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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Are Loving Same-Sex Relationships Morally Correct?

Dear One,

You asked me some time ago if same-sex relationship was morally correct if the two people loved each other and treated each other lovingly? Since “God is love,” wouldn’t this fall under a morally correct relationship? You mentioned that in many heterosexual relationships there is a lack of love and at times even abuse. 

Isn’t a loving same-sex relationship more morally correct than an unloving heterosexual relationship? Wow, good question. I’ll try to answer with my limited experience in this field. But here goes. 

Your reasoning sounds very good, and my logical response would be, “Sure, why not?” I am sure most people would agree with that line of thinking. “If two people love each other, why shouldn’t they be free to share their love without constrain.” 

But the trouble is and you know me for this, I never just did what the majority believed was right. I’m a free-thinker. While others at college were taking courses so they could have a good career in front of them, I was searching for the truth and the courses I took were in that context. When it came to Vietnam, others were looking for a deferment, or a way to get out of the draft, while I was looking for the morally correct stand to take. Then in November, 1971, I found God and that changed everything. Jesus has transformed my life. He saved me from having to go to Vietnam, and I promised Him that if He did that, I would serve Him all the days of my life. 

I have been reading, and studying, and trying to follow the light of God’s word for 47 years. Even before, as a Catholic, I was trying to follow the dictates of my conscience and Catholic upbringing since my Holy Communion, at age seven. So all together, I have been trying to follow God for 62 years. But it wasn’t until I was 22 years old that I received Christ as my savior and began an intense study of God’s word searching for truth. 

I have come to realize that it’s not what I think, but what God says that matters. When I received Christ that Sunday morning back in November, 1971, I was desparate for answers. I was facing an arrest by the FBI as I had refused military induction. Upon praying the prayer of salvation, I also prayed to receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised us to send the Holy Spirit as a guide into all truth. I needed to know the truth and what I should do with the military breathing down my neck. And so, I joined the Jesus People group and studied God’s word with them for three months. 

That is what I have tried to do for the last 47 years: follow the light of God’s word as it speaks to my heart. Have I always been a good obedient student? No, I haven’t. I have not only made mistakes, but I have willingly done things which I knew would cause me to lose God’s blessing. But the Lord is a patient, and a loving Father and I have learned over time, especially through the hard knocks. 

So, after the three-month course with the Jesus People, I was asked if I wanted to help in a training center for new disciples in Boston. In Boston, I learned to go out and share my new faith with young students at the universities. I made telefone calls and found doners who wanted to support the Youth Center. I made contacts with local businesses who wanted to donate goods or services that we needed. But the most enjoyable experience was leading others to Jesus. 

I remember one young guy we met who had had a bad drug trip and couldn’t talk. We had been singing in the park and he followed us home and didn’t want to leave. The Lord showed us to put him on the headphones so he could listen to an old Christian radio program that we had on cassetes. We did that and after 3 days, little by little, he came down from his drug trip and starting talking again. 

Another girl we met had also had a very bad drug trip and had a spirit of fear or paranoia. We put her on the cassetes and she too recovered. What was it that brought her back to reality and chased away the spirit of fear? It was God’s word. God’s word spoken in love had a powerful effect on the minds of these young people. 

God’s word also was transforming my life and thinking habits. God’s word was giving me new interests and desires. Like Apostle Paul said, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away. All things become new.”[1] I was, also, becoming a new man. My mind was being transformed by the reading and the following of God’s word. As Paul wrote, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”[2]

What I learned as a young Christian was that I needed to follow Christ. I needed to follow what He said, and not my own reasoning, or what the world was saying. But how do we know what Christ wants us to do? Well, the first place to look is in His Word. Go to His Word. What did Jesus say in His sermons and words to His disciples? Read and study His Words. 

Where do we find Jesus’ Words? They are written in the New Testament. As His followers we should read and study His words and let them speak to our hearts. We should follow the Light and the Truth that they teach, and let them enlighten the darkness of our hardened hearts. We need to resist the Devil, that he may flee from us, and that we may be born anew into God’s kingdom of Love and Light. 

The Bible says that, “The word of God is quick (alive) and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” In other words, knowing God’s word gives us His discernment. It helps us know right from wrong. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “In regards to this Great Book, (the Bible), I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave the world was communicated through this book. But for it, we could not know right from wrong. All things most desireable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed with in it.” 

We need to decide who is our ultimate authority concerning morality? Ourselves? Our peers? The State? The Supreme Court? Or God? Only the last one, God, is an absolute authority. All the rest are relative and in the long run cannot be trusted to give us the truth. Our own feelings are fleeting and lie to us. They are here today and gone tomorrow. Even our own reasoning is subject to peer pressure, feelings, dislikes, prejudices, and our sexual desires like Aldous Huxley so candidly confessed. 

He said, “I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning, consequently assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in puré metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”[3]

In the Psalms we read, “Wherewithall shall a young man cleanse his way, by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.”[4] Will we trust that God’s word is true? Will we believe that God has preserved it down through the centuries just like he said He would? Simon Greenleaf, one of the 19th centuries foremost academics in the field of law and founder of the Harvard Law School said, “Of the Divine character of the Bible, I think, no man who deals honestly with his own mind and heart can entertain a reasonable doubt. For myself, I must say, that having for many years made the evidences of Christianity the subject of close study, the result has been a firm and increasing conviction of the authenticity and plenary inspiration of the Bible. It is indeed the Word of God.” 

Apostle Peter says, if we are really seeking God, we should be like little babies who suck at their mother’s breast, but instead, we should be sucking from the word of God. He goes on to say, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”[5]Peter then goes on to share a testimony of his experience on the Holy Mountain with Jesus and three other of His disciples, when they heard the voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”[6]

Peter says he heard the voice. He had an experience. But then he says there is something even better than his relative, subjective, personal experience. He goes on and says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”[7]

When the lights go out and there is no light, we are drawn to whatever light there is. That light becomes our salvation. Peter is telling us we should be drawn to God’s word and read it and study it until the light of Christ enlightens our minds. If we seriously study God’s word and suck from it like new born babes suck from their mother’s breats, ultimately we will have that awakening experience and understand what Christ meant by being born again. That’s why Augustine said, “Seek not to understand that you might believe, but seek to believe that you might understand.” C.S. Lewis said it like this, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I can see it, but because by it I can see everything else.” 

Unless we are born again, we cannot see or understand the kingdom of God. But that second birth is similar to that experience that Neo in the first Matrix movie goes through when he takes the red pill and goes down the rabbit hole. His whole mindset had to change, because his whole world view was a lie. We need to ask the Lord to send us that infilling of His Holy Spirit so that we will find the truth, and not be fooled by the lies. 

If Jesus is really the Son of God we should follow Him and His teachings. It’s just that simple. Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”[8]But Jesus is actually quoting from the Old Testament. In fact, much of what Jesus said was in reference to the Old Testament scriptures. 

Even when Jesus cried on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forseken me?” He was quoting from Psalm 22, the very psalm that prophecized the Messiah’s crucifixion. Jesus constantly referred to Himself as the “Son of Man.” Who was the Son of Man? The Son of Man is a reference to a prophecy by Daniel the prophet about God the Father giving the ruling and reigning of the Kingdom into the hands of the “Son of Man,” or commonly referred to as the Messiah. Jesus was calling himself the Messiah. 

If we read the New Testament with an open heart and mind, I think we will come to the conclusion that Apostle Paul was the most influential disciple of Jesus. Of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, thirteen are written by Paul and another, the book of Acts, though written by Luke, is largely based on the witnessing experiences of Apostle Paul. Paul openly stood up to the religious compromises of both Peter and James teaching that faith in Christ alone was the soul necessity for salvation. 

Coming back to the original question that you made me, “What is wrong about a loving same-sex relationship?” how am I to answer? I first prayed and asked God to help my reasoning. Second, I looked to His word for what He has said before. His word is the standard which I use to judge all truth and error. Here’s what Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians in which he mentions sexual relationships among other things. 

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. As such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”[9]

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, known like the Greeks for their sexual liberties, Paul addresses the subject of same-sex relationships. He writes, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold back the truth in unrighteousness (In other words, they fight against what they deep down inside know to be true.); for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” 

Paul is telling us that nature proclaims the existence of God. Many great men of the past have made the same observation. Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein are a few who said something very similar. 

Paul continues, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were they thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”[10]

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleaness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves; who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their woman did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”[11] “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”[12]

My Friend, these are pretty strong words. Paul is saying that same-sex relationships are wrong according to God’s standard. He’s not saying that two males cannot have a loving relationship, nor two females. But he is saying that crossing the barrier and participating in same-sex is wrong. 

This is not something new that Paul made up. God had clearly made His guidelines to sexual behavior and given them to Moses to share with the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land. You can read them in Leviticus chapter 18. Those guidelines are still the same, but the strong judgments are not. God’s law is now ministered with love and mercy, not with the rigor of the Old Testament law. The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith in His work for our salvation. We have all sinned and come short of God’s goodness and it’s only His goodness and mercy that saves us, not our own. 

The following is the list of people God tells Moses that the Israelites should not have sex with: Your father or your mother, your father’s wife, your sister, or half-sister, your grandchild, or step-grandchild, your aunt, your uncle’s wife, your brother’s wife, your wife’s sister, a woman who is on her period, your neighbor’s wife. The Lord finishes up by saying, “Thou shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shall thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith.”[13] The reason I put that list there is so that you can see that it is not just same-sex relationships that God puts guidelines, but other sexual relationships. 

God has reasons for limiting our sexual relations to heterosexual ones, though he doesn’t give us all the details, some of them we can probably figure out ourselves. But we can not get a round the fact that God’s word unequivocally states that same-sex relationships are wrong. It’s so because God says so. But again, it’s not just same-sex relationships that are wrong. Those others are also wrong. 

God has His reasons, and He has set down His guidelines. I believe He does all things in love for our own sake. If we really believe the Bible is God’s word, then we should follow what it teaches. I know it’s not always easy. That’s why Paul tells us, “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleaness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence (desire or lust), and covetousness, which is idolatry.”[14] We have got to do some fighting and resisting against these strong tendencies or desires especially because they bring us such pleasure. 

When the children of Israel were getting ready to cross the Jordon River to go into the Promised Land, Joshua, the new leader on Moses’ death, held up the Scripture left by Moses and shouted, “This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt mediatate therein day and night, that thou may observe to do according to all that is written therein, for then thou shall make thy way prosperous, and then thou shall have good success.”[15]

Please, Friend, dig into God’s word with an honest heart and mind and let God Himself talk to you through His Word. God’s word is food for our soul, and strength for the battle. Read, study, and memorize it and you won’t be disappointed, but transformed into the man of God He wants you to be. Jesus is calling, “Take up your cross, and follow me.”[16]

Thanks so much for giving me the oportunity to share with you what I think about this important question. Your friendship means a lot to me. I hope my answer will cause you to read His Word for direction. I will be sending you a study Bible in the mail. There is a lot more on this subject in both the Old and New Testament. I pray that this has been a help to you, and would love to hear back from you about what you think. 

We are praying for you daily and hoping we will see you again shortly. We really love you and enjoyed our time together. I hope this letter doesn’t hurt you but is a help to you. 

Your friend, 

Dennis 

Notes:

[1] 2 Corinthinians 5: 17 
[2] Romans 12: 2 
[3] Aldous Huxley, “Confessions of a Professed Atheist,” June 1966 
[4] Psalm 119: 34 
[5] 2 Peter 1: 16 
[6] 2 Peter 1: 17 
[7] 2 Peter 1: 19 
[8] Matthew 4: 4 
[9] 2 Corinthians 6: 9-11 
[10] Romans 1: 18-23 
[11] Romans 1: 24-27 
[12] Romans 1: 32 
[13] Leviticus 18: 22-23 
[14] Colossians 3: 2 and 5 
[15] Joshua 1: 8 
[16] Matthew 16: 24

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