11/13/15

From Mark Copeland... Homosexuality A Christian Perspective What The Bible Teaches About Homosexuality


Homosexuality

A Christian Perspective

What The Bible Teaches About Homosexuality
Assuming that one accepts the Bible to be the Word of God, and as such the final authority on issues it discusses, what then does it have to say about the subject of homosexuality? Consider the following...

HOMOSEXUAL CONDUCT WAS "A GRIEVOUS SIN" IN THE DAYS OF THE PATRIARCHS

In Gen 19:24-28, the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is described. The apostle Peter explains that this unique judgment upon these two cities was to serve as an example:
"and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;" (2Pe 2:6)
Why was Sodom and Gomorrah chosen to be an example of God's ultimate judgment upon the ungodly? What were they doing that made them so different from other ungodly cities at that time? Here is what Abraham was told:
"And the LORD said, 'Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous," (Gen 18:20)
What was their "sin" that was "very grievous?" I have heard homosexual theologians try to explain that the sin was their lack of hospitality. Is such the case? Well, consider the text...
"...the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house." (Gen 19:4)
Note first of all that "all the people" from the city are seeking to participate in whatever the "sin" is...
"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.'" (Gen 19:5)
The word "carnally" is not in the actual Hebrew text, but is supplied by the translators because the word "know" as used here is often a euphemism for sexual relations (e.g., Gen 4:1,17). Lot's reaction to this crowd certainly suggests that is how he understood the crowd's request...
"So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him and said, "Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!" (Gen 19:6-7)
It is apparent that Lot understood their intentions were not honorable.
The next statement by Lot is hard to understand, but maybe it expresses his concept of hospitality in that he was willing to suffer personal loss rather than allow it to happen to his guests...
"See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof." (Gen 19:8)
Lot's amazing offer of his two daughters at least confirms that he understood the crowd's intentions were sexual in nature. But notice also that Lot explains that his original hospitality to these two strangers (cf. Gen 19:1-3) was precisely to protect from the sort of homosexual rape the crowd was intent on inflicting.
The crowd's response to Lot's pleas is also insightful...
"And they said, 'Stand back!' Then they said, 'This one came in to sojourn, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.' So they pressed hard against Lot, and came near to break down the door." (Gen 19:9)
Their reaction is somewhat similar to many today who say to those who would dare point out sinful conduct, "Who are you to judge?" People haven't really changed much, have they? What such people fail to realize, is that when you point out what the Word of God says about certain conduct, YOU are not judging them, it is the WORD OF GOD that is judging them. In return, they themselves are trying to avoid the condemnation of the MESSAGE of God by condemning the MESSENGER!
That homosexuality was the "grievous sin" to which the Lord referred to in Gen 18:20 becomes even more apparent when we consider what is said in the New Testament about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. For example, Jude wrote:
"as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 7)
Notice that Jude describes the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as "sexual immorality" and "going after strange flesh". Nothing about it being a lack of hospitality! Only those desperate to justify their homosexual conduct would fail to see what the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah really was.

HOMOSEXUAL CONDUCT WAS "A CAPITAL CRIME" UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES

I am grateful that we are no longer under the Law of Moses, with its extremely harsh punishments (though under the New Covenant much harsher punishments for similar crimes unrepented of are simply delayed till the Day of Judgment, cf. He 10:26-31). But as Paul wrote to the Romans:
"Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." (Ro 7:12)
He also wrote later that it was "written for our learning" (Ro 15:4).
So what can we learn from the Law about God's view of homosexual conduct? In Leviticus, we read:
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." (Lev 18:22)
Can it be any clearer? Homosexual conduct is "an abomination" to the Lord! Together with "bestiality" (Lev 18:23) it was one of the sins that justified God in giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites, for the previous occupants were guilty of such sins (Lev 18:24-25). Also, the Israelites were warned that if they engaged in the same kind of sins, they too would be "vomited out" of the land (Lev 18:26-30).
More is said later in the book of Leviticus...
"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." (Lev 20:13)
Again, I stress that according to the New Testament we are not under the Law of Moses; but what we learn here is that while the Law was in effect, without question homosexuality was clearly a grave offense, even worthy of death!
But what about the New Testament? What does it say?

THE NEW TESTAMENT IS CLEAR IN ITS CONDEMNATION OF HOMOSEXUAL CONDUCT

To the church of God which was at Corinth, Paul wrote:
"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." (1Co 6:9-10)
In this passage, Paul uses two terms that are translated above as "homosexuals" and "sodomites." The first term, translated "homosexuals" ("effeminate" in the KJV) is "malakos", and is defined as:
"effeminate, of a catamite, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness" (THAYER)
The word translated as "sodomites" ("abusers of themselves with mankind" in the KJV) is arsenokoitai, and is defined as:
"one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite" (THAYER)
Paul's warning not to be deceived is very appropriate even today, for some homosexual theologians would have us believe that Paul was only condemning male prostitution. Whereas the first word (malakos) does properly speak of a male prostitute, the second word (arsenokoitai) describes any sort of homosexual conduct. Despite such efforts to twist the Scriptures and deceive many, the Word of God is clear: those who continue to engage in homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God!
[The next verse (1Co 6:11) gives great hope, however, for anyone trapped in the sin of homosexuality, which we shall examine more closely in a later lesson.]
Paul also uses the word "arsenokoitai" (the generic term for homosexual conduct) as an example of that which is:
"...contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust." (1Ti 1:10-11)
Since the "sound doctrine" of the gospel of Christ condemns even sexual relations between unmarried heterosexuals, it should not be hard to understand that sex between unmarried homosexuals is wrong as well! As for "married" homosexuals, the institution of marriage which was begun and defined by God only allows for sex between a man and a woman (cf. Gen 2:24Mt 19:4-6).
The "classic" passage which deals with the sin of homosexual conduct is that of Ro 1:18-28. In this passage, Paul discusses the wrath of God which is directed toward those who do not honor God:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungod- liness 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 beasts and creeping things."
(Ro 1:18-23)
The righteous indignation of God is directed toward those who reject the clear evidence of God's existence and power as revealed in nature, and if religious at all, make God over into an image of their own choosing. Whereas today we are too "sophisticated" to fall for thinking that God is like a graven image, there is ever the tendency to "recreate God in our own image," so that He thinks like us, and acts like us (one would do well to read Isa 55:8,9).
How does God express His righteous indignation, short of bringing about the Judgment Day? Paul tells us as he continues:
"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 worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (Ro 1:24-25)
Rather than bringing about the Judgment Day, or striking them down with a bolt out of the sky, God has expressed His righteous indignation by "giving them up" to moral uncleanness. In other words, those who are not willing to honor God as God are simply allowed to degenerate into moral decay!
To illustrate, Paul continues...
"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature." (Ro 1:26)
Here is a strong allusion to lesbianism, where women cease to appreciate that their bodies are naturally designed physically for sex with men and for procreation, and who think of "our bodies, ourselves" solely as instruments of "vile passions" for one another.
In regards to men whom God has "given up" to uncleanness, Paul writes:
"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." (Ro 1:27)
In similar fashion, many of those men who have been "given up" by God to uncleanness eventually leave the "natural use of the woman" and turn to other men to fulfill their lustful desires. As Paul reiterates in the next verse:
"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;" (Ro 1:28)
Three times in this section we find the expression "God gave them up (over)" (Ro 1:24,26,28). The point is clear: when people choose to reject God, or to recreate Him in their own image, God "gives them up" to "go their own way." Unrestrained by God in any way, they gravitate into increasing levels of immorality! For some, it involves hetero- sexual immorality, such as pre-marital sex or adultery. But for others, it includes homosexuality and lesbianism.
And what is the consequence of such behavior? The apostle Paul referred to such people as:
"...receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due." (Ro 1:27)
An illusion to sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS? We cannot say for certain, but none can dispute that those who are willing to follow God's Word as to sexual conduct have less to fear about STD's than those who choose to disregard Him!

Conclusion

God's basic principles of righteousness have remained constant through out the different periods of Bible history. For example, adultery has always been condemned by God. Likewise, we have seen that homosexuality has been identified as:
  • A "grievous sin" in the times of the Patriarchs
  • An "abomination" in the Law of Moses
  • "Shameful," indicative of "a debased mind," and "contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel" of Jesus Christ
I can understand that those who do not believe in God or who do not accept the Bible as the Word of God would strongly disagree with such an evaluation of homosexuality. But I fear that only those with "hardened hearts" would profess to believe the Bible to be God's Word and still approve of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle that has God's blessings.
May those who profess to accept the Bible as the last word never hesitate to accept what it says, no matter how "politically incorrect" our society might say it is.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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The Finger of God by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=729

The Finger of God

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Skeptics have railed against the Bible on account of its allusions to God’s body parts. For example, the Bible speaks of the arm of God (Job 40:9), the hand of God (Job 19:21), the face of God (Job 13:24), the eyes of God (Deuteronomy 11:12), the ears of God (Psalm 130:2), the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3), the voice of God (Job 40:9), and even the “finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). Attentive Bible students are aware that all such references are simply accommodative language—anthropomorphisms (man forms)—in which the Scriptures provide humans with a reference point for relating to God’s activity. The Bible clearly teaches that God is spirit—not physical (John 4:24). He does not possess physical mass. Jesus Himself stated, “a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50). It is difficult for humans to conceptualize an infinite, eternal Being Who is not composed of physical matter, since humans are subject to space and time, and experience existence in a setting that is preeminently material. Nevertheless, while we may have difficulty fully understanding the nature of a nonphysical Being, the concept itself is neither self-contradictory nor incoherent.
For example, when Moses and Aaron unleashed the plagues by the power of God upon Pharaoh and the Egyptian population, Pharaoh’s magicians concluded: “This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19). They simply meant that the plague was God’s doing—that the affliction was the result of God’s power. In like manner, the Bible states that the original Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses on two tablets of stone were “written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18; cf. Deuteronomy 9:10). In other words, God authored them and supernaturally placed them in writing on the stone tablets. Another sample of this type of figurative speech is seen in the declaration of the psalmist regarding God’s creative activity: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3-4, emp. added). Obviously, God does not have fleshly fingers, nor would He find it necessary to use them if He had them. Being the ultimate Mind, He can bring into existence ex nihilo(out of nothing) whatever He chooses by simply willing it into existence.
This same figure of speech is seen in the New Testament as well. Jesus stated: “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20, emp. added). He simply meant that His actions were by divine agency. Observe the alternate wording of a parallel passage where, in place of the “finger of God,” the text has the “Spirit of God”: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). It is evident that “finger” simply refers to deity (whether the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit) manifesting His presence and power in a time-space continuum.
Those scholars who have devoted their lives to studying dead languages, discovering their linguistic intricacies, figurative features, and idiomatic expressions, have long recognized this particular figure. For example, E.W. Bullinger, who published a monumental volume in the nineteenth century titledFigures of Speech Used in the Bible (1898), labeled this linguistic attribute “anthropopatheia” or “condescension,” which he identified as “the ascription of human passions, actions, or attributes to God” (p. 871). He devoted several pages to illustrating this figure of speech (pp. 871-897). In his specific remarks regarding the “finger” of God, he wrote: “A Finger is attributed to God, to denote the putting forth of His formative power, and the direct and immediate act of God” (p. 881). John Haley, who in 1874 produced the respected and scholarly reference work Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, defended the “immateriality” of God on the grounds that all such anthropomorphic passages “are simply bold figures and startling hyperboles in which the Orientals are wont to indulge” (p. 63). He identified the expression “finger of God” as referring to God’s “direct agency.”
The Bible has been the target of a myriad of attacks by skeptics for over 2,000 years. It will undoubtedly continue to be so. No other book in all of human history has been the object of such sustained, frenzied, and antagonistic scrutiny. For the honest, unbiased investigator, the Bible’s supernatural attributes continue to validate its authenticity.

REFERENCES

Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).
Haley, John W. (1977 reprint), Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Plants that Do Math Add Evidence for God by Kyle Butt, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4733

Plants that Do Math Add Evidence for God

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

One of the first steps to becoming a good student in school is to learn the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Students spend hours trying to master the basics of arithmetic. But it seems that students in grade school are not the only math masters. A new study indicates that plants may be exceptional at math as well. Allison Smith and Martin Howard of the John Innes Center in Norwich suggest that plants perform basic arithmetic in order to preserve the correct amount of starch during the night (Ledford, 2013). Heidi Ledford, writing for Nature News, explained that scientists once thought plants broke down starch at night time at a fairly constant rate. Experimental results, however, have shown that plants can vary their rate of starch consumption based on the number of hours of darkness they experience. Regardless of how many hours plants sit in darkness, they can regulate their starch use so that virtually no starch remains when the light returns (2013).
While this is the first study to suggest that plants do arithmetic, researchers indicate that this process could explain other biological systems, such as animal hybernation and long migrations in which food supplies need to be regulated to ensure survival. More research will be needed to verify Smith’s and Howard’s conclusions, but Howard states: “We are dealing with a fundamental biological process in cells that’s doing a sophisticated arithmetic calculation” (Ledford, 2013).
The implications of these findings that pertain to the existence of God are obvious. If plants really are doing arithmetic, that means they have been programmed by some type of intelligence. This intelligence must understand arithmetic, and be able to write into plants a code by which the plants can use arithmetic to their advantage. The atheistic, materialistic explanation for the origin of the Universe cannot adequately account either for the laws of math or for plants that can use those laws to survive. When the Creator designed plants, He saw that they were very good (Genesis 1:12). The concept of an intelligent Designer is the only one that adds up.

REFERENCES

Ledford, Heidi (2013), “Plants Perform Molecular Maths,” Naturehttp://www.nature.com/news/plants-perform-molecular-maths-1.13251.

Dinosaurs: They're Everywhere! They're Everywhere! by Kyle Butt, M.A.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=1321

Dinosaurs: They're Everywhere! They're Everywhere!

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Those mysterious reptiles known as dinosaurs have captivated not just our nation, but the entire world. In 1956, Godzilla made the big screen come alive with his city-crushing tirades. Since that time, dinosaurs have made an appearance on untold millions of soda cans, cereal boxes, posters, and other such items. For the past ten years, absorbent little minds have flocked to PBS to watch their favorite purple dinosaur, Barney, bounce around the stage, teaching them to pick up their toys, and say please and thank you.
As I write this article, I have before me a veritable plethora of dinosaur-saturated material. First on the list is a Wendy’s™ children’s meal bag that has a 2001 copyright date. From this beautifully colored, slick-papered bag, hungry young readers can learn about dinosaurs like StegosaurusOviraptor, and the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex. Next on the list of dinosaur products is a Large Aqua Dinosaur Big Belly™ Bank. This exciting collector’s bank features a free-standing dinosaur with a large, clear belly that holds coins. In order for the coins to get into the belly, children “feed” the coins through the mouth of the money-hungry dinosaur, and then watch the coins roll down the meandering throat canal into the belly below. And if that does not satisfy your child’s dinosaur cravings, you can order an inflatable, enclosed trampoline shaped like a dinosaur. Also available is the ever-popular board game, “The Dinosaur Game,” that boasts of having won eleven awards, and was featured on “Good Morning America.” Other dinosaur products on the market include countless books, one of which is namedDinosaurs Divorce, which purports to help divorcing parents teach their children about their situation by using a family of dinosaurs.
Last on the list is the ever-growing number of movies starring these captivating creatures. The landmark movie, Jurassic Park, drew children and adults to the box office by the millions, and its two successors, The Lost World, and Jurassic Park 3, raked in tens-of-millions of dollars. Not least on the list of critically acclaimed dinosaur movies was the Walt Disney classic titled, appropriately, Dinosaur. One reviewer of Dinosaur stated that “kids will love the film,” and noted that the film, which was “geared primarily towards a younger audience,” was “aimed squarely at the under-10 crowd.”
Kid’s meal bags, children’s PBS shows, toy banks, games, and a children’s animated movie all have one thing in common: they target children. Kids are fascinated with dinosaurs, and the various companies and agencies that want to turn a quick dollar are smart enough to seize upon that fascination. Unfortunately, however, dinosaurs are not used just to make money. These marvelous creatures also have been laden with a backbreaking load of evolutionary baggage. For decades, dinosaurs have been exploited by evolutionists, and have been used to force-feed children false evolutionary propaganda. As evidence of this fact, consider that on that same Wendy’s™ kids’ meal bag discussed earlier, an unsuspecting child can see, via the timeline on the side panel of the bag, that dinosaurs first appeared “245 million years ago.” The child also can read how dinosaurs became extinct “64 million years ago.” And, the same movie reviewer who mentioned that Dinosaur was aimed at the “under-10 crowd,” also noted that the movie was set “65 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period.”
What is wrong with this information? Notice that no humans are depicted in the Dinosaur animation. Such is the case because, according to evolutionary theory, humans did not evolve until about 3 million years ago, separating them from the dinosaurs by an alleged 62 million years or so. This concept, however, stands in direct contradiction to biblical teaching, which states that God made dinosaurs on day six of the Creation (since dinosaurs, by definition, are land-living animals)—the exact same day that He made humans. Furthermore, Jesus Himself stated that Adam and Eve, the first humans, had been on Earth “from the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6), not millions of years removed from it.
Currently, the sad state of affairs finds the amazing creatures we know as dinosaurs being hijacked by those who use them to teach children evolution-based concepts. In contradistinction, when God was in the midst of His discussion with Job (Job 40-41), He mentioned two creatures—behemoth and leviathan—that resemble either dinosaurs or dinosaur-like animals. God, however, referred to these creatures to impress upon Job His unfathomable power—the exact opposite of what dinosaurs are being used to teach today.
The topic of dinosaurs is something that children are going to learn—from someone! Whether it is from us, or from the evolutionists, children will learn about these creatures. The time has come for us to “take back” the use of dinosaurs as an educational tool. Let us arm children with the correct information about dinosaurs, so that when the time comes that they find themselves bombarded with evolutionary propaganda, they will be able to defend themselves with the truth.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” by Kyle Butt, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=4720

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love”

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Ben Haggerty, also known by his stage name of Macklemore, has teamed up with producer Ryan Lewis to create a new hit song titled “Same Love.” The official video that accompanies the song has garnered over 67 million views on YouTube, and the song is one of the most popular on the radio. The main point of the song is that homosexuality is the “same” kind of love as heterosexuality, and people need to quit being homophobes and embrace the homosexual lifestyle, because “God loves all his children” (a quote from the song).
At Apologetics Press, we rarely write about one song. Truth be told, there are thousands of songs out there extolling sinful lifestyles such as drunkenness, drug abuse, fornication, and physical abuse, to mention just a few. But this particular song provides an excellent outline of the standard arguments in favor of homosexuality. By analyzing the lyrics of this song, we can see what society is being told about homosexuality, and contrast that with the truth.

WE ARE TOLD HOMOSEXUALITY IS A NATURAL TRAIT PEOPLE CANNOT CHANGE

The primary point of the song is that homosexuality is something with which a person comes into the world. The “Hook” of the song that is repeated by singer Mary Lambert, states: “And I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to.” Haggerty (or Macklemore) says in the song that “the right-wing conservatives think it’s a decision, and you can be cured with some treatment and religion. Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition, playing God.” This idea, that homosexuality is something that a person cannot change, is probably the most often used argument to support the lifestyle. The problem with the argument is that it is completely false. There is nothing either scientifically or psychologically that proves homosexuality to be a “natural” characteristic that a person cannot change. People can choose to become homosexuals just as sure as they can choose to stop being homosexuals. Several obvious lines of reasoning show this to be the case.

IT IS NOT GENETIC

Homosexuality is not genetic. Scientific research has shown this to be the case. There is no “gay” gene. In fact, genetically identical twins often choose different sexual lifestyles. If homosexuality were genetic, identical twins would always have been either both homosexuals or both heterosexuals (seeMiller, 2004). Furthermore, if homosexuality were genetic, natural selection would have eliminated it from the human genome, since it is a lifestyle that cannot naturally lead to procreation. [NOTE: We are not endorsing evolution. Rather, natural selection as understood as a mechanism that eliminates harmful genetic traits fits the creation model perfectly.]

HOMOSEXUALS CAN CHANGE

The song repeats over and over “I can’t change,” but that simply is not what we see in the real world. In order to disprove this statement, all we would need to do is find a person who was a homosexual and changed to a heterosexual lifestyle. In truth, thousands of people have “changed” their sexual lifestyle and left homosexuality, while thousands more have changed theirs and become homosexuals. Many in the homosexual community would say that those who have changed and are no longer homosexuals were never really homosexuals. Instead, they just thought they were, or they just pretended to be. Yet, when you ask former homosexuals about their past lifestyle, they describe their feelings and behaviors in the exact same way as practicing homosexuals. Their genetic make-up did not change. So, what did change? Their mindset and their behaviors. Similarly, if you were to analyze people who were practicing heterosexuals who changed to become homosexuals, you would not find that they somehow acquired a new biological trait. They simply chose to become homosexuals.
Another obvious way to see that homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle is to notice that the more a society approves of and condones homosexuality, the more people in that society choose to be homosexuals. Homosexuality is not a new idea. The ancient Greeks, and a host of other societies, regularly practiced it. When it becomes popular, more people join in. That certainly cannot be because the “gene” is spreading because homosexual “couples” cannot procreate.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE ARGUMENT IS USED TO SUPPORT OTHER LIFESTYLES?

Those of us who oppose homosexuality are told that homosexuals cannot change. When we ask for solid evidence to prove this, we are not given any. Instead, we are told that, “We don’t know how it feels,” or “Many homosexuals wish they could change, and have tried, but they can’t.” We are told that if we could just experience the feelings that homosexuals have, we would then know they are authentic and unchangeable. In essence, we are told to take their word for it. The problem arises when we apply that approach to other sexual lifestyles. For instance, is it not the case that a man who is attracted to several women at once could contend that he would like to change, but he cannot, so he should be permitted to marry all of them at once? What about the man who says that he is attracted to ten year old boys? He claims that he has tried to get rid of his attraction, he has fought it, but there is no way to stop. If he finds a consenting child, should his “natural” practice be condoned by our society? Or what about the woman who is sexually attracted to horses and claims that if others “truly understood” her love for them, they would approve of her sexual encounters?
Of course, when comparisons between homosexuality, polygamy, pedophilia, or bestiality are made the homosexual community objects and demands that homosexuality is different from those other lifestyles. But the question remains, how is it different? There is the same genetic evidence for homosexuality as there is for pedophilia: none. The pedophile claims to have been born with his feelings. Many pedophiles claim to express a desire to change, but insist they cannot. In truth, homosexuality is no more or less “natural” or “unchangeable” than bestiality or pedophilia. If the homosexual insists that sexual “love” between consenting adults is different than sexual “love” between a woman and child, or a man and a dog, the pedophile or person who practices bestiality could simply respond that we are “all God’s children,” and to condemn their sexual orientation is bigotry and hate.

A 3,500 YEAR OLD BOOK

In Haggerty’s song, he says the fact that “God loves all his children is somehow forgotten, but we paraphrase a book written thirty-five hundred years ago.” The implication is that somehow we have misunderstood the Bible. Supposedly, the parts about God loving his children show that any condemnation of homosexuality either must be a misunderstanding on someone’s part, or just part of an old book that should not be governing the lives and consciences of modern men and women. Haggerty’s problem here, as with other pro-homosexual resources, is that “acceptance” and “love” are not the same thing. Does God love all people? Certainly. Does he love people who steal? Yes. Does He love murderers? Yes. Does he love pedophiles? Yes. Does He love those who practice bestiality or necrophilia? Yes. Does He love homosexuals? Absolutely (read John 3:16). But does He accept those sinful lifestyles? No, He does not. In fact, He commands all those who are practicing such sins to repent or they will perish eternally (Luke 13:3; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). God loves His children, but He does not accept sinful lifestyles that humans claim they cannot change, when God knows that they can.
Furthermore, just because the Bible is a 3,500 year old book, that fact does not make it less of a legitimate moral standard than if it were written last year. God’s will for human kind was divinely instituted at the dawn of human history when He created humans and formed one man and one woman to be together in a sexual, marriage union for life. That divine plan was stated at the beginning of time, written down by Moses in about 1,500 B.C. and reiterated by Jesus Christ about 2,000 years ago (see Genesis 1:27, 2:21; Matthew 19:1-9). If there really is a God who Created the world and inspired a book, wouldn’t we expect His will to have been stated clearly for thousands of years? Macklemore’s suggestion that the antiquity of the Bible makes its message outdated cannot be defended. Would he argue that if his song somehow lasts 3,500 years, its message will be outdated due to the time that has elapsed?

CONCLUSION

Haggerty concludes his song by saying, “Whatever god you believe in, we come from the same one. Strip away the fear, underneath, it’s all the same love.” The fact is, however, it is not “all the same love.” God created humans, and only He knows what sexual lifestyle fits with His design. In the beginning, He created one man to be with one woman for life. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, stressed that one man with one woman is the only acceptable relationship in which sexual activity is God-ordained and acceptable. That means that pedophilia is not the “same love” as that between one man and one woman. Bestiality is not the “same love” as between one man and one woman. Polygamy is not the “same love” as the love between one man and one woman. And homosexuality is not, and never will be, the same love as the love God designed and approved between one man and one woman.

REFERENCE

Miller, Dave and Brad Harrub (2004), “‘This is the Way God Made Me’—A Scientific examination of Homosexuality and the ‘Gay Gene,’” Apologetics Press,https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=7&article=1388.

Does God Need to Rest? by Kyle Butt, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=785&b=Genesis

Does God Need to Rest?

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

In many verses of the Bible, God is described as omnipotent or all-powerful. In Genesis 17:1, God describes Himself to Abraham by saying, “I am Almighty God.” Abraham’s son, Isaac, in blessing his son Jacob, said: “May God Almighty bless you….” The omnipotent nature of God can be seen throughout the Bible. The psalmist wrote: “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5). From such verses, we get the idea that God can do anything that can be accomplished with power. We also get the idea that God’s power never runs out, and He does not get tired. As Isaiah wrote: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary” (40:28).
But, if God does not get tired, why does the Genesis account of Creation say that “on the seventh day God ended His work, which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2, emp. added)? What does the Bible mean when it says that God rested? Were the rigors of creating the Universe so difficult for God that He needed a break? Did His creative power need to be rejuvenated? And, does this “resting” not militate against the idea that God does not “faint nor is weary?” The answers to these questions are really very simple.
When we hear the English verb “rest” most of us immediately think of being tired or needing to recuperate drained energy, but the Hebrew translated “rest” in Genesis 2:2 does not always carry that same idea. In fact, the first two definitions given for the Hebrew word translated “rest” (shābat or shābath) are to “cease, desist.” The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon documents that, of the 71 times it is used, 47 of those times it is simply translated “cease,” and only 11 of those times is it translated “rest” (“Shabath,” 1995). TheTheological Wordbook of the Old Testament states: “The translation ‘to cease, desist’ can be illustrated in the following verses: ‘Day and night shall not cease’ (Genesis 8:22)….” (Harris, et al., p. 902).
A brief look at the original word translated “rest” or “rested” shows that God did not get tired, nor did He need a day to convalesce or build up His strength. He simply stopped creating the Universe. He finished in six days and stopped on the seventh day to set a pattern for a seven-day week. God does not need to rest or relax, because He “neither faints nor is weary.” In dealing with questions like this, sometimes a brief look at the original language can go a long way.
REFERENCES
Harris, R. Laird, Gleason Archer Jr. and Bruce Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
“Shābath” (1995), Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Electronic Database: Logos).

From Jim McGuiggan... LITTLE CHILDREN & THE KINGDOM

LITTLE CHILDREN & THE KINGDOM

"Let the children come to me for of such is the kingdom of heaven." That's what He said. He said this too, "If you don't become like little children you won't enter the kingdom."
And what's that all about?
He's probably talking about their disposition and saying we're to be like them--little children are so sweet-spirited.
Oh. Are they? I've known plenty of them down the years and "sweet-spirited" isn't how I would describe them and I've come across hundreds (at least hundreds) who have complained that their toddlers were "bratty". I'm not interested in placing "blame" anywhere; I just wonder if sweet-spiritedness is what Jesus had in mind. But, then, maybe little children in Jesus's day and part of the world were never bratty. On the other hand I think I remember him likening his adult generation to squabbling kids and I know I remember him telling of a young visitor to the pig-pen who was definitely bratty. "Give me...!" he said.
Maybe it was the simplicity of their thinking that Jesus had in mind. They're so easily influenced and they'll pretty much believe anything an adult tells them. Maybe that's it; but then again I hear Paul urging the Corinthians to quit being children and grow up! I'm sure that's what W.M. Clow had in mind when he said that the faith of a child is good but God has something better for us--the faith of a grown up; a faith that's able to face the world as it really is and with good reason to be convinced that it can be and will be better in a coming day no matter how it looks or is right now.
When I think of children and for a while watch my great-grandchildren enjoying life my mind always drifts finally to GK Chesterton who claimed that the trouble with the world is that we have grown old and God has stayed young, like a child. I think he's right--that's a major part of our problem. Of coure I've met many people who learned to grow up without growing old. They're a lovely sight to behold.
I'm not at all sure what Jesus had in mind so I suppose it's all right for me to pick and choose qualities in young children "at their best" and contextualize the qualities where they'd best promote the reign of God. But I prefer to think that Jesus had something other than their inner qualities in mind. I prefer to think he was thinking of their social and life situation.
Peter tells husbands to view their wives as the "weaker vessel" and to act as a lover should in light of that. I know Peter didn't mean the wives were intellectually, emotionally, religiously or morally inferior to men--that'd be nonsense. I'm certain too that he isn't speaking of physical strength. What would have to do with anything? I'm content to believe that he was speaking of their vulnerability in a society and culture that in so many ways denied them fair treatment. However we are to phrase that we know what Peter did not mean--he was saying nothing about the woman's inner and personal status as a human or as a Christian!
I suppose we've all heard of "self-made" men and women. But there's no such thing! The atheist Daniel Dennett likes to remind people that he's an  autodidact [self-taught]--he likes to think he is but there's no such thing. We've all heard of people who are truly "independent"--yeah right!! 
Who wants to grovel and crawl all his or her life? No one with a healthy mind would. God doesn't want us to do it. [Christ from the cross would look at some of us and ask, "Do I look like I want you to grovel and crawl for forgiveness and life?"] No, groveling and crawling is not what we've been made for but only fools think they're gods.
A fierce young man careered all over the holy land beating the blood out of believers in Jesus Christ. This student of Gamaliel defied his teacher who advised Jewish leadership to let the Christian movement run its course and Saul went after his own people, tormenting and executing them in an effort to purge the land of this lying Story. [You think ISIS is doing anything Paul didn't do?]
Then the risen Lord met him and before he knew it the vicious persecutor became like a child. "What do you want me to do?" he asked. He had to be led by the hand, he had to be taken to a house he didn't know, he had to be given instructions, he had to confess his sin and be baptized and was grateful to accept as a gift forgiveness for his sin, he had to depend on people he had no acquaintance with, he had to be introduced by a stranger into the fellowship of the believers. The one who was a searing human flame was now utterly dependent, he was a child again--born of the water and the [S]pirit, led around by the hand, protected and finally given warmth and fellowship.
And then he became a different kind of flame!
Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

From Roy Allen Davison... Jesus taught religious freedom



Jesus taught religious freedom

Through the ages, terrible atrocities have been committed because of religious intolerance. Religions have been persecuted, and religions have persecuted others. Such atrocities are almost always related to political power.

Millions have been murdered.
During the first few centuries after Christ, Christians were severely persecuted and murdered by pagans and Jews. The pagans were offended because Christians refused to worship the pagan gods and the emperor. The Jews viewed Christians as heretics.
The Christians did not retaliate because Jesus taught His followers to love their enemies and to do good to those who hate them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35).
From the seventh to the eleventh century, by force of arms, Muslims spread their religion around the Mediterranean from Asia Minor, along the northern coast of Africa, and into Spain. Church buildings were destroyed, church leaders were murdered, and Christianity was exterminated where Muslims gained political power.
With regard to unfaithful Muslims who “wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve,” the Koran commands1: “If they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them” (Chapter 4:89). With regard to “unbelievers” the Koran says: “I shall cast into the unbelievers&146; hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!” (Chapter 8:12). Another translation of the Koran interprets this more graphically: “Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”2 When a peace treaty with idolaters expires, the following is commanded: “slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush” (Chapter 9:5).
Some Muslims try to soften these teachings, but it cannot be denied that through the centuries, and also at the present time, these passages in the Koran have been used to promote and justify much persecution, war, terrorism and murder.
The establishment of worldwide Muslim totalitarian government is a tenant of Islam.
From the eleventh through the thirteenth centuries, Crusades were organized in Europe in an attempt to conquer Jerusalem by force of arms. Thousands of Muslims were murdered and their villages were destroyed.
The Crusaders called themselves Christians but they were not Christians. They did not follow the teachings of Jesus at all!
At the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church used the Inquisition to murder those who opposed its authority. It was a capital crime to read the Bible without the permission of the Church.
In 1536 William Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake in Vilvoorde, Belgium by Catholic authorities. His crime? Publishing the Bible in English and exposing false doctrines of the Roman Church.
When Protestants came to power in certain countries, they sometimes persecuted Catholics and other Protestants who did not agree with them.
On October 27, 1553, Michael Servetus was burned to death at Geneva, Switzerland at the instigation of John Calvin.
In the twentieth century many religion-related atrocities were committed.
Six million Jews, men women and children, were murdered by the Nazis by shooting, in mobile gas vans and at mass extermination camps. The Nazis also exterminated gypsies and people with physical defects or mental illness.
Seven hundred thousand Muslims were evicted from their homes in Palestine and forced to spend the rest of their lives impoverished in refugee camps in the desert.
Conflicts involving religion in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia resulted in the murder of millions of innocent people.
Atheistic communism persecuted and murdered countless believers of all faiths in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

Jesus taught tolerance and religious freedom.
All persecution is contrary to the doctrine of Christ. Although apostasy is to be refuted and false teachers are to be expelled from the church, Christians are not to persecute others or use coercion to prevent others from practicing their religion.
Once when Jesus and His disciples were traveling to Jerusalem, they were refused lodging in a Samaritan village. “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, &145;Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?&146; But He turned and rebuked them, and said, &145;You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man did not come to destroy men&146;s lives but to save them.&146; And they went to another village” (Luke 9:54-56). Christians may not use Old Testament examples to justify violence. The teaching of Jesus is on a higher plain, is of a different spirit.
Not only does Jesus teach against persecuting others, we are not even to forbid them: “Then John answered and said, &145;Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.&146; But Jesus said to him, &145;Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us&146;“ (Luke 9:49, 50 //Mark 9:38-40).
Some have misapplied this passage to teach that we should fellowship false teachers. But Jesus did not condone what this person was doing. He simply taught religious freedom. We are not to &145;forbid&146; others.
Paul explains: “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:15-18).
Some who are now Christians in Flanders, first started studying the Bible with Jehovah&146;s Witnesses. Others who are now Christians, first studied the Bible with Mormons. As they continued studying the Scriptures, however, they rejected the errors of these groups, and learned the truth of the gospel.
Although false teachers are not to be permitted to teach in the church, it is not our task as Christians to prevent them from proclaiming their beliefs in general. It is our task, however, torefute their false doctrine. Religious freedom does not mean that we must remain silent in the face of religious error.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Christians combat false doctrine by preaching the truth. We refute false arguments and capture the thoughts of men by preaching the Word of God. Rather than being overcome by evil, we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
Although we can sympathize with oppressed peoples who mistakenly think force of arms can set them free, it does not work. Jesus said: “Put away your sword, for all who draw the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). You cannot overcome evil with evil. An attempt to do so only multiplies evil.
Jesus showed us how to overcome evil with good by going to the cross and rising victorious from the grave to become King of kings and Lord of lords. He tells us to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).
The most powerful weapons on earth are not guns and bombs, but words. If you want to have influence for good, learn to speak and write well. And, of course, the most powerful words of all by far are the words of God.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Christians are proponents and defenders of religious freedom. Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Unchristian teaching is to be refuted, but true followers of Christ do not persecute others or prevent them from practicing their religion. Amen.
Roy Davison
Footnotes:

1 These quotations are from “The Koran Interpreted, A translation by A.J.Arberry” considered to be one of the most scholarly and unbiased translations of the Koran into English.

2 As translated by M. H. Shakir.

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)