Reading this previous post will expand on and clarify some of what I say below.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And 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. (1Co 6:9-11)
More and more professing Christians affirm homosexual relationships. Jen Hatmaker was the most recent high profile Christian to say that she thought same-sex relationships can be “holy.” Following this train there have been some, while not affirming same-sex relationships themselves, say that sodomy and lesbianism are not issues worth dividing over. Sodomy may be wrong, but it does not put someone outside the kingdom of Christ. In other words you can affirm same-sex relationships and still be a Christian. Is this true? Is sodomy an issue where Christians can agree to disagree like baptism? The answer is no. Someone who is an active homosexual or lesbian has no inheritance in the kingdom of God.
But Don’t We All Sin?
Often the response to those of us who say sodomy is sin is that we all sin. Everyone in the church is a sinner. Why do we single out homosexuals? There is a kernel of truth to this statement. That is why we often fall for the ruse. But from the truth that we are all sinners it does not follow that we must affirm same sex relationships.
Of course, Christians can sin in numerous ways and still be redeemed…if they repent. What someone cannot do is claim to be a Christian and live a life of blatant unrepentant sin. Affirming same-sex relationships is saying, “It is okay for you to live a life of sin and not repent of it. In fact your sin is really not a sin at all, but a righteous thing, a holy thing.” This message is at odds with the whole Bible.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. I John 3:9
What About All Those Other Sins The Church Ignores?
Another common response is that the church treats homosexuality different than other sins, such as gossip, drunkenness, and fornication. I agree that churches do not always deal with these sins as they ought. Church discipline has always been hard, but in our anti-authoritarian, individualistic age it is almost non-existent. But a failure to deal with sins appropriately is quite different from affirming these sins. It is one thing to say, “Gossip is a sin that we do not always address well in the church.’ It is quite another to say, “I affirm that gossip is holy.” Imagine Jen Hatmaker writing a blog where she says, “Drunkenness can be holy.” Or “We are all sinners so we shouldn’t be too hard on adulterers. In fact, we should affirm men who sleep around on their wives.” People who point to other sins miss the main point of the battle with sodomy. Sodomites want to be affirmed, not tolerated. Their goal is not for the church to simply ignore their sins. Their goal is for the church to say their sexual relationships are holy. No other sin is treated this way in the church. No one is pushing for Christians to affirm fornication, adultery, theft, drunkenness, gossip, or murder. The reason sodomy is treated differently in the church is because it is given greater weight by the world. (See the link at the top of the page for more on this.)
We Should Never Affirm Something That Sends People to Hell
Why is this even a question? What Christian who loves Jesus and His Word would tell people it is “holy” to live as a drunk, fornicator, adulterer, or thief? Yet somehow Christians are saying this about homosexuality. We should never tell people an action is okay when that action puts them outside the Kingdom of Christ. To do so is to mock God and His Word. It is not a declaration of love for the homosexual, but of hate for them and hate for God’s Word. What would we say to a man who tells his friend all is well while feeding him poison? We would say he betrayed his friend. We would say he does not love his friend no matter his words. And so it is with homosexuality. Jen Hatmaker and those like her are feeding people poison instead of the gospel. Her words, instead of calling people to repent and turn from their sins so that might enter the Kingdom, are telling them it is okay to disregard God’s Word. This message is not just a mistake or slip up. This message is a dangerous lie that if heard and followed will send people to Hell.
Shepherds are More Accountable than Sheep
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)
Teachers, whether they are pastors, bloggers, writers, professors, Sunday School teachers, or conference speakers will be held to a higher standard. A teacher who affirms that same-sex relationships are okay is not only in danger of Hell, but is leading others there also. False teachers, whatever their vocation, must be confronted. Other teachers should graciously, but clearly and loudly, point out the errors of these false teachers and publicly condemn their teachings. This is part of our job as shepherds. We cannot allow wolves disguised as shepherds declare their love for Jesus while they guide people into darkness and condemnation. If we love God’s people and the lost we must have the courage to say, “No they are wrong and here is why.”
As Christians who love Christ, His Word, and the world we must deny that those who live in same sex relationships are Christians. One cannot live in unrepentant sin and still be following Christ. One can struggle with sin. One can fight against it. One can even commit it and repent. But one cannot declare a sin to be “holy” and still be part of the Kingdom. We cannot affirm that homosexuality is an issue we agree to disagree on. Sodomy is not an issue of indifference or tolerance that good Christians have disagreed on. Romans 1 is clear on this point. Affirming same-sex relationships as holy and within God’s will is to declare darkness light and evil good. We cannot affirm that same-sex relationships are fine and okay. That would require us to deny Christ’s clear Word.