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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Homosexuality and the Great Falling Away

Feb 23, 2015

Is this the time of a great falling away as warned about so long ago? Christians will know what I am referring to here. The word apostasy has to do with falling away, and the New Testament often warns us about this. And it also speaks about some hard core rebellion and apostasy occurring before the Lord comes again.

A key passage here is 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4. This speaks about those who are falsely claiming that Christ has already returned. Paul says no, he has not, and goes on to say that a great falling away must first occur. Verse 3 says this: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”

The term ‘rebellion’ used by the NIV, the ESV, the RSV etc., can also be translated ‘apostasy’ (NASB, HCSB, eg) or ‘falling away’ (ASV, KJV, eg). Here Paul ties it in with the return of the Lord. Of course Paul elsewhere speaks of such times, as in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”

Jesus had said similar things, especially in Matthew 24, where he speaks about the signs of the end of the age. Verses 9-14 are quite relevant here:

Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.

Thus Jesus is fully in sync with Paul on warning of a great falling away. Now I raise all this not to get into another knock-down drag-out fight over all things eschatological. That is not at all my purpose here. So if you want to come here arguing for your favourite end-times theory, or wax eloquent on who the Antichrist is, or give us a detailed version of world events according to your prophetic calendar, please desist. I am not going there.

homo 55All that I want to do here is say that if we are indeed in such a time of a great falling away, then it seems to me that one primary indication of such apostasy is the massive rebellion against God and his word on the issue of human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular.

I can see no greater example of a mass rebellion and apostasy in the church than on this issue. Given that I have already written three books on this, along with hundreds of articles, it is no surprise that I would think this way. And it seems to me that any level-headed biblical Christian would have to concur.

The homosexual invasion of the churches is found everywhere. Every day that goes by we find another so-called Christian leader or pastor declaring that he is going to embrace the homosexual agenda and jettison the clear teachings of Scripture.

Of course they won’t put it in those terms but that is exactly what they are doing. They are rebelling against God, and effectively spitting in his face as they declare that they know better than God in regards to all things sexual. What God calls an abomination and depravity they call a “gift of God” and something to celebrate and flaunt.

I had one such apostate elsewhere getting all excited over the fact that even more evangelical churches are proudly embracing sodomy. He posted about how “God is moving” in such places. I replied: “Yes God is moving – right out of these apostate churches. Ichabod.”

I was of course referring to the story of Eli’s daughter-in-law and the naming of her son. As we read in 1 Samuel 4:2, “She named the boy Ichabod, saying, ‘The Glory has departed from Israel’.” In this case the Philistines had just captured the ark of the Lord, the place where God dwelled.

But we also read about the glory of the Lord departing Israel in Ezekiel 8-11. In 10:18 for example we read about how God departed from the temple: “Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim.”

That is exactly what happens when arrogant, defiant and blasphemous sin takes up residence in the churches. When men-pleasing apostates seek to celebrate and endorse clearly known sin in the house of God, then we know that God cannot remain in that place.

These reprobates celebrate the very things our holy God despises and calls an abomination. They praise what God condemns. And they attack God’s servants when they seek to stand for God and his word. They are the perfect embodiment of what Isaiah warned about so long ago when he pronounced a woe on those who call good evil, and evil good (Isaiah 5:20).

Such woe oracles contain a pronouncement of coming doom. That is how serious things have become. So we too have gotten to the place where we are calling vice virtue, and we are proud of it. And we are doing it in the very house of God no less! Thus God must act to protect his name and to keep his Bride pure. He must act to deal with this rebellion in the churches.

And he will act. What we are seeing right before our very eyes is not only a separation of the sheep from the goats, but a separation of the true sheep from the false sheep as Ezekiel also discusses in Ez. 34. There for example we read that God “will judge between one sheep and another” (v. 17).

But I speak to this more fully here: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/09/09/separating-the-sheep-from-the-sheep/

Because of the great falling away concerning this issue, God must start separating those who are really his from all those who are hirelings, false shepherds, false prophets, false teachers, and false professors of the faith. And the issue of homosexuality is a razor sharp line of demarcation here.

The dividing line is quite plain: those who will agree with God and his word about these issues and those who won’t. Yes folk it is that easy. This is of course not the only litmus test for those who are true disciples of Christ and those who are not, but it is one such crucial test.

When you call God a liar on the issue of homosexuality, and claim that you are being more loving, more compassionate, and more fair by embracing the sin of sodomy and sodomite marriage, then you have clearly declared your hand here. You have rebelled against God and the clear teachings of Scripture.

So whether we are now in the time of a great falling away as predicted in Scripture is a moot point. But if it is, I would say that the great rebellion and apostasy on the issue of homosexuality is a perfect example of this happening.

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20 Responses to Homosexuality and the Great Falling Away

  • True Bill. the pace with which the falling away is gathering is frightening. The looming persecution will make our current legal battles seem like mere irritants in comparison.

    Such is the nature of souls who love their sin – they must silence all opposition. The gay movement is the pointy end of this apostasy, but the rank immorality of those who call themselves Christian is the swelling vanguard. We weep daily. But we speak out daily too, whatever the risk.

  • Thanks, Bill.
    Agree entirely! Let me add this comment/observation: in describing man’s moral declension in Romans 1:18ff Paul singles out homosexual and lesbian practice as signature features of the decline to depravity. It is this in particular that highlights man’s rebellion, and why I believe that this sin will mark the great rebellion forecast in 2 Thess. 2. That is is happening in “the temple of God”, I.e. the Christian Church (cf. 2 Cor.6:16) is further indication that we may well be witnessing the great apostasy/rebellion prior to our Lord’s coming. It is both in the churches, and in the world at large: they are both becoming a Sodom. (Witness the recent interview of the apostate Rob Bell and wife with Oprah Winfrey)

    Though I have preached on this in recent times, I do not thereby go into date predicting. The Lord has not given us a date, but He has given us signs. And if you are right, we must be extra-prepared for our Lord’s coming: by holy living and word and deed, by warning the wicked, by witnessing for Christ in whatever way possible (without being obnoxious, of course), and separation from the world.

  • Hi Bill

    Thank you for your public declarations regarding the need to allow God through His written Word to be our authority in these matters. May we all have the power of His Spirit within us to stand against apostasy.

    Chris

  • Thanks Murray. Yes I spoke to that dreadful situation you mention here:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/02/19/the-appalling-apostasy-of-rob-bell/

  • Another day and another good post from you Bill.

    People go to Churches to listen to the Gospel, not the views of the MSM and the gay community as they don’t have tv’s and newspapers in Churches. And Seminaries and the like don’t train people in politics either. We are in Churches in the knowledge that we are answerable to God alone, and not to people in a fallen world outside, and those people who do not like the entire Gospel should not really be in Churches, while those that do should always come first.

    That’s the line that needs to be said by everyone who is firm in their Christianity to those that are committing apostacy in their preaching. We shouldn’t need to say to them anything more than that, as it is they who are at fault.

    God Bless Bill.

  • I recently watched a discussion on FaceBook between Christians. It was very sad to see the terrible lack of Bible knowledge and even good arguing skills and logic on behalf of those defending Rob Bell [which was the subject of the FB discussion].

    The people who defend Rob Bell, homosexuality, or whatever, all seem to have the same selection of flaws in their understanding.

    They overemphasise the love of God, as if Jesus [you know, that nice chap in the NT, as opposed to that horrible old stinker, God, in the OT – or so their thinking goes] never spoke about Hell as though it were a literal place or that people will indeed end up there. (Mark 9:42-48)

    They say that God is the Judge [correct] and that we shouldn’t condemn/correct/rebuke *anyone* [false] as if somehow Christians are getting uppity when they judge immorality in the church, even though there is a clear instruction to do so. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

    It is all this wishy-washy lovey-dovey faith that really doesn’t stand up, and it is so imbalanced, like a fiddler-crab’s claws, that it doesn’t surprise me that people WILL fall away when they build their houses, however grand and embellished they might be, on sand rather than the rock ~ which is hearing and DOING the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. (Matthew 7:24-27).

    It would be “lovely” [sarcasm] if everyone got to go to Heaven and by some miracle we all got sanctified and made Christlike – even if we hated God and loved Satan’s ways, and everyone got to live happily ever after. But that is just another utopian deception. And all utopias, which are all trying to achieve Heaven aside from God, are from Satan.

    +++

    The Western church certainly needs an act of God, but that will also involve a lot of elbow-grease and sweat from His saints, too.

    I’d never have thought that the Russian and African churches would beat the Western church in anything, which is just my foolish pride. Thank God for those brethren who believe God regarding sexuality!

  • Excellent post Bill, thanks.

    Homosexuality is not only a rejection of God’s Word, but also a rejection of the reality of God’s creation. Being a boy or a girl is not a feeling; it’s a fact of biology. From the moment of conception, you are male or female, and this does not change throughout your life.

    The only reason you have sexual desire at all is because the physical and chemical processes of your heterosexual reproductive system, which yearns to be united with its opposite, complimentary half.

    Homosexuality expresses a hatred of women. Those who reject the opposite sex, and then whinge about ‘marriage equality’, are speaking with forked tongues. Without both sexes, there is no marriage.

  • Also, to further that written by Michael Watts, sexual expression within the covenant of marriage between a man and woman is a micro-representation of the intimacy and unity that God Almighty has always had within Himself.

    No wonder Satan attacks it with such ferocity. Fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc. all really hurt people and ruin a blessing from God – righteous sexuality.

  • Unfortunately, we cannot be surprised by such things when for many contemporary ‘Christians’ the babbling of celebrities on Twitter, the utterances of their Godless friends, or the philosophies of their political parties/politicians of choice are more authoritative in their lives than the word of God. This is just one of many issues on which so many in the church have lost the capacity to think biblically, or for want of popularity or harmony, have chosen to replace clear scriptural teachings with deception. Yes, it seems worse for this issue, and the consequences are more severe given the already well-documented cases of persecution towards those who resist, but God is still sovereign and His purposes will come to pass.

  • Bill: Luke 17:28-32 more than supports your take…”as it was in the days of Lot”…Obviously the fire and sulfur rain they experienced was caused by their homosexual behavior as stated in Jude 7 and Genesis 19:4,5.
    David A. Noebel

  • Yes, I believe the great falling away is here and very few people see it. Of necessity most people will be blinded to it. As you said the homosexual issue is just “one such crucial test”. And it is a test – who will obey God and who will not.

  • My comment is to make a point about the word gay that many may not have taken into consideration. Here is the definition of the word gay in the 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language.

    GAY, a. 1. Merry; airy; jovial; sportive; frolicksome. It denotes more life and animation than cheerful. Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay.

    Just as the sodomites have redefined or ignored what the Bible has to say about sodomy, they have also redefined the word gay to give their sin a nicer sounding name. As for me, I WILL NOT use the word gay in reference to their sodomy.

  • Yes it is a peculiar mindset isn’t it. God is love therefor no matter what I love it must be of God. From this logic you must conclude that lovers of sin, lovers of pleasure, lovers of self, lovers of lies, lovers of injustice and even lovers of the devil must be doing God’s will but of course it is only those who love truth and justice and mercy and God Himself that are the true lovers. These people are loving themselves and others to death which, of course, cannot remotely be love at all – it is hate and deception and a trap but how do you convince people that are so stupefied and blind? I am sure there is huge rejoicing when one homosexual comes to repentance but how do you repent when, apparently, sin doesn’t exist.

    Its not as though its a minor offense. In the OT even cross dressing was a stoneable offense. The word “effeminate” in 1 Cor 6:9 (Malakos) is the same as in Mat 11:8 and Luk 7:25 and means a man in soft clothing. Why do people think that even the appearance of evil was meant to create such a strong response if this is not a big issue? Clearly from the Gospels and from history we know that these sorts of pleasure lovers were close to the seat of power in those days but we have forgotten the results of that.

  • Bill, as to that awful photo you included – a picture says more than a thousand words!
    Another deep line in the sand is the way Christians respond to Islam (Liberal bishop suggests reading from the Koran be included in Charles coronation ceremony) – Recent article from Danny Nalliah’s website.

  • Yes, Bill, the truth is all in the scriptures. It IS that easy.

  • All TRUTH. Excellent article (again)!

  • “Churches are slowly coming to recognize that if God is bringing people to them who are LGBT they have to meet them where they are and not demand that they change,” Turner said. “Telling LGBT people they have to change before they can become Christians is leading to depression, suicide and addiction and we won’t do that anymore.”

    http://www.religionnews.com/2015/03/16/san-francisco-evangelicals-drop-celibacy-requirement-lgbt-members/

  • Our calling is not to get them to join our church, but to get them into the kingdom of God.

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