“There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, and many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be much maligned.” II Peter 2:1-2
This chapter is based on 52 verses in 14 passages of Scripture
Note: All Scriptures in parenthesis appear in my book, Revealing God’s Design with Love, or can be looked up in any Bible.
There are a growing number of churches today that validate the gay lifestyle, and even encourage those who want to alter their gender. They believe this is compassionate and shows “Christian” love to the fullest; criticizing churches that don’t, even though the Scriptures clearly condemn these practices as shown in Chapter 1.
There are five possible reasons why many of these churches take this stand. The first is they see themselves as having Jesus-type compassion for all people, especially those in the LGBT community. Therefore, their worship services, Sunday schools, and leadership ranks are very inclusive of gays and those who have changed their gender. They reason, if Jesus accepted the rejected people of His day, like Mary Magdalene and the woman caught in adultery, then why shouldn’t Christians do the same for those in the LGBT communities today? (Luke 8:1-2) To adopt this view, though, the leaders, pastors, priests, and congregants of these churches ignore or dismiss the Scriptures that deal with the prohibition of homosexuality and its related groups.
Churches that ignore or deny God’s written Word for the sake of a particular belief or feeling are usually called liberal churches. In effect, they give more weight to their own expertise, opinions, and preferences on issues like homosexuality, than what the Scriptures teach. The bottom line is they don’t trust the Bible to be the inspired and infallible Word of God, even though this is what the Scriptures claim. This leaves each of us with a decision to make to believe what Scriptures teach or to put our trust in what the liberal leaders of these churches say.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17
A second reason liberal-minded churches embrace homosexuality is they typically apply the parts of God’s grace to which they agree. They love God’s compassion, mercy, and acceptance, but play down His forgiveness in their theology. They do this because forgiveness indicates something is wrong or needs to be changed. By and large, committed homosexuals embrace this liberal theology of “I’m OK, and I’m living right” because they see no need to be forgiven for what they are doing. When they choose a church, they not only want to “come as they are” but stay as they are, heart, head, lifestyle and all.
But this is not an accurate or complete view of grace according to the Scriptures, because forgiveness was the central part of what Jesus did on the cross when He died for our sins. All we need to do is repent and believe to receive His forgiveness. This is a message liberal churches stay away from when dealing with the LGBT community.
A third reason these churches welcome those committed to the LGBT agenda is that they are afraid to do otherwise for culture dictates their theology and practice. Like it or not, they do what society tells them to do. For the moment, the media and a vocal portion of our American society are telling churches to get rid of their old theology rules and cautions. If they don’t, then they will be accused of being intolerant, unloving, and even racist. Regrettably, these liberal churches have yielded to and complied with contemporary society’s demands and opinions.
A fourth reason some congregations accept homosexuality is that their leaders and pastors are homosexual or transgender people themselves. It should be of no surprise, then, these leaders and pastors have a lot to say about what their people hold to and believe. The result is the lifestyles and practices of these church leaders supplant what God’s Word teaches about homosexuality.
The final reason churches accept the LGBT agenda against which the Bible warns or teaches is that their leaders are simply not genuine believers. If this is true, and only God knows for sure, then these leaders never actually repented of their sins, nor did they make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Hence, they advocate beliefs that run counter to the Scriptures.
Jesus experienced leaders like these during His ministry, who held religious positions, quoted Scripture, and seemingly did good works, but never completely gave their hearts or minds to God. When Jesus encountered them, He was very frank, telling them they were filled with iniquity and would not inherit God’s kingdom.
Not everyone that says unto me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23
Churches that do not endorse or believe in the Scriptures run the risk of becoming apostate churches, against which the Scripture strongly warns. (II Thessalonians 2:3; Jeremiah 14:7) Apostate churches are those that do not see Christ as the only way to salvation, or the Bible as God’s central expression of His will or Word but substitute something else instead.
Individuals who have sunk into apostasy have fallen away from their faith; in other words, have de-converted from their original belief in Christ and Christianity. Regrettably, there are churches and individual Christians today who have already gone down the apostasy path. Were they Christian in the first place? I don’t know, that is up to Christ to judge. Will they ever return to their faith? The Scripture seems to indicate they won’t, for they are set on an unalterable course, having seen true faith and walked away from it, much like Judas.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. Hebrews 6:4-6
The point is not to go down a path that leads to apostasy, whether as a church or an individual. To avoid this, make the Scripture the entire basis for what we believe on all issues, including what it says about practices like homosexuality. If we don’t then we are vulnerable to compromise on the next issue, and then the next, and the next, until we have nothing left in the Bible in which to believe. This is what theological liberalism did in the 19th century.
If we are in churches that follow God’s Word in respect to the LGBT agenda, then be thankful, for we are following what God wants us to believe. However, as we look at other churches who don’t believe as we do, then begin to pray for them in earnest. Don’t just sit around and criticize or belittle them for being liberal or even apostate; that will not help them discover the truth. Although we don’t agree with their views, still be kind and loving toward them. Perhaps by doing so, we can earn the opportunity to share with individuals in those churches God’s truth in Scripture.
Will they listen or reverse their views because of our love or what we share? They may not, but we should always seek to proclaim the truth faithfully. The Bible seems to indicate that most of these churches won’t change their minds or their ways. (II Timothy 4:3-4) Nevertheless, keep praying and sharing the truth, perhaps a few of their members might be impacted and swayed.
On another note, if we continue in a church that supports the LGBT agenda and we want to do something about it, there are three possible avenues to pursue:
The first avenue is to share with the leaders and members of these churches what the Scriptures teach about homosexuality. It could be they have never read or delved into the passages that condemn homosexuality and gender change. (See Romans 1:20-32, Leviticus 20:13, and I Corinthians 6:9-11 quoted and referenced below)In other words, it may be new news to them. If we are successful and they decide to change their stance, then we have done a very good thing for God. In truth, helping them reverse such a belief is perhaps one of the reasons God put each of us in our churches in the first place.
The second avenue is to be less assertive and take a behind-the-scenes sort of approach. This involves quietly praying for the leadership in our church. In our petitions to God, pray these leaders will align themselves with what Scripture teaches on these condemned practices. If they don’t change after a significant time of prayer, then ask God to replace them with other leaders who will completely trust God’s inspired Word in what they teach. If this doesn’t work either, then the third and last avenue is to leave this church for another that follows and abides by the Scripture.
Over the last several years, I‘ve visited several churches that have embraced the LGBT agenda. One of the reasons was I wanted to see how they reached out and ministered to gays and transgender people. My most significant observation was how inclusive these churches were with all groups of people including men with men, women with women, men posing as women, or women posing as men. All were okay in their sight and very much welcomed.
In a way, these churches reminded me somewhat of churches I attended in the ‘60s that reached out to the uninhibited youth of that era who wore long hair, went barefoot, dressed like hippies, lived in communes, practiced open sex, protested the Vietnam war, and did drugs of all kinds. As a result of their welcoming attitudes, multitudes of young people heard the Gospel for the first time, received Christ as Lord and Savior, and began to abandon behaviors and habits contrary to God’s will. It was the verses of the Bible that helped them the most in making changes in their behaviors and lifestyles, along with the Holy Spirit, of course. For some, the long hair and bare feet remained, but the open sex and drugs quickly went by the wayside because of what was taught from the Bible. Unfortunately, many Bible-believing churches I attended during that time did not do as well in reaching these young people and missed a great opportunity!
Although there is a similarity between welcoming churches of the ‘60s and the liberal churches of today, there is also a huge difference. The great difference is not in the welcoming, acceptance, or even the unconditional love conveyed and displayed, but in what is hoped. The churches of the ‘60s hoped the young people of their day would eventually find Christ and ask Him into their hearts for salvation. After which they anticipated these young peoples’ lives would change over time due to an indwelling Spirit, discipleship, and teaching from the Scriptures. With this hope in mind, they were willing and eager to accept the young people as they were when they showed up, no matter what they had done.
To the contrary, the hope of liberal churches today that validate the LGBT agenda relies on a revised view of God’s grace that allows everyone to do and be whatever they want, even if it runs counter to the teachings of the Bible. Therefore, gays go about being unrepentant in these churches, and transgender people do the same. The outcome is disastrous, for this leads to no real spiritual relief, or salvation because what is missing is the forgiveness of their sins.
If there is anything to be learned from this with the Bible-believing churches of today, all need to be very welcoming toward LGBT members, but then pursue teaching them God’s Word about what they are doing in a very loving and patient way just as the churches of the ‘60s did with the young people of their generation.
Scriptural References for Homosexuality and Gender Change
Romans 1:20-32 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Leviticus 20:13 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.
I Corinthians 6:9-11 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [a forerunner to gender change], nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.