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Why Contend?

Seven sins of sodomy

By Bradley C. Knepp,
Pastor, Mt. Holly Springs UM Church,
Mt. Holly Springs, PA

One or two have asked me why I might devote any time at all to contending against the acceptance of homosexuality when there are so many other things to do with our time. It is a good question and deserves an honest answer. I have never preached a whole sermon on the topic of homosexuality, nor have I felt the need to devote time to the subject in any substantive way in any local church I have served. Most of the people with whom I have worked agree that we are to love the sinner and hate the sin. 

However, in a discussion with some clergy colleagues, the question was once asked, "Why do we even bother with homosexuality – it’s only a physical thing … What’s the big deal with that?" I realize such unquestioning shallow views are not common among clergy, and yet the moral Law of God is dismissed easily by a growing number in our society and Church.

When a society accepts homosexuality as normal, that society is no longer under the protective rule of God, but has moved past concupiscence and into reprobation. The decline and demise of such a society is immanent, though not necessarily immediate, e.g. ancient Rome. The culture-laden Church which embraces homosexuality as normal, likewise will suffer the inevitable consequences of reprobation. The renowned biblical scholar Wolfhart Pannenberg stated in his much celebrated 1996 essay on this topic:

"Here lies the boundary of a Christian church that knows itself to be bound by the authority of Scripture. Those who urge the church to change the norm of its teaching on this matter must know that they are promoting schism. If a church were to let itself be pushed to the point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm, and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture. A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church."

The practice of homosexuality, or sodomy, is sin of the mortal order for it violates every moral Law of God. It is far more than "a physical thing." Specifically, here is why I contend:

  1. Sodomy is sin against creation. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Male and female God created us – for our benefit and blessing, so that His highest purposes for the human race might be firmly incorporated. Sodomy robs God of His act of creating us by gender.

  2. Sodomy is sin against life, the Holy Spirit. Sodomy denies life the chance God intended it to have. God breathed into the man the breath of life and man became a living soul. To reject the Creator’s moral boundaries is to be cut off from the life He intended us to welcome. I believe the breath of Christian life is the Holy Spirit. If the Church welcomes sodomy, the Church cuts off the breath of life from God, the Holy Spirit.

  3. Sodomy is sin against family and children. God instituted the family in the Garden of Eden and God’s first command to the man and the woman was, "Be fruitful and multiply." Today homosexual couples are wriggling around their inability to reproduce by paying gays of the opposite sex to bear children for them. This is not only a repudiation of God’s plan for the family, it is also an affirmation of the human need for family even among sodomites.

  4. Sodomy is sin against parents. If our parents were sodomites, we would not be here! Sodomites violate the fifth commandment by rebelling openly against the way of life presented to them by practicing heterosexual parents.

  5. Sodomy is sin against the body. Data consistently show the average life-span of practicing homosexuals is about 42. If they have AIDS, it is closer to 39. This is a sign sodomy results in the early destruction of the body.  (The data come from the AIDS research groups who advocate for funding from the US government.)

  6. Sodomy is sin against God, the Son. Jesus died and rose from the dead to set men and women free from sin. To accept sodomy in the Church, we would have to keep Jesus’ dead body in the tomb – for we would be admitting Jesus has no resurrection power to transform behavior.

  7. Sodomy is sin against God, the Father. For all these noted reasons, sodomy is sin against God, our Father, who made us in His image. God’s image does not reflect sodomy, neither should His Church sanction sodomy by blessing sodomite marriage.

A newly appointed district superintendent in our Central PA Conference recently shared with me that a friend of his was born without an arm and God has never used His power to put an arm on his friend. Untenable arguments like this are used to try to convince us that "since homosexuals cannot change the way they were born, we should consider blessing their homosexual marriages." In response, we must have compassion on any person who is homosexual no matter how they say they came to be gay. I have compassion for them because they, no more than I, struggle with sin and sin nature. I stand equal with them in our need for the great mercy of Christ. If a homosexual speaks of being born gay, God says we were all born into sin (Psalm 51), that sin desires us, but we must "master it" (Gen. 4:7). Sin nature is not learned through bad experiences on the school yard; sin nature coexists with us full-blown when we come into the world. And sin has not evolved to the degradation we see today; the first man born, Cain, murdered his own brother in cold blood. My colleague's argument is untenable because physical deformity is not a personal moral choice nor therefore can it be moral (or immoral) behavior. God has no rule against physical deformity; however, God is very clear in forbidding sodomy and the violation of His moral Law. Though physical deformities and immoral behaviors can both be traced to original sin nature, only immoral behaviors can be owned as personal sin. The difference between physical deformities and immoral behaviors is that one is not work for the will of man and Spirit of God, the other is. The transforming power of Jesus Christ – issuing through man’s spirit, mind, will, and emotions – is the only power capable of helping anyone successfully "master" any immoral behavior. God will not command us to overcome what He will not also enable us to overcome. There are many homosexuals waiting for you and me to help them overcome with the life power and ministry of Jesus, which is why we all must contend.

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