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Question #1:

How do you feel about businesses going out of business because they refuse to sell cake to those types of couples? What confuses me is that gay couples have always existed so I'm sure a gay couple has asked for a wedding cake before, so why is it now news? But people are watching us. Wouldn't it be a lose-lose situation: if they give them the cake, many unbelievers will say they're being hypocritical because the bible condemns homosexuality. If they don't, they're homophobic.

Also what about selling items in general? Like if a believer were to work at a general store and one wanted to buy cigarettes or condoms?

Response #1:

As our Lord said when confronted with an apparent dilemma of this sort, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's" (Matt.22:21). That command and the true principles behind it apply in this case too. After all, while believers are not "of this world", we are, for the sake of Christ, still "in this world", and until He calls us home, we cannot "go out of the world":

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
1st Corinthians 5:11 NIV

If a believer is in business, and his/her standard is to do business only with perfect people, he/she will do no business. If a believer is looking for a job, and his/her standard is that he/she will only work for a company composed of perfect people, he/she will never get a job. One would have to "go out of the world" in order to avoid people with whose conduct we disagree. Should a convenience store clerk serve someone whose conduct is questionable. Should he/she be required to make the person fill out a questionnaire before buying a pack of gum? If a person sells wedding cakes, as you correctly intimate, there must have been plenty of questionable weddings – or questionable people – who have ordered cakes before (we are all "questionable" in some respect or the other). Why, as you say, is it a problem now? I can understand why a pastor would not want to officiate at such a marriage if he disagreed with it (not all of them do), but then in my estimation marriage is a civil not a religious matter anyway (I don't do weddings). It is this mixing of religion (not to say true Christianity) with politics and secular matters that have nothing to do with salvation, spiritual growth, progress and production which is at the heart of the problem here.

Christians who want to grow and serve Jesus Christ the right way will be well-served by staying out of all such political issues. The world has always been the world. It has always been evil and sinful. It will remain so until restrained by the Lord during His millennial kingdom, and even there the true nature of unsaved mankind will be revealed during the last rebellion against Him when Satan is released at the end of the 1,000 years. Absolute perfection in a world where "righteousness dwells" will have to wait for the resurrection and the New Jerusalem (2Pet.3:13). Until then, trying to turn any secular country into a religious state or reduplicate Israel (which never achieved the goal modeled in the Law in any case) is doomed to failure – with spiritual compromise and great hypocrisy accompanying that failure.

I think the worst possible reason to do something or not to do something is out of a concern for what other people might think of us. While it is true that we do want to avoid offense as much as possible in order not to trip up weak believers or unnecessarily sully our witness to unbelievers, we who are determined to live for Jesus Christ ought to make it our policy to do what He wants us to do in each and every situation regardless of consequences – and regardless of what other people might think.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I hope you are doing well and enjoying this Easter season. It definitely is an emotional time of reflection for me of our dear Saviors sacrifice and resurrection. I know I left our last discussion with some questions I've had that I could not remember at the time. Fortunately, I have been able to sort of compile a couple questions I remembered I had as well as some I have been pondering upon my recent reflections/scripture readings that I was hoping you could shed your insight upon.

1. Off the bat, I by no means want to get political with this question. I hate politics and petty discussion among such issues in general. This also seems to be a hot topic with other Christians as well that hopefully you can clarify. My question is in regards to homosexuals and the gospel. I personally believe that all who believe in Christ and his finished work on the cross as payment for their sin are saved. Apparently many Christians do not believe one can be a homosexual and a Christian, what are your thoughts? I can understand their points of contention by practicing a lifestyle of sinfulness. My greatest concern is turning them or people in general away from the gospel by being so overly critical of them. At the same time, I don't want to condone a lifestyle that I feel is going against what God intended. On the opposite end of the spectrum which I view to be more politically motivated, is that Christ loves all and "it doesn't matter what you do cause he loves you anyways, so go ahead and indulge" reason to excuse licentiousness. So, I feel that the truth is somewhere in the middle. In my readings, Jude especially stuck out to me particularly in verse 4. I feel this verse pertains more so to teachers, but also refers to the ungodly. Seems that the main point is that they practice (or at least allow the practice) of sin and also deny Christ at the same time. I'm seeing this more with liberal Christianity, foregoing sound doctrine in order to make an extremely watered down scripture that is easy to digest. I then have found Matthew 12:31 to be applicable as well to this discussion as the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Spirit (apostasy or remaining in unbelief). So, I'm just curious as to what you have to say about this. Can a person be a "homosexual Christian"? I think so, but am hopeful that such a person will at least try to fight against a sin that seems so deeply ingrained. I'm also curious as to whether you think just the act of intercourse would be sinful in this case, or if the attraction is as well?

2. This sort of plays into the previous question so please bear with me. I was discussing something with my friends and something about dressing in drag came up. We then began talking about whether this was sinful or not (not that any of us would ever do it) and found that we were divided in opinion. The only thing I could really find on this is Deuteronomy 22:5. Since this part of Deuteronomy is discussing the law, I figured it only has to do with that and that Christians are no longer obligated to it. However, the use of the word detestable is off putting. Drag seems to be more of a recreational thing more-so than a lifestyle thing (transexualism) much like dressing up as a man or woman for trick or treating when you are the opposite sex. I'm just not clear if this is sinful or not. What do you think? I know this will probably go down as one of your strangest questions, but I'm just curious as this seems to be another point of contention in Christian circles.

3. My last question I think is one that many Christians tend to wrestle with which I often think about as well. One of the biggest things the non believing community throws at us is "what about those who have never heard the gospel?". Say it's some undiscovered tribe on a pacific island who's people die never hearing the gospel, not having a chance to come to Christ, what of them? I believe God is extremely merciful to us, but has conditions that we repent and trust in His Son. I'm reluctant to say yes or no in this situation though because I am not God and cannot confidently make such a decision. On the one hand, they have not rejected Christ because they have not heard about Him. Yet, the Bible also says creation hails His glory so that no man is without excuse. What are your thoughts on this scenario? I think there's a difference between someone who willing rejects the Gospel and one who has not yet heard it although I'm not saying either is acceptable. This also can open up a messy door that they're better off not being evangelized to so that they can die ignorant and go to heaven than to hear it, reject it, then go to hell. It's a very tricky question to me that I believe is meant for people to question their faith in a negative sort of way. I want to be armed in as many scenarios as possible so, please don't think I am trying to figure out a loophole because that is certainly not my intention. Just wanted to clarify that.

I'm not sure if you will be around this weekend to answer my questions Dr. Luginbill, please don't feel any need to rush answering these. Thanks again for allowing me to continue to bother you with my unending questions. If I do not talk to you before Sunday, I hope that you have a very Happy Easter! He is risen indeed!

In Christ,

Response #2:

Good to hear from you, my friend. Hope your studies are going well. I'm keeping you in my prayers.

As to your questions:

1) The way we talk about and relate to this issue in this country today is very much a western and a modern interpretation. In our day, a person "is or isn't" (or I suppose "is both"). In the ancient world, this would have seemed bizarre. From their point of view, everyone is attracted to something, and that attraction level is more of a sliding scale between extremes than a fixed point on a list of two or three alternatives. Pigeon-holing people according to what they most find sexual attractive is thus something we have chosen to do rather than something that really exists in such stark relief in the real world. Secondly, there is, as your question rightly intuits, a difference between being attracted and acting, or, in Christian terms, between being tempted and sinning. As we know, the only sexual activity upon which the Lord smiles is that between a man and a woman in the bond of marriage. This means that not only is all same-sex sex sinful, but all heterosexual sex is also wrong if not occurring within the bonds of marriage.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
1st Corinthians 6:18 NIV

All sin is bad, but clearly some sins are worse than others in that they involve greater rebellion from the Lord and breaking through more barriers to commit. The verse above does not distinguish between the types of porneia (the generic Greek word for any illicit sexual behavior), but any sexual activity outside of marriage would apply. So I would never condemn any brother or sister for being tempted. And we all have areas of weakness and we are all tempted in regard to these weaknesses, whatever they may be. It's only when we allow ourselves to be "dragged off and enticed" by them, then give into them, and, worse to tell, eventually embrace them that salvation can be threatened (Jas.1:14-15). So if a believer in Christ is attracted, that is no sin; if a person lusts, that is a sin; if a believer gives into lust and sins sexually, that is serious sin with serious consequences; and if a believer then decides to justify that sinning (by whatever rationale), faith will begin to erode and in the end apostasy or the sin unto death will result. This process is true of any sort of sin, but sexuality is a particular area of weakness for most people, and a favorite area for the evil one to attack, especially where believers are concerned.

2) We are not under the Law, but the Law contains many behavioral prohibitions which, while not restated in the New Testament, should at the very least be viewed as cautionary. In this regard, I personally would have a hard time dismissing the OT guidance. How bad a sin is this, if it really is even a sin? While I can't say, it does seem to me that the behavior associated with this activity and the motivations behind it are likely to be even more detrimental than the practice itself. I can't imagine any Christian doing this on a regular basis, for example, and not suffering negative spiritual consequences.

3) It all depends how "big" your God is, I suppose. If you worship a little god who does not know the beginning from the end, who hasn't thought of everything, who is only exercising nominal control of events and who for that reason doesn't care much about what happened, is happening, and will happen in the peripheries of the world, such a god might need to make allowances for people whom he has not given the same opportunities as he has to others. However, I worship the one and only Lord God Almighty. He is bigger than anything we can imagine. The universe is a small thing compared to Him. He could create a trillion much larger ones in a nanosecond with no effort, if such was His will. More than any of that, He is love. And His love is seen in the wonder of sharing Himself with us – those He gave His image – in Jesus Christ, the God-man who died for all of our sins. Did such a God really ever neglect anyone? Did such a God really not realize that some people would not "have easy access to the gospel" the way others have? Did He really not know ahead of time who would respond and who would not? He has placed all the information anyone needs to know that He exists in everything that He has made – and enough truth in His natural creation to realize His goodness, and His justice. Facing death, why wouldn't everyone want to seek Him?

(26) For from one man [Adam], [God] created the nations of mankind, that they might inhabit the entire face of the earth. And He predetermined both their appointed times and the boundaries of their settlement, (27) that they might seek God, if perhaps they might even [deign to] grope after Him and so come to find Him – for He is not far from any one of us.
Acts 17:26-27

Not all do want to seek Him, in spite of His perfect disposition of every human being in the right place at the right time to maximize their opportunities for doing so. But there will be those saved "from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Rev.5:9), if only because all who die before they reach the age of being accountable are automatically saved.

The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
Isaiah 57:1 NIV (cf. 1Ki.14:12-13).

I have written some on this point, so I will give you the links for further study if interested:

Natural Revelation

Proving the existence of God

Natural and Special Revelation

*Natural Revelation and Accountability (in BB 4B)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I completely agree with you on the first point, we do tend to pigeon hole people in this day and age. Unfortunately, many are determined to keep the labels they are given. I felt this question was important to me because I've known a few different 'gay' people who were raised in the faith but later rejected it to embrace a more 'open' political doctrine. In a way, I feel bad that they feel rejected to the point of abandoning their faith yet it was to their own accord in doing so. Some people vehemently believe you can't be 'both', but I agree with you that you can although practicing sexual sin is obviously a road to disaster. I think Christians need to find a middle ground in a way because I've really only seen two extremes, unconditional condemnation and unconditional openness to said lifestyle. I appreciate your thoughts to this polarizing topic.

I also agree with your second point, I understand we are not bound to the law but that the law also features applications that are relevant to the lives of Christians today. I know this was a strange question, but I think it is worthy of a bit of a discussion on such a bizarre practice that many are trying to normalize today. I think Romans 12:2 could apply here as well.

On the third point, what a powerful paragraph! I think that is the most realistic viewpoint. I think this sort of goes back to pigeon holing, this case being with God. I do want to ask for clarification about the age of accountability though. I was always taught that this was the point when you truly understand something as being right or wrong that is unpredictable to pin point an age because each person is different. The Jews believe that upon turning 13, you have reached the age of accountability. What exactly is the true definition of this? Is this simply the age when you hear the gospel and respond to it? I've read through your links (Which were very helpful by the way), but did not see this.

Thanks again for your response,

Response #3:

You're most welcome, and thanks much for your kind and enthusiastic words.

This is a confusing set of issues even for genuine Christians who put the Bible first, and is being made all the more complicated by the gross politicization of it currently afoot. It reminds me of this verse:

Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil.
Amos 5:13 NIV

I think those of our brothers and sisters who are out there sounding off about this issue are only potentially harming themselves and their damaging their witness.

On accountability, I would agree that while most cultures fix a definite time for the reaching of this age symbolically, it will vary from person to person. God knows when we realize the truths He has given all mankind through natural revelation, and He also knows what our initial and continuing response of the heart is and will be – that is the important part of the equation. For those who want Him, He provides:

(26) For from one man [Adam], [God] created the nations of mankind, that they might inhabit the entire face of the earth. And He predetermined both their appointed times and the boundaries of their settlement, (27) that they might seek God, if perhaps they might even [deign to] grope after Him and so come to find Him – for He is not far from any one of us.
Acts 17:26-27

Best wishes for your finals!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

Can I pick your brain about a few things? What do you think about racism? What do you think about the fact that Christian is almost synonymous with racist? What do you think about Christian racists? Were you alive during the civil rights movement? What did you think of it? Were you one of those Christian moderates Martin Luther King Jr. talked about in his letter from Birmingham jail? Were your parents racist? Did they think blacks and whites should be separate? What did you think of the George Zimmerman verdict? What do you think of the fact that white Christians practically danced in the streets about the fact that he got away with murder? What do you think about sexism? What do you think about the sexism in Christian churches? What do you think about Christians being some of the most hard-hearted people? What do you think about spineless Christians who refuse to take stands on issues affecting their brethren? I'm not trying to antagonize you. I really want answers to these questions. Please don't say, "Jesus is the only answer to all these things...." I want to know your honest opinion. This is not a trap. I'm just trying to find one redeeming person in the entire state of Christendom. I want to know there is at least one Christian. If I can find that, then that must mean that Christianity is true. I can go to all of the apologetics websites, but they make no difference. I want to see Christianity lived out in someone. I am so ready to come to a conclusion. Whether I devote my life to Christ or become an atheist, I'm so tired of being in this middle ground. I've already been deciding what I'm going to do with all of my religious literature. I have like 10 full Bibles in many different versions. I have devotionals. I have Bible studies. I have an encyclopedia, and the Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon. I've spent a lot of money, and put a lot of time into that collection. I thought about giving it away. The pastor at the church I left would love to have it. I just don't feel right giving someone things that aren't true. Those things have caused me so much pain. I have wasted a lot of time. I can't get that back. My entire life is different because of choices I made believing in that stuff. I'll probably end up throwing it all away. I don't like to throw away literature. I just don't want to perpetuate those ideas. Give me a straight response. Whatever it is you think will happen if you give me your opinion, won't.

Thanks,

Response #4:

Good to hear from you as always.

To (attempt) to answer (at least some) of your questions here, let me start by saying that I hope that how we have interacted over the years tells you something about me (and more than anything I might proclaim on a questionnaire), but that if you are looking for a perfect Christian, I wish you good luck (you're certainly not going to find one at this email address). Abraham failed; Job failed; Moses failed; Elijah failed; David failed; Peter failed; Paul failed.

For we all stumble in many things.
James 3:2a NKJV

The theme of your various questions, however, seems to me to revolve around the application of Christianity, Christian principles, and the Christian walk in the world . . . in a political way. Most of these things you mention are political developments, political prisms, political causes. You would be much happier jettisoning all such concerns in my opinion (and in this I think I also have the Spirit of God).

God doesn't care about politics. Jesus died for each of us individually, not collectively. People are saved individually, not collectively. Christians grow up, progress and win rewards for their production individually, not collectively, by helping other individuals. We are responsible for "us"; not for "the world". We have faith and are expected to use it. How? By growing in the truth, but learning to live that truth we have taken in and believed, and by helping others do the same.

I understand people getting worked up about social/political causes, believe me I do (all too well). It's very tempting indeed. The problem is, that it doesn't help the people who get involved grow closer to Jesus Christ. Does political/social action help "people collectively"? Maybe. However, there have been plenty of bad causes in the history of the world, even though they may have looked good at the time; and there have been plenty of good people who got involved in "good-looking" causes, only to be exploited by the less than good people who were at the top of the cause-pyramid. But even if a cause is 100% good and even if the people leading it were 100% good (neither of which proposition has ever been or will ever be the case – not even close), such things are always counterproductive for believers. Not only are they a waste of time and resources (which God intends us to use for spiritual growth, progress and production), but they also inevitably warp a Christian's thinking into worldliness – to the extent that the cause is worldly. All political/social causes are worldly, but some are more damaging to a Christian's faith and spiritual progress than others.

God can fix anything. If He so chooses. Why is there suffering? Why is there disease? Why is there racism, hatred, war, aggression, crime, evil? Because this world is a world comprised of sinful human beings, run by the devil. God will fix it . . . when Christ returns. Short of that, believers who try to fix it are only playing the devil's game.

Let's talk about you. Do you think, when Christ died for your sins, each and everyone of them, that it mattered to Him what your race was, your gender, your sinful proclivities, your nationality, your politics? He died for all . . . that all might be saved. He died for all your sins – and all of mine and those of every other human being who will ever live. He died, that you might accept His sacrifice and have life eternal. You did. Praise God! But here you are. Still here. Still on earth. And the earth stinks. That is not your problem, however. You could not fix it if you tried. And if you try, you will end up being sorry for the effort. So why are you still here? To glorify Jesus Christ, the One who died for you. He did so much for you, is it too much for Him to ask something of you now? If you love Him, you should be happy to do whatever He wants (rather than doing what so many do, namely, choose what they want and falsely say that it is "of God"). Therefore that is the only truly important question: "What does Jesus want me to do?"

He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."
John 21:17 NKJV

Like Peter, if we really do "love" our dear Lord Jesus, well then we have just entered into the "sheep feeding" business – because that is what our Lord wants from us. That is to say, He wants us to get to the point in our spiritual growth (through learning and believing the truth) and our spiritual progress (through having that faith tested and tempered in the trials of life) to be able to produce a good crop for Him, "100, 60 and 30-fold". This is what glorifies Him. This is what brings eternal rewards. This is what "helps people" – God's way. Is a person an unbeliever? Then they need Jesus Christ, they need the gospel – but how will they get it if there are no Christians who are truly knowledgeable about the issues and willing to share in a good and godly way? Is a person a believer? Then they need the truth of the Word of God taught in a godly, deep, orthodox and useful way. But how can get that truth if there is no pastor/teacher who is prepared and willing to do so? And how can there be if is no system of preparation? If there is no one to pray for him? If there is no one to support him? If there is no church or no home or no website or no venue from which the truth may be presented? If there are none of the many administrative and apologetic and academic ministries which provide the environment for teaching the truth? If there is no mutual support and encouragement among the congregation that are trying to learn the truth; etc., etc. Just as the physical body has many parts, so the Church is a Body of many parts, and everyone is important and none can be done without. You have been given gifts, and the Lord Jesus is tapping His foot, so to speak, waiting for you to patiently grow up to full spiritual maturity, to meet the challenge of the tests He has for you which will refine your faith, and to take up the task and ministry to which He has called you: "Feed my sheep".

If you set yourself to it, through the Spirit and the Word He will lead you in the path He has personally prepared for you, individually and specially.

Every thing else is folly.

Yours in Jesus Christ the Lord of all,

Bob L.

Question #5:

I was on the web and a post came up about homosexuality. It was a screenshot from Facebook. The person had posted Leviticus 20:13 and asked how could any good Christian support gay marriage. Someone on Facebook responded to them by quoting Deuteronomy 22:13-21. They told the person they should reconsider their position on the relevance of the Bible on our marriage laws.

Can you point me to a link on your page. I never say anything when the topic of homosexuality comes up on that website. Pretty much no one is against homosexuality on that site. It's impossible for me to overstate how radical that website is. I love it though because people pay attention to the issues that matter to me on their. Racism, sexism, classism and other isms are all big topics. It's not a place for Christians though. I guess that's why I tried to get you to talk about those issues. I wish I could merge those two aspects. Instead, it's like I'm a Christian on one side and a radical activist on the other. But then, I can't really be both at once. I mean, whoever heard of an activist that doesn't support LGBTQ rights? And what kind of Christian breaks bread with transgender people? I try to do both though. One of my favorite people there is this transgender woman. I don't believe in transgenderness. She cares about the things that matter to me though. She supports people of color even though she's white. I guess I should be referring to her as "he", since I don't believe in transgenderness. She's just such a great person, I can't bring myself to misgender her. She's on my side. It doesn't seem like white Christians are on my side. You know how white Christians wondered how could black Christians vote the way they did? That's how. The people on the left may be lesbians, queers, transgender and everything else. But it seems like they care about us. They're oppressed and we're oppressed. We click on an emotional level. It doesn't seem like the Christian right cares about anyone but themselves. So, Black people and all people of color to a certain extent would sooner join hands with a Democrat than a Christian Republican. Maybe you can see now why I was trying to get you to take a stand on issues that matter to me. I realize it's not a position I can stay in for long.

Thanks,

Response #5:

Scripture says what it says. Anyone who can read English can easily find a large number of English versions online, for example, and see almost instantaneously that the Bible is very clear about what is sin and what is not sin. The Bible agrees with our natural conscience on this of course as well. Some sins may be subtle, but gross sin is obviously sinful. So what? We live in a (still so far at any rate) semi-free country. No one is required to commit gross sin, and most gross sin is generally not illegal (unless it involves criminal behavior or underage persons, etc.). All unbelievers are unbelievers because that is what they have decided to be. They are all going to hell if they maintain that arrogant rejection of God's one way of salvation to the end of their lives. This is true even if they are good, moral, upstanding and ethical – or not. This is true if we happen to like them personally – or not. This is true if we agree with what they are doing and with their political opinions – or not. It's all about Jesus Christ.

That said, why the brand of sin that unbelievers engage matters so much to certain Christians is beyond me. It's not, for example, as if we could convince person X to give up behavior Y that they would be any closer to salvation. In fact, it could be just the opposite. A person involved in gross sin knows they are wrong in their heart of hearts, and who knows whether God may use that as a prod to bring the person to Christ (it has happened before, after all)? But once a person is satisfied that they have "become moral" through personal effort and "conquering" their addiction or whatever, a certain self-righteousness often creeps in which tends only to reinforce the person's arrogant refusal of God's grace (it has happened before, after all). That said, why what the rest of the world may think about their behavior should matter to unbelievers masquerading as religious is beyond me. Do you love gross sin more than God? Be my guest. It's all about Christ, not what you do.

But there is a "reason" why those involved in gross sin of all types and in scurrilous behavior of all types and in amoral or illegal or anti-social or morally corrupting activity of all types would want to show that "the Bible says to do it" or "the Bible says it's OK" or (at least) "the Bible doesn't actually say anything about it" – and that is the devil's desire to weaken the consciences of believers to get them to "experiment" and thus fall into sin. But our consciences convict us when we sin. And the Spirit convicts us when we sin. And we "experience" God's discipline when we sin. What all this sort of thing you include here really amounts to is rationalization engaged in 1) by those who are doing it to give them a fig leaf of propriety (but why unbelievers need that, I have no idea); 2) encouraged by the devil to get believers to feel they may just possibly not be doing something so terribly wrong when they know what they are doing is terribly wrong. Why not just have the guts to admit, "I'd rather sin, regardless of what God says, and suffer the consequences". After all, you're going to suffer the consequences.

I think this montage you include is example of everything I have been saying in this email and previously. We don't choose our gender or our race or our country of birth or the time and place in which we are born or our family – and God is well aware of that: He has put us in the perfect place for us to make the decisions for which we are here. What we will think, say and do, however, are decisions we make – we are not forced to make them. We are not forced to join political parties or become politically active or get into knock-down drag-out confrontations with others "for or against" on any social or political issue. Similarly, we are not forced to engage in any sort of sinful activity, nor are we forced to proclaim that some sinful activity is not sinful, nor are forced to organize politically in order to gain enough power to cram our views down other people's throats. These are all things we choose to do, or choose not to do. Inevitably, when people decide not to look to God for solutions, they end up making a god of political action and of their own desires (which they are using political action to help fulfill) – and they often invoke God's Name in doing so. From a spiritual point of view, this is a huge mistake whether it comes from the right wing or the left wing or any other wing. From the secular point of view, well, that has no interest to dedicated Christians who understand what is really going on here on planet earth. We are not here to make it better. Only God can make it better. We are here to commit ourselves to Jesus Christ, and for those who have been born again, who are now "one" in Him regardless of extraneous earthly factors (like politics, or class, or race, or gender or nationality or any other such mundane thing). For us, doing what Jesus wants is the key, and we know what that is in general terms: contributing to the spiritual growth of His Church, and not neglecting our own in the process. Everything else is a waste of time and effort.

When the devil was not satisfied with being the #1 creature in the universe, because he was subordinate to God, and when he wanted to remove the "yoke" of God's supremacy – so as to be able to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted to do it regardless of what God thought about it – he rebelled. But he was careful in the process to take as many others with him as he could in that rebellion. So it is today. People have the crazy idea that although scripture says what it says, if I can just get enough people to say I'm right and the Bible is wrong or that it actually says what I want it to say rather than what it does say, then I'll be safe. Safety in numbers. The devil didn't think he could be replaced, not having taken a third of the angels with him. God showed him how wrong he was by creating mankind. We are the replacement. At least, those who belong to Jesus Christ. God will not be persuaded to "change His mind" just because everyone we may care about thinks He should (Gal.1:10; Jas.1:17).

It is perhaps inevitable that we all have get knocked around by the world in these respects when we are younger; I know I certainly did. But after rallying our faith and finding out (often through bitter experience) what is really important to us (namely Jesus Christ and His opinions on all these things), many believers come back to the Lord and serve Him faithfully, having been inoculated to the worldly concerns that so "get our goat" or lead us by the nose in the wrong direction. It's all about choice and persevering in that (hopefully good) choice.

Yours in the One who chose to die that we might live forever – through the faith-choice of accepting Him for life eternal, Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Master,

Bob L.

Question #6:

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,"

I remember one saying that Christians were saying that we had some superpower that meant only Christians could understand scripture. But an unbeliever can understand what scripture is saying because the Holy Spirit convicts people of what they know to be true; He just can't force you to come to Christ, right? As for the second and third one, I've seen a lot of people get upset when Christians say this. I remember ones response was "Comparing yourself to Jesus? How humble of you" and then going on about how we are delusional about Christians being persecuted. It does confuse me given that Christianity isn't the only belief that says, for example, homosexuality is wrong (Mormons for example), and yet they are persecuted.

I've seen these replies to people on the internet, but if I had someone get hostile towards me I wouldn't know how to respond.

Response #6:

These are all wonderful scriptures, and they all are of course absolutely true.

As to your questions, first, unbelievers can understand the truth of natural revelation, and they can also understand the gospel message – because as you rightly say the Spirit makes this understandable to them so that they might believe. The rest of scripture is inaccessible to unbelievers, that is, the truth of it. The joy and the power and the revelation of scripture that all believers experience is something unbelievers never do – but scripture reading has lead more than one unbeliever to seek for Christ and be saved.

As to persecution, Jesus says this at John 15:20, and it is true. Mind you, the more closely a believer follows Jesus Christ, the more a believer grows spiritually and advances and begins to serve Him through ministry, the more likely persecution will be. This isn't something that necessarily happens at all times, but it does happen. I would also want to divorce this idea of true persecution for following Jesus from self-induced misery that some Christians bring upon themselves through political action. If a brother or sister becomes involved in a political crusade and gets "flak" from unbelievers for it, that is not persecution; that is reaping the consequences of one's own choices. Apart from giving them the gospel if there is a spark of interest, what business is it of Christians what the unbelievers of this world do?

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.
1st Peter 4:15 NKJV

When being truly persecuted, it is not necessary to worry about how to respond. In such instances, as our Lord says, "Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit" (Mk.13:31 NIV).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

"Praying the gay away" or "casting out the gay demon" implies sinless perfection doesn't it? I'm always disturbed when I hear this because it not only sounds like were tired of addressing anyone as people because we are more concerned with how he will have to "deal with this", but that were not even consulting scripture anymore. Like that argument with gay marriage being wrong because God said we should "populate the earth". Wasn't that first in the Garden of Eden so God could glorify himself through a population, then when sin entered the world so Jesus could come about? Because in the New Testament I thought the Apostle (Paul?) said to a group of believers "I wish you to remain single as me but I know not all of you posses this gift", well something along those lines.

As for the abortion arguments, I saw on your site that abortion isn't necessarily murder according to God. I've always wondered about if "life starts at conception" was wrong and on your site when you brought up the fact that God created Adam not as a baby but as an adult and breathed life into him it made me wonder why abortion is wrong then. I know the bible talks about the child in the womb and knowing how he would form us before he did but what does that mean about abortion pills and abortions in general? Does that mean that it would be okay for someone to allow someone to get an abortion? When it comes to the gay issue, I'm curious because of those weird gay laws in Russia and Uganda that makes being gay and homosexual behavior "illegal" and death penalty worth...I don't know how to begin on how odd that sounds. And with people talking about how the bible says to put gays and fornicators to death in the Old Testament it confuses me as to what that purpose was during that time.

Response #7:

Good to here from you.

The first controversy and the various aspects of it which you address here, demonstrate perfectly the problems that crop up when Christians start dealing with social problems in a political way. First of all, the whole idea of a persons being "X" or "Y" or "Z" is not biblical. The Bible doesn't categorize people by their tendencies, genetic predispositions, or desires: the Bible speaks about behavior. Sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin. The solution, for those believers who are involved in this sort of sin (or in any other sort of sin, for that matter), is to stop it, repent, and confess. At that point, God forgives (1Jn.1:9), and any divine discipline that is coming for sins past will then be for blessing (rather than for cursing to bring the person in question to correction). We are all in charge of our own free will. Therefore whatever we may think we "are", that does not demand that we "do" anything: we do what we choose to do.

If a person is not a believer, it hardly matters what sort of behavior they are involved in or what they want to call it how they want to characterize it. So when believers fall into the trap of seeing this a societal and a political matter, they are getting it completely backwards. As you rightly suggest, there is no person on earth without sin. Any unbeliever to whom we may be called to witness will have his/her share of sins. If the Spirit convicts their consciences of their need for a Savior, then they are likely to respond to the gospel. At that point, the heart is cleansed and they are forgiven. Whatever bad behavior they are involved in will be, at least for the moment, separated from them and they from it. It is very easy, however, to fall back into old patterns. This goes for any sinful behavior. That's one reason why committing oneself to a disciplined program of spiritual growth is so important, for believers new and old.

If a person wants to claim that what they are doing and want to continue doing is "not a sin", that is their business, but at that point any prudent believer will at the very least cease discretionary socializing with said individual. Once someone starts to dictate to God what is and is not sin, or what the Bible may or may not be allowed to say to them, they are headed for serious spiritual trouble, and, in the end, either apostasy or the sin unto death.

So I agree that these "hoopla" activities you open with would be silly if not so tragic. We are here as Christians 1) to minister to the Body of Christ, and 2) to witness to the unbelieving world – which we do both by our lives and by our words. And in doing so we do so best when we do so "one on one". There is little worse in organized Christianity, in my view, than the notion that somehow confronting unbelievers about their "sin" (which is the job of the Holy Spirit: Jn.16:8) is in any way godly or is going to be productive, especially when it take the form of an organized political crusade. This was the genesis of the "temperance" movement, after all, and that movement no doubt turned more away from the Lord than it brought to Him. For one thing, anti-sin crusades make sin out to be the issue when the issue really is and should be shown clearly to be one of grace. We all need God's grace; and the gospel, after all, is "good news". Any person who is truly open to the gospel still understands the basics of natural revelation, to wit, that we are all going to die and that we are all going to face a righteous God – and that as sinners that is a real problem (unless there is some Savior to deliver us). But for those who are determined to live their lives without God, and to indulge in their own self-willed fantasies (whether these involve money, or power, or possessions, or fame, or success, or pleasures of whatever sort), even if we could tap them with a magic wand and remove their most pronounced brand of sinfulness, it would profit nothing, because they have already decided they want no part of God.

The analogy to the abortion controversy is good on this level too. Abortion is, without question, a sin (apart from medical exceptions). But if I am not involved in sexual relations outside of marriage, this subject is probably not going to come up for me personally in the first place. Why is it my concern if someone else sins? I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, I try to set a good example, and if it should come up I give them the best advice I can and encourage them to do the right thing (whatever that is in any given circumstance). But why I am marching and protesting and politicking and trying to change laws or alter the political landscape? How does that help advance the true cause of Jesus Christ? That is the devil's game, no matter how righteous we may suppose the cause to be. I firmly believe that the main reason why so many Christians are reluctant to accept what the Bible clearly teaches about life beginning when God imparts the human spirit at birth is only because that particular scriptural truth seems to compromise their favorite political argument against abortion. The end result is that believers are cast in the role of materialists who view human beings as only physically generated organisms – whereas it is the spiritual part of us that is the most important. Whenever believers allow themselves to get caught up in political or social controversies, it never ends well. And that is very easy to do so in our media driven cyber-space world.

Bottom line: Abortion is wrong; so don't do it. Extra-marital sex of any kind is wrong; so don't do it. What other people do is between them and the Lord (and we all sin: 1Kng.8:46a; Rom.3:23; Jas.3:2; 1Jn.1:9), but if another believer is involved in gross sin, stop socializing with them. And anyone who seeks to justify their sin and call it "good", well, that is the definition of evil, and God will not tolerate any believer doing so for very long. For that reason alone, those who vigorously defend or justify any sort of sin or evil are probably not believers (or at least they won't be for long, or won't be allowed by the Lord to remain in this life for long).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

This is just me trying to understand more about why not accepting homosexual behavior as sin is destructive in relation to marriage but I'm not sure if any of these conclusions are right:

1) If homosexual behavior is not sin to them, does that not leave room for women pastors? I keep seeing this as a pattern. It seems that if they don’t believe in only two sexes they reject the role of men being the head of the family as Christ is the head of man and that women are weaker vessels who husbands need to treat delicately. In timothy women can’t be pastors because Adam was formed first and Eve was deceived not Adam so I don’t see how a person justifying this lifestyle could possibly follow this without finding this, along with everything else, insulting and in needing of twisting.

2) Christ isn't represented anymore because the whole purpose of marriage is to glorify God. That in marriage the male and female represents Christ’s relationship with the church; Christ is the groom and the church is the bride. It’s also represents sex since both body parts complement each other in the union?

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I remember reading in Timothy and Romans of marriage and whatnot but I don’t know if all of this is right.

Response #8:

Good to hear from you. I think you have followed the logic of this very well. The one point I would like to make is that when people emphatically reject the truth, that is, not only sin but embrace that sin, proclaim it not sin, and then try to show how the scripture supports that sin (God forbid!), there is at that juncture no longer any point to arguing with them or in trying to explain their behavior or to explain to them the inconsistencies of their positions. Once people have hardened their hearts and blinded themselves to the truth by their own arrogant refusal to accept the truth and have replaced that truth with the lie – and are calling the lie "truth" and vice versa, only God has a chance of getting through to them (at least from a Bible teacher's perspective). What role a person gifted in apologetics may play in trying to get such persons to reconsider their logic is another question. As I often say, that is not my area of gifting or expertise. It seems to me that you are certainly approaching the matter as it would need to be approached in order to get a hearing on that basis. More power to you – if this is what the Lord has called you to do. In that case, here are some links which might be helpful:

Apologetics

Cults and Christianity

The Futility of Remembrance without God

Yours in the dear Lord Jesus Christ who is Himself the Truth.

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I heard a discussion on gay marriage between an ordained minister and an apostate "Christian" who believes in gay marriage. The apostate Christian said we ought to respect other people's views and that his view (gay marriage) ought to be respected. I often hear this a lot in other discussions (please respect other people's view even if you don't agree). I ask, why would God want us to respect immoral views? To me that is siding on the side of unrighteousness and evil. I'm saying this not because I think I'm better than this person (a view they usually assume when we don't respect their immoral views), but to me it is a form of compromise. It makes no sense to respect someone's immoral view. Then they'll also bring up the first Amendment to the constitution as an excuse, and because of this, we should somehow respect their views regardless of how immoral it is. To me, this is the signs of the end times apostasy and doctrines of demons where we are not allowed to speak out against evil. If we we're to evangelize and preach against homosexuality (even if we're doing it in love and concern), we can go to jail for discrimination. I see the same in churches (mainly 501c3) where the Pastor won't preach against sin because he feels his license to preach will be taken away. Preaching against sin is discriminating, and there's always apostates in churches who hate to hear that they're living in sin. So are we to respect other people's immoral views? And should we speak against sin even if the government says it's discriminating? I hear this, "obey the law of the land" so we can't speak out against sin. What does the bible say about these issues?

God Bless,

Response #9:

Let me start by saying that I agree with you that the increasing degeneration of morality in all respects is in my view most definitely a signal if not a sign that we are getting ever closer to the end. However, in my opinion the number of people out there who are actually Christians who have any real doubt about whether or not such acts are sinful is near zero. That being the case, I would personally not wish to spend any more time on the issue. Murder is a sin. Who doesn't understand that? Beyond pointing that out in, say, a study of the ten commandments, I would find it strange if a church did a two-month series on the topic, "murder is a sin". I do understand that the world we are living in is in deep and deliberate denial about many things, this issue included, and I do agree that a Christian should be clear about the issue and unafraid to point out the truth if asked to give an account. I do not, however, think it prudent to go on a crusade against such obviously sinful practices by unbelievers any more than against any other sin in with which the unbelieving world is heavily involved (alcoholism, or pornography, or drugs, or abortion, or the occult, et al.). Sin is very obvious to any Christian who is truly trying to follow Jesus Christ. And it does behoove any Christian who is trying to grow up in Christ and follow Him to separate from any fellowship where gross sinfulness is tolerated. But the world is the world, and it is presently in the devil's lap (1Jn.5:19). We are not going to change it. Only Jesus can change it, and change it He will . . . when He returns. If we try to do it ourselves before then, we are only playing the devil's game. This sort of behavior (not to mention all manner of other sinful behavior) was rampant in the world in Paul, Peter and John's day, but none of the epistles suggests that Christians should crusade against such conduct – only that they should refrain from it themselves (and separate from other believers who refuse to do so). Until our Lord returns, even to attempt in the conduct of our daily lives to avoid contact with all grossly sinful people, we would need to "go out of the world" (1Cor.5:10), and this we cannot do nor should we try (the monastic movement was a dismal failure, spiritually speaking). We Christians are the salt of the earth and lights in the world in reflecting the light of Him who is the Light of the world. Our job as Christians is to lead by example to bring others to Christ, not to reprove unbelievers for their sins (that's the Spirit's job: Jn.16:8). It is true that we are to help our brothers and sisters in Christ "wash their feet" when they are in error, doing so in a loving way wherein we avoid becoming entangled ourselves (Gal.6:1; Jude 1:23). But trying to get unbelievers to change is impossible – without Jesus Christ – and pointless too, since even if unbelievers give up as much sin as is humanly possible they will still not be an inch close to salvation (that only comes through faith in Christ). Therefore our focus ought always to be on individual salvation, not the collective political climate. And, in any case, as I have often had occasion to remark, getting involved in political issues is a fool's errand for believers – and worse: not only does it always lead to their being compromised in some way, but it also always sucks the energy out of any genuine Christian production they might otherwise have.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

What contemporary literature and inscriptions do arsenokoitai occur in that go along with the traditional meaning? Why doesn't every Bible define it as homosexuals?

Response #10:

Dear Friend,

You can find references at the following links online:

Liddell-Scott Greek English Lexicon

Abbot-Smith Manual Lexicon of the New Testament

Also, the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae ("TLG", see the link), makes it possible to find all references existing in the corpus. You will find that this usage supports a translation in keeping with what the etymology of the word suggests: "those who sleep with men".

As to your second question, this word, which occurs in the New Testament only at 1st Corinthians 6:9 and 1st Timothy 1:10, is translated in various ways in various English versions. As to why some have gone the route you ask about rather than following the more literal etymological meaning, my guess is the reason is that while this idea/concept/notion/way of thinking about and phrasing things is foreign to the NT (and to contemporaries of the culture in which it was written as well), these versions have accommodated themselves to the way we discuss and think about these things today – which is very different from the way the ancient Greeks did. The Bible is concerned with specific behaviors rather than with branding people as being necessarily one thing or the other; similarly, the culture of the secular Greek world in which the NT was written would have been dumbfounded by the idea that a person was "this or that and not the other" (i.e., they would, in my opinion, have considered everyone "a little of this and a little of that"). So it should not be surprising that scripture is concerned with correcting behavior, not with categorizing people as necessarily and inevitable bound to "be this or that regardless". After all, we are all made in the image of God and we all have free will. We all choose what we do and we all choose what we will not do, regardless of what we may be prone to do.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

Some fool on Reddit responded to me, regarding I Corinthians 6:9-10, saying that malakia means "of soft morals".

The response? I just sent him a link to a Classical Greek Lexicon and quoted him the part that states that malakia only means soft when applied to inanimate objects, but always mans effeminate when applied to men.

More and more often I am getting people who have no skill in using a dictionary. If you want to find the meaning of a word, then you go to a dictionary. You don't go to some gay liberal atheist who wrote a 3,000 word blog entry. You don't go to the website of the Democratic Party Platform. And you certainly don't go to Wikipedia.

You. Go. To. The. Dictionary.

Sincerely,

Response #11:

Very true. However, perhaps it isn't so much stupidity as it is rationalization and not being willing to take the obvious truth for the truth because one is not happy with the truth.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

It has become clear to me why the majority of missionaries travel to third world countries in Africa, and it is because they perceive it as easier to their faith. But before I delve into this discussion topic, I will begin by talking about the growing Christian apostasy regarding same sex relationships.

You see, I don't think I've ever seen Christians apostatize when they see homosexual people engage in lewd and unmentionable behavior, because it is clear that these kinds of actions are inherently self-destructive. On the other hand, numerous Christians have apostatized upon developing a relationship with well-behaved homosexuals, because once an example is seen of homosexuals who do not "bray at the moon," so to speak, the example becomes an aide for allowing apostates to rationalize ignoring God on the basis of a secret desire for "something more," where whatever that "something more" is varies from person to person.

Similarly, I think that it is extremely rare and unusual for a missionary to go to the "heart of darkness" and "pull a Colonel Kurtz," given that simply observing the behavior of these regions is an incentive to continue abiding to the truth. On the other hand, there are a disappointingly large number of stories of Christian missionaries who traveled to Japan only to apostatize after having become familiarized with their society, religion, and culture, which is a phenomenon that-- I believe-- stems from the same cause of Christians apostatizing after observing well-behaved Homosexuals, which is to say, that there is a secret desire for "something more" that becomes tempted upon seeing a "well-behaved" but unbelieving exemplar.

Of course, the idea that God is withholding something good from us is the epitome of faithlessness and folly, and there is assurance to believers that God only has our best interests in mind. In fact, God is so good that He often provides for whatever privation is causing that "secret desire" in the first place! But the foolish idea has occurred too often among those who should have known better, and in fact may have even been the cause of King Solomon to fall away from worshiping God in favor of worshiping foreign idols, despite the fact that he was such a fruitful believer prior.

The prosperity test has never been an easy test for believers to pass, which is why it is so rarely given.

Sincerely,

Response #12:

I'm not sure that observation of other people's sins and depravity is necessarily going to result in apostasy. Mind you, it doesn't help to put oneself in a situation where vile behavior is all around, but then again vile behavior is what the world is all about, so that Paul can say:

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
1st Corinthians 5:9-11 NKJV

Problems arise when a believer associates on a personal level too closely with unbelievers and fails to draw a sharp distinction between believers in our Christian fellowship and unbelievers who are in the world all around us: It is obviously a bad idea to become personally involved in any deep way with any unbeliever who is not law-abiding and morally upstanding, but mere association is not a problem in our day to day lives. But according to this passage (and other Pauline communications to the Corinthians), the real problems are 1) tolerating this conduct in someone who calls him/herself a believer (our refusal to associate then being a prod for said person to "get their act together" – as in the example earlier in the chapter quoted above), and 2) going over the line in the depth and intimacy of our relationship with any unbeliever so as to become "unequally yoked" with them (2Cor.6:14).

It's always better not to live in Sodom (if one has a choice like Lot did), but even in that case, though Lot "tortured himself" by this associations, he remained "righteous" until the Lord delivered him in a spectacular way (2Pet.2:6-11). Lot did damage to himself by the association, but did not apostatize.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but plunged them into Tartarus with its gloomy pits (i.e., the Abyss), preserving them for the [day of] judgment, and did not spare the antediluvian world, but kept safe Noah as a proclaimer of righteousness and the seven with him when He brought the flood upon the ungodly inhabitants of the world, and condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction, reducing them to ashes and making them an example to those bent on similar ungodly behavior, and rescued righteous Lot who was tormented by the depraved lifestyle of those lawless men – for through the things he saw and heard just by dwelling among them this righteous man was damaging his righteous way of life day by day on account of their lawless deeds. For the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment – especially those who in their lust pursue the polluting of the flesh and so despise [God's] divine authority.
2nd Peter 2:4-10a

Good words about wrongly blaming God for our problems and poor choices, and I certainly agree about the (material) prosperity test: it's a good way to find out whether or not a person really loves Jesus Christ more than this life – and a test the majority of us will have to pass on the outside looking in.

Yours in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

The Philippines is majority a Roman Catholic country where the practice of homosexuality is promoted in TV programs that I cited in the attached message. The U.S. must have a bad influence in the Philippines with the Death of the Marriage Act and that 17 states in the U.S. are now subscribing to same sex marriage that promote the practice of homosexuality worldwide. I mentioned that the greatest typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda that devastated the Philippines is a judgment by God and sending a message to the entire world that God is a God of justice. What the righteousness of God demands, justice executes. In one night the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians (2Kings 19:35). I caught the ire of my Roman Catholic friends and do not believe on what I said. Please enlighten us about the judgment of God to sinners, that God loves the sinner but hates the sins; that what God loves [sinners] He punishes. I would like an authoritative answer from you to enable me to invite them to your website.

To God be the glory for everything that you are doing as we are fast approaching the end times.

In Christ,

Response #13:

I appreciate your ministry and your efforts for the Lord, and am certainly gratified that you find an appeal from this ministry useful. However, my efforts have always been focused at individuals in a spiritual way; never at collectives in a political way. So while I would agree that the recent tragedy gives an opportunity, I would focus on the individual who now recognizes (for a brief moment) that he/she is not immortal. Personal sinfulness and the righteous nature of the God with whom we have to do fills out that picture of course, but it does so for everyone through natural revelation (see the link), not just for those who participate in certain types of sins or who seek to justify them as "not sinful".

As I probably have mentioned to you before, I'm not gifted in the area of apologetics. I also have a very strong inclination to stay away from anything that even resembles political discourse, and I believe that to be very sound advice for any Christian. Please see the links:

The Role of Politics in Satan's World System

Political Action versus Biblical Christianity

What does the Bible say about War, History, and Politics?

Politics and Christianity

Should Christians ever oppose state authority?

Christians should steer clear of politics

No doubt there is all manner of sin and evil in the world. No doubt governments around the world promote and proclaim and defend and participate in all manner of sin and evil. But we Christians are not citizens of this world; our citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3:20). Are we to stand by and watch evil spread throughout the land? If we are to be a bulwark against it in any way it will have to be individually through person spiritual growth, a personal sanctified walk that sets an example, and personal ministry to those willing to receive it (such as that in which you are involved). In all these things, the more personal and the less collective our actions are, the less chance of them falling afoul of the "no politics" rule. Are certain behaviors sinful? Absolutely. What do we as Christians do about them? We abstain from them personally, and we are "ready to give an answer" to any who ask us for one (1Pet.3:15). People go to hell for their failure to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, not for their sins. If we could virtually wipe out sin, or at least certain types of sin, in a given country, the inhabitants wouldn't be any closer to being saved (they might be further away, since then they might assume that their better conduct would save them – only by grace through faith in Christ is a person saved). I do recognize that you understand this perfectly well. My concern is that a direct response to this particular area of sinfulness or any attempt to link it specifically to the recent catastrophe will 1) let everyone else "off the hook"; 2) turn a spiritual appeal into a political one (even though unintended).

As to divine judgments, there is no question that nothing can happen in this world without the decree of God. And God takes everything into account – everything. We cannot know the precise "why", therefore, behind any particular disaster (and in my view there is an individual answer for everyone affected, planned perfectly by God). Please see the link: Do recent catastrophes have a divine origin?

Israel was severely disciplined many times, and it was her lack of attention to her relationship with the Lord that was always at issue, not her particular sins (though they were symptoms of and testimonies to that lack of heart response). No nation today is "God's nation", but it is true that the believers within any nation serve as a remnant, the "salt", so to speak, which blesses and acts as a preservative for the whole. The better the salt, the better the preservation. What that means is that believers who want their nation to be blessed should purify the salt, committing to spiritual growth themselves while helping others to do the same. That really will make a difference. Attacking the symptoms of spiritual degeneracy outside of the true Church is telling those who are not of God things they are not open to hearing; it is, precisely, throwing pearls to swine, and all but guarantees that they will turn and trample those who cast them. I am happy to speak the truth to all who are interested in hearing the truth (that is the nature of the ministry I have been given). I do understand that there are others out there like yourself who have been gifted in the area of apologetics, that is, of defending and explaining the faith. The effect of this gift, skillfully employed, is usually not so much to convince advocates on the other side as it is to demonstrate to third parties who may be listening that we believers will choose for the truth no matter what (in hopes that the Spirit will move their hearts to desire the gospel as a result). It may seem a subtle distinction, but in my view it is a very important one. It is the difference between tackling adversaries "head on" on the one hand (collective action seeking political change), and defending our own point of view on the other (apologetics aimed at spiritual change in individuals who may be listening).

No doubt whenever any great disaster hits, it has the divine purpose of making many think about and/or rethink their positions on their place in this world and their eternal choices. That does indeed present an opportunity for all ministers of the gospel, an opportunity to show that while this life has been proven ephemeral, we are striving for an eternal life and a reward that no human or natural disaster on this earth can ever take away. In my view that is a more spiritually profitable approach, since it is aimed at the individual heart (rather than societal trends). God saves people one at a time, after all, so that this is where I would counsel the appeal to be directed: "repent of the world and place your faith in Jesus Christ and you will be saved".

I hope this is an acceptable answer – I am happy to hear from you on this subject again, my friend. Please keep up the good work in your diligent ministering for our dear Lord.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

[email from a Christian about being attracted to the same sex]

Response #14:

As to your other question, we are all different, and part of that difference is being attracted to different things. When those things are sinful, we need to be aware of that as Christians, and take steps to avoid putting ourselves into situations where we might be overly tempted to act on attractions to do wrong things. Attraction itself is no sin. Indeed, being attracted to good things or neutral things is likely not even to result in sin (and we all "like" different things). Everyone is attracted to something; and everyone is attracted to some things that are sinful (we all have a "sin nature", after all). The fact that we are attracted differently is neither a defense nor a justification; it's just a fact. I should no more feel myself superior to some other person because he/she is attracted to sinful thing X while I could care less about X but am attracted by sinful ting Y (and a little bit by Z); nor should the other person imagine that he/she can do as he/she pleases if only he/she avoids Y (and maybe Z): if X is a sin, Christians will regret engaging in X (just as is the case with Y or Z); if they persist without confession, serious discipline will follow for sure; if they still persist, hardening of the heart can result; if they begin to justify X (or Y or Z) and claim it's not even sinful, said person will be closing in on the sin unto death or apostasy (see the link). And it doesn't matter what X is (or Y or Z), as long as it is sinful in God's eyes. We all have to "solve for X" (not to mention Y and Z), biblically speaking. Being attracted or tempted to X (or Y or Z), let me reemphasize, is not a sin. What we do about it may be, if we choose wrongly.

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.
James 1:14-15 NKJV

You can find more about this particular issue at the following links (you'll have to read down until you get to them in most cases):

Fighting the Fight I

Dysfunctional Churches.

Political Action versus Biblical Christianity.

Christian Unity and Divisiveness.

Some Sensitive Topics I

Some Sensitive Topics II

Some Sensitive Topics III

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Do you have any teachings on women turning from their desires from men to other women. My Bible index calls it evil passion, sins, defilement and grossness and vile affection. I have a relative who is involved in this and I am concerned.

Response #15:

To my mind, the verses you refer to in Romans (Rom.1:26-27), are absolutely self-evident. As with all scriptures which are "uncomfortable", many would wish to twist them so as to wring the meaning out of them. But it is clear that these verses are referring to "same-sex sex" – not just to attraction. We all have divergent lusts – everyone is tempted but we are not all tempted by the same things, at least not all to the same degree. It is the actual commission of acts such as this which is sinful (and in this case drastically so because they are unnatural). I do have a few related links at the site:

Some Sensitive Topics I

Some Sensitive Topics II

Some Sensitive Topics III

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Savior who died to all sin that all sinners might be saved through faith in Him.

Bob L.

Question #16:

Since you are a professor, I would be greatly interested in your view on what the Bible says about homosexuality. In particular:

1. Deut. 23:17 which deals with male prostitutes. The Hebrew word is Qadesh.

2. Your take on 1 Cor. 6:9, especially the two Greek Words:

a. malakos

b. arsenokoites

3. I would like your opinion about the work of John Boswell: Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality.

To sake my life, I cannot see how people can reject the plain Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin words as they relate to homosexuality and what the Bible says against it. Blindness and a person being a reprobate do come to mind.

Sincerely,

Response #16:

Good to make your acquaintance. As to your questions, as far as #3 is concerned, I have never heard of this person or his work. In terms of question #1, I'm not sure what the import of the question is (that is, I have never heard of anyone questioning what the passage means). In terms of the "debate", I don't think this passage is of particular applicability since it is dealing with prostitution, and prostitution connected to pagan practices at that (so a whole range of intermingled, illicit behaviors are in view). As far are question #2, these two words are very clearly dealing with same-sex sexual behavior. I have heard (and heard of) attempts to explain these words away as meaning something other than what they clearly mean, but there can be no real question but that in terms of ancient Greek usage they are clearly talking about engaging in sexual behavior of that type.

Generally speaking, I try to avoid all such politics of every sort, and advise all my brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same. The fact that unbelievers engage in all manner of behaviors contrary to the will of God should come as no surprise (it was certainly the case in the Roman empire in Paul's day, for example, and I know of no historical era where it has not been the case). As far as believers are concerned, to my mind the Bible is very clear – and so is the ministry of the Spirit – so that any Christian wanting to behave in a godly way will be in no doubt what to do . . . and what not to do (on this and every other score). Problems arise when believers seek to justify their conduct by changing scripture (and no genuine Christian will be able to go far down that road without damaging and, in many cases, destroying their faith).

For these reasons, I try to be very clear about distinguishing between what the Bible mandates as far as Christian behavior is concerned on the one hand, and what is going on in the society at large on the other (it is a major distraction and a monstrous mistake for Christians to conflate the two). As far as society is concerned, Christians have to realize that we live in the devil's world and cannot change it – only God can change it (and so He will, but not until the second advent; see the link). As far as my fellow believers are concerned, it is the case that we all have sin natures and we are tempted in different ways. If a believer is sore tempted to steal, yet in following the Spirit instead of the flesh he/she resists this temptation, then the fact of the weakness is no issue (since we all have weaknesses); giving into that weakness and embezzling his/her company's retirement fund, on the other hand, would be a serious sin (as well as a crime); seeking to justify the act (e.g., by claiming poverty or claiming that the company was in cahoots with racists or the mob or etc.) is at the most dangerous end of the negative progression, because it will mean that the person in question has ceased listening to the Spirit and has "chosen his own ways" in defiance of God (Is.66:3). Such a person, if still marginally Christian, is at the very least well on the road to apostasy or the sin unto death (see the link).

For the details, please see the following links:

Question/Answer #3 in "Politics versus Christianity"

Question/Answer #8 in "Some sensitive topics III"

Response #2, point #7 in "Biblical Languages III"

Question/Answer #5 in "Some sensitive topics II"

Question/Answer #7 in "Christian unity and diversity"

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #17:

Good evening Bob,

I guess you can tell by now that I have a lot of concerns for what is being taught in the church as "Christianity". Can you tell me how homosexuality is acceptable Christian practice? This seems to be an oxymoron to me because I didn’t know it was acceptable to teach that God made mistakes or purposed contradiction against his own will to give the gender to the wrong body.

Thanks in advance.

Response #17:

Good to hear form you.

I would not use the phrase "homosexual Christian". That is because as I often point out scripture does not characterize people this way; scripture speaks of behavior. What a Christian is is very clear: someone who has put his/her faith in Christ for salvation. Any sort of sinful behavior thereafter is dangerous because it alienates us from our relationship with Christ and militates against faith – and if faith should die, well, only believers are saved (please see the link: "Apostasy and the Sin unto Death"). The problem with categorizing people as "A" of "B" is that it may seem to give some sort of exception or leeway "because I'm A or B". In fact, the Bible is pretty clear in my view that if we are Christians and involved in sin, the solution is to stop sinning, confess, and eschew said behavior in the future. Anyone who tries to justify sin is only a hop, skip and a jump away from turning away from the Lord entirely (apostasy); for those who refuse to choose between the Lord and gross sinfulness, the sin unto death is the ultimate result.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Doctor.

I'm seeing a trend that's been on an upswing for quite some time now. The ever increasing occurrence of openly "gay" Christians, mostly celebrities (of course). Obviously we believers ought best to stay away from mass media in general, but these particular cases are more astounding than usual. Our kids see it, fellow believers see it; I'm pretty sure it's designed by satan himself to push the lukewarm-est of us to question The Word as a result. Here is my inquiry: We know why they come out so openly (because society at large is more accepting than ever and they want support and relief from hiding among many things), but are they truly believers? Or rather, CAN they be? The Bible is so clear about homosexuality, I'm led to think that if they truly DO believe, aren't they asking for major punishment? Reading of Robin Roberts not only claiming Christ yet again but also nonchalantly thanking her longtime girlfriend was disturbing and it kinda illuminates the whole stance of the Laodicean era even more. It's getting scary, sir, scary indeed.

Pastor Omo's series is great! What's his goal? He seems to come out with another lesson every other day or so, or is there a schedule?

I hope you are well, doctor.

In Christ,

Response #18:

Good to hear from you. Thanks for pointing that out. I have never watched that show and had no idea whom my correspondent was talking about – I've now removed the reference. My thoughts about these issues can be found at Ichthys in the following links (you'll have to read down until you get to them in most cases):

Fighting the Fight I

Dysfunctional Churches.

Political Action versus Biblical Christianity.

Christian Unity and Divisiveness.

Some Sensitive Topics I

Some Sensitive Topics II

Some Sensitive Topics III

The "bottom line" is that from the biblical perspective it doesn't matter what a person's area of temptation may be; we are called to walk with Christ in a sanctified manner even so. There are all manner of prohibitions in scripture when it comes to sex (and no doubt plenty of other behaviors which while not spelled out are clearly sinful too as our consciences tell us plainly in the Spirit); violating any of these is a sin. In fact, the only sex which is not prohibited is that between a man and his wife within the bonds of marriage. We are all sinners, of course. But it is very problematic for any Christian to decide that he/she is "OK" with some area or type of sin, whatever it may be, and to stop trying to cease doing it, or, worse, to stop confessing it, or, worse, to stop regarding it as sin at all, or, worst of all, to start justifying it as "not sin". At that point, the conscience is in free fall, the heart is being hardened, and even the strongest believer will, if he/she allows him/herself to be swept into that vortex, soon be dabbling with apostasy or the sin unto death (the former is the death of faith; the latter, the death of the believer; see the link).

I certainly agree that it is potentially very debilitating when Christians, especially young ones (chronologically or spiritually) see other "Christians" or role models or celebrities (especially if they claim to be Christian) doing and saying things that justify any sort of action that is not conducive to spiritual safety, sanctification, and spiritual growth. It can give them excuse – the way Satan gave Eve an excuse to do what she wanted to do. But, as that example shows, we still all make the choice; and, if we do fall down, the way Eve did, as long as we are willing to admit our mistake (instead of seeking to justify it), our God forgives us our sins when we confess them (1Jn.1:9). Going back again and again to the same sin is debilitating spiritually (e.g., Prov.26:11), and justification of sin (when a person decides for whatever reason to stop fighting) is the root of all evil. Who are we trying to persuade? God? Isn't that ridiculous? But just as Satan and those who revolted with him were depending upon the "safety in numbers" theory, so it seems that many today seem to think that if they can just get most people in the country/culture agreeing with them, then God will be forced to reconsider His position (!?). Christians who want to please their God, on the other hand, seek to know His will and mold themselves to Him – not the other way around.

Those of us who may not be falling down in the particular area you write about do need to remember that we have our own areas of weakness and our own blind spots, and we need to be careful about the possibility of falling into other pits. Castigating others for their sins is not going to atone for ours; in fact, it can blind us to our own by over-focusing us on the failures of others. As our Lord said:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
Matthew 7:3-5 NIV

This is one (of many) reasons why I always counsel fellow believers to stay out of such fights. We know what we should be avoiding – and we know what we should be doing (growing spiritually, advancing in our trust of the Lord and our Christian walk, and helping others to do the same through ministry). If anyone asks us about these troubling things – genuinely asks as opposed to merely trying to get a rise out of us – we can tell them the truth, but always tying that truth into the greater truths of God's grace and forgiveness, and the real reasons why we as believers are left here on earth: to witness to Him and His Son who died for us all.

For pastor teacher Curtis Omo's email contact, please see his Youtube channel at the link.

Yours in the One who is atonement for the sins of the entire world, and especially for believers, Jesus Christ our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #19:

Would you know who I could get a information on this matter is there a federal law against same sex marriage I don't know if you do research on these kind of matters but I thought you so many people ask you things you might know of some one....thanks

Response #19:

I don't have any particular knowledge about this, but if I am not mistaken marriage and family law generally is an area that has been traditionally left to the states and is only affected by federal law if a) states pass some law the federal court system deems unconstitutional or b) the federal government passes some law which takes precedence. That is why this particular question has been fought out primarily on the state level around the country. The federal government did, if memory serves, pass something called "the defense of marriage act" some year back, but that is the only thing I know of in this area. This is a topic I don't get involved in from a political point of view (inasmuch as I don't believe in political solutions or collective solutions: Christianity is an individual relationship with Jesus Christ by grace through faith).

Question #20:

I read a news article on a gay person being kicked out of their church as well as home for being gay and this caused me to wonder: how should the Church discipline a believer who refuses to repent of homosexuality but would end up homeless? Wouldn’t excommunication end up becoming legalism given the circumstance? I know that if they weren’t kicked out of their home they could still stay with their parents but I hear this doesn’t normally happen. This isn't a violent situation where they're on drugs but then again they become destructive to their brothers and sisters for their unrepentant sin don’t they?

Response #20:

As you know, I don't think much of most contemporary churches and even less of "church discipline" (at least the way it is often practiced). The biblical position is that any believer who is grossly sinning and makes an issue of it so that the church cannot fail to know should be expelled from the fellowship of the church until such time as he/she reforms from whatever gross sin they were previously justifying (just as in the young man in 1Cor.5 who did repent and was later restored in 2Cor.2:5-11). Families, on the other hand, are a different story. We don't always get to pick our family members and we are supposed to treat them with love and consideration, providing for the ones who are dependent on us (1Tim.5:8). There does come a point when ceasing contact even with certain family members might be the better part (for many possible reasons); but if we are married to the "problem" or if the problem is a minor child or infirm parents, we are going to have persevere until the Lord brings about deliverance. As to "being gay", while I know this is how the world today expresses the matter, this is not how the Bible considers the issue (nor the way the issue was viewed by anyone in the ancient world). Behavior is what matters, not tendencies, predilections, weaknesses, pronouncements et al. A person can be uncommonly attracted to alcohol, for example, but that does not mean said person MUST drink to excess (or even drink at all). That's a choice. If said person cares what the Bible has to say on the subject (or any other subject), it's easy enough to find out – and our consciences are usually very clear guides on all such matters (at least until we defile them).

Question #21:

I know someone who claims to be a Christian but doesn't act like one: she has an attitude problem and practices homosexuality. Aren't we told not to eat with people like this? I don't know if this person is a Christian and I don't want to cut off a relationship if it's the wrong thing to do since I got myself in this already.

My family doesn't want me eating with homosexuals or establishing any relationship with them which I find odd because they don't mind chatting with them. I know I'm not suppose to make close friends with unbelievers but they feels uneasy even eating out with them in public.

Response #21:

Good to hear from you. It's often not easy to determine where other believers are "at", spiritually speaking. I think that is doubly true of family members because of the nature of our relationships with them. It's important to do what we can to stay on good terms with them if we can, even as we don't wish ever to compromise the truth. Many Christians today who are not actively pursuing the truth, who are not, that is, growing spiritually in a consistent way, are confused about all manner of things. That doesn't mean that they are not Christians; it does mean that we should take what they say with at least a grain of salt.

First, there is no question about the fact that such behavior is sinful. Of course there is all manner of sinful behavior in the world. I think on this particular issue our society has some real kinks in how we think about it. Be that as it may, no one is saved by abstaining from sin. We are all sinners, saved by grace. No believers are sinless (Rom.3:23; Jas.3:2; 1Jn.1:6-10), but sin is indeed a serious issue for Christians, especially gross sin (1Cor.6:18). Whatever the sin, if a Christian becomes habitual with it, that it is very dangerous; if a Christian embraces it, that is worse; and if a Christian proclaims the sin "not a sin", that is the path to apostasy or the sin unto death . . . for believers, that is. What unbelievers do is their business. Unless they repent of their unbelief, they are not going to heaven even if their moral rectitude exceeds that of the sanctified Christian.

So it is very important not to approach the issue of any sin in a generic way. Rather, the issue is, "is the person a believer?" Scripture is very clear about how we are to react to other Christians who ignore, embrace or justify sinful behavior: "do not even eat with them" (1Cor.5:11). For while it is impossible to have nothing to do with people generally who are engaging in all manner of sinful behavior – that is, unless we leave the world (1Cor.5:10) – we most certainly can decide with whom we choose to socialize, and when it comes to believers, the biblical advice is to limit contact with and even to avoid those who ignore, embrace or justify any type of sinful conduct, unless we are trying to turn them from their ways (and even in that case extreme care should be exercised: Gal.6:1; Jas.5:20; Jude 1:23; cf. 1Jn.5:16).

When it comes to socializing with unbelievers, we are allowed to do so (cf. 1Cor.10:27); and no doubt these individuals will often be involved in sinful behavior of various types (they are not trying to please Christ, after all). We do have to exercise some judgment and discretion in these matters (after all, "all things are permissible, but not all things are profitable": 1Cor.6:12), and there are many people with whom I would prefer not to socialize, even if invited (putting aside the issue of sin entirely). But it would little behoove me to judge someone else' application on this score. There are extreme cases, I admit, where any believer of normal spiritual common sense would have no problem socializing with unbeliever A (and the objection that the person is not a believer would not be sufficient reason to abstain), or would have great problems socializing with unbeliever B (and the objection that we are allowed to socialize with unbelievers would not be sufficient justification to do so). But the situation described may well fall into the middle ground where each Christian needs to make his/her own decisions on these matters. We expect a high standard of behavior from Christians and must depart from their company when that is severely violated; unbelievers are different – but that does not mean that "anything goes" when it comes to optional contact with them either. In all such things, the glory of our Lord Jesus through the personal witness of life and words which we proclaim and represent is the main thing to keep in mind.

Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 3:15-16 NASB

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who died for the sins of all that all might be saved.

Bob L.

Question #22:

One of the things that challenges me personally in my walk is lust. While ideally I would just remove the temptation (just how alcoholics avoid alcohol and crack addicts avoid clubs), computers are an integral part of my everyday experience (for homework, communication, and spiritual food). I have gained more self-control, but I still stumble sometimes, and I feel like it wipes out all my support every time I fall. Once I finally get my spiritual feet underneath me, I go and do something foolish and destabilize myself. While I have seen articles that try to justify self-sex as a sort of "release valve", it seems almost inconceivable that one could maintain a perfect, sinless mind when in the act. I understand that the best defense in this case is probably a good offense (i.e. the closer you grow to Christ the less of a problem it will be), but I seem incapable of remaining lust-free in a culture so saturated with sex. Despite my best efforts (and repeated entreaties to God for strength), I still have problems with this. Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

In Christ,

Response #22:

This is a more difficult problem today than was the case in antiquity, and for a number of reasons. First, the culture today is more brazenly and openly and at the same time subtly and ubiquitously sexual than ever before in the history of the world, I would argue (and that is saying a great deal when one takes into account the Greeks and Romans). Secondly, psychological and experiential maturation has slowed down in our society to a snails pace; a young man or woman may well be near thirty before being out of the house and into the real world with a real job for the first time (let alone have done anything really serious like military service), but our bodies mature as quickly as they ever did. Thirdly, these issues were largely headed off in the ancient world by arranged marriages which took the guess work out of such things and ensured a marital outlet often at a very early age. Put together, it all the more difficult today for a young man (or woman) to do the right thing and remain completely chaste until marriage. The main points I would want to get across are that 1) while sin is to be avoided and while sin results in divine discipline appropriate to that sin even after having been confessed, everyone stumbles from time to time (Rom.3:23; Jas.3:2; 1Jn.1:9), and in this matter it is good, having failed, to resolve to move forward and not look backward and try not to fail again; 2) it is possible (and certainly preferable) not to fail – perhaps not easy, but not impossible (as with all sins which "easily beset", it does require "owning" the problem and being tough on oneself); 3) marriage is the divine solution to this problem for all those who are not able to, like Paul, remain single and avoid sin (1Cor.7:1ff.); on the other hand, I can think of almost nothing more potentially compromising spiritually than a bad marriage contracted too early for the wrong reason. As in all things, the middle course is the best. We have to recognize our weak areas (especially if we have already failed in some area), and then do everything reasonably possible to sand-bag against them so as to allow the devil no room to work in the future. If a person is an alcoholic, for example, resolving never to go into a bar is not legalism . . . it's just good common spiritual sense. Here are few links that deal with similar issues:

Some Sensitive Topics I

Some Sensitive Topics II

Some Sensitive Topics III

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi, I came across your site. It appears you have helped out a lot of people and taught them. I have a big question that keeps tormenting me. I am a guy. I don't like girls. I like other guys. I remember liking guys since as far back as I could remember. Through my childhood, and on into adolescence and adulthood – it never changed.

Also, I grew up in the church. I don't have a recollection of any time when God wasn't there. It has always been impossible for me to conceive that God might not exist. In my adulthood I had a couple of times when I wondered, but that's about as far as it got, and then I wondered where in the world such a thought could come from. In my childhood, it was impossible for me to conceive that God might not love me. It just never went through my mind. I went to Christian school, and a great one – Preacher challenged us at every turn, relentlessly forcing us to prove what we believed. In one sense, I don't know the exact moment I got saved. It is possible I accepted Jesus as a preschooler. He was nice, kind, and loved me. He loved everyone but he loved me too. What little kid would turn down ice cream? And salvation was much better than any treat. And Jesus was much more wonderful than the Ice Cream Man, Santa Claus, anyone and anything that was good, in my young mind, Jesus was much better.

However, I was older and Preacher spelled out the details of salvation, and what precisely it was, what precisely happens, why, how, and what I needed to do, it was a very real sense of the lightbulb turning on in my head. I deliberately told Jesus and myself, "OF COURSE, YES Jesus, if you haven't already, come into my heart. Now I fully understand, so can we make this official right this second?"

Fast forward to today. I am a middle aged man. I have never been married. The desires don't go away. The temptations are still there, although if I keep away from certain websites, I am less likely to be carried away by temptation and commit sins of lust in my heart.

It wasn't until after experiencing physical problems that I had real doubts about my salvation. I was OSAS but that never made perfect sense. One of the most recent visits of the voice of God was when He came and told me that I am the broken reed and I am the smoldering wick, and I am weak and He is not going to abandon me and snuff me out. But still, doubt remains.

It is very depressing to read that scientists are finding that a proclivity to homosexuality is probably not 100% choice. My lapses when I was in two short, disastrous relationships has shown me that God isn't about to allow me to go very far down that path. I don't fit in anywhere, but I really don't fit in with other gay people. The reality is, I don't want children and never have. Childhood was hell except for Jesus. He was and remains the only light in my life. But that light seems to have dimmed and I am scared.

I don't know what my question is. I guess, I still have these urges. I still get lonely. If God made me heterosexual, I don't want to be married to a woman. I never wanted children. I'd probably be a terrible father anyways. I can barely take care of myself. I can't even take care of a pet. I'm a loner and always have been, mostly. But now I'm worried, God never took homosexuality away from me.

Is it possible I will never be a heterosexual in this life? It would be a waste of a miracle, since I just don't want to get married to anyone, male or female. I just wish I could get out from under this monster. The monster is bigger than me and it wins every time I engage it. I always eventually slip up. Am I going to eventually apostatize? I want to be rescued from depression, from loneliness, from homosexuality. God is still here, or at least I think He is, but at what point am I a lost cause?

Response #23:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your email and for your honesty. I promise not to do anything to reveal your identity – ever.

As to your question, it seems to me that you have things very well figured out, from a doctrinal point of view – honesty. I understand your frustration and your loneliness. I think most believers are frustrated and lonely at some point in their Christian lives. We all have our battles to fight, our own tests. We are all presented eventually with the question: whom do we love more, the Lord or the world and its lusts? So we all have legitimate wants, needs and desires, and we all also want some things that are not legitimate. That is true of us all. The only thing different is the "mix" of desires generated by our sinful flesh. It would be wrong for any believer to denigrate another believer or think less or him/her because his/her temptations are different. What counts is how we fight the fight.

There is nothing wrong with being tempted/tested. It is only wrong to succumb. Worse is to embrace the temptation and give up the fight. Worst of all is to justify one's actions as "not wrong at all after all". You are to be commended for not falling into that trap, inasmuch it is a very common one in our day and age in particular.

There is also nothing wrong with being celibate. It is not a gift; it is a choice. There are, no doubt, some people who are not greatly tempted when it comes to these types of physical lusts – they will have other temptations. But in my observation and study of humanity and history – and also of scripture – I would say that there are very few people who do not feel the tug of wanting a partner. The problem is that this "ideal" in our sinful world is not achieved all that often. The "ideal" that a person has in mind is usually not in fact achievable. What may be achieved is God's ideal for us individually – if we are willing to trust Him. Many good believers and also some great ones have had trouble on this score, and not only for the reasons that trouble you. The ideal for some is multiplicity, for example, but that never provides happiness, even when achieved. The ideal for others is "that special right person", but unfortunately no one is perfect so that wanting too much from somebody else will always result in disappointment (everyone on this earth is just a human being, after all). Paul tells us that remaining single is the best thing, and he only allows that it will be better to marry for most, in order to avoid falling into sexual sin (1Cor.7:1-2). That is not exactly a ringing endorsement for romantic love (or lust fantasy). What it says is that the whole idea of seeking "happiness" in worldly things, even "natural" things like love and marriage, is not what the Christian life is all about.

It all comes down to choice. How do you want to live your life the rest of the years the Lord has given you? We all face the choice at some point, even as Christians, as to whether or not we are willing to give up certain things that are not spiritually profitable. Whatever it is we "lust for", another person (of whatever sex), possessions, money, power, fame, pleasures of various kinds, whether any of these things be legitimate, legal, not technically sinful – or the opposite – in any case we have to decide at some point whether or not we are going to live for ourselves or live for the Lord.

We were saved for a purpose. God gave us gifts, and the Lord Jesus expects us to grow spiritually through learning and believing the truth, progress in our walk with Him through putting it into practice and passing the tests that come, and then, when we have fully matured and have been "battle tested", to help others do the same. This is how rewards are won (see the link).

Jesus loves you. The question is, do you love Jesus? And, if so, then how much? That is what you are still here on earth to prove. So on the one hand your problems are unique; but on the other hand, we all have similar problems, similar in that we all have desires, be they legal and legitimate or otherwise, which pull us away from living a life that is focused on serving Jesus Christ the way He means us to serve Him. If I substitute someone else' name, someone else' situational problems, and someone else' area of wrestling with the problem of "me first or Jesus first", I could describe probably any Christian who has ever lived. And the truly significant differences will be found not in these situational details . . . but in how the Christian in question dealt with them.

You are tempted? Welcome to the human race. You are disappointed, frustrated, unsatisfied? Any Christian who is worth his/her salt has a similar confession; those who are "blessed" with all manner of worldly things are usually either a) not making a difference for Christ (so that the devil is not interested in them and also there is no point in the Lord pruning them); or b) actually under pressures we don't know about and cannot see.

You wonder about your salvation? That is merely an indication that you have come to a point of decision: it's time to decide whether or not you are interested in moving forward in the Lord, finally, or instead remaining in place and wrestling pointlessly with these temptations to no particular purpose. There is a purpose (giving up and giving in will result in things going from bad to worse of course), but if the best that can be said for a Christian is that he/she made it through this life with their faith intact, well, while that is better than the alternative by far, it is not nearly as honoring to the Lord as it could be, as it should be.

Indeed, that place of mediocrity is precisely where most of our brethren in the lackadaisical era of Laodicea "are" (see the link). But there are twelve gates in the New Jerusalem, and the lower three only are reserved for those who do not get around to the growth, progress and production Jesus Christ wants from us. For those of us who do, He holds out the crowns of righteousness, life and glory, and He will be well pleased to bestow them on all who earn them in this life. There is no lack of crowns; there is only a lack of contemporary Christians willing to put what the Lord Jesus wants from us ahead of their own lusts, desires, needs, wants, ambitions and problems. It's all about choice.

We are only on this planet a very short time. We are soldiers of Jesus Christ, and we have to suffer through this campaign one way or the other. Those who desert and surrender are better off never enlisting. But for the rest of us, as long as we have to endure the shot and shell anyway, why not do what our commanding officer wants us to do? Why not please Him with the time and gifts He has given us?

Defense never wins the battle. The only way ever to make any progress in sanctification, the defense of the Christian life, is to move forward offensively -- committing oneself to an aggressive campaign of spiritual growth. That is the purpose to which this website, Ichthys, is dedicated. You are certainly welcome to make use of all its resources at any time.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2nd Timothy 4:7 NKJV

Fight the fight. Run the race. Keep the faith. Grow up in Jesus Christ, move forward spiritually, and then help others in this same holy task. That is the only way to find true satisfaction in this life – and to please our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hey brother,

How are you? Hope all is going well. Your website continues to be a blessing to me. I don't mean to keep sounding like a broken record but I do well for a few days then something snaps and I end up committing the sin of _____________. I am ashamed to admit it but God already knows. How can I break this cycle?

Thank you,

Response #24:

First let commend you for keeping your conscience clean to the point of recognizing sin as sin even when society says it's "OK". If may be "OK" for an unbeliever, but as you acknowledge we live for and through a Master who died for all of our sins that we might walk in a sanctified way in newness of life.

The number one thing a person has to do when confronting "the sin that easily besets" (Heb.12:1) is to make the decision to "own it"; that is, to accept the responsibility for what we have done / are doing, recognizing that we are not victims, that no one else is in charge of our free will, that we can "not do it" (whatever "it" is), and then to cross the line of total commitment to actually "not do it".

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it."
Genesis 4:7 NIV

Once we have owned up to things and really have made that heart decision to fight no matter the cost, we can, in fact, win – but it's hard to fight those sins to which we are individually particularly vulnerable until we really decide to get serious:

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4 NIV

One of the things the Lord does to help us is the provision of divine discipline. Sin has consequences, and many of them are divinely provided to furnish us with that extra measure of motivation to finally break through. Being upset with ourselves, seeing our spiritual growth and relationship with the Lord suffer, are always part of that – but there are usually other aspects to divine discipline as well, especially for serious sinning, and especially when it becomes chronic (see the link).

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11 NIV

As with all difficult situations life, especially if we are in a hole of our own digging, the only good way to proceed is to stop digging, bite the bullet (so to speak), and do whatever is necessary to get out of the hole and to refuse to ever get near another one ever again. If we are tempted in particular by anything, moreover, we need to discipline ourselves to keep our minds and our persons completely separated from anything that might aid that temptation (e.g., alcoholics should stay away from places that serve liquor). That attitude of steely resolution has to come from us. God will help us if we are truly willing to change, and we will find that His provision is wonderful if we do really get down to it. But we need to remember that He loves those who are zealous, not those who are lukewarm – and a lukewarm attitude towards change when it comes to things that dishonor Him will never work in the long run.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:15-16 NIV

Here are a couple of links that may prove helpful in this.

Fighting the Fight I: Accountability, Faith, Sin, Forgiveness, and Reward

Sin, Atonement and Forgiveness I

Sin, Atonement and Forgiveness II

Spiritual 'ups' and 'downs'

Sin and Salvation, Confession and Forgiveness

The Battlefield Within: Fighting the inner spiritual Struggle

Written in the love of Jesus Christ who shed His blood to cover all of our sins.

Bob L.
 

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