You expect secular activists to mangle and abuse Scripture. That is bad enough, but it is much worse when people who call themselves Christians misuse and abuse the Bible. This especially comes out on the issue of homosexuality. There is a major push underway by theological revisionists who want to rewrite the Bible to justify their homosexual lifestyle.
Some of these revisionists are so intent on finding pro-homosexual messages in Scripture that they have come up with all sorts of bizarre and deceptive claims. Let me mention just one bit of deception being promoted by these subverters of the gospel, the idea that committed, loving same-sex relationships are not condemned in the Bible.
Revisionists will sometimes agree that some types of homosexuality are wrong, but only the promiscuous variety. They argue that homosexuals in a monogamous and long-term loving relationship can and do receive God’s blessing. But from everything the Bible does say about homosexuality we can safely assume that there is no such thing as “loving and loyal same sex” relationships. If homosexuality is a sin, full stop, then there are no respectable versions of it, just as there are no respectable versions of rape or murder.
As John Stott remarked, “I do not deny the claim that homosexual relationships can be loving. . . . [but] they are incompatible with true love because they are incompatible with God’s law. Love is concerned for the highest welfare of the beloved. And our highest human welfare is found in obedience to God’s law and purpose, not in a revolt against them.”
And if we really love someone, we will want the best for them. The best for a person never comes by violating God’s laws, which are for our good. As one counsellor has noted, “God has already declared what love is and is not by the commands He had given. Love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom. 13:10), so any breaking of the law is an unloving act.”
As one theologian points out, love is undoubtedly the central biblical principle of Christian ethics, but without further guidelines “we transform ‘love’ into a self-regarding relativistic individualism.” As former homosexual Joe Dallas rightly comments, “The love between two homosexuals cannot make homosexuality normal or legitimate, any more than the love of two people committing adultery justifies the breaking of marital vows.”
Moreover, as I have demonstrated elsewhere, long-term, monogamous homosexual relationships are quite rare. And even where longer-term relationships exist, they still tend to be characterised by involving outside sexual flings. The homosexual activists themselves are quite happy to admit this.
Moreover, all relationships need to be judged in the light of God’s standard, of God’s ideal. John Walton, commenting on the Sodom and Gomorrah episode, makes these pertinent remarks: “The Bible is clear that homosexual practice is wrong and sinful. It is not just wrong insofar as it is promiscuous. Rather, as with adultery, incest, and bestiality, it is wrong because of the nature of the sexual partner. An illicit sexual partner may be married to someone else (adultery), may be a close relative (incest), may be an animal (bestiality), and may be someone of the same gender (homosexuality). Monogamous homosexual relationships are no more acceptable than only committing adultery with one person.”
How Bizarre Can They Get?
Now in my line of work, I thought I heard all the stupid and theologically vacuous suggestions put forward by these revisionists as they seek to twist Scripture in order to push ungodly agendas. But I heard one just recently which really blew me away. I suppose I should have anticipated such a ludicrous remark – a remark presumably made with a straight face.
Some of these homosexual activists who seek to hide under the cloak of Christianity have actually claimed that they know something that theologians have been dumbfounded by for two millennia. They actually claim to know what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was! You guessed it: a struggle with homosexual tendencies!
You will remember this famous passage in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. Paul says that he prayed three times to have this removed, but God informed him that his grace was sufficient for him, and the thorn was not removed. Of course a lot of speculation has gone into seeking to determine the exact nature of this thorn that Paul wanted to have removed.
Some think of external things such as persecution. Many have suggested some sort of physical illness, such as malaria or bad eyesight (cf. Gal.4:15; 6:11). For example, Gordon Fee states that while we cannot know with certainty what it was, it must have been “some form of physical infirmity”.
Many commentators simply say we just can’t know for sure what it was. Some wits, seeking to throw a bit of light relief into the issue, suggest the thorn was Paul’s mother-in-law! But the idea that this was a struggle with homosexual feelings or actions is simply preposterous, and no serious New Testament scholar or theologian has ever offered such a suggestion.
Indeed, we might as well say that Jesus had struggles with sex addiction, or that Peter had a major gambling problem, or that James was a closet paedophile, or that John the Baptist secretly viewed child porn on the Internet. These claims make just as much sense as this idiotic and bizarre suggestion about Paul and his thorn.
And recall what Paul says about this thorn: it is “a messenger of Satan” (v. 7). Ralph Martin rightly says that “the thorn was inherently evil. Nowhere does Paul infer that this thorn was good”. So even if this were a struggle with homosexual desire, Paul tells us its origins are satanic, and that it is not something he ever countenanced embracing or submitting to.
In the light of such devious Scripture twisting and warped exegesis, we have to bear in mind that this is not simply a case of faulty reasoning or theological fuzziness. What we have here is real Satanic deception. Do not forget that Paul could speak of “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).
These are not mere foolish human inventions, but things birthed in the pits of hell. Demonic forces are blinding people, keeping them from believing the truth. And so-called Christians are just as able to be deceived and bamboozled in this regard.
Indeed, Paul speaks of the end-times apostasy in which this deception is worked out “by means of the hypocrisy of liars” (v. 2). Very strong words indeed. There is no pussyfooting around with such diabolical teachings.
Comments Philip Towner, “the temptation to write this off as rhetoric should be resisted in view of the strong sense present especially in the Corinthian letters and 1 Timothy that the Christian community lived under the constant real threat of Satanic attack (1 Tim 3:6-7; 1 Cor 5:5; 7:5; 10:20-21; 11:14; 12:7). Belief in the demonic was a fixture in the early Christian worldview.”
As Paul says in Eph. 6:11-12: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Sure, we need to respond to the silly arguments of mere men, even those claiming to be followers of Jesus. But we must also recognize that behind these outrageous claims and twisted theologies lie real demonic activity. Given how ferocious the homosexual war against faith and family has been, why should we be surprised at the real roots of this attack?