A Conversation with Emily Thomes

A Conversation with Emily Thomes

Today, I’m publishing an interview with Emily Thomes (@Emilysatt19), a young Christian lady who once identified as a homosexual.  I initially met Emily at a recent G3 Conference, and since then she has been actively speaking out about her former sin struggles and her new life as a Christian.  Since her conversion and over the past year, Emily has become Mrs. Benjamin Thomes.


Hi Emily.  Thank you for joining me for this conversation.  We first met at the 2016 G3 Conference. Since then, you’ve had a busy year. You’ve recently married your husband Benjamin Thomes and you’ve written some articles (see: “Girl in the Picture“) that have become rather controversial. In this interview, I’d like to talk through your conversion to Christianity and your views regarding marriage, headship, and the sin of homosexuality.

In recent days, you have spoken out about your life before you were converted by Christ. Can you briefly walk us through what that looked like?

Sure thing. I grew up in a relatively moral home and family. I attended church occasionally and even church camp some during the summertime. I made a profession of faith and was baptized pretty early in life. While believing I was saved, fully trusting in that sinner’s prayer and the water, I grew into being a really rebellious individual. Before graduating high school, I was smoking weed regularly, drinking, and sleeping with girls. In my young adult life before coming to know the Lord, I’d slowed down slightly. I was working full time so I wasn’t able to really party as often but was still smoking marijuana daily and was still dating and sleeping with various women. That was my life up until the day I was born again.

As you well know, our nation has recently faced a decision to legalize same-sex marriage. What do you think about this decision?

It breaks my heart. I know how easy it is for our own flesh and heart to deceive us and provide us comfort and assurance in sin. It makes it all the more easy when the world around us not only affirms but encourages our sin, too. When I first realized I was attracted to girls as a child, I kept it to myself for years because it wasn’t accepted like it is today. I can’t imagine growing up with same-sex marriage being legal and celebrated. I’ve got a few friends that are now legally married to their partners, and it’s even harder to try and point them to truth. With it legalized, the message I’m attempting to share daily is even more ridiculous.

It’s becoming increasingly popular to hear people toss around the category of “gay Christian.” Is it possible to be a gay Christian?

I hear that expression far too often. It’s really important to be clear with our terms when discussing things like this, and it’s why I try and use phrases like “practicing homosexuality” and “same sex attracted” in order to maintain clarity because “gay” means different things to different crowds. It is absolutely possible for one to be battling same sex attraction as a believer. I’m in that camp currently. Even as believers, our flesh will always pull us towards various types of sins. Now, can one practice homosexuality unrepentantly, meaning without contrition, conviction, and without a daily desire and attempt to abstain, and be a Christian? No. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 makes that very clear, regarding homosexuality specifically. In a general sense, we see throughout the epistles and the gospels that those who are saved don’t continue in unrepentant sin and that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. Though our flesh desires sin, believers will deny themselves and follow Jesus instead. We won’t make any provision for the flesh and we will flee sexual immorality rather than leap into it. This isn’t to say that believers won’t ever fall into sin. Undoubtedly they will; it’s why we so eagerly await the glorification and removal of these bodies of death we currently carry around. When believers stray, the Lord convicts and disciplines those whom He loves and they will repent and be restored or else they were not of us.

As a former homosexual, what advice would you provide to the church today (in general) regarding methods and strategies of reaching people with the gospel?

We’re called to love God and love our neighbors. In order to do both of those, we must be reaching out to those that are lost in order to bring them into the fold. We’re all sovereignly placed in our communities and workplaces and families in order that we be ambassadors for Christ in those roles. Charles Spurgeon said that every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter; that’s because those who are regenerate have a burden to see the lost saved. In our congregations, we ought to be being equipped and exhorted to be faithful witnesses when we’re outside of the assembly. It’s crucial that we be uncompromising but also gracious and humble in our evangelism. We’re to be Jesus to those who are still in darkness and that cannot exclude truth or love.

Would you encourage churches to develop homosexual support groups that reach out to those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality and seek to provide support for former homosexuals within the church?

Hmm. That’s a good question. My initial instinct is to say “No” though I’d be open to persuasion. It’s not been of much benefit for me to discuss, regularly anyway, my battle with same sex attraction with those who battle it also. It’s actually been most helpful for me to discuss the differing struggles that myself and others face in order to see that though the specific sin struggle varies, the human condition does not. It’s also helped others to better understand homosexuality and see it through the lens of scripture and as another sin that one can fall into rather than something completely foreign. Too much of an emphasis on same sex attraction, in my experience, can nearly glorify the sin and make the struggler feel like more of an alien than what comes with it anyway. It’s also an easy way to continue holding on to the identity that’s rooted in sin rather than in Christ for those that are prone to that type of thing.

What advice would you provide for people who are dealing with sexual identity problems and are thinking about pursuing a homosexual lifestyle?

I would say that if someone is seriously considering entering into an unrepentant state, they need to be questioning if they do in fact belong to the Lord or if they’re actually already unrepentant. It’s very normal, because of the fall, for believers to think on sin and to wrestle with the thoughts that can entice us, but deliberately choosing to walk in and remain in rebellion to God is a very serious matter and is not the fruit of a regenerate person. Experiencing an inclination towards sin proves you’re human; it doesn’t give one a license to sin and the believer won’t take it as one.

Other than the Bible, what resource (book, article, or sermon) has helped you think biblically about the homosexual agenda in our nation?

Rosaria Butterfield has probably been my greatest influence regarding understanding sexuality and identity thus far. Her books, articles, and videos have been very helpful to me personally. I’ve actually recently been hearing and reading Kevin DeYoung regarding homosexuality and our culture, and he articulates it wonderfully. Listening to Al Mohler on The Briefing daily has also been instrumental in helping me to understanding the sexual revolution and how our world is moving forward into it in both blatant and more subtle ways.

How prevalent is pornography in the homosexual community and what would be your advice for people who find themselves trapped by the pornography industry?

I can only answer this one from my own experience in my life and that of those whom I’ve spoken with in the LGBT. From what I can discern, porn is unfortunately rampant across all groups of people presently. I used to watch it and knew many others that did also. I also know that it, like heterosexual porn, is available in ridiculous quantities. For those struggling with porn, like those battling any sin, it’s important not to elevate or diminish it. Yes, it is a deplorable sin that God will not overlook. He’s either dealt with it at the cross or will do so in eternity. But no, it is not a sin or a sin struggle that the Lord cannot enable the believer to overcome and even use it for His glory and the good of the user. Accountability with this sin is a huge benefit to the one wrestling it whether that be believing friends, Covenant Eyes, a browser that filters through explicit content, or all of the above. As with all sin, the fight is real and though we will fall, He will sustain and keep His people to the end.

Often times you hear people who are former alcoholics consistently referring to themselves as former alcoholics as their mark or identity. Is it helpful to consider yourself a former homosexual as your true identity in life?

I can see no reason that one would label themselves by any sin struggle, past or present. If I’m speaking to someone about sin and specific struggles, I’ll be open about my battle with same sex attraction, but I’m not going to use it as a modifier for my place in Christ. Biblically, in Corinthians specifically, we see that Paul while carried along by the Holy Spirit said “As were some of you” regarding those who were practicing homosexuality. He also tells us that we’re new creations in Christ, that the old has passed away, etc. Part of growth and sanctification is that we’re no longer fixating on our sin but on the finished work of Christ. We will see our shortcomings daily and everyday, we’ll look to Jesus instead of ourselves. We’ll fight and mourn our flesh but cling tightly to the promises of God and put off the old self in exchange for the new one.

If you could speak to all evangelical preachers, what advice would you give to them regarding their preaching ministry and the need to reach out to people struggling with sexual identity and the sin of homosexuality?

It sounds simple but I’d encourage pastors to holdfast to a biblical worldview when dealing with the sin of homosexuality from the pulpit and personally with those who are battling it. Faithful pastors will discuss homosexuality in the same way that they discuss sexual immorality among heterosexual couples. They won’t cower back from it, but they won’t elevate it to being so heinous and unknown that those who are in it are beyond the hand of God should He draw them. In the same way that pastors and those they’re shepherding should reach out to the lost battling alcoholism or pride, we must attempt to reconcile those practicing homosexuality to Christ knowing He gives the growth if He chooses to. Remembering that if not for the grace of God we would all be practicing every single kind of wickedness ought to drive us to push past our discomfort and into loving our neighbors with truth. As bothered as we are by the sins we don’t understand, the sins that we coddle are far more grotesque to God, yet He loves us still.

If you could talk to law makers and politicians, what advice would you give to them as they continue to embrace and further the homosexual agenda in our nation?

I would proclaim the gospel to them firstly and explain that like all those who have yet to be born again, they stand in rebellion to a holy God who will not overlook their sin. I’d plead with them to reason within themselves concerning creation, the clearly intended design, given our anatomy if nothing else, and the unignorable Creator who will hold all of humanity accountable for every word and deed.

Apart from the Lord opening their eyes to see His glory though, they’re unlikely to view the “homosexual agenda” as a bad thing. Without a biblical worldview, this is another civil rights matter and we would truly be on the wrong side of history. I remember believing that in standing up for the LGBT I was standing for the underdogs, and I saw that as noble. Apart from the God of the Bible and a right understanding of sin and sexuality, telling people that their desires are wrong and that they must stop doing them, especially because they don’t cause physical harm to another person, would make us actually bigoted. Remembering the ideals I held for so long allow me to pity those who are under this strong delusion rather than to be angry with them. Their hearts are darkened. They truly do believe that sexual orientation is as much of one’s personhood as race or gender and unless He grants them sight for spiritual matters, they’ll continue in that understanding. I pray for those who are blinded by all sin but this sin in particular because so many believers view them, and not the spirit that leads them, as the enemies. May we look at those propagating the homosexual agenda as broken, fallen people who are in need of a Savior and are attempting to find peace and happiness apart from Him like we all once were.

Is submission to Christ and submission to your husband (the idea of complementarianism) belittling or oppressive to women?

Submission to one’s husband is God’s design for wives as it’s His design for husbands to love their wives like Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her. Scripture makes it very clear that wives are coheirs with their husband of His grace and that both bear His image and are therefore equal in value and in worth. Contrary to my previously held ideals and those held by so many today, gender has significance. Gender is assigned by God and the roles prescribed to each are as well. As the Creator, God knows how His creations best function and has lovingly provided a system for us in which we can best operate (and be sanctified if you’re like me and meekness doesn’t come at all natural to you) and model His gospel to the world. Like Jesus to His Father, wives are to humbly submit in all things to their husbands. Like Christ to His bride, the church, husbands are to sacrificially love, pursue, and nourish their wives. Before becoming a believer, complementarianism was preposterous. I didn’t understand that it wasn’t because I lacked worth but was instead because I had worth that God intended me as a helpmate to a husband who was to love and provide for me. I feel not belittled but made much of understanding that I’ve been given protection, security, and unconditional love from both the Lord who saved me and the husband He ordained for me.

The Determining Factor of Love

The Determining Factor of Love

Unless you’ve been in a dark hole in recent days, you have witnessed a moral and sexual revolution sweep across the United States of America.  This revolution has married together popular opinion and the legislative powers of our land.  When this issue was in the heat of the debate and even now in the wake of the Supreme Court decision, the proponents of same-sex marriage often appeal to love as the determining factor for their decision.  They ask opponents to the same-sex marriage decision questions like, “How could a good God deny my right to love?”  They often go beyond that to make statements like, “I know it’s right, because I love my partner and my partner loves me.  It feels right.”

As we think about love, we often approach it from the wrong direction.  I once heard a man make the statement that the most prostituted word in the English language is love.  Anytime we have a conversation regarding a term or a theme, we must be able to define it properly prior to entering into the conversation.  The word love has been misunderstood and improperly defined for years.  The broader culture defines love as a feeling rather than an act of the will or in various other ways in which we see the term used in the Greek language.  D.A. Carson, in his book, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God writes:

For instance, the noun έρως (not found in the New Testament) refers to sexual love, erotic love; the φιλέω word group refers to emotional love, the love of friendship and feeling.  By contrast, the ἀγαπάω word group refers to willed love, an act of willed self-sacrifice for the good of another.  It has no necessary emotional component, however generous it may be. [1]

It’s quite obvious that the Greek culture understood the various different levels to the word love.  In English, it’s flattened out and often approached as a mere feeling rather than something more accurate – such as an act of the will.  If we take the slippery slope of the fuzzy feeling definition of love and allow it to be the determining factor of right and wrong, where do we end up at the end of the day?  What about the husband and wife who love one another deeply and find out that the wife has stage 4 cancer in her brain.  Suppose that she looks at her husband and says that she really wants him to prove his love for her by injecting her with a chemical agent that will stop her heart from beating in order to prevent future suffering through the terminal cancer.  Would that condone the act of murder?

At this point many people object and claim that we can’t condone murder because it’s against the law.  Really?  What about abortion?  The love of self is the fuel behind abortion, and it’s a legal form of murder.  Suppose that the Supreme Court ruled that lethal injection in cases of terminal illness was not murder if it was done in a medical facility by a licensed physician.  Would that solve the issue?  The point is clear – we can’t make decisions based on feelings or emotions called “love” and believe that it solves the problem.  It doesn’t solve the underlying issues.  Murder remains murder – no matter what the court system in our country says.

As we examine the sexual revolution in our culture, the proponents of same-sex marriage claim that the church should comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court and any opposition to the legalized marriage of homosexuals is anti-love.  Is that what we see in the Scripture?  What about the church at Corinth when Paul wrote to that body of Christians and talked about how they had been saved out of the lifestyle of homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:1-11).  Was that insensitive or anti-love?  What about the many times that the New Testament apostles condemn sexual immorality in the life of the church?  Is that anti-love?

The English translation of sexual immorality is derived from a Greek word πορνεία which encompasses many different types of sexual sins such as, adultery, fornication, prostitution, homosexuality, and various other deviant sexual practices.  Jesus Himself employs this very word in Mark 7:21-23.  Once again, the apostle Paul uses this word in 1 Corinthians 5 as he calls out the man who was having sex with his father’s wife.  Out of love, Paul commands the church to purge the man from their membership.  Out of love for God, love for the purity of the church, and finally – love for the sinning man – Paul told the church to remove this man so that his soul would be saved.  That was the goal – that the man would be disciplined by the church and come to repentance.

Likewise, as we see Jesus writing a letter to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2, He condemns them for being led astray by a false teacher named Jezebel.  Her sinful doctrine involved sexual immorality.  The particular word used by Jesus to describe this sin is – πορνεύω – which is similar to πορνεία but focuses upon prostitution and illicit unlawful sexual practices.  Was that anti-love for Jesus to call out that sin?  Perhaps Jezebel loved the people in the church at Thyatira, is Jesus wrong to deny her the ability to love those people?

We may have different usages for the word love, but no matter how we define love, the determining factor is not a feeling or emotion.  We must love God supremely and recognize that God loves God and is committed to the exaltation of His eternal glory.  Every decision that we make in life must be under submission to God’s love.  God has revealed what that looks like in His authoritative Word.  The Bible demands that we love Him and as a result that we love life and refrain from murder.  God demands that we love Him and as a result that our human sexuality will be restricted to the boundaries of God’s original intent found in Genesis 1-2 with His institution of marriage.  God demands that we love Him and as a result that we love His church and seek to discipline one another in love in a way that promotes holiness and unity in the gospel.  Kevin DeYoung, in his book, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality, writes:

Loves is cross (Romans 5:8). Love is what we do when we keep Christ’s commands (John 14:15). Love is sharing with our brothers and sisters in need (1 John 3:16-18). Love is treating each other with kindness and patience (1 Cor. 13:4). Love is disciplining the wayward sinner (Prov. 3:11-12). Love is chastising the rebellious saint (Heb. 12:5-6). And love is throwing your arms around the prodigal son when he sees his sin, comes to his senses, and heads for home (Luke 15:17-24). [2]

Is God anti-love?  Read John 3:16-17 and answer that question.  The God who has given His Son Jesus to die for guilty sinners on a cross is the very definition of love.  That’s why 1 John 4:8 says – “God is love.”  If love is the determining factor – God is the determining factor.  If we make our decisions in life and our cultural laws based on God – it will spare us from much heartache in the end.  If we love God, we will truly desire to love His perfect will and submit ourselves to His authority.  R.C. Sproul writes, “In the New Testament, love is more of a verb than a noun. It has more to do with acting than with feeling. The call to love is not so much a call to a certain state of feeling as it is to a quality of action.” [3]


1.  The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, Crossway, 2000, p. 26.

2.  What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality, Crossway, 2015, p. 127.

3.  The Intimate Marriage, P&R Publishing, 1975, p. 53.

Why T.D. Jakes’ LGBT Comments Should Not Surprise Anyone

Why T.D. Jakes’ LGBT Comments Should Not Surprise Anyone

In a recent interview with Marc Lamont Hill on Huffpost Live, T.D. Jakes sat down to talk about his new book, Destiny. Step Into Your Purpose.  Many people are questioning his inclusive statements.  However, should his lack of orthodoxy on LGBT issues come as a surprise to us?  What should surprise us is that many people who were unwilling to part fellowship with T.D. Jakes over his denial of the Trinity are now willing to question their relationship with him over this issue.  Should the LGBT issue take a higher place of priority than the doctrine of the Trinity?

T.D. Jakes has a long running commitment to the unorthodox teachings of Oneness Pentecostalism that clearly denies the Trinity.  This doctrinal position is known as Modalism, but looking back into church history, this position is known by the name Sabellianism. This teaching rejects the Trinitarian revelation of God and suggests that God exists as One being and manifests Himself in three distinct modes – Father, Son, and Spirit.  Modalism rejects the Trinitarian revelation of God whereby He exists as One God in three distinct persons who are co-equal and co-eternal.  This is a dividing line issue of unorthodox teachings that can’t be merely looked upon as a lower tier issue resulting in denominational differences.  To deny the Trinity is to deny the faith of genuine Christianity.

Rejection of the Trinity Leads to a Rejection of God’s Word

If you miss the Trinitarian revelation of God in the Scriptures, you will likewise miss His inerrant and immutable truth that binds human hearts and governs all cultures on human sexuality.  God has provided us with truth that transcends time, geographic locale, and public opinion.  In their conversation, Marc Lamont Hill made a progression into the current cultural conversation on the LGBT movement.  At one point, Marc Lamont Hill pushed T.D. Jakes by asking “Has your thinking evolved on this?”  T.D. Jakes answered by saying: “Evolved and evolving… where I am is to better understand. We (the church) bought… into the myth that this is a Christian nation… We no longer look to public policy to reflect Biblical ethics.”

The authority of God’s Word supersedes the evolution of cultural opinion, law, and the personal opinion of T.D. Jakes.  Matthew 24:35 and Isaiah 40:8 are two clear texts that demonstrate the reality that God is not planning on changing His mind on the LGBT issues.  When the apostle Paul was writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4, he didn’t charge Timothy to preach his evolving opinion.  Instead, he instructed him to proclaim God’s Word.  This statement by Paul demonstrates the reality that God’s Word transcends man’s opinions, thoughts, evolving ideas, and emotions on all issues of life.

If we embrace relativism and plunge headlong into the deep waters of postmodernism, we will be led to elevate ideas and opinions to a higher level than God’s Word.  This leads a person to naturally reject the authority of the sacred Scriptures.  That seems to be the direction that T.D. Jakes is progressing in his view of human sexuality.  T.D. Jakes claims to be a preacher of the gospel, yet God’s ambassador would have said, “Thus says the Lord, and He’s not planning to offer an apology to the LGBT community regarding His ordained purpose for human sexuality.”

Rejection of the Trinity Leads to a Wrong View of God’s Church

The doctrine of the church begins with a simple definition the word translated “church” taken from the Greek word, ἐκκλησία, which means “a called out assembly.”  The “called out” ones are assembling together under the banner of the gospel having been called out of darkness and into the marvelous light of Christ (1 Peter 2:9).  To suggest that the church should accept LGBT people into their membership is to misunderstand what the church is.  For T.D. Jakes to miss the mark regarding the church should not surprise us because T.D. Jakes has likewise misunderstood God.

At one point in the conversation, T.D. Jakes was asked, “Do you [think] that the LGBT community and the black church can coexist?”  First of all, the question is framed incorrectly.  There is no such thing as a “black church” or a “white church.”  We must work from the definition of the church provided for us in the New Testament.  As we read the New Testament, we find that Paul often labored to overthrow the idea of an exclusive Jewish church.  He pointed out that God saves Jew and Gentile (Romans 1:16).  Nevertheless, T.D. Jakes responded by saying, “Absolutely.”  Jakes would go on to say, “LGBTs…have to find a household of worship that reflects what your views are and what you believe like anybody else.”

To suggest that it’s possible to align Jesus Christ and His church with the LGBT community is to make a grievous error.  The apostle Paul made this point abundantly clear in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? [15] What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? [16] What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, [18] and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

When a “household of worship” claiming to be a church of Jesus Christ seeks to condone the unfruitful deeds of darkness, which is not limited to homosexuality, it becomes something other than a church.  No group that normalizes adultery, drunkenness, idolatry, or any other sin can be classified as a church.  A building may have a steeple, stained glass windows, and a pulpit, but if the people who meet there muzzle God’s Word while opening the doors to evolving cultural opinion, make no mistake, it’s not a church.  In Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, he pointed out that their church was made up of people who had come out of those sinful ways of living by faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:1-11).

The beautiful thing about the church is that it’s made up of redeemed sinners who have been saved from all types of sinful backgrounds – including the LGBT community.  However, to admit unrepentant sinners of any type into the church and call them brothers and sisters in Christ is to miss categorize and misunderstand the church of Jesus Christ.

It should not take erroneous comments on LGBT issues to cause professing Christians to examine their relationship with T.D. Jakes.  The lack of discernment among many professing Christians regarding T.D. Jakes and his Modalism is clearly a big concern.  What’s abundantly clear in this interview is that when people incorrectly define God and mishandle His Word, it will lead to an open door for a multiplicity of grievous errors.  T.D. Jakes needs to repent of his denial of the Trinity and his inclusive views regarding the church of Jesus Christ.

DBG Spotlight (7-29-15)

DBG Spotlight (7-29-15)

This January, Christians from all around the United States (and beyond) will gather for the G3 Conference, a theology conference focused on a specific theological issue each year.  This upcoming year the theme will be the doctrine of the Trinity.  You should consider registering and reserving a seat for you and your friends.

Can hipster Christianity save churches from decline?  That’s the title and a valid question that needs to be asked in our confused culture.  Brett McCraken writes, “Many don’t want the church to be like a sceney bar or a stylish boutique. They want the church to be the church: an institution that embraces awkward people, confronts sin, transforms lives, subverts the sovereignty of self, serves others and provides meaning more substantial than the ephemera of fickle fads.”

When God Calls You Into New Territory.  Gavin Ortland talks with Voddie Baucham about his upcoming move to Zambia.  You can see more at LaunchTheMove.com.

SCOTUS: Too Much and Too Little. Rosaria Butterfield writes, “And like others of my ilk, I know that sexual orientation is an invented category of personhood. Indeed, even from the old feminist perspective that I sported back in the day, I knew that sexual orientation as an identity was a category mistake.”

 

DBG Spotlight: 7-17-15

DBG Spotlight: 7-17-15

If you haven’t heard of Rosaria Butterfield, you need to meet her.  Learn about how a tenured professor at Syracuse University, an active LGBT political advocate, and an open homosexual came to faith in Jesus Christ.

Respectable Elders – Jeremiah Johnson identifies some key qualities that Paul identifies and exhorts Titus to develop in the men of Crete.

The Tragic Loss of the Doctrine of Sin – Continuing the series at the G3 blog, Conrad Mbewe explains how America arrived at the landmark decision of same-sex marriage.

Ghouls – Doug Wilson claims the capturing of the Planned Parenthood official on camera talking about the selling of body parts is “one of the most potent things that pro-lifers have ever done.”

 

All Sin Is Sin: True and False

All Sin Is Sin: True and False

With the recent Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage, many churches are seeking to respond in ways that clarify where they stand on the subject, and this often involves the drafting of new articles as an addendum to existing governing documents such as by-laws.  It’s extremely important for local churches to specify their definition of marriage and to provide biblical boundaries in order to avoid catastrophic controversy.  However, as we consider the drafting of articles that prevent a church from participating and recognizing same-sex unions as marriage, could it be true that the church has been inconsistent for years regarding sin?  Are there more respectable or pet sins that we in the church are unwilling to deal with?

In Kevin DeYoung’s book dealing with the subject of homosexuality, he devotes an entire chapter to the charges of gluttony and divorce.  Some homosexuals claim that the church is fat and divorce happy in America.  Is this a far assessment?  As we honestly evaluate the life of our local church and the evangelical church as a whole, it goes without saying that we have been guilty of overlooking specific sins.  If you’ve visited other countries and shared meals with the natives, it’s abundantly clear that we in America love our food.  We are surrounded by it.  We have an abundance of it.  In many ways, it can become an idol.  Gluttony can be a real problem among the Christian population.

If we’re honest, the church didn’t fight nearly as hard against the no-fault divorce laws that have swept our nation as we did against the same-sex marriage ruling.  There were not as many voices heard in the public square crying out against it.  The opposition from the church toward divorce has little comparison to the opposition of the church toward same-sex marriage.  In the wake of the no-fault divorce law, we have witnessed the church suffer from failed marriages at nearly the same rate as the unchurched population.  Is this a fair charge?  Has the church turned a blind eye to divorce while pointing out homosexuality?

The fact is, the church has in many ways been guilty of inconsistency.  For the sake of purity in the church and the testimony of Christ in the culture, we must be consistent in dealing with sin.  The bumper sticker that reads, “EQUALITY: All Sin Is Sin” is not telling the truth.  All sin will send you to hell, but not all sin has the same weight.  A pebble thrown into a pond on a cool fall morning will have a different wake than a 50 lb. boulder.  The sin of overeating leads to poor health, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and perhaps premature death.  It affects the culture, but in a different way than homosexuality.  The sin of homosexuality affects the fabric of marriage, family dynamics, and the society as a whole.  The results can be seen in other nations, but for America, we will have to wait on the years to pass and the statistics to accumulate.

As the church presses forward in a culture that celebrates sin, it’s vitally important to be consistent.  As churches rewrite by-laws and prepare for the opposition of the homosexual community, it would be wise for the church to add an article related to church discipline and Matthew 18.  It would be Christ exalting and biblically consistent for a church that has abandoned biblical church discipline to repent and start obeying Christ.  Before a lost world will hear the church’s good news, we in the church must deal with adultery, pornography, pride, slander, strife, disunity, divorce, gluttony, and a host of other sins.  If the church is fat on sin, the unbelieving world doesn’t care what we think about the sin of homosexuality.  Consistency matters.

Kevin DeYoung ends chapter eight in his book, What Does The Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?, with these words:

So yes, there are plank-eyed Christians among us.  The evangelical church, in many places, gave up and caved in on divorce and remarriage.  But the remedy to this negligence is not more negligence.  The slow, painful cure is more biblical exposition, more active pastoral care, more consistent discipline, more Word-saturated counseling, and more prayer-for illegitimate divorce, for same-sex behavior, and for all the other sins that are more easily condoned than confronted.