Ask Father Paul
Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations. Here are a few that I have gotten during my years of ministry and via email for this column.
Dear Father Paul: Same-sex marriage is very much in the news right now and the Supreme Court is currently deliberating on whether it is to become legal or not in the United States. A decision is expected no later than the end of June. Does the Bible address this issue? What do you say? — Sean
Dear Sean: I hope I am not being set up again. The last time I answered a question about homosexuality I received several hate letters and vicious emails from homosexual activists. They were pretty ugly and mean spirited really. Wouldn’t it be nice if, when we disagree, we could disagree agreeably? Oh well.
You are right, this issue is, in fact, something lots of folks are talking about right now and are honestly considering what is “right.” Many in our culture will answer your question from a relativistic point of view, i.e., there are no rules or ultimate, absolute, timeless truths … “if it seems okay to you, then do it.” But I come from a Biblical world view. I believe that there are rules, and there is such a thing as ultimate, absolute timeless truth, and that this truth is found in the Bible.
First, hear me on this. God doesn’t hate homosexuals! No, he loves them. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches that he isn’t even angry with them. II Corinthians 5:19 says “that God was in the world through Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself, not counting men’s sins against them.”
Does this mean that God gives all of us a free pass? That he doesn’t really care whether we sin or not? No, not at all! It simply means that all of mankind is already forgiven. Jesus’s death on the cross has already fully paid the penalty for every sin that every man, woman, boy or girl would ever commit. Our forgiveness is an accomplished fact … past tense … it’s already been taken care of. The only requirement for us is to receive the free gift of God’s forgiveness by receiving the one who forgives sins … Jesus. It’s simple really. Jesus is “forgiveness” in the flesh. Receive “the forgiver” and you receive forgiveness. Then, regret your sins and stop sinning. And when you do sin, repent (go in a different direction) and be forgiven. That’s the gospel in a nutshell.
So is homosexuality a sin? The Bible, (not our relativist culture) says “yes, it is.” In around a dozen places in both the Old and New Testaments, God’s word calls homosexual practices sin. But, this is very important, God also calls gluttony a sin, telling a lie a sin, hate a sin, greed a sin, anger a sin and on and on and on. The point is, that to God, sin is sin.
Now, this is important too. God doesn’t say “don’t sin” just to spoil our fun. No, he does not benefit when we shun sin — we do! God says “don’t sin” because he knows sin will hurt us, his children. Sin causes us pain. And, like any good father, he doesn’t want to see his children hurt and in pain.
So while gluttony might be fun, (my how I love to sometimes overeat), being obese will hurt us, big time. It’ll take years off our life. So God calls gluttony sin. Same with telling lies. If we tell lies, sooner or later our lies (sin) will cause us major pain. Adultery, hate, abuse of alcohol or drugs, stealing from your employer, (and on, and on,) will all exact a heavy, painful price. Same with homosexuality.
One thing homosexuals don’t want to talk about, but cannot deny, is that, for not all homosexuals — but for far too many — the lifestyle they have chosen has resulted in a great deal of pain in their life. Certainly much of their pain is not their doing, but it’s pain nonetheless. Again, our loving heavenly Father does not want to see any of his children hurt or in pain. That is a major reason why, in my view, God considers homosexuality a sin and warns us against it in Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; I Corinthians 6:9-11; and Romans 1:26-28 as-well-as numerous other places.
Lastly, regarding same-sex marriage, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. In the Bible, in Genesis 2:24 and again in Matthew 19:4-6 (Jesus) tells us this, “Haven’t you read (in Genesis 2:24), that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Man-Wife … get it? Earlier, in Genesis 1:28, after God created man and woman, his very first command to them was, “Be fruitful (procreate) and increase in number … and subdue the earth.” Homosexuality and same-sex marriage can simply never, ever carry out these two clear commands of God. For this reason it is wrong, is unnatural and is against God’s divine plan for planet earth. And that is an ultimate, timeless, absolute truth.
Do you have a question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer your question in the paper.
[Father Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Georgia, ”The Ancient, New Testament Church For Today’s Generation.” More information, service times, directions and downloads of Father Paul’s Sunday messages are available at www.holycrosschurch.wordpress.com.]