You knew I had to do it, right? There’s no way I could bring us to Romans chapter one without talking about one of the most controversial subjects today, namely homosexuality. If there’s another subject that I need to approach more carefully, I don’t know about it. I also submit that there's absolutely no subject in the public discourse in which Christians who take their Bibles seriously are more “out of step” with the zeitgeist. If you even hint that there’s anything wrong with the homosexual lifestyle, you’re a bigot (on the same level as a Klansman), you hate gays, and you’d kill every gay person in the world if you only had the opportunity.
So Keith, if you’re going to talk about homosexuality, why’d you pick today’s passage? Why not the story of Sodom and Gomorrah? Why not the passage from yesterday? Why not another list of vices from Paul or another writer?
Because I don’t think those passages are the places to start, because they don’t get to the heart of the debate today. On one side you have just about everyone saying that there's absolutely nothing wrong with the homosexual lifestyle. They claim that homosexuality is completely determined by genetics, that you’re “born” gay. Somehow it’s just taken as a given that someone’s DNA will determine for all time the type of people they’re attracted to.
On the other side are those who deny this, supposedly for biblical reasons. They deny that anyone is “born” gay; instead, they point to environmental factors or personal choices that the person made early in life.
I’m going to propose something here which'll definitely anger those on the pro-gay side, and it might anger those who agree with me that homosexual behavior is sinful. Here we go. Are you ready for this? I don’t know why any one person is attracted to people of the same sex. I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t care.
If it was proven--beyond a shadow of a doubt—that the only reason why people are attracted to the same sex is because of genetics, not because of any other factor, that wouldn't change my theology at all. To the contrary, it would fit right in and even possibly help to confirm it.
You’ve heard from me--and from several other quarters--the term sinful nature, right? What does that mean? It’s the doctrine that somehow we’ve inherited from Adam the propensity to sin. Despite what you’ve heard elsewhere, man’s nature is not naturally good, nor is it neutral. God, who knows the human heart inside and out, had this verdict about humanity right before the Noahic flood: “[He] saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” And there’s nothing to indicate from Scripture that human nature is any different from that time.
This doesn’t mean that people are incapable of any good at all. It means that sin has infected every aspect of human existence: Our minds, our emotions, our desires, our physical bodies, etc. There's no institution that isn’t affected by sin: Governments, churches, families, businesses, commerce, etc.
Now, how did this come about? How exactly did Adam pass down this propensity to sin down to us? Well, the Bible never says. All it says is that 1) Adam sinned, and because of this, 2) sin "entered the world," and 3) it unequivocally says that sin is universal among humanity (with one lone exception). So somehow we must've gotten this propensity to sin from him, otherwise there's no way to explain all 3 points.
Does this mean it comes through our genes? I’m not comfortable saying that, but what else do I get from Adam?
“So Keith, I’m still waiting for how this relates to homosexuality.” I’ve already gone long on this, so we’ll continue it tomorrow.
Father God, we were in a pretty big mess, weren’t we? A mess we put ourselves into. But before we even fell, the Lamb was—in your plan—already slain. You reached out to us, and oh, how it cost you!
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