Monday, February 28, 2011

Fornication, same gender sex and our oneness with Jesus

The continuing push for the right for sexual sin within the PCUSA cuts into the heart of the biblical truth that Christians cherish. The cross is demolished. Souls are left wounded and we have taken away the means of healing.

A gay Elder came to the microphone, at our Presbytery meeting, pleading to have our fidelity chastity standard removed because an older women, 65, living with her boyfriend for financial reasons was denied ordination. At the time, I thought surely, it will suddenly dawn on the commissioners that this is about more than gay rights. This is about allowing all kinds of sexual sin in the church, about accommodating the cultural milieu we live in. But eighty people did not care.

Jesus Christ suffered that we might be forgiven, transformed, changed, made new. To allow such sin to be ‘okay’ for the church is to deny that Jesus suffered for us. Paul in 1 Corinthians after naming many sins that are rampant in our own world, our Western world, coveting, idolatry, thievery, and yes homosexuality and fornication says to his listeners:

“Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (6:11)

These dear people were first washed of their sins by the blood of Christ; they were set apart and made children of God. They received the righteousness of Christ which is the only sufficient righteousness.

But the righteousness of Christ does not exempt believers from living their lives for God in holiness, striving against sin. We are united to the Lord, one with him. How can we go on living in habitual and unrepentant sin? Paul brings the resurrection into this passage. Christ has been raised and so shall we. The body is important because of the power of Jesus Christ and the resurrection.

The biblical view of the body is unique, both in biblical times and today.

Several groups of ancient pseudo gnostics saw the body as evil or unimportant. Because of that they were antinomians. That is they believed they could sin without concern for their actions. Some Buddhists and Hindus, who see the body as an illusion, practice a left handed kind of tantra which uses sex to achieve what they consider the ultimate goal of their faith, dissolution of all sense experience.

Some post-moderns, who are gay, and supposedly Christian, attempt to explain their sexual acts as a means to unite or connect with God. Scott Haldeman in an essay too graphic to speak of God’s revelation tries anyway. Speaking of his passive sexual position as revelatory, he writes, “I am referring to something akin to an icon through which one sees, as through a portal, something of the attributes of God.”[1]

But God’s word which is badly muddied and slandered by such thoughts is vastly different. Because of the resurrection and because through the Holy Spirit we are united to the Lord what a Christian does with their body is important. Paul writes:

“But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” (17-20)

Four Reformed and Biblical truths are trounced by the push for perverse sexuality in the church.

1. Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection that sinners might be forgiven and transformed is ignored. Sin is called good and righteousness bigotry.

2. The resurrection of the body and the Holy Spirit’s presence within the believer is also ignored.

3. The wonderful reformed teaching that we are united to Christ, that we are one with him is set aside.

4. And clearly the truth that Jesus is God’s final revelation is in some cases made a mockery.

[1] Scott Haldeman, “Receptivity and revelation,” Body and Soul: Rethinking Sexuality as Justice Love, Editors Marvin M. Ellison and Sylvia Thorson-smith, ed. (The Pilgrim Press 2003)

26 comments:

reformedpastor said...

Well put, Viola. Thank you for this.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Stushie said...

Thanks Viola for your clarity and your candid remarks.

Pat & Patti Watters said...

Hey Viola, You probably know Patti and I received a "call" to a small Covenant church where we are currently doing ministry. I continue to be involved at our former PCUSA church; Divorce Care, & Spiritual Formation team. We resigned from PCUSA and our former church to facilitate "licensing" under the ECC, but also feeling the need to do so after battling for so long with the denomination. I applaud those (like you) who continue to wage the battle for Christ within that institution. Patti and I are focused on individuals in this "season", and finding God's blessings in discipleship and inner healing in the one-on-one relationships He has brought us to. Keep speaking the Truth in Love and with the Grace that He provides. Pat

Patricia Slomanski said...

Thank you, Viola, for your article. You always write the truth - even when it is difficult. I wrote you a while back and thanked you. Since that time I have resigned my pastorate in Benson, N. C. I told the "truth" to my Elders about homosexuality being a sin. I put together references, articles, etc., so that they would be in touch with what is going on in the denomination. One of the Elders has a lesbian sister, and needless to say it hit the fan. Most of my members did not want me to leave, but this Elder gathered around him a couple of other persons who visited members, trying to turn them against me. In the end, I felt that my being there was splitting the congregation. I therefore resigned. I don't know where I will go or what I will do. I have talked with Jeff Winter on the phone and via e-mail, and he has been supportive and gave me the name of another female minister who is of the same mindset. I am a little scared because there are so many pastors seeking calls, but I believe that God has everything under control. I did what I was suppose to do. As pastor I kept my Elders informed. I told them the truth and backed it up with what the Bible says as well as other resources. I cannot make them believe the truth. Only God can work within their hearts. It has been very painful, but I am slowly recovering. I do pray, with all of my heart, that G-6 is not removed. I am a cradle Presbyterian, and it seems as if the church of my childhood is slowly disappearing before my eyes.
It is because of persons like you, who write and express the truth, that this hasn't happened before now. Thank you. Your Sister in Christ, Patricia Slomanski
Benson, N. C.

Viola Larson said...

HiPatricia,
Thank you for sharing your very hard story. I, and I am sure many others, will be praying for you.

Clay said...

A previous post referred to conclusive scientific evidence that some are born gay. I would love to read that evidence. Seriously.

Up to this point, I'm not aware of any such evidence. To my knowledge, at best you can say there may be a predisposition of some type toward homosexuality (the position of Francis Collins, the Genome project director, among others), but no one (not even the studies done by gay researchers) has come up with any causal relationship that has stood up to scrutiny.

A predisposition is not the same thing as "being born that way." As human beings, we have all kinds of predispositions, but we do not have to be captive to them.

So if the landscape has changed and conclusive proof for the genetic nature of homosexuality is out there, please let me know. But if it hasn't changed, then please stop making claims that aren't substantiated by the evidence and proclaiming that science has somehow countermanded the traditional, confessional standards of the Christian faith regarding human sexuality and church leadership.

Clay Brown

Viola Larson said...

Clay
I would suppose you are writing to Tera when you state that there is no conclusive evidence that people are born gay. I concur with you, there isn't.

Paul Terry said...

Hi Viola, what an amazing coincidence. For the very first time in all the years of attempts to repeal "Fidelity and Chastity," I heard a similar argument at the meeting of the Presbytery of Southern New England on February 12 to the one you heard at the meeting of the Presbytery of Sacramento this past weekend. The PSNE minister member lamented that his daughter had been effectively precluded from ordination as an elder or deacon by F&C because she had lived with rather than be married to her (male) partner. Although she now is married and so eligible by the F&C standard, he said he was anticipating with eagerness the adoption of Amendment 10-A so that members who choose to not marry will no longer be denied the possibility of "serving the church and sharing their gifts" in the ordained offices of the church. And we thought all these years it was about progressives pushing to end what they consider discrimination against persons in so-called committed and monogamous same gender relationships. But with the adoption of 10-A the door apparently will be opened to unmarried heterosexual couples who are living together. So much for the covenant of marriage. So much for the Word of God. Surprise, surprise, surprise...

Viola Larson said...

Yes Paul,

Carmen Fowler of the Layman a couple of weeks ago pointed out that the MLP had in their Christmas letter advocated for those living in fornication. http://www.layman.org/News.aspx?article=28086

It is a new trend, but sounds like they are just getting braver or catering more to public opinion.

Robert said...

A truth and a concern:

1. Without a strong push by the Holy Spirit 10-A is probably going to pass.

2. If I understand the Book of Order correctly if the congregation votes for someone in a heterosexual sexual relationship outside of marriage or for a GLBT in a sexual relationship and the Session approves that person after examination I am required to ordain the person or be brought up on disciplinary charges and maybe be fired.

Fortunately my congregation would not do this.

It should make for an interesting time ahead.

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill, PA

Anonymous said...

Oh and Viola and Clay, the most recent compilation of all this overwhelming evidence I am speaking of is at this Wikepedia link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation

reformedpastor said...

Tera: What you say comes straight out of a 1960s mindset, but has no basis in Scripture. Sexual conduct is meant for a relationship in which the two people are committed for a lifetime, and the refusal to marry is an expression of the desire for an out when things get rough. Those who live together are far more likely to split up than those who are married, and those who live together and then get married are much more likely to divorce than those who didn't. Cohabitation fosters an attitude of temporariness in any relationship, which is why God forbade it.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Viola Larson said...

Tera,
You are simply proving some of my points by your advocacy for both gay marriage and as we use to call it, living in sin-that is fornication.

Viola Larson said...

Tera,
Do you remember me asking you not to start piling on comment after comment as you do on facebook. Well, you are starting to do so. Please stop.

reformedpastor said...

"Permanence is an illusion. Everything is temporary except the Eternal One we call God."

Tera: Are you being deliberately disingenuous, or simply refusing to understand what I'm saying?

If you truly believe that God does not care how we behave, that He has no moral standards to which He calls His people, or that He does not make that call, I would suggest that you have created your own Bible, snipping out the vast swath of material that your don't like, and remade God in your own image. I hate to sound harsh, but what you are advocating bears no resemblance to what Scripture teaches.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Robert said...

A Tera: wikipedia is not the best place to find information. Anyone can put up a post and anyone can change it. I suggest scientific studies in place of wikipedia.

Most recent studies suggest that sexual orientation might have some basis in the genes but there is no proof. There may be contributing factors from the environment in the womb or from early childhood, like hormonal (in the womb) or very early childhood training. The simple truth is we just don't know.

As to brain studies there were done back in the 1990s on the brains of people who had died of AIDS.

A simple "we don't know yet but the overwhelming majority of gays and lesbians do know experience sexual orientation as a choice" is really the best answer we have right now. When there is no conclusive proof it is best to say we don't know.

As for ethical choices the Christian tradition has a history of interpreting the Bible for ethical choices. Christianity is based on a divine command model of ethics. If Christianity said that ethics is up to the individual there are some rather extreme results that would say that if it's ok with the individual then that is their ethic. Murder is an example. Just because someone thinks that murder is ok, doesn't make it ok. Christianity and situational ethics don't combine well.

Kattie W. Coon said...

Bob,
Did you look at the references from the Wiki pages Tera mentioned? I think your response may be more of a knee jerk reaction rather than a true critique of the validity of her citation. Look more closely and you might want to retract a couple of the statements you made.

Kattie
Huntsville, Al

Pastor Bob said...

Oops

A simple "we don't know yet but the overwhelming majority of gays and lesbians do know experience sexual orientation as a choice" is really the best answer we have right now. When there is no conclusive proof it is best to say we don't know.

I meant to say that sexual experience is NOT a choice

Kattie W. Coon said...

Thanks for clearing that one up Bob, but I was also referring to your statement concerning brain studies. There's some pretty recent stuff there, and the Wiki reference cited is only a few years old. The moderators of Wikipedia actually do a pretty good job of policing the site and requesting citations whenever they find unsubstantiated claims. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss them, they can be easily checked.

Viola Larson said...

Kattie,

Please have your discussion with Bob some where else.

Pastor Bob said...

Kattie

I read both studies. Notice that none of the studies can say conclusively that there is one cause like the cause is solely genetic. As to environment and changes in the brain studies either one can influence the other. This line of study is in its infancy in all kinds of behavior/environment and brain structure. We do know that either can affect the other.

I had not read the more recent twin studies. Studies of fraternal twins could not produce definitive conclusions about genetics. Studies about identical twins would have to be 100% to show that genetics is the sole cause.

My best guess - and this is a shot in the dark as no one has done this type of study is that the various possible causes of behavior and sense of orientation probably have more than one cause.

I do find studies about the affect of hormonal effects in the womb to be fascinating. What I have read however has mostly been about anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.

Sorry for continuing here Viola but I did want to state that I have now read the to Wikepedia studies.

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill, PA

Viola Larson said...

Bob,
It is probably a good thing you did: )If you took the time and trouble to read all of the material you should be thanked.

Kattie W. Coon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Viola Larson said...

Kattie,
I would like Bob to have the final word on this.

tera said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Viola Larson said...

I have removed someone's remarks from this posting at their request. I apologize to those who were in conversation with her.