Civilized Calvinists, Illicit Coupling, Condemned Castaways, and an Uneasy Conscience
“If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilized morality to savage morality.” ~CS Lewis
Some years back, I was approaching Greater DC—Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland—when I saw an older, well-dressed man, wearing eyeglasses, standing on the sidewalk with a placard: All priests are pedophiles. Sweeping generalization. Not all priests are homosexual, and, of those who are, not all are predatory.
I wondered why a seemingly sane, cerebral-looking man would stand there and say such things? Was he part of a special-interest group to defame priests? Had he himself been abused as a child? I doubted it. Abused children do not usually become activists. Whatever he was up to, the attention-seeking behavior said more about him than about priests.
More recently, online, I stumbled across a seething diatribe against religious Fundamentalists. The writer had gone through the Mosaic Code, pulled out all the things he could find that were an “abomination,” and accused Fundamentalists of selectively condemning homosexuals while continuing to eat their lobster and shrimp.
My question to him would be: Why does it bother you so much? Your emotion betrays an uneasy conscience.
I would remind him that there is a fundamental difference [no pun intended] between prohibitions against food and prohibitions against illicit coupling. The English Bible is a translation. The English “abomination” translates various Hebrew words. The ones for food have to do with being “unclean” [cf kosher food]; the ones for morals have to do with “wickedness.”
In the Old Testament, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plains, because of sodomy (Genesis 19). Historically, in Western Civilization, where decency is valued, sodomy has been criminalized, as have adultery, fornication, and sexual perversion, for that matter. When overt war is waged against decency, is the aggressor fighting Scripture, Judeo-Christianity, or Western Civilization? What is the point and what is the current indecency all about?
The Mosaic Code mentions sodomy only in passing (very little there actually). It proscribes sodomy along with adultery, incest, bestiality, infanticide (Leviticus 18:6-28), and transvestism (Deuteronomy 22:5). “Defile not yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled … And the land is defiled: therefore … the land itself vomits out her inhabitants. You … shall not commit any of these abominations … That the land spew not you out … as it spewed out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off” (Leviticus 18:24-30).
Strong language, not only against homosexuality, but against immorality in general. However, the strongest scriptures against homosexuality are not in the Old Testament, but in the New. Paul uses specific language. In a homosexual relationship (male or female) there is a macho (butch) personality and an effeminate (femme) personality. Translators have rendered the butch personality as “abusers of themselves with mankind”; the femme personality as “effeminate” (1 Corinthians 6:9). Butch homosexuals are the predators; hence, the term “abusers.”
Effeminate homosexuals are rather passive. People do not feel threatened by them. I attended high school with one. He seemed harmless, more like one of the girls. Students knew he was different—as if something did not develop quite right. He never married and died prematurely—of AIDS. Was he born that way or made that way? Born. He was that way as a child. Was he a sinner? Yes. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Does being born that way excuse the behavior? No. You and I were born sinners too, but some of us were born again—were converted.
“Except you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). “God … now commands all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).
If you can inherit a sin nature from Adam—Charles G Finney did not even believe you could (he was wrong, of course)—then you can inherit specific sins. A lady told me that in her family—Irish—there had never been a generation without an alcoholic. Is alcoholism inherited? Yes. And any preacher—the late Jerry Falwell, for instance—who says that such sins are not inherited denies Original Sin. Whether he realized it or not, when Falwell said that God would not create an alcoholic or a homosexual, he was agreeing with the theory of tabula rasa, a belief to which he did not even subscribe. God is Creator; He creates human beings. If “in Adam’s fall, we sinned all” (New England Primer), then God creates sinners: alcoholics, homosexuals, liars, thieves, murderers, adulterers … Falwell, the son of an alcoholic, had traits associated with alcoholic personality (arrogance, chameleonism, grandiosity, gregariousness, etc) even if he never drank.
I am not Calvinist if Calvinism means “once saved, always saved” … “I’m not perfect, just forgiven” … “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” I am Holiness and Pentecostal. A saved person does not sin. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “You are washed … sanctified … justified in the name of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Can a person be both an active sinner and a believing saint? No. “Be dead … to sin, but alive to God …. Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that you should obey its lusts. Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God …. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are …. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:11-18).
Paul said, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Many believe they can live any way they want to and still make it to heaven, as if their reservation is secure; but if Paul could yet be lost, so can you and I.
Homosexual “couples” are rarely “monogamous.” And there is not much love either: just obsession. Like heterosexual fornicators, homosexual fornicators are sexually active with hundreds, if not thousands, of partners. They cannot stop sinning. They are driven to sin. Is their promiscuity any different from sexually active heterosexuals with the same disgusting drives and multiple partners? No. It is all sin.
This is where even Wesleyans come short, because they believe you can be “saved,” not yet “sanctified,” and still sin. John Wesley taught—for the first time: no one else had ever come up with this idea—a two-step salvation. He taught that salvation gets rid of your sins; subsequent sanctification gets rid of Adam’s sin. This “sanctification second definite” is taught by some Holiness groups. But the Bible teaches a one-step salvation. If “they have no changes … they fear not God” (Psalm 55:19).
John Wesley was born into the home of an Anglican priest. His dad, Samuel Wesley, was away from home a great deal. The wife, Susannah Wesley, reared the children and even preached herself. John’s older brother, Samuel, was already grown and married, and living elsewhere. In the family, still at home, were two males: John and Charles. There were seven sisters.
On one occasion while he was gone, Samuel Wesley, the dad, received word that there was a great meeting in Susannah’s kitchen. Good wife excused herself, saying that since he was gone, it was her duty to be the “priest” of the household and have devotions with family and staff. Since Dissenting activity was illegal, Samuel warned her to keep it quiet and simple. Afterward, both kitchen and yard were filled with hundreds of seekers. Mom was that kind of preacher.
Like the duck who thought he was a chicken, John, a man of diminutive size, identified with the women of the house. All his life he wore his hair long; he refused to cut it. Charles wore short hair—he had sons. A contemporary said that you could hardly distinguish John from his sister. When you look at John’s portrait, you can see how effeminate he was.
John married late, and every student of Wesley knows how that marriage turned out. Most people who know the story believe the union with Mary Vazeille was never consummated. The word was that John was an abused spouse, that he had innocent flirtations. Anybody who has read his biography knows the names of his female admirers.
According to his Oxford diary for 1732, John took an unusual interest in a Holy Club member charged with homosexuality; he visited him privately and provided him with legal defense. That same year John sailed for Georgia as a missionary. During a publicized romance in America, he spent a night with Sophia Hopkey, sleeping under a shared blanket, and never touched her. The subsequent story of this failed “love affair” provided the bachelor John good cover for his non-heterosexual interest.
To maintain their privacy, John and Charles Wesley communicated in Latin or secret code. In his diary John used an even more private code. That code is only now being unlocked. There John admitted that he was slave to a dark sin from which he had never abstained for longer than six months. Charles knew, which is probably the reason he snatched away Grace Murray before John could marry her. I believe John “invented” “sanctification second definite” out of necessity: to excuse his own sin.
Are some homosexuals made? Yes. Sadly, many are the victims of homosexual seduction or rape. Such was true of Henry M Stanley, the newsman who found David Livingstone in Africa; that he was sexually dysfunctional for the rest of his life only serves to illustrate the nightmare of pedophilia.
Some macho homosexual males are unconsciously reacting against an overbearing mother: “Here, Mom, I will show you how to treat a man.” Some, perhaps like John Wesley, are identifying with the wrong group: they are gender confused. Some, more recently, are being brainwashed by a pluralistic—evil—society that sexual preference is a choice as abortion is a choice.
We are living in “perilous times” (2 Timothy 3:1) when people do not know right from wrong and “call evil good, and good evil … put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). Moral peril is the worst peril there is—because it will cost you eternity.
Catholics have given us mortal (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony) and venial (lesser) sins. The Bible is more extensive.
“God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves … For this cause God gave them up to vile affections; for even their women [lesbians] did exchange the natural use for that which is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men [homosexuals] working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was fitting. … Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness … envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, insolent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Romans 1:24-32).
“Know you not that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [femmes], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [butches], nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV).
“Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:3-5 NIV).
“In the last days … men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lover of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
“But the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8).
Old Testament and New Testament take a clear stand on morality and immorality. You cannot do some things and call yourself Christian. If you do the things listed above, “you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 NIV).
“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.” ~General Omar Bradley
Copyright © 2014 Alexandra Lee
Photo Credit: Volcano Chimborazo Andes Ecuador