#91783 Sep 15, 2013
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#91784 Sep 15, 2013
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#91789 Sep 15, 2013
Our subject today is on the issue of homosexuality. We chose this because in recent months it's one of the things that we've gotten the most questions from listeners about. John's last appearance, you know, on Larry King had to do with the issue of homosexual marriages and since then it's only become a bigger issue. So here we are and I'm going to introduce it by reading a little script that they've given me, so here we go. Are we ready?
Well thank you, Carl, and hello, John. I do have a lot of questions I want to ask you and so let's just get right to it. There's no denying that the debate over homosexuality has become one of the defining issues of our day and a major front in the culture war. I think the topic touches all of us in one way or another because it intersects with all of society's most basic institutions...home, marriage, government, and of course, religion and our faith. And so the questions that I have for you today are going to explore all of those areas. This debate over homosexuality is an emotional one and it hasn't diminished over time, only the opposite. And with all of the discussion lately about homosexual marriages and all of that, it's been at the forefront of our news. You can barely turn the TV on these days and not see something about it. And, in fact, most recently you were asked to be on Larry King Live to discuss this very issue. Tell us a little bit about that experience.
#91790 Sep 15, 2013
JOHN: Well, I was, frankly, glad for the opportunity because I always think it's a privilege to represent the Word of God and the truth of God in that particular environment, and particularly with something as heated as the discussion of homosexuality. I really welcomed the opportunity to bring the Word to God to bare on that. I'm a little bit surprised that I get invited because I'm so predictable. Even Larry King will tell me, "That I know exactly what you're going to say and that's why we have you here." I am very predictable. They can count on me to say what I really believe. And, you know, I remember being on there one time with a Muslim, a Catholic, a Hindu and a Rabbi, and if I hadn't been there, they all would have agreed with each other even though they're four different religions because everybody just sort of finds the middle ground and all of that. So I think it's a great opportunity to put the gospel out in bold contrast and bold relief. And it really doesn't matter to me what the subject is, any opportunity to present what God has to say on that subject is a great opportunity. And I was praying that the Lord would give me an opportunity also to present not just the sin of homosexuality but the gospel of grace offered to those who repent of it. And I had that opportunity also.
#91791 Sep 15, 2013
PHIL: In fact, on that broadcast you actually were able to debate the major of San Francisco...
PHIL: Who...he was on there because he had illegally permitted homosexual marriages in California.
JOHN: Right. He really was the front guy for the movement. He was selected, trained, he was fixed up, you know, he was their man and they put him in there, got him in power and he was articulating the party line and he did what they wanted him to do, and that is to do all of those marriages even though it was against the law. But he made one really serious error on the television program. And I was just sitting there waiting for this, I didn't know where the entry point would be but he said, "I'm a practicing Catholic."
And when he said that, I knew exactly what I needed to say and so I said, "Well, if you're a practicing Catholic then you must believe the Bible is the Word of God."
And he said, "Oh, oh, ohhhhh, I don't want to get into a theological discussion."
I said, "I'm not asking you for a discussion, I just...I just want to know, do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? You said you were a practicing Catholic."
"I don't want to go there, oh, you're not going to force me to go there. I don't need to go there."
And I said, "It's a simple question, do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?"
And he had nowhere to go so he said, "Well, I guess I do." And that was good.
#91792 Sep 15, 2013
JOHN: And that's when I said, "Then you would know that the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin." And, of course, there's no answer to that once you said what he said and...so then I had the opportunity to say that I mentioned that no homosexual would ever enter the Kingdom, 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Timothy 1:10, no homosexual will ever enter the Kingdom. And Larry King said, "Well maybe not everybody wants to get into the Kingdom of heaven." And he sets me up. He was setting me up. So I turned to this homosexual actor sitting next to me, he writes for the Gay Advocate, and I had met him earlier, and his name is Chad. And I said, "Well I think Chad wants to get into the Kingdom of heaven, don't you, Chad?" And he said, "Yeah, I do." And that was great because then I explained to him how that God would show grace and Christ to the homosexual.
So, I've said this before, whenever I get into that kind of environment there are only two things I want to say. One is that the Bible is the only authority, and two, Jesus is the only Savior. I don't know...it doesn't matter what the topic is, it doesn't matter what it's about, it can be about world religions, it could be about the war in the Middle East, it could be about homosexuality, but it all comes down to biblical authority and Jesus Christ as the only Savior, and have that opportunity even with homosexuals listening and even encountering them face-to-face is really why I live and move and have my being, to present the gospel of grace to sinners of all kinds.
#91793 Sep 15, 2013
PHIL: Now, the major of San Francisco obviously did not want to get into a theological debate with you. But there are people who claim that they can be Christians and homosexuals as well. They would argue that the Bible does not teach that homosexuality is a sin. How would you answer that?
JOHN: Well, you can look at the Bible positively. You can start in Leviticus 18:22 and you can go to Leviticus chapter 20 verse 13 and what you find there is, "That if a man lies with a man," that's the illustration, "it is an abomination to God." As a man lies with a woman...if he lies with a man, or obviously a woman with a woman, it's an abomination to God. Then in the twentieth chapter and thirteenth verse, the prescription for that kind of behavior is the death penalty. It is such an abomination that it was to be dealt with by the death penalty. There were about 35 iniquities specified in the Law, the Mosaic Law, for which the death penalty was prescribed and that was one of them.
#91794 Sep 15, 2013
Later on you have the horrific statements, I think of the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 1 about how the wrath of God is poured out from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness. And he goes on describing something of the character of that unrighteousness, but it comes down to the description of the wrath of God as God giving them over, first to sexual immorality and then secondly, giving them over to homosexuality. What that tells us is that homosexuality is not only an abomination and a sin worthy of the death penalty, but it is also potentially a divine judgment and that is to say God turns you over to the consequence of the iniquity that you persist in. That's one of the horrific statements of judgment in the Bible and you can tell when God is doing that in a society because homosexual...homosexuality begins to be acceptable and to reign supreme. That is the evidence that a society is under the divine judgment of God for that sin.
You have statements by the Apostle Paul, as I said, in 1 Corinthians and in 1 Timothy 1 about the fact that homosexuals and effeminate do not enter the Kingdom of heaven that are very, very clear. And then you have the amazing incident in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis of Sodom which is graphic and unforgettable where you have a whole city full of homosexual men who try to rape angels who came there and they were beautiful, they were obviously in human form, and the men were struck blind, you remember, at the door of Lot's house. And they were so passionate in their lust for those angels that in their blindness they still tried to find the door to break it down to attack those angels. So, and, of course, you know what happened to them, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain were buried under fire and brimstone and that was the dominant iniquity that brought on the wrath of God.
#91795 Sep 15, 2013
PHIL: Now I've met people who have claimed to be Christians and want to be homosexuals as well who would say, "Well the real sin of Sodom was just that they were inhospitable. That's no way to treat guests."
JOHN: Yeah, that is really true, Phil. There is writing on that by homosexual advocate authors who say that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was the lack of hospitality. That God buried them in brimstone because they weren't very cordial to their visitors. And, of course, that just shows the ludicrous nature of those kinds of things.
You know, apart from the biblical record, common sense would tell you that men belong with women and women belong with men. I mean, it doesn't...it's not really a Phi Beta Kappa that has to figure that out, and that's very apparent.
PHIL: You made that point, I think, on Larry King. I remember very well.
Well so, that's very interesting because you've quoted now from Genesis, which is before the Law. You've quoted from Leviticus which is Moses Law. And then you quoted from Romans and other passages in the New Testament, so that's something that runs throughout Scripture. It's not just unique to Moses Law.
JOHN: No, this is a moral foundation in all social relationships and it all goes back to the Genesis account that a man and a woman would come together and leaving parents cleave to one another for life. This is God's institution and is the building block of all society. Peter calls it the grace of life. Anything other than a man and a woman married for life is iniquitous. And the most perverse kind of relationship, of course, is that which is a man and a man or a woman and a woman.
#91796 Sep 15, 2013
Now you have to go back also to a little bit of history and understand that from the very outset Satan has assaulted that, starting in Sodom of Gomorrah, of course, dramatically and stretching through all of human history, right out to the very end. Satan is going to assault that so that you have the mystery religions, you have Gnosticism in every single form is androgynous, it reverses the male/female roles. Most of the ancient deities of nations could be male or female. They were flip-flop deities. I mean, there is this relentless effort on the part of Satan to overturn the most normal and essential building block of human society and that is one man, one woman married for life. Any assault on that, whatever it might be, Satan is after. In fact, you see almost all the categories of possible attack occur in the book of Genesis.
PHIL: Well, I mention that because a lot of Christians seem confounded by some of the argumentation that is thrown up against the position that Scripture condemns homosexuality. They will inevitably say, "Well that's Moses' law, but Moses Law also forbids you to wear mixed fabrics. So you couldn't wear cotton and, you know, wool at the same time or in the same garment." A polyester suit, they would say, is nearly as sinful as homosexuality.
#91797 Sep 15, 2013
JOHN: Yeah, but you already answered that question when you pointed out that the sin of homosexuality transcends the Law. It appears in Genesis and even, as I said, going all the way back to when God created man and woman to be together to procreate, to multiply and fill the earth, one man, one woman, leaving and cleaving, that was God's original design. It never changed. You have long after the Law in its ceremonial and its civil order is abrogated in the New Covenant, the affirmation of the sin of homosexuality, as I pointed out in the letters of the Apostle Paul. So, it transcends that. It is...it is important for people to understand that when you read the Law of Moses, when you read the book of Exodus, you read the book of Leviticus, or you go into the book of Deuteronomy, you must always sort out what was moral law and what was civil law because there were things going on in those days by which God endeavored to protect and preserve His people from the evil influences of the nations around them. And the way that God did that was to restrict them civilly, to restrict them socially, to cause them to conform to certain kind of rules and habits whether they were dressed like that, the kind of fabric, whether they were dietary laws, cooking laws, domestic laws, whatever they were, those kinds of things as well as all the varying ceremonies that had some symbolic meaning...that was intended to make it impossible for the Jewish people to have easy social access to all the nations around them. And that was for their own protection so that they didn't mix and embrace the idol worshipers that were really a part of their whole world. So those were civil and social laws. And God gave those in order to protect and preserve His people so that they could effectively obey His moral laws. And, of course, because of Israel's unbelief, the captivity in the northern kingdom, 722, the captivity of the southern kingdom in 586 B.C., they're taken away and into captivity. And Babylon, as you know, they come back 70 years later but they're only a fragment of what they once were. By the time you get to the time of Jesus, the Messiah shows up, the Messiah comes, He offers the Kingdom to Israel. Instead of embracing the Messiah and receiving the Kingdom, they kill the Messiah, they kill the Prince of life, and wanted a murderer to be released to them, you remember. They are therefore temporarily set aside again. The Lord does what benefitted all of us, right? The original branch, Paul says in Romans 9 to 11, is cut off and a new branch is grafted in to the tree of Abrahamic salvation blessing. And there will be a future day, Romans very clear on this, Israel is not forsaken forever. They'll be grafted back in. But for now they have been set aside for their rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And there is now a New Covenant community of people made up of Jew and Gentiles and for us the ceremonial and civil law of the theocratic kingdom of Israel is set aside. And we are left with the moral law which transcends that and that law clearly embraces sexual behavior. And since marriage is the model from Genesis 2, any deviation of that is a violation of God's moral law.
#91798 Sep 15, 2013
PHIL: There is no neat delineation of the Old Testament between the moral and the ceremonial precepts, so...I mean, I agree with you and it seems very clear to me that the laws against homosexuality would fit in the moral category, but since the Bible itself doesn't divide it that way, how do you know that? How do you make that argument?
JOHN: Well, because whatever the institution is that transcends Israel's unique identity, I mean, if you're talking about marriage, that transcends. If you're talking about sexual behavior, that transcends. If you're talking about those things that are in the Ten Commandments, lying, and covetousness and obedience to your parents and not taking God's name in vain, you're not talking about some kind of civil conduct here. So wherever the Scripture speaks to matters that are...that are literally characteristic of human behavior, not what we wear, what we eat, how we conduct our patterns socially, but when you're talking about moral conduct, moral categories, whatever it is that God lays down, transcends the limitations of that law. But even more important than that, God has abrogated the non-moral elements of that law clearly in the New Covenant. I mean, it's sort of a symbolic thing in Acts chapter 10 where Peter has this vision, you know, and he sees this sheet full of unclean and clean animals and he's told to, "Rise, Peter, kill and eat." And he says, "I can't do it." You know, he was kosher, he was raised with these restrictions and restraints. And you remember that in that vision he is told not to call unclean what God has cleansed. And with that as an abrogation of the whole of the dietary law and all the stuff that went with it, you also have the abrogation of the Sabbath law. Very clearly the Sabbath is only a shadow of things to come, we don't need the shadow anymore, the substance is here.
#91799 Sep 15, 2013
So the New Testament clearly abrogates those ceremonial things. I mean, ripping the temple veil from top to bottom threw away, virtually threw away the structure of temple worship. And so I think there are things clearly indicated in the New Testament that abrogate that. The moral law, however, never changes. And the reason is, the moral law is a reflection of God's holy nature.
PHIL: Right. Now you've mentioned actually a three-fold division in the Law. There's moral laws, there are ceremonial precepts and then there are civil laws as well. And this is one that sort of ties together the civil and the moral, isn't it? Because you cited a verse that prescribes the death penalty for the practice of homosexuality.
JOHN: Yeah, there were many...
PHIL: That pertains to the civil, the penalty, right?
JOHN: Well, the punishment pertains to the civil law. The conduct pertains to the moral law.
JOHN: But what God did...now remember, Israel was a theocratic kingdom, it wasn't a democracy, it wasn't a dictatorship, it was theocratic. That is, God was the ruler and He mediated His rule among His people through the priests. There were 24 courses of priests, thousands of priests belonging to 24 orders, each of them served two weeks a year at the temple. The rest of the time they went back into their community and they were the students of the Law and the interpreters of the Law, and the local teachers and like local pastors for their people. The structure of the Kingdom, that is the law of the Kingdom, the constitution of theocratic kingdom was the Law of God. And so naturally whoever it was that enforced the Law of God would be the government, the authority. And it would be the priests who knew the Law of God and represented the Law of God who therefore were the officers of the theocratic kingdom. And so, even when an Israelite paid his taxes, he gave his taxes to the priests and supported the priests. They were the officers of the government. So in this theocratic kingdom, God established penalties for violations of His moral law. And this was a model of a perfect environment, a theocratic kingdom. Thirty-five...as I...35 different moral violations were punishable by death. One of them was homosexuality. Just to spread that a little bit, another one was disobeying your parents.
Now immediate swift death to juvenile delinquents would have a tremendous impact. Immediate swift death...
#91800 Sep 15, 2013
PHIL: It would certainly cut down on the number of delinquents, wouldn't it?
JOHN: It certainly would. It would...and the same with homosexuality...swift judgment. And I will tell you this, if there were today a theocratic kingdom and we were in that theocratic kingdom, those sins would be punished the same way because that is a just punishment...that is a just punishment. Frankly, the wages of any sin is...what?...is death. So that is a just punishment.
The tragedy is, however, the theocratic kingdom which God originally established began to disintegrate very early, didn't it? I mean, it didn't take very long. When God established His law, it wasn't long until the people began to fall into sin, they made all kinds of promises that they didn't keep. They disobeyed the Ten Commandments all over the place. There was capital punishment exercised for a while, and then, of course, in comes their desire for a king and they get a bad king, Saul, and the thing goes down further and David is a bright spot, at least most of the time. And then Solomon comes, the kingdom splits, and it just gets worse and worse. And what you had then was an unwillingness on the part of those who were responsible for the theocratic kingdom to enact the civil punishments. And because there were no punishments for these kinds of sins, they flourished everywhere, adultery, fornication, immorality, homosexuality, baby sacrifice, offering your children to Molech, etc., etc., etc. And since God then removed Himself from the nation Israel, there has never been another theocratic kingdom. Okay? And that's why today the kingdoms of this world, and Jesus said the kingdoms of this world are different than My kingdom, do not punish sin the way God prescribed it. And so the question might be asked, "If we did what was right in America, what would happen to homosexuals?" And the answer is, they would be executed. But before you rush to make that law, that would also happen to adulterers and juvenile delinquents, those who disobeyed their parents. And if that had been the case for the last 50 years, this room would be a lot emptier than it is now. But that doesn't change God's standard. And in the end, folks, God gives a reprieve here and God doesn't give every sinner what he deserves when he deserves it, but eventually...right? The grinding of God is slow, but it is nonetheless effective.
#91801 Sep 15, 2013
PHIL: Let's be clear about one other thing, too. And that is those civil penalties are the purview of the civil government and not the church.
JOHN: Yes, because although God has endorsed government, God has ordained government as a concept, not every government is a reflection of God's will. We know that. In fact, I can't think of one government that is. Can you? We had a fairly close approximation here in the west, in America, we inherited a strong Christian influence from England and other parts of Europe, a Reformational emphases. And they even got a little carried away back then, you know, when they were killing heretics, and not just the Catholics were killing heretics, but the Protestants killed a few as well. You know, even the pedobaptists were drowning the Anabaptists. So it's not a pretty sight when men try to turn an earthly government into some kind of reflection of the divine kingdom. There will be that kingdom and when will that come? When Jesus returns and establishes His earthly kingdom. And that is promised in the Bible. The kingdom will come and the Lord will rule with what kind of rod? A rod of iron, He says, and at that point sin will be punished the way God has always deemed that it should be punished, swiftly and on the spot. And those sins which are worthy of that kind of punishment will receive it, no matter what the sin is, whether it's homosexuality, or anything else, from the very outset God has provided forgiveness, salvation and the hope of eternal life to those who repent and embrace the gospel.
#91802 Sep 15, 2013
PHIL: I'd love for you to keep going, and we will tomorrow, but our time is nearly up for today. We're going to continue with questions tomorrow on this topic and our listeners are going to want to tune in and hear more of your answers.
Before we go, any other comment you want to leave us with today?
JOHN: I just want to say that 1 Corinthians 6 says, "Such were some of you." You were homosexuals, you were effeminate, you were adulterers, you were liars, it goes on and on, but you were washed and you were cleansed. And that's what the Lord Jesus offers. We're not trying to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals, we're trying to bring conviction so that they can turn from that sin and embrace the only hope of forgiveness and salvation for all of us sinners, and that's through faith in Jesus Christ.
PHIL: And, John, welcome back. Yesterday's discussion was fascinating as you answered some of the fundamental questions about homosexuality and what the Bible says about it. And I want to get right back into it. Maybe you'll be able to answer some of the practical questions our listeners have on this controversial topic.
I want to kind of take up where we left off yesterday. We were talking about the Old Testament civil laws against homosexuality, which prescribed stoning. And you were saying that that those civil laws are really not the purview of the church. When we argue for what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, we're not arguing that Christians should take up stones against our homosexual neighbors, right?
#91803 Sep 15, 2013
JOHN: Well absolutely right. The whole law of the Old Testament, lex talionus, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, was never for personal vengeance. Personal vengeance is never an option for an individual. Lynch committees and that kind of thing never are in the purview of Christian people. We never use anti-government behavior, rebellion, law-breaking approaches to get what we think is the kingdom way. Our responsibility is to recognize that God has allowed government to be what it is. I mean, God has ordained government, even the governments that we look at and say they're evil, they're dictatorships, they're corrupt, they're full of graft and crime and sinfulness and even a muddled democracy like we have that is now under the control of a dominant force of immoral and ungodly people. Nonetheless, the eternal God of heaven has not lost control. And I remind people so often that you have to go back to Romans chapter 1. In Romans 1 we have a form of wrath. If you study God's wrath, and I don't want to get too lengthy here so pull my plug here, Phil. But God's wrath comes in eschatological form, that is the form of God's wrath that comes at the end of the age when Christ comes described in Revelation and Daniel, the wrath of God comes in eternal form and that is hell, the wrath of God comes in a consequential form, that is sowing and reaping, what you sow you reap, there's some things built into life. If you do certain kind of things, you're going to reap certain kind of results.
But there's another aspect of the wrath of God and that is that Romans 1 wrath. It's the wrath of God in which He turns sinners over to their own choices. And you can see when it happens in a nation. It's happened over and over again. God's allowed all the nations to go their own way. Eventually this is the cycle. They know about God, they reject the knowledge of God, they become wise in their own conceits, they turn away from God, they become idolatrous and then God gives them over to...what? Well Romans 1:24 says, "He gives them over to sexual sin." Verse 26 says, "He gives them over to homosexual sin." And then verse 28 to 32 says, "He gives them over to a reprobate mind." You have there three steps in divine judgment.
~15 minute smoke breck~
#91804 Sep 15, 2013
When God abandons a nation, when God gives a nation up to its own choices, when, in a sense, He removes restraining grace, the first thing is they will become preoccupied with sexual sin. I see that in our own country in the sexual revolution of the sixties, in the Playboy mentality which is now dominates our public media. It's not just pornography, it's in the songs, it's in the magazines, it's in the books, it's on the TV, it's a way of life. The diminishing interest in marriage, living together is the standard fare. We have literally been turned over to sexual immorality.
Step two in the divine judgment is when a society normalizes homosexuality and they do what is unnatural. Men with men and women with women, Romans 1:28 says.
And the third step is God gives them over, having given them over to sexual immorality, and then step two, giving them over to homosexuality, gives them over to a reprobate mind. That's a mind that doesn't work, that's a non-functioning mind. And that's simply irrationality. And when you get there, there's no way back because if your mind doesn't work, you can't honestly assess where you are and you can't get back. And so rather than say we need to exercise some kind of...some biblical effort to kill homosexuals or kill adulterers, or kill murderers and bring Old Testament law on the heads of people, I think we are way at the other end of this picture and we have to say, what we're seeing in our own country today IS God's work and God is not turning this into a theocratic nation, God is rather unleashing His judgment and it started with the sexual revolution and now with the homosexual revolution and then the reprobate mind. And what the reprobate mind is, is an inability to think straight, where you begin to laugh at this calamity. It's the Jerry Springer show gone berserk. And I look at that and I see that as the hand of God withdrawn.
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