Daily Devotional 10-14-17

FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 16, number 41, October 12, 2017

“You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a female; it is an abomination, Leviticus 18:22. . . If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” -Leviticus 20:13

Just Raising the Question

The Lord Jesus, writing to the church at Ephesus which had left its first love, says this, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen,” (Revelation 2:5).

Well, just how far have we fallen from the Biblical injunctions on homosexuality? The acceptance of homosexuality, transgenderism, and same sex attraction has become pretty mainline in Evangelical and Reformed churches today. In a Sociology of Religion article[1] Jeremy Thomas has observed in the magazine Christianity Today a shift toward a liberalization of evangelical elites’ positions and attitudes on public policy debates related to homosexuality. Nelson argues that this shift is because of a change in the moral authority to which evangelical elites have been appealing when making arguments about homosexuality. In other words, evangelicals are looking somewhere else besides the Bible for their authority.

Thankfully the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood recently issued the “Nashville Statement,” affirming the Biblical position on sexuality with fourteen affirmations and denials.

Article 1 on the topic of marriage says:

We affirm that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.

We deny that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human construct rather than a covenant made before God.[2]

Article 5 on the issue of transgenderism says:

We affirm that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male and female.

We deny that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male and female.

The opposition to the Nashville Statement has been swift and condemnatory. Eliel Cruz (who in this article refers to himself as a Queer Christian) writes, “. . . the statement sent a particularly dangerous message to the approximately half of the L.G.B.T. people, who according to the Pew Research Center identify as Christians: ‘You don’t belong in our religion. And anyone who so much as accepts you isn’t Christian either.'”[3]

How far have we fallen? Consider that the preamble to Connecticut’s Laws of 1672 explicitly states that the Law of God, written in the Bible, is to be the law of the land. Capital offenses included treason, murder, witchcraft, arson, sodomy, rape, bestiality, and adultery. The Massachusetts Bay Colony made sodomy a capital crime, citing word for word Leviticus 20:13.[4] Thomas Jefferson in 1776 thought capital punishment was a bit over the top so he recommended the penalty for homosexuality be reduced to castration.

Homosexuals are right to point out the hypocrisy of evangelicals who decry and denounce homosexuality and same-sex marriage but regularly engage in fornication, adultery, pornography, and rampant divorce. While it is true the Bible speaks of homosexuality as an abomination and does not give adultery and fornication the same degree of condemnation, it does state that such are capital crimes. “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10).

The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and later all the colonies, agreed that the Bible was to serve as the Law of the land. The Puritans were God-fearing people. Meaning they feared what God would do to their covenant community if they tolerated homosexuality. We know of at least five men (two in Connecticut, two in New York, and one in Virginia) who were executed in the 1600’s for engaging in same-sex sodomy.

Believing that capital punishment, mandated by God serves as a deterrent in any society, I cannot help but raise the question-if the United States had maintained the Biblical requirement to execute those guilty of sodomy and adultery, would things be different today? Would we have rampant divorce, poverty, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, and the general breakdown of the family and culture?

While it is certainly true that only the gospel can transform a family or culture, and that the grace of God can and does deliver people from sexual bondage; it is also true that the purpose of the law is to restrain evil.

We, of course, are so far gone in our culture that to even suggest our nation return to the Bible as our authority on everything is met with laughter, derision, contempt, and perhaps even fear.

However, if God chose to bestow His mercy in regenerating grace to millions of people, perhaps there could be a return to the Bible as our authority. It surely happened in Geneva with John Calvin. That was a revival culture. I see no hope at all in the western world without another revival and return to Biblical law.
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1. Sociology of Religion, Volume 73, Issue 3, September 1, 2012, pages 239-272
2. Nashville Statement Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
3. The Nashville Statement Is an Attack on L.G.B.T. Christians, New York Times, September 1, 2017.
4. Homosexuals and the Death Penalty in Colonial America, Louis Compton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1976

Al Baker is an Evangelistic Revival Preacher with Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship.