If you have confessed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, what would your response be if your pastor announced that he was having an extramarital affair? Would you stand up and applaud him for his bravery in announcing that? And then reaffirm his decision, encourage him to continue his work as a pastor while he has a mistress alongside his wife and family? Would you tell him to just do whatever makes him happy? Or what if the children’s minister at your church announced that she is an alcoholic? Would you drink a toast to her for having the courage to come forward with that? Would you cheer her on and say, “You go girl!”? What if your Bible teacher, being single, told you he brought home a different girl every weekend? Would you tell him those desires were just how God made him so he should keep it up? When he posted on social media about his exploits, would you give it a thumbs up and tell him you had never seen him so happy? Or would you say he needs to find a church that approves of what he’s doing so he can still “serve the Lord”?
Would you encourage these individuals in these areas of their lives?
I want you to really think about what your response to each of those scenarios would be, especially where each scenario involves a Christian engaged in a lifestyle of sin. My guess is you would not affirm their decisions to live like that. I bet that you would say it was wrong to do those things, and maybe, just maybe, you would say they needed to stop those activities. But why? Is it just because there is a social norm that says having an affair, being a drunk, or being a womanizer is not good? No, it’s because we know that is not the behavior a professing Christian ought to have. The reason for that is because someone who is committed to following Christ is supposed to “deny themselves, pick up their cross” and follow Jesus. That means we are to deny our desire to have an affair, to drink too much alcohol, and to be sexually immoral. That is not so that we trade in all the “good” stuff here on earth so we can have “better” stuff in heaven. It is because Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commands.” And this is how He commanded us to live – because He knows what is best for us. Therefore, to demonstrate your love for Jesus, you are to keep His commands. You are to abide in His word. You are to hear and follow His voice.
Of course that doesn’t mean we don’t mess it up. We do have pastors announcing affairs and ministers living with addictions, just as much as we have Christians in the congregation struggling with those things. The difference should be in how we respond to it. Do we cheer it on? Do we support their sin? Or do we grieve alongside of them for their failings, give them Biblical, Godly counsel, and lead them in a different direction? Maybe we should even carry out that church discipline that Jesus talked about in Matthew 18:15-19. Jesus instructs us how to deal with sin among believers (not outside of the church). He says to go to that person individually to address his or her fault. If he listens then you have won him over, but if not, then take others within the body of believers to address it with the him. If the person still doesn’t listen, then take the person before the church. If he or she still refuses to repent or change, then put the person outside the fellowship of other believers. Jesus says, “Treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
Can you imagine if a church actually followed Jesus’ commands like this? What would that even look like? The idea is so foreign to us because instead of calling on one another to walk in obedience, we support one another in our sins. We pat each other on the back and say, “It’s ok. We all fail. I do that too.” What is worse is we even encourage sin with each other! I’ve seen people cheering other people on in their sin. They get “likes” on social media and approval to continue on in what they’re doing. It is true that we all fail and we all sin, but we aren’t supposed to be proud of that! We aren’t supposed to rejoice in wrongdoing. True love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 is that we rejoice in the truth instead of evil and wrongdoing. We are supposed to strive to put away our sinful selves and make ourselves look more like Christ, and encourage others to do the same. And when we do fail, we are to confess, repent, and try again the next day through the power of the Holy Spirit to not continue in that sin. Instead, in our warped culture we brag about our sins on Facebook – and get likes for it! We define ourselves with our sin, laugh about it, and thus make a mockery of the work of Christ on the cross. Jesus took that seriously. That is why He gave instructions for how to deal with sin among the body of believers.
If the concept of church discipline is too foreign for us to understand, we can always look at how Paul exercised church discipline with the church at Corinth. There was a member of the church who was sleeping with his father’s wife, a sin so egregious that Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5 even the pagans would not put up with such things. Rather than addressing this man’s sin, the church at Corinth was not only tolerating it in their midst, but they were boasting about their tolerance! The Corinthian church was not only allowing this man to persist in his sin while remaining in the church, but they were proud of it. Can’t you see their sign outside? “We accept ALL forms of love.” What did Paul tell them to do? He said, “Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” Yeast in the Bible is a symbol for sin. Paul is saying this sin they are letting persist in their midst without addressing will eventually permeate and affect the entire congregation. So Paul told the church of Corinth that instead of boasting about accepting this man’s sin, they were to be grieved over it. They were to approach him and tell him that his behavior is not bringing glory or honor to God and it needed to change. If he refused to repent, they were to set him outside of the fellowship so that maybe the broken relationship with the church would draw his heart to repent over what he was doing, and through that his soul could be restored. After all, they have accepted the sacrifice of Christ, and Jesus did not die on the cross so that they could continue in their sins.
This describes the appropriate response to sin among the body of believers. We aren’t to go around judging superficially, but we are to judge rightly, and Biblically. And we are to hold one another to the standard that Jesus Himself called us to, not so we can earn our salvation but because this is how we demonstrate our love for Him – obedience. It’s the same way that we can’t say we love our parents and disobey them. Our love for them is what drives us to obey, and our obedience is what establishes our love. Likewise, it is our love for God that calls us to follow His words, heed His commands, and strive for Godly behavior. And it is our obedience to God that proves our love for Him. However, just like with our earthly parents, we will still disobey, but we shouldn’t celebrate our disobedience. We should acknowledge that we all struggle, but then call one another back to repentance and obedience. Yes, it is “ok” that we fail because God loves us still, but we should not be proud of it, celebrate it, or encourage it.
In light of that, what would you do if a fellow believer announced that she is a homosexual and is now officially professing her love for her girlfriend? Or a member of your Bible study has asked you to meet his boyfriend? Is that any different from the scenarios described above? Is it not equally sinful? Then why do we see fellow believers applauding the “courage” of professing Christians in announcing their homosexuality? Why do I see Christians on social media saying, “You look so happy!” to a believer posting pictures with their same-sex partner? Why are other church members giving likes and thumbs up and “you go girl”-comments to a fellow believer announcing they are embracing and acting on their same-sex attraction? Why are Christians encouraging other Christians to embrace their sin choices? We should be grieved by these sins. We should be speaking to them individually about their choices that are leading them far from the commandments of God. We should be counseling them about how to deny their fleshly desires and take up their cross in obedience unto cross – as we all must do. We may not all have to deny the fleshly desire of same-sex attraction, but we all have to deny our fleshly desires. For one, it may be denying the desire to have heterosexual intimacy with someone who is not their spouse. For another it may be to deny their fleshly reaction of outbursts of anger and wrath. For yet another, it may be to deny their fleshly desire to indulge in too much alcohol or to use words that are not kind or loving. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. We should never celebrate another believer’s choice to embrace sin – no matter the sin.
In the last two posts, which you can find here and here, I talked about how we are not free to choose everything just because it is a choice and that we cannot allow exceptions to taking innocent human life. But all of this discussion assumes we can sit down and discuss this issue. However, too many times the abortion supporter silences the pro-life position by challenging their right to speak on this issue. When a person voices their opposition to murdering unborn humans, they are asked whether they have ever had an unwanted pregnancy, or if they have ever lived in poverty with children to care for, or if they are even capable of having children at all. Somehow they have managed to silence pro-life people by telling them they don’t get to weigh in on this issue unless they can answer “yes” to one of those questions. They are insisting that a person is not allowed to offer an opinion on abortion because of a demographic – either economic status, age, race, or even gender. This tactic is most often applied to men. The abortion supporter reasons that men can’t birth babies so they are not allowed to take a stance on an issue involving babies (well in all honesty, men are only forbidden from offering their opinion if it is the pro-life position...).
Should our demographic preclude us from speaking out against atrocities?
But do we apply that logic to any other issue we discuss? Are only those who have been enslaved qualified to comment on the evils of slavery? Are only people who have served in combat able to decry wartime atrocities? Is it only black people who are able to speak out against racism? Of course not! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been a slave yourself, you can still state that slavery if wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never served in combat, you can still identify, be appalled by, and protest war crimes. It doesn’t matter what your race is, you can still speak out against racism. Your demographic does not disqualify you from speaking out on something that is wicked, immoral, and depraved. Likewise, just because you are not an impoverished, unwed, teen facing an unwanted pregnancy does not mean that you do not get to speak out against murdering babies.
Another way abortion supporters use this logic is to vilify Congress and any lawmaker for making laws to end abortion (although lawmakers are not vilified when they pass laws to legalize abortion…). The rally cry is “why should old, white men” be able to legislate abortion. In fact there was an article in 2019 with that very headline: 25 White Republican Men Just Voted to Ban Abortion in Alabama, as if their age, race, or gender has anything to do with wanting to make murdering unborn humans illegal. It also willfully ignores all of the women fighting to ban abortion. The article claims that these old, white men are not faced with the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnancy, so they should not be able to make abortion illegal. In reality, it is precisely because they are not currently in that position that they should weigh in on this. When a person is in a difficult situation, their judgment is often blurred. They can only see the immediate need to “fix” their situation. And because their judgment is blurred, they are not always going to make the moral decision. It takes someone outside of that situation to see more clearly, and make rules and laws that we are supposed to abide by – even when we are in those difficult situations.
Who gets to determine the law - those in the situation or those outside of it?
For example, as a teacher, I would not want the student who did not study for the test to make the rules about cheating. He is in the difficult situation of taking a test for which he is not prepared. He is going to be tempted to cheat because that seems like the easiest way to “fix” his situation. So if the rules of the classroom were up to him, he would say that it is acceptable to use your books, your notes, and your classmate’s answers for the test. But is that the moral decision? Is that the rule we want established for all students? Or do we want to have someone removed from that temptation make the rule that says you must take the test without the assistance of other people? That does make it more difficult for the student, but it is the moral action that must be taken.
Do we want the parent desperate to get her child into an elite college to make the rules about fraud (Ahem, Lori Laughlin)? Do we want the CEO embezzling in his company to make the laws about corporate finances? Those examples may seem petty and insignificant compared to the woman facing an unwanted pregnancy. But the logic is still the same for even bigger moral dilemmas. Do we want the person who has just murdered someone to determine what the punishment for murder should be? Of course not. We have people who stand outside of our personal situations to determine the laws and punishments for our actions. We even make sure the judge and jury have no connection to the defendant or the victim so their judgments are not biased to the situation. The laws in this nation are there in the hopes of preventing us from making tragic decisions that harm ourselves and other people simply because we are in a tough situation, responding emotionally instead of morally. This means that it doesn’t matter what gender, age, race, background, or whatever we have for lawmakers. They are supposed to rule so that we do not harm other people – including those who are inside the womb.
Men can no longer be silent on abortion
So I want to take this moment to encourage any man who may be reading this. NEVER let someone tell you that you are not qualified to speak out against the evils of abortion simply because you cannot get pregnant. It is true that you will never know the overwhelming feeling of being responsible for growing another human being inside of you. You don’t have to experience your body change in ways you never could imagine, the unrelenting nausea, or the swollen feet, or back pain, or sleepless nights, or uncomfortable clothes, or unwelcomed comments on the size of your belly due to pregnancy. But you also don’t get the joy of having a human being grow inside of you, feeling them move, even feeling them hiccup. You don’t get that instant bond with a newborn for whom you provided safe housing and food for nine months. But none of that matters when it comes to your ability to identify the wickedness of destroying that human life by plucking him limb from limb, or by poisoning him so he dissolves inside the womb, or by crushing his head with forceps until his brains ooze out. No matter your gender, age, social status, ethnicity, or religion, you should be appalled at such things.
In reality, the exact opinion we need on this issue is the man’s opinion. Men, we need you to step up and defend all precious innocent life. God made you with strength and courage to defend the defenseless and protect the innocent. Yet too often men are standing idly by while the most defenseless and most innocent lives are being destroyed. We need men to stand up for those precious little lives in the womb, to protect those children who are being slaughtered for daring to exist. We need men to stand up for motherhood by encouraging frightened women facing unwanted pregnancies that they will have your support, and by reminding them that motherhood is a beautiful thing. We need men to stand up for fatherhood by encouraging men to take responsibility for their children – born and unborn. Just think of all the millions of men who have been denied the chance to raise a son or a daughter because of abortion. We need men – especially pastors – to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. This is what you were made to do, and we need you now more than ever.
What should our conversation on abortion look like?
The right to speak out against abortion is the same for all people, no matter one’s demographic. But not every conversation about abortion should be the same. In this series of blogs, I have been addressing abortion from an intellectual perspective, looking at the reality and the facts of abortion. These posts have discussed abortion as it should be discussed in the political arena. But this issue so much more than a topic for political debate or for down-selecting candidates at the ballot box. This is a very personal issue, therefore the conversation must be personalized. The topic of abortion deals with people from all different life experiences. That doesn’t change the stance on abortion but it changes how abortion is discussed. The discussion in a political debate about abortion is very different from discussing it with a post-abortive woman. And even that conversation can vary depending on how the woman feels about her abortion. Is she proudly shouting her abortion, as many feminists have done? Then she first needs to come to terms with the gravity and the terrible reality of what she has done. She has not made a “choice” for women’s freedom but she has destroyed an innocent life for her own selfish reasons. Is the post-abortive woman grieving her abortion as a terrible decision made in a moment of crisis or maybe even as a result of pressure from someone else? Then she needs to be reminded that God has forgiven even that through the work of Jesus on the cross, if she will seek after Him for His mercy and forgiveness.
The conversation would be different still if it is with a woman is currently pregnant. And even that conversation would vary based on where the woman is in facing her pregnancy. Is she walking into a crisis pregnancy center seeking help? Is she your friend standing in front of you asking what she should do? Is she walking into an abortion clinic already determined to end her baby’s life? Each of those situations will require a different conversation, a different tone, and a different approach. But one common thing for each of those situations is to begin the conversation with a celebration of life. So often we approach a woman who is facing an unwanted pregnancy with sadness and disappointment, or maybe even judgment and shame. But that response only adds more pressure for a woman to make a terrible decision to simply avoid that judgment and shame. That negative attitude towards pregnancy is what causes many women to think abortion is the better option, rather than have a baby in this way. We know this pregnancy was not part of her plan, but at this point the circumstances leading up to her pregnancy are in the past. They cannot be changed or undone. What can be changed is how we respond to an unplanned pregnancy. And I think the response should be more like the following, much like I had with a dear friend of mine recently:
"My body, my choice" has become the rally cry for pro-choice people ever since the passing of the abortion ban in the state of Alabama. It has led to conversations mostly centered around that very question - the question of choice. What exactly do we have the freedom to choose? Especially being in the United States, we love to focus on our personal freedoms. We can do what we want, say what we want, go where we want, act how we want, and we declare that we have the "freedom" to do so -- freedom of speech, freedom to express ourselves, freedom to pursue whatever prosperity and lifestyle one may desire. But even in a society so free, we still have limitations and boundaries on those freedoms. You are not free to go steal your neighbor's car. You are not free to physically assault someone else. You are not free to take someone else's life. You may be free to drink as much alcohol as you want, but you are not free to then go operate a vehicle. Understandably, our freedoms are limited based on their impact to other people. So we are free to do whatever we want with our own bodies - as long as it doesn't harm someone else.
This becomes the main point of contention between pro-choice and pro-life groups. Pro-choice groups rally behind that cry of "my body, my choice" as if abortion were only the woman choosing to damage her own body by her choice. However, abortion does not only harm the woman. Abortion harms the woman while taking the life of someone else. From the moment of conception, a set of human DNA is formed that is separate and distinct from the woman. By five weeks gestation this separate human being has his or her very own heartbeat, separate from the woman. By eight weeks gestation, this separate human has his or her very own set of fingerprints, major organs, nervous system (so yes, the baby can feel pain!), and reproductive organs, separate from the woman. From the science that we know today, there is no denying that the baby in the womb is in fact a human baby, a separate person from the woman. Therefore this idea of choice is not just for one person to do what they want with their own body -- because this choice affects two bodies: the woman's and the baby's inside of her.
The issue for abortion then is determining under what circumstances should a woman be allowed the "freedom to choose" what happens to another human being. Many pro-choice woman say they are not for abortion only for a woman's right to choose. But respecting someone's right to choose depends on the choice being made. Would we make the same argument if someone decided to choose slavery? Would you say that you wouldn't choose to own a slave for yourself but if someone else chooses that, then that is their choice? Would we respect someone's "choice" to shoot up a kindergarten classroom (meanwhile abortion in this nation has wiped out 357 kindergarten classrooms PER DAY)? Would we respect as a "choice" someone who chooses to physically assault homosexuals? Yet abortion literally rips a baby apart limb from limb while in his mother's womb, what is supposed to be the safest place for him. Would we respect the "choice" of a woman who chooses to do drugs while she is pregnant? Yet people are fighting for a woman to take drugs that will destroy life as long as it is administered by an abortionist.
This is where we need to stop and take a moment to determine what kind of society we want to be...or really what kind of society we already are. In several discussions with pro-choice women, I've made the comparison of abortion to the Holocaust. I don't know if they are willfully refusing to see the analogy or if they truly are that ignorant to what they are "fighting" for, but abortion is our nation's Holocaust. When Hitler proposed the "final solution," it was a means of disposing of those that he deemed less than human. They weren't people to him anymore. They were unwanted. They were unloved. (Sound familiar? alabama-democrat-on-abortion-kill-them-now-or-kill-them-later/). They were unnecessary and actually a hindrance on the progress of the nation. Hitler devalued those people - Jews, gypsies, disabled, mentally handicapped - and his "choice" was to remove them from the population.
You can see the same ideology of abortion with the origin of Planned Parenthood. When Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood it was as a means for controlling the black population. She said, "All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class... Knowledge of birth control is essentially moral. Its general, though prudent, practice must lead to a higher individuality and ultimately to a cleaner race.”  In 1920 in an article titled "Woman and the New Race," Sanger states, "“Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives… If we are to make racial progress, this development of womanhood must precede motherhood in every individual woman.” And in a letter she wrote in 1939 to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, Sanger writes, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Yet Sanger is the role model for the pro-choice movement and champion of the "woman's right to choose."
Abortion is our Holocaust. It is doing exactly what Hitler dreamed of doing - only we've made it more efficient. Hitler's persecution took the lives of 17 million innocent people simply because he chose to treat those as less than human. To Hitler, they were unwanted and undesirable. We have killed over 60 million babies because our society has deemed certain pregnancies as unwanted and undesirable. For Margaret Sanger it was about controlling and limiting the black population. Now, our society is trying to rationalize and sort out who we think is worthy of existing. That's not our place to decide whether this person or that person is deserving of life. That is exactly what Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and many others did. They decided your ethnicity made you unfit to live. In some places around the world, they are making that decision based on gender. Our society is deciding whether someone's economic level, someone's desire to be a parent, or someone's potential "quality of life" of life makes an unborn baby a human being deserving of life or not.
But the baby in the womb is a human life, then it has value no matter how it was conceived, no matter how bad we think the circumstances around the birth and the life for the baby may be. We don't get to decide that this life doesn't matter. We don't get to choose that this life is disposable. When we do that, we are no different from the Nazi's "Final Solution." When there is a difficult, unplanned pregnancy, there are lots of things we can blame. We can blame some men for being crappy dads. We can blame some men for taking advantage of women. We can blame much of society for failing to emphasize the importance of the family. We can blame some women for making poor relationship decisions. We can blame the government and some corporations for not supporting motherhood enough. But what we can't blame is that baby. That baby is a human being, innocent and defenseless. It deserves life regardless of the circumstances of its conception. The value of innocent human life doesn't change whether the woman is poor, whether the man is a jerk, whether the woman already has other children, whether the woman is young, whether the woman has a career or school to consider, or whether the woman wants the baby. How we feel about the conception does not change whether the baby is a human or not. And we don't get that choice to destroy another human for our own selfish reasons.
Abortion is not an issue about choice. It is an issue about the value of life. We don't get to "choose" whose life is worth living or not. When we allow society to pick and choose the value of an innocent life, we are in a dangerous position. So I applaud Alabama, as a life-long resident of this beautiful state, for being in the national headlines on the correct side of valuing human life. Here we have said that it doesn't matter how you were conceived, what kind of parents you have, or where you are going to live. Your life has value and it will be treated as such. Alabama has been bold enough to say that there are all kinds of choices you get to make, but you do not get the choice to destroy an innocent human life.
(More posts to come on this issue...)
Quote from inside an abortion clinic in Alabama: When asked why does she work at this clinic, this woman replied, "Who else is going to do this? It's very hard to get somebody to do this job. I've worked here 14 years. Even though I've never personally had a termination, I've assisted in about 20,000. And I feel like this should be as common as going to the doctor and having a bunion removed. Nobody ridicules you, nobody asks you. 'Why did you have that knot taken off the side of your foot?' So nobody should be ridiculing you or asking you why did you have that fetus removed from your uterus."
1. Margaret Sanger, "Morality and Birth Control," Feb-Mar 1918.
Several weeks ago there was quite a commotion in the religious community over comments made by singer Lauren Daigle on the issue of homosexuality. At the time she was considered a Christian singer, although recently she takes issue with such a label. When asked whether or not homosexuality was a sin, she replied, “I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God.” The responses to Daigle were exactly what you would expect. One set of Christian bloggers and commentators blasted her for not taking the opportunity to speak Biblical truth to the masses. The other set praised her for not excluding the homosexual community. I, on the other hand, think the problem runs much deeper than that. I don’t think she shied away from speaking the truth, nor did I think she was intentionally trying to include the homosexual community. I think she most likely had no clue how to actually answer the question. And you can see that in the way she chose to answer the question. No, she’s not God (and hopefully no one was confused on that point), but we are not devoid of information on what God considers sin.
Now I know that’s very presumptuous to say she didn’t know how to answer the question – and of course, I could be completely wrong about that – but given what I’ve seen in how this issue is addressed inside the church, the odds are in my favor that I am right. How many people who have blasted her on this response would have known how to respond in a Biblical way – and articulate why? I’m willing to bet that the extent of her knowledge on the issue is that everyone in church has said it’s wrong but she has no idea why. And now she’s met a lot of really nice people who are part of the homosexual community, and now she really doesn’t know why it’s wrong. In fact, the reason why she said she wasn’t sure about how to respond was she had “too many people that I love” that “are homosexuals.”
Sadly, I think that’s how the majority of the youth in our churches are going out into the world. Do any of our youth (or even adults) really understand why some churches think homosexuality is a sin? Why some churches think it’s not a sin? And how to make sense of it? The issue becomes even more confusing when they encounter “gay Christians” who seem nicer and “more Christian” than heterosexual Christians. How can they still insist homosexuality is sinful when they are now their friends and so loving? The reason why there is this general confusion on this issue is that, despite the outcries from outside the church, this issue is not addressed sufficiently in the church.
1. The niceness of the person is not the measure of sin
The first thing we must remind ourselves and our youth is the niceness of the person is not the measure of sinfulness. We know the truth of this when we stop to consider the alternative, but it sometimes gets lost when we start inserting our emotions about people when we are judging people’s actions. Someone could just be the nicest, friendliest person you know but they have cheated on their spouse. I think we would agree that their “niceness” does not then negate the sin of adultery. Someone could be the most charitable and generous person you’ve seen, but if they abuse their children, you wouldn’t allow their charity to mean child abuse is no longer sinful. Those outside the church are making these same judgments too, though it’s not on the issue of homosexuality. If a pastor of a church were to be exposed as having embezzled money, you better believe the nice factor of the pastor would not be used to excuse his actions. Nor should it. Nice people do sinful things all the time (that’s because we are all sinners) so clearly that cannot be how we determine sin. It is so important that our youth understand this. They will meet many wonderful, nice homosexuals, but that does not mean God approves of homosexuality.
2. The Bible is not silent on this issue
The second thing to remember is that the Bible is not silent on this issue. So the larger concern is that most youth (and adults) are not even aware of what Scripture has to say on this. This was part of Miss Daigle’s problem. She thought she had to be God to make a statement on this issue instead of realizing that God has already made a statement (LOTS of statements) on this issue. But here’s where the church has to be even more diligent on how it addresses homosexuality, and any hotly debated social issue for that matter: it not only must expose how Scripture addresses homosexuality as sin, but how those who say it’s not a sin use Scripture to affirm homosexuality. That way people can know how to engage in a discussion with others and hopefully explain Scripture in context.
3. The Biblical stance on homosexuality should be convicting - even to heterosexuals
The third thing to remember is that speaking on the issue of homosexuality can be terribly convicting – no matter your sexual orientation. While there are many passages across both testaments that speak to the sinfulness of homosexuality, the overarching concept of how God intended all sexuality to be is given in the words of Jesus Christ. When asked about the issue of divorce in Mark 10, Jesus quotes from Genesis 1 and 2, saying, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he [Moses] wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Here Jesus establishes what God intended for us with respect to relationships and marriage. God made us as two distinct genders and established the institution of marriage as between one man and one woman. He even assumes a heterosexual relationship when He says a man shall leave his father and mother to be joined to his wife in marriage. God invented and gave us the pleasure of sexual union to be enjoyed within this perfect design of marriage. Satan has thus distorted that in numerous ways to pull us away from God’s perfect design; Satan cannot create new pleasures for us so he works to pervert those that God gave us.
This is how God designed us to work: one male, one female joined together in marriage to create the family. As the Creator of all things and the Author of life, He knows what is best for us – not because He wants to deny us things, but because He knows what is best. It’s exactly how every parent is with their children. From the child’s perspective, parents seem so unfair because they deny them from experiencing certain things. But from the parent’s perspective, those restrictions are there because they know what is best for the child; the parents want to direct the child’s path and decisions to be the least destructive and the most fulfilling for the child. Just like the parent denies those things that may appear fun to the child but actually bring harm, God does the same with us. Satan wants us to think all of these sexual unions and relationships are where the fun is, but God wants us to experience what is best for us. Just like the child thinks eating hot fudge sundaes every meal would be so much more fun than eating vegetables and grilled chicken -- but the parents know what is best in the end. Here’s why this is convicting for everyone. This construct of how God intended us to function in relationships excludes all sexual unions that are not within the marriage between one man and one woman. While obviously God’s design excludes homosexual activity, relationships, and unions, it also excludes a lot of heterosexual activity, relationships, and unions. Therefore God’s stance on this issue is very clear. Unlike what Daigle thinks, we don’t have to be “god” ourselves to understand what He desires for us.
4. We are all a sinful and rebellious people
The fourth and final thing to remember is that though this is God’s purpose and design for all humans, we are a rebellious people. We consistently shake our fists at God and say that we know better than He does. We insist on “following our hearts,” thinking the perversions Satan has set before us are better for us than God’s design. For those who have called on the name of Jesus for forgiveness of sins, our call is to live like it. We need to remember our true purpose is to walk in obedient submission to God’s will because God’s will is what is best. Even though that’s impossible to do while here on this sin-filled earth, we must continually strive toward that. This is what Jesus meant when He said to “pick up our cross” and follow Him. We have lost the context of this since a cross to us is just a symbol of Christianity. But when Jesus spoke those words, the cross was a symbol of public execution. We are to die to our own selfish desires and submit to God’s will. As we realize that God’s will is better for us anyway, that becomes easier to do. So for the Christian engaging in sexual activity – whether heterosexual or homosexual – outside of marriage between one man and one woman, they need God to draw them out of disobedience and back into obedience.
For those who have not asked forgiveness through Christ, they are walking in full disobedience and rebellion to God - whether homosexual or not. Therefore, unbelieving homosexuals don't need God to save them from their homosexuality, they need God to save them from their sins – all of them. The reform needed for them is not just to "stop being gay" but to understand that all of their sins - sins of bitterness, envy, lying, anger - are keeping them separated from the very One who created them. Our sins, even the tiniest of moral indiscretions, are so offensive to this perfectly Moral God that we cannot be in His presence. But out of His great love for us, He came down to this earth and laid down His life so that this relationship could be restored. It is because He loved us first that we love Him. And as Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commands." (John 14:15). We are to strive with the Holy Spirit to live holy lives because we follow a God who is holy and we are to honor Him with our lives. Only in His power we can overcome the sins that so easily entangle us.
A majority of the New Testament addresses false teachers within the church. Passages such as 1 Timothy 4:1-2, 2 Peter 2:1, and Romans 16:17-20 talk about false teachers, doctrines of demons, destructive heresies, and deceiving spirits. Hebrews 13:9 comes with the warning to “not be carried away with various and strange doctrines.” Jesus even warned against the false prophets in Matthew 7 saying, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
will be led away into destruction. Think of the imagery of the ravenous wolves. This is why we are also called throughout scripture to be discerning. We are to always judge what is taught to us against what is in the Scriptures, just like the Bereans did (which implies we must first know what the scriptures say). We are even told to test the spirits to see what is truly from God because not all “spiritual” things are from God.
But Satan, as the father of lies and the great deceiver, is much shrewder than we give him credit for being. He knows that even the least knowledgeable person of the scriptures could detect certain heresies as blatantly false. So he is trickier than that; he works like the old saying “stealing the sausage one slice at a time.” It is the slow deception of the truth that leads us down the bigger path towards the false , thus, the title of this post: the subterfuge of Satan. Subterfuge is defined as “deception in order to achieve one’s goal.” In order to see how Satan is going to deceive us, we have to think about what his goal is. What is Satan’s end game? To lead as many people away from God and out of God’s presence as he possibly can. That is his single mission. How does he achieve that? Deception. Satan even parades as an angel of light for the express purpose of deceiving us. Before we see what takes us out of God's presence and away from God, we must see what makes us in God's presence and with God. According to John 14:6, the only way to God is through Jesus. John reiterates that point in 1 John 5:12: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” And Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” So anything that is different from that truth will accomplish Satan’s goal. If he can get you to take one step away from that truth, then Satan wins. If he can pull you away from confessing Jesus is Lord, away from believing that God raised Him from the dead, and away from thinking that the only way to God is through Jesus, then Satan has deceived you with false doctrine unto your destruction. How does he deceive us into that?
How does Satan do that with us now? Well, we have a plethora of denominations that alter that core true doctrine of who Jesus is and what Jesus did. Some denominations say that Jesus wasn’t really God. If He wasn't God, then His sacrifice on the cross was insufficient. Many denominations say that you are saved by faith plus man’s traditions, man’s rituals, or man’s effort. They say if you do these steps or repeat these words then you can find forgiveness. They are just like the Judaizers adding to the work Jesus did on the cross as though it were insufficient, as though our effort has something to do with our salvation. But Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that it is only by grace through faith that we are saved, but it is not by our works, specifically so that we cannot boast in our salvation. It is only through the work Jesus did on the cross that we can boast, not in ourselves. Many denominations say that any path to God is valid. They don’t want to claim the exclusivity that Jesus claimed. When Jesus said that no one comes to the Father but through Him, Jesus was excluding all other religions as false and unacceptable to God. It doesn't matter how sincere or nice another religion is, it is equally abhorrent to God because it does not all on the name of Jesus for salvation. In each of these denominations, Satan has twisted scripture to lead people astray from true doctrine, which will lead to their destruction.
Some denominations even twist scripture to make it approve of sins in which they want to persist. They redefine the words clearly written in scripture so they can call “good evil and evil good.” They think since grace abounds we have no need for the law. But the law is useful, as Paul says in 1 Timothy 1, to show us our sin. He says the purpose of pointing out sin is to draw us to repentance. That is why in 1 Corinthians 5 Paul tells the church to call out one man’s sins so that “his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” The reason for identifying his actions as sin was so that the man’s spirit may be saved. What if Paul had never called that sin? The man would have persisted in that sin to the glory of his flesh but to the destruction of his soul. That is exactly what Satan wants. Satan twists scripture, so that we redefine sin, so that we may satisfy our flesh, but destroy our souls.
Yes, we are commanded to love one another. I am certainly not saying that we are not to do those things to help “the least of these.” But we are also commissioned to go and spread the Gospel because telling others about Jesus is showing love. So if you are going into the communities of the least of these to give them physical aid but never speak about Jesus, then you are missing the point of why Jesus sent us out. In Matthew 28:19 He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Yes, showing love and meeting physical needs should be a part of that. But the whole point is to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey His words. Many churches reference Acts 1:8 for their model for mission. But that doesn’t tell us to pick a cool beach spot for our youth group to hand out bottled water. It tells us to be witnesses of Jesus to the world. Being a witness involves speaking. We are to tell people about Jesus first and foremost. Satan has won if he can convince us that we only have to be kind or show love and not speak the name of Jesus. Satan knows that we don’t have to teach false doctrine to prevent others from reaching God, we just have to neglect to tell them the true doctrine.
Imagine if in a war, our military was so focused on arguing over the color of their uniforms and which food was better to have in the field that they neglected to actually attack the enemy. Meanwhile, the enemy was busy plundering and slaughtering the local village and kidnapping our own military’s families. That sounds insane but that’s exactly what the church does when it becomes preoccupied with things indifferent instead of focusing on the lost and dying world around us. When we do that, not only do people die without salvation, but the enemy slips in and steals the minds and hearts of our children because we were too busy boycotting something to teach our children the fundamentals of their faith. We were too busy entertaining our children at church to educate them in the basic logic of Christianity. We were too busy making Christianity fun and palatable for the masses to give believers any depth of scriptural knowledge.
Satan is called the deceiver and the father of lies. His whole business is convincing you that the truth is not true. And he will resort to any means necessary to accomplish that goal. Be mindful of your adversary! He prowls around like a roaring lion seeking those whom he can devour. Don’t let that be you or your children. Be alert and watchful. Guard your mind, taking every thought captive. Demolish every argument he uses. Use the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, to attack the enemy. Take up your armor and go to battle for the kingdom of God. Be deceived no longer.