Speaking the Same Old Things to Homosexuals

The fall 2010 issue of Higher Things has an anonymous article entitled “Speaking Hope to Homosexuals,” but I find it speaking the same old things.

Every article you read on this subject in LCMS circles, including the 1999 study “Ministry to Homosexuals”, always points out that “The Bible says homosexual behavior is sin.”   Has anyone ever read an article that feels the need to point out, “The Bible says murderous behavior is sin?”  How about, “The Bible says bearing false witness is a sin?”

Why is every article in our circles sure to have the mantra that homosexual behavior is a sin?  Because they don’t want to say homosexual thoughts are.  So what do we do with Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount? “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  On the basis of this, can’t I say, indeed mustn’t I say, “You have heard it said, ‘Homosexual behavior is sin,’ but I tell you that any man who looks at a man lustfully has already committed adultery with him in his heart?”

You know what the reply is:  O we can’t attack the personhood of the homosexual.  We don’t condemn people for being heterosexuals.  But there is no right way to be attracted to the same sex just as there is no right way to be attracted to another man’s wife, a child, an animal, your mother, or your sister.  And if you want to talk about attacking the sinner and not the sin, doesn’t Scripture refer to male homosexuals as dogs?  Hear 6th century commentator on the Book of Revelation, Oecumenius, on this: “’Outside are the dogs,’ it says.  It is customary in the Holy Scriptures to call homosexuals ‘dogs’ because they are shameless and impure.  In Deuteronomy the law of the holy teacher Moses says, ‘You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a dog into the house of the Lord your God in payment for any vow,’ since indeed such persons are similar to dogs because of their shamelessness.  Even a wise man outside [the church] gives witness to the same view, saying, ‘Flee every murder and adulterous couch of a woman, and also the oaths of the rich and shameless beds of boys.’  Therefore, such dogs are outside the holy city and apart from the life with the righteous of God.  For what do they have in common with the righteous of God” (Ancient Christian Commentary, XII, 403)?

Don’t act so shocked.  The person who steals is called a crook.  The person who beats people up is called a thug, a bully, a beast, an animal, etc.  I’ve been called coward, liar, jerk, jackass, and worse and these deservedly so.  You don’t help me by treating me nice.  You don’t help me by labeling my sin or sinfulness with politically correct names anymore than a doctor would help by calling melanoma a rash or a tumor a bump.

Furthermore, by making the neat little distinction between homosexual acts and homosexual thoughts we have saddled the already burdened sinner with a doable law.  We haven’t let the law do its complete work of killing him.  The law declares that you must be utterly different; you must become a new creation.  Changing this or that behavior won’t do.  You must be reborn, regenerated which is a miracle only God can work, and He does so by Word and Sacrament.

Another thing this article does is make homosexual sin seem different than heterosexual sin.  I’ve spent a lifetime being a heterosexual sinner.  The lusts that fire my mind and burn in my soul are every bit as shameful, disgusting, and difficult as homosexual lusts.  But no one has ever told me that as long as I don’t act them out I’m fine.  Wait, someone has told me that: psychology, Hollywood, and human reason.

Finally, I don’t see how we help homosexuals by telling them they are condemned to wear that sin the rest of their lives.  We got this practice from Alcoholic’s Anonymous.  The way you treat the “disease” (please note the quotation marks) is wear it like a monkey on your back for life:  “Hi, I’m Paul and I’m an alcoholic.”  Yes, I can hear St. Paul now, “Hi, I’m Paul and I’m a murderer.”  I can hear St. Peter in a rather booming voice, “Hi, I’m Pete and I’m a coward.”

No, forgiven sin doesn’t need to be remembered.  Sins we struggle with day in and day out, year in and year, out don’t need to be carried on our backs like a bad debt on our credit account.  Actually a bad debt at least has a statue of limitation.  If sins have been sent away from us as far as east is from west, carried as they were by the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, they aren’t present any longer to be named.  Yes, homosexuality is that forgivable and that forgettable of a sin.

Always loving Jesus called a woman a dog once (Matthew 15: 21-28).  This led her to getting great mercy.  She was willing to be a dog as long as she was Jesus’ dog.  This confession led to her getting not just crumbs of His mercy but a whole table of bread.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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5 Responses to Speaking the Same Old Things to Homosexuals

  1. Bart Goddard says:

    I note that “shameless” and “unrepentant” are (nearly) synonyms. Isn’t that the real sticking point in these topics? Isn’t being shameless the unforgivable sin?

    • Correct. A shameless man defends his sin, asserts his right to do it, and doesn’t want to be forgiven. The woman pestering the judge for justice in Luke 11 is described as shameless. She didn’t want to be forgiven for her pestering. She believed she was in the right.

  2. Scott says:

    But sticking with the Sensus Literalis this still means that all dogs will not go to heaven right? Heaven afterall where there will be no shedding of tears nor fur. This text does mean in heaven we will be able to see all of those annoying furry things outside of the gates begging to come in and yet not feel bad about leaving them there outside. If you say no then I will have to worry about having to pack my lent brush in order to keep my white robe clean not to mention that this is the verse I paint on my posterboard when I protest outside of the reformed churches on their annual bless your animal day. Of course that still doesn’t change the fact that I am allergic to cats. Oy Vey!

  3. LGB says:

    Is Trinity a welcoming congregation? Do they welcome gays and lesbians?

    • If “welcoming” is code for encouraging or allowing them to stay in a sin that drives the Holy Spirit from them and leads them to an eternity of suffering, then the answer would be “no.” If you are using “welcoming” in the dictionary sense of the word of “To greet, receive, or entertain (another or others) cordially or hospitably,” The answer is “yes.” All are welcomed to attend any public Divine Service at Trinity Lutheran Church.

      We follow the St. Paul Plan. Part A is: “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one.” (I Cor. 5:11). A person who defends their homosexuality and claims to be a Christian would not be communed by us so as not to harm them. Closing over a physical wound without cleansing ultimately does more harm. Still they would be welcomed to attend any public Divine Service.

      Part B is: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 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. (I Cor. 6: 9-11). Those who confess their sins are another matter. They “were” homosexuals and are not that any longer any more than idolaters, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanders or swindlers who confess their sins claim to be those things or wish to be regarded as such.

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