Christianity and LGBT: Bad Fruit

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 4, 2015 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This post is part of a series. The next one is here.]

I imagine I just distanced a number of readers just with the title of this post. But here at Worldview Warriors, we do not shy away from the difficult topics. We seek to provide answers to the best of our ability to the questions many are asking but not voicing. Can a person be LGBT and be a Christian? Is being gay sinful? What does the Bible say about homosexuality and does that affect us today? The Reformation Project, a group headed up by Matthew Vines, suggests that one indeed can be a homosexual and be a faithful, Bible-believing Christian. The website I linked gives ten reasons why the Bible actually SUPPORTS homosexual relationships. Does it? Over the next ten weeks I will take these one at a time. My goal here is not to bash Vines nor LGBTs, but to expose the flaws of logic he is using to defend his position and hopefully to provide true Biblical answers to this issue. If you are still with me, let’s dig in.

The first reason cited is this: Condemning same-sex relationships is harmful to LGBT people, citing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount where Jesus warns that good trees bear good fruit, but bad trees bear bad fruit. The argument is that great harm has been done to the LGBT community for saying what they are is wrong and that must be bad fruit. Therefore, they say the Bible supports homosexual relationships.

Before I address the major problems with this argument I need to say this: there has been a lot of legit harm done to the LGBT community by those who claim to be Christian. There are a number out there that follow Westboro Baptist’s hatemongering agenda. There are legit cases of shunning or even outright humiliation. There are legit cases of “homophobia” as it is commonly stated. I am not sticking my head in the sand and denying incidents like these happen. But are they the norm? I wonder.

While I have not directly experienced or witnessed the “rejection” homosexuals claim occur when they open to their family, I have witnessed the same claim on a different matter. It wasn’t homosexuality but something else. The parents involved treated the child with love and care, but also upheld Biblical standards the child did not want to follow through with. And then the child storms out, cuts off the parents from all communication, and then broadcasts to the child’s peers talking about how the parents were abusive and hateful. Different cause but exact same scenario. I really have to wonder how many of these “homosexual rejects” were like this child. Parents lay down the law in their home and the kid rebels, claiming the parents were the problem the whole time. Again, I am NOT making a universal, blanket statement. I can believe Matthew Vines’ claims that his parents do not agree with homosexual activity, but they still love him and they have a good relationship. But Vines’ account is not common. We have to understand who the narrators of these accounts are. Not all of them are reliable narrators.

But what really is the “harm” Matthew Vines is talking about? In this brief summary, it is rejection of homosexual relations that has caused the harm to LGBT people. He goes into taking about denial of their ability to have a loving, trusting relationship. Their inability to have a “suitable partner.” Their “requirement to be celibate.” He’s not talking about actual abuse or shunning at all. He’s talking about, “I can’t live the way I want to live.”

This really baffled me when I listened to his full talk and early in, he talks about Christianity being, in part, “dying to self and taking up our cross.” He then proceeded to spend the rest of his talk about how homosexuals are being denied their “rights.” I really don’t think Matthew Vines has any clue what it means to “deny yourself.” As Christians, we have no rights of our own. We are bought with a price and our lives are not our own. The whole purpose of Christian living is to be made into the image of Christ - less of ourselves and more of Him. Christianity is also described as a refiner’s fire, where the gold is heated up repeatedly so the impurities can be scraped off. By Matthew Vines’ definition of “harm and suffering,” this process would be included in that. God’s discipline would be included in that.

But there are two very serious implications that this argument makes that need to be addressed. I am not sure if Vines intended to say this or not, but intentional or not, he is saying it. First, if calling out what the Bible clearly depicts as sin is “harmful,” then what can we call out as sin? Vines tries to avoid this implication by saying homosexuality is not sin and that there is no tradition suggesting the current understanding of sexual orientation was addressed or understood by the church. I’ll deal with that next week.

There is another serious implication. Because bad trees bear bad fruit and Vines is saying to call homosexual activity sinful is bad fruit, he is saying that those who do this are bad trees. Remember the context. Jesus is talking about true and false teachers. What Vines is saying is that those who uphold the “traditional interpretation” about homosexuality are “false teachers.” That’s a very serious charge. I do not throw the name “heretic” or “false teacher” out lightly and neither should anyone else. But I am not afraid to call someone out on it. Romans 16:17-18 and Philippians 3:17-19 both tells us to mark those who are correctly representing the Gospel and mark those who are creating offenses to the doctrine.

Where is the Berean spirit, where those who claim to be faithful check what is being said with Scripture as their authority? We have lost this. We now have “open-door policy” where anytime someone comes in with a new thought, it is welcomed in because we don’t want to be offensive. Let me be frank. Jesus did not care about what anyone thought except for his Father. He was very gracious, kind, and loving, but he also did not mince words when addressing problems. If we are going to be lovers of God’s Word and followers of it, we will listen and obey no matter how painful it is to us. Because we know that the pain God administers is not “harmful” but to our benefit.

Let me wrap up with a question. As Christians, part of our duty is to warn those of the destruction the lost are heading towards. We are not called to condemn LGBT persons to hell, but we do need to tell them the very clearly stated destination for such lifestyles. My question is this: Which is more harmful - hurting someone’s feelings and not letting them live the way the want to live, or letting them go do their own thing, not saying anything about it, and watching them follow their road to its natural conclusion? This is not a time to try to work around Scripture to try to justify our choices and our actions. Scripture is right and we adhere to it, or we face the consequences. Next week, I’ll address the next claim that the church tradition never addresses sexual orientation.

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Song of Songs said...

This is really a question of homosexual. The whole "LGBT" community includes asexual(not interested in sex), 2-spirit(gender cultural practice of some Native Americans), and inter-sex(biological, the way some peoples bodies are formed) and many others. If practicing the lgbt "lifestyle" was something that is so unforgivable in the eyes of God, why is it not mentioned by Jesus? (Some people attempt to stretch Mark 7:21 to apply to homosexuality. Others say Paul speaks for Jesus whenever he says stuff that Jesus did not.) Why would being with someone of the same gender be such as horrible crime that it would stop someone from getting into heaven?
An interesting website that has some good points on Homosexuality in the bible -
The bible we read is much different from the bible in Hebrew, especially because of how words have changed meaning over time.

Charlie said...

Song of Songs,

Thank you for reading my post and commenting. Some of your questions are going to be answered later because they are the same arguments Matthew Vines uses.

Why did Jesus not directly address it? Simple. He didn't face it in his earthly ministry. It was such an abhorrence in Jewish thought none of them would have issues in that regard. But Jesus did deal with sexual deviancy that his people did deal with. That being said, Paul did deal with such issues because he was witnessing to a Gentile culture where homosexuality was more widely practiced.

But Jesus did speak of Sodom and Gomorrah and it was very commonly thought in his day and prior that homosexuality was the final straw that brought the judgment to them. I'll address that this Friday and two weeks from Friday.

Does homosexuality send someone to hell? Just as much as any other sin does. The list in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 covers a lot of different things that I'd be hard pressed to find someone who did not break one of those things. But Paul then talks about what the Christian should be in the next WERE some of you.

One thing is for sure: Jesus would not tolerate any of this "identity" stuff we've been exposed to today. Jesus never even hinted at tolerating justifying sin. Remember that Jesus lived under the Old Covenant. Leviticus 18 and 20 were part of the Law in Jesus' time and they still are today. Jesus never did away with it. He fulfilled it (that's another post I have coming in this series). The entire Law is fulfilled in Jesus. So we look to him to fulfill in us, rather than trying to do it on our own.

The Bible is God's Word and it has been preserved through time, language, and culture. Yes, words change. The word "homosexual" did not exist until a couple hundred years ago (another issue I'll be addressing). But the activity, the lifestyle is nothing new. There is nothing new under the sun. Just new labels for the same stuff. Be sure to read my post for this Friday because there is a quote that very directly deals with the whole "sexual orientation" claim being a "new concept". It's not.