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CBN.com There's an old yarn they spin out on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, about Jedidy and the devil. Jeremiah Snaggs, known everywhere as "Jedidy," was not known to be a God-fearing man in any sense of the word. So when he died, it was only natural that the devil should come to fetch him. But Jedidy had other plans and led his pursuer on a wild chase down the Cape, until the devil finally caught up with him in Provincetown. Finally admitting defeat, Jedidy asked the devil where the two of them would be going from there.
"We ain't goin' nowhar'," answered the devil. "Ain't this Provincetown?"
Provincetown has quite a history, naturally and spiritually. It is here the Pilgrims in 1620, aboard the Mayflower and under the direction of William Bradford, signed the Mayflower Compact. This was a people who were following God and, in His name, covenanted to form a colony in submission to Him and each other for their common good. It was the first foundation of direct popular government in America. Over the years, "P'town" developed and grew. It's commercial substance came from the sea, and thus evolved a fishing village that gave the town stability. Then came the poets, painters, and playwrights. One of the more outstanding playwrights that found inspiration in Provincetown, for the then lagging theatre world, was the promising and moody young Eugene O'Neil.
Well, it's come a long way, baby! And I'm not so sure the trip has been worthwhile...for out of this cradle of America's history, P'town's claim to fame now includes in it's heritage one of the most "out of the closet" homosexual public communities in the USA.
A number of years ago a group of people from the church community I was a part of in upstate New York traveled to P'town with a two-fold purpose: (1) to build up and strengthen a small group of Christians that reside there, and (2) to share our lives with those who did not know the message and good news of Jesus Christ. Now, I want you to know, before I get into all of this, that I am not a prude. I've been around, but the scene that faced us when we arrived in Provincetown was a bit disconcerting. It seemed as if Jedidy and the devil was more than just a story.
Men walked hand in hand through the streets; a poster advertised a midnight dance cruise, but it was exclusive gays only! One blonde woman, comparatively well-endowed, attracted quite a bit of attention as she "cruised" the streets. "She" turned out to be a "he." At one point, it was almost refreshing to see a young man and woman kissing each other affectionately on a street corner, until the couple turned out to be two women.
All of this is simply a microcosm of something that is evolving on a much larger scale as it wends its way into "Ourtown, USA." Homosexuals are no longer confined primarily to the arts as they were once thought to be. They now include doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, architects, businessmen, and ministers. In fact, various segments of the church are claiming that the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality was simply cultural and not a divinely inspired statement of God.
Over the years, CBN has received quite a number of letters from homosexuals who categorically believe that homosexuality and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are totally compatible. The following letters give good personal examples of the mentality that fosters this kind of thinking:
I heard your spiel on homosexuality one night on the air. I would like to say that if you take the Bible, Old and New Testament, you will find that homosexuals are no different from any other person. I recognize that there are places in the Old Testament where it says that homosexuality will reap the penalty of death. But that was the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Jesus brought two commandments to the earth: (1) "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul," and (2) "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you." Jesus wanted us to follow these two laws and then we would fulfill the Ten Commandments as well. Nowhere in the Ten Commandments does it say, "You shall not love someone who is of your own sex."
I am a Christian and a homosexual. I love another woman. Sex is a basic biological need. Very few people can live a normal life without engaging in physical contact with someone else of the human race. I am able to feel emotionally in love with my girlfriend and also enjoy the expressions of love that a man and a woman do, with the exception of bearing children. I feel that God led me to this woman that I love, who is also a Christian. If I were to marry a man, merely because of an Old Testament phrase, I would ruin his life and mine.
If you examine the phrases in the Bible that condemn homosexuality, you will find that they were referring to sexual orgies. They do not mean that a person who falls in love with someone of their own sex will be punished by death or burn in hell.
I would like to refer you to Luke 17:34-36: "There shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken and the other shall be left." I believe "two men in one bed, one shall be taken and the other left" means that a homosexual will be in the kingdom of God as well as any other person who accepts the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord and abides in Him as best he can.
You are making homosexuals feel doomed, and you are absolutely wrong in doing so.
And then there was this:
I saw you on television for the first time last night. I was ready to offer praise and prayer support for such a great and well-needed ministry, until -- myself, personally -- and about six percent of the world's population were deeply insulted. When were you given the power to judge other people?
Homosexuals can love Christ and be redeemed by His love and grace (blood), which was shed for all, as well as anyone else. We are not "strange" and perverted; we are not animals or something from the dark middle ages -- we are people just like you! Tell me, do you slander the black people, the prostitute -- or just the homosexual?
Please love all God's people the same.
In answering these letters, hopefully I can establish a criterion that will bring clarity to a subject that has become blurred in evolving cultural standards. To do this I will have to revert to the authority of Scripture, which states, "All Scripture is inspired (God breathed) by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living" (2 Timothy 3:16). If you don't accept the validity and authority of Scripture, what I say from this point on will have no relevance.
In several places in the Old Testament homosexuality is specifically dealt with: "No man or woman is to have sexual relations with another man or woman; God hates that. It is detestable" (Leviticus 18:22).
I realize that homosexuality is not just an emotional relationship, or even "going to bed" with another individual of the same sex, but more times than not, genital expression is present. The Scripture our letter writer quoted, "two men in one bed," does not condone homosexuality. Sharing a bed with someone of the same sex does not make one a homosexual; sexually sharing their bodies does. I don't want to split hairs on how many times it takes for one to become a practicing homosexual in contrast to participating in a one time act, however:
"If a man has sexual relations with another man, they have both done a disgusting thing, and both shall be put to death"(Leviticus 20.13).
Of course, we realize that under the covenant of the New Testament those who commit sin are no longer put to death by the hand of man, but certainly sin, not repented of, ultimately brings the same result: death. "For sin pays its wage --death" (Romans 6:23).
The writer of the second letter claims that homosexuals can love Christ and be redeemed by His love and blood. It is true that a homosexual can be redeemed by the Lord; however, he or she cannot deceive themselves and think that they can go on practicing homosexuality once a personal commitment to Jesus has been made. That would be analogous to a liar continuing to lie and a thief continuing to steal.
"Don't fool yourselves; people who are immoral, or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts, or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves, none of these will possess God's Kingdom" (1 Corinthians 6:9).
Lest I am accused of discrimination, notice that it is not only homosexuals who are under judgment. I wonder how long it will be before we have a demand for equal rights for drunks? A greed demonstration? A slander protest? And a parade for thieves?
Jesus Christ's blood was not a free ticket for people to be able to continue in their sin. An individual involved in immorality must cease from it. Repentance, turning around and going the other way, is a decision that is made before God that changes one's mind, and as a result one's actions and deeds.
The statement that sex is a basic biological need is true, but again according to the Scriptures, this need is fulfilled only in the context of marriage.
The argument that the homosexual is just another minority group is not plausible. The plight of homosexuals cannot be equated with that of a minority group, such as blacks. While the black man (or African-American, or Scottish-American) is what he is by birth and is not under any judgment of God because of his ethnic lineage, the homosexual is living in direct disobedience to God. The contention that is made by many homosexuals, "I was born this way," is not supported by genetic and biological studies. While some say that one can be born a homosexual, the Bible indicates that an individual has a free choice and chooses to be a practicing homosexual. As it says in Genesis, "God made them male and female"-- not homosexual.
Finally, one of the letter inquirers wrote with an awareness that homosexuals are cursed in the Old Testament, then added: "But that's the old law ...". However, in any translation you like, read Romans 1:24,26-27 in the New Testament:
Refusing to know God, they soon didn't know how to be human either: women didn't know how to be women; men didn't know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men, all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it, emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches (Peterson translation).
1 Timothy 1.10 says that homosexuals are placed in league with "sexual perverts, kidnappers or liars."
However, even with all this, there will be no stoning of homosexuals (or liars, or drunks for that matter) at sunrise. If men and women are in bondage to the sin of homosexuality, we must see the individual beyond his transgression. Or as a song of a number of years ago put it: "He looked beyond my fault and saw my need."
I became acutely aware of this a number of years ago as I sat across the table from a man who had come to me for counseling. He trembled as he spoke, each word a painful effort.
My name is Frank and I'm a business man. I have been married for twelve years and am greatly blessed with a wonderful wife and three children that most men would be grateful for.
He paused, breathed deeply, and then went on.
Six years ago, my wife and I both committed our lives to Jesus Christ and we have been desirous of growing in our faith. But I am a homosexual! And I am still practicing it. I have lived with the secret of this for years, not being able to share it with anyone. The horror of being found out haunts me. The thought of my wife and children...of friends...oh, my God!
The cry to God was literal. He looked at me through the tears that were flowing from his eyes.
You'll never know the loneliness. I am living a lie. I can't tell my wife, and I can't tell my lovers about my family. This is the first time I have been able to tell anyone.
He was probably right. Perhaps I never would know, but I had seen and talked to other men and women in a similar plight before -- the man who was first led into homosexuality by his minister, the two women who believed their homosexual relationship was pure and from God, and now this man.
My first instinct was to verbally "stone" this man with all the Scriptures I knew about God's hatred of homosexuality. But then my thoughts turned to the incident in the Bible about Jesus dealing with the woman caught in adultery. The woman was discovered in the very act by the religious leaders no less. The penalty demanded, according to the law of Moses, was death, and they wanted to know what Jesus had to say about it. What he said wasn't exactly what they expected: "Let the one among you who has never sinned throw the first stone at her." They all dropped their rocks and went home. (Read John 8:1-12.)
Now as I sat in front of this man, my thoughts went to those people who the Bible says won't have a share in the Kingdom of God: "the immoral, those who worship idols, or is unfaithful in marriage or is a pervert or behaves like a homosexual. Nor will any thief or greedy person or drunkard or anyone who curses and cheats others" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
"Quite a group," I mused to myself. And it was at this point I thought I heard that voice deep down inside say to me, "Weren't you guilty of doing many of those things in your life?"
"Yes, Lord," I replied.
"Didn't I forgive you when you asked truthfully?"
"Then why aren't you treating the man before you the way I treated you? Why do you try to grade sin? Sin is sin, and when an individual turns from that sin and asks forgiveness, I forgive him. Why do you require any more of this man than I do?
I dropped my rock.
My thoughts returned to Frank sitting across the table from me. I could see the plaintive look of a man who didn't just need Bible verses thrown at him, but rather this man needed the same compassion and understanding that Jesus demonstrated to the woman caught in adultery.
"Frank," I said, leaning over and handing him my handkerchief, "do you believe that Jesus Christ is bigger than your homosexuality and all the other related problems in your life? Do you believe He can help you sort all this out and even remove the illicit desires in your life if you let Him?
"Yes, I guess so. I would like to believe that."
"Well, Frank, the issue you have to prayerfully grapple with is this: Do you believe homosexuality is a sin against God, your wife, and your family? Be truthful."
Frank winced. I could see the struggle that was going on within him, as he reflected on his life journey.
"I was born this way. I had an unhappy childhood, a weak father and a domineering mother, and a lack of understanding and love from parents and friends -- emotional distancing. I underwent psychiatric counsel, which didn't take away the desire, but at least it buried it for awhile. Then, finally, I met a man who really did appear to understand."
Although truthful to some degree, all these things simply become self-justification for that which God defined in one word -- sin.
If we claim that we haven't sinned, we are only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins -- make a clean break of them -- He won't let us down; He'll be true to Himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us from all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out and out contradict God, make a liar out of Him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God (1 John 1:8-9).
Frank looked up at me. "That's difficult for me," he said. "But I can see it's a choice. God's either a liar, or I am." I waited and prayed quietly, watching the man as he wrestled it out in his mind. I knew it was literally a life and death issue for him.
"Sin, sin!" Frank exclaimed. "It sounds like such an antiquated word. And then it's hard to admit that that is what I have been doing. But then looking around at my life, I have to admit the fallout has been terrible." I waited as Frank seemed to be arguing with his inner self, examining each word as he spoke.
"Scott, if I do take this step, I can't do it alone. I know I'll need help when the temptations come."
"Frank, you make a commitment to the Lord, and I will too, and we'll walk this out together."
For the first time I saw a glimmer of hope in his eyes -- the possibility that there was a way of escape from the darkness of his life.
Frank looked me straight in the eyes and began to speak, but he wasn't talking to me. "OK, Jesus, help me. I am taking a leap in asking for this, but help me. I am just beginning to see that I am obviously not living the way I should be. It's destructive. I am asking you to show me that homosexuality is wrong and is...sin. Forgive me. But my God, help me not to lose my family!" The tears started again.
I leaned over and grabbed Frank's hand, on the verge of tears myself. Still looking at Frank, I said, "Lord, help me stand with Frank. Help me be a friend to him. Help me represent You in this. And Lord, help me love him, the way You love him, without any perversion of the purity of your love."
It was the first step in the journey. Over the next few months Frank and I have both stuck to our commitment to the Lord and each other. With two exceptions: Frank fell back into his former lifestyle once, and I got mad and tried to get out of the commitment to stand with him. However, we both asked forgiveness of God and each other and moved on.
There have been battles and temptations since, but Frank isn't alone in it anymore. We are standing and walking it out together. The two of us and Jesus making it three. And just as Jesus said to the adulterous woman, "Go and sin no more," Frank hasn't, and God is making him into a man after His own heart.
Scott Ross welcomes your feedback.
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