"God Made me Gay"
Recently, I ran across an article by a well known evangelical leader who claims that God would never find fault with, and consequently condemn, homosexuals for being what he himself has made them.
It's a claim that's so antithetical to the teaching of scripture that I found myself staggered by it - quite literally. Not just because it flies in the face of certain proof-text verses that can be cited ad nauseam, but because it reflects such an obvious failure to grasp the biblical doctrine of atonement.
Biblical atonement begins with mankind's inherent corruption and condemnation. In short, it's not that a homosexual - or anyone else for that matter - is condemned simply because of the sins he commits, it's that he stood condemned from his very inception - as did all the rest of us.
That's so basic!
An evangelical leader so abysmally illiterate! How could that possibly be?
But it's not just that a few of our leaders are so pathetically ignorant - that they are merely aberrant exceptions - it's that rank and file evangelicals are buying into it - especially our youth. A recent poll cited in Christianity Today, is proof positive!
Imagine, in 2010 41% of evangelicals supported same sex marriage. Moreover, the trend is clearly going from bad to worse.
And, once again, the terrible truth that lies behind this statistic is not so much that 41% of evangelicals - especially younger evangelicals - are willing to ascribe legitimacy to homosexual behavior, it's that the doctrine of atonement is so completely misunderstood. And what's more basic, more fundamental, than that? Biblical illiteracy on a grand scale!
No one likes to assign blame; it's not a pleasant task. Nevertheless, it can't be avoided; and clearly, the blame falls on the shoulders of evangelical pastors. What the heck have they been teaching? What the heck are their priorities? And what about our Bible Schools and Seminaries? The blame lies there as well.
Back to the basics
One of the most beloved verses in the New Testament is John 3:16 - because it so obviously highlights the love and mercy of God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
However, there's a darker side to it that believers today are forever overlooking. John 3:16 confirms the truth of our inherent condemnation - that apart from God's mercy it's inescapable. And it does so in Jesus' very own words. It tells us ...
John 3:18 provides still further testimony - once again in Jesus' very own words ...
He who believes in Him (Jesus, the Son of Man) is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
It's not that we will be condemned; it's that we're already condemned.
Likewise, John the Baptist, Jesus' forerunner, sent by God to prepare the way for him, declares exactly the same truth a little further on in John 3:36 ...
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
It's not that disbelief occasions condemnation and, hence, the wrath of God, but, rather, belief in Jesus absolves its otherwise intrinsic presence.
The sense of the verse is perhaps better conveyed by a slight change in the wording ...
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, because the wrath of God remains upon him ...
"The wrath of God remains"- meaning mankind is born under condemnation; it's the human condition. That's the starting point of New Testament theology. It's the very backdrop against which the sum and substance of the messianic mission is cast.
Let's probe a little deeper ...
"If God is as loving as you claim he is - if, as you insist, his very nature is love - why does he permit so much suffering and heartache in the world - all the anguish and misery arising from war, famine, disease, injustice, and, yes, homosexuality? Why?"
Once again, it's a matter of the basics
When Adam and Eve sinned, it entailed consequences far beyond anything they ever could have imagined: it's not just that they sinned, it's that they became sinners; it's that sin worked its way into the very fabric of their being - their spiritual, emotional, and physical DNA.
Furthermore, it's not simply that they became sinners, but, because God is holy and righteous, it's that they became condemned sinners - with a sentence of death hanging over their heads. Yes, Adam and Eve eventually died, but their death wasn't immediate and, even more significantly, they were allowed to produce children - offspring who continued the race they'd corrupted. Adam - the Father of a corrupted and condemned humanity - its progenitor! Homosexuality is merely a reflection - among many other sins - of that corruption and, of course, the condemnation that follows in its wake.
Is it any wonder, then, that - given mankind's inherent corruption and the condemnation we intuitively sense - anguish, suffering, and heartache have been our on-going lot? The terror spawned by war; the horror of slavery - still today plaguing millions; noisome disease; a mother's agony at her child's grave site; crippling accidents; birth defects; wrongful convictions; the guilty set free; the grief arising from infidelity and divorce; abusive authority; and the list goes on and on - and includes the bondage of homosexuality. There's no end to it.
But that's not all. Nature itself has been dragged into sin's wake. Animals and plants grapple with disease and death as well. Even the earth itself is crushed under its weight - and reflects the anguish it causes: the 2005 Indonesian tsunami, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake that leveled Haiti - it all bears witness to the horror wrought by sin.
For we know that all creation groans ... in pain . . .
Clearly, all that suffering could have been avoided had God immediately carried out the execution Adam's condemnation called for - before procreation had occurred and a sin-ridden human race had emerged; but that would have entailed our execution as well. Why? Because you and I, and countless generations before us, were and are in Adam - and God saw us there - you and me - and billions of others he didn't want to see perish.
That's because God is not only holy and righteous, he's also merciful - willing - indeed, yearning - to forgive us and reconcile us to himself.
. . . the Lord is long suffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
Consequently, God has permitted generation after generation of men and women to be born, sifting through each one for persons prepared to acknowledge their sinfulness - including the sin of homosexuality - and avail themselves of his mercy.
But while God holds judgment in abeyance, pleading with every single man, woman, and child ever born to repent and be saved, sin runs rampant - and with it all its heartache and anguish. And there's the rub: God's mercy carries misery and sorrow in its wake!
The simple, unavoidable truth is that God's mercy can't reach us without preserving the horrifying, sin-stained quagmire we've created - that surrounds and envelopes us - that, at bottom, is actually composed of you and me. That's the awful truth.
It bears repeating: to get to us, to you and me, with his mercy, God has withheld judgment of sin; but that makes inevitable the misery and suffering that unjudged sin produces. There it is: one of the most profound mysteries of scripture: lying behind all the suffering and torment that afflicts the human race - including the bondage and grief of homosexuality - is God's mercy.
These are simple, basic, biblical truths - truths that are not being taught by our current generation of pastors - not all of them of course, but, sadly, all too many of them.
Take these simple truths and begin praying over them; assimilate them and begin teaching them. The evangelical church is in terrible shape - unprepared and ill-equipped to struggle against the horrifying, demonic forces bearing down on her. Her youth is untaught - and, consequently, they're leaving the faith in droves. May God bless you richly and strengthen your resolve to contend heroically for the faith.