With tears in her eyelashes, the former Tammy Faye Bakker soothed an audience of homosexuals recently by promising, "God loves you just the way you are."
No doubt, the minute fraction of the one percent of Americans who live homosexual lives and care what God thinks were enthused and relieved. Tammy Faye Messner's assurance will also enforce their conclusion that God made them this way and there is no reason even to try to change or control themselves (2 Peter 1:6).
Messner, the ex-wife and coconspirator of defrocked televangelist Jim Bakker, has been on a quest for new acceptance in recent years. She has shed her ex-con husband and some of the clownish makeup that brought her fame and ridicule in the 1980s. Now, it seems, Messner has adopted the "I'm okay, you're okay" philosophy that infects so much of Christianity by destroying the very plea for conversion on which grace is proffered (Matthew 18:3).
Now, if homosexual behavior is not a sin, Messner is right. If homosexual activity is a liberty authorized by God, she is correct to tell its practitioners to press on despite what the naysayers may think. That begs the question, which used to be answered so obviously among Christians that it was rarely even asked: "Is homosexuality a sin?".
Prior to the issuance of the law of Moses, God went on record in judgment against homosexuality. He created mankind male and female in the Garden of Eden and authorized them to marry and reproduce. When this pattern was perverted by the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, he moved to raze those twin cities of the plain. Jude comments about the divine fire and brimstone reaction of Genesis 19 thus: "Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7).
The Sodomites were not destroyed for being inhospitable to Lot's guests, but because they had devolved into a sexually perverted lifestyle that extended even against the angelic beings who graced their fair city one fateful night. When man sought after man, God called it going "after strange flesh."
When the law of Moses was instituted, Jehovah did not suddenly become tolerant of homosexuality. "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Lev. 18:22). This law regulated the morality of Israel up until the cross of Christ, when it was fulfilled, removed and replaced by the new testament.
Perhaps we can expect the New Testament to be tolerant of what was once sexual perversion. No, Messner has willfully and criminally overlooked the will of God and lied about his perspective on this sin.
The Holy Spirit calls such acts "vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due" (Romans 1:26-27).
Just as importantly, the inspired writer dispels the defeatist concept that homosexual tendencies cannot be overcome. Among a list of unrighteous people, Paul numbers homosexuals and sodomites. Speaking directly to the Corinthian church, he says, "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Homosexual desires both can be and must be overcome as much as any other sin, including fornication, idolatry, drinking and extortion, which are mentioned in the same context. Messner is making excuses for people who want to live homosexual and Christian at the same time, but have realized that you have to use an X-acto knife on the Bible to accomplish it.
We know that John the immerser possessed the spirit and character of Elisha. What if he instead had been moved by the spirit of Tammy Faye (see Luke 3:7-14)? When the greedy tax collectors came and asked to be approved of God, John would have said, "God loves you just the way you are. You can't help being thieves!" To the soldiers, he would have replied, "God loves you just the way you are. He made you intimidating, violent liars."
Sorry, Tammy Faye, you have forgotten the message of the New Testament is about conversion and overcoming sin, not finding new and innovative ways to rationalize it away from our consciousness. Tolerating sin is a vice, not a virtue, for it perpetuates the iniquity and deepens the delusion (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, 1 Corinthians 5:6).
So many sins are being recategorized today. We say to God, you made me this way, so I can't help being a drunk, an addict, a striker, a loudmouth, a gossip, a fornicator, a homosexual. Truly, you are who you are, but you can be more. Stop giving place to the devil and start judging morality by the ancient standard again. Then we can overcome sin rather than being overcome by it.
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