Saturday, August 22, 2009

8/22- Homosexuality and the church

(Steeple of Central Lutheran- across from Convention Center where ELCA was meeting)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Calvin: The writer brings, as the first example of the judgment of God, the dreadful crime of unnatural lust; and it hence appears that they not only abandoned themselves to beastly lusts, but became degraded beyond the beasts, since they reversed the whole order of nature. He then enumerates a long catalogue of vices which had existed in all ages, and then prevailed everywhere without any restraint. It is not to the purpose to say, that every one was not laden with so great a mass of vices; for in arraigning the common baseness of men, it is proof enough if all to a man are constrained to acknowledge some faults. So then we must consider, that Paul here records those abominations which had been common in all ages, and were at that time especially prevalent everywhere; for it is marvelous how common then was that filthiness which even brute beasts abhor; and some of these vices were even popular. And he recites a catalogue of vices, in some of which the whole race of man were involved; for though all were not murderers, or thieves, or adulterers, yet there were none who were not found polluted by some vice or another. He calls those disgraceful passions, which are shameful even in the estimation of men, and redound to the dishonoring of God.

Thoughts: There is no controversy that John Calvin vehemently disapproved of the act of homosexuality. He was not consumed with its disapproval- and it was not a controversial issue in his culture (as it is ours). Yet he used strong words- seeing the homosexual act as unnatural passion and a forsaking of God's Word and glory.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA- joining the UCC and the Episcopal Church) in which I have many friends, has voted to ordain openly, unrepentant gay and lesbians as clergy. My guess is that this is an effort to be relevant, but such relevance to the world becomes irrelevance to God and makes the Word of God and the church that much less important.
What no one saw in The State paper today is what happened at the assembly. It was day in which they were to bring up the issue, there was no severe weather predicted. But a tornado descended on the church across from the convention center, tore up the tents around the convention center, split the steeple of the Lutheran Church in which worship services were held, and left the cross dangling- then went back up into the sky as quickly as it descended. I guess many just refused to see this as any sign from the Lord of his displeasure. Many feel today God can’t do anything good or evil. The book of Revelation talks over and over again about God sending terrible events and people still refusing to repent. Repentance is really the issue here. Is homosexuality a sin according to the Bible? If it is, then it should not be openly professed before ordination. If someone openly professes a sin- professes no desire to repent or turn away from it- and is not only allowed to remain in the church but is given the highest office in the church, then the church’s idea of right or wrong has just lost all relevance. Honestly, if a church can say homosexuality is right, even though the Bible clearly says in both Old and New Testaments it is wrong (Lev. 18:22; story of Sodom and Gomorrah, passages above and others), who cares what the church says? What moral authority can the church give? See this blog for a fuller story:

Prayer: Lord, give us ears to hear your Word, and your voice speaking in providence. Help us to always submit our lives, our way of thinking to you, and not turning to our own way.

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