A Crisis Crutch

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People usually do one of four things when they are faced with a crisis, which are seen as common crutches on which they lean:

(1) Escapism—Most people escape the reality of pain.  They either run away emotionally or they literally run in physical ways through travel or affairs or chemical dependence.  They deny the horror of what has happened.  They refuse to let reality run its course and take its toll on them.

(2) Cynicism—People not only face their troubles, they become preoccupied with them and grow dark within.  Surprise leads to disillusionment, which leads to resentment and finally bitterness.  They spend the balance of their lives trying to take revenge.  They become victims of their own lack of forgiveness.  More often than not, the cynic ships the faith as bitterness wins the final victory.

(3) Humanism—People listen to the counsel of some other person, rather than God.  They get their logic and their reasoning from a man or a woman or a book.  They turn to self-help, people’s opinion, and self-realization.  They try human reasoning, which inevitably is based on the horizontal wisdom of man.  This leaves them empty and lacking.  They try meditation that fails to satisfy.  They do not come to terms with the truth of what they could learn through the whole experience.

(4) Supernaturalism—Some people turn to mediums.  They seek information from the other world.  They get in touch with witches and wizards with the assurance of demonic powers.  Some begin to try astrology and others turn to superstition.  More and more connect with the occult as they are trying to cope with their world of pain.

These four crutches are popular but they do not provide any sense of ultimate relief and satisfaction.  They leave the victim in quicksand, more desperately confused than at the beginning.  None of the above is an acceptable “final authority.”  This brings us to a question that must be pondered:  What holds us together when all hell breaks loose around us?

There can be no more reliable authority on earth than God’s Word, the Bible.  This timeless, trustworthy source of truth holds the key that unlocks life’s mysteries.  It alone provides us with the shelter we need in times of storm.  The Bible is the authority, the final resting place of our cares, our worries, our grief’s, our tragedies, our sorrows, and our surprises.  It is the final answer to our questions, our search.  Turning back to the Scriptures will provide something that nothing else on the entire earth will provide.  Psalm 119 speaks of a man who knows what it means to hurt.  He needs help outside himself.  We can read verses 81 through 92 and have it translated to the following:

“I wait for the truth of Your Word to come to pass, Lord.  I wait for help to return.  I wait for the promises to become a reality.  I wait for the wisdom to take shape and to make sense in my life.”  (Notice he waits for God’s Word, not human reasoning, not his own feelings, and not for a chance to get even.  God’s assistance is not always immediate.  He doesn’t come swiftly every time we cry out for help.)

In a world of relativism, the Bible talks in terms of right and wrong, good and bad, yes and no, true and false.  In a world where we’re encouraged to do it “if it feels good,” the Bible addresses that which is sinful and holy.  Scripture never leaves us with a bewildered look on our faces, wondering about the issues of life.  It says, “This is the way it is.  That is the way it is not to be.  This is the way to walk; do not walk there.”  It tells us straight.  It provides the kind of solid foundation you and I need.  Once again, everything within the Bible is said for our own good and our own safety.  Think of them as speed limits on roads.  If you go 50 miles an hour in a residential neighborhood where the speed limit is only 35, someone is going to get hurt.  When circumstances happen in life, they could be God’s way of telling us to either slow down or maybe even be still and be aware of His presence in our lives.

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Loving Confrontation

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Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer pointed out that absolute truth requires confrontation.  One cannot simultaneously accommodate the culture and stand for truth.  But he also challenged those who defend truth to simultaneously display God’s love.  We must defend truth, but we must defend it in love.  As Bible-believing Christians, we are instructed to speak the truth but to speak it in love (Eph. 4:15).  Confrontation, not conflict resolution, is the surest path that leads to peace and unity.  It is His holiness that points us to His love (Rom. 7:7).  The challenge for us as Christians is to simultaneously display truth and love as God does.  If we veer toward the truth and leave love behind, we become judgmental and hinder the redemptive work of God’s love.  Likewise, if we head toward love, avoiding truth, we will cause people to miss the depth and reality of God’s eternal love.  It may seem easier to embrace one or the other—truth or love—as a guidepost, but then we will not reflect the true nature of God to the world.  The challenge for us is to hold His truth and His love simultaneously, confronting that which is wrong, but confronting it in a redemptive way.  God’s purpose and therefore our purpose is not to catch people doing wrong, but to defend the truth, allowing it to reveal what is wrong so that we all are drawn to the forgiveness that is found in God’s love.  The confrontation that truth requires is not pleasant, nor does it make you popular.  You will be accused of being judgmental, but defending absolute truth is not judging; it is holding up a standard by which people must judge themselves or ultimately be judged by God.  But be warned: if you actually enjoy the confrontation that comes from defending the truth, then you may have lost your balance and strayed from God’s love into unholy judgmentalism.  The opposite is true as well.  If nothing in society today stirs you to confrontation because you are concerned it might offend someone, you may have lost your grip on the truth.  If you are afraid of confrontation, it is important to remember that as believers in Jesus Christ we should not be fearful.  Knowing that there will be efforts to deceive the church and Christians in the last days, true believers should be careful to whom they listen.  John 10:27 reads, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.”  John states in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not perfect in love.”  David reflects on this truth in Psalm 46 when he says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (vv. 1-3, NKJV).  No matter what happens, even if the mountains are thrown into the seas, God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in a time of trouble.  Therefore, He will not be gripped by fear.  Likewise we should not be gripped by fear, nor should we act rashly because of fear. 

Crime and Sin

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It seems wiser and clearer to talk about influences rather than causes.  Sin is not reducible to mere genetics, but also includes environmental factors such as: family upbringing, childhood experiences, reactions and choices, and the cultural environment.  Biology can be shaped by psychology.  Our thoughts, choices, actions, and reactions—even if subconscious and early in life—can shape the neurological patterns within the brain so that they become deeply embedded.  These patterns help shape the direction of our lives, reinforcing thought patterns, habits, and desires.  Charles Swindoll has stated, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  We are in charge of our attitudes.”  Sin is a crime against God, and thus can be looked at as a crime in the real world.  There are many theories on why people commit crimes, and I truly believe in the Classical School perspective.  Most classical theories of crime causation make the following basic assumptions:

  • Human beings are fundamentally rational, and most human behavior is the result of free will coupled with rational choice.
  • Pain and pleasure are the two central determinants of human behavior.
  • Punishment, a necessary evil, is sometimes required to deter law violators and to serve as an example to others who would also violate the law.
  • Root principles of right and wrong are inherent in the nature of things and cannot be denied.
  • Society exists to provide benefits to individuals that they would not receive in isolation.
  • When men and women band together for the protection offered by society, they forfeit some of the benefits that accrue from living in isolation.
  • Certain key rights of individuals are inherent in the nature of things, and governments that contravene those rights should be disbanded.
  • Crime disparages the quality of the bond that exists between individuals and society and is therefore an immoral form of behavior.

All human societies, from the simplest to the most advanced, evidence their own widely held notions of right and wrong.  Sociologists call such fundamental concepts of morality and propriety “mores” and “folkways.”  Mores consist of proscriptions covering potentially serious violations of a group’s values.  Murder, rape, and robbery, for example, would probably be repugnant to the mores of any social group.  Folkways, on the other hand, are simply time-honored customs, and although they carry the force of tradition, their violation is less likely to threaten the survival of the social group. 

Criminologists divide crimes into two categories:  mala in se and mala prohibita.  Mala in se are acts that are thought to be wrong in and of themselves.  The Ten Commandments support this belief that some acts are inherently wrong.  Such a perspective assumes that uncompromisable standards for human behavior rest within the very fabric of lived experience.  Mala prohibita offenses are those acts that are said to be wrong for the simple reason that they are prohibited.  So-called victimless or social-order offenses like prostitution, gambling, drug use, and premarital sexual behavior proved examples of mala prohibita offenses.

There are two perspectives regarding the sources of crime and criminality, which are the social problems perspective and the social responsibility perspective.  The social problems perspective is the belief that crime is a manifestation of underlying social problems, such as poverty, discrimination, pervasive family violence, inadequate socialization practices, and the breakdown of traditional social institutions.  The social responsibility perspective is the belief that individuals are fundamentally responsible for their own behavior and that they choose crime over other, more law-abiding courses of action.  Both perspectives each play a part in a person’s thinking and action.

James Q. Wilson has stated:  “If you wish to make a big difference in crime, you must make fundamental changes in society.”  This is why it is important to establish Biblical principles in the American Law system.

It is important to consider barriers that might prevent crime, even in the face of strong criminal motivation and in situations where the causes of crime seem firmly rooted in social, economic, and other conditions.  Barriers to crime are those aspects of a setting that limit criminal opportunity and prevent offending.  Barriers cause would-be criminals to reconsider their intention to violate the law, or simply deny them the opportunity to follow their plans through to completion.  Some barriers can be found in the physical arrangements of the external environment, while others are more abstract and consist of the threat of severe punishment or the internal strictures by which people limit their own freedom of action, even in the face of strong temptation.

“Crime is committed by people who are tempted more and controlled less.”—Marcus Felson
Determinate sentencing is a strategy that mandates a specified and fixed amount of time to be served for every offense category.  Determinate sentencing schemes build upon the twin notions of classical thought that (1) the pleasure of a given crime can be somewhat accurately assessed and (2) a fixed amount of punishment necessary for deterrence can be calculated and specified.  The Bible is clear that the penalty for sin is death.  A goal of the Church is to remind people that God is in charge and everyone will one day take into account all that they have done in their lifetime.  That reminder alone should reduce temptation.  When a person is actively involved in a Church, such as being a part of a weekly Bible study, and volunteer service, it would be clear that God has control in one’s life and temptations will reduce significantly.  As long as we are still living on this earth, there will always be temptation.  Jesus Christ was tempted several times by Satan while He was living as a human on this earth.  Everyone has all fallen into temptation; we have all sinned against God.  Jesus, although tempted, never sinned, took the ultimate punishment for sin, and that makes Him our Savior, our only key to eternal life with God.

*Notes collected from Criminology Today Fifth Edition by Frank Schmalleger
 

History of American Faith

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Our Founding Fathers drew many philosophic tenets of government directly from the Bible.  The influence of the Christian faith on what is now America has been long and profound, predating the Declaration of Independence.  The Pilgrims planted what were seen as the first seeds of self-government in the Mayflower Compact, which makes clear their purpose and mission—“Advancement of the Christian Faith.”  Freedom of religion was established to protect the free exercise of the Christian faith without the interference of an overly intrusive government.  One need only look at the conflict between branches of the Islamic faith in the Middle East to see that the faith of our founders spared us from future civil war by separating the authority of the state from the practice of religion.  Despite the openness of our nation, Christianity has flourished the most.  We believe that this has transpired because Christianity is compatible with democracy and freedom.  Radical Islam works against democracy.  In addition, experts in foreign missions have repeatedly reported that Christianity has given rise to economic uplift in every nation that has adopted it.  Above all, the few examples of differing faith communities living peacefully together are predominantly in Christian nations.

Our Constitution offers freedom of religion – not freedom from religion.  Without Christianity, America would never have become the great power it is today.  The bedrock value system, built on the Bible, has allowed our democracy to blossom and grow.  Our nation’s tolerance of other faiths is a legacy left to us by the Founding Fathers, many of whom were men of faith.  The limitation in the First Amendment is upon Congress, not the churches.  It was a wall that prevented the federal government from intruding on religion in the states or denying the people’s right of free exercise of religion.  The founders were concerned that the federal government would try to take over the churches and use them for its own purpose.  They did not fear that Christians would influence the government.  Christians were the government.  The liberals who misread the First Amendment proclaim tolerance of others and are intolerant to Christians. 

Faith that unreservedly embraces the truth is transforming faith.  It begins with the individual and, fully realized, has the power to transform nations.  Daniel attempted to impose no religious requirement or duty upon anyone other than himself.  But Daniel’s testimony led the king to declare that Daniel’s way was the best way.  It was not due to Daniel’s political maneuvering and power moves, but because God honored his faithful service.  (Daniel 6:23-26)  Our goal here in the United States is not establishment but accommodation.  The Bible teaches that man has a free will.  In other words, he can choose to run toward God or away from God.  Freedom of religion is one of the “inalienable rights” mentioned in our Constitution.  See Psalm 139:8-10:  This quotation summarizes David’s experience with God.  The grace and mercy of the Lord were always there for him.  David accepted the negative consequences of his bad choices and the blessings of God upon his correct choices.  America has prospered not because it forced everyone to be a Christian; it has not, but rather America has recognized that we each have a choice.  Of course, historically there has been an understanding that with choice comes both the individual and collective consequences.  Today, however, the threat is not in the government forcing people to accept the Christian faith; the threat is in the government excluding people of faith from serving in government, if that faith influences their decisions.  Instead of accommodating religion, our adversaries want to exclude it. 

Christianity has its roots in Old Testament Judaism.  In addition to this freedom of choice, the Hebrew Constitution had seven additional freedoms, which is also found in the United States Constitution:

1. No man could be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. (Num. 35:9-34).

2. No one could be convicted of a crime without two or three witnesses (Deut. 17:6; 19:2-13).

            3. No one could be put to death because of the crimes of their fathers, and no one’s children could receive entailed or transferred punishment (Deut. 24:16)

4. Everyone’s home was inviolate (Deut. 24:10-11)

5. A freed slave who acquired his liberty through his own effort was to be protected (Deut. 23:15-16).

6. One’s homestead was inalienable (Lev. 25:23-28, 34).

7. Indentured servanthood could not be made perpetual without the person’s own consent (Exod. 21:2-6)

Many Christians wonder why they should be involved in the defining public policy debates of our day, debates that include the value of life, and the fundamental definitions of marriage and family.  Lately there has been a move among some well-meaning Christians and their leaders to abandon the public arena altogether.  What kind of government do you want?  Do you want an honest, efficient government under which there is security for private property, life, and personal freedom?  George Washington said such government cannot be maintained without morality and religion, what he called the “great pillars of human happiness.”  We preserve these pillars through character, influence, and actions of those who serve in government.  Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  Our government reflects the people who serve in it.  If you want to change the character of government, you must change the characters in it!  Christians must realize that God has ordained and sanctioned civil government.  It is part of His plan.  The first and most basic is self-government.  Unless individuals govern their own conduct, there is little hope for civil order.  Basic standards of conduct come from the Bible.  The institutions that follow are: Family, Civil, and Church.  For society to be properly balanced, all three must bear their proper load.  Our point is that God has said government is necessary and we are to be subject to it (Rom. 13:1).  But if we want a government that honors God and protects our freedoms, then we have to have a government that is made up of people who honor God and value freedom.

The most frequent objection we hear from opponents of Christianity who fear the presence of believers in government is, “What right do you have to impose your morals on us?”  We should reply, “The same right you have to impose your lack of morals on us.”  Someone’s values will always be reflected in public policy.  Almost every government policy decision is a value judgment.  In this postmodern world, where moral relativism is the philosophy of choice, these value judgments are often based on the conditions of the moment rather than objective, transcendent, biblical truth.  As Bible-believing Christians we believe there is absolute truth, a view, incidentally, that was held by all Christians and many Americans until the turn of the twentieth century.  This view holds that the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God even when it speaks to the topics of history or the cosmos.  A Christian worldview says that there is a personal God who is directly involved in the activities of man and who authoritatively communicates to man through His Word and the Holy Spirit. 

John Adams made clear the connection between the Christian faith and government: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.  Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.  Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”   “A republic once equally poised must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty”– John Witherspoon repeatedly asserted that our government rested upon the foundation of faith.  Our liberty and freedom rested on the virtue established by our faith in God.  William Penn expressed a clear understanding of the bedrock foundation of democracy.  He said, “If we are not governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants.”  His words strike a piercing contrast: either we govern ourselves according to the truths of God or our conduct will be such that tyrannical men will lord over us. 

*The notes from this entry was collected from Personal  Faith Public Policy by Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson*

Biblical Worldview and Liberalism

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Christian sociologist George Barna defined biblical worldview as being based upon a foundation of eight beliefs:

1.      Absolute moral truths exist.

2.      The Bible defines these absolute truths.

3.      Jesus Christ lived a sinless life during His ministry on the earth.

4.      God created the universe and continues to rule it today.  He is omnipotent and omniscient.

5.      Salvation is a gift from God.  It cannot be earned through good works or behavior.

6.      Satan is a real living entity.

7.      Christians have an obligation to share the gospel with the unsaved.

                  8.      The Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

Shortly after the Civil War, the Protestant church began to divide over a literal interpretation of Scripture.  Liberals began to move away from Scripture as the sole authority in order to accommodate “rational truth,” which they saw as incompatible with the Bible.  These liberals embraced the “essence of Christianity” rather than the inerrancy of Scripture so they could synthesize their Christian thought with so-called scientific findings of the day, most notably Darwinism and social Darwinism.  One of the preeminent voices to emerge in defense of absolute truth shortly after the turn of the century was a Princeton Theological Seminary professor and Presbyterian minister, J. Grescham Machen.  Machen, who would later lead a split within the Presbyterian Church over the rejection of biblical orthodoxy, wrote in 1923 what became the definitive work for Bible-believing Christians in their battle with liberalism.  It was titled Christianity and Liberalism.  Machen said that liberalism was not only theologically wrong but was not connected at all to true Christianity.  “What the liberal theologian has retained after abandoning to the enemy one Christian doctrine after another is not Christianity at all, but a religion which is so entirely different from Christianity as to belong in a different category.”  In Machen’s description the argument was no longer between two views of evangelism, conservative and liberal, but rather a conflict between two religions.  Liberalism is “a type of faith and practice that is anti-Christian to the core,” Machen wrote. What has transpired in the mainline denominations over the last one hundred years gives us clear evidence of the results of this abandonment of absolute truth.

Faith, Politics, and Law

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I am convinced of the following: (1) Conservatives see the Bible as it is, the incorruptible Word of God, and believe that public policy should be based on Biblical Principles.  (2) Liberals have a tendency to twist and take out of context various verses of the Bible to make it say what they want it to say.  (3) Moderates seem to favor moral relativism (let the people do what they want, just as long as they do not hurt anyone else).  I am sure that those with moderate to liberal point of views have good intentions, however, the fact is there is only one source of Truth and it should not be altered to fit certain lifestyles.  Most, if not all, Christians have found ourselves adjusting our beliefs to go along with the world’s values and making deals with God.  In Criminal Justice Today, Frank Schmalleger points out that, “many critics of the present system claim that courts at all levels have become so concerned with procedure and with sets of formalized rules that they have lost sight of the truth.”  Sir William Blackstone wrote Commentaries on the Law of England, which came to the colonies and became greatly influential in designing the American legal system.  Blackstone said there were only two foundations for law, that of nature and that of revelation via the Holy Scripture.  If you are not tethered to the truth that there is right and wrong and everyone is accountable for their actions, you can get sucked into a moral black hole where anything is allowed and standards are no longer fixed.  This leads to loss of morale, loss of conscience, and a state of hateful lawlessness even among “the good guys.”  This is a problem that applies to society in general, especially with Christians.  There are way too many people who focus on law itself, which is legalism, rather than concentrate on people.  Agnostics and atheists stand stronger in their beliefs because they have had bad experiences with Christians.  I am not suggesting that we not focus on God’s Law, because His Law is made for our good.  John 14:15-17 states: "If you love me, you will obey my commands.  I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he lives with you and he will be in you.”  In Deuteronomy, God tells his children to remember who loves you, to remember what matters, and to remember what is right and what is wrong.  Laws created by man should strive to emulate the laws of God.  Only men of clear moral vision should judge and lead society.  With that being said, there needs to be a carefully combined practice for Christians to follow.  In Hebrews 10:24-25 and Philippians 1:27, we read, “Encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds, meeting together, struggling side by side to get others to believe the Good News!”  Later on we read in Philippians 2:12-13 that as a result of being saved, we obey God with deep reverence and shrink back from all that might displease him.  It is said that 98% of people follow the 2% of people that shape culture.  Christians are called to perform a “prophetic” role in modern-day culture.  In both the Old and New Testaments, prophets were charged by God to deliver important messages to their generation.  They served as God’s conscience to their people.  In addition to speaking, they often demonstrated their messages to the culture in which they lived.  They were like walking, talking billboards placed at key intersections in their nation to relay God’s messages.  Christians are called to act and believe as though each one of us has a prophetic assignment to the nation that begins right where we live and work.  We have been assigned to speak and live out the truths of God.  It is important to remember that everyone is always learning, growing, and changing, becoming the kind of people we choose to be. 

Homosexuality

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Sinful Nature
By focusing on homosexual activity, I am not singling it out as inherently worse than other sins.  The biblical evidence indicates that accepting their lifestyle as legitimate violates Scripture’s teachings.  The Old Testament begins with the affirmation of the creation order, which is the goodness of sexual pleasure within the context of a husband-wife relationship.  Jesus and Paul appealed to this creational order as opposed to homosexual relationships.  The Scriptures offer no indications—no stories, no metaphors—that homosexual relationships are acceptable before God.  The underlying spirit and redemptive movement across the sweep of Scripture consistently prohibits homosexual activity.  Scripture clearly affirms the equality of all individuals—blacks, women, and slaves—because they are God’s image-bearers.  The same doesn’t hold true for sexual relationships.  Scripture’s regular affirmations reinforced by the unfolding direction of Scripture reject any inherent legitimacy to homosexual relations.  If one persists in trying to muster biblical support for homosexual relations, we could point out that the same argument could be extended to bigamy/multiple marriage, incest, or pedophilia.  If we justified sexual activity based on “natural attraction” or “That’s the way I was born,” all kinds of immoral activity could be justified.  The Bible consistently rejects homosexual activity as legitimate.  The following verses clarify the sinful nature:  Genesis 19:1-29; Judges 19; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10; and Romans 1:26-27.

The gay marriage debate tends to be rooted in moral relativism—“What’s right for you may not be right for me.”  But if so, then why think humans have any rights—including a right to gay marriage—at all?  If people insist on legalization of gay marriage as “inherently fair,” one wonders on what basis.  Where does the standard of fairness or human rights and human dignity come from?  It is hard to see how such moral standards could be grounded in anything apart from a good Creator who has made human beings in his image.  And if that is the case, then we are back to God’s original design for us at creation.  Moral relativism and rights don’t mix.  Relativism undermines any appeal to rights:  If rights exist, relativism is false; if rights exist, where do they come from?  We are once again pointed in the direction of a good God.  If we change the definition of marriage, why restrict it to two persons—or even to humans?  If marriage is just socially constructed, then why should any marital arrangement be preferred over any other, and why should gays get preferential treatment over others?  Once we cast aside the time-tested male-female, one-flesh-union view of marriage in favor of marriage as individuals choose to define it, we have endless possibilities (Group marriage, Incestuous marriage, Bestial marriage, Pedophilia, Polygamous/polyandrous marriage, Marriage to self, Marriage to material objects).  If marriage is just a socially constructed arrangement as a result of human choice and preference, it’s hard to see how any marital arrangement can rightly be banned.  A traditional model of mother-father parenting is empirically more beneficial for children and society.  We should take note that a push toward gay marriage moves us in the direction of pedophilia, and this should make us cautious about gay marriage and gay adoption.  The goal of a one-flesh union between husband and wife is a picture of marital completeness and unity, not simply a fulfillment of sexual desires. 

The first official “scientific” legitimization of homosexuality didn’t come as the result of research; it came as a result of political pressure.  The 1973 reversal of the American Psychiatric Association’s position on homosexuality had nothing to do with advances in scientific research to support the biology of homosexuality.  In fact, prior to this time, the APA had listed homosexuality in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, believing that homosexuals needed treatment.  The strong political pressure from gay activists (the National Gay Task Force) forced APA to “legitimize” what was once considered a disorder.  In 1979, sex researchers Masters and Johnson said that homosexuals oriented by learned preferences,” and as late as 1985, declared the “genetic theory of homosexuality” to be “generally discarded today.”  The idea that “biology is fate” is actually demeaning to homosexual persons, who are much more than sexual/biological beings.  We are more than sexual beings; we are spiritual, creative, emotional, intellectual, and social beings as well.  Just because we are born a certain way doesn’t mean that it ought to be affirmed—let alone that we’re compelled to carry it out.  We shouldn’t make the mistake of moving automatically from “is” to “ought”.  Presumed explanations for behaviors are not the same as justifications for those behaviors. 


Christian Response
Sy Rogers is a former homosexual and transvestite who grew up in an abusive home and was tormented by his peers.  In the midst of his homosexual struggles, he would pray, “Lord, I have these temptations in my life…I have these desires in my life.  But I want You more.”  He eventually married and became a father and is now a pastor and speaker on the topic of sexual temptation and wholeness.  Christians tried to reach out to him but made the classic mistake of trying to win a moral argument with him.  Sy proclaimed to be Christian, but believed that God hated people like him because of how other Christians treated him.  All too often self-proclaimed “Bible-believing Christians” can act with a smug moral superiority toward homosexuals rather than extending friendship and Christ-like love to them.  The Scriptures indicate that God is able to deliver people from a lifestyle of homosexuality or adultery, greed, and so on.  “Such were some of you; but you were washed…sanctified…justified” (1 Corinthians 6:11).  Of course, those committed to the pursuit of a gay lifestyle aren’t going to be swayed by such appeals to biblical texts.  Besides that, grace, kindness, and love tend to speak much more powerfully!

Since homosexuality is not the result of genetic necessity but results largely from dysfunctional same-sex relationships in one’s youth, this also signals the possibility of greater healing and wholeness, which thousands of ex-gays have found—another indication that people are not “born gay.”  Ministries such as Exodus International (www.exodus-international.org), Inqueery (www.inqueery.com), and the International Healing Foundation (www.Gaytostraight.org) offer support, help, and hope for transformation.  The secular National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (www.NARTH.com) also offers important discussion and scientific research results on this topic.  Christians should not insist that homosexuals have to change, but that they can make significant strides if they want to.  Christians should seek to understand, show grace, correct misperceptions, and build bridges wherever possible when interacting with others.  Everyone needs to be committed to truth seeking. 

 

References:
Paul Copan provided much insight regarding this topic as well as other topics in his book When God Goes To Starbucks.  Because of his straightforwardness, I have mixed his work in with this journal entry.