Just Say No

Just Say No
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"Throughout history, religion has sanctioned and fueled the persecution of homosexuality. That dynamic may be drawing to an end. Polls, clerics, and denominations are shifting. Theology is adapting. Resistance to same-sex marriage is dwindling, and there's no end in sight."

So claims commentator William Saletan in Slate. He is wrong, both in history and theology.

Some professing Christians have persecuted homosexuals. But in doing so, they have violated basic biblical teaching about human dignity and the love of Jesus Christ for all men. Christians who are serious about following God's Word will show that love to people experiencing same-sex attraction, even as they affirm the wrongness of sexual acts outside of one-man, one-woman marriage for both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

There are also some professing Christians who will surrender to the demand that churches accept same-sex "marriage" much as they accept both left- and right-handed people. There have always been those who claim to belong to Jesus and who are, by temperament, very nice and pleasant, and who also jettison parts of what the Bible teaches. That some Evangelicals are falling into this camp is unsurprising to those who have spent even a few minutes studying church history.

To deduce from this that Evangelical Protestant resistance to same-sex marriage as a moral good is weakening is the wishful thinking of those who resent the continued immovability of Reformed theology.

Revealed truth is not adaptable to the preferences of culture or the demands of the elites. God has revealed what He has chosen about Himself, His plan for mankind, and His standards for the inner life and external conduct. He has done so without our consent or sanction; He is not looking for human approval, nor does the Almighty lose sleep over an unfavorable editorial or the ruling of an American judge.

Quite the contrary: Of the nations of the earth, David writes, "But You, O Lord, laugh at them; You hold all the nations in derision" (Psalm 58:8). And consider what Isaiah says God thinks of human endorsement of Who He is and What He declares:

Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
And are accounted as the dust on the scales;
Behold, He takes up the coastlands like fine dust ...
All the nations are as nothing before Him,
They are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness ...
(He) brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. (Isaiah 40:15, 17, 23)

There are some who argue that same-sex attraction is so overpowering that it must be accepted if not affirmed. This is specious, and a denial of Scripture. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that God gives His people the strength to resist sin, period. Furthermore, the fact that some types of moral conduct are more difficult in no way lessens our accountability to the precepts revealed on Mt. Sinai and iterated repeatedly in the Bible.

As Christian Post commentator Napp Nazworth notes, "All Christians are asked to resist sin [and should remember that] a sinful desire for gluttony will not be satiated by eating a normal amount of food and a sinful desire to cheat on one's spouse will not be satisfied by having sex with one's spouse." In other words, giving into temptation is neither right in itself nor does it quench the sinful desire to which the temptation appeals.

All sexually intimate behavior outside of covenantal marriage between one man and one woman is wrong. That's what God has said in His Word, the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. It applies to heterosexual and homosexual behavior.

This truth is not, contra Saletan, "adaptable." It does not conform itself to the spirit of the age and the expressions of that spirit in opinion polls or the arguments of the self-anointed. Protestant churches that affirm unbiblical sexual teaching get a lot of media but fewer and fewer attendees. Yet even secular journalists, such as Becky Bratu of NBC News, ask if, by affirming radical personal sexual autonomy as somehow pleasing to God, "liberal Christianity [is] signing its own death warrant."

American Evangelicalism has grown in numbers and influence, in part, by retaining its fidelity to the Word of God. But regardless of either its size or cultural/political heft, Evangelical faith will cease to be truly faithful if it affirms things to which God says is an eternal "no."Christians are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Bombast is not biblical proclamation. But nor is acquiescence to falsehood love. Sometimes love demands that you say "no" to human opinion and "yes" to God and, if need be, God alone.

None of the Bible's truths are malleable. We accept and submit to them or find ourselves under God's judgment.

Sound harsh? Take it up with Jesus: "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26). He loves us immeasurably, which is why He became "sin for us" on the cross, taking the eternal punishment we deserve on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). He also is imponderably holy, and His standards of right and wrong are not defined by democratic consensus.

When the Left calls on Christians to accommodate to evil, and when Christians themselves seek to cajole their brethren into such accommodation whether related to human sexuality, marriage, the destruction of unborn human life, the commodification of women, conscience-violating federal law or whatever else, faithful believers will graciously but firmly say "no."

Rob Schwarzwalder serves as Senior Vice President for the Family Research Council.

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