Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is a film which has attracted a lot of attention recently. The News-Herald included a report about it today. Writer David Germain began the article by saying, "The cowboy love story 'Brokeback Mountain' led the Academy Awards field Tuesday with eight nominations, among them best picture and honors for actor Heath Ledger and director Ang Lee." What is the movie about? IMDB describes it as "a raw, powerful story of two young men, a Wyoming ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy, who meet in the summer of 1963 sheepherding in the harsh, high grasslands of contemporary Wyoming and form an unorthodox yet life-long bond—by turns ecstatic, bitter and conflicted." In other words, this is a movie about two cowboys involved in a homosexual relationship.

Hollywood has never been friendly toward Christ. So this sort of movie comes as no surprise. But it is disapppointing that the media have been more vocal in their support of homosexuality in general. While some people still find it revolting, we are now being taught that it is an alternate lifestyle. This makes it sound as if such relationships are on the same level as any other. If a person has always had the urge to be intimate with someone of the same sex, that is an alternative which should not be looked down upon.

Have Christians been wrong all these years? Some churches are answering this question with a very vocal, "Yes!" This is the new civil rights movement. But it goes beyond treating people with respect. Now you must accept their lifestyle or be considered a hateful person. The Episcopals in America jumped on the bandwagon by ordaining homosexual priests and bishops. The church which actor Chad Allen attends in California extends open arms to these relationships. Should we reconsider our ways?

No matter how popular the lifestyle becomes, it still needs to be judged by what God says in the Bible. And as I was reminded recently, it is the Bible that God uses to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2). So, what does it say about this topic? Consider these words from Paul's letter to the Romans:

Romans 1:18-32

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

What does all that mean? It means that homosexuality is not just a choice or something you are born with. It is a sin and the result of someone rejecting God. And God considers it to be characterized by shame, error, and a debased mind. Other portions of Scripture also point out the sinfulness of homosexuality.

Genesis 19:5-7

And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!

Deuteronomy 23:17

There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

The Bible is the only way we can know whether something is right or wrong. And after reading these verses, it is quite clear what the Bible says about this subject. Homosexuality is not an alternative lifestyle; it is a sin which falls under the judgment of God.

While this sin is a detestable one, every Christian must realize that Jesus died to save sinners. Each one of us is a sinner for whom Christ died. Note that some in the church at Corinth had been homosexual (1 Cor. 6:11). But they had repented of their sin and placed their faith in Christ. The result was that those who had previously been involved in this way were changed (2 Cor. 5:17).

With this biblical understanding of homosexuality, Christians have at least two responsibilities. (1) We need to find and communicate God's mind about the matter. Don't allow the popularity of the sin or the statements of false prophets to change your mind. Study the Scriptures so that you are able to show the opposition what God really says. (2) We need to take the gospel to all people no matter what their sin is. While some sins are more repugnant than others, we must always keep in mind our humble origins and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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