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July 10, 2013

Comments

"it's more accurate to speak in terms of same-sex attraction..." (from the video)

Actually, I think the Bible makes it clear it's more accurate to speak in terms of sin. I tend to be very hesitant about those who approach this issue in these terms because there always seems to be a tendency to "soften the blow" as it were so as to not offend or hurt any feelings. But the plain truth of the matter is that this issue is one of the defining issues of our culture today, and it strikes at the very heart of the gospel.

How do I know this a gospel issue? Well, Paul tells very explicitly in 1 Cor 6:9:

Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Inheriting the kingdom of God has everything to do with the gospel, and so that's why I say this issue is a gospel issue and therefore is far more important than what we think.

When you realize that truth, the desire to "speak the truth in love" should far outweigh the desire to avoid any hurt feelings. True love-speech is going to be truthful with those who "struggle with same-sex attraction" and call it what it is: it's sin, and therefore that person needs to deal with that in the same way that any other Christian should deal with ongoing sin in their lives. By repenting, dying to self, and exhibiting Christ. And we don't do so out of pride or because we're "better", but because we seek to do as Paul commanded the Galatians:

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. - Gal. 6:1-3

That doesn't mean we ridicule or castigate those who struggle with this sin, but it also doesn't mean we just accept that it's how they are and move. It means we go to them as brothers and sisters in Christ and challenge them and prop them up and help show them what God's word says about dying to self. Just as we would with any other Christian who seeks help with their burden of sin. And I think perhaps this what Sam Allberry is getting at in his book? At least I hope it is.

The reason is because these feelings aren't just feelings, impulses, attractions, that need to be controlled. They are feelings that are rooted in our own selfish, natural man, and therefore we need to put them to death! And we can only do so by delving deeper into God's word, seeing more of Christ, and thereby allowing the Spirit to lead us into all truth.

@ d -

Thank you so much for saving me a post!

I was going to say a lot of things, but honestly, you have worded it perfectly. Anything I say will only detract, not add anything of value.

All I can say is I agree 100%.

d:

Same-sex attraction is sin? I suppose it is if it's the same thing as committing a homosexual offense, but I see the two as different. Do you think it's possible to have same-sex attraction, but not be a "homosexual offender"? In the video, Sam talks of having same-sex attraction, but not having the desire to act on it.

I wonder, do you also consider opposite-sex attraction a sin? Do you think it's possible to be attracted to someone and not lust after them? Something to consider.

I wonder, do you also consider opposite-sex attraction a sin? Do you think it's possible to be attracted to someone and not lust after them? Something to consider.

Good question. The Lord Jesus addressed this in the Sermon on the Mount:

You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. - Matt. 5:27-28

The point is that our internal being is what matters. This is a consistent theme of Jesus' teaching ("But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person." - Matt. 15:18) We can have all the correct external actions we want, but if we do those simply out of coercion without addressing the root cause of internal sin, then we are merely "whitewashed tombs."

So, yes, same-sex attraction is sin, because as I said earlier it's the outgrowth of the selfish, sinful man. Instead of looking for ways to rationalize it, we need to be seeking ways to confront it and make it an opportunity to die to self, saying "not my will, but thine, (Lk. 22:42)" and "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! (Ps. 51:2)"

I think you misunderstood my point. I'm not trying to rationalize, but be precise in interpretting the text of the Word and also Sam's message. Attraction is one thing, lust is another. Matt 5 speaks of looking at a woman with lustful intent. Do you think it's possible to look at an attractive woman (who's not your wife) without lustful intent? Maybe you don't think it's possible and that's why you've written the way you have. I happen to know (as I know my own thoughts) that it is possible.

So the answer is no, God is not anti-gay. Thanks for the post! :)

@Dave,

Don't think I misunderstood. Attraction and lust in the context of the original post are synonymous. I'm sure there are various forms of "attraction" that don't involve lust or sin, but in the case of the original post it does.

For example, the natural affinity that certain persons have for one another's company that leads to platonic friendships. I guess that could be called an "attraction." But yet it's not necessarily sinful due to the absence of the sexually immoral component. There may be other examples as well, I just can't take the time to think of them right now.

To further parse your words, yes, obviously it is possible to "look at an attractive woman (who's not your wife) without lustful intent." There are many reasons this might occur: basic eye contact in normal human communication patterns, observing a woman crossing the street in front of you so you can make sure to not run over her with your car, etc. Obviously that shows that it is possible to have an optical image of a female pass through our eyeballs and not have sin involved.

But, that's a quite different context when you apply this to the idea of "same-sex attraction." "Attraction is one thing, lust is another." Not necessarily. In the context of the original post, the "same-sex attraction" in the video (or really any immoral attraction) is dealing specifically with an attraction based on the sinful desire to engage in sexual immoral behaviour, and that's sin, for the reasons already stated.

In the video, Sam talks of having same-sex attraction, but not having the desire to act on it.

Sorry, just caught this in an earlier comment. I don't think this is quite what he indicated. He clearly indicated that he had these "same-sex attractions," and my takeaway was that the only thing preventing him from acting on it was the fact that he knew it to be sinful behaviour. In other words, the desire was still there, it was just "overruled" by a stronger deterrent.

I guess my main point is that that's fine for a starting point, and praise God that he's not engaging in the behaviour, but the desire itself also needs to be dealt with and done away with at some point according to God's good graces.

@ Dave -

"Same-sex attraction is sin?"

Of course. It's a completely unnatural thing.

"I wonder, do you also consider opposite-sex attraction a sin?"

Of course not. It is a natural attraction.

"Do you think it's possible to be attracted to someone and not lust after them? Something to consider."

Sure. But again, having an attraction to someone of the same sex even if it's not particularly lustful is wrong in and of itself. It's a symptom of deeper problems.


Think of it this way. It's normal to have a desire to eat. This desire may or may not result in gluttony/excess. But the desire itself isn't wrong.

However, what if you have a desire to eat things that are not food? There is actually a disorder like this, but I cannot think of the name offhand.

Both people have the same good (or at least neutral) desire, which is to eat. But for whatever reason, the second person's desires are all mixed up.

But we don't go around saying that this second person's desires are normal, do we? They don't demand acceptance, they don't have parades and no one would think twice about saying or at least thinking that there is something seriously wrong and broken inside of a person that would make them have this unnatural desire.

And no one would think it "hateful" to think that such a desire is unnatural, right?

Switch the food analogy to the homosexuality issue and it's the same thing.

I believe the disorder is called "pica".

Hi Mo,

In the case of the "second person's desire" (ie. pica, as Carolyn mentioned), we do not call it normal, you are correct. But I have never heard it called a sin either.

Just to interject a thought here...I think that, perhaps, the analogy was not a great one because it really isn't always a case of the person who eats non-food items having "mixed-up desires" where food is concerned. This condition is often triggered by a need the body has for trace elements that are missing in the diet of the individual. They begin eating things which, surprisingly, often supply those missing trace elements. Our son had this condition for a time as a toddler, and ate spoonsful of dirt, tiny gravel, paper, pill bugs and various other odd items! He eventually stopped doing so, thank goodness!

Nonetheless, I get what Mo is saying here!

"Is God anti gay"?

Well, yes, He is.

At least if the Bible is any indication.

Goat Head 5

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