Yes, the Gospel’s call is open to all. The invitation to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as savior has no qualifiers. It should not be withheld from anyone. The Apostle Paul reminded his readers in his letter to Rome that God’s love through Jesus Christ was demonstrated to us even when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
But I don’t agree that, after thousands of years of studying and teaching certain Scripture passages on homosexual behavior, the Church has now been found to be misguided and confused on its interpretation. Even if such a finding took place after “decades of work by laity, clergy, theologians and biblical scholars” — as the Rev. Cramer claimed — what makes this group the authority?
What new insights or methodologies did they employ to correct the simplicity and directness of this portion of God’s Word?
“Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin” (Leviticus 18:22, NLT).
Or to exact the nuances of this passage?
“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved” (Romans 1:26-27, NLT).
I don’t think you need a doctorate in theology (nor decades of deliberation) to understand what those Scripture verses are stating.
Now let’s be honest. The Word of God hasn’t changed. Biblical scholars haven’t developed new linguistic methods of interpreting Scripture. New truths haven’t been uncovered that finally correct erroneous beliefs of ill-informed Christians.
If anything has changed, it’s society. Many of us have decided that the Bible is no longer relevant as a life guide or rule of faith. Feelings or impressions are more authentic than the Word of God. So, if I feel something is right, but the Bible does not support my feelings, I’ll choose my feelings over Scripture.
This is nothing new. Choosing how one feels over what God has said began in the Garden of Eden. It was there that God gave Adam and Eve clear instructions as to what they could and could not eat. But temptation in the form of a serpent turned Eve’s mind and heart away from God’s clear command. She choose to doubt what God had said and instead followed her own desires. Well, the rest is history.
And that’s where we find ourselves today as we face society’s growing acceptance of the “gay” lifestyle. Nice people, great friends, and even evidences of the “fruit of the Spirit” from “gay” Christians do not overturn the clear directives of God’s Word.
The Apostle Paul, recounting the historical unfaithfulness of God’s chosen people, the Jews, wrote this to the church in Rome: “True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true ...” (Romans 3:4a).
So, call me old fashioned, but I will believe the Word of God over the feelings of others and even my own. It’s the standard upon which all Christians find guidance, comfort, assurance, sound teaching and even rebuke. It is the only sure thing in an unsure world.
— By the Rev. Ray Paget, pastor of Grand Haven Community Baptist Church.