Christianity and LGBT: Love… or Lust?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 15, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This post is part of a series. The previous one is here, and the next one is here.]

This is round 6 in my analysis of Matthew Vines’ 10 Biblical Reasons to Support Homosexual relationships. I know this is a hard topic to go through because just mentioning it today tends to automatically bring up defenses, regardless of which side you take. But we live in dark times where darkness is praised and light is shunned. My desire in this series is to show light where it may have been snuffed out, so those lost in the darkness may see the way out.

Today’s “reason” is addressing Paul’s references to homosexual relationships as being unnatural, where he condemns the lust of such efforts, not the long-term, committed homosexual relationships. Vines also states that men having long hair is unnatural too, therefore this is just a cultural context and has nothing to do with us. Okay, let’s break this down and see if Vines is on to something.

First, very briefly on the “long hair” thing. Obviously many Jews had long hair and were not condemned by it. What Paul is addressing is actually cross dressing - having long hair like a woman, which the Law had also previously forbid. Long hair is not the issue; men looking like women is the issue. Now to the main points.

Many in Christian circles are known for equating homosexual “love” with homosexual “lust.” Vines argues that the two are not the same thing. He suggests that a homosexual relationship is not about sex (and therefore lust), but about a committed, loving, long-term relationship. So first, we need to define lust and love in our Greek Concordances.

First lust: When Jesus said “If you look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart,” this is the type of “lust” Paul references. Lust is defined as “covet,” “desire,” “fain after.” This is the same type of attraction David had when he saw Bathsheba bathe. Vines makes the argument that the homosexual love he is talking about is not about this type of lust, but about love. So let’s talk about love.

There are four words in the Greek used to describe “love.” “Eros”: which is romantic love; “Storge,” which is emphatic (like for family, home, city, sports team); “Phileo,” which is brotherly love, or best-friend love; and “Agape,” which is unconditional love, or God’s type of love. Something that gives Vines a little weight is that the word “eros,” which is the type of love Vines is referencing, is not found anywhere in the New Testament. So according to Vines’ line of thinking, therefore Paul must not be talking about “eros” love, the long-term, committed, loving homosexual relationships.

But is this really so? Vines repeatedly makes the argument that under the traditional interpretation, homosexuals cannot have the “loving relationships” that heterosexuals enjoy. When I go back to what lust is, Vines’ complaint here precisely fits the definition of lust. It is coveting, desiring. He wants in a homosexual relationship that which a heterosexual relationship, under Biblical guidelines, provides. Vines never makes the argument how a homosexual partner can be that “suitable helper.” He just states that one can be.

But let’s get into the real meat of this. The entire LGBT argument is rooted in “sexual attraction” or “sexual orientation.” In a word this is defined as “desire.” Desire is who or what you are attracted to. It is not just talking about sexual relationships. When we desire something, we will tend to lust over it. We want it and we want it now. Eve experienced this lust for the first time in Genesis 3:6. She saw the fruit was desirous for gaining knowledge that she did not have: the knowledge of good and evil. That desire has been there ever since.

Now look at what James 1:14-15 has to say about desires: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” This is not just talking about sexual desires, but any desires - new cars, new houses, more money, new gadgets, that promotion, that job, that family, that woman, that man, the list goes on and on. And let me make this clear: NO ONE is exempt. I am just as guilty of seeking after my own desires as Matthew Vines is guilty of seeking after his own. My desires may take a different form than Vines’, but it’s still the same thing. It is selfishness. It is me, me, me. When we dwell on our desires, we lose sight of what God wants for us, and when we act on our desires, that leads to sin, which then leads to death.

Let’s look back at Romans 1. Paul did not just say homosexuality was unnatural as an aside. It was a step in a progression. The first step was not being thankful and not recognizing God for who he is or what he has done. Their thoughts became futile and their hearts darkened. God is the source of all light. When he is not in the picture, that light in you is snuffed out and darkness take over. They claim to be wise, but they showed themselves to be fools in their thinking and started worshiping the creation rather than the creator. The objects of their affections are in and of the world, and not on God. And this comes in many forms: money, houses, toys, gadgets, a position, a celebrity, a sexual relationship (of any form). This becomes the “god” which directs and guides a person’s thoughts and actions.

When they go after the creation more than the creator, God may protect them for a time, but that does not last forever. He will hand them over to that which they want. He will let such thinking dominate them and control them. They will exchange the truth for the lie. Not a truth for a lie, but THE truth for THE lie. This is a complete change in worldviews that is backwards to what God intended. God will hand them over to defile their bodies with their lusts and this is where homosexuality enters the picture. It is judgment for rejecting God earlier.

But it’s more than that. Paul is not merely talking about homosexuality here. He then goes on to list a wide variety of different sins: wickedness, malice, coveting, greed, disobedience to parents, lying, thieving, etc. But Paul makes a very serious statement at the end. The practice of ANY of these deserves death, and not just the practice, but those who approve of such. Remember, not ONE person is guilt-free on this list. We’ve all crossed the line somewhere.

Does Paul not consider loving, committed, homosexual relationships? The question Matthew Vines really has to answer is this: can loving, committed homosexual relationships as he defines it, that fit Biblical guidelines, exist? Vines never actually shows how his picture of a homosexual relationship fits within Biblical guidelines. Sexual orientation is talking about sexual desires and that is of the flesh, one of the three enemies every Christian faces.

Vines, early in his talk, tells us that part of being a Christian is dying to self. That is true. But he has no idea what this means to his position. It means we need to lay down our desires on the cross and let them die. Our sexual desires, whether homo- or hetero-. Our desires for that new toy, new car, new home, new gadget, new deal, promotion, job, etc. Those desires need to be laid at the foot of the cross, surrendered to Christ. Those desires are not from God, but from our sinful, selfish flesh. Let us not follow our own desires, our enemy, which leads us to death, but follow Christ and him alone. Let HIM be the one who decides who our “suitable partner” is supposed to be.

Next week, I’ll address the claim that the term “homosexual” did not exist until 1892, so any church tradition cannot be addressing loving homosexual relationships.

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