A Biblical Response to Homosexuality
About the Guest
When biblical truth collides with postmodernism, Christians are often left speechless. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the debate raging around the issue of homosexuality. On today’s broadcast, pastor Matt Chandler provides compassionate, articulate, and thoroughly biblical responses to questions Christians must answer as they engage the larger culture around this topic.
Matt ChandlerMatt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas metroplex of over 10,000 people. His sermons are among the topselling (free) podcasts on itunes and he speaks at conferences worldwide. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over ten years where he spoke to hundreds of thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. He lives in Texas with his wife, Lauren, and their...more
When biblical truth collides with postmodernism, Christians are often left speechless.
A Biblical Response to Homosexuality
Bob: How should we as followers of Christ interact with those who are engaged in a gay lifestyle? Here’s counsel on that subject from Pastor Matt Chandler.
Matt: There are probably four guys right now that I have some sort of relationship with that are actively in same sex relationships, and we have rarely talked about those relationships. We’ve talked about the Gospel. We don’t address morality until we address the Gospel.
I have no goal in any of those relationships to get them to stop doing what they’re doing in regards to their sexuality. If the Holy Spirit of God opens up their eyes and minds and hearts to the beauty of grace alone through faith alone, then that takes care of itself. So our message is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not of orientation. Alright? That discussion can take place after conversion.
Bob: This is FamilyLifeToday for Friday, February 25th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll get some wise, biblical, practical counsel today from Pastor Matt Chandler on how to interact with cultural arguments in favor of homosexuality.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We’re going to tackle – I say we’re going to tackle a tough issue – we’re actually going to hand the ball off to a pastor from Dallas and let him handle a tough issue today, right?
Dennis: Matt Chandler is going to be our guest quarterback on the broadcast today. Matt is the pastor of the Village Church, which is near the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He and his wife, Lauren, have a vital ministry down there in the central North Texas area. He tackled the subject, Bob, in terms of being a quarterback, that’s about as tough as you can tackle today.
Bob: There was a blitz coming at him when he took this on. Matt, from time to time on a Friday night, will take a controversial subject and will say, “Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about it.” So on a particular Friday night he invited folks out to talk about what the Bible has to say about homosexuality.
He said, “I want you to bring your friends. I want you to bring folks who might disagree with you, and let’s just have an open dialogue and conversation.” He talked for about an hour, and then he took questions from the crowd, and answered those questions. I had a chance to listen to the entire two-hour presentation, Dennis, and Matt did a great job of looking at what the Scriptures teach. But there was a particular section, here, that we wanted to share with our listeners.
Dennis: We did, because I don’t know of another area today where the Christian community is being put on the hot seat or being tested and isn’t quite sure how to respond than the subject of homosexuality. I just want to read a passage before we go to what Matt Chandler has to say today. In Ephesians chapter four, the Apostle Paul says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
He’s not talking to the homosexual community; he’s talking to followers of Christ. He goes on to say, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.”
If there’s a group of people today who we need to relate to with kindness, with forgiveness, with graciousness, it’s the homosexual community. We need to be relating to them, inviting them to hear the reality of Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for all of our sins, was buried, rose again on the third day, is seated at the right hand of God the Father, and offers eternal life to all who call out to him in faith.
I just think this issue, Bob, is so fraught with emotion and we’re not quite sure what to say. Matt Chandler does a wonderful job in this message of talking about what’s being said at the street level, and helping us understand how to give a kind response as we engage those who practice homosexuality.
Bob: Well, at the end of today’s message I’ll have information on how you can listen to the entire message from Matt Chandler, but again we’re just going to hear an excerpt today as Matt provides a biblical apologetic for why God says homosexuality is wrong.
Matt: I want to go through six of the most common street-level arguments for homosexuality. So I don’t want to get into Greek words or ancient temples; I want to kind of start with street-level “Well, how can what the Bible says be true?” kind of thing. So let me give you probably the most common argument for homosexuality being not sinful at all, but a legitimate lifestyle choice, and even that the church should take this stance. Okay?
The general consensus of most Americans is that if you’re not hurting anyone else, then what’s wrong with it? So, if you’re not – if you’ve got two people in a loving, monogamous relationship, and nobody’s getting hurt and it’s not harming anybody else, then how could it be wrong? And they’ll talk about the Golden Rule. And even – I’ve heard some pastors who think that this isn’t a sin at all and doesn’t need to be addressed as a sin – I’ve heard them use the “love your neighbor as yourself” as though the pinnacle of the teaching of Christ is about loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
Now, I’ll give that that’s an extremely important text, but I want to show you the text and let you see the text. It’s Matthew 22:36-40. You don’t have to turn there; just listen to me read it. Here’s what it says:
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment, and the second is like it. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commands depend all the law and the prophets.
So that the totality of God’s will is found in this statement: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the distinction and the Golden Rule in our faith in regards to ethics as the Golden Rule in other faiths, because Jesus put a greater command in front of the “do unto others” rule. Right? And what’s that command? That you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength.
Now, how do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength? Jesus clearly says in the book of John, “Those who love me obey me. Those who love me obey me.” I don’t know – some of you who are well-studied in here go “Well Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.” Well, I’ll disagree with you here in a second. Okay?
Let me go to the second argument. It’s the “Since we are sinners too, who are we to call out sin in other people since we’re sinners too?” So if you ever watch a debate on this issue, or really any other issue that’s volatile, it will always come back to “So you’re perfect?” Listen, I’m not perfect. I still struggle. I’ve still got – but here’s the thing: there’s an accountability built around me, both from the Scriptures, to my family, to the elders, to good friends of mine, that can point out in my life “you’re being obedient to what God’s commands are for you in the Scriptures.” So the question is not do I sin, but am I actively walking in ongoing repentance? So, who am I to point to and call out what’s sin and what’s not when I have sin in my own life?
First of all, I’m just communicating God’s revelation of himself to us. I in no way think I’m better than you, and no way think that I’m better than anyone else, but I can say that there’s ongoing repentance in my life, and that there’s a slew of other men and women who would stand up and go, “That’s true. Where Matt has been engaged over his sin, where Matt has been shown the folly of his ways in the Scriptures, he has repented and he has turned to do what God has asked him to do.” Okay? So the question is not, “Who are we as sinners to call out sinners?” The question is, “Is there repentance? Is there a turning away from sin?”
Okay. Three. Show me in the Bible where Jesus said something against homosexuality. Since the Bible doesn’t say anything about it, that somehow proves a point. This is the weakest form of argument, an argument from silence. So Jesus never says anything about idolatry, and yet the base cause of every bit of fallen human nature – of course he’s addressed that. He mentions nothing about incest, and I don’t think anybody wants to take that to “Well, he didn’t say anything about it, so let’s give it a shot.”
I’m not comparing homosexuality to incest. What I’m explaining to you is let’s take that argument and let’s apply it across the teachings of Christ and see if it sticks. Jesus was a man in a time period where certain things were prominent and certain things weren’t, and certain things needed to be addressed, and certain things didn’t need to be addressed, specifically among first century Jews who held to the Levitical Law. He didn’t need to say it. It wasn’t of great debate. I said all that to say I do believe he still addresses it. Matthew 15:18-20; I’ll just read it to you:
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality.
Porneia is the Greek word, okay. Do you hear a familiar word in there in regards to sexual immorality, porneia? You have Jesus teaching sexual immorality here. Now, you go do – I’m not going to break it all down, simply because of time, but if you go look this up, you’ll see that Jesus, in porneia is including all sorts of sexual defilement and acts of overt sexuality that the Bible would condemn, both the Old Testament as well as moving into the New Covenant.
Sometimes the argument is one of nature, that there are certain species of animals that they have identified same-sex sex in, and so if it’s in nature, it must obviously be natural. Now once again I’m going, “Let’s just keep rolling that argument out.” Because I know that there are certain insects that after the male impregnates the female, the female turns around and eats and kills him. But nobody’s going to go “It’s in nature. It’s natural” on women murdering their men after they get pregnant. Okay? Or, hippos, after the birth of a male hippo, will try to kill their newborn son for fear that that son might grow and become powerful and take over the herd. But we don’t kill the firstborn sons in our families.
This is the big one; you’ll hear this all the time. Once again, I find it just a silly argument – is that the homosexuality in the Bible is not the same version of homosexuality that we see today. That Paul is not talking about a long-term monogamous, loving relationship; in fact, that he was completely unaware of that type of homosexuality that we see today.
Now, although you continue to hear that on television, let me be really honest with you. At the scholarly level, that’s been almost completely thrown out the window. Here’s why: There are plenty of pottery pieces and writings in antiquity that shows that monogamous, loving homosexual relationships exist, okay? And if you’ll remember back to Romans one, here’s where this is a crazy – here’s why I think it’s silly. He clearly says in Romans one that men are consumed with the desire for what? One another.
The second piece of this that’s kind of the same is that Paul is not against homosexuality for those who, by their orientation, or by their birth, have that bent. But rather, he’s against homosexuality for heterosexuals. Now on CNN or Fox, when everybody’s screaming, nobody can press pause and just go, “So you’re telling me that what Paul is saying, what he’s against, is a heterosexual who indulges in homosexual behavior? That is by definition homosexuality.” Alright?
So this is a silly, circular argument, and then let me say this just on top of that, that just because you have an orientated urge does not mean it’s okay or natural, and all urges are built out of, based out of, orientation. So you going “I desire this” doesn’t make it right. “God wired me this way, so how could he judge me for that?”
So I saw this great interview between Ann Curry and Rick Warren, and Ann Curry asked him the question, “If they prove that homosexuality is genetic, physiological and genetic, would you still take the stance that you take?” And he said, “Absolutely, I would.” And Ann freaked. She – “How, how, how, how could that, how could that possibly. . .” I mean she freaked out, alright. It was almost like bhrssht – you know, a taser for her second comment.
So Rick literally had to go, “If you’ll give me a second, I’ll answer you.” And here’s how he answered it. He goes, “Genetically I want to have sex with every beautiful woman I see, but no one in society and no one in culture says that’s best for me, that’s best for my wife, that’s best for our children, that’s best for the family unit, that’s best for. . . No one would say that.”
That’s the orientation argument, where, at the end of the day, I’ve got orientation that leads me in ways that absolutely are against God’s will and God’s plan for my life, and for the fullness of joy in my life. So whereas the commands of Scripture are trying to line me up into joy, my rebellion of God is taking me away from joy, and those urges, those walking in fleeting, momentary pleasures at the expense of eternal, deep joy, is just yet another evidence that we are in the rebellion that you see in Romans 1. I’m smarter than you; my way’s better than your way.
And then, unfortunately, pastors will talk about this issue and they’ll talk with a lisp, or they’ll make masculinity out to be climbing mountains and hunting, like that’s what’s masculine. They do the sensitive male a disservice when they go, “This is how a man dresses. This is what a man does. He works with his hands, he goes out . . .” I still go, “Give me a break. You feed a deer all year long, you sit up in a blind and then you pop the poor sucker after you’ve been feeding him all year long. Listen. You want to be a man? Get naked, hunt it down, and bite it to death, alright? Then you’re a man.”
If that’s going to be your definition, hunting and fishing and working with your . . . But don’t, 200 yards away in a heated stand after you’ve fed it all year long, pop it and define that as masculinity, because it’s simply not. So what ends up happening is those young men with sensitive souls who are artistic, beautiful, tender souls, end up not being able to find a home because idiots have defined masculinity outside of the bounds of Scripture.
Here’s the last one, and then I want to get into our response: the argument of modern scholarship. I don’t know of a more arrogant position than to go, “Paul didn’t mean what Paul said, and although it’s been interpreted this way for 2000 years, we think this is what’s actually said. In fact, this word is not actually in this text; this word is in this text.” It’s complete revisionist, enlightenment garbage. And then where you get Paul clearly using the word “homosexual,” they then go, “Well, what he’s addressing is this type of homosexuality.”
And then, here’s what happens – where then that’s absolutely disproven in the scholarly realm, then they move on and go, “Well, okay. So actually what it is is that Paul hates women and he’s trying to keep down women and so he’s saying that if homosexual relationships continue in this way, then what’s going to happen is that men are going to lose their position as authoritative over women.”
And so then that argument begins to be made, and then it gets shot down and then it moves on to another argument. Once again, I’m not even talking theologians as much as I’m just talking scholarship and historical scholars going, “This isn’t historically accurate, what you’re saying.” So they’re coming into the text and they’re taking Romans 1, they’re taking 1 Corinthians, and they’re going, “That’s not really what they meant.” And then secular historians are going, “Well, there’s no historical evidence of that,” and then they’ll move on to the other twist or perversion of that word or that text, alright, trying to find anything.
People will also play this, “Well, didn’t people use the Bible back in the day to justify slavery? Isn’t this just like that?” No. It’s nothing like that. There were some backwoods idiots in the South that would take some texts on slavery out of their context, out of the narrative, and justify slavery with it. But it was Christian men, who loved the Lord their God with all their heart and mind and soul who fought against the slave trade. William Wilberforce and some guys in the United States, who lost their jobs, who lost their positions, who lost their homes, and were under a great deal of attack and animosity who fought against and destroyed the slave trade. And so this comparison – it’s like taking some sort of fringe anomaly and then using it as the standard of the day. Once again it’s revisionist history. It’s just simply not accurate and not true.
So, I’ve heard from a couple of the guys that I know and walk with and have loved on over the last few years who are actively involved in ongoing homosexual lifestyle – they will swear to you that the church as a whole believed and said out loud that AIDS was God’s curse on homosexuality, and that we let them die of AIDS in the 80s. And so what I’ve had to do on more than one occasion is show them that actually on a large scale, the only one who was loving on those dying of AIDS in the late 80s when we didn’t know what it was, was actually Christian organizations.
It was actually men and women of God who cared for and loved on the men and women dying of AIDS when we didn’t know what it was, and they didn’t know if they were going to catch it and they didn’t know how to catch it, who were going in and loving on those people. There was one idiot who went on TV and said that, and so now all of a sudden all of us are labeled as that. It’s unfair. This is just that further twisting of truth. This is that further futile in thinking. This is that further silliness that so saturates this issue.
Okay. Now, what’s our response, then, to those around us who are not believers in Christ who have actively embraced this lifestyle? Just as clear as I can give it to you: love and patience. Let me be honest with you. There are probably four guys right now that I have some sort of relationship with that are actively in same sex relationships, and we have rarely talked about those relationships. We’ve talked about the Gospel.
We don’t address morality until we address the Gospel. I have no goal in any of those relationships to get them to stop doing what they’re doing in regards to their sexuality. If the Holy Spirit of God opens up their eyes and minds and hearts to the beauty of grace alone through faith alone, then that takes care of itself. So our message is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not of orientation.
That discussion can take place after conversion but I don’t know that it takes place before. And that’s where I think a lot of guys get themselves in trouble. Our hope is transformed hearts that lead to transformed lives. It doesn’t work the other way. So what we want is the Holy Spirit to change the heart, and then the actions are changed through a change of orientation in our heart and in our mind.
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to a portion of a message from Pastor Matt Chandler on how we are to deal with the cultural arguments in favor of homosexuality. He presents a compelling, biblical case.
Dennis: He does. I think the challenge for those of us who are followers of Christ is remember that we can win the argument and lose the relationship if we’re not careful. What our goal needs to be was really mirrored by Jesus Christ. It says in John 1, verse 14 – it says “When we beheld his glory,” – Jesus Christ, we noticed two things. It was “full of grace and truth.” He honored God because he held to a standard, but he also dealt with people in grace. It is so easy to err on the side of truth and the standard and the law, and point out where people are wrong.
Bob: And you don’t want to do anything to weaken that.
Dennis: I don’t. I want to stand for the truth. Jesus didn’t weaken the truth; he embodied it. But we have to be people who are known by the love of Christ and known by the grace that Jesus Christ offers them.
Bob: I really think it would be helpful for our listeners to go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. We’ve got a link there that will take them to the site where they can listen to the entire presentation that Matt made at the Village Church on that Friday night where he addressed this subject. You can download it for free or you can listen to it online if you’d like. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information on how you can listen to the entire presentation from Pastor Matt Chandler.
And be sure to keep Matt and his wife, Lauren, and their family in your prayers, because Matt continues to do battle with a brain tumor. There’s been some positive response to the chemotherapy he’s gone through, and we’re grateful to God for that. But keep that family in your prayers. This is a challenging season for them, and I know they would appreciate your prayers on their behalf.
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And we hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday when author and speaker Shaunti Feldhahn is going to be here. We’re going to talk about the crazy world women live in today; how cluttered and crowded it is, and talk about steps women can take to start to get their priorities realigned. That comes up Monday, and I hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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