this teaching can help us understand why, for example, two people can listen to the same presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet only one gets saved. We are all born with deaf ears, and God gave only one of them ears to hear. That was Paul’s explanation regarding the intransigence of the Jews to the Gospel. Knowing this, we can better understand it when our sharing of the Gospel seems to fall on deaf ears, and we can also be encouraged to share the Gospel anyway, for the sake of those who have been given ears to hear.

And thirdly, I believe this teaching can motivate us to boldly proclaim biblical teachings – especially those concerning some of the more controversial moral issues of our time — where some amount of risk may be involved. I believe that we are to follow Jesus’ example and be willing to be teachers to mixed audiences comprised of those who have ears to hear and those who do not. We are not to let those who do not have ears to hear prevent those who do have ears to hear from hearing what God wants us to say. This means that, like Jesus, we should be willing to face opposition for the sake of our target audience. To do this will require us to have the courage of our convictions and to trust in God to protect us from the enemies we will make in the process. This is the example Jesus gave us, and I believe that if we are to be His followers, then we must follow this example when He calls on us to do so. So don’t be afraid to speak up when unbelievers are mocking the Bible or questioning the very existence of God; someone who has ears to hear may be ready to receive what you have to say. Where would you and I be today if Jesus had been intimidated by those in His audiences who had deaf ears?

Challenges

Prepare yourself to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the next opportunity, and brace yourself to contend for the truth of God’s word when He calls on you to do so.

(For more articles on BIBLICAL TEACHINGS, click HERE)

Gay Marriage: Did God Change His Mind?

"Lesbian" wedding mock-cake at the R...Gay Marriage: Did God Change His Mind?

by James R. Aist

“Marriage” clearly is not a concept or term that was created or invented by governmental lawmakers after the time of Christ. Marriage belongs to God, and only He has the authority to define its parameters.

Introduction

The Christian church today is under attack by two campaigns within the homosexual movement. One of these campaigns is the development and promotion of “gay theology”, with which I dealt in a previous article in this series (click Here). The other campaign is the push for so-called “gay marriage”. This attack flows naturally from the first, for if there really is nothing wrong with homosexual behavior in God’s eyes (as per “gay theology”), then God must surely approve and sanctify gay “marriage”; why would He not? So, let’s take a look at whether or not the Bible supports the notion of gay “marriage.”

Use of the Word “Marriage” in the Bible

The word “marriage” is used multiple times in English translations of the Bible. For example, in the King James Version, it is used 5 times in the Old Testament and 16 times in the New Testament, and in the New International Version it is used 32 times in the Old Testament and 11 times in the New Testament. These uses of the word “marriage” span the Bible from Genesis to Revelations.  Moreover, the very first miracle that Jesus performed was the turning of water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11), a celebration associated with a marriage ceremony performed in approximately 30 A.D. So the Bible references “marriage” as a common covenant in the Jewish culture going back several millenia. Now, the King James Bible was first published in 1611 and the United States was not established until 1776, when the King James Bible was by far the most commonly used English translation of the Bible on this side of the pond. So, it follows that U.S. marriage laws, and the use of the word “marriage” found in them, drew heavily on the Bible for their rationale and formulation. “Marriage” clearly is not a concept or term that was created or invented by governmental lawmakers after the time of Christ, as some homosexuality advocates would have you believe.

Who Gets to Define Marriage?

Oops, sorry; God’s already done that! In Genesis 1:27-28, the Bible says “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it”. And in Genesis 2:23-24, “The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” We see here that God’s original design for human sexuality was heterosexuality, since He created them male and female and gave them the task of filling the earth. Then He defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as evidenced by His referring to Eve as Adam’s wife. And in Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus confirmed the definition of marriage in Genesis 2: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at 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 no one separate.” Marriage is God’s invention, and He holds the patent on it, so to speak. Marriage belongs to God, and only He has the authority to define its parameters (which He did, as shown above), and only He has the authority to change those parameters (which He has not done).

Does God Approve of Gay “Marriage”?

Gay theology claims that the answer to this question is “Yes.” If it were true that God does not condemn homosexual behavior as sin in the  context of a loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationship, then they would be right about that. However, as I have shown in another article in this series (click HERE), the Bible really does say that homosexual behavior is wrong in any context, because homosexual acts are sinful in and of themselves (Romans 1:26-27). And that is the the first and most basic reason that God does not approve of gay marriage. Nevertheless, it is instructive to look at the implications of this claim. If God approves of gay “marriage”, then, because He is fair and just, would He not also approve if a man were to marry his sister (incest) or if a woman were to marry her dog (bestiality), since these relationships can also involve a loving, committed and enduring relationship?  But, in fact, God condemns both incest and bestiality as sexual sins. So, why should we believe that God views homosexual sins any differently in this regard? Furthermore, if God approves of gay “marriage”, then would He not have said so when He originally defined marriage in the Old Testament and confirmed that definition later in the New Testament? Surely the all-knowing God — the One who knows the end from the beginning — would have given guidance on that point for all future generations, were it a valid point. In reality, the Bible does not specify any acceptable context for homosexual behavior. Why? Because in God’s eyes, there is none. But it does specify an acceptable context for heterosexual behavior; God calls it marriage.

Is Gay “Marriage” Really Equivalent to Straight Marriage?

When reading this section, please keep in mind that much of the information here is based on averages within a population and does not necessarily characterize a particular homosexual person or couple. The advocates of gay marriage want us to believe that gay marriage is the equivalent of straight marriage, but is it, really? Let’s take a look: 1) Sexual relations in straight marriage involve body parts that God designed for each other, whereas sexual relations in gay marriage involve body parts that God designed for vastly different purposes; 2) God approves of and blesses straight marriage, but He doesn’t even recognize gay “marriage” as being legitimate, because it doesn’t meet the requirements of His definition; 3) straight marriage can fulfill God’s primary purpose for sexual intercourse by producing children to “fill the earth”, whereas homosexual “marriage” cannot; 4) heterosexual marriages last much longer than do homosexual relationships; 5) adults who were raised in gay households are 12 times more likely to self-identify as gay than adults raised in heterosexual households, 6) 58% of the children of lesbians and 33% of the children of gay men self-identified as homosexual as adults (compared to only 2%-3% self-identified adult homosexuals in the general population); and 7) children raised by homosexual parents are more likely than those raised by heterosexual parents to suffer from poor impulse control, depression, suicidal thoughts, require mental health therapy, choose cohabitation, be unfaithful to partners, contract sexually transmitted diseases, be sexually molested, have lower income levels, drink excessively and smoke marijuana (click HERE). And now we can add to this list that children being raised by same-sex couples are 35% less likely to make normal progress through school than are children being raised by heterosexual married couples (click HERE). True equality is a state of being; it is not something that comes by repeating a (false) mantra ad nauseum or passing a law. The state of being of gay marriage when compared to that of straight marriage is one of inequality, not equality.

Are There Two Kinds of Marriage?

There seem to be emerging two definitions of marriage in our culture, at least in the minds of some. “Legal marriage” can be the state-sanctioned union of a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman. But hey, why stop there? If the state really can re-define “marriage”, why not marriage of a brother and his sister, or a woman and her dog, or whomever with whatever? But I digress. For purposes of this discussion, the other kind of marriage is “biblical marriage”, which is real marriage as defined by the God of the Bible. Use of the term “marriage” to signify anything other than the union of one man and one woman is an illegitimate use of the term, because God, the author of marriage, has already defined and used that term, and the last time I checked, He hasn’t changed His mind! Our culture may refer to homosexual unions as “marriage”, but God still calls them sin. Merely calling it marriage doesn’t make it marriage, any more than hanging out in a garage makes you a car!

So, Did God change His Mind?

The answeer to this question is short, simple and unequivocal: “I the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:6); “Every good and perfect gift is from above,coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,  who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17); “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (Numbers 23:19). So no, God did not change His mind about marriage.

Challenges

I suggest that those of us who really do care what the Bible says may want to re-think all of this and begin to use the term “biblical marriage” for those unions that meet God’s criteria. At least that gives me some small degree of satisfaction. If you are a “married” Christian who is practicing homosexuality, I invite you to look into these matters more thoroughly and honestly for yourself, and re-think that. And finally, it would be worth your while to take a look at the recommended links, below, and learn more about this important, contemporary, moral issue.

Do It Yourself

Here’s how to do a study of the Hebrew and Greek root words used in the Bible to express God’s views on homosexuality, without being a Hebrew or Greek scholar yourself: 1) find online and open “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance” at “Bible Study Tools” (click HERE); 2) follow the instructions given in the introductory pane; 3) check the “Strong’s Numbers” box at the top right of your reading pane to view the Hebrew and Greek lexicons using Strong’s Concordance numbers; 4) enter, in turn, the following Bible verses — Genesis 19:5 with Jude 1:7; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:10 – and click on the respective highlighted words (hyperlinks) to access the appropriate lexicon and read the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek words given in English. You can toggle between the King James Version (KJV) and the New American Standard (NAS) version. You will find, as expected, that wherever homosexual behavior is mentioned, it is consistently condemned as sin, abomination, per-version, etc. And understand that later English versions of the Bible, such as the NIV and NAS, consulted the ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, rather than relying on the KJV. The claim of gay activists, that the Bible does not condemn homosexual behavior, is nothing but pure fantasy and wishful thinking, as you can see for yourself.

(For more articles on HOMOSEXUALITY, click HERE)

Recommended links, for further study:

Reasons to oppose gay marriage…

“If, as in Norway, gay “marriage” were imposed here by a socially liberal cultural elite, it would likely speed us on the way toward the classic Nordic pattern of less frequent marriage, more frequent out-of-wedlock birth, and skyrocketing family dissolution. In the American context, this would be a disaster.” –  Stanley Kurtz

Five Questions and Answers About the Same-Sex Marriage Issue (click HERE)

10 reasons why the government is wrong to redefine marriage. (click HERE)

Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples (click HERE)

 The Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex Marriage. (click HERE)

Against Same Sex Marriage – The Six Point Case (click HERE)

Responses to false claims concerning gay marriage and the Bible…

Gay Marriage and the Bible. (click HERE)

Gay Theology: Did God Really Say, “You must not…”

Portal of the Church of Pilgrims, in Washingto...Gay Theology: Did God Really Say, “You must not…”

by James R. Aist

“But if I were a Christian homosexual, I think this one question would disturb me the most: am I trying to interpret scripture in the light of my proclivity, or should I interpret my proclivity in the light of scripture?” (Morris, 1978)

Introduction

At the heart of the so-called “Gay Theology”, is the claim that the Bible does not condemn homosexual acts that occur within the context of loving, committed, enduring homosexual relationships. This, despite the fact that the Bible does appear to condemn all homosexual acts and that the Christian church has steadfastly held this position since Jesus Christ established His church almost 2,000 years ago. In effect, what gay theology is asking, rhetorically, is, “Did God really say that sex within the context of loving, committed, long-term homosexual relationships is wrong?” If the phrase “Did God really say…” sounds familiar to you, it is probably because that is exactly what Satan said to Eve in the Garden of Eden when he was trying to get her to commit the first sin: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). And that is exactly what is happening in the Christian church today, in the form of gay theology. Satan is using gay theology to get Christians who are homosexual to continue to practice homosexuality and feel good about it, rather than repent of it. In this article, I will present some of the most important claims of gay theology, point-by-point, and show why each claim should be summarily rejected by all Christians as false doctrine. In doing so, I will draw heavily on Dallas (1991) and Davies & Rentzel (1993).

Refutation of Gay Theology

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

The claims of gay theology can be distilled down to four major points: 1) In Romans 1, Paul could not have been referring to the loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships that we hear about today, because he knew nothing of such relationships; 2) Paul, in Romans 1, was, instead, referring to temple prostitution resulting from idolatry, homosexual acts committed by a heterosexual person, and/or impersonal sex (i.e., sex without love); 3) Because Jesus did not have anything to say about homosexuality, He must have approved of homosexual acts within the context of loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships. If He did not approve of them, He would have said so; and 4) Since Jesus emphasized the “law of love”, He must have approved of homosexual acts within the context of loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships. Now let’s take a look at these four claims in the light of the biblical witness.

Claim # 1: In Romans 1, Paul could not have been referring to the loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships that we hear about today, because he knew nothing of them. Response # 1: The Apostle Paul (5-64 A.D.) was a well-educated Jew (Acts 22:3) and a citizen of the Roman Empire (Acts 22:27), traveled extensively in Greece and Italy, and would certainly have been aware of loving, lasting, committed same-sex relationships occurring both before and during his lifetime, as the following historical facts would suggest: 1) In the early Roman Imperial period, some male couples were celebrating traditional marriage rites in the presence of friends. Same-sex weddings were reported by sources that mocked them; the feelings of the participants were not recorded. Both Martial and Juvenal referred to marriage between men as something that occurred not infrequently, although they disapproved of it; 2) The Roman Emperor Nero (54 A.D.) celebrated two public weddings with men, once taking the role of the bride (with a freedman Pythagoras), and once the groom (with Sporus); there may have been a third in which he was the bride. These wedding ceremonies included traditional elements such as a dowry and the wearing of the Roman bridal veil; and 3) Same-sex unions were well known in Ancient Greece and Rome. These same-sex unions continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century (Click HERE, HERE and HERE). So, despite Paul’s apparent knowledge of the existence of such homosexual relationships —  loving, lasting, and committed –  he did not endorse them as morally acceptable; rather, he consistently condemned all homo-sexual relations as sinful. Response # 2: For this claim to be true, the Holy Spirit would have had to be either tragically forgetful or grossly incompetent by allowing Paul to omit from his teaching on homosexuality that homosexual acts within the context of loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships are the exception and, therefore, to be allowed. Secondly, God would have had to let this oversight go uncorrected for 1,900 years, all the while leaving the loving homosexual couples to live in terror of going to hell, unnecessarily. I don’t know what god you believe in, but the God of the Bible is not incompetent, forgetful, or cruel! Response # 3: Jesus promised that, “…the Advocate,the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26). In this prophetic promise, “all things” would have included the exception that homosexual acts within the context of loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships are to be allowed, if God had meant for Jesus to sanction them. Instead, what Paul did was just the opposite: writing after Jesus had returned to the Father, he very specifically and unequivocally condemned all homosexual behavior as sin. This was in keeping with Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit “… will remind you of everything I have said to you.”, because Jesus had said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person…” (Matthew 15:19-20), where the Greek word used here for “sexual immorality” (porniea) refers to all sexual sins, including homosexuality and lesbianism. Response # 4: Even if Paul himself had not known about loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships, God’s Holy Spirit knew about them all along — even to the present day – and yet He did not enlighten and inspire Paul to include an exception for them. So we see that Claim # 1 is nothing more than a fanciful assumption, and one cannot prove a point by appealing to an assumption!

Claim # 2: Paul, in Romans 1, was referring only to temple prostitution resulting from idolatry, homosexual acts committed by a naturally heterosexual person, and/or impersonal sex (i.e., sex without love). Response # 1: If we take a closer look at Paul’s condemnation of homosexual behavior, we find that the Greek word translated “homosexual offenders” (1 Corinthians 6:9) or “perverts” (1 Timothy 1:10) is “arsenokoites”. When this Greek word is broken down into its component parts, its etymology (i.e., derivation) expressed in English is “male-bed-person”, which clearly indicates that, in Paul’s writings, “arsenokoites” refers to “a man who goes to bed with another man to have sex with him”, without reference to the motive, sexual orientation or nature of their relationship. In other words, “arsenokoites” refers to all occasions of homosexual behavior, including loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships. And this has been the accepted meaning of “arsenokoites” from the time of ancient Greek literature. Furthermore, if there was any exception intended, then Paul, writing under the inspiration and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, would surely have mentioned it in these passages. But he did not. Response # 2: If we read Romans 1 carefully and critically, and without reading anything into it, we see that Paul refers to homosexual desires and behavior as “vile affections”, “against nature”, and “unseemly” in and of themselves. There is not even a hint that he might have been referring exclusively to temple prostitution, homosexual acts committed by a naturally heterosexual person, and/or impersonal sex (i.e., sex without love). To suggest otherwise is nothing more than an assumption without any scriptural basis in the context of Romans 1. Response # 3: The Apostle Paul was, himself, a highly educated, well-informed and zealous proponent of Judaism (Acts 22:3). It is a documented, historical fact that among the religious Jews there has been, and still is, an unusually low incidence of homosexual behavior, relative to other people groups (Whitehead and Whitehead, 2012). Homosexuality as a component of temple idol worship has long since disappeared from the religious landscape, and yet homosexuality among religious Jews still occurs at an unusually low rate. These facts, taken together, clearly indicate that Judaism has, from its earliest days to the present, considered homosexual behavior to be sinful in and of itself, as a natural reading of the relevant Old Testament passages indicates. And that explains why homosexual behavior was and is taboo across the Jewish culture, and not just as it was manifested in temple idol worship; Judaism has always considered homosexual behavior to be sin. So, when Paul discussed homosexual behavior in the New Testament, he was teaching from his historical, Jewish understanding of the sinful nature of homosexual acts per se, as well as from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So we see that Claim # 2 is nothing more than a fanciful assumption, and one cannot prove a point by appealing to an assumption!

Claim # 3: Because Jesus did not have anything to say about homosexuality, He must have approved of homosexual acts within the context of loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships. If He did not approve of them, He would have said so. Response #1: While the Bible does not record Jesus singling out homosexual acts per se, as sexual sins, one of His teachings, as recorded by Matthew and Mark, implies that He did consider them to be sin: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person…” (Matthew 15:19-20) and “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23). The Greek word translated “sexual immorality” in both accounts is “porneia”, which, according to Strong’s Concordance, refers to all forms of illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality and incest. It would be presumptuous, at best, to conclude that, out of all the sexual sins that this Greek word refers to, Jesus meant to exclude homosexual acts. If He had meant to exclude homosexual acts from the list, He could have said something like “…sexual immorality (“porneia”), except homosexuality (“arsenokoites”),…”, but He didn’t. The implication, from the context, is that He meant to include homosexual acts among the sins to which He was referring. If this implication is not correct, then Jesus — the man who is also the Divine Son of the all-knowing God — did not say what He meant and therefore mislead His hearers! I would suggest that if you believe that about Jesus, then you may just believe in a “different Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). Response # 2: Paul declared that “the wicked”, including unrepentant “homosexual offenders”, “…will not inherit the kingdom of God…” (I Corinthians 6:9-10), and went on to say that “the wicked” were all washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 6:11). So think about it: if God really made some people homosexual, approved of homosexual behavior, and wanted them to remain gay, then why did He change them in the name (“name”: literally, power and authority) of the Lord Jesus Christ? I think you and I both know why He changed them. And if Jesus approved of homosexual behavior and wanted them to remain gay, how could they have been changed by His own power and authority? Obviously, Jesus also wanted them to be changed. Why? Because the homosexual offenders were wicked (I Corinthians 6:11)! Response # 3: This claim presumes that the recorded words of Jesus are more authoritative than the words of Scripture elsewhere and that Jesus does not agree with what the other writers of the Bible have to say about homosexuality. But it is the Holy Spirit of God who inspired all of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16), including epistles like Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy, where homosexual behavior is specifically and directly addressed and condemned as sin. And, the role of the Holy Spirit in us is conviction of sin, not denial of sin.  Moreover, Jesus and the Holy Spirit co-exist in the Godhead — in fact, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:9 )  and have been in perfect and eternal communion and harmony all along. Therefore, we can be confident that Jesus agrees with everything the Holy Spirit revealed in the Bible about moral issues, including homosexuality. Response # 4: The Bible does not record all that Jesus did (John 20:30) and it does not claim to have recorded all that He said. An assumption based on the lack of a specific reference to homosexual sins in particular cannot be used to prove a point.  So we see that Claim # 3 is nothing more than a fanciful assumption, and one cannot prove a point by appealing to an assumption!

Claim # 4: Since Jesus emphasized the “law of love”, He must have approved of homosexual acts within the context of loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships. This claim assumes that the presence of caring and committed love in a relationship sanctifies any and all kinds of lovemaking in that relationship. This is, in fact and unfortunately, the prevailing view in our secular culture. But is this secular view compatible with the biblical view? Response # 1: If this claim is true, then, to be consistent and fair, Jesus would also approve of such sexual sins as fornication, adultery and incest, since all of these relationships can, and often do, involve love, apart from lovemaking. But the Bible condemns all of these other sexual behaviors as sin, despite the presence of love in such relationships. There is no rational basis for claiming that homosexual relationships are the exception. Response # 2: Nowhere in the Bible is it recorded that Jesus even hinted that a motive of love can justify any kind of sinful behavior, including homosexual behavior. Rather, Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey Him (John 14:23) and that if we do not love Him, we will not obey him (John 14:24). And since Jesus did, in fact, agree with all that the Bible says about homosexuality (see responses to Claim # 3), to obey Him includes abstention from homosexual acts and to not obey Him includes refusing to abstain from homosexual acts. Jesus did not come to save us in our sins, but to save us from our sins. So we see that Claim # 4 is nothing more than a fanciful assumption, and one cannot prove a point by appealing to an assumption!

Perhaps the most powerful argument against the homosexual lifestyle is theological, based on Genesis 1:27,
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Those who live homosexually blaspheme the image of God, for this is a heterosexual image. “How can male and female have anything to do with the image of God?” you may ask, since God is not a sexual being. Here’s how: God is the creator of human life; that is part of His “image” (i.e., who He is). So, in order for us to be created in that aspect of the “image of God”, He created us male and female, so that we could participate with Him in the creation of human life through heterosexual acts. Homosexual acts cannot
create human life and, therefore, blaspheme the image of God in us.

I would guess that very few Christians are aware that the Bible has stern rebukes and dire warnings for those who approve of sin or encourage others to sin, but it does (Leviticus 19:1; Isaiah 5:20; Malachi 2:17; Matthew 5:19-20; Matthew 18:6; Romans 14:22). Thus, anyone, including born-again Christians, who even approves of or encourages the sins of homosexuality will, someday, have to answer to God for it. If that’s you, then now is the time to repent!

Challenges:

If you are interested in exploring gay theology and its refutations in more detail, then I recommend that you check out the references and links listed at the end of this post. And, if you are a homosexual Christian who is unwilling to repent of (turn away from) your homosexual behavior, or if you are a heterosexual Christian who approves of or encourages homosexual behavior in any way, I hope that you will be willing to read, carefully and thoughtfully, the following Bible passages and re-think that:

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14-15)

“We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.  This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (1 John 4:6)

” … find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” (Ephesians 5:10-12)

” … offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.” (James 1:22)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

“Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:19)

” … the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.” (Psalm 1:5)

“He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the Devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the Devil are:  Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10)

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:19)

“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)

Do It Yourself

Here’s how to do a study of the Hebrew and Greek root words used in the Bible to express God’s views on homosexuality, without being a Hebrew or Greek scholar yourself: 1) find online and open “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance” at “Bible Study Tools” (click HERE); 2) follow the instructions given in the introductory pane; 3) check the “Strong’s Numbers” box at the top right of your reading pane to view the Hebrew and Greek lexicons using Strong’s Concordance numbers; 4) enter, in turn, the following Bible verses — Genesis 19:5 with Jude 1:7; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:10 – and click on the respective highlighted words (hyperlinks) to access the appropriate lexicon and read the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek words given in English. You can toggle between the King James Version (KJV) and the New American Standard (NAS) version. You will find, as expected, that wherever homosexual behavior is mentioned, it is consistently condemned as sin, abomination, per-version, etc. And understand that later English versions of the Bible, such as the NIV and NAS, consulted the ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, rather than relying on the KJV. The claim of gay activists, that the Bible does not condemn homosexual behavior, is nothing but pure fantasy and wishful thinking, as you can see for yourself.

(For more articles on HOMOSEXUALITY, click HERE)

References Cited:

Whitehead, N. and B. Whitehead. 2012. What do different cultures tell us about homosexuality? (click HERE)

Dallas, J. 1991. Desires in Conflict. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. pp. 267-282.

Davies, B. & L. Rentzel. 1993. Coming Out of Homosexuality. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. pp. 183-189.

Morris, P.D. 1978. Shadow of Sodom. Facing the Facts of Homosexuality. Tyndall House. 164 pp.

Recommended Links for further study:

Pro-Gay Theology Overview (click HERE)

Gay Revisionist Theology: Did God Really Say…? (click HERE)