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The reason homosexuality has appeared at the forefront of mainstream Protestant and Catholic discussion on sexual habits is that fornication and adultery were given a nod and a wink ages ago.

That doesn’t make them right, and the New Testament speaks to these quite clearly. One of these is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (note footnotes ‘a’ and ‘b’). Emphases mine:

9Or do you not know that the unrighteous[a] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[b] 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Another is Jude 5-7:

5Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

With these in mind, it is curious to read what Archbishop Desmond Tutu said to the UN on the subject:

Speaking at the launch of the UN’s global campaign to promote ‘gay rights’, the Archbishop said, “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.”

The other place is hell, in case you’re interested. Now one wonders how the good prelate visualises a homophobic heaven.

I am still perplexed that the UN, with its many Islamic and third world nation members, can promote such a programme. It seems that Islam, in particular, would like to see Christianity take the hit for this. Meanwhile, their book dictates death for same-sex adherents.

However, let’s consider any type of sexual sin instead of just one. My reader Undergroundpewster had a good take on it. He changed the wording of an Episcopal News comment to this:

I have taken the “screed” (written by what I might consider a prototypical liberal Episcopalian) found in that post, and I substituted the word “exhibitionist” for “homosexual”.

“Yes, I will explain it to you. Sin is in the eye of the beholder. What you view as sin, others view as beauty. I am not an exhibitionist, but I believe that the same God that made me and others non-exhibitionist made other people exhibitionist. I think it is counter-intuitive to think that ideas of 3,500 years ago should still be followed today. The fact that a tribe of Hebrews wrote a book 3,500 years ago encapsulating their history and philosophy does not compel us to follow all their ideas as though they were cast in concrete for all time. Hopefully we have learned something in the passage of time. We have learned that slavery is ignoble. We have learned that women need not be subservient to men. We have learned that black people are equal to and indeed no different from white people. At least many of us have learned this. Now we have learned that certain people, about 5%, are born with exhibitionist orientation. It is not a life style they choose, any more than a person chooses to be born black or hispanic or asian. If Jesus stands for anything, he stands for the proposition that we should love one another, and ‘by this all men shall know that you are my disciples, by the love you have for one another.’ So I suggest that you quit casting stones unless you are that rara avis, the person without sin. Exhibitionists are not committing sin. They are doing what is natural for them to do by reason of the way God made them. Okay?”

And this is not unlike the relativism that happened with fornication and adultery. Therefore, it follows that other sexual sin will surely follow as being ‘okay’ in mainstream churches.

Undergroundpewster offers this analysis (excerpted, be sure to read it in full):

In short, “Sin is in the eye of the beholder” uses the approach of moral relativism which quickly leads to the chaos of ideas summarized in the comment.

For example,

The “… a tribe of Hebrews wrote a book 3,500 years ago”, and “…Hopefully we have learned something in the passage of time…” argument basically tosses the Bible into the “Historical Documents” section of your denomination’s Prayer Book, like paintings on a cave wall, nothing more than the art work of primitive man ...

In the end, the only eye of the beholder that counts is the eye that belongs to God. As Christians, we have the witness of the Gospel from which the ancient creeds are derived as our reference, and in the Gospel, Jesus more often than not points out that none of us are without sin in His eyes. When we look at ourselves in the mirror and see our sins as blessings, then we are fooling ourselves just like when we look into a carnival mirror and see a distorted image of ourselves. If the distorted image we see at the carnival makes us laugh at the ridiculousness of it, why don’t some Episcopalians see how ridiculous we appear when we stare at what God has condemned, and we turn it around and call it a blessing?

Why, because we allow people to say that “it is all relative,” or that it isn’t in the Creeds, and such things are therfore non-essential. But perhaps the Nicene Creed takes it for granted that we are in need of salvation.

To sidetrack briefly into what the Pope said after the World Youth Days — ‘Who am I to judge?’ — many will take that as a relativistic or sin-accepting statement even if, perhaps, he did not intend it that way. And once we start interpreting such soundbites as permission-giving, the slippery slope lies before us.

There is another, more insidious, angle to sexual sin which the Anglican site Stand Firm recently highlighted. It is that some of those who allegedly follow Scripture are also relativists, because as the First Things article from which the Revd Matt Kennedy quotes says:

In her teaching, [Episcopal Bible scholar Ellen] Davis’ Sudanese students can recognize someone who seeks to be faithfully obedient to the Scriptures, even if they disagree with her on the shape of that obedience …

Davis and other Bible scholars in the Anglican Communion seek dialogue and reconciliation in the area of same-sex sin. They present themselves to orthodox Anglicans as those who know Scripture but advise that we should not be too didactic about sin, especially where that sin can interrupt our filial love for another congregant.

Mr Kennedy makes an important point about Bible scholars, sin and heresy:

Arius was a sincere man who took the bible seriously. So was Sabellius. So was Pelagius. Many heretics are quite serious about the bible. But they seriously and sincerely distort the truth of the bible and thereby obscure the revelation of God in Jesus Christ presenting a false Christ who cannot save.

The New Testament is not about legalism. It is about salvation. It contains fewer statements about specific sin than the Old Testament. That said, sin correlates with unbelief.

Jesus came to bring us to bring us out from unbelief to faith and salvation — eternal life. As Mr Kennedy says:

The Jesus who rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and who inspired and superintended the writing of the New Testament through his chosen apostles says that those who engage in gay sex apart from repentance will not enter the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 6:9-10). These are two antithetical Jesus’ who proclaim two conflicting gospels. And if we are to believe our New Testaments then we cannot escape the fact that eternal life is at stake. This is not like Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals arguing about vestments and candles. This is not … a clash that might one day in the future be categorized alongside the question of dancing, rated R movies and whether or not Christians ought to drink wine. This is about defending and holding to the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose again to save sinners.

These alleged Jesus-loving Bible scholars urging reconciliation with those who believe that serious sin (which impedes salvation) is acceptable in God’s eyes are leading many Anglicans down the road to perdition. The reason this is happening is that relativist laypeople do not read Scripture regularly. (I was one of them!) Routine reading — the Grant Horner Bible Reading System is excellentbrings all the relativist lies to light.

On the clerical relativists, reader Sarah rightly observes:

those who believe that the Church can bless sexual activity between two men or two women also have far, far deeper and more foundational antithetical beliefs on Scripture, tradition, the Church, sin, salvation, sacraments in general and marriage specifically, and the Gospel as a whole.

This is what Presbyterian theologian John Gresham Machen warned of nearly a century ago (see my Christianity / Apologetics page for excerpts from his Christianity and Liberalism published in 1923).

Undergroundpewster shows us how relativism plays out. (Emphases in the original below.) Keep in mind that whilst today’s topic is same-sex activity, tomorrow it could be adult-child sex, incest or bestiality. After all, ‘They can’t help it — God made them that way’!

Going back to my questions and applying Episco-reason …

1) Is the behavior right or wrong? It must be considered “right” because “What you view as sin, others view as beauty”, and “They are doing what is natural for them to do by reason of the way God made them”. Another way of looking at this is that it is a type of sexual orientation and therefore the behavior is appropriate for that orientation.

2) By what standard do you judge the behavior? We musn’t apply some ancient standard or our inner sense about the behavior because “Sin is in the eye of the beholder”, therefore there is no standard by which we can claim to judge him or his behavior. So we should back off and leave him alone.

3) Does this behavior disqualify him for a position of responsibility? To claim that would be akin to “casting stones unless you are that rara avis the person without sin” so we can’t go there either.

4) What signal does support for him send to children? It sends the signal that we “stand for the proposition that we should love one another” and part of that love is to approve of another person’s sexual orientation.

Sexual sin — all of it — is forbidden in the Bible. It is one of the greatest temptations humanity has faced since the dawn of time. The fact that it often ‘feels good’, ‘is natural’ or ‘expresses my identity’ does not make it any less sinful.

More about the pleasures of sin in general next week.

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